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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy Fiction’

The CSFFBT book for May is “The Ale Boy’s Feast”, by Jeffrey Overstreet.  It’s the 4th and final strand in the Auralia Thread (book 4 in the series).  Books 1 and 2 in the series (Auralia’s Colors, and Cyndere’s Midnight respectively) I have yet to read, and Book 3 (Raven’s Ladder) I read and reviewed here.

I really enjoyed Raven’s Ladder, but the ending didn’t seem to be an actual end of a book so I’ve been looking forward to reading this book.

The book starts out good.  However, I found I had a hard time remembering the significance of people and places in “The Ale Boy’s Feast”.  Then I found I couldn’t remember the names and characters from the last book as detailed as I would like.  Though the book has a good enough beginning to stand on its own, having a 1 year gap between these books leaves me knowing I’m missing out on some things.

So after getting a few chapters into the book I’ve decided to stop reading for now.  I want to go back to the first 2 books and read them in order, before I get into this last book in the series.  Some of the characters, plots and places were not established well enough in my mind from the last book, but I’m hoping that reading the whole series in order will firmly establish what I’m now missing.

For what I’ve read so far, I like the book.  It’s not easy for me to put this aside considering I’m already drawn into the book.  Hopefully I’ll get a copy of the other books soon!

 Get a copy of the book at- http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/9781400074686
And visit Jeffrey Overstreet’s site at- http://lookingcloser.org/fiction/

Please visit the blogs of other members of the tour for more thoughts on Jeffrey Overstreet’s “The Ale Boy’s Feast”.
Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Grace Bridges
 Beckie Burnham
 Morgan L. Busse
Valerie Comer
 CSFF Blog Tour
Shane Deal
Chris Deane
Cynthia Dyer
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
 Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Dawn King
 Inae Kyo
Shannon McDermott
 Shannon McNear
 Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
 John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
 Robert Treskillard
 Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler

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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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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Before getting into this month’s book, I have to apologize for being a little late on the reviews this summer.  There have been a lot of things going on, and I’ve not been able to live life in the ways I’ve planned.  I’m really hoping things turn around in the next couple months, because my body is telling me it cannot continue this way for very long.  Please pray for me.

Last month I did get a post in, but because I missed the July dates my name was (rightfully so) dropped from the August list.  So here’s a link for the August post for those who missed it… https://crisjesse.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/csffbt-august-favorites/

Ok, now on to some good stuff!

So for September’s CSFFBT book we get to finally read the second installment in Wayne Thomas Batson’s and Christopher Hopper’s “The Berinfell Prophecies”, and the book is called “Venom & Song”.  I’ve been looking forward to this book since we went through the first book… “Curse of the Spider King”!

Book 1 was great!  It started off kinda weak to me, but by the end I was completely impressed.  I was a fan. 

And now this book comes out!  It’s getting even better!

In Venom and Song we learn a lot more about the world of Allyra.  The world building is very well done in Venom and Song, bringing to life not only the populated lands but even the lands of the past.  The stories of the past.  Long lost stories and places are brought to the forefront of what our young heroes must face.  Stories that were prophesied about long ago unfold before our eyes, and anticipation is built up for the prophesies not yet seen.  And I have a feeling there’s more to be revealed (past, present & future) that hasn’t even been hinted at yet.  I hope our authors do not let Allyra get away from us before it is fully explored.

The main characters are also developed well in this book, good and bad guys alike.  Some real surprises on all sides will keep the reader eager for the next chapter, and the chapter after that one as well.  Most of the characters were very well done and easy to get into.

The pace of the story is great.  Even the “slower” parts didn’t seem slow.  Nothing felt like it was being forced upon me so other parts of the book would make sense or be exciting.  Every part of the book stood well on its own and added to everything around it.

I still haven’t explored much of the “out of the book” material the authors have drummed up.  The book itself contains teasers for these extras.  I hope they are enjoyed by the readers!  If you’re interested, check out www.heedtheprophecies.com.

From beginning to end (including the amazing job Thomas Nelson did on the cover!), Venom & Song is a book that stands on its own.  It also meshes so very well with the first book in the series.  I have no doubt that the next book will be just as good as the first two.

Now for my only real complaint… why didn’t you guys include a chapter for book 3 at the end of Venom & Song?  I really liked that the first book had a teaser for book 2, and was sad when I got to the end of book 2 and found nothing for book 3.

;(

Ok, I’m done whining now.

Thanks again for another great adventure Wayne and Christopher!

No matter who you are, if you enjoy fantasy fiction then I highly suggest you pick up this book… “Venom and Song”, you can get a copy at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400315069

You should also make sure to check out the authors’ sites at:

Wayne Thomas Batson  – http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/
Christopher Hopper – http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/

And finally, check out what fellow blog tour members had to say:

Angela
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
James Somers
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

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

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So I finally finished the CSFF Blog tour book for May, By Darkness Hid… and I’m finally getting a “proper” review done.  The book is the first of Jill Williamson’s “Blood of Kings” series.  I have to start by saying I’m not surprised this book won the 2010 Christy Award for the Visionary Category!

The book follows the stories of a few young heroes, and the characters Jill creates are amazingly engaging.  I think Achan, one of the main characters, is one of my favorite characters in all the fiction I’ve ever read.  Even the supporting characters are great, and not a second spent on them is wasted.  And this review would not be complete without a nod to another of my favorite characters, Jax.

Again, I’m a huge sucker for quality crafted fantasy worlds, and the world of Er’Rets has definitely captured my interest.  Level upon level of depth is added to this world in the book, and I hardly think we’ve seen all Er’Rets has to offer. I’m looking forward to seeing many other cultures, lands, and plots played out in the stories Jill can so obviously tell.  I’m ready for a series of series in Er’Rets, and hopefully the main characters of By Darkness Hid will play a big part in many of them.

The story of redemption is an obvious influence in this work, as is the importance of every soul to God.  There are many other spiritual aspects brought to life by Jill.  Job well done!

Thank you so much for this book Jill!  I pray you will be able to write many more books, and that God will be glorified through them.  Hopefully as a fellow fantasy fiction author from Oregon we’ll cross paths someday.

You can pick up a copy of the book here!

Check out Jill’s website at http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

 Here are some more reviews…

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
R. L. Copple
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

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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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It’s for the CSFFBT book of the month: Lost Mission, by Athol Dickson.  Unfortunately I was just not able to get into the book, in fact I came to the point where I could no longer invest my time reading the rest (nor did I want to).  Here’s a few reasons why…

  1. Declaring the shopkeeper lady to be a preacher immediately turned me away.  I’m not interested in books that promote a prominent false doctrine
    1. EDIT- I’ve been told she’s not a preacher as in the office so to speak, but rather one who simply preaches to others around her.  If this is the case (which it sounds like it likely is) then I think that’s good and well.  All Christians are called to share the gospel with the world.
  2. The overwhelming amount of mysticism mixed into our real world setting promotes a form of paganism.
  3. The constant switching back and forth in time and location pulled me out of the story every time I started to finally get into it
  4. The lengthy foreign names were difficult for me to keep straight

Problems 1 & 2 are things I do not think should be included in Christian fiction that’s set in our world, nor should they be set in any world in such a way as to promote such things as good. 

(edit, see note on #1 in the list above) Now I only got part way into the book, and did not see Lupe in a position of authority in the Church, so if the intent was to simply say that she shares the gospel with people then that’s not a problem.  But to put a woman at the pulpit, teaching and/or having authority over men, is not only against the plain teaching of Scripture in Timothy and other places, it’s also a problem all over the world today. 

The same goes with mysticism, which is only paganism trying to be something else.  Praying to people (other than Jesus) and miracles is NOT biblical, it is in fact much the opposite.  And again, to promote it in a world that sees people sinning against God by doing this… not acceptable.

Problems 3 and 4 were not so much “no-no’s” as much as they were things that made immersion difficult.  The writing itself was good, and it made me WANT to get into the story… I just COULDN’T.  Every time I finally found myself drifting away from my apartment in current day Oregon, and into the place and time of the book’s setting, I was almost immediately pulled out of the book… again by reasons 3 & 4.

Something else that bothered me was the questions at the end of the book.  To say that Christians must choose the lesser of two evils is not a Scriptural idea.  Christ calls us to be sinless, to be perfect.  True there are times when an authority counters God’s commands and a person cannot submit to them.  But as much as it is up to us we must try our best to obey authority.  If that means it takes time to do what God calls us to do then that’s what it means.  If God makes it clear we must not wait, we must not wait.  And that’s part of the problem that comes from this mystical garbage flooding our world, it causes us to follow our own logic and the directions of our environment, rather than following what GOD HIMSELF says His will is.

I do not recommend this book to anybody, in fact I plan on disposing of my copy.  I’m not ready yet to reject the author all together just yet, because as I said the writing itself is pretty good.  If the guy followed the biblical world view and didn’t constantly jump from century to century (or continent to continent) then I just might be able to enjoy his fictional work.  I’m not going to seek his work out by any means, but if I’m given a separate fiction work of his then I’d warily give it a try… as long as it doesn’t promote more of the pagan-bearing-God’s-name-in-vain-garbage that filled this book.

Here’s some links for the author and his book…

Lost Mission http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416583475
Author Web site – http://www.atholdickson.com/
Author blog – http://whatatholwrote.blogspot.com/

Check out what others from the tour had to say…

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
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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