Monday, December 19, 2011

Masters & Slayers by Bryan Davis

Forbidden legends of dragons from another world linger. But when a portal believed to link the two worlds is found, everything changes- or does it? Adrian Masters and Marcelle find a freakishly-mirrored world where dragon-enslaved humans scoff at the idea of a human planet without dragons. Adrian and Marcelle find themselves in the awkward and dangerous position of rescuing the Lost Ones, only, they don't know that they're lost.

I would like to start off noting how beautiful the cover for this book is. Honestly, it is what drew me to read this book in the first place. And, I am quite glad it did. Masters & Slayers turned out to be two beautiful fantasy worlds, bridged by a few secret portals, and categorized by the infamous mythical creature- the dragon. I am no expert on dragon books- I have only read a select few. But this book had an excellent lore that strayed slightly from the typical medieval kingdoms and dragons tales.

All of that said, this book did start somewhat slow. In the note at the beginning of the book, which gives the recommended reading order, it recommends starting with Starlighter (Dragons of Starlight). I think the missing backdrop in this book might have been filled in if I read Starlighter first. Still, Bryan Davis says the order for the two is interchangeable. Overall, the characters are well done, but slightly too perfect. I am hoping that with this book having been such a beginning, the next books in the companion series will be intense and suspenseful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shadow in Serenity by Terri Blackstock

Logan Brisco has all the traits of an expert con artist, and then some. He is handsome, with a charming smile, likeable personality, and the ability to smoothly convince others to hand over their money. But even with all his experience and training, one obstacle stands in the way of his biggest con yet: Carny.

Carny Sullivan was raised by cons. How else would you end up with a name like Carny? But even after turning her life around, she can smell a conman a mile away, and Logan is on the radar. She will do anything to expose Logan's lies and save the town she has come to love- as long as she doesn't fall first.

This book is a Christian revision of the last book Terri released back when she wrote for the secular market. That said, her genre has shifted from romance to suspense. And this being based off one of her old stories, Shadow in Serenity does not contain the heart-pounding suspense consistent in most of her books. However, this does not mean this is not a great book. It was an excellent book! The characters are extremely well done, and you instantly bind with them, making the story all the more interesting. You travel with them through past and present on an amazing in-depth journey that gets you thinking. Amazing novel, and of course I cannot wait for Terri's next novel, Downfall, set to release in February 2012.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Books of Mortals Covers

Well here they are. The covers for all three books in The Books of Mortals trilogy. What are my thoughts? Some sort of combination beautiful, epic, and captivating.

When I first saw the cover for Forbidden, I thought it seemed a bit plain, but it's sort of grown on me. And when combing with the covers for Mortal  and Sovereign, it creates a collection that I would rate as my all time favorite covers. They hint at a complex fantasy, while being both simple and complex- very intriguing.

And with that thought, I would like to state a few thoughts of mine on covers. We all know the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." And while this is absolutely true, covers do not necessarily reflect the content of a book, we all tend to do it. Our eyes are naturally drawn to certain images. We want to have books that look appealing, and we might be more hesitant to buy books that look plain or cheesy.

Do you agree with my theory on covers? What are you thoughts on these covers? And this also my first post that is not a book review that I have posted on here. Should I do more posts like this in the  future? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

With one piece of the skin map found, the race to find the other pieces gets all the more serious. With Wilhelmina's suspicious new mastering of ley leaping, Kit gets an extra step ahead. But if there is one thing he is learning in this reality of alternate worlds- you can run, but you can't hide. He must leap through the worlds on a quest to unlock the mystery of a house made all of bones, a place shrouded in mysticism.

Meanwhile Mina has a journey of her own in Prague, and Burleigh and several others plot a way to win their prize in this ultimate race of greed.

Number one, you must read The Skin Map first. No exceptions, the book will not make sense. If you have read The Skin Map, then: The Bright Empires is very unique in several ways. It does not follow the normal structural line of modern novels, it focuses on a group of individuals, each uniquely, and it dives into the present realities for many in different places at different times. All of which makes it very intriguing, though makes it difficult to review. I enjoyed book one in the series, The Skin Map, and I found the more time went on after having read the novel, like an enchantment, the more I realized that I truly loved the story, and the same appears to be happening with this book. The majority of the two books are not intense chase and suspense, no. But they are filled with side stories taking place at various points in history, and each one pulls me in deeply without fail.

That said, I need to for-warn you of something. The Bone House, even more than The Skin Map, is filled with the following: Egypt, England, Egypt, Prague, England, other country, Egypt, England, Egypt, other country, Egypt, England, Egypt. They are a lot of countries, but predominately, England. And even more so, Egypt. If you love the two countries, as I do, than you are in luck. But if you have some sort of distaste (shame on you!), then you may get tired of hearing about the two cultures. Don't be concerned, though. It is called the Bright Empires for a reason, these are peaks of civilizations. Excellent novel, and I am anxiously anticipating the next installment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, Interview with Tosca Lee, and Forbidden Giveaway

Hundreds of years in the future, after human greed and hatred destroyed much of the world in an apocalyptic war, a new empire arises. Perfect peace reigns, but there is a secret. Every single soul on the earth is dead. Down to their very strands of DNA, they are no longer human. The only thing they feel is fear.

Their is only a small hope. A young artist named Rom is given a strange vial and vellum by an old man trembling with fear. Upon examination, Rom learns a sip from the vial of ancient blood can restore him to his potential humanity. The issue is, humanity is... forbidden.

I have long awaited Forbidden. Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee teaming up- how much better can it get? After all the hype and claims of a series worthy of comparison to The Circle Series, I can say that it surpassed all my expectations. Amazing as it was, an absolute 5-star rating, it wasn't how I expected. It dove so deep into humanity, emotion, love and evil that it tapped my heart as I greedily flipped the pages. If you think The Circle and Demon: A Memoir was life-changing, I promise you, so is this. But as with the others, so different than the typical. The two brilliant authors wove a brilliant world in which the story pulls you in. And their writing styles coalesced together so well that they weren't distinguishable from the other in the slightest way. Excellent novel; don't pass it up. I am already eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, Mortal, set to release in June 2012.

Check out the book trailer below:

Interview with Tosca Lee

1. What was it like writing with Ted Dekker, a New York Times best selling author?
        It rocked. 

2. Where did you and/or Mr. Dekker get the idea for Forbidden?
       We knew we were intrigued with the idea of what makes us truly human... and then we just counted back from there.

3. In your opinion, how does Forbidden stand out as a novel from other works?
       It strategically combines the true strengths of two authors--his pacing and action, my description and prose. The point was to write something we could not have done alone. Or else what's the point, right?

4. Mr. Dekker has hinted at possible books in the future tied in with The Books of Mortals. Are there any current plans, and if so, do you hope to continue to co-author those future books?
       Right now we have three books planned--and we have moved those up from one a year over the next three years... to all three in the next year. Too many people asked--how could we say no?

5. Forbidden falls into the dystopian/fantasy genre, whereas your previous novels, Havah and Demon: A Memoir, fall into the Biblical fiction genre. How was the writing experience different?
       There was less research involved, but it's all been world-building. The language/prose differs slightly from genre to genre as well.

6. Your next book, Iscariot, is set to release in January of 2012. What sets Iscariot apart from Havah and Demon: A Memoir?
       Iscariot deals with my most difficult topic to date: Judas Iscariot. It took me more than two years to research and write this novel. I have some news on Iscariot coming soon, so be sure to stay tuned to my FB page!

7. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author, and how did it become a reality?
       I was a published author in third grade but really realized I wanted to do novels in high school. I just wrote. I wrote short stories. I entered contests. I wrote my first novel in college. I just kept writing and trying.

8. Who are your favorite authors?
       Dude. Do you know how many of my friends are authors? Are you trying to get me killed?

9. Where do you find the most/best inspiration?

10. What advice would you give to teenagers and young adults with hopes of becoming an author?
       Read a lot. Write a lot. Experiment. Learn. Get input from people you trust. Learn what you do best. Be fearless.

Can't wait to get your hand on a copy of Forbidden? Hopefully, I can help with that. Courtesy of the publisher, Center Street, I have a copy to give away. Contestants are limited to The United States and Canada; no PO boxes can be given for the address. Other than that, follow the instructions in the PunchTab widget bellow. If it's not working, make sure you're logged in to Facebook.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker

Miriam, a Saudi Arabian princess, flees to America to escape a forced marriage. Nothing could be more horrifying than such a living death.

Seth is a genius with an astounding IQ of 195. He receives a strange gift- to see not the future, but possible futures. The impacts any decision could have.

When their two paths are intertwined, the unlikely pair veer down the path of a wild goose chase in a desperate attempt to survive. America learns of a coup attempt in Saudi Arabia; one that could shift the balance of the entire Middle East. Possibilities ride so thin that the future of the characters and the entire Middle East could change in the blink of an eye.

I first read the original version of Blink of an Eye, titled Blink, several years ago. It was the second Dekker book I had read, and this was the point where he had me truly hooked. It was, and is, one of my favorite books of all time. The perfect balance of romance, suspense and humor all spun into life-changing novel. Peering deep inside the Middle East and arousing and answering thoughts from deep within, Blink of an Eye will pull you along for a wild ride.

A quick note on the two editions: Blink of an Eye was created as a more thematic edition in preparation for the movie, now at a standstill. The differences aren't substantial, only minor changes. Not even that noticeable unless you look for them. The one major change is that in the original book in a sort of search for faith, Seth prays to the Christian God and Muslim Allah separately in order to discover which, if either, are real. In this book, they only pray to one God, still in a search, and while the line as to which God it is less bold–you have to read it carefully.

As a precaution, this book can be mistaken as promoting Islam if you read it incorrectly. If something seems off, reread it. This book is Christian. Don't let that scare you off though, this is one unforgettable read!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Final Hour by Andrew Klavan

For Charlie West, life has been far from simple or easy. It gets complicated even further when he learns that that the terrorist group, the Homelanders, is nearing their huge attack on America. And the more he discovers about the planned strike, the more he realizes that he is the only one who can stop it. Time is of the essence; it all comes down to the final hour.

I admit that between my reading the third and fourth books, I did not go back to read the first and second. And unfortunately, it now looks as if it is too late. Any further inquiries on Charlie West's past are answered.

While this book certainly does not make my list of favorites, I did enjoy it much more than The Truth of the Matter, the third book. While many plot secrets are unveiled, I did not feel like it was spewing facts. There is plenty of action in the midst. However, the book was way too short. Even for a YA novel. The action doesn't even truly begin until the second half. I felt myself wanting to get into the story, wanting to like it. But there was simply way too little material for that to happen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book of Days by James L. Rubart

The memories, they're slipping away. His wife, his past, and even the note he just wrote down- gone. As reality slips away, Cameron Vaux grasps desperately at his last hope: a legendary book that records the earth's days. On his search, he is pointed towards a small town. But at any mention of the book, the people shut up like he just showed off his suicide bombs. The memories may be dissolving, but the words haunt him still "You will lose your mind. When it starts happening . . . you must find the Book of Days"

I loved this book. The storyline was brilliant, and I love how realistic it was, rather than theatrical compliance. The reactions and dialogue seemed to be exact with the parallel if someone asked you about a Book of Days in 5 minutes. The writing flowed excellently, and I had a very hard timing setting the book down.

This book did have loose mutual themes with Rooms. As a vague summary, a search for purpose and hope. My personal opinion however, is that Book of Days is even better than Rooms. Excellent novel, James!

Here is the book trailer:

Here is James Rubart on Book of Days:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner

In 2012 they were broken. In 2048 the aftermath takes effect.

Historian Paul Binder receives a strange summoning to study the original Diatesseron. As he and Angela Krall, a manuscript specialist, study the text, they stumble upon a strange trail of clues. Disaster is rampant as the world breathes it's last breaths. Strange events lead the duo on an endless labyrinth across the globe as they try to uncover the mystery of the seraph seal.

When I started this book, it seemed pretty boring. Taking place 37 years in the future, I had a hard time adapting to this sci-fi earth. However, the further I got into this book, the more interesting and suspenseful it became. It got to a point where I loved the book, then suddenly, it left me off at a rather disappointing ending. One that was so different that it made me question what the authors hoped to accomplish with this.

On the matter of the literary blue prints of the book, it jumped around a lot. In a way, it was cool for this particular story, and focused more on the world and the story line more than completely on a set of characters. Yet I found myself being immersed into a character's portion of the story, then yanked out and thrown into the story of someone someone else.

Now, for the theological content. From the very beginning, the apocalyptic signs and puzzles seemed a bit off to me. And throughout the book, they skip several of the events in the book of Revelation. In fact, almost all of it. If you take this book lightly, and accept it as a nice novel with loose ties to the Christian end of the world, it can be enjoyable. If you try to soak it in or get a deeper understanding, turn away; this book will confuse you and possibly anger you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Endless Knot by Stephen R. Lawhead

A terrible thievery causes need for Llew and his most loyal subjects to travel to the Foul Land, Tir Aflan. There they must conquer countless beasts, ancient evils, old enemies, cursed lands, and the curse itself. On top of that, mysterious fires keep on appearing in Albion. Death is stared in the face when unraveling begins on the Endless Knot.

By far, the best of the series! This, is true fantasy. Mythical creatures, ancient curses, an impossible quest - this is what I'm talkin' 'bout! A great story with that eerie Lord of the Rings feel. While I love the story, and title it the highlight of The Song of Albion Trilogy, because it is so different from the others it almost feels separate. Same characters, but different atmosphere.

Semi-disappointed on the ending. I love the sad endings, strange as it sounds, but this one kind of ruined the whole love/sacrifice thing. In a way, similar to Ted Dekker's Green ending, but not quite as effective.

*Once again, I would like to note this review was written back in November of 2010.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Silver Hand by Stephen R. Lawhead

Meldryn Mawr is dead, leaving the question of who will be his successor. Llew, his champion and traveler from between worlds, or Meldron, his son and the prince? Whoever the new king may be, the title will not come without a price. When Llew gets exiled, tension enough for a civil war breakout. And the only one who can bring peace to Albion is the Silver Hand.

This book is based on a story not quite unknown - it is repeated several times throughout history. It is sort of a retelling, though I will say a good one. It is a story of hope. There is always hope. Better than the first, though still no creatures and still occasionally failed to capture my attention. There are some really cool things in this book, but they are weighted towards the end instead of being evenly spread.

I might also add that switching to a different person's view in a first-person series is pretty confusing. The first half of the book I still thought it was Llew then, of course, in the third book I still thought it was Tegid. Interesting approach, and quite clever, but still a little difficult to make the switch between characters.

*Again, I would like to note that this review was written back in November 2010.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Paradise War by Stephen R. Lawhead

Lewis Giles is a student at Oxford majoring in Celtic Studies, and living a pretty plain life. Funny how quickly things can change. Out of nowhere his roommate decides to go looking for an ancient creature that has extinct for thousands of years all the way in Scotland. Lewis finds himself being dragged along for the ride. But what seems like a foolish hunt turns out to push Lewis unknowingly into a whole different world and the Paradise War.

This fantasy world is somewhat different than other fantasy worlds. For one, it is somewhat based on old Celtic lore, but the main thing I noticed is that there are not many creatures. A very few here and there, but for the most part they play no major role. I enjoyed this book, finding it quite unique. Although I will admit it didn't completely capture me. A couple times I found myself struggling to focus on it, so that was a disappointment. However it did explore a subject personally unknown - the Celts.
*I would like to note that this review was written in October 2010. However it is just now being posted.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

The battle against Chaos continues, and Apophis is very close to rising. The only way to stop him is to awaken Ra. Problem is, no one even knows where Ra is. And to awaken him, they need the three scrolls of the Book of Ra which are unreadable. Sadie and Carter Kane are not alone, though. They now have the assistance of their new trainees and a few of the gods.

To add to all the confusion, Carter has found some information leading to Zia's possible location. In this fresh, intense, and humorous race, it is all about the Throne of Fire.

I liked this book even more than the first in the series. It is in many ways, similar. A race to save the world in just a few days, with several battles and bits of humor along the way. This tends to be the pattern in Riordan's mythology books. The difference in this book is that it has a theme of identity. None of his other mythology books seem to as clearly have a theme. A great sequel. I liked how it went further into Egyptian mythology. Very excited for the next, and final book in the Kane Chronicles!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Clarity by Jenna Kay

Clarity lives in a small hick town in Southern Georgia with her aunt. She has a best friend and loving boyfriend. Partying and being a teen. This is the life Clarity has come to know.

But when she meets Sam, who claims to be an angel, and tells her that she is a Seer, her nicely packaged life is thrown into chaos. Everything is changing and strange things are always happening. She must decide whether to go back to normal or embrace being a Seer in her difficult search for clarity.

I found Clarity to be a very good book with great spiritual warfare. It is well written, and fast moving. Clarity and some of her friends can be a bit dirty so some of it is... interesting. I suppose that makes it more realistic however, in our society today. Clarity is from the first person point of view of a woman. As a guy, it is always hard to tell whether the book will be to feminine in this case, but this time, it was fine. More towards a female audience, but I didn't feel awkward reading it. Great job, Jenna, excited for the next one!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

40 by Travis Thrasher

Just nine months before his fortieth birthday, Tyler Harrison receives startling news: he is going to die on his fortieth birthday. He is told this by an angel named Matthew, and has no doubt that the information is valid, but he still does not know what to do with the information.

Tyler is a music producer, and the crazy life of the job continues. Tyler is befriended by both an internationally-known DJ named Ellis, and a pastor called Will. Both confuse him. To add to this, Tyler is haunted and questions his own sanity. All of this is part of the countdown, to the day that Tyler Harrison turns 40.

I am going to be honest and say that the first half of the book is very slow; being in the first person point of view of a man going through his mid life crisis and working through the knowledge of when he will die. I was able to push through though, to the second half of the book which is much more interesting. The story picks up speed and gets intense. The best part of this book, however, was the ending. It had a fabulous twist that I never saw coming and never even considered. The ending was the redemption for reading it, and is one of my favorite endings of all books.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

Just days before Emily Covington graduates from New Day, a drug recovery program, another member of the program drops out. Lance tries to help, and ends up finding a newborn baby in the backseat of a car. He is then thrown into a world where he is charged with kidnapping and he is faced with the harsh reality of addicts. Kent Harlan rushes to the Covington's aid, but it will take more than him and the Covingtons to stop the vicious cycle.

Unfortunately, I was very busy when I read this book, and was therefore unable to read the book in three days and thus no 3D rating. I can say, however, that this book was almost impossible to put down and I had to pry it out of my own hands. The book is cleverly laced with suspense and pulls you into the world of drugs. I loved the perspective given from the book, and I think it very realistically displayed the harsh reality of drugs.

Shown throughout is how Christians should act, and just how far one might go for another. I loved this book and it is just as good or better than Intervention. Great work, Terri!

Below is the trailer:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Human will is corrupt. It has been ever since the forbidden bites of the forbidden fruits. But, as in the days of Noah, God is once again considering re-starting humanity. David Ponder, and all the other Travelers have the opportunity to stop that from happening, by correctly answering answering a single question. The Travelers consist of brilliant minds throughout history, including C.S. Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, and King Solomon. Sounds simple, right? Maybe it would be if not for the limitations of only five guesses, and the correct answer must be achieved before the hour glass runs out. It all comes down to the Final Summit.

This book is very difficult to place in one genre. It is sort of a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, biographies, and inspirational. As this book is mixed genre, I also have mixed feelings about it. Overall, I liked it. It was a quick book that explores good morals and tells interesting stories. I did have a few problems with it however.

First off, the archangel Gabriel is a main character in the book. Forgive me for my line of thought, but Muhammad also thought he was visited by Gabriel. Now I am not saying that people can't be visited by Gabriel, it is quite possible it happens. I am simply saying that nagging thought stayed in my mind. My other problem was that Gabriel spoke of a race more advanced than ours. Instantly I thought to the Garden of Eden. He then continued on about the pyramids, how we can't match them today. Then I was confused. The Isrealites, the Egyptians? Then he spoke of their architecure all over the world and them living 30,000 years ago. Now I was thinking whoa. Aliens? I can't think of what else it could be. I was very disappointed about that. Decent values if you can avoid the obstacles.

On the plus side. I never guessed the answer.

I review for BookSneeze®

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl

Allison Pierce, federal prosecutor, Nichole Hedges, FBI agent, and Cassidy Shaw, news reporter make up the Triple Threat Club. The club is humorously named after a favorite dessert, but the three of them together solve many crimes. This time however, things get personal...

Elizabeth Avery loves playing The Game. Manipulation, control, and transcendence are the keys. Murder, arson - who cares? Necessary moves if you want to win. But in order to make the right moves, you must have a heart of ice.

I have not read the first two books in the series, but I did not feel at all confused. The book is written fluently, and it begged me to keep reading. It is definitely a suspense novel, since you know who the killer is, but not how it will all work out. With all that in mind, I would say that this is a woman's suspense novel. Not so completely that a man couldn't read it, but all four of the main characters are women and the book deals with issues such as breast cancer. Even so, from my perspective, a great read.

I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Freshman Survival Guide by Nora Bradbury-Haehl and Bill McGarvey

Relationships, homework, organization, room mates, money, spirituality. These are some of the issues that plague college freshman. College is a whole new stage in life, and it can be quite overwhelming. That is why the editors of Busted bring you The Freshman Survival Guide, to help you maneuver through the labyrinth and make it out better than you went in.

I am a freshman... in high school. Nonetheless, I read this book and found the advice very helpful. The advice is practical, simple things that make your college life a whole lot better. It is organized into chapters that deal with individual topics for quick reference. I found the book to be in a very readable format.

I do note that there are quotes from various spiritual leaders, including not only Christian ones, but Muslim, Buddhist and a few others as well. Some Christians may try to distance themselves from that, but I think it is good to broaden the spectrum, and I found the advice in no way offensive. Since I am not a college freshman, I had my sister who is a college freshman read it. She said it was great and helpful.

I will definitely be reading it again when college comes!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Battle for One Elect by Dr. Simon Hezekiah Kohein

Simon Kohein can not escape sorrow, but neither can he escape joy. His life is filled with ups and downs and every other direction. But lets face it, some of those downs are downs. Is this due to simply bad luck, or might it have something to do with the curse on their family his grandmother always spoke of? What is going on in the spiritual world, parallel to ours? Simon shares his life and all his thoughts in a final letter to his long deceased wife.

I was very surprised to find that, despite the cover, the first half of the book isn't really about spiritual warfare. It has spiritual references, sure, but it's not about spiritual warfare per se. However, as the book continues it becomes evident that the book is in fact about spiritual warfare, but it is also an autobiography. I found the story incredibly interesting, and filled with a message of hope and perseverance. The books was smoothly written, and I could tell that both the characters and emotions are genuine. Great book, recommended to those going through trials.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

Renee Gilmore is a helpless victim sucked into a trap of drugs, hopelessness and fear. When she is rescued, she feels forever free and relieved. However, when an unimaginable string of events occurs, Renee is forced to take action and her life is suddenly intertwined with a strange priest.

Danny Hansen would be that strange priest. Once being a helpless victim himself, he is sick of being a witness of cruelty to human innocents as they slip through the law's hands. Thus, he decides to take the law into his own hands (only when the law fails) all in the name of justice. In this corrupt system there are many in the priest's graveyard.

Judge not, or you too may be judged.

To start off, 3D rating! This book completely lives up to the Dekker standard. Very readable book. The perspective in this book is an interesting one. It is in the first person point of view from a woman, but it quite often switches to the third person point of view of a man. That makes for an interesting style that allows you to crawl inside one character's head, and glance inside another's. The feel of the book is moderately dark, but in my opinion in no way a thriller, despite other claims. I think it is more in the suspense category, though not like "The killer is about to get you!" For a nice change there are no serial killers. Both the twist and message of this book grew in my mind like a natural inception so that I felt completely in sync with the characters. Great work Ted, unexpected and amazing!

Below is the trailer.

Want a free hardcover copy of The Priest's Graveyard? Leave a comment below including your email for a chance to win. For an extra entry, become a follower this blog and leave an additional comment stating you did so. Winner will be selected at random. Contestants are limited to continental US residents only. Winner will be selected April 19th.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Intervention by Terri Blackstock

Emily Covington is a full out addict. Only 18 and she is throwing out her life, health and future. She is, basically, a walking dead. But her Christian mother can not watch from the sidelines, she decides to take action... again. She hires an interventionist and everything seems to go perfectly for a while. But as her daughter arrives in Georgia, Emily won't answer the phone on the way to the retreat, and then- disaster strikes. Barbra, Lance, and Emily Covington's as well as Detective Kent Harlan's lives are turned upside-down. It all started with the intervention... or did it?

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but the average time that I read a book is 3 days-1.5 weeks. The books I read in 3 days are the best; books I can't put down. Past 3 day books would include Immanuel's Veins, Rick Riordan's mythology books, The Promises She Keeps, and The Gift. This book, is the latest addition to my 3 day book collection. In the future, for the purpose of sounding awesome, books I read in 3 days will say "3D rating".

Now, for my opinions of the book. Well, it was amazing! It was one of those books where I made instant connection with the characters. I wanted them to succeed, I dreaded what was about to happen to them. Yes, this is a character based novel. One of the characters, Lance Covington, was a 14 year old guy with an older sister. I too fit that description so I was glad to have a character I could closely relate to. Not really any complaints. Amazing book, Terri! I'm very excited for Vicious Cycle!

Here is the trailer. The characters don't appear much as I picture them, but I'll leave the decision to you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Caroll

It all starts with a a dead body in a burning house. Well, thus starts the catastrophe anyways. Not terribly uncommon, but the house is for the unfortunate and the source of an award; and the body is that of the inspector. Contractor Layla Taylor is thrust along with Detective Maddox Bishop into a chaotic reality where trust is deceitful, hope is weakness, and peace is mockery. Layla can hardly doubt that she is living in the shadow of evil.

When I first started this book, I kept wondering, how is this the shadow of evil? But soon it became evident; this book gets intense! Smoothly written with a fluent story line, it was a great read that was hard to put down. Construction and Louisiana were two foreign subjects to me, so that was an interesting background in my eyes. I was a little disappointing though that there wasn't much culture. I also must note that there are two over used phrases that I assume were meant to add character but came across otherwise. As the book progresses, they do become more scarce. All in all, excellent book and I can't wait to read it's two siblings. Great job, Robin.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Gift by Bryan Litfin

Teofil and Anastasia have been exiled from Chiveis because of their faith. They travel south and are greeted by high class societies. And while Anastasia is greeted with open arms, Teofil is not. They are on a desperate search for the lost New Testament and soon discover that there are more people that want to stop them than only the high priestess of Astrebril. They will stop at nothing to discover the gift.

While The Sword was an excellent novel, in my opinion, The Gift was even better. Again, an excellent example of what Christianity would be in the eyes of someone who never heard of anything like it before. The story is slightly repetitive of the first book, but the various settings and characters make up for it. Bryan Litfin is a master at creating characters. Each is well defined, and they all react to situations in "the way they would".

The story takes you all around the map of the post-apocalyptic world displaying different evolving societies, which I found to be quite interesting. There is a heavy dose of suspense spread through out the book, and a nice drizzle of romance. Both of which make the story all the more interesting. A brilliant novel about redemption and perseverance. Excellent work, Bryan; can't wait until the next one!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Forgiveness Project by Michael S. Barry

Forgiveness. The key to peace. The freedom from hatred. The glorious outcome of Jesus' resurrection. So why are we so quick to reject it? Why is it so obviously absent in our society? Is there any possible chance that it is connected to the deadly disease, cancer? That is exactly what Rev. Dr. Michael S. Barry strives to explain in The Forgiveness Project.

This book is exactly what it advertises itself to be. It contains in-depth neurological and psychological explanations on the responses to forgiveness and hatred. It also gives cancer patient's testimonies, an explanation of why we don't try to forgive, why we should forgive, and ideas on how to forgive. I can't say that after reading this book I have forgiven everyone. But what I can say is that it got the stone wheel rolling, and I have started on the healing path.

I was shocked to find a few passages from the Hindu Mahabharata. The selected quotes didn't go against my faith in any way however, so I see nothing wrong with it. A great book, recommended to anyone who wants to forgive, whether everyday or a major grudge.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sword by Bryan Litfin

400 years after the modern world is destroyed, a medieval style kingdom called Chiveis comes forth. Christianity has long been forgotten, and now the Chiveisians have their own polythiestic religion loosely based on ancient Greek and Roman mythology. When a Bible is accidentally discovered, the ultimate clash of religions will take place.

An excellent story. Descriptive, but fast moving. A great example of how much we should cherish Christianity every day. The setting is pretty believable since there are no mythical creatures. It is possible in the way The Bride Collector is possible, are there serial killers? Yes. Are there victims? Yes. But is it likely that an actual serial killer kills those victims that way? No. The Sword is kind of like that. Could the world really be destroyed that year that way? Yes; but highly unlikely.

The characters are well defined, and it is about their personal journeys just as much as it is about the re-discovery of Christianity. A brilliant novel, recommended to Christian adults, especially those who want to have a better appreciation for both Christianity itself and the religious freedom we experience in America today. I am very excited for the second book, The Gift.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

Promise is dying. Suffering from cystic fibrosis, and having multiple peers surrender to the disease, she knows her time on this earth is limited. But she doesn't want to be a tumbleweed in the wind, no she wants to be remembered and loved and she will accomplish that with her incredible voice.

When Promise survives multiple should-be-dead situations, an aging pagan witch named Porta believes she may have finally found the goddess of immortality. What's more is Zack, who Promise hardly knows, was present at each close-call situation.

Then there's Chase. An autistic artist with a love for trees, he has a revelation and has gone either completely insane, or might be on to something.

The first book I've read by solely Erin Healy. Her writing style is very similar to Ted Dekker's, only much more descriptive in a way that fuels your mind's eye without going overboard. I love how there is a sorceress in the novel; it just makes everything more... interesting. Though she's not quite what you expect. Very suspenseful, but not really dark. The ending has a fabulous twist that I never expected. Amazing book, almost impossible to set down. Erin, this is a work of perfection.

I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Egyptian gods are real. They are, after many years, being released from the Duat and not all of them are very happy. Sadie and Carter Kane find they have amazing powers. Their discovery of their powers shoves them into the ancient world of Egyptian mythology, only in present-day. Having to battle magicians, beasts, and even gods, the Kanes go on a journey they will never forget. And they cannot allow the completion of the Red Pyramid.

I must admit, I am obsessed with Egypt. Specifically ancient Egyptian Mythology. So naturally when I passed the book section in Meijer, The Red Pyramid caught my eye. A second glance confirmed my hopes were true: I found an Egyptian book. Now, you must understand, Egyptian books are a rare find so I was quite excited. However, this book has a young adult reading audience so I was somewhat cautious as to if the book would be to easy. Obviously, I gave in, and I was not disappointed in the least! Here is a succulent piece of fantasy marinated in the juices of Egyptian mythology, grilled over the fires of magic, drizzled with suspense, and sprinkled with humor. My one mild disappointment was the occasional "kid" reference or term such as "I hate it when grown-ups..." however, other than this, excellent book Rick!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis

Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their nuisance of a cousin, Eustance return to Narnia. They are brought aboard the Dawn Treader, the best ship Narnia has seen for ages. Now that Narnia is at peace, Caspian is fulfilling his oath to sail East and find the lost seven lords and (to Reepisheep's delight) possibly sail to the utter East, the end of the world.

I first read this book about 3 years ago then I re-read it, hopefully in time for the movie (I half succeeded). It is a book for children, but I think any adult will be fine reading it. It's a relatively quick read, and it has some great spiritual aspects and good morals. One of my favorites in the series, due to all the magic and tropical islands. An excellent classic.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher.

The body brutally broken for us. The blood mercifully shed for us. This is the heart of Christianity. This is what communion is about. This book is about the author's personal insight and experiences with communion. It is supposed to answer your questions about the Sacred Meal.
The majority of this book is filled with personal experiences "about communion", though almost all of them have nothing to do with communion. Some may be good Christian testimonies, but I don’t think they belong in a book about "communion". Further, it scarcely speaks of the first communion, the Last Supper, and slightly more often (though not nearly enough) does it speak of Jesus.
There are many things I disagree with in this book; most are flat-out, hands-down false teachings when placed next to the Bible. Here are a few examples of the poisonous doctrines mixed throughout the text:
TSM: Communion is all about community. P.6,11-13
MR(My Refute): Recall what Jesus said, Luke 22:19 "...This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." Remembrance of JESUS, not the community.
TSM: When Jesus turned water to wine at the wedding feast, the wine was "hidden" in the water; Jesus found and restored it. P. 65-66
MR: Really now? Is Dr.Pepper hidden inside a coconut? No. Jesus made (Greek – ginomai: to come into existence) the water into wine.
TSM: Nora speaks about how she "accidentally" ended up participating in an Islamic dance/prayer ritual and how amazing it was. P. 98-100
MR: The God of the Bible is not the some of that of the Quar'an. Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me."
TSM: We make Jesus into our personal savior; but he was half that, half political activist. P.111
MR: I don't know about you, but Jesus is my personal savior. Can't he be that and also against political corruption? Against corruption doesn't make him less a savior. I am all novel lover and I still love movies. I’m not half and half.
TSM: When we die, we become part of the earth, the birds, the trees - just like Jesus. P.134-137
MR: I was very disturbed by this choice morsel. While this theology may look dazzling in 3D and bring millions to the box office (Avatar), it is not in line with the Bible. 2Corinthians 5:8 “…we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
TSM: "We are all the ongoing incarnation." P.137
MR: No refute even necessary.
Zero stars. I strongly recommend you DO NOT read this book! 

 Normally I would include an Amazon link to the book, however, as I am strongly against this book, I am including a link to the NIV Bible instead: