Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson is a unique book. It is a collection of Flash Fiction stories, each based upon the very first Christmas – the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Oh, none of the stories actually retell the Biblical account, but each of these Flash Fiction stories tells a story that has something to do with Christmas or the themes of Advent, Christmas, and what we receive when we accept and know Jesus Christ – hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.
The stories include a variety of characters, just like you and me, in different environments and different circumstances who experience the themes of Christmas, from the young man who had been adopted into a family in the old west and feared he’d never marry because of the possibility he came from “bad blood” to the family that struggled to make ends meet but loved each other and did their best to also take care of an older sibling with special needs, to the family with a child dealing with cancer, and many others – all real life situations, written into fictional stories, told from the perspective of an author who took the time to look at each situation through the eyes of Christ and Christmas to offer readers hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.
I will treasure this book of Flash Fiction stories and I look forward to reading them through the upcoming Advent season this year (2021). I encourage you to consider doing the same, or just read the book in one sitting and let it warm your heart and give you hope in whatever you might be dealing with right now.
I give Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson 5 stars.
As a Book reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Strangers and Pilgrims by Kristina Hall. This is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
Strangers and Pilgrims is set in the late 1860s West. Harry Reiner left home to fight in the Civil War. The war has been over for three years when Harry returns to his hometown. But Harry doesn’t receive the warm welcome he was expecting. Everything’s changed, and one evil man controls the town. When Harry’s life is threatened, a young woman, and the girl she took in, drag him into their home to nurse him back to health. Another man the town tends to look down on is also a frequent visitor to this home. These four characters bond and do their best to survive ten miles outside of town, but soon find that even there, the threats plague them.
Strangers and Pilgrims is a well written book. The reader is immediately drawn into the story and the characters’ lives and has no problem choosing sides between the majority of the town and the four characters at a ranch not far outside town. The story is filled with conflict and suspense that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. There is a lot of action, a touch of romance, and descriptions and dialogue that take the reader back to the 1860s west. There are a couple twists and surprises before the story comes to a resolution and end.
This is also a story of faith and includes some Scripture passages from the Bible and occasional one or two line prayers.
This is the first book in the A Better Country series by Kristina Hall.
If you enjoy suspenseful stories that keep you reading til late in the night or love old western stories, you’ll enjoy Strangers and Pilgrims, as I did.
I give Strangers and Pilgrims by Kristina Hall 5 stars, and look forward to reading the next book in the A Better Country series.
For Better and Worse is the fourth book in the Shards of Sevia series by E. B. Roshan. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.
The Shards of Sevia series by E. B. Roshan is a series of stories that take place in a country that is very much like a middle eastern country in our world. The country is Sevia and there are towns and cities in Sevia. Sevia is war-torn and two people groups are constantly fighting: the White Horses and the Tur people.
Caught in the middle of the fighting are Boris and Anna Merkovich, a sweet couple, who are just trying to live their lives. They do not wish to have anything to do with the fighting. Boris works hard and Anna is expecting their first child. Anna’s fear of the fighting in their town of Dor causes her to plead with her husband to move to a safer place, the town, Dovni, where her family lives, but Boris does not want to close the business that has been in his family for many years.
Boris has a temper, and soon his temper brings danger to their door. Will Boris and his family survive? Will Boris and Anna be torn apart? Will Boris live to see his firstborn child?
E. B. Roshan has traveled in the Middle East and it is clear, in the Shards of Sevia series, that she has knowledge as to what living in the Middle East is like. She has created characters that the reader comes to know deeply and cares about. The reader experiences their struggles, and hopes to see them, not only survive, but thrive.
For Better and Worse is full of struggles and conflict between Boris and people in the neighborhood as well as between Boris and Anna. It is a heart-wrenching story and it is a fast, easy read. Boris and Anna, as well as one of Boris’s employees, face many dangers in this book that also keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat, hoping they will all survive.
One thing that stuck out to me in this story, is that Boris begins to show proof of learning that he needs to change his life, or at least his reactions to things, and he offers short prayers to God for help.
Also, the book is, not only well-written, but well edited.
After four books, I thought this might be the completion of the story, but, though this book has a solid ending with resolution, I believe Ms. Roshan could still offer us more of Boris and Anna’s story. I know I will be watching for more.
If you haven’t read the Shards of Sevia by E. B. Roshan, I highly recommend the series, especially if you like to experience stories of a different culture in a different country and if you enjoy suspenseful stories.
I give For Better and Worse by E.B. Roshan 5 stars.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing author, D. Richard Fergusson who wrote a great 2-book series of Christian allegorical adventure stories that I highly recommend, Escape From Paradise and At War With the Wind (The Fight For Abigail). My review of At War With the Wind posted here yesterday, and my review of Escape From Paradise can be read here.
Me: You are the author of “Escape From Paradise (Walk With the Wind Book 1)” and it’s sequel, which will be out soon. I believe it was at the beginning of this book, that I read that you wrote this book about the things you’ve learned and decided to write about so that you would not forget them. Do I have that information correct?
D. Richard Ferguson: Correct. I read Thomas Watson’s little book titled The Doctrine of Repentance, and I wanted to make sure I remembered the insights I gained from that book. So I thought I’d make up a little story that dramatized those principles. I thought it would take an afternoon. It took over four years. The more I wrote, the more I realized how much I needed to learn about writing fiction. So I took classes, read books, and hired editors. And each time I learned something new about writing, I re-worked the book to incorporate what I had learned. Definitely the least efficient way of learning how to write!
Incidentally, the Watson character in the book is named after Thomas Watson, as he is the character who dramatizes the principles about repentance.
Me: You also mentioned learning a lot by studying John Piper’s teachings. Was that through both books and videos?
D. Richard Ferguson: Mainly through his sermons. That’s my favorite mode of learning. And I believe Piper is one of the greatest preachers of our age.
Me: Which of John Piper’s books would you suggest for others to read?
D. Richard Ferguson: His most important book, without question, is Desiring God. The material in that book has had an influence on my life, and on the Christian world in general.
Another extremely helpful Piper book is Future Grace. The video series is also fantastic. He does a great job teaching how to overcome specific sins through faith.
Piper says there is one of his own books that he reads over and over: Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. It’s a wonderful little book.
Me: Have you ever met John Piper?
D. Richard Ferguson: I have. I visited his church and caught up with him after the service and asked if I could have a meeting with him. He invited me to dinner at his house that evening. I think they just make extra food every Sunday afternoon so they can invite people over. He’s an amazing man. He really lives what he preaches.
Me: According to your Amazon profile, you have “25 years of pastoral ministry and biblical counseling, formal seminary training, and a deep, lifelong passion for God’s word”. How has all of this helped in writing Escape From Paradise and your soon-to-be-released sequel?
D. Richard Ferguson: Most Christian novels are designed to dramatize biblical principles. But to make the entire story a biblical allegory, so that all the details represent truths from God’s Word, is difficult. It takes a fairly thorough knowledge of Scripture to keep the allegory consistent throughout.
Also, my training and experience in biblical counseling was very helpful. I didn’t want to merely illustrate points of systematic theology, but also practical theology—showing the “how-to” of Christian living.
For example, I have helped many counselees overcome addictions. Each of the steps I take them through are dramatized in At War with the Wind. Each step the characters take to rescue Abigail illustrates a biblical principle for escaping the bondage of enslaving sin.
Me: On Amazon, “Escape From Paradise” is noted as a Christian Adventure novel. I have read it and can certainly agree with that description, but I also see it as an allegorical story, reminiscent of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. How does it make you feel to have someone equate your book with a book that has been around since the 1600s?
D. Richard Ferguson: Honored! I pray the Lord would be pleased to use these books to touch lives the way he has with Pilgrim’s Progress!
Me: What do you hope people will get out of reading “Escape From Paradise”?
D. Richard Ferguson: My two greatest wishes are these:
That readers would gain a deeper understanding of the gospel than they had before. The story is designed such that a child or an unbeliever with no knowledge of the gospel at all should be able to understand how a person comes to Christ. But at another level, a seasoned Christian or pastor will gain deeper insights into gospel truths than they had before.
That readers would be moved emotionally by the mercies of God. We hear all the time, “Jesus died for your sins.” The statement is so common that it hardly registers. My goal was to portray truths like that in a way that will bring the reader to tears, deeply moved by gospel truths.
Me: Will you share the title and a short blurb about your upcoming sequel to “Escape From Paradise”
D. Richard Ferguson:Title: At War with the Wind: The Fight for Abigail
A journey of faith. A fight for redemption. Can they conquer external and internal forces to follow the way to freedom?
Watson is stunned that his sister abandoned her family and joined the enemy. So even as she accepts defeat, he’s determined to overcome every obstacle and stage a daring rescue. But as he and his friends stride forth, powerful foes send epic floods to drown all hope.
Abigail knows she made a terrible mistake and fights to escape the tainted paradise strangling her soul. But just when freedom seems within reach, the rescue effort takes a catastrophic turn. As Abigail struggles to find her way back to the light, she is pulled even further into the enemy’s iron grip.
Her last hope is her brother. But as Watson forges ahead to liberate Abigail, he battles twisted spirits, deadly attacks, and crushing failure.
Can Abigail free herself from her own lethal cravings and restore her joy?
At War with the Wind: The Fight for Abigail is the thought-provoking second and final book in the Walk with the Wind Christian fantasy series. If you like stalwart characters, action and suspense, and deep themes, then you’ll love D. Richard Ferguson’s allegorical conclusion.
Buy At War with the Wind and take your own adventure in faith today!
Me: I have read both, “Escape From Paradise” and “At War With the Wind: The Fight for Abigail” and enjoyed both books. They both have powerful messages. There is a scene in “At War With the Wind” that really resonated with me. Many people ask, “If God is a loving God, why does he let bad things happen?” “If God is a loving God, how can he send people to hell?” And I believe this quote from the a scene in At War With the Wind is a fantastic answer to these questions. The quote is: “For a man (I insert “God” here) of love, anger toward that which destroys good is a moral necessity. One who loves cares. And one who cares can never be apathetic about that which threatens the object of his love.” Did it cross your mind, when you wrote this scene, that this quote answers those often asked questions?
D. Richard Ferguson: Yes, it’s exactly what I had in mind. The Santa Clause concept many people have of a God who never gets angry at anyone is a horrible conception of God. Such a God could have no love, because love isn’t apathetic.
Me: What do you want people to get out of reading “At War With the Wind: the Fight for Abigail”?
D. Richard Ferguson: My hope is that they would gain insights about how to win the war against sin. Especially people who find themselves enslaved by some besetting sin or addiction.
I also hope that readers would be deeply moved by the scenes of forgiveness by the Ruler and Father.
And, of course, I hope they will be thoroughly entertained in the process!
Me: Where can people go to learn more about you and your teachings? Where can people purchase the Walk With the Wind books, “Escape From Paradise” and “At War With the Wind: the Fight for Abigail”?
For those who enjoy in-depth preaching in bite-sized segments, I have a daily podcast called Food For Your Soul. Each day has a message anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes in length, with an application for that day.
And under the Resources tab is the Sermons page. There listeners can download over a thousand sermons for frees. They can be searched by Scripture passage.
Me: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
D. Richard Ferguson: I’d like to invite readers to download a free short story I wrote titled Hannah’s Prayer. It’s biblical historical fiction from the early chapters of 1 Samuel. They can download their copy here.
By downloading it, they will be joining my Readers List, which means once a month they will get my “Goodies for Your Soul” newsletter. It includes my book reviews, sermons and articles I’ve found especially helpful, most popular podcast episodes, and other resources.
And members of the list are the first to hear about my new releases.
As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of At War With the Wind: the Fight for Abigail by D. Richard Ferguson. I was not required to write a positive review or any review. This is the sequel to Escape From Paradise, and this is my honest review.
I found the beginning of this book a little slow, and at first I thought it was going to be too much like Escape From Paradise. But after just a few chapters, things picked up and became very interesting and intense. This book focused on the same handful of main characters, but also added a couple new ones. The story line went even deeper than the story line of Escape From Paradise.
Abigail was in grave danger in this book. As her friends went to her aid, they stepped into danger as well. Abigail’s predicament kept me turning page after page to see how things would turn out.
As in Escape from Paradise, Adam is one of the main characters in this story and to see the progress in his character growth and the choices he makes between the two books is encouraging. Adam is my favorite character in both books.
One scene in this book really stood out to me and included a quote that resonated so deep with me that I wrote it down to keep to encourage me and to share with others. Many people ask, “If God is such a loving God, why does he allow bad things to happen and if God is a loving God, why would he send anyone to Hell?” I believe this quote gives a very good answer to these questions: “For a man (I insert “God” here) of love, anger toward that which destroys good is a moral necessity. One who loves cares. And one who cares can never be apathetic about that which threatens the object of his love.”
These books are definitely worth reading.
I have to say that D. Richard Ferguson is an outstanding author and I highly recommend these two books to anyone who longs for a story that expresses truth and hope. And if you enjoy stories filled with adventure and suspense, these books are for you. If you’re a fan of Pilgrim’s Progress by Paul Bunyan, these books will also become favorites.
I give At War With the Wind: the Fight for Abigail 5 stars.
Join me here again tomorrow to read my interview with the author of these books, D. Richard Ferguson.
Admonition is the second book in the Soothsayer’s Path series by Kathryn Amurra. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this novel, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review for this book.
Blurb from Amazon:
Sabina is a young noblewoman who, based on her soothsayer aunt’s prediction, believes her words are dangerous and will hurt those she loves. Following the death of her beloved husband, she takes a vow of silence to protect those she loves from suffering the same fate. Ignored and scorned by those around her, who believe her to be cursed by the gods who took her voice, she is content to live in the shadow of her former life, avoiding society as best she can and staying away from the politics and drama of Rome’s inner circles. Lucius is an unwilling front-runner to inherit the title of Emperor from Rome’s childless leader, Trajan. Although the soothsayer warns him to steer clear of a pretty face that hides a cursed soul, Lucius cannot help but be drawn to the silent and beautiful Sabina. After learning her secret, he is as determined to help her shed her cloak of silence as she is to keep him at a safe distance. But when Lucius becomes the target of a political plot, Sabina must decide whether breaking her silence will save his life or merely seal his fate.
I was drawn into Sabina’s life right from the first page. Kathryn Amurra has a way of creating characters and writing from the character’s mind, heart, and emotions that makes the reader feel as though they were one of the characters experiencing the story–not just reading it. There are two other main characters in Admonition that aren’t mentioned in the above blurb, but who play important roles in the story as well, and they are Priscilla, Sabina’s stepsister and Cyprian, a friend of Lucius’s.
Kathryn Amurra also does an excellent job of setting the scenes and painting pictures in the readers’ minds, and it’s clear that she knows her Ancient Roman history. As Sabina struggles with her feelings and her fear of what she believes her words can do, she also has to face a man who has designs on her, all while looking out for her stepsister’s safety. As Lucius is targeted in a political plot, Sabina faces a difficult decision to break her silence in an attempt to save his life. However, her reputation could also be jeopardized.
As the story comes to its resolution, some shocking secrets are revealed in regard to the plot against Lucius, as well as Sabina’s husband’s death years ago.
If you enjoy historical romance stories that keep you turning pages with their suspense and surprises, you’ll love Admonition. Also, if you like a romance story with both conflict and humor mixed throughout, you’ll love Admonition. You’ll also enjoy this novel if you like to read book that are well written and have been properly edited.
Admonition is the second book in Kathryn Amurra’s Soothsayer’s Path series, but both the first book, Soothsayer, and Admonition can be read as stand-alones. And if you haven’t read Soothsayer, I recommend that you read that one as well.
My most recent post for historical writers can be found at this link: https://www.almostanauthor.com/what-time-is-it/ However, I just submitted an new article for historical writers, but you’ll have to wait until next month to read it.
The cool logo below is the header for a new blog you’ll want to check out.
Hope, Hearts, & Heroes is a new blog that I am a part of with several other writers. We all met on MeWe and are part of writers group on MeWe. On this blog, you can read introductory posts about each of us and learn more about what we write as well as any books we’ve published or that we will be releasing soon! We are a mix of Christian Fantasy authors and Christian or clean Romance stories — some historical and some suspense. Go to the following link and check out this new blog now! https://hopeheartsheroes.wordpress.com/
The Whisper of Fire is the second book in the “Beyond Horizon” series by Ben McQueeney. As a reviewer, I received an ebook copy of this book and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.
In The Whisper of Fire, we are reunited with Fulco Garumson, a Hume, who lives among the Elphen in Tellusm, in the town of Phenii. In this book, he returns to his Elphen family after spending three weeks in prison. He tries out for the popular Portare team. He also trains to improve his Sapience power and is invited to join a girl named Nina on a quest.
The first thing I would like to address is the actual writing of this novel. I found this book frustrating to read because it has not been well edited. There are a lot of grammatical errors, missing punctuation, missing words, and additional or incorrect words. There is a famous rule in the writing world—writers have been told for years, “show, don’t tell”. Unfortunately, The Whisper of Fire is “told” more than it is “shown”.
Now, let’s talk about the story and characters. I found the first half of the book more difficult to read than the second half. The first half lacked in action. It seemed to be the build up for the second half of the book. However, because I love the character of Fulco, I continued reading and was much happier with the second half of the book.
There was also one section in the book that, seemed to me, to explain racism in Tellusm in a way that seemed to make it acceptable. This may or may not have been the author’s intention. It may have been a lack of proper editing, but I found it disturbing. However, it was a brief section, but there was a sort of “racism” throughout the story between the different types of characters.
Despite the technical issues in the writing, the second half of the book drew me in because of the action and the characters, especially Fulco. Terrible things happen to Fulco and his friends and family in the second half of the book. Two of the biggest and most terrible things that happen are unexpected and shocking. However, Fulco does not give up. Even in his darkest hour, he finds a reason to go on, and he decides he must go on the quest.
Another thing I liked about The Whisper of Fire is the way that Ben McQueeney includes his spirit world and gods in chapters he calls “Interludes”. These chapters are a glimpse into the lives of the gods and bring them more into the story than they were in the first book, The Spirit of Things.
Also, a word of caution: the book is listed as Adult Fantasy and does include some mild language, as well as some graphic violence.
If you like fantasy novels and you liked The Spirit of Things, you will most likely like The Whisper of Fire, especially if you are a Fulco fan, as I am.
Despite the problems I found with this novel, I know I will read the next book in the series, The Fear of Gods, when it becomes available, because I want to go on Fulco’s quest with him. I am invested in Fulco’s life and the lives of his friends and family. I only hope Mr. McQueeney will be sure the technical issues are well edited before its release.
Also, despite the problems with this novel, the second half definitely redeemed the book for me. Therefore, I give The Whisper of Fire by Ben McQueeney 4 stars.
As a reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Misty Dreams by Josephine Strand, and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.
Though I read a wide variety of genres, my favorites are the romance genres, and Misty Dreams is one of the most interesting romance stories I have read in a long while. It is the debut novel of Josephine Strand, and I have to say it is a topnotch debut novel. It is well written and has been well edited.
Near the beginning of the story, a little girl is seriously injured in a department store one Christmas Eve, and the Santa Claus from the store takes a huge interest in her and her recovery. Her head injury causes amnesia, and when she cannot remember her name, the Santa takes to calling her “Misty”, short for “mysterious”. One day while Richard, the Santa, is at work, someone comes to claim Misty and return her to her family.
Years later, Richard, struggling with some losses in his life, goes to an island to get away and hopefully, heal. He meets a young woman there and memories of Misty resurface creating more turmoil within Richard. Could this young woman be Misty? If she is, could they have a future together?
Misty Dreams kept me up past my bedtime every night until I finished reading it. It was hard to put down when I had to. The story was unique and Ms. Strand created such wonderful characters, I couldn’t help but love them and want to see them overcome their struggles and be happy. There was conflict and suspense from the beginning until very near the end. There was even a surprise twist near the end.
Misty Dreams is a wonderful story of heartache, struggles, and love. It is not a formulaic romance story and the characters will live on in my memory for a long time. Misty Dreams will be placed on my “favorites” list, and I look forward to more great stories by Josephine Strand.