Tuesday 29 November 2016

Ravens Cove by Mary Ann Poll

Welcome to Ravens Cove, Alaska, a tiny town nestled in a small hollow on the majestic Cook Inlet. A town familiar with storytelling—after all, Alaska abounds in rich legends. Unlike other tales, however, the account of Ravens Cove is not just based in fact. It is fact. Meet Josiah Williams, the peculiar stranger whose warning to lifetime residents Kat Tovslosky and her cousin, Sheriff Bart Andersen, raises more questions than answers; a man whose dark past and knowledge of the murders make him a suspect more than an ally. Join Kat and Bart as an unlikely troop forms (including a very unwelcome FBI agent) to discover the identity of a killer. The unearthing of which will throw the reluctant warriors into a battle for their very lives and the lives of all who call Ravens Cove home.

The Guru's Review:

This is the first novel I have read from Mary Ann Poll. I am so glad to have done so. Very pleased to have found this author.

I love novels about spiritual warfare where this is dealt with using Biblical principles. I can say that Poll knows how to create this in a novel. From looking at her Bio, it is evident her past dabbling in New Age philosophies has given her an hands on perspective in relation to the demonic. Her later conversion to Christianity seems to have shown her the importance of portraying this solely from the Biblical perspective, apart from the fact that it is biblical to do so. From this angle, I appreciate greatly novels of this calibre. This is how Christian fiction should be presented. Not only is it highly entertaining but it honours the Bible and most importantly, God. It also educates in spiritual principles, in this case, spiritual warfare, and strengthens the Christian reader's faith. For an unbeliever, it shows the truth about demonology, demon possession, demonic deception and gives the reader something to think about. Poll highlights one aspect that I feel is important to the Christian as displayed by Grandma Bricken,

I'm not scared of seeing the dead, Bartholomew, I've seen much in my time. But I cry for the soul lost to God. That's the real horror!

This truly shows what the heart of the Christian should be, as it directly shows what the heart of God is, that He does not want any to perish but to be saved from a Christless eternity. And this directly ties in with the Gospel and why Jesus came to us, to be the propitiation of our sin and be restored back to Him.

Poll has successfully incorporated these elements into a plot that has you thoroughly engaged. It is an enthralling read and has that quality that every reader loves, where they cannot put the book down. I read this novel over the course of a day despite many interruptions.

I cannot fault this novel's construction. There are no peaks or troughs, plot slowness or acceleration. Everything is at a steady pace and the plot lines keep it this way, hence the experience of not being able to put this novel down. I cannot fault Poll's characterisation. For a short novel that this is, the characters are well developed. You find yourself endeared to many, despising others, and cheering on some and even sad for those who met such horrific deaths. Just as any small town is flavoured by its characters, this novel is well flavoured by the same.

Poll has three types of characters in this novel. There are the "fundamentalist" Christian characters of Josiah, Grandma Bricken and Pastor Paul Lucas. These three believe in the God of the Bible and are submitted to His will. Then there is the New Agers of Anita Conner, Reverend Plotno and his wife Ransom, Miggie, who are submitted to their Master (Iconoclast, demon). Thirdly, we have those who do not have any belief in the Biblical God or any other god. These include Marshall Bart Anderson, his cousin Kat, Kenneth Melbourne (FBI agent), Josephina Latrell, Cassandra Martin, Caroline, Doc Billings, Jonathan & Joseph Tillwater, Mikie Colmbs.

The demonic forces then try to pit all these groups against one another with their planned outcome to devour physically and spiritually the whole town. It is here that Poll shines in her execution of spiritual warfare that leads to a spiritual confrontation between this force of evil and God's sovereignty. It is well done, but with one plot line left unfinished. I can only guess that this is continued in the next novel in this series, Ingress.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and all that it contained. I am definitely an avid fan of this series now and of this author.

Highly Recommended. 5/5 Stars.

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating 5/5


Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Ravens Cove contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award  Mary Ann Poll with

The Reality Calling Spirit-Filled Speculative Fiction Award

Displaying SF-Fiction-RavensCove.png


Congratulations Mary Ann Poll!

To read a preview of Ravens Cove, click on the Preview button below:

Friday 25 November 2016

Author/Novel Spotlight: Drew Boudreaux.

I first came across Drew Boudreaux when he requested  a review of his debut novel, Supraphysica. What impressed me about this novel was the author's combination of faith and science, I guess in Christian circles this is called apologetics. The Bible in 1 Peter 3:15 states,
But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. (Amplified version)
And this verse also applies to those Christians who work in the areas of science, medicine and all associated fields. I appreciate these Christians who are prepared to use their expertise to defend the veracity of the Bible, or to further prove its veracity. Drew is one of these in his occupation as a Petroleum Geologist and I am looking forward to reviewing his novel. He has now joined an increasing number of Christian authors who create fiction in this apologetic fiction genre. I have some of these novels and I welcome Supraphysica into my collection of such novels in this genre.
So let me introduce you to Christian author, Drew Boudreaux. First let's have a look at his Bio:

My name is Drew Boudreaux. I’m 27 years young, and I live in Covington, Louisiana with my wife, Shana; my son, Remy; and my cat, Piclout. The following probably won’t come as a surprise since I’ve written a Christian Fiction novel: I’m a Christian!

Also, I’m not a writer. Well, I guess technically I am now. My actual career is as a Petroleum Geologist. I currently work for Chevron as a Development Geologist supporting one of their deep water Gulf of Mexico oilfields. I really love my job. Basically, what I do is make models of the subsurface and figure out the best way to develop their oil and gas reservoirs.

I want to be totally frank about my lack of literary clout. In school, I’ve always done better with math and science than I did with English and literature. I have never been to a writing conference. I learned just this past year what a literary agent was. Occasionally, I go through phases in my life where I enjoy reading fiction—but I have never considered myself a book worm. 

Now let's have a look at Supraphysica, which was released in August, 2016, in e-book and printed editions:

Book Description:

For Philip, a sociology student at N.Y.U., January 25th was supposed to be a normal start to the spring semester. That definitely didn't happen. As the day unfolded, he came to faith, unknowingly befriended an angel, and was recruited into a covert project to literally build a new world. The next two weeks were equally paranormal—yet a lot more trying as Philip's newfound faith is stretched nearly to the point of nonexistence. Join Philip, Encar, and their respective families in this modern story of faith, hope, and love—and a healthy dose of geoscience.

When I read the title, I wondered what it meant, and why it was two words put together. Without asking, he provided the answer, most likely due to the fact that he has had to answer this query in the past:

The title “Supraphysica” is a latinized way of saying “over nature” or “beyond the physical reality.” It is my belief that there is something beyond the physical world: an all-powerful Trinitarian God who adores His creation and desires to be in community with us.

Obviously, not everyone believes the same, and while I’m always sorry to hear that, I’m also an understanding person and have no less respect for nonbelievers. The last thing I want to do is push someone further away from faith, so if you are a nonbeliever, please be aware that this novel is marked as Christian fiction for a reason. It contains strong Christian content you will disagree with.

By and large, Supraphysica is a story about faith—specifically, faith in God, the only One who is truly over nature. That said, it is also a story about man and Earth, particularly with respect to climate change and other global issues.

According to the Bible, mankind was uniquely created as a bridge between the physical and spiritual constructs. We were given dominion over Earth, which itself is also a very special part of God’s Creation. In light of both of those truths, we are “supraphysical” beings as well. My opinion is that our unique creation and granted dominion came with an inherent responsibility to be good stewards of His Creation.

I asked Drew why he wrote this novel and he replied:

So, why did I write a novel? I don’t just ask that question as a transition to the next paragraph…I genuinely still ask myself that sometimes. Below is how I usually answer my inquisitive mind.

Initially, my motivation for writing Supraphysica was trifold: One, I wanted to undertake a big project and develop a part of myself that I never felt very strong in: creative writing. Two, I love exploring the mash-up of faith and science and saw this effort as a way to glorify God. Three, I think this book could potentially help people, whether that be conservative/republicans/Christians who discredit scientific reasoning (particularly with respect to climate change), or liberal/democratic/secularists who don’t believe science and God can fit in the same universe.

After writing the novel, I decided to self-publish and use the book sales as a fundraiser. Supraphysica leaves the characters and reader with a call to action, and as the author, I think it’s only appropriate for me to model the very call to action I propose. As such, I’m donating 100% of all after-tax royalties to charitable causes.

I hope you will consider giving the novel a chance. Whether you decide to buy or not, thank you for expressing interest in Supraphysica

Now that your appetite may be whetted, it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect:

---------------Start of Except:---------------

Aware that Michael and Encar were waiting, he [Philip] turned his attention to the planet looming in front of him. There was so much that needed to be done to progress it to the next step. He was glad he’d decided to build the macro. He mentally recalled it, but instead of thinking about the details of everything, he thought about it as a whole.

God of all Creation, he began to pray. I love You. And I am so thankful for Your love. Even when mankind rejected You, You crafted a way to save us from depravity and eternity without You. Your love truly knows no bounds. Nor does your power. You are the only one that is above nature. You are the only one who can do all things.

I have made known my requests in my previous prayers. I believe they are in accordance with Your will. Under normal circumstances, these natural processes would take billions of years—we have but a few hours. Play them in fast forward. If there are any gaps or if something is incorrect, edit as You see fit. Whereas I do not understand everything, I know that You do.

Philip pictured in his mind scenes of what he expected to see on the planet. The surface cracking. Small bits of land starting to appear. The landmasses bumping into one another and getting bigger. The forming of supercontinents and their subsequent dividing as new ocean basins are created between them. The continental remnants bumping into one another and coalescing into new shapes.

Like he did with the mountain-moving a few days ago, he placed his mental movie inside a container. He filled the container with faith, and he compressed it down to the size of a mustard seed. Then, he shrank it more. And more. His faith seethed and boiled inside the container, increasingly excited with the decreasing size. He shrank it even further, imagining it was compressed all the way down into a single, mathematical point. A singularity, he thought, but he was unsure of where he had heard the term before. He didn’t think he knew that word until now.

Philip held everything compressed for a few seconds. He thought about nothing else but keeping it contained and the limitless power of God. So be it, he prayed, and then he let it explode.

“Wow,” said Encar.

Philip opened his eyes. He saw that the waters on the planet were disturbed. The surface was cracking, just as he had pictured.

The three of them watched in amazement as the surface of the planet transformed before their eyes. The cracks widened and started to glow with lava. Where the plates collided, volcanoes sprouted up, and after about five minutes or so, larger landmasses started to appear. They wandered across the surface of the planet. At three distinct times, all of the landmasses came together into a single continent, only to be broken apart again. After what Philip estimated was about ten minutes, everything came to a stop.

All of it had occurred just as Philip had envisioned. The way the surface looked now was the last scene he’d imagined in the movie.

“How great is your faith, Philip!” Michael exclaimed when it was all complete.

Philip was surprised—he had never heard Michael exclaim anything before. “How great is my God,” Philip replied.

---------------End of Except:---------------

Supraphysica was reviewed by David Bergsland (author and reviewer at Reality Calling) this week and was awarded an award for Redemptive Fiction:


This Award is based on David's review on Amazon: 

By David Bergsland on November 20, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase 

This is one of the most unique books I've read in a while. As redemptive fiction Supraphysica is a surprisingly soft sell. It will take a little effort to wrap your brain around the story. But, once you do, you'll find it worth the effort.

For Philip, a sociology student at N.Y.U., January 25th was supposed to be a normal start to the spring semester. That definitely didn't happen. As the day unfolded, he came to faith, unknowingly befriended an angel, and was recruited into a covert project to literally build a new world. The next two weeks were equally paranormal—yet a lot more trying as Philip's newfound faith is stretched nearly to the point of nonexistence.

The characters are shared in depth. In addition, world-building is expertly done. The story has wonderful twists. And, it's simply an entertaining tale. The resolution is a bit weak, but the ends are tied up well.

Reality Calling: Redemptive Speculative Fiction Award: Supraphysica deserves it

Truly Christian books have become so rare, again, that I have no problem in giving Drew an Award of Excellence for Redemptive speculative fiction. It's not preachy at all. Faith shines as a normal part of the character's life. Philip has some trouble, being dumped into the battle so suddenly.

The spiritual warfare is handled gently. Though, there is a reality to it. The angels are uniquely shown. On the other hand, they seem surprisingly realistic.

You'll be glad you read this book.

If you are curious as to the background to this Award, you can investigate it here: Award: Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction by Reality Calling. This is one of five Awards and they are all based on the criteria found in this booklet by David Bergsland: A Spiritual System for Rating Books (click on the title).

If you want to explore more of Drew and his novel, he can be found on social media on these social media platforms:

Website: www.supraphysica.com  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/drew.dreaux 

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian science-fiction/fantasy, apologetic fiction,  supernatural, spiritual warfare, to consider reading Supraphysica and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

I am currently reading Supraphysica and looking forward to reading his future works.

Monday 21 November 2016

Author/Novel Spotlight: Jeff W. Horton

Today, I am spotlighting novelist, Jeff W. Horton. I have read two of his previous novels and really enjoyed them. When I saw his latest novel, Heaven's Oasis, advertised on Facebook and Amazon, I knew I had to learn more. I offered to review this and am currently reading it.

Heaven's Oasis is described as an exciting, romantic adventure/fantasy.

So let me introduce you to Christian novelist, Jeff W. Horton. First let's have a look at his Bio:

Jeff W. Horton was an Information technology professional for twenty-five years before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. Since becoming an author and screenwriter of family-friendly fiction, Jeff has written two screenplays and eight published novels in several genres including apocalyptic-fiction, science-fiction, religious fantasy, and romance thrillers.

His current list of works includes:

When he's not penning his next novel, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, going to church, and reading. Among his favorite authors are many immediately recognizable names including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, C.S. Lewis, Ted Dekker, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jeff Horton is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network.

Jeff considers himself a novelist and not just an author because an author can be someone that writes about anything including novels, historical biographies, travel guides, etc., while a novelist is an artist, a painter if you will. Imagination is the paint and the keyboard the paintbrush.

He enjoys writing because for him it is pure creativity. From his imagination proceeds people, places, sights, sounds, and events which have never really existed. For him, writing a novel is like watching a movie. He starts writing with an idea of what he’s after, but the story truly takes on a life of its own as he writes, often taking the author in a direction he never could have imagined it going in before. The end result is that he has no idea how the story is going to end himself until he’s finished the first draft. Even then, the story can morph as he makes his way through a series of inevitable revisions where the rough stone is cut and chipped away at, before being polished into what he considers to be a work of art.

When Jeff writes, he strives to create storylines that are meaningful on many levels. He likes to explore and understand the emotions, the struggles and the pain that we feel as human beings, as well as the joy. It is also important that there is a message in the story, a warning, a message of hope, etc. The novelist wants readers to come away having learned something new, something valuable, and something important. These are ambitious goals, of course, and unfortunately, he feels he’s never as successful as he would like to be at meeting these goals.

Another thing that is important to him as a novelist is that the characters, the events, and the setting all feel very real to the reader. This then is a key, in his opinion, to drawing the reader more deeply into the story. People are complex creatures and rarely (if ever) do we really know anyone. It is unfair therefore to suggest to readers that a character is no more than a cardboard figure. While the writer may not spend as much time on every character as he would like in the interest of brevity, he does try to ensure that at least the key players are well-developed, and that they also change and grow as the story progresses.

Jeff’s first three books were mostly futuristic, apocalyptic thrillers, all written for the masses but from a Christian worldview. His faith in God makes up a big part of who he is and what he does, and he’s certain that it comes through in my writing. One of his books that reflects that faith is different than the first three because it's more of a YA/juvenile novel entitled, The Way of Nacor. The author’s goal (always lofty!) with The Way of Nacor was to create a well-blended recipe of a little Chronicles of Narnia and a little Pilgrims Progress, with a pinch of science-fiction thrown in as well. In The Way of Nacor, a family of children is stranded on another world, where they face many obstacles as they try to find their way home. His most recently published novel is a techno-thriller entitled Cybersp@ce, the first in the Cybersp@ce Series. I like to think of Cybersp@ce as Tom Clancy meets Michael Crichton (two of my favorite authors). The next two in the series are Frontiers and New Beginnings, and they chronicle humanity's emergence from where we are today, to an interstellar, space-faring species.

Now let's have a look at Heaven’s Oasis, which will be released on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, in e-book and printed editions:

Book Description:

Claire is dead.

She’s been the love of Kevin Foster’s life for as long as he can remember; his soulmate, and his best friend.

Before she dies, Claire, an archaeologist, goes on an expedition to the Middle East and comes across evidence supporting the existence of a biblical, antediluvian site the ancients called HEAVEN’s OASIS, and that certain ancient artifacts can lead her to it. Claire believes that finding this site will help prove the Bible's veracity, and provide indisputable evidence of God's existence.

Following her unexpected death Claire's expeditions become public knowledge, and the subsequent assaults against her reputation from the scientific community and the media are both brutal and relentless.

Furious at the public ridicule and to prove she was right, Kevin decides to pick up where Claire left off in her search and to finish what she started. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, to restore her reputation and to honor her memory.

A billionaire arms dealer named Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis, however, intending to keep what he finds for himself. The deadly competition soon becomes a struggle just to stay alive in the race to find the artifacts, follow the clues, and ultimately to find HEAVEN’s OASIS.

To further whet your appetite, check out the book trailer:

I asked Jeff why he wrote this novel and he replied:

Heaven’s Oasis afforded me the opportunity to write about a number of subjects of special interest to me. I’ve always been a romantic at heart, so the opportunity to write a Christian Romance Thriller like Heaven’s Oasis was too good to pass up. In this novel I was able to bring together topics that really matter; romance, the existence of God, and the importance of holding onto hope for the future.

Now that your appetite may be whetted, it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect, so here is one and the reason he chose this:

I chose this section as an excerpt because this is where Kevin dreams he’s back on his honeymoon with Claire, his wife. His heart swells with joy at being with her again and talking with her. He is soon forced, however, to re-live the greatest suffering he’s ever had to endure, when he wakes to find it was only a dream, and he’s in bed, alone. What begins as a tragic tale has a beautiful message filled with hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Start of Excerpt ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kevin glanced over at Claire, who'd closed her eyes for a moment to enjoy the ocean breeze. Her face was bathed in moonlight and her skin warm and soft to the touch. Kevin's heart swelled with emotion as he watched her, the woman who'd brought such joy into his life; his soulmate. His gaze was still fixed on her when Claire suddenly opened her eyes. Following a brief moment of surprise, a beautiful and infectious smile soon broke out on her face, a smile which immediately spread to his as well.

"Why are you staring at me, Kev?"

A great longing and a faint hint of sorrow slowly began gnawing at him. "I'd just forgotten how beautiful and amazing you are, Claire," he said smoothly and with utter sincerity, tracing the curves of her face and shoulders with his hands. "Your emerald green eyes, the extraordinary curves of your face and your body, that brilliant, amazing mind of yours, and your warm and caring personality…what an amazing woman you were!"

"Were?" she asked with surprise. A momentary wave of confusion passed over Kevin’s face, but soon passed.

"No, I mean how beautiful you are, of course!" The couple stared into one another's eyes for several moments before kissing. Her moist lips, her familiar and exciting taste, and her gentle caresses caused a great warmth to flow through him, along with a feeling of bewilderment that she'd chosen him as her husband, and he was so very, very glad that she had.

Afterwards, the two of them lay down on the blanket they’d brought with them to the beach and gazed up at the stars. Claire lay on her side, resting her head on his chest as she was prone to do, and Kevin in turn stroked her hair, as he was prone to do. A peace and serenity passed through him, as it often did when he was with Claire. Her calm and quiet spirit was a constant reminder of her piety, and the love for Jesus Christ that they shared. Their deep and abiding love for God and the depth of their love for one another had forged the kind of bond that few couples ever experienced.

Claire wrapped her arms tightly around him and kissed him again, before laying back down on the blanket to continue staring up at the stars.

"Kevin, do you love me?" she asked him without warning.

Kevin shot up on one arm and leaned over her, staring into her eyes and smiling. "Do I love you? No, I don’t just love you," he said with a playful grin. "I absolutely adore you! After all, I married you, didn’t I?"

"Yes, you did!" she answered with a big smile this time, before pushing him down flat on the blanket and this time suspending herself with her arms so her body remained suspended above his. "I want to ask you something, Kev," she stated with some slight hesitation.

"Ask me anything, Mrs. Foster, I'm yours to command."

"Kev, I know we were just married, but I’d really like to start a family once I wrap up this project I'm working on, if it’s okay with you."

"A family?" Kevin asked.

"Yes, of course. I love you more than I thought I could ever love anyone, and I want nothing more than to have your children."

Kevin kissed her, and smiled like a school boy until his expression changed slightly. "But Claire, what about your work? You’re gone for so long on those expeditions....”

"Yeah, well, I thought maybe I'd make this expedition my last trip out into the field, at least until after the kids are grown. I could take on a fulltime professorship teaching in the classroom. That should enable me to stay close to home so I can spend some quality time with the man I love, and our children."

Once again his heart swelled, recognizing once more, as he had many times in the past, how blessed he was to have Claire in his life. "Then let's do it." The couple locked in a long romantic embrace, until their bliss was interrupted by a strange and unwelcomed sound, which both startled, and for some strange reason he could not fathom, greatly agitated him. The intrusive noise grew ever louder as it seemed to draw closer, causing him to sit-up with a start. He was suddenly overwhelmed by an ugly feeling of dread.

"Claire, what is that sound? Do you hear that?" He waited for several seconds for her to answer, before eventually turning back to her. After he’d turned around, however, he discovered why she hadn’t responded; he was suddenly and inexplicably alone on the blanket. He began to panic and grew momentarily disoriented and confused. Then, the moon and the stars vanished, and the sounds of the ocean ceased.

Kevin opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling for several seconds, until the exceedingly aggravating sound of the alarm clock blaring away next to his bed drove him to sit up and turn it off. It was then that he realized that the time with Claire had been nothing more than a cruel mirage in a desert of suffering, and his heart sank in his chest. He sat on the edge of his bed for some time, dejected and despondent, trying desperately to recapture even a few fleeting moments of bliss from his dream. He recalled her smile, the smell of her hair, her touch, and her words; then, in the privacy of his hotel room, he began to weep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End of Excerpt ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want to learn about Jeff and his novels, you can email him or check him out at the following social media platforms:

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/8tapc5x

Heaven’s Oasis can be purchased at Amazon for pre-order until release on 22nd November, 2016.


Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian science-fiction/fantasy, apocalyptic-fiction,  romance thrillers, mystery and suspense, to consider reading Heaven’s Oasis and submitting a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

I am really enjoying reading Heaven’s Oasis, and looking forward to reading his previous novels and his future works.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Author Novel Spotlight: Deborah Williams

Today, I am spotlighting author, Deborah Williams. Her debut novel, December's Child will be released on November 22nd. To help support this new author and promote her novel, I decided to offer her an Author/Novel Spotlight. Deborah's novel is on my to be read list over the next few weeks.

So let me introduce you to this new, Christian author, Deborah Williams. First let's find out a little about her:

D.A. Williams is a farmer’s wife and mother above all else. She currently lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband and two sons, who share their home with two dogs and two cats. It’s a veritable Noah’s Ark. She loves rare steak, homemade sweet tea, and the arts in all forms, with a particular affinity for writing gritty Christian fiction.

Now let's have a look at December's Child which has been released in e-book and printed editions:

    Every secret has a key.

As a child worker of the December Mining Corporation, 18-year-old Jett’s plan has always been to earn a life outside the mines by selling her body—a plan she’s nearly fulfilled until she reluctantly takes on a new trainee from the outside world.

The daughter of a government historian, and bartered into the slave trade by her own mother, Fiona is an outsider with a strange wealth of knowledge, and a secret worth dying—and killing—for. While Fiona’s secret may unknowingly bring death and destruction to the December Mines, Jett finds herself letting go of her jaded persona to embrace a friendship that will change her life forever.

When she unintentionally becomes the new keeper of Fiona’s secret, Jett is thrust into a fight for survival and a quest for the freedom she’s longed for. Keeping the secret could cost her her life. Searching for answers all but ensures her death.

I asked Deborah why she wrote this novel and she replied:

I wrote “December’s Child” because it was a novel I wanted to read. I had no initial intention on it being a work of Christian fiction, and in fact I didn't realize it was going to have any Christian themes at all until about a quarter of the way through, so it was a surprise to me as a writer. While I was writing it, I was concurrently working to deepen my faith and my relationship with God, so it bled over, and I feel that the most poignant Christian theme in the novel is that God is present in the darkest of times, regardless of whether you know Him or not, and that through Him and because of Him, all things are possible.

To further whet your appetite, have a look at the book trailer:

I think after viewing the trailer, it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect:

“Jett closed her eyes. The voices in her head screamed. Her thoughts dug into her brain, gnashing like wild beasts on the soft living flesh of downed prey. She began to slide back down, down into the fire, where her body would be consumed even as she begged and fought against it. She pled to survive but only slipped down further. Down, down, down, back down to hell, even though she cried for mercy from it. And then the voices that screamed in her head, the raging beasts that ate her soul alive and fought her pleas, grew quiet and still. In their place, another voice weaved into her consciousness.

It wasn’t hers, nor was it Fiona’s. It was measured and smooth, like a slow cool breeze across her hot mind. The deep calm voice in her mind said only one thing. A single word. “Rise.”

Speaking of Jett, here is an artist's rendition of her, and of Phoenix, the fox, specially created for the novel:

Phoenix is the first "being" outside of the mines that Jett encounters. He is something of an "animal guide" that teaches her to be self sufficient and survive in the wild, and becomes like a pet to her throughout the story.

If this content has piqued your interest in Deborah and her novel, you can check her out at the following social media platforms:

Facebook: Facebook.com/dawilliamsdecchild

Website: d-a-williams.com

A final note from Deborah about her book:

I’m just so appreciative to be able to share this story with my readers and I hope that they enjoy it! Also, I love talking Easter eggs, so I encourage my readers to drop me a line when they find them! (They are scattered throughout the plot so you will have to find them! Happy hunting!)

December's Child is published by The Crossover Alliance

A unique publishing company specializing in Christian fiction that contains edgy, real-world content. TCA wasn't satisfied with the 'rules' that many Christian publishing companies have tried to pin Christian authors in - however well-intended these rules were - and so they set out to create a publishing company that both breaks many of these rules and also adheres to biblical principles. Their fiction is fearless, sometimes scary, sometimes raw and edgy. But there in the middle of it all readers will find a light to help them find their way through it, and will more than likely find redemption within the darkness, and most importantly find fiction that is true to the story, not the rules.

December's Child can be bought through The Crossover Alliance here or at Amazon

Or, you can enter a giveaway until the 21st November, below, to win a digital copy:


Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian speculative fiction, to consider reading December's Child and help promote Deborah’s novel by adding a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media).

I am really looking forward to reading December's Child, and Deborah’s future novels.

If you want to read more of this novel you can preview it below by clicking on the Preview button.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Mind Writer by Mike Lynch and Lisa Godfrees

Mind Writer

Born with a rare genetic mutation, Eighteen-year-old Rinee Newburgh has been kept in a secret government facility all her life. Trained to enhance her skills as a Mind Writer, her unique talents give her the ability to transfer a person’s thoughts, memories, personality—their soul—into a clone created for those deemed vital to society’s continued survival.

When Rinee’s friend and right hand to the President, Andrei Malotetnev, is nearly killed in an assassination attempt, she discovers the terrible truth—that Mind Writers are regarded as disposable, and life outside the Facility is nothing more than a pollution-filled world on the brink of collapse. She also learns of Malotetnev’s plan to kill millions of people as a means of freeing up dwindling resources needed by the government. Horrified at the thought of a modern day holocaust, Rinee escapes the Facility in a desperate attempt to warn the people of his evil intentions.

Locked in a race against time, Malotetnev sends his most trusted assassin with orders to eliminate Rinee at any cost before the truth can be revealed. What he didn't count on was an assassin with a conscience.

The Guru's Review: 

This is the first novel I have read by Lynch and Godfrees and I am glad I have done so. I have seen Lynch's books around Amazon and have another of his in my kindle but not read. It was this new novel that encouraged  me to read from this author. This is the first of anything I have read of Lisa Godfrees.

I love this novel. Lynch and Godfrees write well and seem to be compliment each other in writing and developing this futuristic, science fiction, dystopian, medical based story. In a novel such as this, it needs to flow well, without any overly descriptive narrative. Having the latter, would only derail the plot and its flow and detract from the reader's enjoyment and attachment to the characters and story. This novel does not suffer from this. The authors are very competent in this aspect. I would not hesitate to read another novel of theirs either individually or if they team up in the future. Of the latter, I hope they do. They are a writing dynamo together!

I don't believe that in today's world with its advancements in medical/science, technology and research, and how the experts in these fields seem to push the envelope and ignore all boundaries on ethics, morals etc, that any reader would be surprised or shocked with the premise of this story. To use a well used and common cliché, it seems to be a case of not if but when! It is against this background that makes novels like Mind Writer such great escapism and enjoyable experience, but gives the reader an introduction into what could be an example of our future.

What I especially enjoy about Christian fiction is for its authors to take such futuristic and/or speculative topics such as what is in this novel and develop it against a Christian worldview.

The authors spend a considerable amount of the novel developing the antagonistic and protangonistic characters, the medical technology and practice of mind writing and the corruptness and deceit of those in charge of this, including a world depleted of resources on every level and suffering from the environmental effects of world war. We become endeared to the protagonists especially Rinee, Clixon, Saminy, her daughters and even the very sick Tory.

We also learn to despise, dislike, (or hate!) the antagonists of Blackstone, Malotetnev and others, and be angered at their evilness, corruption and deceitfulness. When the authors have the protagonists coming to the end of themselves and in dire circumstances with no apparent way out, the authors then introduce the spiritual aspects that make up this worldview.

Who do Rinee, Clixton turn to when they only have each other to rely on and that is becoming self limited? Which protagonist holds the key to the future of the circumstances that they find themselves in? It is here that this protagonist introduces these characters to the Three, (the Trinity of the biblical God) and the underground Christian church. The church members come to their aid, allowing their active faith to be a platform for the presence of The Three to destroy the actions and plans of the antagonists. Here also, the authors introduce the biblical ethics of the practice of mind writing and whether this is compatible with The Three's Sovereignty and veracity of His Scriptures.

For me, reading the last quarter of the novel, where all aspects of the plot come to a head, it was inevitable that some of the protagonists find the salvation offered from God. This not only reflects what happens in real life, in most circumstances, but also honours the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its power unto salvation.

From this point of view, I applaud the authors for what they achieved in presenting the Christian worldview of this medical practice and the Sovereignty of God. However, I would have liked more of the biblical ethics of mind writing to have been explored from this worldview. I just felt that what was presented was too short or too concise and thus run the risk as being seen by a reader as a weak biblical worldview.

I do believe that this may not have been what the authors intended. What they did present is relevant to the biblical ethics of transferring a person's soul into another. Would more of the biblical ethics of this issue detract from the action, suspense and flow of the story? I don't think so. I feel more would have challenged both the Christian and non-Christian reader to consider on a deeper level the biblical ethics of this practice, the nature of God and how totally Sovereign He is. I don't believe this would have detracted from any of the novel's construction or the reader's enjoyment of it.

I offer this as positive feedback. I realise that any Christian author would find it a fine line striking a balance between how much spiritual/biblical content to present and how much not to. Too much or too in-depth presents as preachy to the reader and derails the plot, its flow and characters. Too little, or none at all, presents the novel with questionable Christian/biblical content and whether it can be considered Christian fiction at all.

I have stated in many other reviews that I am not a fan of romance as a genre. However, I do enjoy romance when it is a subplot or a minor plot line. My enjoyment is even more pronounced when written by a male Christian author. Such was the case with the romance developing between Clixon and Rinee. If this was mainly developed by Lynch, then I am one happier camper than if it was mainly by Godfrees. No offence intended to you, Lisa Godfrees! The inclusion of romance not only added some light relief to the suspense and tension of the action scenes, but added more depth to these two characters. 

A thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking glimpse of what our future could look like when medical science is manipulated through greed, deceit and the boundaries of morality and spiritual ethics are ignored or suppressed.

I am very much looking forward to the next novel (or a previous one) from each of these authors.

Strongly Recommended.

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 4/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 3/5

Average Rating 4.2/5 Stars


Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Mind Writer contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award Mike Lynch and Lisa Godfrees with

The Reality Calling Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction Award

Congratulations Mike Lynch and Lisa Godfrees!

To read a preview of Mind Writer, click on the Preview button below: