Book Thursdays: The Experiment by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke REVIEW!

Book Review: The Experiment by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

The Experiment

Description:

One hundred years in the future… America as we know it today no longer exists. Scientist Holly Reginald and President Malcolm Crowdler have hatched an evil plot to control the minds and lives of the American people. Only a few are still able to fight back. And those few are children. Mystery and intrigue abound in this heart-stopping adventure as the last remnant of Americans strives to stop The Experiment…before it’s too late.

 

My Review:

5 Stars

This book is such a fun and interesting story. It’s only around 30,000 words, so probably less than two hours to read.

I would consider it a present-day dystopian story. Think futuristic America crumbling in the hands of a power-hungry president, and an entire nation brainwashed in the name of “the good of the people.”

Yes, it was that kind of book. A very fun read, too.

I told the author that “It’s a pro-homeschooling conservative political action novella.” It’s really funny, knowing Morgan personally, how much of her shines through the book. It’s really cool.

I enjoyed the plot. It’s not quite the kind of story that I’ve ever read before, which made it very fun. The government seeks to control the minds of American kids, and all but a few are affected. Why? You’ll see. Does it even ever get resolved? Well, you’ll see that too.

The writing was done well. I like Miss Huneke’s style, and I have yet to read her other works (that are sitting unread on my Kindle). It was easy to read for me, and it is aimed at kids between the ages of 10 and 16. So it’s between Middle Grade and Young Adult, and it fit there well.

The characters were well-developed. There were a lot, and some did seem like names alone, but that’s okay. I understood the main characters well, and that was good enough for me. Besides, we don’t need to read the backstories of thirty-eight characters. It was balanced well.

The worldbuilding was quite interesting. It is set in present-day America, so that part was already established. I liked Courtstone (the well-done setting, not the fictional place) and found it to be an intriguing place.

Everything was described well. My imagination ran with the descriptions.

However, if you are a liberal, an atheist, and anti-homeschooling, this book is definitely not for you. You may find it offensive if you are sensitive about such things.

But did I enjoy it? Oh, yes. Ever so much.

Now, go be kind and have fun reading this book. Like I did. It was wonderful.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review, which I have provided. Thank you, Morgan!

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Book Thursdays: Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight Review + Author Interview!

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Yay!!!! The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived!!!!

*throws confetti in air*

Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight has been officially released to the big, wide, and wonderful world! I’m so excited for this release, because all of us Ilyon fans have been pleading for Jace’s backstory. (Think of it like a never-before-read prologue. A prologue that you REALLY appreciate once you’ve read such an amazing story.)

In this post, I’m reviewing Half-Blood and interviewing Jaye herself. But first, about the book!

Learn more about this prequel story to Ilyon Chronicles and make sure you also enter the tour giveaway at the bottom!

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About the Book
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

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Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website

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My Review:

All his life, Jace has been a slave. He has been forced to become a gladiator, and treated so harshly, lower than an animal. Little does anyone know, Jace – as half ryrik and half human – has a heart, a soul, and he is not truly defined by his ryrik blood. He is not an angry killer; he is only thought to be one. And he is treated for the first 17-20 (or so) years of his life as though he is less than worthless.

Oh my. I can’t really in good conscience say that I loved or enjoyed this book. I can say, however, that I’m glad that I read it. I’m glad that I know Jace’s backstory, even though it tore my soul to shreds.

Jace’s life broke me. For real. He had but two things that made him happy, and both those things were torn away from him. (Such injustice! Are you kidding me?!)

It shredded my heart into a million tiny fractals.

It tore my soul to unrepairable shreds.

It emptied my being of hope.

It made my heart scream, and cry, and panic out of desperation.

I was Jace.

I was treated lower than an animal.

I was abused for the love of money.

I was alone. Forsaken. Rejected. Forgotten. Betrayed. Sold. Broken. Hopeless.

And I never believed I could ever be loved, or even treated like I was even half-human. I never believed I could ever have a soul.

*cries* Oh yes, I cried. Out of anger, pain, and more injustice.

(And, um, yeah, I finished it in one day. The day it was sent to me.)

Throughout this book, we dig deep into Jace’s past. We see his loneliness, heartbreak, struggle, and his (yes) humanity. We see that he is not heartless, and isn’t completely overcome by his ryrik blood. Though he has many challenges, he does not give up.

The thing I admire most about Jace is that he refuses to kill in cold blood. He struggles with fiery anger, coming from his ryrik blood, but he doesn’t let it overcome him easily. He fights for justice, and I love that. He pays attention to his conscience even when he does not know Elôm. (More proof that you have a soul, Jace.) He’s such a respectable character, and my favorite (of course!). *happy sigh*

Seriously though, Half-Blood is really hard to read. I cried a few times over the intense cruelty of Jace’s treatment. It’s not a fluffy, snuggle-up-by-the-fire kind of book. It’s one of those books that makes you want to throw it out the window, but it’s still so good that you can’t bring yourself to do it. (Jaye’s writing is amazing. That’s not the problem at all. The problem is that she writes so well that you’re there, and you feel every little ounce of pain and agony. And so I felt it, and was actually depressed for a few days.)

My favorite part of the book was the second half, of course. It was so amazingly full of hope. The horrible hopelessness of Jace’s life of slavery made hope – when it came – so much brighter, in contrast. It was so beautiful. I won’t give too much away, but the end of the book overlaps with the beginning of Resistance, from Jace’s point of view. It’s like reading an awesome book for the first time – twice. Because even though I knew what would happen, it was totally new, with the same dialogue and scenery. That was amazing.

So yeah, I’m glad I read it. Was it hard to read? Oh, you’d better believe it. But seeing Jace’s past helped to give me a glimpse of who Jace is and who he is becoming.

Though this is a prequel novella, I don’t think I would recommend it as a starting point for the series. Although it is written extremely well, it’s tough to read and perhaps not as enjoyable until you’ve read Resistance. It is heartbreaking, and not as “lovely” as the other books, but it is definitely a worthwhile read when wanting to know even more about Jace’s past.

It’s a Five-Star book.

I received an eARC for my honest and unbiased review. Thank you, Jaye! 
About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.

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As I promised, I got to interview the author, Jaye L. Knight, and share her answers with all of you.

 

 Jaye, did you find Half-Blood to be hard to write? I know that for me, it was difficult to read at a lot of points. The entire first half, actually. 

Surprisingly, this story was one of the easiest I’ve written, not because of subject matter, but it just flowed really well. I’m glad of that. I wouldn’t have wanted to labor over it for a long period of time. I was able to write the whole thing in just a couple of weeks.

Ah, I see. Only a couple of weeks, wow! That’s great. 🙂

Do you enjoy writing about just Jace, or would you rather work with multiple storylines (as you do in the rest of the Ilyon books)?

I love writing about Jace. While I do enjoy working with multiple storylines, Jace is my favorite to work with. Though, there are a few others I particularly love writing as well, like Trask and Prince Daniel.

And I love reading about Jace. He’s such a relatable character, especially to me. Trask and Prince Daniel are such fun to read about too, with their great witty and strong personalities.

 

Where did your ideas for Jace’s story come from, especially the details of his life as a gladiator and slave?

Originally, Jace was inspired by a half-blooded character in Donita K. Paul’s DragonKeeper Chronicles books. I didn’t discover that Jace was a gladiator, though, until I was quite far into writing Resistance. I always knew he was a slave and struggled with his ryrik blood, but the gladiator idea came from a History Channel documentary on gladiators that I randomly watched with my brother. I found it so fascinating that my imagination took over, and next thing I knew, Jace’s entire backstory changed.

That is so interesting! Thank you for sharing with us, Jaye.
Giveaway
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Tour Schedule
Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17

Saturday, July 18

Sunday, July 19

Monday, July 20

Tuesday, July 21

Wednesday, July 22

*aj

Book Thursdays: BLOG TOUR – A Dream Not Imagined Review

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Hey everyone!!

This week, I have a wonderful new book to share with you. It’s A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu. Today through the 31st are the days of her blog tour to spread the word about it! And I’m REALLY excited, because I got to pre-read and review this adorable tale.

Today is the release date!!! Congratulations, Shantelle!!! A Dream Not Imagined is such a wonderful story.

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About the Book

A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince.

In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

My Review:

As it is said in the previous paragraph, this story is a non-magic (but absolutely delightful!) fairytale loosely based on the story of Cinderella. Key word: loosely based. Honestly, if we knew exactly what was going to happen, where would be the fun in that?

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Ellie Abbington is our protagonist in this story. She has two snobby stepsisters, a strict stepmother, and an unloving father. Despite being abused by her family in her life as a maid, unaccepted by those of her flesh and blood, and not seeming to fit in amongst the other servants, Ellie maintains her sweet personality and is never one to argue back at the unfair demands of those around her. Ellie dreams of her future with Prince Charles, who notices her in a crowd of many. Could this be her dream to be noticed and loved coming true?

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A Dream Not Imagined is a novella strongly rooted in faith and true love. It’s not a fluff story, although you could read it that way if you wanted to (and get more out of it than you expect!). The story is lovely, and I truly have no objections to it whatsoever.

But there’s a twist.

Perhaps even the best dreams are the ones we haven’t even imagined yet. Our love stories are the most beautiful when we allow God to write and orchestrate them. This is the central theme of the book, and it makes the love story even better. *sighs with happiness*

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When I read it, I was soooooo not prepared for everything the story would entail. But it was so much fun! The ending made me cry so happily. (Side note: I was laying in my bed at the time that I was reading it and I felt tears slide all the way across my face and onto my pillow. Books that make me cry have to be REALLY good, so examine the evidence for yourself.)

As I’m writing it, I’m being reminded what a special tale this is (and I’m going to go read it again!). If you’d like to get your hands on A Dream Not Imagined, today is the day! Check out the giveaway at the bottom to enter to win it. And if you don’t win, well, it’s only $0.99, and a $0.99 that you will not regret spending. 🙂

About the Author

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Shantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.
A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.
A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, is her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.
Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart: http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/ about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Facebook: Shantelle Mary Hannu, Author (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shantelle-Mary-Hannu/1622068488014168?ref=aymt_homepage_panel)

Twitter: @shantellemary (https://twitter.com/shantellemary)

Goodreads: Shantelle Mary Hannu (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13804303.Shantelle_Mary_Hannu)

Google+: Shantelle H. (https://plus.google.com/101772131563789927466/posts)

Pinterest: Shantelle H. (https://www.pinterest.com/h0160/)

Purchase as a kindle book on Amazon Now!
(http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Not-Imagined-Cinderella-Story-ebook/dp/B00Y1PUJH4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432257980&sr=8-1&keywords=shantelle+mary+hannu+6)

ADD TO GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25331538-a-dream-not-imagined?from_search=true

Giveaway!

Enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a kindle copy of A Dream Not Imagined and a $5 Amazon giftcard!
One winner will be chosen May 31st, and I will send the kindle book and gift card to their email.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, May 28th

Shantelle Hannu at A Writer’s Heart (http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/) – It’s published!!!

Cookielover at The Story Forest (http://lulu-renee-writes.tumblr.com/) – Author Interview

Laura Pol at Crafty Booksheeps (http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com/) – Character Introduction

Amanda Beguerie at Scattered Journal Pages (https://scatteredjournalpages.com/) – Book Review

Kendra Ardnek at Knitted by God’s Plan (http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Natasha at Through My Lens (http://tashahphotography.blogspot.com/) – Character Interview with Cinderella

Kaycee Browning at The Pink Cave (http://thepinkcave.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Friday, May 29th

Deborah O’Carroll at The Road of a Writer (https://deborahocarroll.wordpress.com/) – Author ‘Cinderella-themed’ Interview

Claire Banschbach at The Overactive Imagination (https://clairembanschbach.wordpress.com/) – Book Review

Ghost Ryter at Anything, Everything (http://ghostryter.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Skye Hoffert at Ink Castles (http://skyehoffert.blogspot.ca/) – Character Interview with The Stepsisters

Natacha at Mi Baile Perfecto (https://mibaileperfecto.wordpress.com/) – Author Interview

Saturday, May 30th

Hannah Williams at The Writer’s Window (http://williamshsj.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Raechel at God’s Peculiar Treasure (https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com/) – Book Review

C.B. Cook at The World of the Writer (https://theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com/) – Character Interview with The Stepmother

Lena K. at Read, Write, Laugh, DANCE (https://readwritelaughdance.wordpress.com/) – Character Spotlight (The Fairy Godmother)

Sierra at Flights from the Aerie (http://flightsfromtheaerie.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Sunday, May 31st

Shantelle Mary Hannu at A Writer’s Heart (http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/) – Tour Wrap Up and Excerpt

NEW! Book Thursdays: The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight

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Welcome to a new feature on Scattered Journal Pages, Book Thursdays. Maybe you know that I love to read, maybe you don’t. But nevertheless I do, and because I don’t have the time to start a whole new blog, I’m adding a new feature to my existing blog. Here, on random Thursdays, you’ll find book reviews, recommendations, possibly author interviews, and other events that all have something to do with books. This won’t effect regular Tuesday and Saturday posts, it’s just extra. I hope you enjoy, and Happy Thursday!

When I started this book, I was a little worried. I mean, what if I didn’t like it? What if it was cheesy? What if it was boring? Well, it sure wasn’t. This book is the FANTASTIC sequel to Resistance (actually, book two of six in the Ilyon Chronicles) by Christian New Adult Fantasy author, Jaye L. Knight. I can’t even tell you how much I loved Resistance. I thought it was super. And it was. Absolutely FANTABULOUS. But The King’s Scrolls was even better. So, maybe you’re not a fantasy fan. Maybe it’s boring to you. Perhaps you find it pointless, or a waste of time. That’s what I thought when I started reading Resistance. I’ve never enjoyed fantasy before, because I could tell it was fake. But wow, this was different. Really different. Sure, there are dragons. (Really awesome dragons, let me point out.) And there are characters of different races (ryriks, cretes, dorlanders, talcrins, humans, etc.), but it’s not weird. They’re all people, just different kinds of people. They’re all realistic and 100% believable. So before you make a judgment call on whether you think you’ll enjoy this book or not, give it a chance. Please do. There were so many moments that I just stopped reading for a moment and closed my eyes, or crossed my fingers, or bit my lip, or just let my heart flutter for a minute. You know, those moments when I was screaming and fangirling on the inside with pure joy on my face because it was so good. Just. So. Good. I’d close my eyes and grasp the book so tightly and hold it to my heart, attempting to soak up the beautiful literature via book osmosis. Please tell me that I’m not the only one. Now for the plot. Four dragon-riding cretes arrive in Landale Forest. They are seeking to retrieve the only complete collection of The King’s Scrolls. However…belief in Elôm (the one true God) is illegal, and reclaiming the Scrolls is, well, dangerous to say the least, and if anything goes wrong, it’ll end surely in execution. At the same time, some crete followers of Elôm are being dangerously sought out for the accusation of being Elôm’s followers and having the last complete collection of the King’s Scrolls in their possession. What will happen when they are discovered? Now, there were a few parts in the book that utterly manipulated my emotions. One of the days that I read for a few hours, I cried five times. (Seriously! It’s pretty pitiful, seeing that I’ve never cried that much over something real, let alone a fantasy book.) Honestly though, as much as it tore me in two, it was so believable and perfect although immensely heartbreaking. Now, for the REAL part of the story, there’s one thing I wonder and marvel at. What would happen if we placed this kind of value on the Word of God? I mean, we have such freedom in this world. We have the freedom to keep the ENTIRE COLLECTION of “The King’s Scrolls”, so to speak. It’s legal to believe in the One True God. By a lot of people, it’s even encouraged. We don’t face potential imprisonment, torture, or execution. And yet, though these characters are fictional, they’ve taken a stand. They’ve faced every hardship imaginable. And stayed strong, refusing to deny what they believe because they know that it’s the truth. They know (and we should too) that the Bible is life-changing. Without it, we are hopeless. Lost. Wandering aimlessly in this crazy world. But we do have The Scrolls. Isn’t that encouraging? A heartfelt thank you to Jaye who graciously gave me a free copy of this book to read and review honestly. All opinions are my own, and I wouldn’t change them if someone paid me. 🙂 *aj P.S. If this book sounds interesting to you, support Jaye by purchasing a copy! You can get one on Amazon and on her website.   You can see my full review on Goodreads.