Friday, February 27, 2015

New Release Book Review: Rachel Rossano's HONOR + a GIVEAWAY!

I've been wanting to read one of Rachel Rossano's novels for some time - having heard only good things about them - but I kept admonishing myself: "You already have 100+ books (mostly Kindle!) in your to-be-read pile... You ought not buy another one until you've read a few of those!"

Rossano's books lured me, however, and the opportunity to throw off all restraint ;-) came when Rossano announced that she needed more reviewers for her latest novel, which released on February 23, 2015!

I was in. :-)

So, here is my review of this novel, entitled HONOR. Enjoy! {And then enter the GIVEAWAY at the end!}

The book:
HONOR, by Rachel Rossano. Published February 23, 2014. Available in paperback and on Kindle.

Back cover description:
The Earl of Dentin excels in his position as Securer of the Realm. But the king’s order to pluck an orphaned child from a loving home unsettles Dentin. When a dark-eyed woman challenges his honor regarding the mission, Dentin finds himself unable to justify his actions or get her out of his mind. Something about her lack of fear intrigues him.

Lady Elsa Reeve attempts to avoid the marriage of convenience her brother and mother demand of her. She understands the need to pay off her brother's massive debt. She only wants her family to consider her wishes in the process.

As Elsa becomes further entangled in a snare of her brother’s creating, only one man defends her. But can she trust Dentin, her unlikely champion, and his motives? With a murderer on the loose, Elsa’s fate in jeopardy, and a traitor plotting against the king, Dentin finds his priorities shifting in an unexpected direction.

My thoughts:
This was such a delightful novel in so many ways!

In Honor, Rossano creates a Medieval-style culture set in the author-created country of Rhynan. Rhynan seems like a place that could truly exist, with its own history and sister-countries, political intrigues that have gone on before and will continue after this story, and more. The feeling invoked is that of historical fiction but without the "pressure" or heaviness that hard-core historical fiction sometimes produces - the overwhelming of the story by too much history! {And this is a hard-core historical fiction author talking... Hopefully, my comrades don't take me out to the firing squad! ;-)}

And the story? I enjoyed it tremendously. Straight-out romantic fiction is not usually my go-to for reading, but I really loved the beautiful balance Rossano struck between the interior story of the hero (Dentin) and the heroine (Elsa) falling in love, albeit against their wills, and the exterior story of murderous political intrigue. I feared for them, I rejoiced with them... and stayed up past my bedtime to see whether they would get out of the snares set for them. :-)

As I mentioned, there's quite a lot of "romance" in this story, so be prepared for smooching and such. :-) However, Honor keeps it all honorable... There's no condoned lustful behavior, any allusion - and it is allusion only (nothing beyond kissing is described) - to intimacy beyond kissing occurs after marriage, etc..

Also, something wonderful to see was the concentration on virtue and admiration toward a person for that rather than merely for external qualities. The title word, "honor," is key to understanding and appreciating the trusting relationship that develops between the main characters - and to understanding the demise of the antagonists. Honor is something so desperately needed both in the imaginary Rhynan and our world today, don't you think? That and other more minor themes are timely and thought-provoking.

If you love Medieval times, clean romance, and adventures with sword and on horseback, I believe you'll really enjoy Honor. Due to the romantic {but very well-handled} story of the book, I'd recommend it for ages 15+. {Actually, it's an encouraging book to give to a mid-to-older teenager to show what real honor looks like in a romantic relationship.}

And me? I'm looking forward to reading Rossano's Duty!

Purchase Here: Amazon (clickable link)

Enter the Giveaway! :-)
Grace and peace,

For readers: What clean/Christian romantic novel have you enjoyed and would recommend to others?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Writing Update: In Which I Discuss Sequels, Themes, Pugs, and Regency Books :-)


Well, I promised you all a writing update this Friday -- particularly one about The Sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums! :-) {Just typing that makes me smile... :-)}

I'm loving returning to these characters - Yes, even though The Sequel is {planned to be} a stand-alone {i.e. you shouldn't have to read The Fragrance of Geraniums before reading this one to understand what is going on in the story}, there are several returning characters whose stories are not quite finished yet. :-) Thus far, Sarah, Grace, Sam, and Paulie are all "making the cut" - These four are the main focus of The Sequel.

The story begins shortly after the funeral described near the end of The Fragrance. Earlier this week, I began writing, intent on packing away a goodly number of words by Friday.

That did not happen. About 1600 words in, I realized that one of two things was going to happen:

  1. I would write more slowly and "figure things out" as I went along -- and probably publish this one in the mid-to-late summer or fall.
  2. I would stop now and plot/outline deeply and thoroughly -- and probably publish this in late spring/early summer.
I chose the second option. Which means that you won't be seeing that "word count meter" on the sidebar of this blog moving much - if at all - for a week or so as I complete my outlining process. :-)

But I would like to let you in on a key theme for The Sequel. It comes from one of my favorite devotional authors, and I felt that the Lord really pressed it on my heart as I've been praying and thinking about this sequel:


I said it would be out in January...

That changed to February...

And now I'm thinking March might be the month of publication for Mr. Portly the Pug Finds His Purpose

But I'm not promising anything! ;-) The formatting for this one has been a steeeeep learning curve for me, and it's still not finished. {I thought that I had it "right" a few weeks back - and then I found that, quite simply, it won't work the way I thought it would.} So, I'm persevering and will alert you when the book is ready to go. Everyone who is waiting for this one, thanks for being so patient with me! :-)


The second book will probably be out this summer. :-) I'm very enthused about getting back into the Sudbury family's home!

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Author Interview: Jaye L. Knight + a Giveaway!

I'm so pleased to have fantasy author Jaye L. Knight here at A Brighter Destiny!

The occasion of her visit? Jaye L. Knight's highly-anticipated The King's Scrolls, the second book in the ILYON CHRONICLES releases today!

Before we leap into this interview and then shine the spotlight on The King's Scrolls, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Jaye, this is her "official" bio:

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool-graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. 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.

What kind of research went into this novel? What part of it did you find the most interesting?
One of the most notable bits of research I did for The King’s Scrolls was travel distances and times, particularly since dragons are introduced in the story. This had me looking up things like how far an eagle could travel in one day. Usually I do more research on how long and far horses can travel, so this was an interesting change. I also did quite a bit of research on broken ribs . . . *innocent face*

How has your relationship with Christ influenced your writing?
I’m not sure how I’d even be writing without Him. I think it would be awfully depressing. Most of the stories I write have an underlying theme of trusting that God has a plan even when bad things happen. I don’t think I could write without having the knowledge of that truth as a beacon of hope. I also don’t think I’d have very good story ideas at all. Ilyon Chronicles definitely wouldn’t exist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been brainstorming and writing down notes when ideas hit me that I know come straight from Him. Seeing Him work in my stories is the absolute best part of being an author.

What are you reading right now, or what do you plan on reading next? 
I’ve been working through Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive (quite an undertaking!) and I absolutely love it! One of my favorite fantasies I’ve ever read. I’m not sure how I’ll survive the wait for the other books in the series. I’ve got a couple of books I need to read for the review programs I’m in, but one series I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while is Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. I just got the first book. Now I have to find the time to read it. 

Three little-known facts about you?
1.) I have a phone phobia. :P Yeah, I hate the phone. It’s not so bad if someone calls me, but if someone tells me to call them, well, it probably won’t happen. 2.) Ever since I was about ten, I’ve been incredibly fascinated with cryptozoology (the search for undiscovered animals). I still love it. 3.) I’m not, nor have I ever been, into Disney princesses . . . with one notable exception—Rapunzel. Yup, I’m a huge Tangled fan. ;)

What will you be working on next?
Right now my priority is finishing Ilyon Chronicles. I’m currently writing book five and hope to have it, at least mostly, finished by this summer so I can start working on the final book. In between writing, I also have to begin editing book three for publication. I do have a surprise project that came along unexpectedly in the last couple of months that I recently finished writing. I’ll be announcing that soon, which is exciting. But beyond Ilyon Chronicles, I’m not sure yet. I have plenty of ideas swirling about in my mind. I’ll just have to see which one takes hold and demands to be written next.

And now, the tantalizing back-cover description for The King's Scrolls:

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

Find The King's Scrolls here: Amazon {clickable link}

Haven’t begun the adventure into Ilyon? From February 17th - 23rd, get Resistance, the award-winning first book of Ilyon Chronicles for your Kindle on sale for only 99 cents! Check it out on Amazon!

And, to celebrate The King's Scrolls, Jaye is giving away a really neat prize package! Please feel free to enter below. :-)

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed Epic Winter giveaway! Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a fun and fantastic blog tour for the book. For more interviews {with lots of different questions}, character spotlights/interviews, book reviews, and more, visit and follow the tour schedule! :-) 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

It Took A War by Emily Ann Putzke - Audio Book Reveal & Kindle Sale Announcement

Just dropping in quickly today to let you all know about a new author I've recently met - and her audio-book release of her novel It Took a War, a Civil War novel with great reviews!

About The Book:

1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.

About The Author: Emily Ann Putzke is a 19 year old Christian, homeschool graduate and history lover. Besides writing historical fiction, she enjoys photography (especially photographing her nieces and nephew), reading, spending time with her family, Civil War reenacting, traveling and a good cup of coffee. She resides in New York State where she drinks in the beautiful autumns and tries to endure the long winters.

You Can Purchase the Audiobook Through:


Additionally, I found out today that the Kindle edition of It Took a War is just $0.99 for Valentine's Day! :-) You can purchase that here {double-check the price before purchasing}: CLICK HERE

I've been so busy lately with writing {and life!} related things that I haven't had the opportunity to regularly post here as I would wish to. Thanks for being patient with me! I'll be back early next week with an interview/book release/giveaway for author Jaye L. Knight's newest book. :-)

Before I go, I should mention that many of you will have heard by now that The Fragrance of Geraniums will be getting a sequel, too! :-) More about that next Friday! :-) So, so excited!!!

Happy reading - and listening!

Grace and peace,