Posts Tagged With: young adult fiction

The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Historical fiction for young and old

witch of blackbird pond“No, writing is not lonely. It is a profession crowded with life and sound and color. I feel privileged to have had a share in it.” —Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908 and lived all her life in New England. She described her early writing days and the development of her first novel, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (the 1959 Newbery Award winner):

I turned naturally to the things which had filled my days and thoughts and began to write magazine articles about family living. Then one day I stumbled on a true story from New England history with a character who seemed to me an ideal heroine. Though I had my first historical novel almost by accident it soon proved to be an absorbing hobby.” Elizabeth George Speare (1908-1994)

The result was a deeply layered reading experience with a vivid heroine, Kit Tyler, who is imperfect and endearing. In1687, Kit, an orphan, loses both home and guardian when her grandfather dies and his estate on the Caribbean island of Barbados defaults to his creditors. She must sail to Connecticut colony to live with her Aunt Rachel who has married a staunch Puritan, Matthew Wood.

On the voyage up the Atlantic seaboard, Kit makes friends with the sea captain’s son, Nat Eaton, as well as a serious young minister, John Holbrook, also heading for the same town. Later, William Ashby, son of the richest man in town becomes a suitor approved by Kit’s Uncle Matthew.

witch of blackbird pond 2

I remember thoroughly enjoying the romance woven into the tale when I first read the novel as a young teen. Recently, when I read the book to my own daughters, I found myself using the story and its characters to give them a life lesson on finding a compatible marriage partner.

Despite the kindness of her relatives, willful, spoiled, lonesome Kit cannot seem to adjust to Puritan life and suffers greatly. She finds solace in the meadows outside the town, and soon meets Hannah, an old Quaker woman who has been ostracized for her different beliefs and lives a serene and misunderstood life far from the town and surrounding farms.

“Tis a strange thing, that the only friends I have I found in the same way, lying flat in the meadows, crying as if their hearts would break.” (Hannah)

While their friendship brings Kit much joy, it also later leads to peril as Kit is accused of witchcraft.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is not a historical lesson on 17th century witch hunts disguised as fiction. The setting and time period are well researched, but the complex plot and the characters’ growth brings this young adult novel to life and earns it my highest rating and recommendation for children 10 and older and adults who either missed it in their youth or want to re-read it.

Other young adult fiction titles by Elizabeth George Speare:

The Bronze Bow

The Sign of the Beaver

Calico Captive

Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Girl Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Uncategorized, young adult fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Boys Read? Are You Serious?

“Explore, build, conquer – you don’t have to tell a boy to do those things for the simple reason that it is his purpose. But it’s going to take risk, and danger, and there’s the catch. Are we willing to live with the level of risk that God invites us to?”

See! A boy is reading in this candid photo.

See! A boy is reading in this candid photo.

John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, 2001:Thomas Nelson Publishers

Good books can help build the man. The young boy needs all the help he can get to rise up to the heights of his unique calling. Through stories that flesh out endurance, sacrifice, and fighting for the right, he can attain his destiny. A well-rounded male protagonist demonstrates to the young reader that success must be hard-won and involves taking risks and will inspire him to believe he can make a difference.

John Eldredge claims in Wild at Heart that “Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to be lived. That’s the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerous stage for this high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise good.  He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say when we live by faith.  A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love, and in his spiritual life.” (p. 238)

Fictional stories well-told can breathe on the embers that lie dormant in all boys and men, fanning the flames of their strength and power, and enabling them to rise up and do big things for their families and the good of others.

These great “boy books” offer plots and settings that show the resolution of a boy’s inner conflicts: “Do you think I can do this?” “Am I any good?” “Am I heroic?” Our world needs men who use their strength for the protection of others — men who overcome and walk out their bigger purpose.

The titles listed here represent a few stories that showcase a male character facing adventure, danger, and risk. My list is eclectic and loosely organized into recommended age categories. Keep in mind that often a good book will be a wonderful reading experiences for many age groups.

Pre-Teen:

The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis – each book offers a heroic and YOUNG protagonist, e.g. Peter, Edmund, Shasta, Eustace, Caspian

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – William is off on a quest into a fantasy world

Honus & Me by Dan Gutman – one of 5 “Baseball Card Adventures” – a boy goes back in time to meet his sports hero.

The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds – a young boy must defend his family against Indian attack

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh – a boy must find out for himself if there are bears on the mountain

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – a spoiled prince and a commoner team up for adventures

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes – a silversmith apprentice in Revolutionary Era Boston finds his courage

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – a runaway survives in New York’s Catskill Mountains

Mid-Teen:

The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead – wonderful re-telling of King Arthur and Merlin

Call Me Francis Tucket by Brian Paulsen – a 14 year old faces trials in 1800’s American West

Hatchet by Brian Paulsen – a teenager must survive alone in the Canadian wilderness

Little Britches by Ralph Moody – a heart-warming saga of pioneer life in Montana in the 1800s

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare – a young boy faces dangers in Palestine at the time of Christ

Late Teen:

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew – a Dutch missionary smuggles Bibles behind the Iron Curtain

Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester – a British naval midshipman endures hardships during the Napoleonic War

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour – an escaped American soldier evades captures in Soviet Siberia

Treasure Island, Kidnapped, or The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Categories: Biography, Children's Books, Inspiration, young adult fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Divergent by Veronica Roth– Pineneedles Goes Popular

Veronica Roth’s first published novel Divergent (publication 2011) hit the young adult fiction world with a great splash. Following it are two more novels in the trilogy: Insurgent and Allegiant. I have only read Divergent, so I beg my readers to refrain from imbedding “spoilers” about the plot line or fate of the characters in your comments.

Divergent is about a young woman named Beatrice Prior (“Tris”) who lives in a futuristic Chicago that is divided in to five factions called Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, Amity, and Candor. Each faction is dedicated to cultivating a particular virtue in its members: bravery (Dauntless), selflessness (Abnegation), intelligence (Erudite), compassion (Amity), and honesty (Candor). Tris grew up in Abnegation, where she has always felt stifled, but at the age of sixteen, she will have the opportunity to choose which faction she wants to belong to for the rest of her life –but if she leaves Abnegation, she’ll also have to leave her family, and there’s no going back.” Veronica Roth, www.veronicarothbooks.com

Divergent

The dystopian world created by Roth features a re-organized government in war-ravaged Chicago that works tirelessly to keep order, but allows for little free will and the protagonist, Tris, needs more and is more than boxed in conformity. As the tale unfolds, her divergence shakes the entire foundation of this skewed society.

Tris’s faction trainer and love interest, Tobias “(Four”), explains his epiphany about the flaw in the Faction system: “’I think we’ve made a mistake,’ he says softly. ‘We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.’ He clears his throat. ‘I continually struggle with kindness.’” (Divergent, p. 405)

Numerous other themes run through this young adult series that I look forward to processing, including the questions: what is our core identity? how do we obtain the freedom to grow in it?

It looks like Roth got ahead of herself while studying for her creative writing degree at Northwestern University as her author bio reads: “while she was a student she often chose to work on the story that would become Divergent instead of doing her homework”. This quirky comment inspires me as an author to write creatively in the midst of other responsibilities.

Roth continues to pour forth stories set in her futuristic world, told from the perspective of Tobias: Free Four, The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor.

Also available for Divergent fans is the movie of the same name released in March 2014 and starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Ansel Elgort and a stunning cast of excellent actors and actresses. I was one of the “see the movie first” fans, and then played catch up by reading the novel.

divergent moviehttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1840309/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

As an endnote, I would like to promote the value of cultural literacy, different from literacy in general, that allows us to interact knowledgeably with others in the broader world around us. Although I have parameters regarding what I expose myself to in popular movies, media and books, many offerings from these sources excel in describing what is happening in the minds and hearts of our fellow world citizens and give me the means of connecting with people of different ages and beliefs.

Please note: unlike other books I have recommended, this novel has an element of sensuality as the “chemistry” between the main characters is described in several scenes.

 

Categories: Chick lit, Fantasy, Girl Fiction, young adult fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Use Your Voice: Share a book by reading aloud

“Next to being hugged, reading aloud is probably the longest-lasting experience of childhood.”
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook

read aloud

My maternal grandfather read to us  faithfully when we were young.  He owned the complete set of Beatrix Potter tales in old green-cloth hardbacks.  At bedtime,  I was given the privilege of choosing which one we would read. I can still remember the joy of running to the miniature bookshelf in the upstairs hallway which housed the treasures and the closeness I felt leaning against my grandfather as he read to us.

Years ago when my children became independent readers, I was inspired by the words of author Gladys Hunt to continue reading aloud: “What most parents do,… is stop sharing books as soon as a child can read alone. That makes reading a solitary happening, with no chance to talk about a book or discuss what it is saying. ” (Honey for a Teen’s Heart, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2002).

Steve Demme, an inspirational homeschool speaker and founder of Math-U-See curriculum read at night to his four sons by positioning a chair in the hallway within earshot of his boys’ rooms and reading from there. I vividly remember when I was called on during a babysitting job to read aloud to five children at bedtime. They lined up on the couch and listened attentively while I read them the next chapter of their Narnia book. They knew where their mother had left off and they didn’t want to miss a night

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis may be a prime example of a book that is a pleasure to read aloud, and one that appeals to many age levels. I hold nothing against the movie version of this classic tale, but I do want to point out that they edit the original book. C.S.Lewis was a master of the English language.

Good literature is a pleasure to read aloud.  It rolls off the tongue and provides a wonderful opportunity for children to hear English used artistically and vividly.  It is vitally important to share your favorite childhood stories with your children.  By example, you can teach them to read with expression.  Let the younger ones participate and experience literature above their own reading level when you read something for the older children.

Another benefit of listening to books is the development of the imagination.  Encourage children to use the descriptions of place and plot to make a mental movie of what is happening in the book.  Doing the voices of the characters can be fun if there is interesting dialogue.  Also, the family member who is the usual narrator can take a break when other family members take a turn reading aloud.

During a recent school break, I pulled our family together with Dad as the reader, a practice we had neglected.  Our teen daughters participated, with some foot-dragging.  It was well worth it when my 14-year old said to her father: “Daddy, I love the sound of your reading voice.”  Trips, vacations, and sick days are all wonderful times to put in extra reading moments.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Emilie Buchwald

honey for a child's heart

Read-Aloud Resources:

Hunt, Gladys M.. Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

Hunt, Gladys M., and Barbara Hampton. Honey for a Teen’s Heart: Using Books to Communicate with Teens. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

Trelease, Jim. The Read-aloud Handbook. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1982.

Categories: British novels, Children's Books, Classics, Fantasy, Humorous, Inspiration, Read Aloud, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Being on the Receiving End: The Goose Girl

If you are new to this blog or are a returning reader, my purpose should be clear – to recommend good books that will enrich your life. But I want to demonstrate to you that I am also a receiver of recommendations, and inspire you to continue your quest to hear from others.

Isn’t it true that each one of us, no matter our age or experience, possesses limited understanding of good reading material and finite resources for discovering it? I believe everyone can benefit from the process of “cross-pollination” in our reading choices. (cross-pollination: “the transfer of pollen from one flower to the stigma of another.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Sometimes others are simply ahead of us, having heard about a wonderful book from another person or media outlet. Their “ear to the ground” hears of it first, or we may never have access to the information they do. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey, was a British mystery recommended to me by Margaret Turner, an 80-year-old woman I helped as a Red Cross volunteer when she became legally blind. She gave me her tattered copy when I moved away.

Other times, the different tastes of our friends or relatives bring us into contact with new experiences. My father, an avid reader, was a fan of western novels. I finally got over my “reader’s block” recently and tried a Louis L’Amour novel, Sackett, and enjoyed it immensely.

I especially cherish the way my children, and other younger readers, pollinate my reading. Luke, my 19-year old son, raised the bar of my reading by his affinity for C. S. Lewis’ essays and non-fiction (his favorites: Mere Christianity and The World’s Last Night). I need to be stretched past my beloved Narnia Chronicles to read “headier stuff”.

My daughter, Rachel (age 15), read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale this summer. I bought a copy of it several years ago for my girls on the advice of a friend whose teen daughter listed it as one of her top five novels. (Thanks, Sarah Reyes).

Rachel took off with this book and then blazed through the rest of the novels in Shannon Hale’s Books of Bayern series. (The titles in order of publication: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born.)

“Hey Mom! You HAVE to read this!” I genuinely attempt to prioritize my kids’ book recommendations; although my “to read” queue is fairly long. When Rachel saw that I had The Goose Girl in my hands at bedtime with a telltale bookmark peaking from the pages, her voice rose several octaves: “What?! You started reading it and didn’t TELL me!” Her accusation whipped across my bedroom and figuratively shook me by the shoulders. I recollected how much I love to hear feedback from a friend who is reading the book I recommended and realized I had broken the cardinal rule of book sharing!

Here is Rachel’s recommendation for The Goose Girl in her own words: “All teenage girls should read this book. Its plot is intriguing, and mystery is unraveled in every page. The main character is Ani, the sixteen-year-old crown princess. She starts off as a quiet girl who is being trained to become Queen, however she hates everything involving her role as future head of the kingdom. Only when she is out of doors and conversing with, yes I know it sounds crazy, birds does Ani ever feel herself. Through the story, surprising events and incredible plot twists make this book my top read. This queen-to-be goes through life-threatening situations and starts to find out who she really is.

Ani is a princess who doesn’t wait to step into her destiny by being rescued by a ‘knight in shining armor’, but she doesn’t have the ‘I don’t need anybody’s help, I have to do this by myself!’ attitude either, which seems popular in modern stories. Like the Beatles recommend, she’s going to ‘get by with a little help from her friends’. Oh, and a little romance doesn’t take away from the story either…”

The Goose Girl just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Author Shannon Hale posted on her blog: http://oinks.squeetus.com/2013/05/ten-years-man.html

So dear reader, let us share books so that reading is not a solitary happening, but a satisfying conduit for building common experiences. Our ideal “book clubs” can consist of the people in our inner relational circle – children, spouses, parents, librarians, and friends. We can gain connectedness and bridge generational barriers, which is such a boon in our culture that touts same age and same generation interaction as the be-all and end-all.

Please keep sending me your wonderful ideas. Mrs. Mike was one such recommendation – a spin-off from a blog post on our most memorable books from childhood.

My questions to you: What have others recommended to you that enriched your inner world? If you are 25 years old or younger, what would you tell us older folks to read?

Note to self: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan has been sitting on my “to read” bedside stack too long. Get to it, or Hannah (age 14) will be coming after me.

Categories: Fantasy, Girl Fiction, Uncategorized, young adult fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Books for Girls: Timeless Virtues

Pineneedlesandpapertrails

One of my personal tests to determine whether a book heroine is “timeless” is if you, as a reader, remember her name, not just what she did.

For some of our most beloved female protagonists we even know the last name: Sara Crewe, Kit Tyler, Christy Huddleston, Jo March,  Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls, Lucy Pevensie. Mary Lennox, Maria Merryweather, Fern Arable and Charlotte the Spider.  I feel as if I know these characters. 

As my daughter Rachel says, “They are like real people that I have in my cell phone contact list.  I feel as if I could call them up to ask them for advice”.

Fiery-tempered, imaginative Anne  (“with an e”) of Anne of Green Gables finds what her hearts longs for -belonging in her adopted family and community.  She wins the life-long friendship of Diana, whom she calls her “bosom friend”.  We watch Anne grow up and see…

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Categories: Chick lit, Classics, Girl Fiction, Inspiration, Read Aloud, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books for Boys: Stories for the Wild Hearts

Pineneedlesandpapertrails

Explore, build, conquer – you don’t have to tell a boy to do those things for the simple reason that it is his purpose.  But it’s going to take risk, and danger, and there’s the catch.  Are we willing to live with the level of risk that God invites us to?”

John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, 2001:Thomas Nelson Publishers

Good books can help build the man.  The young boy needs all the help he can get to rise up to the heights of his unique calling.  Through stories that flesh out endurance, sacrifice, and fighting for the right, he can attain his destiny.  A well-rounded male protagonist demonstrates to the young reader that success must be hard-won and involves taking risks and will inspire him to believe he can make a difference.

Good stories well-told can breathe on the embers that lie dormant in all boys and men to…

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Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Inspiration, Read Aloud, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading For Pleasure

The pleasure of outdoor reading

The pleasure of outdoor reading

The idea for this blog came from my cousin, Jennefer, about a year ago as I was, once again, waxing eloquent about some book I wanted her to read.

I started pineneedlesandpapertrails as a blog to recommend my favorites, not provide a deep critique what’s out there – new or old. I realized, too, as I blogged, just how fervently I believe in the benefits of reading.  Literacy – yes – but not just literacy for the sake of job advancement or the achievement of educational goals; I mean reading for enjoyment.

Inspirational author Gladys Hunt challenged us to have “honey” in our lives so we can give it away: “Many years ago Erich Fromm wrote in The Art of Loving that children need two things: milk and honey.  Both are necessary to thrive as human beings.  Milk symbolizes the necessities – like good food, brushing your teeth, drinking your milk and plenty of sleep. Honey is just as important. It means finding sweetness in life, like beauty and goodness that nourish the inner person…Good books are full of honey.  It reminds me of the proverb that says ‘Pleasant words are like a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’.” [Proverbs 16:24] blog post, dated September 12, 2008 http://www.tumbon.com/honey.

Mrs. Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart are excellent resources that offer book lists and inspirational chapters on why children should read, but few people realize that she wrote Honey for a Woman’s Heart for adults. This wonderful book spurred me to read for pleasure in the midst of my busy, and sometimes chaotic, life. It also helped me to climb out of the reading rut I had fallen into (British or historical mysteries) to try new genres.

I am not telling you WHAT to read this summer.  Some novels are written perfectly to be read in one afternoon on the beach, other books are best read in installments. The Sherlock Holmes detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for example, were originally published as serial articles in a magazine.  My seatmate on a recent airplane trip was a writer who described reading a classic novel too quickly from cover to cover like “eating an entire pan of fudge at one sitting. It would not be very enjoyable.”

Just read! Pick up a classic to stretch your mind, or read a light novel!

Okay, I admit I have some personal favorites. You can check out my recommendations for the year on the “My Library” page of this blog.  I love Neta Jackson’s Yada Yada Prayer Group series, At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, a wholesome, hopeful book set in a North Carolina small town.  City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell, the story of a missionary couple in China, containing heroism, tragedy and romance all in a fascinating historical setting.

You could take a dip into mystery with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, or Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers.

For fantasy, the Narnia Chronicles always delight. I blogged about my favorite, The Horse and His Boy. My friend, Lynne, suggests reading them in the order C.S. Lewis wrote them:  Lion, Prince, Voyage, Silver, Horse, Magician’s, Lastly, I recommend Beyond the Summerland, the first in the Binding of the Blade fantasy series by L.B. Graham.

A final thought! If you are a parent or grandparent who wishes that the children in their lives would read this summer, be sure to put your own nose in a book – the power of example.  My posts with short reading lists for boys and girls are found in the month of November.

Happy Reading!

Categories: British novels, Classics, Fantasy, Girl Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 8 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

Beyond the Summerland – Worthwhile Fantasy

I love book series. Getting attached to the characters and the world depicted in a set of novels is one of life’s signature pleasures. Although finding a good author to follow is wonderful, discovering a great series is even more of a treasure. The Binding of the Blade consists of five books and delivers a complex story set in a vivid fantasy world. Not only that, but all five novels have already been published, so they can all be read with hardly a breath or potty break. This obsessive reading is certainly not required (or recommended), but to have the option is bliss. I read all the novels of the series one after the other: Beyond the Summerland, Bringer of Storms, Shadow in the Deep, Father of Dragons, and All My Holy Mountain.

A lively imagination is a gift and I have it in abundance. When I am reading, I am “in” the story, picturing details of each character’s hair, face, clothing. The landscape unrolls before my mind like a technicolor carpet. Movies captivate me too, but I don’t need them to do my imagining, and even find them distracting sometimes once I have already mentally created the story.

This fantasy series resides in my library’s youth adult fiction section, but as an adult, I enjoyed it thoroughly with its well-crafted world and characters. Undeniably, J.R.R. Tolkien set the bar so high that no one touch him, but that doesn’t mean authors shouldn’t try. The result is a wealth of wonderful fantasy stories that bring us variety. And to be honest, I can’t get enough of dragons, swords, evil overlords, and frightening forests. I don’t mind similar themes because the battle between good and evil underlies everything, so why not vicariously join another fight in a unique world? I will leave the plot of this particular series a mystery and allow readers to discover it for themselves. I will say that I enjoyed a series that has a benevolent and personal source of spiritual power.

Delighted, I discovered L.B. Graham avidly pursues his storytelling. The Darker Road, book 1 in the Wandering series will be released in July 2013. I first “found” Graham through my Wheaton College alumni magazine article. The fact that he is a fellow alum may have biased me a bit in the author’s favor, but that’s acceptable, isn’t it? We often have reasons for pre-judging authors. More information can be found on the author’s website, lbgraham.com. His website bio informs us that he “was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1971 and loved school so much that he never left, transitioning seamlessly between life as a student and life as a teacher. He and his family now live in St. Louis. They would like one day to have a house by the sea, which he wants to call “The Grey Havens.” He and his wife have two children. Both love books, which pleases him immensely.”
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Categories: Fantasy, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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