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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Friday, December 14, 2007

12 Months with the Christian Fiction Review Blog



January
ARMS OF DELIVERANCE, by Tricia Goyer; historical romantic/suspense
Summary - Two friends, Mary and Lee, land similar reporting jobs at the New York Tribune on the eve of the war's outbreak and soon they become competitors. Mary's coverage of a bombing raid over Germany leads to a plane wreck and an adventurous escape attempt from across enemy lines. When Lee hears of Mary's plight, she bravely heads to war-torn Europe in an effort to help rescue her friend. Will there be enough time for diplomacy or will war get the best of everyone?

February
LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, compiled by Cynthia MacKinnon; speculative fiction. Summary - Light at the Edge of Darkness is a compilation of 28 short stories, including 3 novelettes that cover the Biblical speculative fiction spectrum from horror and spiritual thriller to sci-fi to fantasy. Headlining the book is Undeniable, a riveting, chilling tale from Canadian horror writer, A.P. Fuchs. When forced to the edge of darkness, there's only one way back: embrace the Light. Light at the Edge of Darkness tells stories written from a Christian worldview intended to inspire and entertain readers. The showcased Biblical specific fiction sub-genres are: science fiction, dystopia, cyberpunk, fantasy, time travel, and supernatural. The stories have been organized into subgenres with some versatile authors writing in more than one category. Readers will find the serious, the light, the parody, and the heart-stopping.

March
THE CHRONICLES OF SOONE: HEIR TO THE KING, by James Somers; SF/fantasy. Summary - James Somers is able to capture an action flick on paper as he chronicles the events of a warrior prince. ...what immediately hits the reader in the face is found on the first page after the prologue, “Not so long ago, in another creation of God...” Wow, that is not something you find everyday in fiction, let alone science-fiction. The key is that he incorporates it like corn in mashed potatoes; its unfamiliar presence is obvious, but it works. Somers's writing style takes on a “no beat around the bush” approach that left me wanting more. ...a fun action novel that makes an underlying theme of God not feel out of plac

April
INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD, compile by Karina Fabian; “Science fiction with a Catholic twist”. Contents - "
A Cruel and Unusual Punishment" by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
"Brother John" by Colleen Drippé
"Brother Jubal in the Womb of Silence" by Tim Myers
"Canticle of the Wolf" by Alan Loewen
"Far Traveler" by Colleen Drippé
"Hopkin's Well" by Adrienne Ray
"Interstellar Calling" by Karina L. Fabian
"Little Madeleine" by Simon Morden
"Mask of the Ferret" by Ken Pick and Alan Loewen
"Our Daily Bread" by Robert and Karina Fabian
"Stabat Mater" by Rose Dimond
"The Harvest" by Lori Z. Scott
"The Hosts of the Envoy" by Alex Lobdell
"These Three" by Karina and Robert Fabian
"Understanding" by J Sherer

May

PETTICOAT RANCH, by Mary Connealy; western/romantic suspense, comedy. Summary - Sophie Edwards is doing just fine, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he's bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her - right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground and a chance at love on the Texas frontier.

June

THE 3RD COVENANT, by David Brollier; mystery/suspense. Summary - An ex-convict with an agenda and two of NYPD’s finest face off when Father Rierdon is found murdered in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Detectives Nat Adams, homicide, and May K. Wish, crime scene investigator from Manhattan South’s Crime Scene Unit, join forces to track a ruthless killer. Clues seem to point to one man, an ex-convict who has started his own church. As the body count piles up, the pressure is on to resolve the case quickly. Nat struggles, among the carnage, to live the life of a Christian, often failing. The chase is on, covering three states, but will they be able to resolve this case quickly enough? This question seems to mock them as they face a struggle against a religious cult that leaves behind a deadly bayonet as its calling card.

July
*TRUE LIGHT, by Terri Blackstock; suspense. Summary - Eight months into a global blackout, the residents of Oak Hollow are coping with the deep winter nights. But the struggle to survive can bring out the worst in a person—or a community. A teenager has been shot and the suspect sits in jail. As the son of a convicted murderer, Mark Green already has one strike against him. Now he faces the wrath of all Oak Hollow. But the Branning family stands with him as he fights to survive—and forgive. Book three in Terri Blackstock’s Restoration series. (This was our first guest tour)

August

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID, by Caprice Hokstad; romantic fantasy. Summary - What if Prince Charming married the Wicked Stepmother before he ever met Cinderella? Keedrina is a young peasant who lives near a thriving seaport town. After marauders kill her family and burn her farmhouse, she meets Duke Vahn, who champions her cause, apprehends the outlaws, and dispenses justice. The duke offers Keedrina food and shelter in return for service. Can the simple farmgirl find a family among the refined servants in the duke's house? Not if the prejudiced and conniving duchess has her way! Book one of a fantasy trilogy, The Duke's Handmaid is a "coming of age" story with the flavor of a classic fairy tale. Having elements of mystery, adventure, and romance, as well as new-world discovery, prophesy, and magic, The Duke's Handmaid is strongly character-driven and defies sub-categorization.

September

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson; drama. Summary - Jamie Boyer sits in a stark homeless shelter in one of the seedier areas just off of High Street, certain that he has messed up his life forever. The young man had left his home on the farm just six months earlier for college in the big city. After falling in with the wrong crowd and getting mixed up with alcohol and drugs, his life is shattered. From his occasional church visits while growing up, Jamie knows that he is running from God. Can Jamie work his way out of his problems alone--and will anything really be different if he gets back to the college bars on High Street?

**LET THEM EAT CAKE, by Sandra Byrd; YA fiction (Lexi Stuart doesn't seem to be able to get the dots in life to connect correctly. The book begins with her dragging herself into a job that she hates...and soon loses. Without a job, a pension for food and French, she treats herself at this new French place, pastries, cafe la creme, breads...and an owner to die for. Soon she finds herself applying for a job there, and actually getting it. Try explaining that to the folks who sent you money to go to college and get a “good” job. Few people seem to respect her decision and the fireworks building up at work aren't helping matters. The trouble is, Alexandra, (that's what the owner calls her), loves her job, even the challenges it brings. Is this what God wants for her life? If so, she'll have a second helping, thank you very much. (single day guest tour)

October
FLASHPOINT, by Frank Creed; cyberpunk. Summary - Persecution in Chicago has reached the Flashpoint. In the year 2036, all nations are run by a one-world government. The One State has only one threat: Fundamentalist terrorists. The One State has declared that every Fundamentalist is a terrorist including Bible believing Christians! But the One State has not yet encountered Calamity Kid and e-girl . . . When peacekeepers bust a home-church in Ward-Six of the Chicago Metroplex, brother and sister, Dave and Jen Williams, are the only members who evade capture. Their only place to turn? A Christian ‘terrorist’ cell known as the Body of Christ. In their shattered world, Dave and Jen adopt codenames and slip between the Underground cracks of the Chicago Metroplex. They must save their home-church before their parents, brother, and neighbors are all brainwashed by the One State Neros. Calamity Kid and e-girl fearlessly walk the valley of death, because He is with them. But they’ll need every molecule of their re-formed faith to face down peacekeepers, gangers, One-State Neros, and fallen-angels, in America’s dark Post-Modern Humanist age.

November
FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges; SF. Summary - Have you ever wondered... if your life is designed? Coincidences, deja vu, fate, God... what does it all mean? Have you ever longed to return to childhood? I know I have. Perhaps it's possible. Have you ever wished you could go back and do things differently? Maybe you can.
Maybe you did already. Have you asked yourself if your life is really real? And if it isn't... what would it mean for your faith?
If you could design your own virtual world to live in, what would it look like? If you lived on a dark and empty planet, how far would you go to save your life? Is God a computer programmer? And can he take you to heaven... before you die?

December
WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell; romantic fantasy. Summary - A fourth tribe has come to the land of the three tribes; the light-skinned newcomers are fated to change the tribes' way of life and religion. Satha, a dark-skinned woman from a poor Theseni clan, and Loic, her wealthy young Doreni husband, are too busy forging their new life together to pay much heed. But when Satha is dishonored and Loic must avenge her, they find themselves drawn into a cultural battle. Kidnapped and enslaved, Satha strives to retain her autonomy. Loic struggles against the Arkhai, spirits who fear his his quest will lead him to the true god whose place they have usurped. With the Creator's aid there remains hope they will be reunited and find their mutual destiny, even if it means losing the love and respect of their comrades, families, clans, and tribes.

* = Guest author
**= One day guest author

As you can see, it's been a wonderful year. God bless you all and may next year prove to be even better.

David Brollier, CFRB co-founder

Saturday, December 08, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 7 Saturday


There seems to have been a lot of chatter of this story that preceded this tour. Some had concerns about one thing, others had concerns about another, but the fact remains, WIND FOLLOWER is an intricately woven story, true to the reality she created, full of colorful and realistic characters. I suspect any detractors were only expressing their personal tastes in fiction. I stated right off that I had some of these concerns. That doesn't mean this book isn't something that should not be explored. If you like this style of writing you will be greatly enriched by WIND FOLLOWER every step of the way. Even those who had problems with the style couldn't help but find many things about this story which captured their minds and heart.


WIND FOLLOWER is first and foremost, at least in my mind, a romance, one filled with pitfalls and trials that they had to overcome. In fact, the only thing that separates this from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, was the ending. Can love exist among these “Montagues” and “Capulets”? It is a tale of a loving and personal God trying to bring His truth to people who would refuse it. A tale of those who would accept His Truth as opposed to those who would refuse it. It is the parable of the “Sower and the Seed” found in the Gospels. You reap what you sow. Loic and Satha, even in the days before they realized God was someone who took a personal interest in their lives, placed their trust in Him, and they bore good fruit. It is a tale of how prejudice isn't bound to race or color, but lives in the hearts and minds of all people. Only the brave and courageous overcome that evil within themselves. And, my personal favorite, it is a tale of how religion can destroy a people instead of offering hope and salvation through a relationship with Jesus Christ.


I want to expound on that last point. How many times have you heard of a denomination saying you can't do this or that, or that you have to do such and such to be a Christian? Where do they get their authority? Certainly not from Scripture. When the disciples wanted to stop a man from casting out demons in Jesus' name, He told them, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:38-41) I tell you this truth, unless Christians get back to Scripture and realize that being a Christian is a personal matter, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and not a list of dos and don'ts, we're going to come under the same wrath of God as the unsaved, maybe more. After all, we who claim to know the truth, should impart that truth, not some man's definition of what that might be. WIND FOLLOWER takes aim at man's twisting of the truth and lets loose with both barrels. I'm proud of her for that, and pray that this message hits home in time. We don't have time to be playing games. Even if I didn't believe we were in the end times. How long does a person live? 75, 85, 95 years or so? After that their ability to reach the lost is over. Or to be even more clear. Think of the circle of people around you. Those you go to school with or work with, how many times does this group change? Or when you move from one place to another, don't you lose an entire mission field? Be watchful and diligent, for you may never get the chance to reach these people that are around you now ever again. God has placed that annoying neighbor next door so that you might reach them with the love of God. He found that job you have for the same reason. How many times will we go from mission field to mission field without reaping a harvest, or at least planting some seeds? Yes, Carole, I had trouble with your particular writing style, but I am behind you 200% when you start requiring God's workers in His fields to stop coming back to Him empty handed. Jesus said the fields were white unto harvest. He said the laborers are few. How sad that must make Him, and I'm as guilty as anyone else. I go out into a field and return with one or two apples in my sack at harvest time. I plant seeds only when it is convenient to me. I am not Loic. I am not Satha. I am not that brave. I am not that willing to step out of my comfort zone for my Lord. I wish to be, and with God's help will be more and more successful at this. What about you? Do you hold to the traditions of men like idols of stone or precious metals? Or are you willing to do what the Lord of lords asks of you, wherever and whenever He asks? Are you willing to follow the wind? She choses this word, “wind”, by no accident. In both the Hebrew and the Greek the same word for “wind” also means “breath” and “spirit”. Are you willing to let God's wind fill your with life and then move you along to do His will? This is the challenge, not that Loic is WIND FOLLOWER, but that YOU might become a wind follower as well.




On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Friday, December 07, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 6 Friday


As a special treat, I asked Carole McDonnell to give us some background on the story, as well as some of the goals she hopes to achieve. I found her comments particularly enlightening. I hope you find them just as satisfying. - David


Carole McDonnell

The story is set in an alternate Africa where three tribes live. The ruling tribe is called the Doreni and are ancestor worshipers. A sojourning tribe is the Ibeni and they are animists. The native tribe is the Theseni and they have a dualistic God who is a combination of a destroyer and a Creator.


I guess I created an alternate Africa because I like alternate history. In this case, if I had stuck to Africa as it really is/was, I would've had to know Asian history, Native American history, African history, and all kinds of history. I would've had to choose what tribe the Doreni were really descended from and where they came from. That would've limited me. I wouldn't have been able to choose each tribes' religious practices at will.


The cultures, as they are in the book, have customs I picked up from my love of anthropology, comparative religion, etc. There's a great book out there by Don Richardson called "Eternity in their hearts." It's about how folklore and paganism points to the Christian gospel. For instance, the many ideas in so many cultures about a pure sacrifice. I wanted to show that the pagans had a witness that would lead them to the gospel if the bringers of the gospel cared enough to understand the pagans' culture.


I also wanted to show my love for the Bible. There are three important things in Wind Follower: the Lost Book, marriage, and hospitality.


The law of hospitality was chosen because I wanted to show that God had put a hook in this particular culture that would lead them to the gospel. That hook would be the Bible verse: "I was wounded in the house of my friends." The Doreni culture is very aware of the sin of being inhospitable. Just as the ancient Israelites were aware of sinfulness. The Doreni consider the lack of hospitality akin to sin and they have a prophecy about a Host wounded by a Guest.


Marriage is also important in the book. It has to be because I wanted, on a personal level, to write a book about marital faithfulness.


But the most important thing is the Lost Book. The Bible...and the proper interpretation of it. In fact, at the end of the novel, the Lost Book has been given to all the tribes, but the meaning of it has been tainted somewhat because the demonic elements have created denominations who are more concerned with their own issues than they are with directly serving the Creator. That was very important to me. I get so tired of hearing Christians get into denominational issues and forget our wonderful Bible and our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


I hope Wind Follower shows the love and honor I have for the Bible and the distaste I have for denominational and clerical infighting.


As you can see, WIND FOLLOWER isn't just another book. It's not even another Christian book. It's a story that is aimed at all the false teachings we've let divide the Body of Christ for hundreds of years. She takes Christianity back to what it really is, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Denominations have stripped much of the truth from us just as surely as Okiak and the other shamans in the various clans. The story even tells us that the Lost Book wasn't really lost in the common sense of the word. It was defiled by people changing it and writing books of their own to alter what the real book said to fit their own agendas. And the sad thing about this is, we're still doing it. Jesus didn't die on the cross to start a famous religion. He died on the cross because He loves you. That is the basis of this story, and until we, as His children, start to wake up to that fact, we will be among the many who Jesus said would fall away during the end times. I know this isn't a pretty post, but it's not a pretty story. It's the truth. The truth isn't always pretty, but it is always the truth. - David




On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 5 Thursday



Hidden with the folds of this epic story are some interesting things I'd like to point out. Some are more obvious than others, bu they were all very interesting to me. Let's see if you find them interesting as well.


Talub and his wife, Voora, are Angleni people who become masters over Satha, a fact that she finds difficult to accept. After a time, Voora appears she will be barren, so Talub takes Satha to raise up children for himself and Voora. It has been suggested that this is an obvious analogy of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Yet you cannot help but notice that Talub is nothing like Abraham, Voora, nothing like Sarah. Satha and Hagar are the only couple who may possibly be considered similar. Yet, it was the custom, in the days of Abraham, for a man to raise up children for his wife through her handmaid. So we find the event historically correct. I don't believe it was the author's intention to make a parallel here. I believe she was using an ancient practice as a vehicle for her story. In doing so she shows us what happens on the other side of the same coin. To me this is interesting. Put two people through the same social confines, one a Christian, the other an atheist or agnostic. While they both may do the same thing as far as the situation is concerned, the end result is worlds apart.


The act of selling Satha into slavery also seems like the selling of Joseph into slavery. Here you have a story that is very similar, with one detraction, Satha had yet come to the kind of faith Joseph had at this point. So her reaction was not to embrace her position as a way to please God, but rather to rebel. So it is a longer road that she travels to a place of acceptance of God as He is. The idea of a personal God is not an accepted by the others in any of the clans. Loic wrestles with this, but even after he does accept it he finds he must convince Satha of this truth, that God cares for them personally. In the end she accepts this because of her love for Loic.


In this we also see that all Jesus asks of us is to accept what He says because of our love for Him. Once we accept and believe Him, then He is able to teach us, just as Loic was able to teach Satha.


These are only a few of the parallels that I saw in this novel. It was interesting to see these things rise up of their own accord and not forced upon the story. In my mind it makes it more powerful.





On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 4 Wednesday



A love story is supposed to follow, boy meets girl, girl meets boy, the exchange of their love and then a happily ever after ending. From the beginning this love story ignores or breaks that mold. Refusing to be limited by the age-old formula things seem to go awry right from the start. Satha wants nothing to do with the young prince, no matter how great his status might be. Her mother is insistent upon the two getting together and married, which only provokes Satha's rebellious spirit. When brought into the presence of Loic, her disdain is further fueled by his wish to make her his wife. So much for a Prince Charming.


Loic, on the other hand, is so taken by her, from the moment he lays eyes on her, that he must have her. He is so adamant about this before his father that he nearly ruins whatever relationship he has with his father. After she is brought before them the father conspires with his son to arrange for their marriage, and as I've said, this doesn't sit well with young Satha, but neither does it set well with others. We begin to see something modeled, not after the boy meets girl, boy gets girl, happily ever after, of contemporary romance novels. Instead we find the makings of the Montagues and the Capulets of Romeo and Juliet.


We are wondering if these two will be no better off than Shakespeare's greatest lovers. Without spoiling things for you, I will tell you this, whatever their fate, the tribulations that they go through, that which they bring upon themselves, those that are thrust upon the, are Loic and Satha are no Romeo and Juliet.


There's a bit of Song of Solomon in this tale. A love embraced to the point of pain, even estrangement. A love that grips so terrible it is feared. This is the story of WIND FOLLOWER. It is the story of a love that turns a self-conscious young woman into a slave to its power, and a young, spoiled boy, into a man, a warrior. For beyond the pain, love holds the deepest of secrets, it refuses to die. As Paul says in 1st Corinthians 13, “Love never fails.”




On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 3 Tuesday



Another important character in the story, although I don't think he really ever got to say anything, is Kirka. Krika and Loic were heart brothers. They grew up sharing many of the same privileges and yet both shared the belief that the Good Maker was more than they had been taught, and the spirit gods were something to be shunned, not worshiped. We meet Krika in the Prologue, where his father sacrifices him before the assembly of the Pagutsu clan, part of the Doreni people. His father is a shaman among the Pagutsu, and believes that his death is necessary to appease the spirit gods so they will not take revenge on them.


This action, and the inaction of Loic's father to intercede, as well as his own cowardice in the face of his friend's approahing doom, shape, mold, taint and influence Loic's personality as he grows up into manhood. When I was a boy growing up I had two circles of friends, basically because neither circle mingled with the other. I had church friends and I had neighborhood friends. Both of my neighborhood friends came from church families. It's just that they went to different churches. I had a favorite among the two, but I liked them both, most of the time anyway. If someone had said anything against my friends, either those in church or those in the neighborhood, I felt willing to stand up for them, or at least offer my encouragement after they had been maligned. Loic never had this privilege. He had the chance to stand up for his friend, but that would have meant standing against his father as well as the shaman and other elders. His cowardliness can be understood. Yet the feeling that his father had betrayed his friend to death, coupled with the fact that he would never get to encourage his friend made him feel guilty. In the best of times Krika, his friendship and his death, were always on his mind.


Do you have someone who is right in their thinking, but is taking flak for it? Are you brave enough to stand with them, to try to intercede on their behalf, to be there to encourage them later on? If so, hold them dearly. Don't be a friend that only loves when it is convenient. Don't be someone who leaves when things get tough. If you will do this, you will find help in the future when you are maligned. You will find those willing to stand beside you and fight for you. Your burden will not seem so unbearable. Loic's burden was escapable. All he had to do was be true to his friend. In his heart he was, but the seeds he planted, seeds of inaction, of not being brave enough to stand with his friend even if it meant death, grew and became a burden he carried for the better part of his life. Learn from him.




On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Monday, December 03, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 2 Monday



For those wanting a sneak peek at the book I've posted the trailer for WIND FLOWER in our CFRB Book Trailer section. You'll get a good feel of the overall aspects of the story by viewing it. I found this on YouTube, and it is very well done. Enjoy. Also, be sure to take in any other of the trailers you see there, just in case you missed a tour.


The location of the story is fictitious. Which is great. I love visiting places like Middle Earth, Narnia, even Grace Bridge's virtual reality world. It releases you from some of the boundaries that you'd ordinarily have to face. I'm not sure what the name of this place is called (sorry Carole, too much to take in or remember I suppose), but it is divided into specific clan structures. There are clans within clans, so you really need to keep a scorebook handy, or have a good memory. The Angleni clan is depicted as the enemy of the other 3 clans. They are powerful, but the 3 remaining clans have made a truce with each other in order to have a united force against them. These 3 clans are the Doreni clan, The Theseni clan and the Ibeni clan. Going backwards, the Ibeni people are light-skinned, the Theseni are dark-skinned, while the Doreni are somewhere's between the two in skin color. The Angleni, by the way, are also light-skinned.


Here's some other facts about these clans that you'll want to know. The Doreni are a “fiercesome people”, but just in their own way. The Theseni are quiet and more compassionate. The Ibeni are pictured as immoral and lustful people. The Angleni people are warrior-like, but unlike the Doreni, they seem to be unjust in their actions. However, the Angleni have something the other clans do not, the “Lost Book”.


The Lost Book, we are told, is the original unadulterated Sacred Writings. The other clans have copies, but much has been added by their own people so these Sacred Writings have been fouled by all these additions. Worse, there are many traditions arisen from these “new” interpretations and false teachers, called “shamans” who lead the people falsely. What this has to do with Loic and Satha must be told in the story and not spoiled for you here. I will say, however, that both Loic and Satha, have an awareness that the Good Creator is to be honored alone. The shamans teach that there are many other spirits and shadow gods which must be revered. They teach the people that these spirit gods do the intervening on behalf of them to the Great Chief or Good Maker, because, it is explained, the Great Chief is far off. He is an impersonal God, not caring about the individual lives of mankind. Somehow Loic and Satha come to believe they have been taught falsely, but they are unsure of how to proceed. They decide that although the Good Maker may be far off, only him will they honor and worship. It is upon this that the book builds its foundaton.




On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell



Day 1 Sunday



Take a young woman, living basically poor. Add a young man who basically has everything. Not only are they fiscally mismatched, but they are from different clans, we might refer to them as different races. Yet the young man loves this woman. He must have her. She is more than a little hesitant about such a relationship, but slowly he wins her love. WIND FOLLOWER follows the stories of Loic, a Pagutsu firstborn male to an affluent family, just shy of being the prince among his people, and Satha, not so affluent, but their fathers are friends. I don't think anyone is quite equipped for the story that follows this rather strange beginning.

Before I begin, I'd like to make a few comments, more or less at the author's insistence. If you have trouble with stories that throw out a bunch of new words, many of them nearly unpronounceable, changes in the point-of-view that, although alternate between Loic and Satha every chapter, then perhaps this is not the novel for you. You can read read the prologue of her book online and perhaps decide for yourself. It can be found here Excerpts



Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me begin. There is a complexity in this novel that is found in few other places. This book weaves allegory in ways that are as unexpected to people who are acquainted as those who know nothing about the story it patterns after. This is because it is not a strict allegory, but a new story that weaves many allegories into something brand new. Sometimes the complexity got in the way for me, but if you stick with it, you may just be surprised to find yourself in love with a new land, new characters, and caught up in an adventure that you never dreamed you would. If this is your kind of reading matter, I advise you to give it time. Don't let the words or its complexity to rob you of a good story. You owe that much to yourself.





On sale at Amazon Books


As well as Juno Books


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Carole McDonnell's Blog


Plus if you'll Google her name or WIND FOLLOWER, you'll come up with a ton of other links as well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Everyone Ready?

Tomorrow begins the tour of WIND FOLLOWER, by Carole McDonnell. Are you ready? Sure I could write a message to the CFRB members, but we've been working on this already. This is for all you bloggers out there. You won't want to miss out on this tour. We're ending our first year as a review blog and WIND FOLLOWER is a great way to wind things up. Check back tomorrow and each day next week to see all that we have in store, and also check the Book Trailer page. It'll give you a hint of what's to come.

David Brollier

Saturday, November 10, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 7 Saturday



I'd like to end this tour by talking about two more characters in FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges. These are the two people that have come to mean the most in Mariah's life over the years, and, to preserve at least some of the story for the reader, I'm not going to give you their VR identities.

The first of these two is Naomi. When Mariah first joins the underground church or group, it is Naomi that she becomes closest friends with. It is Naomi who inspires her to stand up strong for the Awakener. It is Naomi who introduces new technology that seems to bring freedom to the people. It is Naomi who, when people thought she was going to be honored, suddenly disappears, leaving Mariah to struggle with her first great loss. Through Naomi, Grace Bridges teaches us the value of friendship, the necessity of dealing with finding and losing. For nothing in life is permanent. Yet it takes both the finding of a friend like Naomi and the losing of her to help her create her own strength or rather her own dependency on the Awakener. This is so important.

Similarly, she bonds, on a different level, with Peter. As their romance increases, so does the desperate situation surrounding them. Mariah realizes that she has again found someone she can lean on, but must give up. It is Peter who helps the small group maintain their perspective, keep things focused, and look for answers that he believes can be found. Interestingly, it is Mariah who finds these answers, seemingly by accident. Together they forge a plan to save them all. The plan is extreme, and pleasantness does not mark their progress. Yet they are after something more than pleasure, they are seeking survival. Lingering in the back of the minds of Peter and Mariah, is that it will not simply be the survival of life, but of all the hopes and joys they have shared together. This is also important.

What I have learned, although I don't pick up books with the idea I'm going to learn something, is that God gives and takes away, and both are blessings. He gives us people when we need others to help us recognize Him and His love for us. Then, quite often, God removes these same people so that we will learn to lean on Him, to know Him more fully, that we might become someone others can lean on and learn of Him. As my pastor says, “We are Jesus with skin on.” Even the historical Jesus, the man, who was also God, came and lived for a short while among the people. There were those who heard the truth in His teachings and followed Him. Then God took Jesus away. Was this to cause pain? No! It was so that our relationship with Him might be even stronger. We are told that while the physical Jesus, the one the disciples saw in the flesh, left, yet He never really left them at all. For being God Jesus was now able to be with them in ways they never thought possible. Jesus said He would be a friend that is closer than a brother. And so He is to all who believe. Although taken away in the flesh, He is alive with us in the Spirit. Also we have that great joy and hope of His return, which also is part of our Gospel. We do not serve lifeless idols or men who have died, but a Living God, who came and took on our form, that He might take death upon Himself, that we might not die. He has also put to death those sins in our lives that have condemned us in His own flesh. There is no greater show of love than that. And still, He sends us others, believers we can walk with for a time. People who will strengthen our relationship with our Savior. Then he removes them from us that we may be people to others who need that same strength, teaching them to walk in the ways of the Lord. For a story so simple and seemingly just a nice parable, FAITH AWAKENED becomes a most profound declaration of God's love for His people. Thank you Grace. It's just what I needed.


On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Friday, November 09, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 6 Friday



The technology that she uses in this story include genetic engineering, virtual reality and cryonics. Let's look at these one at a time.

Genetic engineering is already being done. This is the human manipulation of DNA to create something different than what was originally intended. By different I mean the same thing only stronger, purer, in some ways better. It seems we are always trying to improve on what God has made. In FAITH AWAKENED geneticists find a way to create a fertilizer that increases productivity. This is perhaps a real possibility. Yet, look at how Grace Bridges handles this. The new fruit that grows looks ugly, misshapen, and only grows a single season. It's seeds, however can be utilized for the next planting season, with the same results of increased harvest of misshapen fruit. I find this interesting. Whether intended or not Grace is saying you cannot improve on what God has created. It may seem to be an improvement, but it loses its beauty, and even shortens its lifespan. In short you can't improve on what God has made. You'll have to read the story to see how devastating this technology really becomes.

We're all acquainted with virtual reality on one level or another. There are now tons of VR games that are played regularly by kids. VR really is nothing more than a computer-generated reality. Gamers love the stuff. You take on a character, add in some of your own characteristics, within defined limits, and place that character in a pre-designed world, whether it's something like Middle Earth, King Arthur's world, or an urban war-zone. VR is limited, however, kind of like a large box. Inside it can be large enough to seem like it's the real deal, but the reality is you can't go beyond certain borders. You can't remember things that haven't happened. You can't embrace experiences that haven't already been experienced. So, to mimic that, you make memories smaller, or link them together. You take real experiences and shrink them down so they feel realistic. Again, Grace Bridges has done a marvelous job of showing us which world is which, even if the characters stuck inside each world can't be sure which is real or not. This adds to the credibility of VR technology being used, and it also helps the readers keep track of who's who without a scorecard.

I'm sure most of us have heard about people being frozen, while still alive, to prevent actual death. The name for this science is cryonics. According to Wikipedia, "Cryonics is the low temperature preservation of humans and other animals that can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine until resuscitation may be possible in the future. Human cryopreservation is not currently reversible. In the United States, cryonics can only be legally performed on humans after pronounced legally dead. The rationale for cryonics is that the process may be reversible in the future if performed soon enough, and that cryopreserved people may not really be dead by the information-theoretic definition of death." Apparently cryonics, at least in the U.S. can only be used after a person is pronounced dead. Although it can only be useful if the person is not truly dead. Then there are other obstacles to this, however, a growing number of scientists are backing cryonics for the preservation of human life when it cannot be achieved through what we are currently capable of. So Grace Bridges uses cryonics in this way. If we will let ourselves plunge into this "what if" scenario, the her descriptions of the apparatus used for this is very imaginative, realistic and sometimes graphic. Even the feelings a person might have are explored and utilized for her story. I found it mesmerizing.

Grace Bridges does something unique, something I never would have thought of, and it is just beautiful. She combines cryonics with VR technology. In doing so people don't have to just be frozen for a length of time, like sleeping, or more correctly, in a coma. Instead while they are in this coma state they experience a world that they have created using VR technology with Mariah's computer programming skills to help out. You define the world you'll be in, the people you meet, even some events up to a point. If you'll notice, the life of Faith is full of “blank spots”. That's because it's a virtual world. No way could we create every feeling, thought and experience we go through in life, so in a virtual world you'd expect “gaps” to appear. To me, this is part of the genius of the story. She takes the unacceptable, unbelievable, and makes it believable to those in a cryogenic virtual world. This is an awesome task, done with skills I wish I had.

If this post doesn't move people to visit her site and get her book, then I don't think anything would. Yet if you are into science fiction, or even just fantasy, you will be doing yourself a disservice by not getting this book.


On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Thursday, November 08, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 5 Thursday



Now I'm going to embarrass Grace Bridges, by a very special post. I've known writers to write poems and use them to embellish their stories, but Grace has taken this a step further. Instead of being satisfied with poems she has written songs. Here they are, four of them in all.




Awaken Me (Chapter 3)



Awaken me, be the light in my eyes.

Awaken me, be the strength in my hands.

Awaken me, be the joy in my heart.

Awaken me, awaken me.



Awaken us, be the words that we pray.

Awaken us, be the songs that we sing.

Awaken us, be the lies that we live.

Awaken us, awaken us.




Day's Breaking(Chapter 10)



Day's breaking, awaking inside of me.

Bright morning, light's dawning, ow I am free.

Day's dawning, bright morning, making me see

Light's breaking, awakening. What can it be?



From darkness you have bid me rise.

The sound of my Awakener's voice.

I wll not give up. I will not let go of the life that you give.

I will stand with you. I will never leave your side for as long as I live.




Remember (Chapter 17)



Remember where you are, child

Remember you are mine.

Remember I love you, child

That wont change. It's for all time

Remember I made you, child

Every little part.

Remember that I called you

And you are close to my heart.



Don't forget all the times

When you called and I answered you.

Don't forget how my words light your path

And you know that I'll make

Everything work for you good

Since you gave all your days to my hand



And you know that you're safe

In my arms wherever you go.

And you know that I'll show you the way

Be assured of my love

And my help in all you do.

Be assured that I'll stay by your side.




Give Me Faith (Chapter 19)



God has left me, and I'm alone now.

He doesn't se me any more.

Oh God, my God, oh Lord my God

Why did you leave me?



He has turned his face from my hurting soul.

Have you forgotten about me?

Oh God, my God, oh Lord, my God

Why did you leave me?



And still in my pain, I will look up to him.

I do still believe!

Take me and bring me to you.

Lift me high above this place

Like Job, that I will see your face.



Let me praise you again with a joyful heart.

Then I will thank you, God of wonders.

Oh God, my God, oh Lord, my God

Help me to trust you



Give me faith.



The words of these songs are almost as haunting as those in the Psalms or in the book itself. If you go to your www.faithawakened.com website you can find these songs, hear them, and even download them for your later enjoyment. May each of us have our FAITH AWAKENED.





On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 4 Wednesday



One of the things I liked about FAITH AWAKENED, was how Grace Bridges referred to Christians as “the Awakened”. Also they served the “Awakener”. Truly this is what happens when we come to Christ, it is as if out of the sleep of Death God Himself has awakened us into His Life, which is eternal. While other aspects of FLASHPOINT, by Frank Creed appealed to my masculine need for the “rush”, this description of the Christian seemed better than the way he went about it. However, as we noted, he had to cut some things out. Still, wouldn't it be more realistic to be called by another name in the future? The followers of Jesus were first called “Followers of the Way”, then “Christians”. These are the two oldest, and most defining terms. Over the years we have been called, “The Chosen”, “Born Again”, “Believers”, “Charismatics”, “Jesus Freaks” and so on. Each time the words used took the same basic truths and reflected the current society, so the people would understand them.



Not only does the Awakened, seem more realistic, but it points to our current lack of trying to relate Biblical truths in words that our society will understand. We often tell people we are Born Again, and you'll even hear this on the news. Yet, most people don't know what in the world we are talking about. We need to first show them that they are dead in order for them to understand they can be born again. Similarly, in Grace Bridges' futuristic story, people need to realize that they are asleep before they can be awakened. This to me is a very strong point of the story.



Though awakened, these believers find themselves forced to worship secretly. Friends, this is not as futuristic as it sounds. For years, in many places around the world, Christians have been forced to meet underground or in secret. Still, they find a way to share the Gospel with those around them, and that is the beauty of it. While remaining “in secret” the Awakened still see a world that needs to be shaken from its deadly sleep. May we learn a lesson from this and not wait until we too, are forced to worship in secret.




On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges

Day 3 Tuesday



The main character in FAITH AWAKENED is Mariah, a 22 year old young Irish woman in Belfast. Although she works with computers she feels that her job is part of an enforced slavery by the Masters over all people. Chapter 2 starts out in the most amazing and foreboding of ways. Mariah tells us, the readers, that she is going to tell her story, a story of how great the world once was, and how nearly all of mankind was destroyed. Talk about giving you a hook. Yet, even in the prologue and chapter 1 you get hooked. Grace Bridges is a very unique and gifted story teller. You'll find this out the more you read.



Before I introduce you to the other main character I need to go back to the prologue and jump around a bit. Mariah, in the prologue, is hooking up survivors to a “virtual reality cryogenic system”. That's right. Those left behind, by some horrific event she has not yet shared with us. The gist of things are that only a handful of people seem to be left living on an otherwise crowded planet. For the human race to survive those living must enter into this state of cryogenic suspension. She is fairly graphic in her depiction of all of this. She gives us hints, in that this time of entering a suspended state, are faced with a certain amount of fear and anxioty, as well as welcomed with joy.



Okay, now I can tell you a little about Faith. We start out with her as a young child and “grow up with her” so to speak. The one thing that becomes noticeable about her is her lapses of memory. There seem to be bits of her past that fade away into the mists of nothingness. In fact, there is a feeling of skipping over things when you read this chapter. Believe it or not, this is important. She grows up like any young girl, at least one with Christian parents and influence, but Grace shows all the pain and frustration at trying to figure God out. The teen years are particularly interesting, just as they are in real life. These years are the ones that most of us face some of the greatest challenges of our lives. We either stand or fall, by how we react to these challenges. She does a great job of depicting Faith.



These are the 2 main characters in FAITH AWAKENED. Grace, if I have misrepresented them in any way, I apologize ahead of time. To the rest of you, I apologize that I cannot give you more information without allowing you to experience the story for yourself. It's always a challenge to find 7 posts for a novel without giving away the major plot aspects and the ending. So I ask that you give me a little slack here. I could easily tell you the story, but then what would be the point of reading it? You must read this book, because the story held within is best told by its author, and because there are several messages that you need to come to grips with. As Mariah says, “You won't find any censorship, even though you will mourn for worlds long vanished. I intend to tell it like it really is.” She follows this up with the ominous words, “Really I can't be sure that anyone will ever read this. Yet if the human race survives, then read on and weep for what once was, and what used to be. For it is no more...”





On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Monday, November 05, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges

Day 2 Monday



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges, and FLASHPOINT, by Frank Creed, have 3 similarities. First, both books deal with end times scenarios. Second, both books point to the coming persecution of the Christian believers. Third, both books deal with advanced technology that may not really be that far from becoming a reality. Apart from these 3 things these two novels are vastly different.



Rather than deal with a group of underground believers who are actively engaging the beastly government, Grace Bridges begins her novel right at the end of that period, so the bulk of her work deals with what happens afterwards. This should not be seen as escaping the command of Christ to “Go and teach all nations, whatsoever things I have taught you.” For she begins her story at a point in time where the existence of the human race is at stake. This being the case she is able to give you the actual feel that these believers are the only ones left on the planet. She deals with each of them, although she mostly focuses on a young woman named Mariah. The ability to focus on so few a number of characters is an active ingredient, which I'm sure you will all enjoy, that makes this novel work.



What I found interesting is that you don't really meet the key character until the 2nd chapter. She sets up things with a prologue, then skips ahead to another character in the 1st chapter, and finally gets around to her main character in the 2nd chapter. This skipping around through time, at first, leaves you wondering what in the world is going on. She quickly helps you understand what is going on and why this story needs to be told this way, and the reader is drawn into a world where 2 realities seem to run side-by-side. It is an awesome undertaking that is done so smoothly you cannot imagine it being told any other way.




On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

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