Monday, July 30, 2012

(CLOSED) Hidden in Dreams giveaway!

That's right! I'm finally holding another giveaway! This time, the prize is a paperback copy of Hidden in Dreams, by Davis Bunn! All the rules, entry types, and such are below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 EST on August 5th. Enjoy!

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Hidden in Dreams

Hidden in Dreams, Davis Bunn, Howard Books, Suspense/Thriller, July 3, 2012, 256 pages.


It’s not about understanding the prophecy. It’s about outliving it.

Dr. Elena Burroughs’s life is spiraling out of control. Her controversial stance on dream interpretation has cost her a job, a romance, and all credibility in academic circles. Her literary agent tries to leverage the outcry into a publicity tour, which soon attracts a quirky following. Among the skeptics and mystics is a condescending scientist. But Elena finds his research holds ominous parallels with her own. A certain dream pattern has foretold every major catastrophe stretching back to the dawn of civilization. And now this dream is repeating itself in countless nightmares across the globe.

Elena is confronted with a harrowing realization: the clock is ticking down to a cataclysmic financial collapse. Her desperation mounts as the prediction infiltrates her own dreams. Will this scientist become an unlikely ally—and maybe something more? Could an ancient biblical secret about the power of dreams and visions offer them an escape?

My thoughts: This being my second time reading Davis Bunn's work, I suppose I was expecting it to be quite similar to the previous installment, Book of Dreams. In this expectation, I was wrong, and that is a good thing. In the first, Bunn's focus was fixed closer to the characters' journey through trials, and used the dreams to keep the pace even and set the mysterious mood. In Hidden in Dreams, the dreams help bring about the final solution to the book, but I will say no more regarding that. The focus, as you'll see by the end, has been about the "thriller" aspect of the novel. 

The characters aren't the moral focus they had been previously, but are excellent examples of Bunn's talent nonetheless. His writing is one of the key features that will draw readers in. Despite frequenting the subjects of medical studies, business, the press, politics, and economics, the reader is never bored by these. There is never unnecessary detail; just enough relevant information is given for the reader to understand (and care about) what is happening.

While the dreams are definitely the focus of this novel, they slow near the middle, and so does the reader. They recover, and bring the interest with them, and certainly never allow the thought of quitting the book, but spark some boredom once or twice.

Hidden in Dreams is a novel abounding in wonderful writing and textured characters, and gives a good name to Christian thrillers, but didn't hold my attention firmly throughout.

*This book was provided free by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.*

My rating: 4 stars

Buy Hidden in Dreams!
Check out more Christian Suspense!

Upcoming reviews:
  • I Am Ocilla by Diane Graham

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Am Ocilla

I Am Ocilla, Diane M. Graham, Splashdown Books, Fantasy, March 1, 2012, 272 pages.


Open your heart and mind to the simplicity and complexity of a name.

I know only my name. Beyond that is confusion, a void where fantasy and reality swirl together. Fairies, Giants, Elves, Dwarves, ancient Keepers, and...Dragons? A dark soul threatens the Five Kingdoms, but I am powerless to stand against him, overwhelmed by phantom memories, broken and lost.

Somehow, I must live. I must find my purpose. There are friends to love and battles to fight.

I know my name. Perhaps that is enough.

I am Ocilla.

This is my story.

My thoughts:

From the title to the illuminating eye on the cover, this book will intrigue nearly any type of reader. It boasts a fresh and effective approach to revealing this new fantasy world. Ocilla, trapped in a pitch-black stone cell, knows nothing about herself, save her name. She must re-learn the world she was born into. While many fantasies overload the reader with details, I Am Ocilla starts on a narrow path of discovery, but makes Ocilla the focus. Readers quickly associate with her, since her temporary confusion is theirs.

Another fresh stance is taken in reference to fantasy races. She doesn't rely on previous details regarding Elves, Dwarves, Giants, Dragons, etc. She makes the races her own. Additionally, she includes talking creatures, which frequently show great character. They are a personal favorite of mine.

Mrs. Graham's writing style is wonderful. I could try to justify her use of present tense throughout by referencing her amnesia, but I don't think it is enough. While I'm not a strict nay-sayer to present tense by any means, I don't like it used for just any book. It ought only be used in exclusive settings and micro-genres, if then at all. However, her well-tempered craft is quite enjoyable.

Something that surprised me was Graham's derivative of reincarnation. Don't get me wrong. It's not (and not intended to resemble) reincarnation. It is set in a different world, even though it references ours. As such, it is speculative in the sense of living a story over and over again.

I Am Ocilla intrigues, freshens, and pleases the mind with clever creatures and writing. I'll be watching for Diane Graham's work in the future!

*This book was provided free by the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.*

My rating: 4 stars

Buy I Am Ocilla!

Upcoming reviews:
  • Hidden in Dreams by Davis Bunn
  • Letters From a Martyred Christian by H. I. Hussman

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Favorite Music

Every so often, I will be posting new songs I've found, which I really enjoy. I hope you like them as well.

Puss Suite - Henry Jackman - Puss in Boots soundtrack

Turn this one up!

When The War Came - The Decemberists

Nightmares - Chameleon Circuit

Black Sea - The Contact

Major Tom (Coming Home) - The Contact

Into Oblivion (Reunion) - Funeral For A Friend

The Travelling Man - Chameleon Circuit

Everything Is Ending - Chameleon Circuit

Which is your favorite?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I was tagged by the epic Jake from Teenage Writer!

Here are the rules:

- If you are tagged/nominated, you must post eleven facts about yourself.

- Then, you must answer the eleven questions the tagger has given you and make eleven questions for the people you are going to tag.

- Next, tag eleven more bloggers.

- Tell the people you tagged that you have tagged them.

- No tagging back.

- The person you tagged must have less than 200 followers.

Here are the eleven facts about myself. *flinch*
  1. I live in Washington, a very wet place. Except when it's summer, and then it gets unbearably hot (75-80 degrees).
  2. I REALLY enjoy photography. If you hear of any photo challenges or contests going around, would be you be so kind as to let me know?
  3. I've been blogging for nearly 3 YEARS!! My, it's been a long trip so far.
  4. I love electronic music and instrumental movie soundtracks (my favorites include Daft Punk, The Glitch Mob, Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer, and David Hirschfelder).
  5. I've never tasted legitimate sushi, but I want to.
  6. I am a cat person, not really a dog person, but if the dog is friendly, so will I be.
  7. I used to play the piano, I still sing, and I have dreams of learning the cello. (does anybody have a free cello to give away?)
  8. I like hats. Flat caps in particular. Like this Stornoway (which I bought in Scotland) -
  9. I graduated high school at 17 years of age.
  10. I like to design company and product logos. If you look at my Design Portfolio page, you can see some recent examples.
  11. I own a sonic screwdriver replica. And I brought it to London and Edinburgh (and many other towns). Here's proof:
This is at Hadrian's Wall, btw

Here are Jake's questions:

1. What's your favorite place in the world?
  • So far, I'd have to say Hadrian's Wall is it. (pictured to the right)
2. What do you think about Kansas? (>:D)
  • I've never been there, but since it's the origin of the first color film, I think it's pretty cool!
3. Favorite song?
  • Favorite? Really? "Stained Glass Masquerade" by Casting Crowns is *one* of my favorites.
4. Favorite quote?
  • Oh dear. " Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole." -J. Wilbur Chapman
5. G. K. Chesterton is, to you, what? Your opinion?
  • My english teacher has mentioned him on many occasions, but I haven't got the chance to read him, yet. I bought a wonderful hardcover copy of his autobiography 10 minutes after a tiny bookshop should have closed. (also got a nice Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)
6. Best speculative fiction you've read recently? In absence of speculative fiction, what's the best book you've read recently, non-fiction or fiction?
7. Best kind of cookie?
  • Warm, soft, homemade chocolate chip.
8. Your opinion of pie?
  • 'Tis great! (except with maraschino cherries)
9. What color is your favorite shirt?
  • Dark maroon/rust colored.
10. Are you procrastinating?
  • Nope, I got started on this post right away.
11. If you're a writer, what are you currently writing? If you're not a writer, what big thing have you done recently?
  • Not a writer, really, except for product reviews. I've been designing for whichever client has decided to take me up on my limited offer of free art. *cough*

Every fellow blogger that I know well enough to tag has already been tagged by Jake, so I won't burden them again. If you wish to do this tag, though, feel free to snag it!