I don't know about you, but I want to read a story for more than just entertainment. I enjoy stories that make me think, inspire me, give me hope and encouragement. Give me a story with broken, relatable characters, deep emotions, and an intriguing setting and plot, and I'm sold.
Azriel had all of these.
I was so privileged to be able to read an advanced ereader's copy of Azriel to review. It was a pleasure to be one of the first readers and then be able to share my thoughts on the book on the Azriel release blog tour.
The back cover blurb:
Bree Faro learns early in life that she can only depend on herself. Due to her feisty nature and unusual ability with a sword, she is educated in every fighting style imaginable and excels at them all. When she’s sent to infiltrate the city of Azriel, Bree does not expect to find her place among the Watchmen of the Keep, but they welcome her as one of their own.
Little does Bree know that her new companions are in danger.
An immortal creature lies in wait for any Keeper of the Flame, the city’s water source has dried up, and they are under constant attack from the Yirtzi—former Watchmen reduced to vengeful spirits, who sold their souls for power only to realize the enemy of Yahweh does not translate to the friend of mankind. Not only that, but the Watchmen are fraying. Hostilities come to a head when a Watchman is murdered.
Only a Watchman can kill another Watchman, and all eyes shift to Bree.
Bree finds herself faced with a choice. Does she engineer the betrayal of the powerful city, or does she embrace her destiny as a true Watchman of Yahweh and find the killer before it’s too late?
I truly enjoyed this book. Knights with flaming swords. Epic battles against evil. All the fantasy vibes my geek self can get her hands on!
But this story was more than just a great fantasy. There was a lot of heart and hope within the pages. I enjoyed the beautiful Christian symbolism Lee intertwined in the story. And I found the characters to be interesting and sympathetic.
Bree was tough and feisty, and boy could she swing a sword! But she was also vulnerable, and I loved that side of her. She was hardened by life, but not obnoxious in attitude. She had trouble believing she could find a home among the Watchmen, and her heart was torn between her longing for a home she had never known and the belief that she could never belong. The loyalty among the brothers and sisters of the Watchmen--even for newcomer Bree--was refreshing and uplifting.
The were some really great fight scenes in this book. And I was a bit surprised at the direction the climax took. But, you'll have to read that for yourself. ;)
If you like clean stories of found family, suspenseful action scenes, and renewed faith, then Azriel is a must-read! I can't wait to get my physical copy in my hands! (And did I mention how breath-taking that cover is?? I mean, look at it!)
Azriel released on June 15th and is now available to order through Amazon and the L2L2 website:
Blog Tour Schedule
Don't forget to check out the rest of the Azriel Blog Tour!
Monday, June 14th, “Azriel: The Watchmen Saga Begins,” Laurin Boyle, www.laurinboyle.wordpress.com
Monday, June 14th, “Interview with Lee James, Author of Azriel,” Mary Schlegel, www.maryschlegelauthor.com
Tuesday, June 15th, “Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Pam Halter, www.pamhalter.com/fairiesfantasyfaith
Tuesday, June 15th, “Azriel Release Day: A Most Sacred Secret,” Lee James, www.leejameswrites.com
Wednesday, June 16th, “Azriel Blog Tour: A Writer Writes,” Laura A. Grace, www.lauraagrace.com
Thursday, June 17th, “Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Crystal Grant, www.crystalgrantfaithandfiction.com
Thursday, June 17th, “Azriel Release Party Tonight,” Michele Israel Harper, www.MicheleIsraelHarper.com
Friday, June 18th, “Weekend Reads: Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Laurie Lucking, www.landsuncharted.com
Friday, June 18th, “Azriel Blog Tour: Swords and Magic and Intrigue, Oh My,” K.A. Cummins, www.authorkacummins.com
About the Author
You guys, it's been SO long since I posted. Things got a bit crazy for me in the last 6 weeks and for the sake of my own mentality, blogs, posts, critiques, etc. had to be shelved for a while.
But I'm back now! Here's a few updates on what's been happening.
Of course, there are aspects I will miss. I do enjoy teaching children. And I will miss my co-workers, who were kind enough to give me some very thoughtful parting gifts.
I've had a lot of questions about what now. Currently, I am contracted to write third grade curriculum for Social Emotional Learning through Rounded Schoolhouse, a new online homeschool program. I'm super excited to be a part of this! And I love that I have the opportunity to support homeschoolers. :) As far as next year, I have a few potential prospects...
I know many would consider it very risky to quit a job I've had for so many years. Many in my family certainly had their concerns, and I appreciate every one of them. But it was time. I figured this season of life, with no family to be responsible for, was the best time to take a risk and do something for myself.
On that note, I just finished the last crazy few weeks of school....and jumped right into the crazy weeks of Summer School. Let me tell you, these kids are making me earn my summer vacation! Summer school always brings out the excitement and energy in the kids, and the weariness in their teachers. LOL
So, he's still with us, though it's anyone's guess how long we'll have. I will never allow one of my fur babies to suffer, but I am thankful he weathered this last crisis. He's able to eat his regular food now and gets around pretty good, though he's still wobbly. And he still loves his daily dog biscuits. Honestly, I think he's milking all the attention. Lol! I'm enjoying every moment I have left with him.
I recently finished my 257th draft of my work in progress (WIP), Shadowcast! Okay, maybe it wasn't THAT many drafts, but it does feel like it. XD
Shadowcast is now in the hands of Sara Ella, award-winning novelist and highly-respected in her field. This is a big step for me, working with a content editor. I'm super excited (and a little terrified, lol) to be working with Sara, for she is a beautiful human being, inside and out. I can't wait to get her feedback on my book baby. And I totally won't be sitting around for weeks waiting for her email. I mean, not at all. (How many weeks has it been again?)
In other "writerly" news, I recently had a chance to work with award-winning, best-selling author Mary Weber. Mary runs Cherry Pie Author Services and chatted with me this week on improving my platform and author brand. I'm very excited to move forward, so be watching for a few changes in my website, Instagram, and Pinterest! (But please don't expect any changes in the immediate future. Because, I just don't roll that fast. XD)
And the RealmMakers Writers Conference is coming up next month! Some of you might remember me geeking out about the online conference last year. This year I get to go in PERSON (with my brother and sister, which is even more fun)! I'm so excited about meeting the authors, agents, editors, publishers, mentors, etc. that I've been chatting with online face-to-face! (And did I mention I'm pitching my latest manuscript?? *gulps*)
What About You?
Wow, that was a lot of rambling about me, but as you can see, I've had a lot going on. (Or maybe that's just my excuse as to why I haven't been posting...)
Anyway, it's been a lot and I could feel myself over time growing weary. My brain just didn't seem to want to work and I was tired all the time. Between the end-of-the-year rush, editing my book to send to my editor, working on the online curriculum, taking care of Snickers, and everything else life expected out of me, I just had so much going on. Fortunately, the load is lightening up a bit now.
But what about you? How's life treating you? Are in in a never-ending merry-go-round of jobs and carpools and games and chores and...well, you get the idea. Or are you in a slower season? (If so, enjoy it!)
I hope that as summer kicks into high gear, you all remember to take care of yourselves. Don't feel like you have to do it all. Sometimes we have to slow down. Ask for help. Designate some tasks to others. Let some jobs/projects go. Get an extra hour of sleep. Stay home instead of going out so much. I realize you may have a lot of people counting on you, but if you try to do too much, you won't be at your best and able to do what you need to do.
I'd love to hear what's been going on with you! Drop me an update in the comments. Or a prayer request, if you have one on your heart. Let me know how you're doing! I care about you. :)
Meanwhile, be watching for new changes coming up. And don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, which currently doesn't exist...but it will! (Remember those changes I mentioned?) And you don't want to miss it.
So until next time, stay happy and healthy, dear friends, and always...
In His Grip!