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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day Two

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


Second Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog Tour
Coffee, Doughnuts, and the Burley Men, or Everything is Part of the Bigger Plan 

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

 
The Burley Men and Lord Burleigh have been a thorn in the side of Kit and Mina, and the rest of the good guys at the Zetetic Society for the past three volumes of the Bright Empires series, and the Shadow Lamp is no exception to Burleigh and group's interference. Today I wanted to discuss The Master Plan, as hinted at in the series. Actions occur as part of The Creator's Master Plan. When Mina accidently arrives in Prague, all seemed lost. Yet she meets and befriends Etzel, the baker, on the way to town. Mina and Etzel go into business together, and open the very first coffee house. Their Grand Imperial Kaffehaus is such a success it gains the attention of the court alchemists, especially Balthazar, who is hired by Lord Burleigh to manufacture the Shadow Lamps.

On Mina's earlier ley travels, she finds a much needed mentor in Brother Lazarus. Brother Lazarus travels with Kit, and later Cass, who's father, Tony, is an astrophysicist. Brother Lazarus and Tony's discussion lead to their discovery that the universe's expansion is slowing. If that's not bad enough, Lord Burleigh finds out about the Grand Imperial Kaffeehaus and pay Etzel a not so friendly visit one night. In the Shadow Lamp, we learn more about the formation of The Burley Men, and about Etzel. Before the fourth book, Etzel seemed more a less a hard-working, every day kind of support character. In The Shadow Lamp we learn more about Etzel's faith, and his integrity to protect his friends. Even in hard times, Etzel vows to protect their location as The Burley Men try to beat the answer out of him.

I also like Kit and Cass's almost accidental discovery. It seemed to tie the Shadow lamps, The Skin Map, and the Ley Lines together nicely. One of the many things I enjoy so well about Mr. Lawhead's books, is his rich, eye to details. His far-ranging storylines illustrate so well, to me, that we all play a part in the grander scheme of things. While we may think we matter little, to The Creator, each of us are important and our actions and choices have far-reaching consequences.
 
Day 3 Blog: The End of It All, or Only the Beginning?- Day Three how The Bright empire series may explain some spiritual truths
 
*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

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day One

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


First Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog Tour
Who Turned the Lamps Out?


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

 
   The title, The Shadow Lamp, seemed a contradiction at first. Why would a lamp dispel light? But, when Kit and other ley line travelers use the lamps, they are able to locate the ley lines for travel. The lines are hidden to sight, but the small brass boxes enable them to find their way across space and time. If you're not too sure about ley line travel, here's a short video from the third book in the Bright Empires series, The Spirit Well:
video

 Book four, The Shadow Lamp, begins with Kit, Mina, and Brother Lazarus examining a burned out ley lamp. It sounded as if the lamp overloaded and had a melt down. Melt down seems like a good theme for this book in the series. Kit is returned to the future from the time of the River City Clan, but he realizes he was most at peace and contented with them. Newcomer, Cassandra Clarke, goes looking for information about Kit's grandfather, Cosimo, and seems to fall for the grandson. Anthony Clarke, Cass's father, searches the ley lines for his daughter and instead encounters the Zetetic Society. Even Lord Burleigh encounters problems with his plans, and we learn a bit more about the beginnings of the Burley Men. I know that's a lot of names, new and old, but Mr. Lawhead's story is as big as time and space.

This latest addition to the Bright Empires series deepens many existing characters, and adds some interesting new one. Cass and Kit seem an item, so I wondered if Min and Etzel are a pair. I liked the character of Cass's mentor, Brother Lazarus. He seems wise beyond his years, and many he comes into contact with seem better for Brother Lazarus' guidance. Mr. Lawhead has a knack for explaining complex theories in simple terms by way of Brother Lazarus. It kind of struck me that Cass's dad, Tony, is able to speak to her about matters of science and logic. As a counter-point to Tony, Brother Lazarus explains matters of faith and knowledge beyond normal human understanding.

My still unanswered question, is what is the purpose of the inter-temporal ley lines? Are they a cosmic accident, or all part of the greater plan hinted at in this book? Like an onion, each new layer peeled away in the Bright Empires saga, seems to yield more questions than answers. The Shadow Lamp is one of those books I enjoy reading because it makes me stop and think long after turning the last page.
 
Day 2 Blog: Coffee, Doughnuts, and the Burley Men, or Everything is Part of the Bigger Plan - Day Two I'll discuss how Lord Burleigh secretly helped Kit and Mina when he developed the Shadow Lamp they borrowed for ley travel. 
*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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CAPTIVES CSFF Blog Tour - Day 3


Captives
The Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill Williamson
Captives Blog Tour - Day Three

Hay-O! We've all got issues!

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5
CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=details
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/
Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/

I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervon
in conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour 


 
         One of the things I enjoyed about the characters in Captives was the variety and believability; especially as the story progressed. I wasn't too sure whether I liked the characters in the first couple of chapters, but as the story progressed it seemed like their individuality shone through. Early on, Levi seemed like a bossy older brother who lorded it over his two siblings. Omar was the youngest, and an artist. In a society where hunters are prized, there was little time, or regard for artists. Omar dealt with his treatment in life by running away to find the greener grass on the next hill. Mason was in a similar strait as Omar. He was a scholar who wanted to become a healer like his mother. Healers were more highly valued by the village than artists, but not by much. Mason was the one always looking for answers, and new knowledge. he never stopped asking questions.
            Inside the city walls, the three brothers outlook on life seemed to change little. Levi still struck out at problems, trying to use his strength and size to overcome obstacles. Omar still looked for the next big thing, and jumped at anyone or anything that brought recognition or temporary pleasure. He still thought short term. Mason seemed to realize the only hope for their village lay in finding a solution to the virus that struck the city, leaving the occupants sterile and afflicted with skin lesions.
            It seemed to me Mason's focus was on others, I guess that's what made him a likable character. He even cared about his boss, who seemed a terrible person when they met. At first, Levi's seemed to focus on others, but it soon seemed like he was more concerned with taking care of 'his' village and recovering 'his' fiancée. Omar? Well, Omar was always about Omar. But by the end of the book, he seemed to realize his actions had brought pain, suffering, and even death to others.
            Something I wondered about were the digital masks and body paints worn by the Safe Landers. Were these digital cover-ups an allegory for the masks people wear today? People put on a good front with the masks they wear in public, but underneath they are hurting and need someone to fill the emptiness they cover inside. Do the digital arts worn by Safe Landers represent an impersonal society in which people will text or email, but won't do face to face because they can't enjoy the anonymity provided by online communication? Is a small part of our humanity taken from us as we conform to society's expectations, rather than what our Creator demands of us?
         Jill Williamson wrote Mason's reactions as a good example of Romans 12:2. He is 'in' the world of the Safe Landers, but not 'of' the world of the Safe Landers, though he has feelings for one of the city's inhabitants. The author uses this contrast of lifestyles between the villagers and the city dwellers throughout Captives to illustrate that choices have consequences. Bad choices may seem more fun at the time, but eventually they catch up with you. Right choices are harder to make and follow, but they too will catch up to you.
           In the end, Captives was about choices. And both the city dwellers and the villagers are Captives of choices made by them, or someone else for them.

 
 
Speed Painting of the Captives Book Cover

(One last time, in case you missed it earlier)
For a taste of life in the Safe Lands, visit the Safe Lands Webpage.
   

Thank you for stopping by Fantasythyme this week for the Captives Blog Tour. If you enjoyed Mrs. Williamson's earlier books, or enjoy dystopian stories with a Christian twist, be sure to check out Captives. It's a great read! 
 
*Participants’ links:
Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel Victor Gentile Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Asha Marie Pena Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Jessica Thomas Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Rachel Wyant

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CAPTIVES CSFF Blog Tour - Day 2


Captives
The Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill Williamson
Captives Blog Tour - Day Two

Live for enjoyment and pleasure, consequences are for Shells!

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5
CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=details
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/
Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/

I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervon
in conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour 
  video
Jill Williamson discusses her inspiration for Captives.
(From Youtube)

       Life as a Safe Lander centers around the external and the moment. Are you wearing the latest style clothes, hair, and skin-tone - yes people there change their skin color weekly, if not daily to match the latest fad worn on the Finley and Flynn Show. There are blue-skins, pink-skins, and even exotic animal design skins. These are accented in turn by digital tattoos. Digital artists design new looks and reprograms the digital skin grafts to change when your mood changes.
      The idea of constantly changing tattoos helped, I think, reinforce the idea of the transient lifestyle of all within the city. Nothing lasts. Nothing is permanent. Even children are a bump in life before they are taken away to be raised by the city state. Relationships never last more than a brief time; it's only until one or the other tires of the person they are with. Marriage is a thing of the past, it's only practiced by those out in the wilds beyond the city gates.
       Always in the back of their minds is the void inside they can never fill, so they deaden the pain with drinking, inhaling drugs of varying strengths, and casual sexual encounters. The author did a great job of explaining this empty feeling, and the reason; a viral infection that leaves the skin flaking and dying. Skin paints and digital makeup are all an attempt to cover the infection and diseased, flacking skin.
        When nothing can fill that God-sized hole, people now as then, will always try the newer, bigger thing. Problem is, nothing else can take the place of The Lord. The city tries to legislate and create replacements for God, but as the villagers find, the best the city has to offer is still a pale imitation which can never truly satisfy.


For a taste of life in the Safe Lands, visit the Safe Lands Webpage.
   

Day 3 Blog: Hay-O! We've all got issues! - The last day of the Captives Blog Tour. I'll discuss how Jill Williamson created believable, flawed characters. No one was completely good or bad. Some of the bad guys seemed likeable at first. And one character I thought bad tries to redeem a small part of himself.
 
*Participants’ links:
Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel Victor Gentile Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Asha Marie Pena Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Jessica Thomas Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Rachel Wyant

Monday, August 12, 2013


Captives
The Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill Williamson



Captives Blog Tour - Day One

THE SAFE LANDS, THE LEAST SAFE PLACE AROUND


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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5
CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=details
Author's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/
Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/



I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervon
in conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour 



        Angel wings was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Captives' book cover, then I realized they were tall buildings and wondered what they represented. I really enjoyed Mrs. Williamson's earlier fantasy series that began with, By Darkness Hid. So I had looked forward to reading a science-fiction series by the same author to see how she handled the change. I found out, with Jill Williamson, a story is a story no matter the genre, and outstanding.

        Captives begins inside the city, known as the Safe Lands because the high walls keep out the unsettled, dangerous world outside the city. But, the gates and regulations also keep the city dwellers inside where they have be come numb to the idea of consequences of their actions; choosing instead to live for the moment. Over time, the city dwellers have become sterile, and new, uninfected human-stock must be brought in to replenish the population.

     With ruthless disregard, the military captures or kills an entire village bringing all but missing eighteen-year-old Levi to the Safe Lands. Levi just announced his engagement to Jem, and when he returns to his village, he finds Jem and everyone else long gone. What happened? Why were some shot, and most taken, he wonders. Mason makes his way to the Safe Lands where he is arrested, thrown into jail, beaten, and marked with Xs on his cheek. In the Safe Lands, three strikes and you are truly out. The girls of the village fare little better, when the girls, including Levi's fiancée Jem, are moved into surrogate pregnancy homes to birth future citizens for the city. Things will go fine for the kidnapped group, as long as they don't rock the boat and follow orders. They soon find, rather than a safe haven, life in the Safe Lands is a gilded cage with dire punishments.


 

For a taste of life in the Safe Lands, visit the Safe Lands Webpage.
   

Day 2 Blog: Live for enjoyment and pleasure, consequences are for Shells! - Day Two I'll discuss why making pleasure the focus of their life, led to shallow, unhappy, unfulfilled existences in The Safe Lands. 
 
*Participants’ links:
Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel Victor Gentile Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Asha Marie Pena Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Jessica Thomas Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Rachel Wyant

Monday, June 17, 2013

 
 A LEVER LONG ENOUGH

by Amy Deardon

Future Travelers to the Distant Past to Disprove the Truth
 
 
click image for Amazon link or click link below) A Lever Long Enough - available from:

Author's Website: http://amydeardon.com/


I had the opportunity to read A Lever Long Enough by Amy Deardon while searching Kindle time travel books. The story action begins a little slow, or so it seemed, but the author may have planned to contrast the main characters paragliding in the beginning with the greater tension of their mission countdown clock. I liked the display at the beginning of each chapter to show how much time they had remaining before a forced return to base.
 
Four Israeli specialists hurtle through time in a prototype time machine to film the death of Christ and the subsequent theft of his body and so disprove Christianity. The time team has seventy-two hours to film the event and return to their sealed time pod.
Of course, things are never as simple as they seem. The time-base is closed, but double-agent moles are inside and maneuvering to shift the balance of political power to their candidate. In the past, the group encounter conniving Publicans, brutal Roman soldiers, and distrustfully-cautious followers of Yeshua. The team is there to document the past, but they must be cautious to leave nothing from the future that might alter the past.
 
But what are the travelers to do when their pod arrives a bit off-schedule and they have only a fixed 72-hours to salvage something from the trip?
 
I enjoyed A Lever Long Enough. The author manages to bring in some advanced technology in the present and the life and culture of the Hebrews in ancient Jerusalem.
The book is a good read. Settings are believable, and the characters are interesting. There's even a bit of romantic tension among the group. If you have the chance,  and enjoy time travel tales, check out, A Lever Long Enough. It's available in paperback, and the Kindle ebook format.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 MERLIN'S BLADE

The Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book One by Robert Treskillard
The Third Day of the Merlin's Blade Blog Tour
Bosventor? It's Sure No Camelot!


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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Merlin-Spiral-Robert-Treskillard/dp/0310735076/
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 Blade by Robert Treskillard from Zondervon
in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour

 
    What's a Bosventor you may ask? It's the village where Merlin's part of the tale begins.
 

    I found out from my interview with Mr. Treskillard that a village existed on the same spot as Bosventor in Merlin's Blade. The name might have been pretty close too. I mentioned Camelot because Arthur and Merlin were both involved in the creation of the castle. Of course, in Merlin's Blade, Arthur is still a little young to build any castles or lead any knights.
 
   Since today is the final day for the Merlin Blade Tour, I wanted to mention some things that caught my attention in the story, or even better, made me stop and think. A story with unpredictable twists, and lots of sub-stories is one I really enjoy. Merlin's Blade was all this and more. Merlin's willingness to take Garth's punishment after the wagon mishap was a great illustration of sacrifice for friends and family. Even though  Garth makes many bad decisions, Merlin still cares about his friend.
    Merlin is quick to leap to the defense of others, even when it often means he takes a beating or worse. This seemed a result of the years of verbal and physical abuse. He knew how it felt for others to look away from your scars, and for others to taunt and mistreat.
    In a way, I wondered if the author's purposely portrayed Merlin's suffering and treatment as a reflection of what Christ went through. He took our punishment upon himself, as Merlin did for Garth. Christ was spit upon and called names, yet he cared for those around him. In one vision near the Stone, Merlin was tempted  by the World's rewards. Yet he turned down what the four horns offered. Christ spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness, and turned from Satan's three temptations.
    Garth struck me as sharing traits with Peter. He claimed Merlin as friend, yet denied him time and again. Peter was a down to earth say what's on your mind type of fisherman. Garth's father was a fisherman, and Garth seemed more concerned with his stomach than his soul at times.
     The Stone came from the darkness of space, and would lead first the people of Bosventor, and later Britain, to the darkness away from the Messiah, Jesu. So, the Stone seemed to represent Satan. It was full of promises of riches and power. In the end, all who turned to follow the Stone suffered. Some by burning and suffering, and some by losing what they treasured most.
  That brings me to Camelot. See, I haven't forgotten today's title. I thought Camelot represents that future reward that all who follow the One, True King will enjoy. When I think of Camelot, I think of a castle of brilliant white that shines from atop the tallest hill. The series may not turn out this way, but I thought Camelot shows what might be when all follow the True Lord. It's a promise not yet achieved, but all who follow The True King know the promise will be fulfilled.

Merlin's Sword was a great read. The story flowed so quickly, I was surprised I had read so many pages in what seemed only a brief time. Merlin's Blade is a strong, Arthurian fantasy that doesn't rehash the same old stories in slightly different settings.
As I read Merlin's Blade I kept feeling I knew the names and the stories. Names in Merlin's Blade were similar to those in the well-known Arthur stories, but different enough to let readers know - this is a completely new tale. I look forward to the rest of this tale in the next two books.

Book 2, Merlin's Shadow, releases September 24th of this year. Can't wait!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310735084/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p14_d2_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0F45R7GFFG9DK8RKE9S2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

  
*Participants’ links:
Noah Arsenault Beckie Burnham Keanan Brand Jeff Chapman Laure Covert Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Krystine Kercher Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Kathleen Smith Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Shane Werlinger Nicole White