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Thanks so much to the bloggers who nominated Captives and to the judges for their time and efforts.
Here is some more info and the full list of winners:
JUNE 28, 2014—The INSPY Advisory Board announced today that the following books have been awarded INSPYs in their categories. Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the Inspy Awards — http://inspys.com — was created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. The 2014 awards season covers books published from January 1st 2013 and December 31st, 2013.
Click on each cover to learn more about the books on Amazon.com.
Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense
Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson Publishers, May 2013)
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson Publishers, November 2013)
Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers, March 2013)
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House, April 2013)
Literature for Young People
Captives by Jill Williamson (Zondervan, February 2013)
Mystery & Thriller
The King by Steven James (Signet Select, July 2013)
Anomaly by Krista McGee (Thomas Nelson Publishers, July 2013)
Ebook sale! Captives and Outcasts are $1.99 each from now until June 16 on Nook, Kindle, and pretty much anywhere ebooks are sold.
Here are the links:
I’m part of this week’s Blink book tour. I’ll be in Salt Lake City on Thursday and in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday. If you live in either area, come and see me! I’m not alone, either. I’ll be there with authors Jonathan Friesen, Lisa T. Bergren, and Lorie Ann Grover.
May 15: SALT LAKE CITY
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
7:00-9:00pm Salt Lake City Public Library
210 East 400 South – Conference Room A
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Reading, Q&A, book sales. Come early to hear us talk about our books and writing and to get books signed.
MAY 17: TEMPE, AZ
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
4:00-6:00pm Store Event
6428 S. McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
Thomas and Katherine are in the Holy Land, and they’re both looking for answers. They also both still don’t know if they can trust the other. They set off in search of an ancient treasure. But they are travelling through a dangerous place with bandits, Druids, and the desert sun. Can they find the treasure? And can Thomas discover the truth once and for all?
This was the final book in the Merlin’s Immortals series, and overall, I enjoyed this tale. But there was a place in this book where I was just annoyed with the continual “Who can we trust?” thing. Katherine and Sir William put Thomas through a test that is completely unfair and by no means foolproof. Yet the result makes them certain that Thomas is a Druid after all. I, the reader, was annoyed. This “Can we trust him?” thing went on for four books, and this time, it was too much. Just have a conversation, please!
Once we got past all that, the story rolled on to an excellent and entertaining conclusion. So, all in all, I enjoyed this series. The narrative style in which point of view characters knows things but won’t tell the reader has never been my favorite, but I cared enough about the characters and the mysterious plot that I kept with it. I also think these four books would do better as one 500-page novel than four short ones. Overall, an enjoyable series.
Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: historical fiction (medieval)
Part of a Series: book four in the Merlin’s Immortals series
Ambushed, Spencer’s latest story, is now available in paperback and ebook formats.
Ambushed starts at the end of the year following Spencer’s trip to Japan. He’s worried about Grace and the dreams he keeps having about her, and he’s trying to navigate the confusing path of a potential NCAA athlete. He also gets to attend a Hollywood movie premiere.
Here is a little more info about the story:
All Spencer wants in life is an NCAA scholarship to play D-I college basketball. He visits universities when he can and works hard at his goal of taking his team to the state basketball championship.
When disaster strikes, Spencer’s desperation sends him to the one person he was determined to ignore: his father.
To find a copy of Ambushed, click on the links below.
And click here to add Ambushed to your Goodreads To-Read list.
I had the pleasure of reading A Cast of Stones, the first book in this trilogy, before it was released. You can read my thoughts here. I read the second book before reading the third so that I could get all caught up for the final installment of this epic adventure. I was not disappointed! I really enjoyed this series. If you haven’t read them, you should. Here are all three in order. Such gorgeous covers!
And here is my review of book three.
After completing his quest to Merakh, Errol and his companions return to Erinon. But things are not as they were. The king has died, and Duke Weir has taken over the realm. Duke Weir has them all arrested. He plans to force Errol to work as his omne, to marry Adora, and crown himself king.
It is not long before they escape and foil Duke Weir’s plans. But the kingdom is still in terrible danger. The barrier has fallen and ferrals are making their way toward Erinon, killing everything in their path. And they still don’t know who should be the next king. Adora sets off on a diplomatic mission to the shadow lands to sign the promised treaty with the banished people (whose name I forgot). Errol sets off for Ongol to bring back the holy book. Both journeys are perilous but necessary to the survival of Erinon. And so Errol and Adora part ways again. Will they accomplish their missions? Will they see each other again?
These books are wonderful! Patrick Carr did a great job of writing an epic tale with tons at stake and creating heroes worthy of saving the day. I really enjoyed his main characters. They were my favorite part of the stories. I loved Errol. I loved Rokha. Other favorites were Merodach, Rale, Cruk, and Martin. I liked the mystery of each character’s backstory. And I thought it was cool how the church couldn’t argue with the book once they’d read it. And I also have to mention the cool magic of casting lots. Very neat.
This was a fabulous ending to a great trilogy. I found the storyworld fascinating. I did NOT enjoy that there was no map! Why??? Maps are cool. Why do publishers continue to thwart my dreams of maps in books? I really wanted a map for this series. I wanted it badly! It would have helped me keep track of where everything was a little better. This book also could have used a couple of pages in the front that listed the characters. While I easily remembered the main characters, on some of the minor characters I found myself paging back through the books, trying to remember who was who. Though to be fair, my fantasy novels have this same problem.
A couple things that gave me pause… Errol using swords. He rocks at the staff. Swords seemed unnecessary. And I also felt like the other nationalities were very similar to middle eastern people and native Americans. Though, again, to be fair, in my books I used Native Alaskan traits for my Berland people. So, perhaps I’m picking on Patrick for things I would have done differently in my own books…
All-in-all, I loved this series, and I think that if you enjoy fantasy novels, you will too. So if you haven’t read them yet, get over to your local bookstore and pick up book one! Or, if you’re an ebook reader, book one is FREE in all formats. Go to B&N or Amazon or CBD to download yours right now!
Age Range: 16 and up
Part of a Series: book three in The Staff & The Sword trilogy
Publisher: Bethany House
**In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
You can read the beginning of A Draw of Kings in the Scribd box below. And if you’d like to find out what other bloggers are saying about this series, check out these links.
Gillian Adams ● Jennifer Bogart ● Keanan Brand ● Beckie Burnham ● Mike Coville ● Pauline Creeden ● Vicky DealSharingAunt ● Carol Gehringer ● Victor Gentile ● Rebekah Gyger ● Nikole Hahn ● Jason Joyner ● Carol Keen ● Krystine Kercher ● Jennette Mbewe ● Amber McCallister ● Shannon McDermott ● Shannon McNear ● Meagan @ Blooming with Books ● Rebecca LuElla Miller ● Joan Nienhuis ● Nissa ● Writer Rani ● Nathan Reimer ● Audrey Sauble ● James Somers ● Jojo Sutis ● Steve Trower ● Shane Werlinger ● Phyllis Wheeler ● Nicole White ● Jill Williamson
When Priests of the Holy Grail show up in Magnus, Thomas flees the castle and sets out on a journey to the Holy Land in search of answers. He runs into Katherine along the way and is convinced that she is a Druid. Katherine, however, is convinced that Thomas is the Druid. And so they reluctantly partner up, even though they cannot trust the other.
This in book three in the series, and while I enjoyed the continuing story, this book was filled with traveling and waiting for the next big thing to happen. So that felt a bit anti-climactic in the end. But I still enjoyed the characters and the unfolding mystery. These books are very well written and so short that I can read them in a day. Perhaps they’ll publish them all in one volume at some point. Looking forward to the final installment.
Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: historical fiction (medieval)
Part of a Series: book three in the Merlin’s Immortals series
Review by Jill Williamson
Cantor has trained his whole life to be a realm walker. He sets off through a portal on his first solo journey and is immediately caught up in an adventure. And while he makes new friends with another realm walker and two dragons—including one who likes to shop—he also discovers that the world is corrupt. Even the members of the Realm Walkers Guild cannot be trusted. There are few heroes left in all the realms, and Cantor and his new friends step up to the challenge.
This book was delightful. Donita K. Paul has crafted a complex and whimsical storyworld. I loved how her realms sat on different planes and were shifting dangerously. I loved the portals that enabled realm walkers to travel between the planes. And, most of all, I loved the shape-shifting dragons, especially Bridger and his cat. Just mentioning some of these fun facts to my children got them excited to read the book for themselves. (My daughter is especially intrigued about the dragon’s pet cat.)
This is a story about characters. The plot unravels slowly, building the storyworld and setting up the rest of the series, but the characters each grew in this story. And I look forward to seeing what happens to them next. This is a wonderful new series for readers, both young and old. Give it a try.
Age Range: 12 and up
Part of a Series: book one in the Realm Walkers series
You can read the first few chapters of One Realm Beyond in the Scribd box below. And if you’d like to find out what other bloggers are saying about this new fantasy series, check out these links.
Julie Bihn ● Keanan Brand ● Beckie Burnham ● Mike Coville ● Pauline Creeden ● Vicky DealSharingAunt ● Carol Gehringer ● Rebekah Gyger ● Janeen Ippolito ● Jason Joyner ● Carol Keen ● Krystine Kercher ● Emileigh Latham ● Jennette Mbewe ● Shannon McDermott ● Meagan @ Blooming with Books ● Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews ● Rebecca LuElla Miller ● Joan Nienhuis ● Nissa ● Donita K. Paul ● Audrey Sauble ● Chawna Schroeder ● James Somers ● Jojo Sutis ● Jessica Thomas ● Steve Trower ● Shane Werlinger ● Jill Williamson ● Deborah Wilson
Zondervan/Blink has put the ebook of Captives on sale to celebrate the release of Outcasts. Click on the image below to see the interactive ad, as mine is just a copy of their image. Or you can click on these links to find the ebooks.
And enjoy this video. It’s adorable.