Tag Archives: Stephen Lawhead

Top 10 Tuesday — What to binge-read when others are binge-watching.

4 Sep

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is binge-worthy TV shows/movies. I am so out of the loop when it comes to TV watching. While my friends binge-watched Downton Abbey, I read books. While my kids binge-watched The Office or Portlandia, I read books. While my husband watched Lonesome Dove and its many sequels, I read books. Hmm, I am noticing a trend. So as not to be left out this week, I again changed the topic to Book Series to Binge-Read while Other Binge-Watch. I have included series from a variety of genres — I hope you find some new books to keep you busy!

Check out other bloggers’ recommendations at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Series to Binge-Read

 

The Baxter Series by Kathy Herman (suspense and danger in small town America)

 

The Bowers Files by Steven James (high-octane suspense)

 

The Bright Empires by Stephen Lawhead (mind-bending time travel)

 

The Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock (Southern suspense)

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon (romance on the Oregon coast)

 

Lowlands of Scotland by Liz Curtis Higgs (the ultimate love triangle set in 1700s Scotland)

 

The Million Dollar Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark (charitable mysterious doings)

 

The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta (mystery/intrigue in Victorian England)

 

What series would you binge-read?

Advertisements

Top 10 Tuesday — Unique Books

11 Apr

 

This week bloggers have been challenged by the folks at The Broke And The Bookish to identify books we find unique. Hmmm. This took a bit of thinking on my part, but I came up with some books that are unique in characters, setting, and perspective. The most unique feature of these books is that they are all Christian. I often hear people say they don’t read CF because the books are all alike — well here are some that will challenge that presumption.

 

Top Unique Books

Vikings! Heather Day Gilbert writes books about Vikings. Strong female Vikings! Her Vikings of The New World series is currently 2 books strong, but there are more on the way promising great storytelling. The saga begins with God’s Daughter.

 

Gypsies! Brandy Vallance’s novel, Within The Veil, takes a look at the gypsy culture against the backdrop of Victorian England. There are some other unique elements that make this novel not your run of the mill CF historical romance.

The Circus! I know there have been other books with the circus as their setting, but The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof goes much deeper. The two main characters are unique as well.

Judas. Tosca Lee‘s novel, Iscariot, is a powerful look at Jesus through the eyes of the disciple who betrayed him. With Easter around the corner, you cannot go wrong with this book.

LOTS of Jesus. In Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos looks at the question Jesus asks His disciples: Who do you say I am?

Werewolves, Zombies and Vampires, oh my! Matt Mikalatos is back with another novel looking at the Christian life. Night of the Living Dead Christian is a very unique read.

Witches and a very unique narrator. All of Billy Coffey‘s novels can be categorized as unique, but The Curse of Crow Hollow takes the designation up a notch. There is a witch, but it is the narrator that provides the most unique feature.

Island Destination. Ok, everyone likes a book with an island setting, but Uncharted by Angela Hunt offers a destination most would do anything to avoid.

Travel through space and time. Perhaps the most unique series of books I have read comes from the very talented Stephen Lawhead. The adventure in this 5-book series starts in The Skin Map. This one has it all — unique settings, characters, and mind-bending themes.

What unique books have you read?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Made Me Want to Travel!

26 Jul

Thanks so much to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish who week after week host the fun and fabulous Top 10 Tuesday. This week’s challenge is to list the Top 10 Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do. To find out what other bloggers have learned or are inspired to do, click HERE.

toptentuesday

Well above all else, books make me want to travel. Now as my husband will attest, I am not much of a traveler. But the following books have really sparked my interest. Whether it is to real life places or places I can only dream about, here is my list.

Top Books That Make Me Want to Travel

 

Travel in Unique Ways

Route 66 — The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee

Public Transportation — Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

51z68wcQf5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_13100288

Travel to Unique Locales

Ca d’Zan Ringling Museum — The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

Oregon Sea Stacks — Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Shetland Islands — The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

the-ringmasters-wife-672x1024-504x76851hxzphwtql-_sx322_bo1204203200_the-inheritance-249x384

Travel Back in Time

Viking Days — God’s Daughter by Heather Gilbert

Medieval Period — The Abbess of Whitby by Jill Dalladay

Ashes to Ashes by Mel Starr

finalkindlecovergd551qqj3v5jel-_sx326_bo1204203200_unknown

Travel to Fictional Small Towns

Appleton — Lock, Stock And Over A Barrel by Melody Carlson

Bright’s Pond — The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin

Last Chance — Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

51Q28ilEeTL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Unknown16153453

Travel Across Time/Space/Universe

The Bright Empires Series by Stephen Lawhead

548047_w185bone-house-book-cover

548061_w185548078-1548085

Where do you want to travel?

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

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

Book Review: The Shadow Lamp

13 Nov

548078The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

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.

Learn more about the author, Stephen Lawhead, HERE.

My Impressions:

First off, you must read books 1-3 in the Bright Empires series before you read The Shadow Lamp. Lawhead does a good job of catching the reader up in each successive book, but it is good only for reminding us what is going on. Don’t skip the first books or you could become as hopelessly clueless as Kit in his early ley travel. (To learn more about the series, click HERE.)

Now then, I loved books one and three. Thought book two was just ok. Well, I am afraid that is my opinion of The Shadow Lamp. There are new and interesting characters, the focus of the quest narrows, and the characters unite behind their cause. But there are still some threads that Lawhead puts into the story that seem to go nowhere. I hope that in the fifth and final book, The Fatal Tree, we will finally figure out where all this is going.

There is also a good bit of discussion about the science and purpose of all the time or ley travel that is going on. I tend to glaze over when this occurs. I know some love this, but I had a difficult time discerning between actual scientific theories and what the author is dreaming up. I don’t know if I am just not smart enough or maybe just too impatient.

I did notice that as the characters become more and more concerned about the End of Everything, the  annihilation of all things created, the book becomes darker. Ley travelers encounter pirate attacks, invading armies, and severe weather events. And one of the sweetest characters is brutally attacked, though his loving response may be the redemption we are looking for.

So should you read The Shadow Lamp? By all means. The good outshines the just ok. But I think it is helpful to keep a few scripture verses in mind —

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17 (NASB)

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

But don’t take my word for it, check out what my fellow travelers think:

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

In Which The Reader Is Caught Up — CSFF Blog Tour Day 2

12 Nov

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Stephen Lawhead’s newest book, The Shadow Lamp, Book 4 in the Bright Empires series. Reading the first 3 books is a must, so here is a recap of each book and links to my reviews. (Thanks to Amazon for the summaries.)

548047_w185Kit 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-coverOne 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_w185Kit 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

 

 

 

To find out what others on the tour are saying about The Shadow Lamp, click on the links below.

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

 

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a copy of The Shadow Lamp.)