Monday, December 17, 2018

Bitter Winter - New Fantasy Novel From Jaye L. Knight

About Bitter Winter

Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves
those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.

Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Available now on Amazon!

About the Author
Jaye 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, Twitter, and Etsy.

My Review
(Please note this is only a review for Bitter Winter and not for Lacy or Decree)

For those who have come to enjoy Jaye's Ilyon Chronicles, they will not be disappointed with the next phase that the Landale camp encounters in Bitter Winter. As with the previous novels, Bitter Winter shows how Jace, Prince Daniel, and the Altairs must trust in God even when He seems silent to our prayers.

Pros and Cons

As readers have come to appreciate with Jaye's work, no magic, gore, or indecent material could be found in Bitter Winter, which of course is what sets the Ilyon Chronicles apart from nearly all fantasy. And again, the personal relationships among the characters is uplifting and showcases strong family ties and friendships among the characters, which is one of the aspects I love most about Jaye's novels. Because of the intensity of the plot, I still keep to my recommendation for the previous novels of mature teens and young adults as the target audience. One thing I was disappointed with in Bitter Winter was one scene where our main characters find themselves awaiting a meeting in a tavern, and they choose to sip (however reluctantly) some achololic beverages to keep suspicions about their actions low. While a short scene, my preference would have been for it to not be included at all, since younger readers especially often look up to main characters. Also, there were two or three kissing scenes, though true to Jay's norm were more mentioned than described, and not in a manner likely to cause stumbling. Finally, readers will love how Jaye ends this latest trek with our Ilyonian friends, though to share it would be a spoiler, so you'll have to read it to find out. :)

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar!  (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit these other blogs for more about Bitter Winter!

Friday – December 14 – Release Day for Bitter Winter & Lacy!
· Blog Tour Intro by Tricia Mingerink
· Author Interview & Book Reviews at Jessica Looks Again
· Book Reviews at The Music of a Story 
· Book Spotlight & Review at Chosen by the Potter
· Book Spotlight at Time of the Immortals 
· Character Chat #1 by the Ilyon Chronicles 
Saturday – December 15
· Book Reviews at Thriving Hope 
· Book Spotlight & Reviews at The Writer’s Song
· Author Interview & Book Reviews at Perfectly Quirky In Every Way
· Book Spotlight & Reviews at A Great God and Good Cocoa
· Book Spotlight at The Book Sprite 
Monday – December 17
· Book Reviews by Morgan Huneke
· Book Reviews at Backing Books 
· Book Reviews at Honey Rock Hills 
· Book Reviews at TJ’s Musing
· Character Chat #2 by Tricia Mingerink
Tuesday – December 18 – Release Day for Decree!
· Book Spotlight at Ruffles and Grace 
· Book Spotlight & Reviews at Resting Life
· Author Interview & Book Reviews at Knitted by God’s Plan 
· Book Reviews by S.G. Willoughby
· Book Spotlight & Reviews at Sarah Plain & Average
Wednesday – December 19
· Book Reviews at The Artful Author
· Book Reviews by Meagan Davenport
· Author Interview & Book Reviews by Brie Donning
· Author Interview & Book Spotlight at Saver of Memories
· Character Chat #3 by the Ilyon Chronicles

Thursday – December 20
· Book Spotlight by Sutori no Hana 
· Book Reviews by Kaylee’s Kind of Writes 
· Book Spotlight by M.H. Elrich
· Author Interview at The Ink Lizard
· Book Spotlight & Review at A Great God and Good Cocoa

Friday – December 21
· Book Reviews at Smyling Girl
· Author Interview at Dreams and Dragons 
· Book Review by Faith Blum
· Author Interview & Book Reviews at Allison Grace Writes
· Book Spotlight by Hannah Gaudette
· Character Chat #4 by Tricia Mingerink

Saturday – December 22
Blog Tour Wrap up post at Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finding Christmas Joy - New Short Story Release From Amanda Tero

Melonie Brown just wants to get away from all of the pain and heartache that this year has brought upon her, and Starlight Lodge seems like the perfect place to do so.
With no plans beyond a Christmas escape,she drives out to the lodge. Can she bottle up the peace and joy that she finds in this special place to help her face the challenges she may have in the upcoming year?

Available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) or add to your Goodreads shelf.

My Review

Shattered by lost love, Melonie  seeks reprieve in a quiet Christmas lodge. As she processes through her grief, Melonie finally opens up to the truth that the greatest love can not be found in a person or place, but in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 By now, you know what I love most about Amanda's books is that they all tie back to truth and the God of all truth. "Finding Christmas Joy" is no exception. In a simple, yet sweet way Melonie's journey reminds us that, in spite of all the dross we have heaped on the day we remember Christ's birth, it is a time of knowing Him, which is eternal life. 
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. ~ John 17:3
Whether we remember His coming in December or July, He did come and in Him alone lies the hope of eternal life. From beginning to end, "Finding Christmas Joy" will refresh your heart and point you to One Who makes our joy full!


Amanda Tero is giving away a copy of “ Finding Christmas Joy ” with one of her pian o CD’s! You’ll be able to enjoy the music of the season as well as a story that brings you the happiness of the season. (Note: there are two giveaways: one for physical copies for residents of USA, and another for international residents)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity

About the Book

Is God dying? That's what some people think and want. They say Christian beliefs and our way of life aren't relevant anymore. But what critics and even many churchgoers don't realize is the life-changing importance of Christianity.

Showing how the world without Christianity would be a dark place, Unimaginable guides you through the halls of history to see how Jesus' teachings dramatically changed our world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. (taken from Unimaginable cover description)

My Review

As a life-long student of history, I anticipated reading Jeremiah J. Johnston's new release Unimaginable. Johnston's book is broken into three parts: The World Before Christianity, The World Without Christianity, and The World With Christianity.

Book Format

The World Before Christianity opens with an ancient letter written by a 1st century husband with words of instruction to his wife concerning their unborn child: if it is a son, keep him; if a daughter, cast her to the elements. Johnston then proceeds to set the stage for the wold as it was before the teachings of Christ spread over the world.

The World Without Christianity continues the same theme, only the light falls on a period of history much closer to home: the rise of atheism and post-modernism. This section highlights the teachings of 19th century figures, such as: Ludwig Feuerback, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzache and Sigmund Freud. The lives and teachings of these “Big Five” is brought into the open, as well as the disastrous fruit it bore in future leaders (i.e. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, etc.) who put their ideology into practice.

The World With Christianity gives the evidence and stories of believers of Christ who changed their world for the better, resulting in the tearing down of racism, destruction of human life, slavery and oppression of women.

Book Pros

On the whole, I found Unimaginable an insightful read, well-written and well-researched. Johnston did a masterful job, not only showcasing how Christianity changed the world, but why it did and how it is vastly at odds with the atheism and post-modern religion of our time. For readers desiring a thoughtful overview of Christianity's impact, Unimaginable is an excellent choice.

Book Cons

I hate bringing out cons, because I did glean much from Unimaginable, but can not in good conscience exclude them from my review. There were two of the author's positions that I found inconsistent with the teachings of Scripture.

First, after denouncing Charles Darwin's teachings of human evolution – including his belief in “superior races” based on their advancement on the evolutionary ladder, Johnston says,

“Before moving on, it is important to note a few things in defense of Darwin. In this chapter I am describing the philosophies of men whose views laid the foundation for the evil that was unleashed in the twentieth century. Darwin himself should not be painted with this brush. There was nothing evil or dehumanizing about the man. He was a faithful husband and a loving father. The death of his daughter, as well as his own ill health, troubled him greatly...Today there are many Christians who are leaders in the various fields of science who speak of evolution and creation. Among these is Francis Collins, who headed up the Human Genome Project. Books like The Privileged Planet, in which strong arguments are made for divine creation, the great age of the universe, and the evolution of life on earth, have been written by devote Christians. Readers should know that the gulf between science and faith has long been bridged. Christian scholars and scientists recognize how Scripture and science, in fact, complement one another.” (Unimaginable, page 79)

The last two sentences I can wholly agree with – but not in the same way Johnston does. Scripture is abundantly clear God created in six literal days with the word of His mouth, not over vast amounts of time through evolutionary processes. There is no room for evolution, a multi-billion year-old universe or many of the theist evolutionary elements promoted by men such as Francis Collins if one will be true to Scripture.

Secondly, Johnston also errors in his interpretation of the role of women in the early Church. In what would otherwise be an excellent chapter on the honorable status Scripture and the influence of Christianity secures to women, Johnston confuses the ministry of women to also include positions that clearly put them as a pastor, deacon or teacher, which is completely inconsistent with 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 12. In other words, the Bible honors women based on the fact they are created in the image of God, one with men in Christ and given equal access to the throne room of grace without the need for a human intercessor. Women certainly have a privileged role in the Church, but this does not mean (and can not for Scripture to be consistent with itself) the New Testament Church gave them pastoral or elder roles where they exercised spiritual authority over men. (again, please see 1 Timothy 2).

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and happily provide my honest review.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Quest For Leviathan - New Historical Short-story From The Pen of Amanda Tero

Are sea monsters a real thing? What about fire-breathing dragons? According to the Bible, there is a fire-breathing sea creature who really existed: the leviathan. Amanda Tero brings this dragon to life in her newest short story, "Quest for Leviathan." Join Anath and his crew of ninety-nine rowers as they face the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the power of Leviathan.

My Review

As always, it's pure delight to bring you new, family-friendly reading from my dear friend, Amanda Tero. "Quest For Leviathan" is no exception. Set during the same era of the biblical Patriarchs, Anath is a young man consumed with anger over the death of his sea-faring father. Consumed with one goal he engineers, builds and equips a vessel worthy of attacking one of the most fearsome creatures in history - the leviathan.

As I read "Quest For Leviathan", I was impressed with how Amanda used only biblical evidence in re-creating this fantastic sea monster. While there is nothing wrong with extra-biblical sources, Amanda's decision reminded me that the Bible has volumes to tell us, if we will only stop and listen. Amanda also did a masterful job weaving in scriptural truths that were consistent with the Bible, yet not directly quoted thus being realistic with the pre-scriptural era of the story. And the story! Gripping, fast-paced and handsomely written, Anath's tale is a short, yet powerful reading for children and adults alike.

On a personal tone, "Quest For Leviathan" tackles the hard questions of life, such as:

What do we do when God doesn't grant us our prayers?
Why does He not prevent evil when He is all-powerful?
What is to be our response when life leaves us bloodied and bruised?
What will we do if our questions are never answered?

While reading, I identified with the loss and questions Anath faced. While I've never been bereaved of a parent (thankfully) or battled a sea monster (another thanks there! ;)), the heart of the story rang true for all who have been at the turning point of trusting God's goodness over the evil we've experienced. It's my great joy to highly recommend "Quest For Leviathan" as your next summer read!

About the Book
Leviathan took the life of his father.

Anath has spent three years preparing for the voyage that will end the threat of Leviathan. Yet as the Valor launches into the depths of the Mediterranean, an inward quest also begins, taking Anath to depths he is not willing to face.

Purchase an e-copy on Amazon or order a paperback.
Add to your Goodreads shelf.


About the Author
 Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age -- reading anything she could get her hands on, and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas and novels. It is her utmost desire to write not only that which pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Connect with Amanda

Looking For More Reviews?

Check out this great list of blogs for more on "Quest For Leviathan"!

June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)
Resting Life (Spotlight, Review)
Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)
June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)
June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)
My Purple Pen (Review)
June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)
Yahweh Sisters (Review)
June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)
Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)
June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)
Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)
June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)
June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)
Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)
June 19 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)
Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)
Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)
Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)
Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)
June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)