Green by Ted Dekker


I finally finished re-reading The Circle series. Here’s the review I wrote the first time I read it…. one of the first reviews I ever did. ūüôā

Green is Book Zero, both the final and first book of Ted Dekker’s Circle Series. This novel picks up with Thomas of Hunter and the Circle ten years after the events in the novel White. But now the Circle is breaking. The followers of Elyon have begun to doubt that Elyon will return for them as promised. Some doubt he ever really existed at all. To make matters worse, it is Samuel, Thomas’s own son, leading this turn from Elyon. Thomas must fight to keep the Circle together. Their hope lies in the Lost Books of History and making a way from the future world back to our world.

Ted Dekker, the author, says you can read Green as either the first or last book of the Circle series. I admit, I was doubtful. But I can now see how it works. The story does indeed come full circle…

View original post 138 more words

Interview & Giveaway


I recently had the opportunity to participate in 3 Questions Wednesday over at Inspired Prompt. You can learn a little about me as I answer the following questions:

  1. Can you describe yourself in three words?
  2. Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?
  3. If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

You can also enter for a chance to win one of my favorite novels:

Cabron-ButterflyViolin

Many thanks to Inspired Prompt, and Jennifer Hallmark, for having me!

Please visit my 3 Questions Wednesday post to enter the giveaway, which ends tomorrow at midnight PDT.

I’d love to see your answers to the questions! Drop a comment here, or over at Inspired Prompt, with your answers. Or, ask me something else you’d like to know!

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin


Calvin-LittleBookChristianLife
Published in 1539, the second edition of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion contained a new chapter: On the life of a Christian Man. It has since been published many times in various languages as part of the entirety of the Institutes, as well as separate books, such as this one.

In this new English translation, editors Aaron Clay Denlinger and Burk Parsons strive to not just give us the message of Calvin, but to stay true to his words and tone.

Calvin lays out what the Scripture says about the life of a Christian regarding success and suffering. How are we to respond to success? How do we respond to suffering, be it illness, poverty, or persecution? How does our response portray our relationship with God?

This book is an encouragement of truth. Where most churches today convey Godly success as prosperity in every area of life, this little book reminds us of what the Bible says. Simply, the Christian life involves strife. That strife should drive us to God.

1) Is it understandable = 5
2) Presentation of Information = 5
3) Quality of Writing = 5
4) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average score of 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund


Hedlund-ForLoveHonor
At his mother’s request, Sir Bennet returns home to help his family. They are deeply in debt, and their situation has become dangerous as the people they owe threaten to attack and take everything. His mother feels the only way out is for Sir Bennet to marry a wealthy woman.

Lady Sabine doesn’t consider herself beautiful. Worse, she has a discoloration on her arm. Superstitions would brand her as a witch, and her life would end. She visits Sir Bennet’s home, knowing his family’s financial situation. He has a rare collection of ancient treasures she has always longed to see, and she hopes to purchase something for herself.

The two bond over their love of the collection, but Sabine’s secret, and Bennet’s pride could hinder their relationship as the danger around them grows.

This young adult historical romance is a bit predictable at times, but is a good read overall. The characters are likable, and you want to know more about them. The character interactions are excellent, and keep the pages turning.

My biggest issue may be that, for a Christian novel, what little thought there is to God quickly turns to human attention or affection, and the idea that we can’t truly love until we learn to love ourselves.

I also had some trouble following whose point of view I was in. Both Sabine and Bennet have a turn, and both are in first person. As chapters started, it sometimes took a moment for me to figure out who was speaking.

Not my favorite work of Hedlund’s, but still a nice novel.

1) Overall Plot = 4
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4.5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4

Average score of 4.5 out of 5.

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

I received an electronic copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.

White by Ted Dekker


Dekker-WhiteThomas Hunter isn’t sure which is more real, the virus that will kill practically every person on the planet in less than two weeks, or the Horde that threatens the existence of his people.

The fate of two worlds rests in Thomas’s hands, and they are somehow connected. More than Thomas could have ever imagined.

Book three in the Circle series picks up pace as the virus begins to present symptoms. Coupled with a new challenge for Thomas in the world of the Colored Forest, the tension stays thick.

Once again, the Biblical symbolism is powerful.

While White ends on a note that feels complete, there is one more book in the series. Green. So, be sure not to miss it.

1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average of score 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland


 

Weiland-OutliningYourNovel

Outlining can seem like a daunting task. Especially to someone who has never used one when writing fiction. Memories of high school term papers come to mind, with mandatory outlines, complete with roman numerals, letters, and numbers.

K. M. Weiland sets out to erase that picture and give a more accurate presentation of what a novel outline looks like. In this book you’ll learn how to flesh out ideas, characters, and settings, all before writing a word of your first draft.

I discovered K. M. Weiland about six years ago when I stumbled upon her Wordplayer’s Manifesto. When I seriously began thinking of writing a novel I found her again and I’ve followed her online ever since. She is adamant about helping writers, and it shows in this book.

Coupled with the workbook, this is a great resource for outlining. The workbook especially takes you piece by piece and asks specific questions you can answer about your characters, plot, etc. It’s a great guide. I say guide, simply because I found that, at least for the purposes of the novel I’m working on, the order of her outlining doesn’t quite work for me. So, I’m doing it a bit differently, but those questions will work in any order.

With examples from Weiland’s own work, insight from authors who use outlines, and checklists to guide you through, you’ll see the benefits of outlining in no time.

1) Is it understandable = 5
2) Presentation of Information = 5
3) Quality of Writing = 5
4) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average score of 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: Amazon | B&N

Red by Ted Dekker


Dekker-Red

Thomas Hunter leads two lives. In one world, he is trying to stop a virus from wiping out civilization. In the other, he is the leader of warriors who protect their people from a fallen enemy.

The evidence of a link between these worlds grows, and Thomas must stay alive to change history, or both worlds could be destroyed.

Red is the second book in the Circle series. It picks up at the exact point that Black left off, and the rollercoaster continues. The Biblical parallels become richer in this installment as the over-arching story reaches a climax in the world of the Colored Forest.

This book does lag just a bit in places, compared to Black, but the story moves forward at a decent pace for the depth of the story being told here.

This book is also a bit more violent, but it’s poignant and essential to the story.

1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 4.5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average of score 4.9 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

Black by Ted Dekker


Dekker-Black

When Thomas Hunter falls asleep in this world, he awakes in another. It’s a world where what we know as the spiritual is physically present. He lives there until he falls asleep, then he reawakens in this world. As he goes back and forth, he loses sight of what’s real. Is it this world or that one? Are they somehow both real?

The only thing he knows for sure is that what happens to him in the other world affects him in this one. He learns of a virus that could wipe out the entire planet in three weeks. He’s the only one who can stop it, and no one believes him.

It’s up to Thomas to save both worlds as darkness engulfs them both.

This is my second reading of the Circle series. Black is book one.

When I first read this series, I fell in love with Dekker’s writing. When someone asks me what my favorite books are, this series is the first one I list.

Dekker has masterfully woven two plots into one. There is action, suspense, romance, and all-around entertainment. But my favorite thing about this series is the imagery. Symbolism and Biblical parallels are laced throughout.

Reading this again, I realize that I may have missed things that were fairly obvious in regards to Old Testament imagery in this first installment. Recognizing these parallels makes the story so much richer.

1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average of score 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

The Outlaw’s Second Chance by Angie Dicken


Dicken-OutlawsSecondChance

For Cort Stanton and Aubrey Huxley, the Oklahoma Land Run is a chance for freedom. For Aubrey, it’s freedom from no-good father. For Cort, it’s freedom from a jail cell for a crime he didn’t commit. When they try to claim the same piece of land, Cort agrees to let Aubrey have it if she just agrees to let him work it. It’s a deal that gives Aubrey what she desperately wants, and allows Cort to keep a low profile.

As the two learn to work together, they grow closer. But Cort knows his past could catch up with him and force him to leave, and Aubrey refuses to end up depending on a man the way her mother did.

This is a sweet story that features strong Christian characters. It’s an entertaining read, but it felt a little drawn out. I found myself skimming through some of the internal thoughts of the characters, as it was usually them reminding themselves why they shouldn’t pursue each other. Other than that, it’s a good read.

1) Overall Plot = 4.5
2) Characters = 4.5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 4
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4

Average of score 4.4 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N