Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Books of 2015, Part 2

First of all, happy New Year's Eve, everyone! Strange to think that 2015 is at an end; I feel like at least a year has gone by in the last five months. You may remember that back in June, I did a post about the best books of 2015 so far, hoping to take some of the stress off myself when the time came for the end-of-year roundup.

Well. The time has now come. And the task falls to me to pick my favorite books of the second half of 2015 . . . or die trying.

Just kidding. I won't die. Hopefully.

Best New-To-Me Books of 2015 (the second half)

 1. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson.
Oh my thrice-baked honey buttered pumpernickel. This book. This book, guys. Sanderson's writing is reliably amazing, and he proves it again in Shadows of Self. I mean, that ending. I can't say a whole lot because of spoilers, but . . . mind. blown. Also, kandra! They're in there! And Wax and Steris are adorable and I can't wait for Bands of Mourning.

 2. The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight. 
This one should be no surprise, since it was the winner for Best Book of 2015 in the Blogger Book Awards. As I said then, the stakes rise from Resistance- which means it was a lot harder on the emotions but also a lot more powerful. Also, new characters were introduced and old minor characters got some time in the spotlight, both of which I loved.

 3. Draven's Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.
This is a beautiful, incredible book. Dark, yes, and full of sorrow . . . but also full of light, as the title suggests. It takes place in an older Time than those we've visited before, which is fascinating- and which also means that the brothers Ashuin, particularly Akilun, get more time on-screen (so to speak). The parallel stories (one a frame for the other) still belong to Draven and his sister and to the young girl to whom Akilun tells their tale- but I loved getting to see Akilun and Etanun more all the same.

 4. Winter by Marissa Meyer. 
Ahhhhhhh I love this book. Winter- the character- is my new favorite Lunar Chronicles character, ok? She's so sweet and adorable and lovely and in need of protection . . . and she's a little crazy, but she's also absolutely brilliant and uses that crazy and the way people expect her to act to be awesome. And she and Jacin are lovely together; definitely my favorite TLC couple. Of course, all the other characters are amazing too . . . especially Cress and Thorne. (Admittedly, as some have pointed out, they're not very good tacticians, which is why this book is enormous . . . but I love them anyway. And hey. They're good improvisers, at least.) I can't believe the series over . . . but at least there's still Stars Above.
 5. Illusionarium by Heather Dixon.
I'd been eagerly awaiting this book for years- literally. Ever since I finished Entwined, I wanted more from Heather Dixon, and I would literally have read just about anything she wrote. And Illusionarium, though disliked by some people, definitely didn't disappoint my hopes! It's steampunk! And twisty and kind of dark and creepy but still awesome! And Jonathan is a chemistry geek (yay!) and Lockwood is snarky with a heart of gold. And there's also little footnotes in the book, which is a small thing but I love it.
 6. Reflections: on the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. 
It's really rare for me to read nonfiction, let alone love it- but this? This is amazing. Diana Wynne Jones' essays range in topic from writing (most of them) to other people's books ("The Narrative Shape of The Lord of the Rings" was terribly fascinating) to her own life. She has a chatty, conversational style that makes her essays a true pleasure to read- in fact, they were so enjoyable that I nearly forgot to work on my own writing.

 7. Out of Darkness Rising by Gillian Bronte Adams.
Like Draven's Light, this is a super short book- but its small size doesn't make it any less powerful. Gillian weaves a beautiful allegory similar to Chuck Black's Kingdom Series, but far, far better. She perfectly captures the struggle between Light and Darkness and rebellion and love in a tale that will not be quickly forgotten.

 8.  Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
I didn't get to read a whole lot of Pratchett in the second half of 2015, sadly. However, among the few I did read were the first two in the Moist van Lipwig mini-series, which were amazing, especially Going Postal. Discworld books are reliably funny, and this was no exception- and Moist's character development was phenomenal.
 9.  Beastly Bones by William Ritter. 
I literally jumped up and down when I saw this book was finally out and available to request. Jackaby, Abigail, and Charlie continue to be awesome in another awesome (and funny) fantasy-mystery. We meet some new, very interesting friends as well, who only add to the awesome. And then there's the chameleomorphs, which would make a certain real-life thing make so much more sense if they were real, and which are the reason why I'd owe Jackaby five bucks if he were real.
10. Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree. 
Pendragon's Heir is a book I wasn't actually planning to read at the start of the year (or even after I heard about it when it first came out, to be honest), but I am glad I ended up giving it a try. I loved getting to revisit the Arthurian legends, and especially loved getting to know Perceval. But what really set this story apart for me was the voice- half modern, half classic, all timeless.
11. Chime by Franny Billingsley. 
Chime is an . . . interesting book. It's fascinating, written in a very unusual voice, and quite entrancing much of the time. It's filled with mystery, with endless questions. It's also quite dark at times, and some parts made me a touch uncomfortable- yet it's still an excellent book that I'm glad I read.

12. Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. Ardnek.
I reviewed this back in August, but to recap: Water Princess, Fire Prince is a very unique and fun addition to the portal fantasy genre. (And no, I'm not just saying that because I was a beta reader and I'm therefore biased . . .) I love Laura and Andrew, and the worldbuilding of Rizkaland is super creative.

13. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson.  
So this is not as much fantasy as I expected- it's more historical fiction with the slightest hint of fantasy. However, it's still an amazing book. The western expansion- whether to California, Oregon, or some other state slightly less far west- is one of my favorite time periods in American history, so that made Walk on Earth a Stranger really fun to read. And I liked Leah/Lee's character, as well as many of the other people she encounters on her journey.
What were your favorite books this year? Please tell me in the comments!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Character Encounters: Rizkaland!

Hey'a, everyone! I haven't done a Character Encounter in months . . . but I've finally gotten around to it now. Huzzah! This month's Encounter location? Rizkaland, as part of the Ten Year of Rizkaland party. Enjoy!

It’s not every day that your basement door takes you to another world.
 I awkwardly turn the silver handle, struggling to keep my stack of books and notebooks in one arm and my glass of water in the other from ending up on the floor, and push the door open. I flip the light switch, but the only light comes from the bulb at the top of the stairs- shadows await at the bottom. The light bulbs must’ve burned out again. Didn’t we just replace those? I shake my head and head down the stairs.
Oddly, the basement doesn’t come into view as I step below the level of the first floor and the wall on my right gives way to open air- only more darkness greets me. I’d guess that all the lights have somehow burned out at once, were it not for the fact that I’ve been walking for nearly a minute and haven’t found the ground yet. The air is also growing uncomfortably cold, and I can’t help but wonder . . .
 Eventually, light diffuses through the shadows- but not the yellow brightness of lightbulbs; it’s the pale, cold glow of sun on a winter morning. My next step brings the sound of snow crunching beneath my slipper- Oh dear- and with that, the staircase disappears and my surroundings come fully into focus.
Blue trees. Pink snow. “Toto,” I mutter, to no one in particular, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Or New York, for that matter.” I shiver as a chilly breeze blows past, and then I notice something lying in the snow: a pair of tall brown boots and a matching leather bag. A scroll lies on top, and I bend to pick it up, nearly spilling my water and dropping a book in the process. With some struggle, I get the note open, and grin when I read it: “I thought you might need these. Enjoy Rizkaland (and keep an eye out for a friend showing up soon)!- Laura”
Without hesitation, I first stuff my notebooks and books into the bag, and then slip my feet into the boots- which fit perfectly. I push my slippers into the bag as well, shaking the snow off them first, and look around. Judging by the snow color, I’m probably in Lower Klarand- though where exactly I haven’t the foggiest idea.
 “Hello?” An oddly familiar voice comes from behind me and to my left. “Hello?”
 I turn and grin at the red-haired girl pushing her way through the trees. “Katelyn!” Will she recognize me? There’s a fifty-fifty chance either way- even if she’s not a bard and not from Udarean, she still comes close to seeing life in story-terms, and she’s not technically in her story anyway . . .
Sure enough, she grins back. “Sarah!” She darts forward and hugs me. “What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Where is here anyway? I was looking in the back of my wardrobe for something when it suddenly opened up and dumped me in this place . . . at first I thought I’d finally managed to get into Narnia after all, but everything’s the wrong color.”
 “Well, the sky’s still blue, at least.” I sip my water, amazed it hasn’t turned to ice yet. “You’re in Rizkaland. Lower Klarand, to be exact. Why we’re both here . . . must be a Character Encounter.”
 Katelyn wrinkles her nose. “Where’s Rizkaland? Another of the Seven Worlds?”
I shake my head. “Rizkaland is from the Rizkaland Legends . . . which you haven’t read because I’m pretty sure they came out the summer after you left. I’ll try to get you a copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince once I get home, and maybe Lady Dragon, Tela Du, if it comes out before I get around to getting you the books. You’ll enjoy them.”
“Thanks.” Katelyn looks around. “So, where to now?”
 “Um . . .” I shrug and point in a random direction. “That way? I really have no idea.”
 “Works for me.” Katelyn sets off, apparently unconcerned by the fact that we’re both directionless in a strange world. I decide to hope that it’s her genre-savvyness at work; she knows as well as I do that no matter which way you go in a fantasy world, you’re bound to encounter something or someone interesting.
Sure enough, after some time, we hear footsteps up ahead, and a voice calls, “Hello? Who’s there?” A moment later, a redheaded young man emerges from the trees, with two older men behind him. The young man wears a circlet studded with rubies on his brow, leaving me with no doubt to his identity.
“Katelyn Stevens, formerly of Earth, now of Aralan,” Katelyn replies, her grin widening at that last bit. “And this is Sarah . . . um, don’t know her last name . . . of Earth.”
 “And you’re Andrew, the Fire Prince,” I offer. “Aren’t you?” The fact that I’m talking to one of my favorite characters from the Rizkaland universe while wearing an oversized sweatshirt and fleece pajama pants with owls on them suddenly hits me, and I feel my cheeks go red. I mean, meeting Katelyn’s one thing- she’s worn the same sort of thing on more than one occasion- but meeting Andrew is entirely another. At least Katelyn looks more or less at home, in brown leggings, a long green tunic, and brown leather vest.
“I am.” Andrew, diplomatically, gives no sign that he’s surprised by Katelyn’s words- or that he’s noticed my embarrassment. His next words explain the former, just as his character does the latter: “The Doorkeeper stopped by yesterday, and told Clara and I that we’d be having visitors from Earth soon. I didn’t expect you this soon, but . . . there’s always rooms ready at the Kastle. Would you care to come?”
“We’d love to.” Excitement rises up over my embarrassment, pushing me forward. “Please, Fire Prince, lead on.” Katelyn and I share another excited look. Her and I, on an adventure-of-sorts in Rizkaland- what could be better?
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Beautiful Books December 2015: The Editing Process

Hey'a, everyone! I'm excited to announce that I'm joining in the Beautiful Books linkup for the first time ever! For those of you who don't know, Beautiful Books is a writerly blog linkup hosted by Cait of Paper Fury (which I have finally followed and y'all should go check out because Cait's super fun). Anyway. I've seen other people doing this a lot and it looks awesome so I'm really looking forward to doing it myself.
1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
Maybe a 7-ish? It wasn't my best novel by any means . . . but I don't think it turned out terribly either. A lot of character relationships and plot didn't go like I expected them to . . . and my villain was harder to write than I thought she'd be. It's not finished yet, though, so there's hope.

2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
Um. Storms, I'm bad at this. It's not that there's nothing like my story . . . it's that there's a lot that are sort-of-similar, but none that are super similar . . . that I can think of. Which I guess is a good thing? It feels like a bad thing, though. I don't know.

3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
Both! I love NaNoWriMo- it's great for getting first drafts down and making sure I finish and don't get bogged down by darn-it-where-do-I-go-with-this now? 'Cause there's a daily quota to make and a challenge to overcome and if I don't know what I'm doing, I'd better make something up and I'd better do it fast- and as a result, I usually get through. But I honestly couldn't deal with that year-round, so I like having months where as long as I'm doing some writing every day (or most days), I'm good.

4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
My editing process is very simple: I sit down with my notebook and a Word document and I type up what I've written, page by page, making modifications as needed. These modifications can be anything from fixing typos and rewording sentences to entirely reworking or adding scenes. Occasionally I'll delete a scene, but that's rare. After that first rewrite, if I like the way the story's turned out, I'll do another run-through, making any further changes that I feel are necessary, and then I share the story either with my friends on the Underground or with my parents, depending on whether or not I want to submit the story to something.

5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
Um. Pretty much everything, I feel like? But I guess probably pacing and character development, especially for Mikkel and Ireen.

6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
Taika and her character arc and her friendship with Katelyn. Their friendship especially is really fun to write because they get each other pretty well (plus Taika gets about seventy-five percent of Katelyn's references, so yay!)

7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?
Mikkel- the apprentice Hero of Rushire. He was supposed to be a fairly similar character type to Prince Hayden from my fairy tale retelling series, but he ended up being . . . not. He's less hard on himself than I thought, and also less inclined to challenge the Way It Is- though the last is an oversight on my part. His entire job and future is based on tradition, after all. So, he and Taika don't even start to get along until more than halfway through the novel, and he's still very uncertain of her.

Taika- the last heir of the Coradin line, traditionally foes of Rushire. Taika turned out closer to what I expected her to be than Mikkel did. She's very devoted to her adoptive father, but less enthusiastic about the whole Coradin legacy than I expected. She's also less sure of herself than I expected- but just as willing to do something she's uncertain about if it seems like the best option. The one big thing that did change a lot was that she was supposed to be into gadgets and inventing and such, and that didn't end up happening. Oh well. Her aforementioned friendship with Katelyn (which was originally going to be a really minor thing) makes up for it.

Ireen- technically not a main character, but a major one, and worth mentioning. She's basically Mikkel's girlfriend, and also basically a spy/Ranger/tracker/etc. apprentice. She ended up being a lot more, I guess you could say pragmatic and hot-headed. And also more stubborn. She has good intentions, generally. But that doesn't change the fact that she grabs onto bad ideas- ideas specifically forbidden by her superiors- and holds onto them long after she should've let go. She's also a lot less mischievous and a lot more hostile towards Taika than I planned.

8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Depends when I finish writing it and how it turns out after edits. At the moment, the most likely route is "more edits." Or else hiding it in a tub under my bed for a year until I feel like facing it again.

9. Share a favourite snippet!
I'm indecisive, so you get too. First, a rare scene (though growing less rare) in which Mikkel and Taika are actually- wonder of wonders- being nice to each other:
"I'm sorry," Taika said again.
Mikkel glanced at her, surprised by her tone. "You meant that."
Taika shrugged. "They were my enemies by tradition only. I didn't hate them, and I have no reason to be glad that they're dead and their families mourn."
And an equally astounding scene in which Taika and Ireen are being civil to each other:
Ireen scowled. "Stormbeast. It's too high. I can't reach the edge." She peered down. "Don't suppose you carry a rope and grappling hook with you as a matter of course, since you probably have to make daring and dastardly escapes fairly often?"
 "The tallest buildings in the city are griffin aeries. I'd rather just fly off, not bother with ropes and grapnels," Taika retorted. "What about you? You climb buildings and trees and cliff faces to spy on people; why don't you carry some kind of rope and hook?"
"Because trees and cliffs generally have branches and crevices and things to grab onto, and I've never had to climb any buildings higher than one story."  
10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
Finish Binding Destiny and Monster in the Castle, if I don't before December comes to an end. Finish editing Destinies and Decisions and Between Two World. Edit The Way of the Pen. Write lots of short stories, both original and fanfiction, as well as a fair bit of poetry. Write Berstru Tales #5 for one of the Camp NaNos. Be seized with indecision next October about whether or not to do NaNoWriMo. That about sums it up.

Well, there you have it. My novel and my editing plans. Such as they are. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rizkaland Tag!

Hey'a, everyone! Today is the second day of the Ten Years of Rizkaland party over at Kendra Ardnek's blog! As part of the party, Kendra's created a Rizkaland tag . . . and I, being the lover-of-tags that I am, decided to do it. (And it also gets me points towards a giveaway . . . what? I like giveaways.)

1. Have you read Water Princess, Fire Prince yet?
Yes. Multiple times, actually.

2. If so, what is your favorite part? If not, what are you looking forward to the most?
My favorite scene is any that involves (A)Laura, (B)Clarand being sweet/amusing/awesome, or (C)both of the above.

3. It's Christmas time! What's the best birthday present you've ever received?

I feel like you have two very different celebrations in this question? But to answer the question . . . I don't know. How do you even define the 'best' present you've received? Because there's presents- like my first iPod- that are special because they mean I'm growing up. And there's presents- like my second iPod (which most of my family chipped in on because my old one was mostly dead, and which I was saving up to buy myself) or the first Hobbit extended edition- which are special because I figured the chances of my getting them were so slim that I'm not sure I even bothered asking for them. And there's presents- like the crochet owl my sister gave me for my most recent birthday or the treasure hunt she gave me for Christmas yesterday- that are special because they're a surprise and they're not big things but a lot went into them. All the types of presents are special- I can't pick a best one.

4. What are your favorite fantasy worlds?
Goldstone Wood. Scadriel. Middle Earth. Roshar. Narnia.

5. Who are your favorite fictional couples?
Not a fair question!
But if I must answer . . . Eanrin and Imraldera. Howl and Sophie Pendragon. Aethelbald and Una. Winter and Jacin. Cress and Thorne. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, but oh well.

6. Do you have any projects (writing or otherwise) that you've been working on for ten years?
 . . .
I don't think there are any hobbies I've had for a solid ten years. So no.

7. Fantasy weapon of choice?
Bow and arrow or staff.

8. Name your element!
Fire! Or light/energy. But probably fire.

9. What are you hoping to see in future volumes of the Rizkaland Legends?
Andrew's brothers finding out about Rizkaland. Preferably with Andrew along for the ride. More of Laura's story. I'm not really sure what else.

10. What is your favorite Christian allegory?
Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. And then my second favorite is The Chronicles of Narnia.

Well, that was fun. Thanks to Kendra for creating this tag and writing the Rizkaland Legends. (Which, if you haven't read already, you should- the Kindle book is still free today, if you didn't get to pick it up yesterday!)
Thanks to all of you for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)    

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

For centuries, through endless night,
We wandered lost, without a light.
No day, no light, though sun shown down,
In night of sin we were always found.
Prophecies spoke of one who’d come,
Shining brighter than the sun.
He’d break through the darkest night;
And to the lost He’d shine a light.
A lamb, a king, a sacrifice,
A star who would from Jacob rise:
For this we waited and watched to see
The Light who’d come and set us free.
But He did not come as we had thought
With power and riches for His lot.
That Bethlehem night, when He came down
He had no riches, no kingly crown.
As a babe He came to Earth,
Child of a virgin birth.
He was born in the most unexpected place of all:
The stable of a humble inn, so quiet and so small.
There was no room at any inn;
No other place to welcome Him.
Yet o’er that stable a new star shone out,
Proclaiming His birth north, east, west, and south.
And to lonely shepherds now appeared
A sight that brought both joy and fear.
“Do not fear!” spoke angel bright.
“I bring good news for you this night!
Christ the Savior is born to you!
To the stable, go and see, ‘tis true!”
The angels filled the starry sky,
Singing “Glory be to God on high!”
To Bethlehem the shepherds went
And found it as the angel said.
Through the town they then returned,
Proclaiming to all what they’d seen and heard.
And following the star from Eastern lands,
Strangers came from o’er desert sands.
Three kings came to see the Light,
Born upon that silent night.
Gold, myrrh, and incense to Him they bring
To give honor to the King of Kings.
But the richest of gifts could never compare
To God’s greatest gift who was lying there.
Still He shines His light today
Guiding us to God’s bright day.
And one day when all darkness flees,
The one true Light will reign supreme.
Now on this day of Jesus’ birth,
We remember when He came to Earth,
To be for those who are lost, a light,
And break through sin’s accursed night.
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord."
~Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas, everyone!

-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Gift for You!

Hello, everyone! You like free books, right? (Of course you do. Who doesn't like free books?) Well, as a special gift to her readers- and as part of the Ten Years of Rizkaland celebration- Kendra E. Ardnek is setting several of her books for free on Kindle in the coming week!

First of the free books: Kendra's recent release Water Princess, Fire Prince. You might remember that I was part of the blog tour for this book back in August, and I can guarantee you: it's a super fun story and well-worth reading. It'll be available for free today, Christmas Day, only, so make sure you pick it up before it's too late!

Kendra also has three of her other books for free: The Ankulen and the first two Bookania tales: Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest?. I've only read two of these three, but I quite enjoyed them. Sew is a retelling of many and various legends mixed together, all set off by one fairy godmother's mistaken gifts. The Ankulen is a very unique story of a girl who's lost her imagination and- a bit unwillingly- sets out on an adventure to recover it. All three of these books will be available from Christmas Day until December 29th.

Finally, we have six short stories, none of which I've actually read yet. These will be available for free starting the 27th and will go back to normal price on New Year's Eve.

Enjoy these free books, and have a merry Christmas Eve!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The 2015 Blogger Awards: Best Book

There are a lot of amazing books in the world- and a lot of amazing books published this year. I should know- I've read a lot of them (though, happily, not all of them, not yet!). But when I asked you back in October to nominate your choices for the best book for the Blogger Book Awards, three books won out as especially good: Pendragon's Heir by Suzanne Rowntree, The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight, and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. And now it falls to me to decide: which book wins the prize for the best book published in 2015?

Let me tell you: it's not an easy question to answer.

Pendragon's Heir (Suzanne Rowntree) is a unique and lovely retelling of the Arthurian legends. It focuses on Blanche, a character who I thought was completely original but is, according to another reviewer, based on a very minor character from one of the stories I haven't read, and on Sir Perceval, a young and valiant Knight of the Table. Their adventures- ranging from 20th-century Gloucester to, naturally, medieval Britain- are told in a beautiful, almost timeless voice, and characters- both those we know and those we do not- are artfully drawn. 

Firefight (Brandon Sanderson), on the other hand, is the fast-paced second book in the Reckoners trilogy. Once again, we join David, Prof, and the other Reckoners- both those we know and some we don't- in the battle against the Epics- this time as they fight to take down Regalia, ruler of New Babylon, formerly New York City. The story is filled with Sanderson's trademarks: thrilling action, colorful characters, stunning worldbuilding, and heart-stopping plot twists. It is not always an easy story to read, as characters face darkness both within and without. But even when everything goes wrong, our heroes still stand to fight- and so hope lives on.   

The King's Scrolls (Jaye L. Knight) is, like Firefight, the second book in a series- this time the Ilyon Chronicles. New characters- and some dragons- are introduced, and old friends- both major and minor- return, including some who rapidly found a place in my top-five-favorite-characters list. The stakes also rise from the first book, earning The King's Scrolls a reputation as a heartbreaker of a book. And while I'm not weepy . . . my emotions did take several solid hits as the threat of death became very, very real. Yet even in grief and danger, our heroes cling to their faith and to each other, refusing to give in to the darkness around them. And not just in spite of but out of the very darkest of turns, life and truth shine forth.

As you can hopefully see, all three of these are brilliant books, each amazing in its own way. But only one can be awarded the title of best book of 2015, and that book is . . .

The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight!

While all three finalists were excellent, it was The King's Scrolls that struck me the most: with powerful themes, with memorable plot and characters, and- yes- with an emotional response. And it is the book from which the light, in my opinion, shines out the brightest.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the winners from the other categories, and check The Art of Storytelling for the final winner tomorrow.
Thanks for reading! 
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Advent Week 4: Angels

This is the fourth in my series of Advent poems. If you haven't, please read the poems for Week One, Week Two, and Week Three.

Week Four: Angels
The angels spoke of hope for men
And peace on earth both now and then.
Their message endures to this day:
That God to us His own Son gave,
And that newborn King so small
Would one day pay the sins of all.
And so we celebrate this night
The Child who gave us Life and Light.
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)