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So the tour is back on schedule, and this month’s book is “The God Hater” by Bill Myers.  The book is a sci-fi work, and I wasn’t very excited before reading it.  The title put me off, and I’m not a very big fan of sci-fi.  However, I’ve found from doing the tour that I might miss out on some extremely good books based on such criteria.

And Bill Myer’s book, while not as big of a pleasant surprise as books like “The Charlatin’s Boy”, was a good read and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  The sci-fi element was not as intense as I had assumed it would be, but it definitely increases the further along you read.

The title of the book is based on one of the work’s main characters, a professor who enjoys breaking down the religious beliefs of his students and anyone else who shares with others how they believe.  And through the parallels we see later on in the book, I think we find that the title shows us a problem common to all of mankind to some extend.  It shows that one can claim to follow God, yet meet him face to face and not only not recognize Him… but end up persecuting Him.

I enjoyed all the different elements of the story, and though some particulars in the book do not match up with the Bible, if I remember right most or all of those were limited to being in the fictional world that the book’s fictional characters themselves create.  Add to this that the author inserts a note at the beginning of the book that addresses the issue, and I think readers will be able to understand that these incorrect elements are not meant to be taken as applicable to reality.  I wish more authors would start their books with notes like this, and I’m definitely planning on having such notes in all of my novels.  Overall, I felt like the book made truths of God plain, and easily reached beyond a superficial claim of being a spiritual work of Christian fiction.

I would recommend this book to anyone who does not understand the sacrifice that God has made for his people, as well as for anyone who likes sci-fi or books full of adventure.

Here are some related links:

Book link  –  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1439153264 (or an alternate link of your choice)
Author’s web site – http://www.thegodhater.com/
Author’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bill-Myers/44983396181

Check out the fellow blog tour members to see what they think:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Kathy Brasby
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
MollyBuuklvr81
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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 January’s second book is “Dragons of the Valley”, by Donita K. Paul.  I received the book a bit late, and was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t finish it in time for the review.  Thankfully it was an engaging book, and I was pulled in enough to get all the reading done.

 The book was fun to read.  I was familiar with the characters from the previous book, and wondered what would happen to them.  So it was nice to have another piece of their story.  The characters and plot were interesting, and it was cool to learn about more of the other races in the world Donita has created.  I really like the different creatures she comes up with!

 I’ve found that the depth of Donita’s descriptions is a bit much for my taste, but only a little.  I try to picture a scene while I read so I can experience it, as I’m sure most readers do.  However with Donita’s books I’m pulled from the activity, and into still images of what she describes.  I’ve discussed this with others who’ve read her books, and it seems like my opinion on this is uncommon.  But this was only a minor problem, and I was able deal with it as I read on.

 The only real complaint I have about this book has nothing to do with this novel itself, and more with its “packaging”.  Nowhere does it mention that there is a previous book which ended only days (in this book’s world) before “Dragons of the Valley” picks up.  Had I not read the previous book through the CSFF Blog Tour I wouldn’t have had a clue that “The Vanishing Sculptor” was a “prequel” to this book, and would have likely missed out on the rest of the tale.  There’s no mention of a series, or that the other books she’s written have anything to do with this book or the world it’s written in.  I’m now wondering if there are other books with the same locations or characters that are part of a greater story that encompasses “Dragons of the Valley”.  Hopefully someone can leave a comment here and let us know, and I’m also hoping that future books can somehow state that they are related to these books.

 I enjoyed the spiritual elements of this book.  Truths are brought to life throughout the tale, and are proclaimed plainly as well.  In this book, and in the previous one, the land of Chiril is waking up to the knowledge of the true God in their world, known as Wulder.  I’m eager to read tales from the far away land Amara, where I’ve gotten the impression that the people have a greater understanding of Wulder, and where the miracle worker Fenworth and his librarian are from.

 I would recommend this book to any fan of fantasy, and especially to fans of dragons.  While dragons are not the focus of the story, they’re certainly a central part of the adventure.

 Thank you Donita K. Paul for another fun adventure!

To pick up a copy of the book visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400073405 

And visit Donita K. Paul’s website at http://www.donitakpaul.com/ or blog at  http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com/

Check out what the other members of the tour had to say:

Gillian Adams
Noah Arsenault
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

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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Today is the 3rd and final day of the 1st CSFF Blog Tour of 2010.  The book is “The Wolf of Tebron”, book one of CS Lakin’s “Gates of Heaven” series.  Today’s post will wrap up the internet interview with author CS Lakin, and it will include a quick note on the next book in the “Gates of Heaven Series”… “The Map Across Time”.

    *****     Warning, possible spoilers!!     *****

 You mentioned there were 7 sacred sites.  Was one of these sacred sites in The Wolf of Tebron?

Yes, you see the first sacred site—abandoned at the base of the Moon’s house. Ruyah stands in the center and howls. The site, like some of the others you will encounter, produces a star shape when light hits it from the right angle. This star shape is formed inside the circle of stones. But since most are fallen in spots, the star is never fully formed. You will learn about the significance of the star, its symbolism to the Keepers, in book two—The Map across Time. Each book will show a different site—a Gate of Heaven.

Will we see Joran or any of the other characters from this book appearing in future books?

Yes, you see him again in The Map across Time, when the prince from Sherbourne rides into Tebron and needs a new shoe on his horse. Joran’s brother Callen is the hero of The Land of Darkness. My hope is to interweave all the main characters and past plotlines together in the final book(s) to make one last fight against evil, surrounding the seventh of all the sacred sites (gates of heaven). Each book features a different site, and through the series the reader sees how these protective sites have been abandoned or desecrated to where evil has now penetrated the world of humans.

At one point the book speaks of Joran finally waking up, yet I didn’t see anything that changed at that point.  Was there something I missed?

Joran’s wife is trapped in his dream. When he finally enters his dream and saves her, he can then “wake up.” The theme of dreaming is a metaphor. The book shows how we are like a dream in the mind of God, yet he also made us dreamers. We “wake up” when we see how God has given us life and dreams and as Joran realizes in the end, he can now (being awake) be both the dreamer and the dreamed.

….

Again, thank you CS Lakin for your time on this interview and for bringing us the adventure found in “The Wolf of Tebron”. 

If you, my dear reader, would like to ask CS Lakin more about her books visit her website at http://www.cslakin.com/ or her blog at http://cslakin.blogspot.com/.

Book 2 in the “Gates of Heaven” series is called “The Map Across Time”, scheduled for a 2011 release… 

“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?”

To pick up a copy of “The Wolf of Tebron” visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899578888

Here’s what others from the CSFF Blog Tour had to say:

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

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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So for our 1st book of CSFFBT 2010, “The Wolf of Tebron” by CS Lakin, I had the opportunity to do an internet interview (email Q&A) with the author.  I’ve split the interview into 2 parts, this first part should be spoiler free.  The possible spoilers should be in Wednesday’s post, along with some info on the next book in the “Gates of Heaven” series… “The Map Across Time”.

Why did you pick a wolf for this book?

I wanted to portray God’s loyalty and availability in a way Aslan didn’t represent. I love dogs a lot and feel they teach us so much about God. The wolf is a loyal companion, sticks by Joran’s side through everything he goes through. He is a provider, encourager, and teacher. Yet, the wolf can be fiercely protective, and Ruyah rails against his enemies to save Joran. That’s how I see Jesus—as fighter for us, as he’s the lover of our soul and he will not let the evil one snatch us from his hand.

Does the world this book is set in have a name?

 Fairy Tales do not “name” a different world. It is assumed to be the natural world, or any land in general, but of course, when magic comes into play, the average world is transformed.

Will there be a map put out for the lands in the “Gates of Heaven” series?  

I really dislike maps in fantasy books. They smack of trying to copy The Lord of the Rings by giving their locale some huge importance. If a reader must use a map to understand where his characters are going, then the writer hasn’t done a good enough job in her writing to make the lay of the land clear.

Joran wants to turn down animals when they give him his name, but there’s no Biblical principle to support this attitude.  Why do you think Christians struggle with accepting gifts?

Well, in our world animals don’t do this, so of course there wouldn’t be anything in the Bible to counsel us on that. But Joran’s attitude stems from a respect for their privacy and a feeling that if he’s done a kindness, he needn’t be rewarded. It shows his humility and his good character. It’s not that he doesn’t want a gift; in giving Joran their name, they are relinquishing power to him—so he can summon them at will, as he is unsure he wants that kind of power.

Are we going to learn the story behind the ancient city of Sherbourne?

Sherbourne  is central in The Map across Time, so you will learn much about it and its history in the second installment.

How many books do you think there will be in the “Gates of Heaven” series?

I’ve just completed the fourth tale. I’ve kicked around the idea of possibly ten books in the collection but I supposed we’ll make some decision this year. The Land of Darkness, the third book, should release this fall.

Briefly, what’s the difference between a fantasy story and a faery tale?

There’s a huge distinction between the various subgenres of fantasy and a fairy tale structure. I have some great articles that go into length about this at my website: wwwgatesofheavenseries.com for those who want to examine them. But basically, fairy tales have very specific rules. There is always a task that must be done—usually something nearly impossible, that if gained, will lead to what Chesterton calls “an incomprehensible happiness.” Fairy tales are not just imaginative stories set in other worlds—they are stories that should feel like they begin in our world, an ordinary world, but then transport the character into a world of magic with a very specific end in mind. Think of many of the fairy tales you know—like Jack in the Beanstalk or Cinderella and you will see a pattern like this.

Was one of these sacred sights in The Wolf of Tebron?

…see the answer to this question in tomorrow’s post!

…..

Thank you CS Lakin for your time on this interview, and for a great book.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the “Gates of Heaven” series!

For any readers who have questions for CS Lakin, visit her website at http://www.cslakin.com/  or her blog at http://cslakin.blogspot.com/

To pick up a copy of “The Wolf of Tebron” visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899578888

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more from CS Lakin!

To read what other bloggers had to say, visit the CSFFBT members at:

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

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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This round of reviews for the Christian Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog Tour (CSFFBT) is for C.S. Lakin’s “The Wolf of Tebron.  It’s the first book in the “Gates of Heaven” series.  I was honored to have the chance to review this book back in August, and you can find my original review here.

Since then I’ve read through the book again, done an internet interview with C.S. Lakin, and gathered some more thoughts on the book.  I’ll be doing 3 posts during this tour, Lord willing.  Tonight’s post is on some additional thoughts I had after re-reading the book, examining further the experiences of Joran.  Tuesday’s post will be the 1st portion of the internet interview with the author.   Wednesday’s post will be the last part of the interview with the author which includes possible spoilers, as well as a sneak peek mention of the next book in the “Gates of Heaven” series… “The Map Across Time”.

Now onto the book…

There are a lot of things the main character, Joran, experiences as a direct result of his jealousy.  Those experiences do a good job of describing what we really go through as a result of our jealousy.  Jealous people often close themselves off from possible realities that might truly heal their pain.  Instead they embrace a goal of vengeance that promises a peace, yet it only causes more pain for everybody.  Rage takes over, and the spirit and mind become blind and imprisoned.  It’s a horrible experience, and sadly people don’t considered how their own actions can cause others to suffer through this.  I myself have had major struggles with jealousy, and they completely sapped the life out of me for many years.  I couldn’t believe how well “The Wolf of Tebron” brought those experiences to life in Joran.  I felt every single bit of his pain!

At one point in the book Joran is so self-absorbed that he’s angry about his companion Ruyah having fun on their journey, and he considers it to be at the expense of his own self.  He thinks others are taking joy in the very things that he feels are ruining his life, and that they are somehow making it worse for him.  And in that, he is not only ignorant of the hearts and goals of others, but Joran is unable to see the joy set before him.  It’s the nature of a focus on self.  We were made for God, all things were made for God.  We’re supposed to suffer when we lose sight of God, it helps bring us back to Him.  It is able to wake us up from the nightmares we make of our lives, and direct us back to the reality which is the very base of our earthly experiences.

This book is good for those struggling with jealousy and rage ruling their lives.  It can help the reader take a step back and watch somebody going through the extremes of what the reader is going through.  The reader will likely wonder how someone was able to so accurately capture all the feelings they’re struggling with because of jealousy.  It will help the reader see not only how it sucks their lives away, but also see that there is indeed a true escape available to them in Christ.

To check out the book for yourself visit   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899578888

Also visit the author’s webpage at http://www.cslakin.com/ 

Or her blog at http://cslakin.blogspot.com/

Check out what the others in the tour had to say:

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

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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So it’s the end of 2010 already, and it’s time for the December blog tour!  This month we’re reviewing Jonathan Rogers’ “The Charlatan’s Boy”. 

When this book was announced for the tour I remember I was immediately skeptical.  We’ve had a few books on the tour that I really did not care for, and something about this book was bugging me.  I didn’t really know anything about it, other than the title and a little blurb.  I didn’t want to request another copy of a book I was going to give a bad review on, so I considered skipping this one.  However, after realizing I had no real reason to be so against this book I thought I’d go for it.

I almost missed one of the best books I’ve read on this tour!

From the very beginning, Jonathan puts you firmly in the mind of Grady, the star of this show.  It’s obvious Jonathan is a master of language.  At no point in this book do you have to consciously try to see these characters as they speak, they naturally appear vividly in your mind.  Add to that the fact that you can’t even pick up the book and look at the cover without the immersion beginning, and you understand this book will hook you.

The world he has created for the story is great!  If you’re new to this blog, I’m a sucker for well crafted worlds.  I remember a while back someone asking (basically) “what would a fantasy world inspired by the land and heritage of America look like?”.  A real good question, I though… one I had no immediate answer for.  But I think this book is a good answer to that, especially with the culture and lands of southeast USA.  It’s not high fantasy, however it’s not hard to consider this work as being  in the genre of fantasy.

The plot, characters and the world around them flow together naturally.  It appears Jonathan Rogers created an extremely well done work with minimal effort.  I wonder if it was as easy for him to write it as he has made it seem.

I didn’t find a lot of spirituality in this book.  It seems like that’s happening more and more in the books we tour for the CSFFBT.  I hope it’s not a trend authors are seeking to follow.  Again we have a book with potential for spiritual elements, and I hope the next book in the series takes advantage of the groundwork already set in place.  With that said, it does support a Christian world view in a limited extent, and in no way (that I can remember) conflicts with a Christian world view.

I though about writing this review from a Feechie’s perspective… but I didn’t want to take away from Jonathan Rogers’ way with words.  So I guess you’ll have to read the book to see what I’m talking about.

I recommend this book to all readers of fiction, and especially to my fellow countrymen.  I think Andrew Peterson’s growing fan base will love this work as well.  Thank you Jonathan Rogers for the thoroughly enjoyable book, and Lord willing I hope to read the next book as soon as it comes out in fall 2011!

Pick up a copy of your own at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0307458229

Also, you can visit Jonathan Rogers’ website at  http://jonathan-rogers.com/

Sally Apokedak
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
SarahFlan
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

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So this month’s CSFFBT book is “By Darkness Hid”, by author Jill Williamson.  It’s part 1 in the “Blood of Kings” series.  The book came with only 2 weeks to read it, and my wife had it for most of that time.  Since I’m a slow reader I haven’t really had a chance to read far into it, but I have to say I’m hooked already.  My wife loved the book.

Book 2 in the Blood of Kings series is called “To Darkness Fled”.  Check out a preview here, and pick up a copy here.

That’s all I really have to say at this point.  I’m sure there’ll be more to say when I’m done with it.

The publisher is Marcher Lord Press, and Indie Christian Speculative Fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, and the other “out there” stuff) publisher on the rise.  It is run by Jeff Gerke, a man with the goal of sharing quality Christian Spec-Fic with the world.  Jeff is also associated with a free e-zine called The Cross and the Cosmos, a publication with goals that are similar to those of Marcher Lord Press, although it focuses on short stories instead of novels.  I had the pleasure of being a part of the first issue (I know, shameless plug), and all of the issues can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by!  Here’s some more links so you can get a proper look at “By Darkness Hid”…

By Darkness Hid http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0982104952  
Author Web site and blog – http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

CSFFBT Participants’ links…
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Sarah Flanagan
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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