I’m beyond excited for this post. I mean, two of my favorite authors coming to my blog? Just ask my mom. I’m sure I’ve annoyed her to no end. 😂
So today, I have a special treat for you! An author interview with both Tricia Mingerink and Jaye L. Knight, Christian fantasy authors! Plus, book reviews of Bitter Winter and Lacy along with a huge giveaway!
First, I want to share how I stumbled upon these authors.
My mom ordered Jaye L. Knight’s book, Resistance, for me back in 2017. I was not into fantasy and wasn’t really interested in reading it. But, she got it for me, so I read it. Mostly because Jaye is a young author and I was just getting into writing.
And. I. Loved. It.
I can’t remember if I actually thought it, but sometime while reading it I decided that I wanted to write books just like Jaye’s. Forget historical fiction, I’m writing fantasy from now on.
Without Resistance, there would be no Checkmate (my work in progress) and none of the other ideas I have bopping around in my head.
I just discovered Tricia’s series, The Blades of Acktar, hardly a month ago. I learned about them when I signed up for the blog tour. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of her before.
I think I scared my mom when I asked her to order the first ebook for me, because I basically never read ebooks. But I wanted Dare and I wanted it fast.
So I read it and by Chapter 3 I was hooked. Now I just need to get my hands on the rest of the series…
And now, without further ado, I give you Jaye and Tricia!
*please clap here*
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.
About the Author
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
Welcome to my blog, Jaye and Tricia! I’m so excited and honored to have you here!
Can you briefly tell us about your writing journey?
Jaye: I first started writing when I was eight because I watched my mom doing it and it looked like fun. It wasn’t until I was around fourteen or fifteen that I decided I actually wanted to be an author. I was around eighteen when I first looked into indie publishing. My parents gave me the money I needed to publish my first book for my graduation, and I slowly made my way to where I am now.
Tricia: I started drawing picture books when I was two years old, and I decided I was going to be a published author someday when I was six. I wrote lots and lots of short stories and novellas and novels until finally I wrote Dare and made the decision to indie publish it after seeing many other authors, like Jaye L. Knight, going that route.
What books or authors influenced your writing the most?
Jaye: My mom is my biggest influence. She’s an author too, and I might not have started writing if not for her. And then J.R.R. Tolkien was certainly big influence. I might never have started writing fantasy if not for my love of The Lord of the Rings, and he is the one who made me want to be a published author.
Tricia: C.S. Lewis gave me my love of fantasy. Jill Williamson and Morgan Busse showed me that there are still authors writing Christian fantasy today. Nadine Brandes was my first editor and one of my first author friends, and I learned so much from her about writing and marketing. Jaye L. Knight showed me it was possible to indie publish well, and she’s become a really good friend.
What do you love most about writing?
Jaye: My characters. Characters are the most important part of a story for me. While it can get frustrating at times, I love developing characters and seeing how they interact with each other.
Tricia: I love when it is going well. Those moments in a first draft when my fingers can’t type fast enough because the story is flowing so intensely. Or those moments when editing when the books starts to come together, and the mess becomes beautiful.
I know when I write, some of the names in my book have significance (such as the city named after a cat). Do any of your characters or places have names that mean anything special to you? Particularly Jace and Leith.
Jaye: I can’t say that I have any yet that have special meaning to me. Jace just came up in a fantasy name generator and I had it in a list of names I liked. Of course, I had no idea when I decided to use it that it seems to be a ridiculously popular name in mainstream YA fiction. Oops. I still love it. I guess the country of Samara does have a particular meaning. It means “protected by God,” which is why I chose it.
Tricia: The name Leith has no specific significance. I simply liked the name, lol. I usually try not to use the names of people I know, but Lady Lorraine demanded that her first name was Paula, and my friend in real life Paula didn’t mind. The town of Sierra is named after my critique partner Sierra.
Nadine Brandes always names a character after all of her nieces and nephews, and I’ve decided I’m going to try to do something similar, though I’ll probably expand it to include various children who’ve meant a lot to me over the years.
Obviously your writing is strongly affected by your faith. What advice would you give to writers (particularly of fantasy) who struggle to implement their faith into their books?
Jaye: This is kind of an obvious one, but try not to be preachy. Show faith by your characters’ actions. Just like in real life, actions are often more powerful than words. And weave it in naturally. Try not to force it.
Tricia: Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, both in your books and through your books of yourself. It might be difficult and take a lot of prayer and Scripture-searching to get to the answer, or as much of an answer as you can, but it will be worth it in the end for the depth in your book.
Thank you so much!
And now on to my book reviews. As I have not read most of The Blades of Acktar series yet, I’m unfortunately not reviewing Decree. 😕 But check back in January for a review of Dare, the first book in the series!
(I received free ebooks in exchange for honest reviews.)
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!
First things first, was that summary not amazing? I’ve been dying for this book to come out ever since I read that synopsis months ago. And now it’s finally here!
And that cover… It ranks up there with The Girl Who Could See and Fawkes. It’s so pretty and I love the blue color scheme. 😍
Do you know how hard it is to write a review without spoiling anything? And it doesn’t help that this is Book 5 in The Ilyon Chronicles. 😅
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Something happened that I had been waiting forever to occur. *cue fangirl screaming*
I thought I was going to cry several times while reading Bitter Winter. The only problem is that I don’t cry when reading. I only grin like an idiot or clap my hand over my mouth to hide my gasping. *shakes head slowly* Shameful.
I was a bit disappointed by the lack of “conflict.” By that I mean the other books have had more action—swordfights, impending executions, dragon fights, etc. Bitter Winter didn’t lack conflict in general (deadly illness = conflict), but I was hoping for some more heartpumping action scenes.
But my favorite part was the ending. I can’t say anything else except, GO READ THE ILYON CHRONICLES, YOU WON’T REGRET IT. Unless you stay up late to read them and hence lose sleep. Then you might regret it. 😎
All that being said, I was a bit disappointed in the way everything was tied up at the end. I’d say more, but spoilers.
There weren’t really any new characters, except Alex Avery. But since the characters are my favorite part of the series, I’ll tell you all about my favorites from all the books. 😀
We have to start with Jace because, well, Jace. He has to be my most favorite character of all time. Why? His inner conflict. His character arc. His backstory. Umm, everything about him is awesome? I identify with him the most of all of Jaye’s characters even though we’re totally different.
Unfortunately, Kyrin wasn’t in this book too much. But she’s so sweet and caring in all the other books. And…grrr…I want to say more, but it would spoil parts of Resistance.
Those of you who know me well know I don’t typically cheer a romance on. Well, I’ve been rooting for Jayrin from the beginning.
And Talas, Timothy, and Kaden were awesome as usual. Shocker, because they’re always awesome. 🐉📜🐉
Can I just say I want a pet wolf like Tyra? She’s so loyal and so cute! But I wouldn’t trade Reese (our dog) for any other dog, not even Tyra. 🐺
There was more romance in this book than in the previous books. But it’s clean romance. The occasional kiss, holding of hands, hug, etc. Like, “I love her so much I just want to kiss her and protect her from all the evils the bad guys are planning.”
A few characters die in a battle at the very beginning. There are descriptions of the scene and blood. And a death scene. (One of the times I wanted to cry.)
All of Jaye’s books are free from language, which is awesome!
The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.
When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.
An Ilyon Chronicles Novella
Available now on Amazon!
I actually really enjoyed this book. It was a little predictable at points, but cute.
But one plot twist totally caught me by surprise. (And I was at music lessons at the time, so I had to restrain my loud protests so as to not disturb someone else’s lesson. 😂)
I was irritated at one part of the story, but if I told you, it would be double spoilery.
Most of the characters have been in the other books, but there were a few new ones—Gwen, Hannah, Helen, and Lacy, most notably.
I really enjoyed getting to learn more about Aaron. He’s typically a side character, so this gave a neat insight into his personality. He’s so nice!
Lacy was very sweet and I was able to empathize with her, even though our circumstances are (obviously) very different. She reminded me of a feminine version of Jace. They had similar character arcs, but Jace’s was more intense.
But overall, I have to say Timothy was my favorite character. I really hope Jaye writes a novella about him, because that would be really cool. His faith is very inspiring. (Random fact: I took a quiz on the official Ilyon site and it said that if I was in Ilyon, I should marry Timothy. 😂)
I was a bit hesitant to read this, seeing as one of the main characters is a prostitute. But I asked the lovely Faith Blum who had read it before me if it was clean, she said yes. And I agree. Immoral activities are only implied, albeit strongly.
This is what I’d qualify as a “romance.” (Although I’ve never read an actual romance. No desire to either.) So there were “googly eyes” as my brother would say. But mostly the same as in Jaye’s other books.
No violence unless you count a fistfight.
No language either.
Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!
(A side note regarding the entire series. I would highly recommend these books, but I always give a warning. If they were movies, I’d give them a PG-13 rating. They can be rather intense at times. There is fighting, racism, allusion to rape, near executions, death, depression, despair, etc. But they are all very good and have strong allegorical elements. And Jaye never leaves her characters in the darkness too long. They are some of the best books I’ve ever read. Plus, they have a strong allegory that I love.)
The Adventure Continues.
Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.
The Blades as They Should’ve Been
A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family?
The First Mission
When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?
To the Far Great Mountains
A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?
From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.
Available now on Amazon!
I wish I had read this, so I could review it. But I did order myself a copy.
But since I finished Dare, I have to talk about my top two favorite characters.
Leith Torren was by far my favorite. There were several times I just wanted to hug him and explain the Gospel to him. And he’s an assassin… And he has lots of daggers… (I really want one.)
Brandi was another favorite. She made me smile with her chatter. She’s so sweet and innocent. She actually reminds me of one of my characters, Quinn.
Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page.
This giveaway is awesome. Free books? Count me in. 😀
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!
Friday – December 14 – Release Day for Bitter Winter & Lacy!
- Blog Tour Intro by Tricia Mingerink
- Book Review at Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors
- 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 Spotlight at Between the Pages of This Bookish Life
- 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 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
Have you read either The Ilyon Chronicles or The Blades of Acktar? Do you like Christian fantasy?
Today, Glendale has two very special guests!