Tag Archives: fantasy fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Tropes Are Tops!

20 Aug

This week Top 10 Tuesday is all about the tropes — common themes or devices used in literature. My list is all about plot devices that define a story line, such as rags to riches. While many turn their noses up at tropes, terming them cliches, there is a reason they are used over and over — they are stories readers want to read! My list contains the very common (and popular) tropes that were excellently used in the books mentioned. And as you can see, tropes can be used in any genre — romance, suspense, historical, and fantasy. Hope you find a book you will love!

For more bloggers and their favorite tropes, please visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Tropes

Amnesia — Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

Cold Case — Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

Best Friends to Lovers — Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Long-Lost Heir — Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Love Triangle — The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Marriage of Convenience — More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Missing Person — Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Second Chance at Love — Falling for You by Becky Wade

Unlikely Hero —A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

 

What’s your favorite trope?

 

Book Review: Prophet

22 Mar

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals and is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips for lunch while writing. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their two sons. The Books of the Infinite series marked her debut in the fantasy genre.

My Impressions:

I lead a Faith And Fiction Bible study/bookclub at my church and am always on the lookout for Christian fiction that will compliment what we are studying. As part of a survey of Old Testament prophets, I chose Prophet, a fantasy by R. J. Larson.  The author took her inspiration for main character Ela Roeh from Jeremiah 1 and Ezekiel 2, so I knew it would be a great addition to discussion. What I didn’t know, but soon found out, was that Prophet is an engaging read that appeals to all ages. I loved the unique, yet familiar, world that Larson has created in this first book in the Books of The Infinite series. If you like fantasy with a Christian influence, this one is for you.

The world in which Ela Roeh of Parne inhabits is filled with unusual and often deadly beasts, people with their own agendas, and the ever present voice of the Infinite. Ela is not only young, but the first girl the Infinite has chosen to speak for Him. His message is repent and return, which she dutifully shares. Yet Ela struggles with doubts, insecurities, and grief over an unresponding audience. Larson made me view OT prophets in a new way through Ela’s character. I looked beyond their stern warnings and pronouncements to the heart that they had for God and His people. The story is one adventure after another, but flows with the purpose given by the Infinite. There is plenty of action for those who like battles and intrigue, yet there is a sense of lightness and humor that help keep this one from being too heavy. I liked the subtle references to the Bible that Larson includes. You can hear the voice of God in the messages of the Infinite. There are a few hidden touches as well. I didn’t realize until deeper into my study of the Biblical record that Ela’s last name is inspired by the Hebrew word for vision. Pretty cool!

Prophet is a well-written fantasy, yet I believe has a wider appeal. Its themes also make it a great book for book clubs. It is also just the first book for Ela and other characters I came to love. I look forward to visiting Ela’s world again.

Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: YA and adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It is currently free for Kindle Unlimited.)

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

27 Feb

Thanks to BookHounds for hosting the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop! Find out all the books and bookish stuff bloggers are giving away HERE. The hop runs from February 28 through March 7, so be sure to visit them soon.

leap-into-books-2016

I am giving away a copy of Patrick Carr‘s newest epic fantasy novel, The Shock of Night, book 1 in The Darkwater Saga. To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment. Thanks and good luck!

51j9dqg7ewl-_sx322_bo1204203200_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.

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 — 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

Tales from The TBR Pile: Prophet by R. J. Larson

8 Jan

Tales from The TBR Pile features books that are languishing on my shelves; books that deserve to be highlighted even though I haven’t read them. This month I am spotlighting Prophet by R. J. Larson, book 1 in the Books of the Infinite series. A fantasy with a Biblical feel, it has 208 5-star reviews on Amazon. If fantasy is your thing, then make sure to check it out.

 

209710_w185Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

 

Kacy310dpicropedR. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as The Women’s Devotional Bible, and Seasons of a Woman’s Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons, and is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips at her desk while writing. The Books of the Infinite series marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

R. J. is also known as Kacy Barnett-Gramckow!
Visit Kacy’s site here: http://www.gramcoink.com.

 

(Thanks to Bethany House for a copy of this book.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Emissary

6 Jan

723859Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam’s extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light–and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path–which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities — and dangers.

Free EBook Short

 

thomas-lockeThomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University. He holds a lifelong passion for epic fantasy, science fiction and techno-thriller stories.

Thomas’s screenplay adaption of Emissary is under development as a feature film with a British production company.

My Impressions:

Thomas Locke is a new voice in epic fantasy with the first book in a new series, Legends of The Realm. Written from a Christian worldview, Emissary is not your typical Christian novel, yet it embodies the themes of justice, mercy and compassion. Unlikely and ordinary characters achieve the extraordinary through shear will and determination. If you like classic fantasy, then you need to check out this novel.

Following the death of his mother, Hyam must travel to give the news to the father that left him long ago. Memories of abuse by the community of wizards his father belonged to feeds the grief and resentment in his heart. But Hyam finds out that all he once thought true has been a lie and his past is shrouded in a secret held for a thousand years. As he struggles to understand the powers he possesses, he finds he must fight the darkness that has begun to grow in the land. Along with another outcast and a former mage, Hyam gathers other outcasts to fight for what is right and true.

Part quest, part coming of age story, part suspense novel, Emissary is filled with beautiful images of a medieval world nothing like our own. Hidden kingdoms, Elves and other fantastical people, power emanating from colorful orbs, and 1000 year old secrets all make this new world unique to the reader’s experience. The main characters of Hyam and Joelle are complex and very relatable. Their responses to injustice are sometimes noble and sometimes vengeful, providing the reader with a lot to ponder about what his/her own reactions would have been. As stated earlier, there is not an overt Christian message, but the struggle between good and evil mirrors a Christian worldview. I especially liked that the forces the characters draw their powers from are influenced by motives and the desires of the heart. In Hyam we find a character that draws joy from his connection with the power — something that all Christians have when truly connected to God. For those who like action in their books, you are in luck. There are plenty of fights, close scrapes and escapes to keep you turning the pages.

Emissary is just book 1. While a lot is resolved in this book, the danger is not yet gone and Hyam, Joelle, Trace and other characters will face more uncertainty and fear with the rise of another dark force. More adventure, more suspense, more fantasy — perfect for lovers of this genre.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.