Wednesday, January 22, 2014

OUTCASTS CSFF BLOG TOUG DAY THREE




 OUTCASTS

Safe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill Williamson


Day Three of the Outcasts Blog Tour
THREE BROTHERS - THREE PATHS
(click image for Amazon link or click link below) Outcasts - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/

I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour 


Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/


Levi, Mason, and Omar are three brothers, but are nothing alike. Levi wants to lead their village survivors, and doesn't understand why Mason should care about the Safe Landers. Mason wants to escape the city, but feels he can make a difference withe the woman he cares about, Caddah. Omar is the one who sold out his village to gain a spot, but after a lapse in judgement Omar contracts the sickness. He has a change of heart about his life after sighting an owl while walking with Red, a live for the moment Safe Lander, and hurries home to sketch the owl on a man's body. The sketch reminds Omar of his favorite superhero, The Owl. So Omar decides to become a vigilante in the fight against those commanding the City.

Each brother has similar goals, to help others in their group, or those they care about, but each takes a different path to achieve that goal. Each brother has a part to play in reaching the greater good, and though they come from different paths, they are part if the same plan. The Lord cares about everyone, and their choices. Often we make bad choices, as Omar and Mia, and the touch of sin causes affects us whether we realize it on not. In Outcasts, Jill Williamson tells the story of a town and it's inhabitants. But, she also tells the story of loss and redemption, and of saving grace. The people of Glenrock lost much, but through their sacrifices, The Lord uses them to bring the Safe Landers back from their place of dark choices and sin.

The story of Mason and his brothers continues later this year in Book 3 of The Safe Lands Series.





*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CSFF OUTCAST BLOG TOUR - DAY TWO



 OUTCASTS

Safe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill Williamson


Day Two of the Outcasts Blog Tour
Sick of Body and Spirit
(click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Outcasts - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/

I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour

Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/


Mason, the scholar,  was looked down by his older brother the hunter and leader. Now, Mason works in the Surrogacy Center as a medical tech and spends most of his free time researching a cure for the disease. Mason still has feelings for Ciddah, his supervisor, but she is infected so he can't become more involved with her. Omar and Mia are infected due to wanting their freedom earlier. These infections of former Glenrock residents add to Mason's pressure to find a cure. However, Mason finds evidence of Ciddah bugging his apartment with recording devices. He feels betrayed by the very person he cares for, and doubly so as he is trying to help cure her.


Today's title comes the the way Outcasts shows how a sickness of the spirit is manifested by an external sickness of the body. In the Safe Lands, this external sickness is shown by dry, peeling skin. Safe Land inhabitants try to cover this appearance by painting their skin and adding up dateable tattoos. Like the illness, sin has a way of seeping out, even when we try to cover up and keep it hidden. Omar and Mia found, to their detriment, that you can't play around with evil, it always changes you in some way. Since the Safe Lands story is loosely based on that of Daniel and company getting taken out of Israel and into to Babylonian captivity, Mason seems the most like Daniel. He is favored by the leaders, he follows the teaching of The Lord though those around him would lead him astray, and he cares for the others in his care. The Safe Lands are a future version of ancient Babylon. In the Safe Lands, poor choices led to ever more extreme attempts to replace The Lord with hollow replacements like drug-dispensing vapor sticks, meaningless one-night stands, and a callous focus on self gratification first.


Jill Williamson has done a good job portraying what might be if society follows it's current course of focusing on the wrong things. She tackles some tough subjects like dug and alcohol abuse, sexual addition, and even contempt for the unborn. Teens, and others, reading Outcasts may find themselves
dwelling on the points Jill Williamson raises as I did, and remembering Mark 8:36. The Safe Landers gained much of what the world offered, yet lost their souls in the process.


 

*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Monday, January 20, 2014

OUTCASTS CSFF BLOG TOUR - DAY ONE







 OUTCASTS

Safe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill Williamson


Day One of the Outcasts Blog Tour
A New Life - A New Death 

(click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Outcasts - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/

I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour



I enjoyed Mrs. Williamson's first book in the Safe Lands Series, Captives, and was thankful for the opportunity to review her next book in the series, Outcasts.  In case you haven't read Captives, it's available on sale for Kindle , Nook , and iTunes.
Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/





Outcasts opens with Kendall Collin's post-pregnancy life. In the Safelands, children belong to the Safelands, and are taken from their mother soon after birth. After celebrity life during her pregnancy, Kendall is coping with the loss of her son who she only sees in the Safeland videos. She is trying to get her life back to normal, and has taken her old job as a courier.





She hears someone moaning for help at the station, and comes upon her friend Chord who lies dying in a pool of his own blood. Chord dies before her eyes, but not before giving her four secret messages to deliver. When another courier appears and starts questioning her, Kendall wonders what is in the messages. Should she turn them over to the authorities when they appear? She should give them to Omar, the courier who shows up after Chord dies, and grabs Kendall's wrist to ask about Chord? Should she follow Chord's last wish, and illegally deliver the non-tracked messages?


All this happens in the prologue, and the pace just seems to pick up from there. As I read Kendall's denials about Chord, it reminded me of Peter denying Christ. I'm not sure it was intended, but Kendall was friends with Chord and wants to avoid any legal complications with the authorities much as Peter.




*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MERLIN'S SHADOW- CSFF Blog Tour - Day Three - IT'S BEEN A BARD DAYS' KNIGHT


 MERLIN'S SHADOW

The Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert Treskillard

Last Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog Tour

IT'S BEEN A BARD DAYS' KNIGHT! 

(click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Merlin's Shadow - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/
Author's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/
Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.php


I received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour

 
I read something on Mr. Treskillard's blog Tuesday that one of the points he was trying to make with the Merlin series, was that God doesn't always answer prayers the way we want, or even the way we think he should. Merlin found this out in Merlin's Shadow. He continually faces greater and greater opposition, and doesn't understand why when he is trying to follow The Lord's will. God doesn't provide an easy road for Merlin and Natalenya. Rather, it's a hard path. I kept wondering why bad things kept happening to Merlin, until I thought about the enemies he goes against. As merlin learns to overcome evil each step of the way, he faces a greater evil. So, like a knight conditioning for battle, Merlin must condition his spirit and faith to vanquish greater and greater foes. If he had easily overcome Morganthu and the stone from Merlin's Blade, would he later have the resolve and inner-strength to face King Gorlas, and later Vortigern and the Picts?
   
To me, this seemed only one concept of Christianity and faith that the author explains through his characters and storyline. In Merlin's Shadow, Merlin must not only fight external enemies, but internal spirits of doubt and self-pity. One of the many things I enjoyed about this book are the believable characters. No one in the story is truly all bad or all good; except maybe Morganthu, and he seems a bit crazy. The horse-trading priest is one such character. He tries to cheat the group with old, worn horses, but Caygek leads out the good horses. When Merlin asks how Caygek knew about the hidden horses, Caygek replies, because the man was a Christian. I think 'was' is the operative word. The man had developed a taste for the finer things in life, and would cheat travelers. It seemed the priest had lost his spiritual sight by focusing on gold; similar to Natalenya's father. While Merlin had gained his spiritual sight by focusing on the true treasure above. I think Merlin has it right when they open the small box Colvarth brought from Inis Avallow. Colvarth sees only dust and an empty circlet. Merlin sees a small wooden bowl with a golden circlet. Merlin recognizes that he is seeing a vision, while Colvarth doesn't.
 
I'm not sure if it was intended, but The Merlin's Spiral trilogy seem not just a record of Merlin's journey through Britain, but a spiritual journey for him as he gains more of his eyesight, both physical and spiritual. The nice thing for readers is that they can join in Merlin's journey by reading the second book in the series, Merlin's Shadow.

I enjoyed this book, and learned a bit about life in Britain during the early Dark Ages.
Great read. Thanks for stopping by today.



 

 
*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MERLIN's SHADOW CSFF Blog Tour - Day Two - The Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty


 MERLIN'S SHADOW

The Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert Treskillard

Second Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog Tour

The Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty 

(click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Merlin's Shadow - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/
Author's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/
Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.php


I received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour

 
Just who are the good, the bard, and the not so pretty? At first thought, that seemed like an easy answer. Arthur the innocent baby is good. Merlin, who began his training late in Merlin's Sword, is the group's bard. And Ganieda, Merlin's half-sister who let the Hooded One control her spirit, is the not so pretty one. Looking deeper, I decided Merlin fills all three parts. Merlin helped at the Abbey and follows Christos, is good, or at least trying to follow what the angel instructs him. merlin has taken over informally as leader of their band, and is their bard. Merlin's attack by wolves, when younger, left him disfigured and nearly blind. When he seems his face in a pool of water, he convinces himself that Natalenya only agreed to marry him out of pity and a desire to leave their village. So, Mr. Treskillard managed to show Merlin as a complex person with many layers of personality. Merlin must wear many shoes, and his life-long near blindness left this young man ill-equipped to make the life or death decisions needed for their group's survival.
  
Druids Chasing Merlin - Morganthu? (from Merlin's Sword video)
     
In a way, Merlin reminds me of King David as he was on the run from Saul's forces. The country was turned against them, much like Merlin, because Vortigern has convinced Uther's troops that Merlin kidnapped Arthur. early in Merlin's Shadow their are cut-off by Vortigern's troops and try to appeal to King Gorlas at his seaside castle.

(I really liked this photo from the Merlin's Blade Youtube. This is how I imagined Gorlas' keep might look)




With Arthur's problems with his uncle, Vortigern, and Merlin's problems with his half-sister, Ganieda, you'd think the group would have enough family problems going on. But, no, Merlin finally meets his maternal grandfather, Atle, and the group is worse off than before. All these family issues remind me of a medieval Family Feud, except everyone seems arrayed against Merlin and Arthur. Then too, Ganieda has problems with her grandfather wanting the orb and tooth of power. He's lost power since the Druid stone was destroyed in the first book, and he wants revenge on Merlin. As Morganthu attempts to wrestle the tokens of dark, druid power from Ganieda, she fights him tooth and nail (had to work that one in) and cuts his hand. Ganieda thinks she has won, but instead gives the darkness a stronger spiritual foothold in her.

One of the things, Mr. Treskillard hints at about the Arthurian legend is the name
Ganieda's takes for herself. I enjoy the way the author ties in so much of the Arthur and Merlin legends with his series. It's like a voyage of discovery as you read the book and discover character action meanings you may have wondered about.  The whole Arthur story seemed clearer as I read Mr. Treskillard's the latest book in the Merlin Spiral series.



 
Day 3 Blog: IT'S BEEN A BARD DAYS' KNIGHT  - Day Three, I'll discuss that part of being a bard is to keep learning. So far, Merlin is continually learning to have faith in The Lord, and that actions often have meanings we don't yet understand.
 
*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Monday, December 16, 2013

MERLIN'S SHADOW CSFF Blog Tour - Day One - Going From Bard to Worse!


 MERLIN'S SHADOW

The Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert Treskillard

First Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog Tour

Going From Bard to Worse!


(click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Merlin's Shadow - available from:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/
Author's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/
Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.php


I received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour

 
   I met Robert Treskillard at the 2013 Realm Makers Conference in St. Louis, MO. He told me of the near-year of research he collected for his Merlin Spiral Trilogy. If you look closely at the cover of each book in the series, you'll see the same sword. I mention this because Mr. Treskillard  brought the sword he had made earlier, that is used on the cover of each book. If you enjoy well thought out books, by an author with an eye to detail, check out the Merlin Spiral Trilogy.
 
Robert Treskillard holding The Merlin Spiral Trilogy blade


     
   The second book in the series, Merlin's Shadow, resumes the tale of young Merlin, the formerly blind blacksmith's son, who follows Christ during a time of waning Druid power. As Merlin's Blade ended, Merlin, Natalenya, and Colvarth are attempting to escape with the young, recently orphaned, Arthur, son of Uther. Now, it seems as if the whole country of Britain is arrayed against them. The Druids are massing an attack, each play they claim sanctuary is unsafe, and Vortigern is after the baby Arthur to take the crown. Things aren't looking good for the group, and Merlin questions whether Natalenya could ever love someone as disfigured as he.

And this is all in the first few chapters. Oh, and did I mention the odd markings at the beginning of each chapter? Merlin's Blade had similar markings that look much like Ogham. Mr Treskillard's website says Ogham, was an ancient “tally-mark” language
carved into ancient standing stones in Britain.
 
 


 
Day 2 Blog: The Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty  - Day Two I'll discuss some of the other forces arrayed against Merlin and Arthur. Arthur isn't the only one with family problems.
 
*Participants’ links:
Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day Three

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Lamp-Bright-Empires-ebook/dp/B00C5QA9AI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384114395&sr=8-1&keywords=the+shadow+lamp
 
 The Shadow Lamp

Bright Empires - Book Four by Stephen R. Lawhead


Last Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog Tour
The End of It All, or Only the Beginning?-  

click image for Amazon link or click link below)
Shadow Lamp- available from:

Amazon -    http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Lamp-Bright-Empires-Quest/dp/1595548076/
CBD -    http://www.christianbook.com/the-shadow-lamp-bright-empires/9781595548078/pd/548078?product_redirect=1&Ntt=548078&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP
Author Website -  
http://www.stephenlawhead.com/
Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872




I received a review copy of The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead from the nice folks at Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the Nov CSFF Blog Tour

 
I wonder if the reason for ley lines is to illustrate the connections between The Creator's plan and our actions as humans? Kit finds that at some point, the strongest ley lines connect back to the Spirit Well. Maybe I'm looking for allegory where none exists, but I wonder if The Spirit Well is an allegory for Christ; who referred to himself as the Well of Life and a provider of Living waters? Lord Burleigh denies God's existence, yet never stops to consider how all the wonders of the world came into existence in perfect harmony. Could stronger ley lines connect stronger occurrences of faith in those locations or by those people with the Spirit Well's living water? Maybe ley lines are like tributaries leading back to the Spirit Well. The Spirit Well waters were described by Kit as full of light; having an inner glow. I pictured the ley lines as glowing lights beneath the ground, kind of like fiber-optics, that connect back to the source - The Spirit Well. Shadow Lamps reveal hidden ley line locations by reflection ley line locations. Are we acting like Shadow Lamps to a lost world by reflecting the source of life, and living waters, Jesus?

I enjoyed The Shadow Lamp. The author delves deeper in each volume in the series. The fifth book is due out next year, and I'm looking forward to having all my new questions answered by the final chapter in The Bright Empires storyline.
 
*Participants’ links:
 
Julie Bihn Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham 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