Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: Donita K. Paul interview

Please welcome Mrs. Paul here for an interview! This interview isn't like the ones I normally hold; it is shorter and more personality-themed. Enjoy!

NA: If you were to choose a song, instrumental or lyrical, that would describe any of your books, which would you think of?

DKP: Amazing Grace sung to the tune of Gilligan’s Island.

NA: Do you still enjoy making crafts, such as dragon bookmarks? (I got one of these myself :D)

DKP: Oh, yes! I am up to my neck in beads. We just opened an on-line jewelry. http://donitakpaul.com/shoppe/index.php It’s called Dragon Lady Shoppe.
JewelryShoppeCARD.jpg

NA: Do you own many dragon figurines? If so, describe your favorite one?

DKP: Oh, my! Yes. Many of them were given to me. My favorite is of a dragon relaxing with a book in his hand and smaller dragons around him, listening to him read.

NA: What do you like to do in your spare time? (besides writing and crafts)

DKP: Play with my grandchildren and read, read, read.

Thanks for doing this with us Mrs. Paul!

Check out Mrs. Paul's website!
Check out Mrs. Paul's blog!
Buy Dragons of the Valley
Check out more Christian fantasy!

Participating bloggers:
Gillian Adams
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Amy Cruson
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Dave Wilson


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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Door Within winner!

Congratulations to WindyCindy! Thanks for getting the word out through twitter so much! I will email you soon for your mailing address! And thanks to everyone else who participated! You make these giveaways possible! I hope to hold another one soon! Does anyone have a suggestion on which book I should give away next? Christian books only, unless it's LOTR or something similar :P

CSFF Blog Tour: Dragons of the Valley



Dragons of the Valley, Donita K. Paul, Waterbrook Multnomah, Fantasy, 2010, 370 pages.

Synopsis: With an invasion of her country imminent, Tipper Schope is drawn into a mission to keep three important statues from falling into the enemy’s clutches. Her friend, the artist Bealomondore, helps her execute the plan, and along the way he learns to brandish a sword rather than a paintbrush.

As odd disappearances and a rash of volatile behavior sweep Chiril, no one is safe. A terrible danger has made his vicious presence known: The Grawl, a hunter unlike any creature encountered before.

To restore their country, Tipper, Bealomondore, and their party must hide the statues in the Valley of the Dragons and find a way to defeat the invading army. When it falls to the artistic Bealomondore to wield his sword as powerfully and naturally as a paintbrush, will he answer Wulder’s call for a champion?


My thoughts: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a lot, and my expectation was right, in a way. The plot wanders, and it’s hard to tell where it will go next, even though you think you know where it will end up. A lot of time often passed between chapters, without being hinted at, and that was confusing. The only character not revealed much was Tipper, even though she seemed to be the main character.

The other characters, however, were where I was wrong. I really, really enjoyed them! They are what drove this story. Wizard Fenworth’s absent-minded way of things kept me laughing, Hollee’s cheerful inquiries brightened my mood, Lady Peg’s meandering, critical speech bewildered and fascinated me, and Rayn’s antics had me wishing I had a minor dragon of my own! If you don’t mind a vague plot, and prefer good and interactive characters, this is the book for you!


*I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.*

My rating: 4 stars

Buy Dragons of the Valley
Discover more Christian fantasy!

Check out Mrs. Paul's website!
Check out Mrs. Paul's blog!

Upcoming reviews
  • Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Caprice Hokstad
  • The Gifted by Stephen R. Wilson

Participating bloggers
    Gillian Adams
    Amy Bissell
    Red Bissell
    Justin Boyer
    Keanan Brand
    Grace Bridges
    Beckie Burnham
    Keanan Brand
    Morgan L. Busse
    CSFF Blog Tour
    Amy Cruson
    D. G. D. Davidson
    April Erwin
    Amber French
    Andrea Graham
    Katie Hart
    Ryan Heart
    Bruce Hennigan
    Becky Jesse
    Cris Jesse
    Jason Joyner
    Julie
    Carol Keen
    Dawn King
    Emily LaVigne
    Shannon McDermott
    Matt Mikalatos
    Rebecca LuElla Miller
    Joan Nienhuis
    John W. Otte
    Donita K. Paul
    Sarah Sawyer
    Chawna Schroeder
    Tammy Shelnut
    Kathleen Smith
    James Somers
    Fred Warren
    Phyllis Wheeler
    Dave Wilson


    Monday, January 17, 2011

    House of Dark Shadows

    http://www.journeyguy.com/images/2009/01/darkshadows_150.jpgHouse of Dark Shadows, Dreamhouse Kings #1, Robert Liparulo, Thomas Nelson, Fiction, 2008, 286 pages.

    Synopsis: Dream house . . . or bad dream?

    When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

    But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

    They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

    Then the
    really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

    My thoughts: Pros: If I had to sum up this book in one phrase, I would say “duality of adventure and horror.” Liparulo made lots of movie references, which I enjoyed, and I could see many of the scenes playing on a silver screen. He seemed to design that way, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this in the box office in coming years! The dark, woody surroundings and the run-down state of the house were successful settings for the mood of the book. They reminded me of Ted Dekker’s House, and the hallway was reminiscent of Inkheart and Indian in the Cupboard.

    Cons: I feel that there could have been a few more surprises and oddities in and around the house, like the linen closet and locker 119. It wasn’t the best book of this type, and I hope the following books amp up the thrill, but it was still fun to read!

    My rating: 3 stars

    Upcoming reviews:
    • Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul
    • Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Caprice Hokstad
    Buy House of Dark Shadows
    Discover more Christian fiction!
    Check out the book website!

    The Map Across Time

    The Map Across Time, Gates of Heaven series, C.S. Lakin, Living Ink Books, Fantasy, 2011, 440 pages (uncorrected review copy)

    The Map Across Time
    Synopsis: The kingdom of Sherbourne is plagued by an ancient curse which must be halted before devastation results. The King's twin teenagers, Adin and Aletha, use a magical map to go back in time to discover the origin of the curse and its cure, but everything goes awry. Can Adin manipulate events in the stream of time to assure the salvation of his kingdom?

    My thoughts: I wasn’t prepared for this book in any way. It caught me totally off guard, because of the plot’s complexity and beauty.

    Cons: The first page or so had almost made me yawn, and needed more action. Don’t judge this book by the first page or so. The next few pages got more interesting, and from that point on, the story escalated with each chapter. Unlike the previous volume, the talking animal theme was less prevalent, to my disappointment. This qualm of mine wasn’t too important though.

    Pros: I can’t say much about the storyline, other than it was fantastic, unpredictable, and unforgettable! There were so many hidden twists, I was impressed! Although not being an emotional guy, I was really stirred up by the end. Alethia’s devotion to her brother Adin, and his to her, were admirable, and were mostly what stirred me. Reading the last line, I though, “Where’s more!!!” Well done, Mrs. Lakin!! This easily ranks among my top favorites!

    My rating: 5 stars!

    I received this uncorrected review copy free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

    Upcoming reviews:
    • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
    • Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul
    Preorder The Map Across Time
    Check out C.S. Lakin's website!


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    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    The Duke's Handmaid

    The Duke’s Handmaid, The Ascendancy Trilogy, Caprice Hokstad, Splashdown Books, fantasy, 2010, 321 pages.
    Synopsis: 
    Slavery...loyalty. 

    Torture...honor. 

    Betrayal...selflessness. 

    All the young orphan wanted was security in a world that destroyed her family and left her alone and homeless. Can the simple farmgirl find a new family through voluntary enslavement to the duke's household? 

    Crafted in a highly precise writing style so smooth it slips right from the page into your imagination, this fantastical storyworld examines timeless social issues that inform global justice today.

    My thoughts: I wasn’t sure what I expected when I opened this book, but it certainly wasn’t what I found. Not that that’s a bad thing; I rather enjoyed the book! The story revolves around an Itzi girl who gives herself as a Freewill slave to the duke of her land. Her character is nearly perfect, but still makes mistakes, like any other human being.

    The plot line wasn’t very tangible. I couldn’t tell where the story was going until the last chapter, though it was hinted at earlier. There are a lot of grisly descriptions, so squeamish readers should look out.

    Apart from the representations of Keedrina and the duke, I didn’t notice any reference to Christian thinking. Maybe there was something and I just didn’t see it, but I was a little disappointed in that regard.


    My rating: 3 stars

    I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

    Buy The Duke's Handmaid
    Check out Mrs. Hokstad's website!

    Upcoming reviews
    • The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin
    • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
    • Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Caprice Hokstad

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    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Auralia's Colors

    Auralias Colors (The Auralia Thread Series #1) (Paperback)Auralia’s Colors, The Auralia Thread, Jeffrey Overstreet, WaterBrook Press, Fantasy, 2007, 338 pages.

    Synopsis: When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster's footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

    Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling - and forbidden - talent for crafting colours that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar's hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

    Auralia's gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

    Auralia's Colours weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action and unpredictable characters sure to enthral ambitious imaginations.

    My thoughts: Writing a review of this book is hard. There are few books you can easily compare it to, one being the Bible. It is its own tapestry. Overstreet weaves in colors hinting at joy, intrigue, betrayal, and desire. The color metaphors never got old, which shows his mastery of allegory. Many finer points of this allegory are hidden deep and are hard to discern. The Keeper is an interesting creature to note. I have been told it is not in fact a representation of the Creator, though it would seem that way.

    The ending left me breathless and sad, but I look forward to the next Strand! I believe this will become a classic in the allegory genre, alongside C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia!

    My rating: 5 stars


    Upcoming reviews
    • The Duke's Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad
    • The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin
    • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

    Buy Auralia's Colors
    Check out more fantasy!

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    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    CSFF Blog Tour: The Wolf of Tebron excerpt

    Here is a special excerpt from The Wolf of Tebron, by Susanne Lakin.

      Collecting courage, he lifted the crescent-shaped doorknocker and let it fall to against the door. Bits of grainy rock broke off and drifted slowly to the ground, capturing tiny moonbeams as they settled softly on the stoop. The pieces shimmered like stardust. A melodious voice called out.
      "Entree, entree, yes, I'm coming!"
      Joran peeked into the entry, at the pool of light coating the floor like ivory paint. A figure in a long gown emerged from shadows and glided to greet him. A hand was offered-bedecked with a silver ring on each finger, and sporting a dozen thin bracelets that jangled noisily.
      "Oh, it's you. What took you so long? I am certain the soup has gone cold but-no matter-let's just heat it up, what do you say, darling?" The woman gave Joran no time to react; she led him by his hand across the pool of light into the messiest kitchen he had ever seen. After a quick glance around the spacious room with the intricately vaulted ceiling, he nearly tripped over a mop leaning against an upholstered chair-a rather ratty one at that-and kicked a wooden slop bucket with the toe of his boot, sending it sliding across the floor.
      "Oh, my, forgot I left that out. My apologies."
      Joran shook his head, trying to make himself wake up. Now he must be dreaming. This place had put him under a trance.
      "Nonsense." The woman pursed her lips and leaned close to Joran, giving he cheek a little pinch. Joran jerked back and banged into something else. He winced when he heard objects crash to the floor and break into pieces. "Don't worry about that old thing. She collects the most useless junk. And, no, you are not dreaming."
      "Who are you?" joran asked. "Just where am I?"
      "Silly. You know exactly where you are. This is the Moon's house."
      "And you are-the Moon?" Joran ventured.
      Hearing this, the woman laughed hysterically. She slapped her thigh and tried to catch her breath. Between guffaws, she snorted and wheezed in a most unladylike fashion. "You're kidding, right? Weren't you taught your fairy tales at bedtime? Or do humans not do that anymore?" She seemed to be asking herself, rather than Joran.
      Joran didn't know what to make of this tall, lithe woman dressed in a sequined gown that trailed around her feet and seemed to drop pearls as she scurried around. Her beaklike nose overpowered a weak chin, and her high cheekbones were rouged in red. Her long white hair, interlaced with ribbons, spread about her like a skirt. Her gown flowed like water about her, never quite touching her skin-unlike anything Joran had ever seen. Although silver in color, it swirled with blues, golds, and greens like a meandering stream, circling and circling her waist, reminding Joran of Charris's buckets of paint when she blended colors together with her large paddle. Tiny glass slippers graced her feet, and rather than walk, she danced and glided about, humming softly and occasionally winking at Joran.
      "Sit, my little mince pie," she ordered, pointing to a rickety wooden stool. "That way you won't break anything else." Joran promptly deposited himself at a table brimming with serving platters and bowls of crystal lined with gold filigree. He peered into one tureen and found a collection of sparrow's nests, dusty and cobwebbed.
      As the woman busied herself at the stove, stirring an enormous copper kettle, Joran looked around him. Moon globes glowed dimly from the walls, and moonlight streamed in through a round window down the hall. Trinkets and bottles and tins lined cupboard shelves. Unlabeled glass jars of different shapes and colors cluttered the countertops, dirty dishes lay piled in the wash basin, oddities and sculptures crammed every nook. Giant vultures of bronze glared from the walls; strange creatures with tentacles and buggy eyes hung from ornate chandeliers. A stack of molody books, topped with what looked like a set of antlers, teetered precariously on a stool in the corner.
      "I know, I know, she has terrible taste. Where she gets most of this dreck I'll never know."
      Joran searched for something to say, but this place overloaded his senses. A strange smell drifted over from the cooking pot-briny and pungent. Joran's stomach gurgled in response.
      "Yes, you have some fattening up to do. Your journey has taken its toll on you, poor boy." She lowered a long dipper into the pot and poured a clear liquid into a crystal bowl. As she handed the bowl to Joran, he saw the Moon reflected on the liquid's surface. The woman studied Joran's face.
      It's harmless, trust me. And it will fill you up nicely. Here, I'll fetch some biscuits." She rummaged through a cupboard and found a large, round tin. After blowing off the dust, she pried open the top and handed Joran a handful of crumbs. "Well, they are still biscuits, after all. Let's see, when did I bake those? It's been so long, I can't remember." She turned to Joran. "And it's been so long since we've had any visiots out here, I am forgetting my manners." She offered her hand to Joran.
      "My name is Cielle. I am the Moon's siter."

    I really enjoyed this passage because it has a lot of imagery and really plays with your imagination. Susanne Lakin is a master of that!

    Check out Mrs. Lakin's website and blog!

    Blog Tour Participants:
    Noah Arsenault
    Amy Bissell
    Red Bissell
    Justin Boyer
    Keanan Brand
    Grace Bridges
    Beckie Burnham
    Jeff Chapman
    Christian Fiction Book Reviews
    Carol Bruce Collett
    Valerie Comer
    CSFF Blog Tour
    D. G. D. Davidson
    April Erwin
    Andrea Graham
    Nikole Hahn
    Katie Hart
    Ryan Heart
    Bruce Hennigan
    Becky Jesse
    Cris Jesse
    Becca Johnson
    Jason Joyner
    Julie
    Carol Keen
    Dawn King
    Shannon McDermott
    Matt Mikalatos
    Rebecca LuElla Miller
    Joan Nienhuis
    Nissa
    John W. Otte
    Chawna Schroeder
    Tammy Shelnut
    Kathleen Smith
    James Somers
    Rachel Starr Thomson
    Robert Treskillard
    Fred Warren
    Phyllis Wheeler

     

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    CSFF Blog Tour: Susanne Lakin interview

    Please welcome Susanne Lakin, author of The Wolf of Tebron and The Map Across Time, due to be released 2011!

    Image of "C. S. Lakin"
    NA: What drew you to write Christian fairy tales?

    SL: I had been praying hard to God for direction in what to write for him. I’d already written three psychological mysteries that never sold and was pretty discouraged about writing. I even gave it up for about ten years. Then, I just felt I needed to write again but wanted God to tell me what to do. He made it very clear this was to be the genre and ministry for me—to write allegorical fairy tales, using traditional fairy tale elements and structure in the style of Lewis to reach a world that doesn’t know God.

    NA: That’s great! What is unique in The Wolf of Tebron compared to other fairy tales?

    SL: Well, it’s very unique in that I adapt elements from fairy tales that people are familiar with, old tales from Grimms and collections like Andrew Lang’s fairy books but I create full novel-length deep tales that have a lot of biblical infusion and sometimes loads of Scripture. Also no one in modern day is really doing this—other than Gregory MacGuire (Wicked), and his work is not Christian-based.

    The Wolf of Tebron (Book1) in The Gates of Heaven SeriesNA: Were there any books that you read that became inspiration or interest
    in the genre?

    SL: Just read fairy tales all my life. Plus I’m a huge fan of Patricia A. McKillip, who is the consummate fairy tale writer in the commercial market.

    NA: Were there any smaller influences that found their way into your writing?

    SL: Interesting question. Of course, my own spiritual journey and personality slip in—my doubts, fears, self-doubt—other characteristics that become parts of my characters. I don’t deliberately put “myself” in my books, but it can’t be helped.

    NA: Have you ever met a wolf?

    SL: I held a baby one once at a roadside attraction. It was amazing. Plus, I’ve always been a huge dog/wolf fan. I wanted an animal to represent many of God’s qualities so a wolf had all the comfort and loyalty of a dog, but also the fierce protectiveness of a wolf.

    NA: Which character was the hardest to write?

    SL: I can’t think of any really. All my characters grow organically out of the story idea and they just form into themselves as I mull over and plot the story.

    NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

    SL: They all felt easy but I think the Moon was the most fun, since she’s a lunatic.

    NA: If you could be any person in your books, who would it be?

    SL: In any of my books? I would probably be the princess, Aletha, in The Map across Time, coming out in March. She is fiercely loyal to her brother and full of spunk. I guess she is already a lot like me.

    NA: If The Wolf of Tebron were made into a movie, would you have any preferred
    actor, director, composer, etc?

    SL: I am hoping a film company will make the books into movies. I really don’t have any preference but pray God opens the door to the right company and crew to make these movies glorify him.

    NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?

    SL: I love to scuba dive. I am an avid backpacker and love nothing more than to be atop a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I am seriously addicted to chocolate and right now I’ve been on a diet and haven’t had any for eleven days. I’m surviving.

    NA: I would like to scuba dive someday! Do you have any future book plans or ideas?

    SL: Always! I just finished book four in the fantasy collection. I’m hoping to do at least seven, maybe ten. I can’t imagine ever stopping writing fantasy. I’m working on my ninth novel, my fifth contemporary, called Intended for Harm, a modern-day take on Jacob’s family. I have a swashbuckling dog memoir I’ve started and am waiting to see if the proposal sells, so at some point I’ll be writing that. I also have a sci-fi series I’ve started called Time Sniffers, with the first book done, a romping time travel adventure with alien camo “dogs” that can sniff out black holes.

    NA: Wow, that is a lot! I look forward to them. J Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian fairy tales?

    SL: If it’s in your heart to write them, do! Read lots of fairy tales and glean from them. There are so many timeless, gorgeous tales.

    NA: Thank you for spending this time with us! It was great to have you! May God bless you and your writing!

    Buy The Wolf of Tebron
    Check out Mrs. Lakin's book website and blog!

    Blog Tour Participants:
    Noah Arsenault
    Amy Bissell
    Red Bissell
    Justin Boyer
    Keanan Brand
    Grace Bridges
    Beckie Burnham
    Jeff Chapman
    Christian Fiction Book Reviews
    Carol Bruce Collett
    Valerie Comer
    CSFF Blog Tour
    D. G. D. Davidson
    April Erwin
    Andrea Graham
    Nikole Hahn
    Katie Hart
    Ryan Heart
    Bruce Hennigan
    Becky Jesse
    Cris Jesse
    Becca Johnson
    Jason Joyner
    Julie
    Carol Keen
    Dawn King
    Shannon McDermott
    Matt Mikalatos
    Rebecca LuElla Miller
    Joan Nienhuis
    Nissa
    John W. Otte
    Chawna Schroeder
    Tammy Shelnut
    Kathleen Smith
    James Somers
    Rachel Starr Thomson
    Robert Treskillard
    Fred Warren
    Phyllis Wheeler


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    Monday, January 3, 2011

    CSFF Blog Tour: The Wolf of Tebron

    Wolf Of Tebron (Gates Of Heaven V1) (Paperback)The Wolf of Tebron, The Gates of Heaven series, C.S. Lakin, Fantasy/Allegorical Fiction, Living Ink Books, 2010, 254 pages.


    Synopsis: Joran dreams of living a simple life as a blacksmith in his forested village of Tebron. But when his wife, Charris, disappears in a whisk of magic, his dream shatters as he is forced to go on a perilous journey to the ends of the world to rescue her. The goose woman tells him he must solve the riddle of the three keys and will wear out three pairs of shoes before he battles the moon-who has trapped Charris in a sand castle perched above the sea.
    Dismayed and fearful, Joran sets out alone, but along the way finds unlikely companionship in a wolf named Ruyah, who becomes his guide and trusted friend. In true fairy-tale tradition, Joran must face daunting challenges-within and without-in order to bring Charris safely home.

    My thoughts: I was quite impressed with this story! It had many tell-tale elements reminiscent of a fairy-tale: three keys, three pairs of shoes, a sand castle, the Sun, the Moon, the South Wind, and talking animals. It portrays a man desperate to rescue his wife, a jealous Lunatic Moon, and a wolf who is loyal beyond compare. This wolf represents God’s faithfulness and friendship to His children, and also shows Christ’s immense sacrifice, but that is nearly all the similarity that should be understood. The dream metaphors were confusing, especially so on the last page. Another issue I had was the series as a whole. When reading the synopsis for the second volume of this series, I couldn’t find a correlation. Maybe it will turn up, but for now I don’t see it. However, I do plan on reading it upon its release.

    My rating: 4 stars

    Upcoming reviews
    • Going Rogue by Sarah Palin
    • Masters & Slayers by Bryan Davis
    In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

    Buy The Wolf of Tebron
    Check out more allegorical fiction!
    Check out Mrs. Lakin's blog
    Check out Mrs. Lakin's website

    Blog Tour Participants:
    Amy Bissell
    Red Bissell
    Justin Boyer
    Keanan Brand
    Grace Bridges
    Beckie Burnham
    Jeff Chapman
    Christian Fiction Book Reviews
    Carol Bruce Collett
    Valerie Comer
    CSFF Blog Tour
    D. G. D. Davidson
    April Erwin
    Andrea Graham
    Nikole Hahn
    Katie Hart
    Ryan Heart
    Bruce Hennigan
    Becky Jesse
    Cris Jesse
    Becca Johnson
    Jason Joyner
    Julie
    Carol Keen
    Dawn King
    Shannon McDermott
    Matt Mikalatos
    Rebecca LuElla Miller
    Joan Nienhuis
    Nissa
    John W. Otte
    Chawna Schroeder
    Tammy Shelnut
    Kathleen Smith
    James Somers
    Rachel Starr Thomson
    Robert Treskillard
    Fred Warren
    Phyllis Wheeler

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    New Years Giveaway! (CLOSED)

    Door Within (Door Within V1) (Paperback)We now have 100+ followers! As promised, here is a giveaway to mark that event and the New Year! I will be giving away a copy of Wayne Thomas Batson's The Door Within!

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    Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
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    6. You can read any of my reviews or interviews on this blog and comment on it, as long as you have not already done so on it for another giveaway. (earns 1 entry each)
    7. You may link to this giveaway on facebook. Comments don't need links, since I am not a member of facebook. However, you must email me an image of your status. My email is manuscriptna(at)gmail(dot)com. Limited to once a day. (earns 1 entry each)
    This giveaway ends Saturday January 22nd, 11:59 PM PST

    Oh, and Happy New Year to you!

    Masters & Slayers

    Masters & SlayersMasters & Slayers, Tales of Starlight series, Bryan Davis, Living Ink Books, Fantasy, 2010, 419 pages.

    Synopsis: Expert swordsman Adrian Masters attempts a dangerous journey to another world to rescue human captives who have been enslaved there by dragons. He is accompanied by Marcelle, a sword maiden of amazing skill whose ideas about how the operation should be carried out conflict with his own. Since the slaves have been in bonds for generations, they have no memory of their origins, making them reluctant to believe the two would-be rescuers, and, of course, the dragons will crush any attempt to emancipate the slaves. Set on two worlds separated by a mystical portal, Masters and Slayers is packed with action, mystery, and emotional turmoil, a tale of heart and life that is sure to inspire.

    My thoughts: This certainly isn’t the longest of Bryan Davis’s books, but nevertheless is quite long. Not long enough, however, to prevent me from reading it in one day! For most of the book, there isn’t much tension and thrill, but it shoves you forward at the end.
        The beauty of Davis’s fantasy is that they are quite drawn out, without being boring. Most fantasy books resolve conflict quickly, usually in one to three volumes. In his Echoes from the Edge trilogy, Davis had a goal clear, but didn’t successfully show the steps toward that goal, in my opinion. Strange things entered out of the blue that I couldn’t find much significance for in the long run, being so abstract. In Masters & Slayers, the goal is much clearer, and few unknown radicals come into play.
        Davis’s main characters get a lot of “screen time,” and are walking complexities. Adrian is chivalrous and compassionate youth, but daring. Marcelle acts first, thinks later, and sees no reason why only boys should be warriors. Arxad is loyal to his fellow dragons, yet merciful and an advocate for humans.
        I liked the metaphor of the White Dragon, the King, representing God: being there to save Adrian and his father.
        The ending was quite unexpected, and I can’t wait to read the next volume, The Third Starlighter.

    My rating: 5 stars

    I received this book free from Living Ink Books. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

    Upcoming reviews
    • Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet
    • The Duke's Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad
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    Seeds of Turmoil

    Seeds Of Turmoil (Hardcover)Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East, Bryant Wright, Thomas Nelson, Nonfiction, 2010, 222 pages.

    Synopsis: The current conflict in the Middle East began long before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. It originated when Abraham sinned, distorting God's promise that he and his heirs would make a great nation and inherit the land now called The Holy Land.

    A historical and political account, Seeds of Turmoil clearly explains the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and the ensuing sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau, whose choices formed the world's three most influential religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    This fascinating insight into the beginnings of the conflict also explains what about the land is so important today. In addition, Wright sheds light on the conflicting Jewish, Christian, and Islamic perspectives and answers the question, Does God play favorites?


    My thoughts: If you want the original Biblical history of Israel, and how it’s troubles began, this is the kind of book you ought to look for. However, if you are interested in learning about Israel’s more recent history, I would look elsewhere. Granted, it does give some, but not very much. I found that the author tends to repeat himself, frequently referring back to passages and points already covered.


    *I received this book free from Booksneeze. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.*

    My rating: 3 stars

    Buy Seeds of Turmoil
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    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Going Rogue: An American Life

    Going Rogue: An American Life (Hardcover)Going Rogue, Sarah Palin, HarperCollins, Memoir, 2009, 413 pages.

    Synopsis: Beginning with the family exodus to Alaska, the book follows Sarah Palin. She gives explanations
    of how she was shaped, what she believes in, her campaigns for mayor, governor, and vp. There is actually a solid ending in which she provides her intent as an American. She also defined exactly what she would do to help this country out of its mess. She never goes in without a plan. Right or wrong, she definitely has a plan.

    My thoughts: This story is about a woman who decided that politics-as-usual were not in the best interest of the people, and set out to change that. Maintaining and expressing her Biblical views, she served on the Wasilla City Council, then successfully ran for governor of Alaska. During this time, she radically changed the way Alaskan government worked, and ushered in renewable energy in the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). Then, after being asked to join Senator McCain as a VP candidate, she battled through the media’s false reports and opinions. After losing the election, she and her family were heavily assaulted by the media with false stories, no matter how ridiculous.
        Throughout all the offices she held, she always let her beliefs shine through in the decisions she made and people she appointed. Though she did not associate solely with any one party, she did so with those whom she thought held Alaska’s, and America’s, best interest.

    Upcoming reviews:
    • Seeds of Turmoil by Bryant Wright
    • Masters & Slayers by Bryan Davis
    Buy Going Rogue
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