Series Review: The Blades of Acktar

Last weekend I plunged into the world of Acktar and finally came up for air three books later. I’m not sure why I took so long to heed my friends’ raving reviews of this series! Since I read all three book in one week, I thought I’d do a series review instead of doing each book separately.

Acktar Series

Leith Torren knows much of the world’s darkness and little of the light. Since childhood, he’s been trained as an assassin. He’s good at his job. When a mission goes wrong because of a young teammate’s indiscretion, Leith’s life almost ends. Wounded and trapped in a blizzard, he stumbles upon Stetterly Manor and finds inexplicable compassion at the hands of girls he helped orphan. It’s his first taste of Christ’s love.

I loved so many things about the first three books in this series. In my reader’s heart, characters are king, so my first loves in these books are Leith, Brandi, Renna, Shad, and Jamie. Tricia does a great job of bringing them to life. Each character has a distinctive personality, struggles different from any of the others, and strengths that propel them to heroism. In fact, certain things about each character intrigued me enough that I’m planning a series of blog posts highlighting different members of the Blades of Acktar cast.

One word of caution. When you sit down to start this series (when, not if), choose a night you can start reading early. Otherwise you’ll stay up too late and be sleep deprived the following day!

5 Books I’m Thankful For + An Awesome Sale!

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Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. The Word Unleashed, by Steve Rzasa: This book really encouraged me in my faith and helped me through a period of change in my life. I deeply believe that quality fiction is one of the most powerful ways to communicate truth and inspiration. This book was proof of that to me.
  2. The King’s Scrolls, by Jaye L. Knight: Like Rzasa’s The Word Unleashed, my brother read this first and insisted that I needed to prioritize it on my to-read list. He has good tastes! I adore Jaye’s characters.
  3. When Sorry Isn’t Enough, by Gary D. Chapman: This is the non-fiction book that impacted me most this year. It’s due for a re-read since I can’t remember all of the concepts very well at this point.
  4. Priscilla & Aquila, by Lois T. Henderson: This is the last book I read, and I’m thankful for it because it bumped me out of the dystopian reading rut I’ve been in. Don’t get me wrong. I still adore dystopian and gravitate to it, but it’s always good to get a change of scenery. I’m currently working on Ruth by the same author.
  5. The Maze, by Will Hobs: I’m grateful for this book because it was really fun and relaxing to read it while I was traveling through the very place the story was set in. It was a great, surprisingly good find in a Grand Canyon visitor’s center.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There’s literally something for everyone.

Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books (Including my two books, Counted Worthy and Stories for God’s Glory) is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

Book Quiz

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.

Round-Up: 5 Favorite Self-Published Books

5 Fav Self-Pubed books

The world of self-published books keeps on growing, but it can be a scary place for readers to venture. There is a glut of poorly written, poorly edited, poorly designed self-published books. There are also plenty of gems hidden among their not-so-shiny counterpart. If you’ve been afraid to give self-published books a try, fear no longer. I put together this list of my five favorite self-published books so you can go right to the gems. You can find other self-published books I enjoyed on my self-published shelf on Goodreads.

The Abolitionist, by Elisabeth Allen
It took me quite a while to get into this book, and the format took a while to get used to as well. However, once I did get used to the way the book is set up, I loved it. It’s not high action or edge-of-your seat. Instead, the tension in this story comes from the need to chose. The main character is faced with injustice and scared of losing the approval of “society.” I appreciated the struggle she went through to try to make the right decision. If you’re in search of a calm book to read while cozied up next to a fire, give this one a try.

In His Image, by J. Grace Pennington
This is my newest self-published favorite. I’ve read both of the author’s previous books and can say that this is her best one yet. Which reminds me that I need to announce who gets to borrow the kindle copy from me. That would be you, Spencer R. Congratulations! I’ll email it to you this afternoon.

Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally
This also includes Grace Mally’s book, Will Our Generation Speak. I love both of them. I decided to put Sarah’s book on the list because I’ve had it longer and read it multiple times. Both books really spoke to me and taught me a lot.

Peter’s Angel, by Aubrey Hansen
The only thing that bothers me about this book is that I can’t figure out what genre it fits into. It’s a cross between historical and speculative. Great story, though. And great writing too. Unfortunately, it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, and book two still isn’t out.

Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled, by Rachel Starr Thomson and Carolyn Currey
I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Rachel Starr Thomson. I decided to display this one just because it’s different from the rest. I had such a good time reading the hysterical stories in here. This book is the perfect Christmas present for a homeschool mom or friend.

Which one of these books appeals to you? Have you already read any of them? If you have, which is your favorite? Are there any self-published books you would add to the “gems” list?

2013 In Review

Another year come and gone. It’s hard to believe that this blog has been around for almost two years now. Just for fun I thought I’d share some favorites of 2013.

Reader’s Choice: Favorite Posts of 2013
Top 2013 PostsReading Habits Survey | Slang of the 1800s | Book Review & Giveaway: Peter’s Angel | Book Review & Giveaway: The City of Ember | Book Review & Giveaway: League of the Scarlet Pimpernel

My Top 5 Book of 2013 (Like I could really pick :P)
Top 2013 BooksSecret Believers | Moccasin Trail | Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled | God’s Smuggler | Orphan Justice

What were your 5 favorite books of 2013.