The Curse of Crow’s Hollow (REVIEW)

curse of crows hollowI’m a big fan of Billy Coffee! He has a fantastic sense with words that states the most profound truths in both an obvious and poetic way. I usually don’t underline quotes out of a fiction book, but I do with a Billy Coffee book because of his profound skill as a writer. I was really impressed with THE CURSE OF CROW HOLLOW. To be honest it was a slow start for me, but once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down. Billy has a way of making the characters become so familiar and real; each one manifesting a reality that he wants to address in his fiction.

As the narrative was unfolding I kept guessing at the mysteries wondering, is this natural or supernatural. Billy does a great job at holding the tension between the two until the big reveal at the end. The reveal at the end of this story was quite good and paradigm shifting (much like watching the movie the 6th sense for the first time). It makes you want to go back and read it all over again. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in great southern fiction.

The questions at the end are also great discussion questions for a book club, etc.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Devil Walks in Mattingly (A Review)

Devil Walks in Mattingly It’s a rare occasion for me to pick up a fiction book but I felt that it was time for a change up and I’m glad I picked this book up. The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey is an engaging read about 3 characters who are all tied to a murder of a high school boy deep in the woods. His death is ruled a suicide and life goes on for 20 years in the sleepy little town of Mattingly until a ghost starts to haunt the dreams of the local sheriff.

I don’t want to ruin any surprises or spoil anything for you, so I’ll leave it there, you can read the official book teaser over at the author’s website as well as great info about the author at Billycoffey.com . This is my first read from author Billy Coffey, but it’s his fourth book and he’s a talented writer. He has a gift for word play and can pack sentences full of meaning. He does an excellent job weaving in a gospel sub-theme that will be evident to those who are well versed in grace but may be elude those who are being confronted with grace for the very first time. I’m looking forward to catching up on some of his other books and getting his next one as it comes out.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse as part of their Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan (A Review)

I picked this book up late one evening to read thinking that I’d read it during the evenings all week this week and ended up reading it before work the next day. I just couldn’t put it down. Crazy Dangerous is one of the most engaging, adventure paced Young Adult novels I have ever read.

The main character Sam lives a believable, yet fast paced adventure. He’s a likable guy who just wants to be liked and be part of a group… any group. He makes some pretty dumb decisions along that end up costing him. Mysteriously in the mix of all the action he picks up the motto, “Do right, fear nothing” off a small statue in his Father’s office and presses on with the motto to get himself and others out of some pretty tight jams.  A little bit of heroism and virtue go a long way in helping him to protect a friend and save his town from destruction.

I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a well written, well told adventure story. It is about the best I have ever read in Christian Fiction. You can score a copy at Amazon.com for a little more than ten bucks. I give it Five Stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook (A Review)

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley is one of the first books I have had the pleasure of reading as an e-book!  That aside, here is the review:

The format of the book is somewhat intriguing.  Kinley weaves an engaging story around zombies for about half of the book. The other half he unravels the zombie allegory. What the reader is left with is a chapter by chapter alternation between zombie allegory and the frame work for a kind of Biblical worldview.

Overall I really appreciated the book. The story is engaging and Kinley does have a gift for writing.  However, I think this is one good idea that didn’t really reach its fully intended purpose. The non-fiction chapters were too lengthy and engaging to be placed between the fiction chapters. They would have served better as an optional discussion and reading guide at the end of the book. There were also some places where I thought that perhaps Kinley was trying to press the metaphor too hard (all metaphors break down somewhere and a good author will make the break at the right place).

One new master of metaphor that I have come to appreciate in this genre is Matt Mikilatos. You can catch his unique monster story in his new book, Night of the Living Dead Christian.  You can read my brief review here.

I enjoyed reading this book. I give it three stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Hands Down the Best Fiction Book I have read in a long time… Instant Classic!

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers is by far the best fiction book I have read in a long time!  The book is about a the exploits of a young orphan named Grady and his charlatan father figure Floyd.   The story is told through Grady’s eyes as he travels the Cornwald frontier wandering from village to village with Floyd playing hoaxes and tricking people out of their money.

Grady is ugly, there is no doubt about it.  Floyd puts Grady’s ugliness to work for them as they travel the country side having Grady perform as a real live wild feechie, the world’s ugliest boy, and the assistant to a phrenologist.  Grady is filled with inner turmoil as he wonders about who he really is and where he came from.  He also struggles with the lies and scams that have come to define his life and set him apart from regular village folks who work hard to earn an honest days wage.  Then just as Grady’s thoughts are colliding Floyd sets about on a new scheme to revive the Great Feechie Scare.

I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag on this one, because it is a well written book and you deserve a chance to read it on your own.  In my opinion it has all the markings of a classic.  It is definitely the best fiction book I have read in a long time and the best fiction book I have ever read by a living author.  If you enjoy a good story every now and then, you will love this book.  The retail price of The Charlatan’s Boy: A Novel is $13.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $11.19. I gave it five stars and would give it more if I could.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Chasm By Randy Alcorn (a Review)

I really enjoyed reading The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of Lifeby Randy Alcorn!  The book is a short allegory somewhat reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress .

The story has all the markings of a great book.  Alcorn takes the reader through a plane where the invisible becomes visible and emptiness of vain pursuits are seen before the journey’s end.  The main character Nick Seagrave  wanders a barren world between two greater worlds.  Below lies the a sea of wicked creatures bent on destruction and feasting on the flesh and misery of all those who reject the overtures of kindness from the king of a place called Charis.  Above there are mighty warriors of light thirsty only for the honor of their great and mighty king. Between these two worlds men travel many paths that all eventually lead to a great chasm, but only one road leads to the chasm in a way that provides hope.

I was greatly fascinated and encouraged by the Chasm.  I really like allegory for all that can be said in the matter of a few paragraphs.  Alcorn’s commentary on life, creation, fall, redemption and heaven are amazing.  His commentary on the allure and repulsion of sin is spot on.

The Chasm is a very powerful and engaging allegory.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in allegory.  It also makes a great gift book.  The retail price of The Chasm is $14.99 (Hardcover), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $10.11. I gave it five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Review of “Possession” by Rene Gutteridge

Possession by Rene Gutteridge is a fast paced action thriller with a subtle bent towards Christianity.  The D.C. sniper case becomes an excellent background as the lead character Vance Graegan, a former detective sells everything to move his family across the nation to California to start over.  However, in the process of the movers decide to hold the Graegan’s possessions for ransom.  enraged, Vance puts his background as a detective to work to reclaim his family’s belongings.  However, everything soon gets complicated as secrets about Vance’s past come to light.

I was very drawn into reading this book.  The author has an excellent knack for timing and setting the hook of a story.  I found myself very engrossed in the drama and dialogue.  The first two-thirds of the book were very well-developed.  However, the last third of the book, though still a good read, seemed somewhat pressed.  I felt as though more could have been done to flesh out the character of the villan and some of Vance’s past secrets.  I sense that if the author were to add 100 pages of refined plot development along these lines that the book would read much better all the way through.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to read clean action oriented fiction with a Christian sub-text. The retail price of Possession is $12.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $9.87. I gave it three stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Lost Letters of Pergamum (Review)

Lost Letters of Pergamum, The: A Story from the New Testament World by Bruce W. Longenecker is a great read for anyone fascinated by the cultural settings of early Christianity.  Written as a fictitious exchange of letters, primarily between a nobleman named Antipas and Dr. Luke, the writer of Luke’s gospel.  The book is written in a way that is engages the imagination, yet maintains a level of historical accuracy that is seldom demonstrated in historical novels.

If you want to know more about the world in which the New Testament was written, but have a hard time getting excited about a text-book, this book is for you.  However, if you are a fan of fiction (and not a fan of history) you may quickly become bored.  The book is written to be a collection of letters and therefore reads as the voice of two or three narrators, thus leaving out the action, metaphors, etc. that normally accompany great fictional works.

If you are looking to get a broader picture of the customs and manners of the New Testament world in a way that is more engaging than a regular text-book, then  this book is for you.  The retail price of The Lost Letters of Pergamum is $17.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $12.23. I gave it four stars.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection:  Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Short: The Path

One of the reasons I began this blog was to become more proficient at writing.  So far its been book reviews, thoughts on famiy, etc.  Today I am launching out in a new direction.  I have found that writing fiction has sometimes help me solidify my thoughts or even bring new insights.  I will sporatically be including short fictional naratives in blog posts.  I have no desire to actually write any kind of fictional work, but to grow as a writer and a thinker.  Your feedback and comments are especially welcome.  This area is new for me and I can always improve.

This is the beginning of a thought on Indwelling sin and Sanctification.

The Path

Her feet raced down the way, her mind ahead of her body tracing every step she would take along the path.  Steps she once took lightly, steps that were once quiet and silent now pounded out a loud rythm through the forest.  The once unfamilar path through the forest was now a well worn trail.  She had been this way many times before.  The undergrowth that had once impeaded her journey was now dead under the continued wear of her feet.  The journey was once tread with fear and trepidation over hours.  Now she easily covered the distance in a few minutes with boldness and practiced agility.

She hated this path. She hated the place that it took her.  She hated herself for running this way again.  She had wished in vain that the path would be forgotten and grow over, yet now she found herself on the path again.  She knew the despair that this path would bring.  Never the less she pressed on, a victum held hostage by her own behavior and choice.  She was a slave running back to a master.

The tragedy is that she had been set free.  Yet, she had figured out a way to create a path back to the bonds she once wore.  It is true that her former master had no legal hold over her, she felt at times a longing to be back under his yoke of slavery.  She had never known freedom before and it frightened her.  So she formed this path through the woods to be in a place that she hated because somehow the comfort of the familiar was more important to her than her freedom or the one who had freed her.

To be continued…