‘Crown of Souls’ by Ronie Kendig: A review and an interview

Crown of Souls

Ronie Kendig has done it again! If you were here last year for my review of ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ then you know that I loved the beginning of this series. Ronie keeps the excitement and suspense going in this new release and you will not want it to end!

“Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. 

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating–he’s using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.”

Tox

I loved the first book and didn’t know how Ronie would top it, but she did an amazing job with ‘Crown of Souls’! (I highly recommend that you all read ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ first!) Not only was the team in top form in ‘Crown of Souls’ but there was also a hint of romance in this one. I love a good action adventure book with a hint of romance and Ronie does that balance so perfectly. For those of you who don’t like romance books, you don’t need to worry because it doesn’t detract from the action and suspense at all! Tox, Haven and the team are in a race. A race against a mad man bent on revenge. Add into the mix a mysterious artifact that is adding madness to the mix and you have an action-packed race across the world. Ronie is so good at crafting suspense that I often found myself holding my breath, reading desperately to find out what happened next. I was craving resolution and safety for the team, but I was also so sad when the book ended. Being an author myself, I know how much work goes into a novel but I wanted this one to be twice as long. I can’t wait for the next book in the series ‘Thirst of Steel’!

Cole ‘Tox’ Russell is an amazing hero. What I love about Ronie’s heroes is that they are so real. They have flaws, faults, fears and yet are willing to fight for what’s right. I think sometimes heroes are ‘too perfect’ that I can’t find them believable. Ronie’s heroes come fully-equipped with scars, imperfections and hair pulling moments. Just like real life. I was blessed to be able to ask Ronie a few questions on how she crafts such amazing heroes!

1) Ronie, you have an amazing knack at writing a great hero! What makes the perfect hero to you?
Wow! Thank you for that huge compliment. I think a great hero is a broken hero. He’s relatable because he’s not perfect and he knows it–but he also can’t let himself cross the line, though huge chunks of him probably want to for one reason or another. He’s flawed, makes mistakes, but at the end of the day, he gets it right. ​
2) Do you find it easy to write an amazing hero, after having written so many? Or do you still have to struggle to write them?
​I think the word “struggle” is inherent with any good hero, so yes–I struggle. How do I make this man’s struggle unique from the previous heroes I’ve written, yet make him a classic Ronie Kendig hero? But with the fact I have 17 published novels and six novellas enables me to know how to craft the hero persona.
3) Do you have any advice to offer to writers that would love to write a fantastic hero like Tox?
The heroes I write “come to me” as they are–I just have to get in the trenches with them and understand them, not unlike we do with the people we meet in life every day. So, I think my advice would be three fold: 1.dig deep–keep asking WHY?–and keep pushing yourself, 2.) DO NOT protect your hero (because that’s where you’ll fail your story), 3.) if you’ve gotten down and dirty in the trenches with your hero, trust those instincts about that hero. Sometimes, they don’t always tell you the truth.  ​For example, Griffin Riddell gave me three different backstories, and then one day he said, “Baby, I don’t care what you write; just stay out of my business.” Which told me so much about him, but had I stopped with those first few lies, I never would’ve found the crux of his true identity. Crazy, huh? 
4) What do you like most about Tox? What makes him most unique from your other heroes?
​I adore Tox’s loyalty and trust in his team. He doesn’t have to tell them to do every little thing because they operate as one. They know what needs to be done, and he leaves that up to them. He believes in them. He’d die for them.​
Thanks so much to Ronie for being willing to answer these for me. I appreciated hearing her say to not ‘protect your hero’. I believe that will help me in my own writing and will hopefully help in yours if you are a writer.
Pick yourself up a copy of ‘Crown of Souls‘ today! Also, get your hands on ‘Conspiracy of Silence‘ (Tox Files 1&2 here!) while you prepare for ‘Thirst of Steel’! You will not be disappointed. Ronie is a master story-teller and she doesn’t fail in writing a gripping, action-filled, tense and beautiful story in ‘Crown of Souls’!
Crown of Souls Launch
Rapid Fire Fiction
Advertisements

Interview with Shannon Dittemore~Author of the ‘Angel Eyes’ Series

shannon dittemore

This is my very first author interview and I am so honored to have Shannon Dittemore here to chat with me!  YAY!  I admit, reluctantly, that I’ve only just discovered Shannon’s amazing talent in the last year.  Now I cannot get enough of her writing!!  I wait, less than patiently, for each new release.  (No pressure Shannon!… wait, yes, lot’s of pressure!)  😉

I hope that you’ll come back on Saturday for my review of Shannon’s new book Broken Wings!  I am only including part of Shannon’s interview here because I want to tease you into coming back to see the rest on Saturday.  I may have asked Shannon for some hints about her next book Dark Halo… are you hooked now?  I’m excited!

Thanks so much Shannon for doing this!  I’m so grateful for your willingness to take time out of your busy launch schedule to talk with me!  🙂  Let’s get right into it!

What do you like most about writing fiction?

The let my imagination run wild part. Creating worlds, fleshing out characters, letting them run straight into a dilemma, making it worse for them, and then swooping in with the answer. I love writing fiction best when it feels like reading. That means my own words need to surprise me and my characters have to be real enough to make choices I’d have never made for them.

When you are writing, do your characters stay on your mind even when you are not writing?  Particularly when writing emotional or stressful sections?

Yeah. Sometimes I wish I could shut them out, but they often give me great material when they’re haunting me. There’s a scene in Broken Wings—a flashback of sorts—and Brielle is about three years old. When I first drafted that scene, my daughter was also three. That was intensely personal few days.

What is the most exciting thing about publishing your books?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a reader telling me how much my stories mean to them. To me, that’s the best part. Genuinely connecting with other people. Letting story do the hard part of breaking the ice and then sharing something as simplistic as a tale. It’s funny, isn’t it? I think what terrifies me the most, is also what excites me the most. I bet God’s laughing at me right now.

I admit that I may have laughed a tiny bit.  Tell us, who are some of your favourite authors?

So many! There is an author I will shove everything aside for and that’s Tasha Alexander. She writes the Lady Emily mysteries and I’m obsessed. I’m also a big Hunger Games fan, so I’ll throw Suzanne Collins in there as well. I love Ted Dekker and Stephen Lawhead. I love Cornelia Funke and Jenny B. Jones. I’ve fallen in love with Jill Williamson’s stuff and my pal Jenny Lundquist is amazing as well. So many of the up and coming YA writers out there are fast earning their way onto this list.

Awesome choices!  How about favourite book?  (yes, you can say your own!)  My blog, I allow it!  Favourite movie?  Favourite TV show?

Book: Too hard! I’m going to go with the Count of Monte Cristo. It’s a classic and keeps me from having to decide between all the amazing books that have hit shelves more recently.

Movie: So many great movies out there! Of late, I’ve loved Les Miserables. I’ve always been fascinated with that story and they did such a fabulous job translating it to film. If we’re talking old school, I’ll say A Few Good Men. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!  Or, or, or Sense and Sensibility. Love that flick.

TV Show: This changes almost daily. I really like the dialogue in White Collar, so let’s say that one for now.

That was a tough question!  How about an easy one: are you someone who reads the same book more than once?

Of course! And YA books are great for that.

How did you come to know the Lord?

As the oldest daughter of a preacher, I’ve grown up in church. I think I was five years old when I asked my dad to pray with me. Mom had run into a Chinese restaurant to pick up take-out after church on a Sunday and we were waiting outside in our old silver Citation. I can only assume something my teacher said in Sunday school prompted the conversation, but there you have it.

Do you have a favourite Bible verse?

Several. I love the gospels and the book of Daniel especially. On the bulletin board next to my desk I have this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.—Proverbs 3:5

If memory serves, part of that verse made its way into Angel Eyes.

That is one of my favourite verses too!  Such wonderful assurance.  Who in your life has influenced you most, besides God?

My parents, certainly. But I’ll also say my husband, Matt. All three of them have very deep, very profound relationships with God and I learn so much by watching them. My husband has been such an instrumental part of the writing process for me. He listens while I talk through my ideas, he answers questions about Scripture, and he lets me complain when I need to. He really is the best.

Name 5 things you can’t live without!  (Faith and Family are a given)

I’ve been floundering a little bit cause I had to go off caffeine. If not, I’d have said Pepsi and Coffee were #1 and #2. Hmmm. Let’s see.

~Panera’s Mac and Cheese

~My Kindle

~Matt’s oversized fleece jacket. I wear it every morning when I take the kids to school.

~My local Barnes and Noble

~Rhapsody

You’ll have to tell me how you managed to get off Pepsi!  (a craving of mine!)  When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was really young I wanted to be an astronaut! But I suck at math so that got thrown out the window. I spent a lot of years wanting to be an actress and pursuing that. I still love the stage. So many great memories.

I am terrible at math too!  Last one, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Well, I’d say the Holy Land, but things are a bit volatile these days. I’ve done Hawaii a few times and I could definitely do that right now. Winter is wearing on me (and I shouldn’t whine, I’m in California). Maybe Jamaica? My husband is a coffee roaster and he’d like to go on an origins trip there. I’d like to sit on the beach with a good book, so that would work for both of us!

Thanks again Shannon for answering all my questions!  You rock!  I so thoroughly enjoyed Angel Eyes and Broken Wings that I can’t wait for Dark Halo!

Angel EyesBroken Wings Dark-Halo

If you want to get your hands on Shannon’s books, click the book image above! Also, you can click Shannon’s image above to get to her website!

Remember to come back on Saturday for my review and more questions with Shannon about Broken Wings!!

~Sarah