Tag Archives: CSFF blog tour

Book Review: The First Principle

23 Sep

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. Luke 12:53 ESV

51nKWx4Ti6L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

 

marissa-shrock_about-201x300Marissa Shrock is a writer and language arts teacher who enjoys working with her fun seventh grade students. She is a graduate of Taylor University and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She is a member of ACFW.

Marissa has written articles for teens and adults in Evangel and Encounter. The First Principle is her debut novel.

In her spare time Marissa loves spending time with family and friends, shopping for cute clothes, traveling, baking, and playing golf.

 

My Impressions:

Marissa Shrock’s debut YA novel, The First Principle, is a chilling look at what the world could become — government control of all aspects of our life, including economic, religious and reproductive freedom. A plot-driven suspense, it is also a great starting point for discussions of what we give up for safety and security.

Vivica Williams is the high school-aged daughter of the Governor of a region within the United Regions of America, a nation comprised of the former countries in North America. Following the collapse of world economies and the ensuing chaos and riots, a new order is established to maintain the well-being of its citizens. But government has a hand in all aspects of life, and Vivica starts to question just what is right and wrong with the many regulations that determine her and others’ future.

Told in the first person voice of Vivica (a strong and determined character) the reader is introduced to a world where the class system is firmly in place, a state-sanctioned and redacted religion is the only one tolerated and life choices (from the sugar and fat consumed to how many children one can have) are monitored and strictly regulated. Government knows best and rules with a heavy hand. Shrock has created a world not so far-fetched as once thought. The First Principle is a great book to use to encourage discussions on the value of human life and freedoms, the danger of a watered-down gospel and the necessity to stand for the truth even when it divides families. A plot filled with political conspiracies, assassinations, and double dealings makes this a fast-paced, suspenseful read. It also has some intense scenes and mature subject matter — making it, in my opinion, suitable for high school and above.

Recommended.

Audience: high school and above.

Great for book club discussion.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and CSFF for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read what other participants of the CSFF tour have to say about The First Principle, click on the links below.

Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Megan @ Hardcover Feedback
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Shane Werlinger
Carol Gehringer

 

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Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour — Marissa Shrock

21 Sep

This month members of the Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour are featuring Marissa Shrock and her YA futuristic novel, The First Principle.

51nKWx4Ti6L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

Marissa Shrock’s debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence–and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God’s lead.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and CSFF for a review copy of The First Principle.)

 

marissa-shrock_about-201x300Marissa Shrock is a writer and language arts teacher who enjoys working with her fun seventh grade students. She is a graduate of Taylor University and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She is a member of ACFW.

Marissa has written articles for teens and adults in Evangel and Encounter. The First Principle is her debut novel.

In her spare time Marissa loves spending time with family and friends, shopping for cute clothes, traveling, baking, and playing golf.

 

I will be posting my review of The First Principle on Wednesday. In the meantime, make sure to check out the other bloggers on the tour.

Blog Tour Participants:

Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Megan @ Hardcover Feedback
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Shane Werlinger
Carol Gehringer

 

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — Storm Siren by Mary Weber

13 Apr

The bloggers of the Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour are featuring Storm Siren by Mary Weber this month. Check out the blurb, the author info and the reviews and discussion posted on the participants sites.

 

book-storm-sirenIn a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth—meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

 

bio-picMary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

 

 

 

 

CSFF Blog Tour Participants 

Julie Bihn
Lauren Bombardier
Vicky DealSharingAunt
George Duncan
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Simone Lilly-Egerter
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Michelle R. Wood

Book Review: The Fatal Tree

17 Dec

548085It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.

The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion—but coming up short on answers. And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon—his only hope of survival the very man he tried to murder.

Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well. But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return. Unless someone can find a solution—and fast—all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything.

lawhead(From the author’s website) – Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.

His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.

After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.

In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.

In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children’s books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.

Stephen’s non-fiction, fiction and children’s titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.

His middle name is ‘Ray’.

 

My Impressions:

The Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead is the fifth and final book in the Bright Empires series. You MUST read books 1-4 before embarking on this final journey. Each book expands on the previous book, and I would have been hopelessly lost if I had not read them sequentially. That being said, the series for me has been a bit uneven. I loved books 1 and 3; books 2 and 4 were ok — I had a bit of difficulty getting into the flow of those books. However, I feel that this last book is the one I have been looking for. I enjoyed it, and if you enjoy epic fantasy with a big dose of inter-dimensional travel, I think you will too.

The Fatal Tree finds our ley travelers (think moving between realities rather than time periods) facing The End of Everything. Strange things are occurring: people and things are appearing and disappearing causing all kinds of havoc. The universe also seems to be slowing down and is in danger of reversing and causing the ultimate destruction. The travelers are scattered around and have trouble meeting up because of the disturbances. So they all race against time and space and place to head off imminent disaster.

There are a number of things I liked about The Fatal Tree. The writing is, of course, wonderful. Lawhead has a way of making his scenes come alive in the reader’s imagination. And while I confess I skip over the science parts, I was engaged from the very first page. Of course the characters, both those I loved and those I loved to hate, are back in all their complexity. But it is the overt faith message that I responded to. God is front and center in this book, something that Lawhead did not do in the previous books in the series. We see the characters acknowledging He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, that He has plans and purposes that are perfect, even if we don’t understand them, and that actions always have consequences. Even a most despicable character is confronted by his need for redemption.

So all in all, I would recommend all 5 books in the Bright Empires series. Complex plots and characters and A LOT to think about are sure to appeal to fans of this genre.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

(I received a review copy in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Make sure you check out all the participants on the CSFF Blog Tour.
Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Jason Joyner
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

CSFF Blog Tour Day 2 — Outcasts by Jill Williamson

30 Sep

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Jill Williamson‘s YA dsytopian novel Rebels, final book in The Safe Lands series, this month. Yesterday I gave you an overview of each book in the series, some info on Jill and a link to my review of book 1, Captives. (Click HERE for yesterday’s post.) I didn’t read book 2 of the series, but my friend Stephanie did — and loved it! Here are her thoughts on Outcasts:

 

9780310724254Outcasts, the second installment in The Safe Lands series by Jill Williamson, not only continues to plunge the reader into a “fantasy” world of the future, but picks up speed in exciting plot development and further unveiling of the mysteries behind the Safe Lands society and the plague that infects its people. With mounting danger met with equaled bravery, Mason, Levi, and even Omar each began to find a way to impact not only their family and friends, but the Safelanders as well. As Mason continues to search for a cure for the Thin Plague, he begins to uncover not only clues to the mysterious illness, but a realization of his feelings for the beautiful Ciddah. Omar, desperate to atone for his betrayals, creates a vigilante superhero that becomes an unexpected symbol for hope. Levi continues to lead the scattered remnant of Glenrock and orchestrates a daring and dangerous rescue of the children still held by the Safelanders. This book certainly exceeded my already high expectations and left me eager to read the next Safe Lands book!

I believe The Safe Lands series should appeal to a wide variety of sci-fi & fantasy fans like me. Good science fiction helps us to have a clear picture of the impact of our moral and societal choices and to stand by those choices. Like classics such as A Brave New World and 1984, The Safe Lands series forces the reader to look at a world where the pursuit of selfish pleasures has resulted in a corrupt, plagued, and immoral society characterized by the unhappiness and emptiness of its people. Such a shocking glimpse of a world-that-could-be forces us to ask ourselves how our choices might make this possibility our reality. Ultimately, the reader must conclude that morality does impact society, a stance constantly under attack in our world today. Fortunately, the glimpse provided by The Safe Lands series equips us to stand firm on our views.

 

A BIG thank you to Stephanie for her very articulate analysis. Tomorrow, I will be posting my review of Rebels. In the meantime, make sure to visit the other participants on the tour:

Julie Bihn
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Jeremy Harder
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Writer Rani
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Elizabeth Williams

CSFF Blog Tour Day 2 — Merlin’s Blade and Merlin’s Shadow

26 Aug

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Merlin’s Nightmare by Robert Treskillard. The third book in the Merlin’s Spiral series, it could be read as a standalone. Robert does a good job catching the reader up on all the action from the previous 2 books. But . . . I really think you should start with book 1 first and then proceed to book 2 before reading Merlin’s Nightmare. Below you will find the blurbs on the books and links to my reviews.

 

73507xMerlin’s Blade. A strange meteorite. A deadly enchantment. And only Merlin can destroy it. A meteorite brings a mysterious black stone whose sinister power ensnares everyone except Merlin, the blind son of a swordsmith. Soon, all of Britain will be under its power, and he must destroy the stone—or die trying.

My Review

 

 

 

 

735083Merlin’s Shadow. After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself to be a royal advisor without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.

But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin’s destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.

My Review

 

CSFF Participants

Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams

Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour — The Warden And The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson

22 Jul

The folks at The CSFF are touring Andrew Peterson’s latest offering in the Wingfeather Saga, The Warden And The Wolf King. I did not read this book, but want to make sure you find out all about it. Make sure to check out the book synopsis, author info and of course the links to other participants on the tour.

 

9c86dab387630aeaf362628bde976d194f7fd173All winter long, people in the Green Hollows have prepared for a final battle with Gnag the Nameless and the Fangs of Dang. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli—Throne Warden, Wolf King, and Song Maiden of Anniera—are ready and willing to fight alongside the Hollowsfolk, but when the Fangs make the first move and invade Ban Rona, the children are separated. Janner is alone and lost in the hills; Leeli is fighting the Fangs from the rooftops of the city; and Kalmar, who carries a terrible secret, is on a course for the Deeps of Throg. Meanwhile in Skree, Sara Cobbler and Maraly Weaver care for the broken Artham Wingfeather as Fangs muster for battle across the Mighty River Blapp.

Sea dragons lurk in the waters. Wicked Stranders crawl through the burrows. Ridgerunners and trolls prowl the land. Cloven haunt the forest. Monsters and Fangs and villains lie between the children and their only hope of victory—in the epic conclusion of The Wingfeather Saga.

 

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

 

 

bioThe son of a pastor, Andrew Peterson spent his childhood in the rural farm town of Monticello, Illinois. Peterson’s family relocated to Florida when he was seven. His parents originated from that state. After living outside of Jacksonville for a few years, his family settled in Lake Butler. Peterson graduated from Florida Christian College in 1997. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Jamie, sons Aedan and Asher, and daughter Skye.

 

CSFF Blog Tour Participants

Keanan Brand
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler