Giveaway! Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Lynne Gentry, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?
I grew up on a Kansas dairy farm. Our cows didn’t travel. So neither did my family. I longed for adventure. I wanted to visit exotic places and meet famous people. Imaginary trips became my escape from rural isolation. In an instant, my mind could magically transform a tree house into a medieval castle, hay bales into a pioneer fort, or a dank root cellar into a time portal that could transport me into the ancient civilizations of the Bible. In my make-believe world, I was bold, brave, and beautiful. The heroes were handsome and romantic. Humanity’s fate hung in the balance. Good always triumphed over evil. And in the end, I left the past in far better shape than I found it. Outlandish journeys still feed my creative soul. I love to explore Roman baths or traipse through old English castles. My mind goes crazy imagining myself living in those times.
What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?
I loved Anne of Green Gables. She is a spunky example of God’s ability to redeem every life.
If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?
Hi Res%2BCover%2BRTE - Giveaway! Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry!

My husband says if it weren’t for guilt trips I wouldn’t go anywhere. What mother doesn’t regret something in the past? I would tell myself that everything and everyone does not have to be perfect … including me.
5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? Love homemade, but live on take-out.
Email or snailmail? Finding a handwritten letter in my mailbox thrills me. I still love to send handwritten notes.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? There’s nothing in the stores worth fighting my way through Black Friday crowds.
Books or movies? Both.
Note-taker or memorization? Oh, that my memory was what it used to be. So many facts were required to write this series that I had to become a very organized note-taker.
               
Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?
Well, when I finished the first book in the series, HEALER OF CARTHAGE, it was my favorite. Now that book #2 is coming out, RETURN TO EXILE, it is my favorite.
Places for readers to learn more about you?
I love connecting with readers. They can find me on:
Twitter: @Lynne_Gentry  https://twitter.com/Lynne_Gentry
and my website: www.lynnegentry.com
Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks for having me, Casey. Always enjoy chatting with you and your readers.

Hi Res%2BCover%2BRTE - Giveaway! Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry!
Readers, enter to win Lynne’s book here! 

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 16th
Attn Readers! If you’re struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you’ve failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 
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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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