Posts Tagged With: CSFF Blog Tour

An Unlikely Hero – Review of A Cast of Stones

Very rarely do I accept the challenge to review a book for pine needles and paper trails that I am not sure will be “full of treasure”.  I made an exception for the The Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour because they have a wonderful track record of choosing stellar new fiction.  

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, published in February 2013 offers a unique hero in Errol Stone.  This first installment in The Staff and The Sword trilogy offers a main character who is an orphan, a drunkard, and seems, at the outset, destined to throw away his life.  Since good character development is one of my most valued components in a novel , I was gratified by this unusual “anti-hero”.  

In compassionate and realistic plot twists, Errol is not left alone to work out his recovery from alcoholism and his re-entry into productive life. Patrick Carr describes a set of supporting characters who join Errol in his quest to restore the failing kingdom.

As a world-maker, Mr. Carr satisfied my desire for interesting, yet believable culture, terrain, and history. Unfortunately, the first book had no map of “Illustra” which was a disappointment after J.R.R. Tolkien’s and C.S. Lewis’ efforts to show readers Middle-earth and Narnia in that format.  I am the sort of fantasy reader who flips back to the map when the story takes me to a new location.
A Cast of Stones offers a glimpse into a world in which people are born with inherent gifts, a philosophy to which I adhere.  I enjoyed seeing Errol Stone discover what was latent within himself and put it to use for good.  

A Cast of Stones offers danger, combat, assassins, intrigue and lots of other thrills that should appeal to old and young, male and female. Many excellent book reviews abound from the CSFF Blog Tour on A Cast of Stones which you can access at the following websites:

Julie Bihn
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Nikole Hahn
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant
http://patrickwcarr.com

Categories: Fantasy, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Broken Wings – CSFF Blog Tour Choice

Broken-Wings_coverI love fantasy and science fiction novels – always have, always will.  I have posted on my blog about J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles.  A contemporary fantasy author,  L.B. Graham, made my fantasy favorites list with his Binding of the Blade series.  Now I have another author to recommend: Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes Trilogy.

I was introduced to this author by the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour which was initiated by a group of writers who saw a need to raise reader awareness about the books in the genre after reports that editors were not seeking to expand SF and fantasy due to a small market.  In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of Broken Wings from the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the book.

Broken Wings is the second novel in the trilogy which just came out this past February.  The third and final novel, Dark Halo, will be available August 20, 2013.  Although I committed to an honest review of the second novel in the series, I made sure to read the first one first! Angel Eyes was good, but in my opinion, Broken Wings was better.  This author bravely tackles the realm of angels and demons much like Frank Peretti in This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.  Demons feature in many current books and movies, but more rarely are angels highlighted.  Dittemore does a splendid job of detailing different types of angels: “shields” (guardian angels), “sabres” (worshipping angels from God’s throne room), and “cherubim” (messengers), among others.  The novel flashes back and forth between the “Celestial” and “Terrestrial” realms.

Using the contemporary setting of Oregon, Dittemore weaves a compelling story of teenageers drawn against their will into celestial adventures that threaten to overwhelm them in their intensity.  The author uses dialogue with fluency to create personalities and relationships between characters.  High school seniors, Brielle and Jake, stand at the center of the story, with interesting friends and relatives surrounding them.  Although the trilogy is written for young adults, it touches on some mature themes such as child trafficking, familial alcoholism, and sexual attraction.  However, the underlying message is that redemption and restoration will come in the end.

Shannon Dittemore doesn’t sugarcoat life’s real battles: “I’m a firm believer that books open doors into the imagination and remind us that we should venture there often. We should dream. We should try hard things. We should be fearless. And while there are many obstacles that stand in the way, I hope my stories remind readers that life is to be lived. Pain is to be tackled. Mountains are to be climbed. And while you may fall into dark places along the way, light is as close as the prayer on your lips.”  from the author’s website:  http://shannondittemore.com

Particularly compelling to me is the contention in the books that when human beings worship God the Creator,  breakthrough in the celestial battle between good and evil occurs.  I also enjoyed the  element of mystery which is nicely developed throughout books one and two.

My only complaints are the following:  1)  the descriptions of actual combat are awkward.  2)  the romance between Brielle and Jake seems accelerated for their age.  3) each novel cuts off at the last page with such painful cliff-hanging.

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Wings-Angel-Eyes-Novel/dp/1401686370/

Other bloggers who participated in the tour are:

<a href=”http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/“> Gillian Adams</a>

<a href=”http://kinynchronicles.blogspot.com/“> Julie Bihn</a>

<a href=”http://quiverfullfamily.com/“> Jennifer Bogart </a>

<a href=”http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham</a>

<a href=”http://hosannaschristianreader.blogspot.com/“> Pauline Creeden</a>

<a href=”http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/“> Janey DeMeo</a>

<a href=”http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap</a>

<a href=”http://myrdan.com/“> Emma or Audrey Engel</a>

<a href=”http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile</a>

<a href=”http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/“> Nikole Hahn</a>

<a href=”http://jessebecky.wordpress.com/“> Becky Jesse</a>

<a href=”http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner</a>

<a href=”http://thestephanieloves.blogspot.com/“> Karielle @ Books à la Mode </a>

<a href=”http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen</a>

<a href=”http://emileightherebuilder.blogspot.com/“> Emileigh Latham</a>

<a href=”http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/“> Shannon McDermott</a>

<a href=”http://www.bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com/“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books</a>

<a href=”http://hardcoverfeedback.blogspot.com/“</a> Megan @ Hardcover Feedback

<a href=”http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>

<a href=”http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/“> Joan Nienhuis</a>

<a href=”http://dadscancooktoo.com/“> Nathan Reimer</a>

<a href=”http://www.jamessomers.blogspot.com/“> James Somers</a>

<a href=”http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith</a>

<a href=”http://www.jojosutiscorner.wordpress.com“> Jojo Sutis</a>

<a href=”http://stevetrower.com/“> Steve Trower</a>

<a href=”http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler</a>

<a href=”http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger</a>

Categories: Fantasy, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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