Blog Tour: Samara’s Peril Review and Interview

Two blog tour posts in one day? YES! This is the blog tour post for Samara’s Peril by Jaye L. Knight, and if you’re looking for the Espionage blog tour post…find the link at the end of this one. BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT, READ THIS REVIEW!

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Continue reading “Blog Tour: Samara’s Peril Review and Interview”

Black Friday Book Sale!

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It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 27 (that’s today!) through Nov 30th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!

Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.

This year, I read some pretty amazing books. I’m going to cheat and count a book that I read last November. Ready for my mini-list?

Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good.

This book was spiritually inspiring. I gained a fresh perspective on persecution around the world, and a good taste in books. I related to the characters and situations and I’m pretty sure this was the first book I ever cried reading. Also, first YA and first book I ever fangirled over. For real.

Besides being an absolutely wonderful book, knowing Leah has changed my life so much. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Leah, none of this would exist. My blog wouldn’t have started, I never would have been exposed to indie books, and you guys would never have heard of this sale. Huzzah. (Thank you Leah, for everything.)

Resistance, The King’s Scrolls, and Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight.

Hello, fantasy. The Ilyon Chronicles (the three books mentioned above) were the first proper fantasy books I ever read. Oh my word. They are fantastic, let me tell you that. The books are so professionally done, from characters, to worldbuilding, to plot. These were the some of the first “mature” books I read this year. Through joining the Goodreads group, I met some amazing authors and friends and it’s been all uphill from there.

Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. Ardnek.

Have I fangirled enough over this? Ask Kendra and she’ll tell you that I probably have, but like in other cases, I won’t stop. If you haven’t noticed, I connected with Clara very quickly in the story and simply fell in love. (She’s me, I tell you. Add Ashna from the next book and you have created an exact replica of Amanda.) The worldbuilding is spectacular, and omiWORD I love all the characters.

Want some good news? ALL THOSE BOOKS ARE ON SALE TODAY THROUGH CYBER MONDAY. That’s right. You can buy my favorite books, for cheap, and lose yourself in a whole new world. Like, now!

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

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: Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight COVER REVEAL!

Guys. *squeals*

I AM SO EXCITED! I am extremely ecstatic for this SPECTACULAR occasion. Today is the **OFFICIAL** cover reveal day for a brand-new book coming out really soon!

*fireworks explode overhead*

Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight is coming out this summer!!!! That’s right, the prequel to the Ilyon Chronicles I’ve been so excited about! And check out this BEAUTIFUL cover. Seriously. Wow. It’s not just artistically beautiful. No, there is so much emotion and heartbreaking adrenaline packed into one image, and you’d better believe I’ll be buying it as soon as it comes out. I can tell it’s gonna be another book that makes me cry… at random moments… when I may or may not be out in public. Just saying. 🙂

Jace is probably my favorite character in Ilyon, and this book…oh goodness. I don’t want my heart to break all over again… but the feels are worth it. Poor Jace. *quietly cries in corner*

Now, I will stop fangirling so you can actually learn about this prequel story to Ilyon Chronicles. Make sure you also enter the giveaway at the bottom! Eek!

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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 . . .

Coming This Summer

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About the Author

JayeAuthorPhotoJaye 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+, and Twitter.

Giveaway

As part of a month long celebration for the one year publication anniversary of Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles – Book 1), Jaye is giving away several fun prizes! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.

Participating Bloggers
A Writer’s Faith
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
A Writer’s Heart
Thoughts and Rants
Written Rest
To Be A Person
Tialla’s Tellings
The American Anglophile
Knitted By God’s Plan
Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings
Pencils Can Change The World
Crafty Booksheeps
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Ryebrynn’s Random Ramblings
Through the Realm of Dreams
Red Lettering
Leah’s Bookshelf
The Official Website of Brent King
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Shattered Fractals
Flights from the Aerie
E. Rawls
The Pen of a Ready Writer
Scattered Journal Pages
Sutori no Hana
The Art of Storytelling
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Book Thursdays: How I Discovered Ilyon

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Happy Thursday and Resistance Anniversary Celebration, everyone!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. I’ll start from the very beginning. Which happens to be a very good place to start.

Two weeks ago, I posted my first Book Thursdays blog post here as a review of The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight. Y’all know how much I loved Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, which are the first two books of the Ilyon Chronicles. But you may be wondering, how exactly did Amanda discover Ilyon? Okay, maybe you’re not wondering, but as a part of the Resistance 1-year anniversary celebration (*squeals*), I signed up to tell you all how I discovered Ilyon, and my story all started last November.

In the midst of an insanely stress-filled and painful school year, I sat in my kitchen doing homework when my iPod buzzed. It was an email, alerting me that a new Christian Dystopian Young Adult book had come out. That book was Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good. (ALL NEW review of this book to come soon!) I read the first two chapters on Amazon, and boy, was I hooked! Needless to say, I bought it. I’ve loved to read since I was two and three years old and (though I was over my head in schoolwork) I finished it in four days. Let’s just say that I let school slide a bit that week and that was a great decision.

My love for reading was reawakened. I was greatly inspired to read and write (WAY more than I was doing, and this blog came about partially because of that). My faith was ignited even more and I was inspired to live out my faith. So what did I do when a fantastic novel so immensely changed me? I started reading the author’s blog and I emailed her, of course!

Leah was very gracious toward me, Amanda the extremely enthusiastic fangirl. (That’s a pretty conservative way to describe me, you should know.) And we started getting to know each other (me still being a floating-on-clouds squealy fangirl).

One day, on her blog, I saw an interview with Jaye L. Knight, the author of the Ilyon Chronicles. The interview was amusing and splendid, and The King’s Scrolls piqued my interest. (Not a lot of new books do, so this was special.) But I put it at the back of my mind, noting the fact that it was aimed at readers 18-25+ and I thought I’d probably find it cliché, boring, or “not my kind of book.” Haha yeah right. I was naïve. That was a mistake.

A little while later, Leah sent me a recommendation of The King’s Scrolls because it was very similar to Counted Worthy and she thought I’d enjoy it. I hesitated a little bit; I figured I’d never get a chance to read it, and frankly, I didn’t want to put down money for a book that I wasn’t sure about loving. And that was mistake #2.

However, she let me borrow Resistance (Ilyon #1) and I finished that book in four days. 524 pages in four days, my friend. That’s how you know that a book is good. Like, really good. I’m glad to say that I didn’t have too much schoolwork that week.

A mini-screenplay from that week:

 

Mom: Amanda, what are you doing?

Amanda: I’m reading.

Mom: What book?

Amanda: *glowing* I’m reading Resistance. *sighs*

Mom: Okay. Have fun. *smiles*

This question of “what are you doing” was asked many times over the next few days.

Mom: Amanda, aren’t you supposed to be doing anatomy?

Amanda: It’s okay, I’ll do it on the weekend. Maybe I’ll study for a little while later on (aka for 15 minutes, so I can get back to my real book).

Mom: Do you want to hold your one-day-old cousin?

Amanda: Yeah!

Mom: Okay, put down the book.

That week was a very fun week.

Yeah, the little schoolwork I did have to do suffered. But like the week that I read Counted Worthy, it was so worth it.

I repeat.

It was so worth it.

Now I’ve read The King’s Scrolls and I’m awaiting Half-Blood (Ilyon #0.5) (A PREQUEL NOVELLA! YAY!) and Samara’s Peril (Ilyon #3). And the last three books. Yes darling, they are that good.

Please read them. #NoRegrets here. At all, whatsoever.

If you’d like to see a list of the Resistance Anniversary Celebration events and blog posts coming up, they are here.

Thank you all for visiting my blog, and please come back! You can also subscribe. That’s awesome too.

*aj