Book Review for “Fatemarked”-Fantasy

What the book is about: In the spirit of fantasy epics like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, The Fatemarked Epic promises immaculate world building, an ancient prophecy, a mysterious source of magic, interesting characters, war, political intrigue, and romance.

The Hundred Years War has ravaged more than three generations of kings, queens, and citizens across the Four Kingdoms. Corrupt rulers dominate. Religious intolerance runs rampant. The cycle of vengeance continues to turn with the seasons.

An ancient prophecy by a legendary oracle has been long forgotten. The prophecy promises the return of peace to the Four Kingdoms on the backs of a chosen few, the fatemarked, individuals marked at birth and blessed with specific magical powers. One shall be the Kings’ Bane, and will bring death to the warmongering rulers, using fear to force peace; another shall be the Peacemaker, bestowed with the rare ability to heal. Opposite sides of the same coin, dark and light, death and life, the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker are responsible for the fate of an entire continent.

As they fight to achieve their destinies, adversity will hinder them in every realm: in the frozen north, assassination attempts and a brutal power struggle; in the holy west, a vicious queen and her self-righteous army of warriors; in the mysterious iron-clad forest of the east, revenge and glory rule the day; and in the southern empires of Calyp and Phanes, maturing dragons, slaves, and a civil war.

To truly fulfill the oracle’s prophecy of peace, both the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker, as well as the other fatemarked, will need to overcome those who seek to destroy everything in their pursuit for power.

 

My Review: I am a huge David Estes fan so of course I joined his mailing list to hear about all of his new books. In one mailing he was giving away some ARC copies of his newest book. Most of his books, and my favorites are dystopian for YA. “Fatemarked” is the first in a series of epic fantasy. I entered the drawing and won a copy. I was a little nervous due to the different genre of this one. I so loved it! I do enjoy a good fantasy and this one does not disappoint. One of the things I like about Mr. Estes’ writing is he has a tongue in cheek type of humor. He understands people and relationships. So my rating is a strong five star. I can recommend for teens and up. Now I have to try and be patient for the next one.

 

 

About the Author: Get the David Estes Starter Library (FOUR books!) for FREE when you sign up for his mailing list: http://s.privy.com/0yzhuRA

David Estes has written more than 20 science fiction and fantasy books. He has a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), is a mad-skilled ping-pong player, an obsessive Goodreads group member, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table. He loves chatting with his readers, all of whom he considers to be his friends. David lives in Hawaii with his beautiful Aussie wife, Adele, his asthmatic cat, Bailey, and his rambunctious son, Beau.

 

Get your copy: Here

 

Book Review for “Code of Silence”- Christian Middle Grade Mystery

What the book is about:

When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives. After being seen by the criminals—who may also be cops—Cooper makes everyone promise never to reveal what they have seen. Telling the truth could kill them. But remaining silent means an innocent man takes the fall, and a friend never receives justice.

Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous?

The three friends, trapped in a code of silence, must face the consequences of choosing right or wrong when both options have their price.

My Review:

This one was a library check out. Took my little guy to the library and saw the set on display. The covers looked interesting and when I opened up to the inside cover saw they were Christian mystery for middle graders I had to get them. Book one was great. Main characters are junior high friends who’s faith and loyalty are tested. Two boys and a girl. Not preachy at all. Just a great “friends” mystery. There is no swearing, however there is some violence (robbery). I give it five stars. New author for me, but a new favorite.  New author for me, but a new favorite. Can recommend for all ages, though written for middle grade (girls and boys both).

Book Review for “God Moment” – Christian Non-Fiction

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“Reads almost like fiction but is actually true. The factual account relays awe-inspiring miracles experienced after following God’s personal and specific words heard in prayer. Through personal testimonies, the authors give hope and encouragement that even after falling into doubt and disobedience the Lord can still provide outstanding miracles. As the Lord deals with defeats from major depression, bipolar disorder, and marital separation He creates a victorious conclusion. Bette and Wayne’s transparent account, full of God, is sure to uplift and inspire.”
My Review:
I received a copy of “God Moment” from the authors in exchange for an honest review. I sure enjoyed this book! It is an honest and transparent testimony of God working in the lives of Bette and Wayne Price. They tell about the good and the bad, their faith and lack of faith, struggling with Bipolar and with backsliding. It is written in both of their first person perspective, and at times I had to slow down to see who was talking. The print is different but if I was distracted by something it took a minute to reacquaint myself with who was speaking. I give it four stars. I really liked it. I’d say best suited for adults.

Book Review for “A Place Called Bliss”-Christian Historical Fiction

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“In A Place Called Bliss, Sophia Galloway, a rich and pampered lady of Scotland’s renowned house of Heatherstone, and Mary Morrison, a simple servant, share a dream of traveling to a new land of freedom, promise, and opportunity: Canada. On the tumultuous journey overseas, Sophia and Mary both give birth. Neither mother knows how closely their destinies will be intertwined by a secret with the power to shatter their lives.”

My Review: This was a wonderful Christian Historical Fiction. It is set in the 1800’s and begins in Scotland. It ends in the Northwest Territory. I really liked it and will probably finish the series at some point. There are a total of six so don’t expect a quick read. This could easily be a stand alone as well as there is a clear finish to this book. I give it four stars. I really liked it. No swearing, or sexual content, no violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

How Do We Accept Loss?

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Today I found out that a very young girl, one of my first students when I started teaching, lost her husband today. It was quite unexpected. They are barely out of their teens and have a six month old baby. He wasn’t ill. There was no warning. She was in Wisconsin with her baby taking care of her younger siblings while her mother was in the hospital recovering from illness. Her husband had gone back to Idaho so that he could work and provide for his little family. When his mother went to wake him up for work, he had already gone on to be with Jesus.

Thankfully they are saved. We all know that this young man is in a better place, yet…

There are some parents without their son, some friends without their buddy, siblings without their brother, a wife without her husband, and a precious baby boy without his father.

How do we handle loss like this?

There are so many clichés, so many “Christian” sayings. None of them sound right to me, and I think some would even be hurtful. When you’ve lost someone, you don’t want to hear, “He’s in a better place” or “You will be with him again someday.” You want them here, now.

There are many reasons that people die young. None of them good ones. Sometimes we aren’t surprised because of a certain lifestyle or bad life choices. But this was a good man, a follower of Jesus, a good son, husband, friend, and Daddy. So we can ask ourselves “why” and keep going over everything, around the mountain again and again. We can get bitter, be angry at God, or this fallen world, or whoever and whatever. Or we can… grieve. Pray. Be there for those who are hurting. Help where and when we can. And if we don’t know what to say, be quiet.

I know life can be hard. In fact sometimes it feels like it isn’t worth it, or that the pain will break us.

But I also know this; there is One who loves you. He not only sees your tears, He experiences your sorrow with you. He hasn’t abandoned you to grieve alone. He has sent the comforter to you.

Sometimes the only thing we can hope to understand is this: no matter what is going on around us, no matter how tough things get, God is Good.

Revelation 21:4 (KJB), “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

(Please pray for this young lady, Elizabeth, and her little man, Gabriel)

Today’s Thoughts

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I read a pretty good allegory the other day. If you aren’t sure what one is, here is the definition: “a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation.” (Merriam Webster) I happen to love them. I have even written a few. Today as my little one was sleeping, I had a mountain of dishes to do (yes left over from the day before) and while suds-ing and rinsing those stuck on pots and pans I couldn’t help thinking of how God has cleansed me of all unrighteousness. I wasn’t a “just ate a bowl of soup and washed right away dish” no, I was a baked on caked on lasagna dish that was sitting on the counter for years” kind of a dish. In fact, I didn’t think I was cleanable.

Thankfully God has a pre-wash cycle. His Holy Spirit! He woos us and courts us with His great love. Only love can soften a heart.

That made me think of all the fairy tales I have read over the years. I still enjoy them, (In fact I just read a retelling of Pinocchio that was very good- “Strings” by David Estes.) Aren’t fairy tales realy just allegories after all? The ugly duckling who finds out he is really a swan, the sleeping beauty who needs true loves kiss, how about the cinder wench who is mistreated only to marry the handsome prince? They are all allegories that show us that this life isn’t all there is. I love the opening song of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, “There must be more than this provincial life!” Are you that ugly duckling, you just don’t fit? That’s because you are really a beautiful swan. Are you longing for…MORE.

Well, stop singing, “Some day my prince will come,” because He already has. True love’s kiss has already been smacked you right on the lips!

If that doesn’t make you happy, then go back and read some fairy tales again.

 

Period

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I am going to try and set the record straight.

God does not hate anyone. Not liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, abusive people, transsexuals, homosexuals, Muslims, terrorists, politicians, idol worshipers, Satanists, cannibals, witches, warlocks, witch doctors, porn stars, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, addicts, or crooked cops. He isn’t out to get anyone. He isn’t mad at people. He isn’t going to “punish” anyone, or even send anyone to Hell. If Hell is in our future it’s because we chose it instead of Him and Heaven. He doesn’t send us there. Contrary to popular opinion, God didn’t send His son to judge the world. The scripture that is touted at ball games, and on t-shirts doesn’t read, “For God so hated the world that He sent His Son to condemn it. This is what it really says,

John 3:16-17 (NASB),For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Before you start spouting off Old Testament scripture, let me remind you that the only people Jesus railed at where the hard hearted, stiff necked, self righteous religious leaders of his time. (Four times in Matthew 23 Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”) To the woman caught in adultery, He said, “Where is your accusers…I don’t accuse you…go and sin no more.” To Zacchaeus, the crooked tax collector, He said, “I must stay to your house today!” He ate with sinners, and people of bad reputation. The religious people of His day found fault with this, but His answer was that well people didn’t need a doctor.

Who needs a Savior? People who are broken, lost, and unable to face this world on their own. Who needs a redeemer? People who are slaves to their own desires, greed, lust, and those who have chosen to drown their sorrows in alcohol, or take a permanent vacation through the latest designer drug. Who needs the Truth? Those who have believed the lie that they aren’t loved, aren’t wanted, and aren’t worthy.

Those are the people He came for.

I know it is popular in today’s culture to say that all believers are judgmental and critical, and those are the nice things people say. Again let me set the record straight. Religion judges. Why? Because religion is based on our performance, how we can follow the rules and long lists of do’s and don’ts. That is NOT what Jesus came to do. He set us free from the law of performance. We could never do enough to earn our place in the Father’s heart or family. Jesus came for one reason, to show us the Father’s love. Those that say people who go to Church, or Christians are some of the meanest people they met, have simply been misinformed. Those people were religious people, not followers of Christ. Those who truly know Him, aren’t tolerant, tolerance means I don’t like you or what you do, but I will tolerate sharing oxygen with you. Followers of Christ, those who love Him, love others. Big difference. Love says, I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, I will love you anyway. Love says, you don’t have to be like me, look like me, or talk like me, I can still love you. Religious people draw a circle and say, “stay out!” Those who love draw a circle and say, “come in, I have someone I’d like you to meet,” and then introduce them to Jesus and the Father’s love.

Religion sets laws, tells you how to live, who to love, and what do believe. Relationship gives you direct access to God’s heart. You don’t need someone to tell you what to do, you will know what pleases Him and because you will be overwhelmed by His love, you will want to please Him. Religion makes you look down on others and criticize. Relationship makes you compassionate and wanting to help others. Religion promises a reward for certain behavior after you die, relationship is full of blessings right now. Religion holds signs at a funeral that say, “God hates Gays.” Love comforts those who are hurting and treats people with compassion and respect. Law kills, love heals. Law was only ever instituted because of the terrible condition of man’s hearts. It was to keep us from harming ourselves and others. On the other hand, relationship with God had only one law. Love. That’s it. Love Him and love others. There is no performance. We love Him, accept His love and then He does all the work of changing our hearts and minds. It isn’t us trying to clean ourselves up, that’s what Jesus called the Pharisees on. He said they were “whitewashed graves” clean on the outside but full of dead man’s bones. A relationship changes us on the inside. His love convinces us of who He is and who we are. We are loved, and cherished. Even when we sin!

Think of the one person who personifies evil, living or dead.

God loves that person.

God loves us so much that He would never force us to do anything. He lets us choose to love Him, or not, to choose heaven or hell, to heal or to try to put a big bandage on the gaping wounds. His arms are open, He is attentively watching, and always listening for your call, be it a shout or a whisper.

Are you a stranger to God and always believed that yielding to Him meant following a list of rules? Stop believing the lie! He requires nothing but your heart.

Are you a “religious” person who has strived to live by a list of rules, or found little love for others in your heart? Stop believing the lie! You can’t make God love you less, or more by anything you do or say.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV), “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (emphasis mine)

We live in dark times, but His light should be shining in us in such a way that people are drawn to it. We should be showing the Fathers heart.

His heart is full of love.

PERIOD.