Tag Archives: CSSF Blog Tour

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — Shock of Night

7 Dec

51j9dqG7eWL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it’s as though he can see their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he’s been passed the rarest gift of all: a gift that’s not supposed to exist.

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he’s pulled into a much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.

A1lCiW73Q9L._UX250_Patrick Carr saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last eight years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist, and he wrestles with the complexity of improvisation on a daily basis. While Patrick enjoys reading about himself, he thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

My Impressions:

I loved Patrick Carr’s first epic trilogy, The Staff And The Sword. It’s humor and unconventional hero won my heart. Oh yes, it was fabulous epic fantasy at its best too. Now comes a new offering, The Shock of Night, book 1 in the Darkwater Saga. Like it or not, it has a lot to live up to. The novel has a lot of the same strengths as The Staff And The Sword: complex characterization and richly detailed sense of time and place. It also seems a much more mature book, both in content and writing style. It gets a recommended rating from me.

Willet Dura is the king’s reeve. For those of you unfamiliar with medieval occupations, the term sheriff derived from shire reeve. In our world, a reeve would have been elected by the serfs, but in the Kingdom of Collum, Lord Dura was elevated to the nobility when he performed a crucial act for the welfare of the King Laidir. Dura’s background is full of contradictions. He was destined for the church until compulsory military service put him on a very different path. His military service is termed as heroic, yet he is haunted by failure and the Darkwater from which he escaped. Hated by the nobility, respected by the Watch and friend of urchins and prostitutes, Willet is a man searching for place, identity and peace. A series of murders, a mysterious group of gifted people and the growing presence of evil put Willet on a course of discovery and danger.

Patrick Carr has again created an unlikely hero. Willet has the temperament, physical attributes and intellect to be a leader among men. But his experience within the Darkwater has left him scarred emotionally. It may have also affected his reason to the extent he may just be insane. I loved Willet and was always in his corner, but even I had doubts about him. I never questioned his sincerity, loyalty or devotion, but his eccentricities, paranoia, and unaccounted night wanderings create suspicion. Just who is Willet Dura? That is a question that is explored throughout the book and will probably continue in the rest of the series. In addition to Willet, Carr introduces other characters equally complex. Some you will love, others hate and many more that will leave you wondering. The world Carr creates is rich in detail. It is familiar — names, descriptions and culture — but with enough differences to let the reader know this is place not like our own. Its medieval setting is fun, yet the people and science of this world seem far advanced to what our medieval world was like. Willet’s world has a strict class system with few interactions between the levels. The poor quarter of the city is very Dickensian. I also found the religious structure interesting and again, familiar. One more thing, I loved the cover model, even though you have to really look closely to see him!

So what are some of the themes? The triune Aer (God) distributes gifts for the welfare of his people, so gifting is something to examine. Yet in Willet’s world, gifts seem to fall to the privileged or elevate those who receive them. One religious sect emphasizes service, but their message is one dimensional and is drowned out by the assertions of the other sects. A heretical group even calls for the abolishment of gifts. The struggle of good and evil is given a twist as Carr looks at how man locks away the darkness in his soul. Another point of examination is Willet’s struggle with the nightmare of wartime experiences. I’m sure there are more things I just didn’t recognize. The Shock of Night is very complex and really deserved a longer reading time than I gave it. Coming in at over 400 pages, it isn’t really all that long, but demanded a lot of attention. Don’t think that this will be a light and easy read. I spent a week on it and still feel like I needed more time to absorb the nuances and details.

I am glad that the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Shock of Night this month. I am looking forward to reading what others think. This book really is suited for a book discussion group. Make sure to check out all the blog participants listed at the end of this post.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

Great for book clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to CSFF Blog Tour and Bethany House for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

CSFF Blog Tour Participants
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Carol Bruce Collett
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rani Grant
Rebekah Gyger
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Robert Treskillard
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Michelle R. Wood

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — The Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead

16 Dec

This month the folks on the CSFF Blog Tour are hosting Stephen Lawhead‘s highly anticipated fifth and final book in his Bright Empires series, The Fatal Tree. To help you catch up, I am sharing the blurbs on all the previous books and the links to my reviews. I am a little behind in my reading this month due to an especially busy Christmas season, the celebration of my oldest son’s 25th birthday and graduation with a Masters of Bioengineering (yes, I am a little bit proud!) and the homecoming of my other 2 college aged children. So tomorrow I will give you a few of my thoughts on what I have read so far. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post for the list of tour participants and make sure to check out their thoughts.

548047_w185Book 1 – The Skin Map.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story–the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.

But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.

Enter the ultimate treasure hunt–with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.

REVIEW

bone-house-book-coverBook 2 – The Bone House

One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.

REVIEW

548061_w185Book 3 – The Spirit Well

Kit Livingstone is on a quest for the ultimate treasure—a tattooed map to an alternate universe! When he witnesses Arthur Flinders-Petrie carry his dead wife into a pool of light—and emerge with her alive—Kit wonders if The Spirit Well is the secret of the map. And if it is, can Arthur’s ruthless great-grandson be far behind?

 

REVIEW

 

548078-1Book 4 – The Shadow Lamp

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

REVIEW

548085Book 5 — The Fatal Tree

It 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.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
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

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — Outcasts by Jill Williamson

20 Jan

The folks at the CSFF Blog Tour are featuring Jill Williamson’s second book in her Safe Lands series, Outcasts. I did not read this book, but wanted everyone to have a chance to check it out, so I am posting the links to all the reviews and posting a summary of the book and info on Jill as well. You can read my review of book 1, Captives, HERE.

724247In Outcasts, the second book in Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series, Levi finds himself not only the leader of Glenrock’s remaining people but also the head of a new rebel force called the Messengers, intent on unmasking the Safe Lands’ lies. At the same time, Mason uncovers secrets that may be more dangerous than he ever imagined. Meanwhile, Omar decides to take matters into his own hands.

jillwilliamsonnewsmall

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including the Blood of Kings trilogy, Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches.

Click on the image below to purchase a copy of this book.

Check out all of the CSFF participants links below.

Red Bissell
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Pauline Creeden
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Julie Bihn
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jacque Stengl
Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

Book Review: Merlin’s Blade

28 May

73507x_w185A 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 Impressions:

I am a big fan of novels that use the Arthurian legends as their base. Before I read Merlin’s Blade, I would have said that Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle was my favorite. Now I can add Robert Treskillard’s first novel to the list — and can impatiently await the next book in the series due out in September. Merlin’s Blade, a YA fantasy, can be enjoyed by Middle Schoolers through adults. It is an epic story that has all of the Arthurian elements you expect, but with a fresh and sometimes unique spin that makes this a book that is definitely a keeper.

Merlin is a young man that has been scarred, physically and emotionally, by a wolf attack years before. The wounds have healed, but they have left him virtually blind and viewed by the people of his village as damaged, incompetent or worse, intellectually deficient. There are a few that can truly see his abilities and character — and some of those are his enemies. The novel starts slowly in its development of plot and characters. I enjoyed getting to know the many diverse personalities populating the book — Dybris, an intense monk, Natalenya, the daughter of the magister, Garth, an orphan ruled by his stomach, Owain, Merlin’s blacksmith father, and of course Uther, father of the legendary Arthur. Treskillard unites all of the characters through a mysterious stone the long hidden druids bring to the village. It has a variety of effects on these characters as well as the village as a whole. It seems to know a person’s weakness and woos him with promises and deceptions. The stone is a great device to depict the allure of sin and its hidden ugliness.

Merlin is of course the central character and is a type of Christ. I was often reminded of Isaiah 53 while reading Merlin’s Blade.

He sprouted up like a twig before God,
like a root out of parched soil;
he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,
no special appearance that we should want to follow him.
He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;
he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

At one point in the novel he even takes the punishment for young Garth’s crime.

This is one reason that I think Merlin’s Blade would be an excellent book for a family to read together. There are also some very strong female characters that act within the boundaries set by 5th century customs and culture. And because the story does develop slowly, the discussion it prompts can be in-depth. But don’t think that there isn’t any action in this story. There is plenty, and when Uther comes on the scene it comes fast and furious. Merlin’s Blade is a beautifully written novel, and an excellent first effort for Treskillard.

So are you a fantasy fan, an Arthurian aficionado or do you just like to read a good tale? If so, pick up Robert Treskillard’s debut, Merlin’s Blade.

Highly Recommended.

(Thanks to the publisher for a copy of Merlin’s Blade for review. All opinions are mine alone.)

But don’t take my word for it, check out what others on the CSFF Tour are saying. Click on the links below.

Noah Arsenault
Keanan Brand
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Sarah Faulkner

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — Corus The Champion

5 Dec

It has been a very busy last few weeks, so I didn’t get a chance to read D. Barkely Briggs’ novel Corus The Champion.  But I know some folks that did!  Take a few moments to explore the links below to get a feel for this YA novel.

The sequel to the Book of Names follows the Barlow boys as they try to rescue Corus and save an entire generation of youths from being led critically astray. Kr’Nunos is planning to ruin the land of Karac Tor by breaking down its greatest champion, Corus, whom he stole from the Fey. It’s up to all four Barlows-Hadyn, Gabe, Garret, and Ewan. Will they save this world from an even greater threat?

Dean Barkley Briggs is an author, father of eight, and prone to twisting his ankle playing basketball. He grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lews, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursila K. Leguin, Susan Cooper, Madeline L’Engle,Terry Brooks, Andre Norton and Lloyd Alexander (just to name a few)…and generally thinks most fantasy fiction pales in comparison. (Yes, he dabbled in  sci-fi, too. Most notably Bradbury, Burroughs and Heinlein).

After losing his wife of 16 years, Briggs decided to tell a tale his four sons could relate to in their own journey through loss. Thus was born The Legends of Karac Tor, a sweeping adventure of four brothers who become enmeshed in the crisis of another world and aong the way, must find their courage, battle overwhelming odds, face their pain, and never quit searching for home.

In God’s timing, beauty and joy arose in the real world, too. Briggs remarried a lovely redhead named Jeanie, who previously lost her husband in an auto accident. Together with her four children, their hands are quite full, and they spend each day grateful for their eight blessings.

The Book of Names is the first book in The Legends of Karac Tor.
Corus the Champion is the second. Both are in stores now!
The Song of Unmaking 
arrives Fall, 2011.

Briggs previously authored two medical thrillers, God Spot (1999) and The Most Important Little Boy in the World (2001)
Check out the CSSF tour participant’s links:

Gillian Adams
Noah Arsenault
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett 
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Marzabeth
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Sarah Sawyer
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

CSSF Blog Tour Day 2 — Wingfeather Saga

20 Sep

This month the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour is featuring Andrew Peterson‘s newest book, Monster In The Hollows. Since it is book 3 in the Wingfeather Saga (with one more on the way), I thought it would be good to let you know about the first two books in the series.

On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness. When the three Igiby siblings find a mysterious map, they embark on an adventure to discover family secrets about the father they never knew and a hidden treasure that many have long desired to find. Leeli, the youngest, can sing with a beauty that captivates dragons; Tink, the middle sibling, has the makings of a king; and Janner, the eldest, possesses a bravery that will protect them all. But the children’s curiosity get the entire Igiby family into trouble with the Fangs of Dang—frightening, scaly-skinned, lizard creatures that drip venom—who have ruled the land of Scree since the Great War. Soon, the Igibys are scrambling for their lives.

North!  Or Be Eaten.  Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they’re really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.  In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizardlike Fangs of Dang cannot follow. First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Bend, and the dreaded Fork Factory.  But even more dangerous are the jealousies and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart, and Janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else.

Tomorrow I will post my review of Monster In The Hollows, but for now, check out what others on the tour are saying:

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart 
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen  (post will be later this month)
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour — The Monster In The Hollows

19 Sep

This month’s book pick for the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour is Andrew Peterson’s The Monster In The Hollows (book 3 in The Wingfeather Saga), a young adult fantasy adventure.  Here is some information about the book and its author.  Tomorrow I will highlight books 1 and 2 in the series and on Wednesday I will post my review.  (Last week was crazy, so I am still reading the book!)

Janner Wingfeather’s father was the High King of Anniera. But his father is gone. The kingdom has fallen. The royal family is on the run, and the Fang armies of Gnag the Nameless are close behind.

Janner and his family hope to find refuge in the last safe place in the world: the Green Hollows—a land of warriors feared even by Fangs of Dang. But there’s a big problem. Janner’s little brother-heir to the throne of Anniera-has grown a tail. And gray fur. Not to mention two pointed ears and long, dangerous fangs. To the suspicious folk of the Green Hollows he looks like a monster.

But Janner knows better. His brother isn’t as scary as he looks. He’s perfectly harmless.

Or is he?

Join the Wingfeathers on an adventure filled with mystery, betrayal, and sneakery in a land of tasty fruits. There’s a monster on the loose and the truth lurks in the shadows.

From The Author’s Website:

Andrew Peterson — Hey, folks. If you’re just discovering me or any of my work, it can be a little confusing because there are several facets to it. If you don’t have time to read the whole bio below, here’s the rundown:

• I write songs.  I also record them to these cool things called CDs and put on concerts around the country. (And beyond! To my great delight, I get to play in Europe every year or so.)

• I write books.  Right now I’m writing four-part fantasy series for young readers called the Wingfeather Saga. I just published the third book, The Monster in the Hollows. I also illustrated some of the pictures (but not the coolest ones). The last book in the series should be published by next Christmas.

• I’m the proprietor of the Rabbit Room, a community of songwriters, authors, and artists interested in storytelling, faith, and fellowship.

• I’m a proud member of the Square Peg Alliance, a happy band of singer/songwriters who write together, tour together, and eat together.

• I’ve been married for fifteen years to Jamie, and we have three sweet children: Aedan (12), Asher (11), and Skye (8). We live in a magical place we call the Warren, just south of Nashville.

The common thread in all this is my love for Christ and his Kingdom, my belief in the power of story and art, and my need for family and community. If I had to boil it all down, I’d say this: I want to use my gifts to tell the truth, and to tell it as beautifully as I can.

To read what others on the blog tour are saying about Andrew and his book, follow the links below:

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart 
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

(I received a copy of The Monster In The Hollows from Bozeman Media in return for a review.  Any opinions expressed are mine alone.)