Book Review: Sword in the Stars

About the Book

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Book Title: Sword in the Stars

Author: Wayne Thomas Batson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Release date: August 16 ,2017

The difference in their uncanny eyes could not be easily discerned. In the rays of the setting sun, both Aravel’s and Morlan’s eyes appeared gold. In the pale moonlight…yellow. Seemingly the same. Such inscrutable likeness is the way of things with identical twins. But all who knew the two brothers well noted unmistakable differences, peculiarities more experienced than seen. Those who stood before King Aravel’s gaze felt the glad firelight of a cozy inn. But those who fell under Morlan’s stare felt the gleam of winter moonlight on the cold, white stone monuments in a boneyard. FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE DOOR WITHIN TRILOGY comes an epic tale of two powerful kings whose rivalry threatens to tear the world of Myriad apart. Into this chaos of treachery and war, strides ex-assassin Alastair Coldhollow whose quest for redemption leads him to the one foe he cannot defeat with a thrust of his sword. Everything may hinge on an age-old prophecy, but after thousands of years, will the Sword appear in the Stars at last? With the aid of Abbagael Rivynfleur, a not-so-naive girl from the forest villages, Alastair will tread forgotten roads, face legendary creatures, and meet mysterious new races of people, all in an effort to find Myriad’s Halfainin. So begins the sweeping seven-volume Myridian Constellation. Read on to discover what happens when the Sword is in the Stars, and the moon is blood red…

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This book is a real page-turner! The author, Wayne Thomas Batson, created a whole other world with so many different creatures. This book has it all, from dragons to woodland faries. I loved reading about the various creatures that Batson imagined.

The hero in this book, Alastair Coldhollow, is very easy to relate to. While he is a brave man with incredible abilities in swordplay, he is also a man with a dark past and addictions and his own personal demons that he must overcome. Alastair has spent years waiting for the Halfainin to arrive. His struggle to hang on to his faith is a central theme in this book and one that we can all relate to. I love the Christian themes that are strung throughout this book.

The story is told through various character’s perspectives. It heightens the suspense when you see parts of the bad guy’s plans and hear the story from his viewpoint. I realized again how much I enjoy books that tell the story from various points of view. It adds an interesting depth that is not there otherwise.

I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy books with Christian themes. A word of advice? Get the second book in the series before you finish this one. I made the mistake of waiting to reserve the second book at the library until I finished this one, and now I have to wait to find out what happens. I’m waiting most anxiously and impatiently!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Wayne Thomas BatsonWayne Thomas Batson is the Bestselling author of seventeen adventure novels including the fan favorite: Door Within Trilogy, the pirate trilogy: The Isle Chronicles, the 7-book fantasy epic: Myridian Constellation, and a supernatural thriller series for adults: GHOST: The John Spector Missions. Batson credits God for every concept, story, word, and phrase (“Except the mistakes,” Batson says. “Those are all me.”) Happily married for 25 years, Batson and his wife have four adult children and make their home in Carroll County, Maryland.

A middle school Reading and English teacher for 27 years, Batson loves to challenge—and be challenged by—his students. So, when he began writing stories to supplement the school district’s curriculum, it was his students who taught their teacher a lesson. Batson’s students were so taken by one of the stories that, over a thirteen-year span, they pushed him to make it into a full-length novel. That story became The Door Within. Since then, Batson’s students continue to be his frontline editors. Says Batson, “Two things you can count on from middle school students: Intelligence and Honesty. Kids are so much more perceptive than a lot of us ‘Big Folk’ give them credit for. And when something’s not right in the story, they’ll tell you about in very clear terms.” With over half a million books in print, Batson believes his books appeal to so many kids and adults because, at a deep level, we all long to do something that matters, and we all dream of another world.

 

Guest Post from Wayne

Wayne Thomas Batson here. If you’re wondering why I always use my middle name, no, it’s not because I want to sound all stodgy or literary. Thomas is my father’s name. I’ve always wanted to honor him by using the name in my author name, esp. now because he passed away in 2015. If you’ve been reading my books for a while, you probably think The Door Within is my first book. Technically, however, it is not. The concept for Sword in the Stars actually popped into my head before The Door Within. The book actually appeared in two parts: Alastair’s story and Ariana’s story (from Errant King). At first I just didn’t realize they were both in the same HUGE story. In the meantime, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins published The Door Within Trilogy, and I kept getting contracts, keeping me from Sword in the Stars until 2012. But God was pretty insistent about the story because I kept getting flooded with ideas for what will eventually become the 7-Book Myridian Constellation series. Seriously, you should see the looks I get at church when I sit down during worship to scrawl story ideas on the back of a church bulletin!

Blog Stops

The Lit AddictOctober 27

Bibliophile Reviews, October 28

Book by BookOctober 29

Aryn the LibraryanOctober 30

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 30

A Reader’s BrainOctober 31

Ashley’s BookshelfNovember 1

MultifariousNovember 2

Blogging With CarolNovember 3

BigreadersiteNovember 3

Inklings and Notions , November 4

Proud to Be an Autism MomNovember 5

Artistic NobodyNovember 5

Texas Book-aholicNovember 6

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 7

Janice’s Book ReviewsNovember 8

Carpe DiemNovember 9

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Wayne is giving away a grand prize of The Official Bat Book Box O’ Mystery (including some one of a kind, early handwritten drafts of my published books)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ec/sword-in-the-stars-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Vintage Wren

About the Book

Book Title: the Vintage Wren Volume 1

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Fiction / General / Romance

Release date: May 25, 2016 (still in progress)

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in episodes on Amazon. However, subscribers can get FREE weekly installments (a chapter in length) delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday(ish—life delays it now and then). To sign up for weekly installments, click HERE.  To read past installments visit The Write Chatterings group on Facebook.

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in several chapter episodes. Volume One contains the first four and a half episodes in one full-length novel.

Cassie Wren. Legal assistant. Convenience queen. Thrifter extraordinaire. If there was a “green police” she’d be a fugitive from eco-friendly justice.

But when a friend’s teasing feels like a challenge, Cassie accepts it. The result? One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days–of green.

It seemed simple enough. Cut back on paper plates, plastic forks, and straws. Easy peasy. But when her competitive side wars against her desire for convenience, Cassie finds it’s not so easy to be “eco-friendly” and “Cassie-friendly.”

January Shopping for Cassie’s annual New Year’s Eve party sparks an innocent comment that Cassie can’t forget. So, during their New Year’s Day goal planning session, Cassie’s friends tease her about her lack of eco-consciousness, and Cassie determines to change one new thing in favor of the planet every week. For a year. Even if it kills her.

She’s confident it will.

Cassie’s first month includes eradicating the extraneous paper, glass, plastic, and metal from her life. However, she finds that it’s not quite as easy as she thought. Paper and plastic cover everything manufactured or packaged–even water, produce, and restaurant food! Glass is great, but you can only have so many “reusable jars,” and metal reduction means her hair may end up a nightmare of uncontrollable frizzies!

She doesn’t even want to talk about her water reduction plans.

But it’s not all been bad. She’s saved a lot of money, has prospects for a new business, her impromptu blog is gaining traffic, and she even has a new boyfriend. Add to that, a few great friends who keep her going when things get rough, and the realization that there are only eleven months to go, and Cassie just might make it.

Now only if her car would cooperate and make it, too!

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

You guys. This book made me laugh out loud various times. And it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud when reading. But seriously. The main character, Cassie Wren, is even clumsier than I am. She is outspoken and impulsive but oh so lovable. She is just so real. She relates the struggles of being eco-conscious so well. I am not necessarily someone who is always super conscious about being green and helping the environment, but this book definitely made me think about simple things that I can do to help. I am for sure not planning on doing a year challenge like Cassie, but it is something to think about. I enjoyed the writing style of the book. The characters were very real and easy to relate to. If you are looking for a humorous and easy read, this is the book for you. (Also I may or may not have paused in the middle of this blog post to sign up for Chautona Havig’s newsletter to make sure that I don’t miss the rest of Cassie’s story. Trust me, it’s that good.)

 

About the Author

The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

 

Guest Post from Chautona

How Writing about Cassie’s Eco-Challenge Has Changed My Way of Living

I didn’t think it through—not really. I mean, how hard could it be? All I had to do is give Cassie my own reactions to things like giving up straws and having to use tote bags at the grocery store. I just needed 52 simple things she could change in her life—one new one for each episode.

Piece of cake.

I should have known better. I don’t do things halfway when I get into them. Yes, I’ve discovered that Cassie is more like me in some ways than I ever imagined. And as I’ve researched things for her to freak out about, I’ve done a bit of freaking out myself. Certain questions and thoughts won’t go away.

For instance, in 2017 1.26 BILLION dollars were spent on plush toys. Just plush toys. Stuffed animals. And I don’t know how many weren’t purchased. Those are just the ones that were. That’s… a LOT of stuffed toys. If each toy cost 20 dollars (and we all know most are half that or less these days), that’s 63 million of those toys purchased and brought home.

In one year.

Shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap bottles. Not sure why this one bothers me as much as it does. I think, actually, it’s the huge amount of water as much as it is all the plastic.

Look, we no longer have eight females in our house. But we do still have four there at all times—five on breaks. That’s a lot of shampoo bottles every year. A big portion of both laundry soap, shampoo, and conditioner is… water. We pay for a big bottle (lots of plastic and water) and to ship that to us—either because we had to have it shipped to a store for us to buy it or we had to have it shipped to our house.

I am paying extra for water that I could add myself at a fraction of the cost.

And the things go on and on. The lake that almost disappeared in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan because of how much water it takes to grow and process cotton.

See, the thing is, I’m not a green nut.

I don’t think it’s as easy to “destroy the planet” as we like to say. I do think, much like we do with our bodies and such, that we can reduce the quality of the world around us, however.

And while I’ll never jump on Cassie’s bandwagon—certainly not for life, I have made a few changes in how I do things. And as time goes on, I find myself making even more.

Like what, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Here are three small ways I’ve changed how we do things in our house.
  1. I started buying Dropps. They’re an automatically-shipped laundry pod. Each one is tiny—just a little smaller than the average “pod” and a whole lot cheaper. Also, there are no extra dyes or other things that are supposed to be bad for you and the planet.

I don’t really care about that. I just care that they work. And they do. And they’re cheaper than my Tide. 🙂

  1. I got a shampoo bar for my birthday. I thought it would be like washing with regular soap—especially after I started rinsing my hair! It freaked me out. One idea down the drain… I thought.

But no, after the second or third use, it still felt weird while wet, but it dried beautifully, and I didn’t need to use additional conditioner. It’s in the bar or something. I even tried the old way again to compare after-shower tangles. Identical.

  1. Dryer balls. Those felted wool balls really do work! A wonderful reader of mine sent me some, and it made my day! My youngest daughter and I are now trying to work with felted sweaters to try to turn them into dryer balls—or maybe even into sheets! (although, I think the balls bouncing around also kind of pound the clothes into submission or something. “Sheets” might not work, but I’m tempted to try it!

Look, you’ll never find me standing in front of a case in a mini-mart, freaking out because I want a Coke and can’t justify it. That’s not going to happen. But if I can choose a reasonable alternative to what I already do, well… it’s time to consider that.

There you have it. Three ways my life has changed since writing Cassie’s crazy story.

Blog Stops

The April Journal , October 16

Among the Reads , October 16

Inklings and Notions , October 17

Lots of HelpersOctober 18

Carpe Diem, October 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyOctober 19

Real World Bible StudyOctober 20

A Baker’s Perspective, October 21

The Lit AddictOctober 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesOctober 22

Janice’s Book ReviewsOctober 23

Aryn The Libraryan , October 23

Bigreadersite, October 24

Mary Hake, October 24

Cultivating UsOctober 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations , October 26

MultifariousOctober 26

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 27

Proud to Be an Autism MomOctober 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

The Mimosa BlossomOctober 29

Giveaway

Vintage Wren giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes 5 Shopping totes, a Shampoo Bar, a Foldable Straw, and a $10 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4eb/the-vintage-wren-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen

About the Book

Book Title: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Historical

Release date: October, 2018

It’s 1914. American women are demanding the vote. And the first flames of the Great War are igniting Europe. But a battle of a different sort rages in Oklahoma.

The thermometer registers one hundred six degrees, an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence even for the twenty-eighth day of July. But this is no ordinary day.

The jury has reached a verdict.

Lily fidgets in the old church pew. Her name has clotted into a by-word. Her blood is tainted. Can she right the wrongs? Or will her past forever define her?

She eyes the judge. And the courtroom holds its breath.

Click here to purchase your copy

My Thoughts

What a story! The main character, Lily, faces so many challenges.  She is abused as a child, and the emotional and physical scars accompany her into adulthood. Throughout the book, she wrestles with the question of how a loving God could allow such suffering and cruelty, a question which most people have to confront at some point in their lives. Her journey to faith is inspiring. Although Lily’s father was evil embodied, her mother was a shining example of the love of Jesus. Lily was rescued from her horrible environment by a neighbor who loved her as a dear friend and gave her a home, an education, and a future. This book follows Lily’s journey to discovering her ancestry and rescuing a child from slavery and destroying a slave ring. This book is intense at times. While the author does well at describing the circumstances discretely, I would recommend that parents read this book before giving it to their children. The author wrote this story in first person which gives better insight into the thoughts of the main character. The language was quite dramatic which got a bit tiring, but it was still an enjoyable read. This is the second book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Celebrate Lit for the purposes of reviewing. All thoughts and ideas are my own.

About the Author

Davis_LindaBrooks_2016_01-31 copy 3Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master’s Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

Linda’s debut novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. It was released in 2015 and won the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma and released in December, 2016. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, released in 2017. It is set in 1910 and is a prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, this one set in 1914, The Mending of Lily Cathleen, which releases in 2018.

Guest Post from Linda

Certain ancestors and their experiences appear in my stories. There’s bit of my grandmother and a strong dash of my mother in one character. My father’s sterling qualities appear in another. And there’s a low-down family reprobate in another. Don’t forget cotton planting, hoeing, and harvest time. The glorious aroma of fresh-picked cotton and the nothing-in-the-world-like-it odor from the pig pen. A sewing machine whirring. The clink of a milk pail. A cow hollering to be milked. Summer’s sun on my face, the hearty South Texas wind in my hair, and the comfort of backing up to a wall heater on a cold winter morning. All find their way into the plot lines.

In my family’s history, my own life, and the kaleidoscope of lives in my stories, Jesus appears as the golden thread linking the past to the present and beyond. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” He adds the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon to the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace. The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is one of those tales that reach beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of Jesus.

Lily’s story captures some of the heartache of domestic abuse, but it packs a powerfully joyous punch at the end. I thought I’d add a strong dash of sweet to this post with a recipe that appears in The Calling of Ella McFarland (which is re-releasing in October 2018). Mama’s (or Papa’s) Nectar of Heaven was a treat my mother enjoyed as a child. She set the same yummy delicacy before her kids, and I, of course, have done the same. Here ’tis, ya’ll, from Texas with sweet, sweet love.

 

lillian cathleen recipe

Blog Stops

Inklings and NotionsOctober 18

MultifariousOctober 19

The Becca FilesOctober 19

The Lit AddictOctober 20

Luv’N Lambert LifeOctober 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKSOctober 21

Real World Bible StudyOctober 21

Babbbling Becky L’s Book ImpressionsOctober 22

Christian BookaholicOctober 22

God’s Little Bookworm , October 23

Godly Book ReviewsOctober 23

Reading Is My SuperPowerOctober 24

A Reader’s BrainOctober 24

Maureen’s MusingsOctober 25

Baker KellaOctober 25

Just the Write EscapeOctober 26

Mary HakeOctober 26

Janice’s Book Reviews , October 27

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 27

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 28

Proud to Be an Autism MomOctober 28

Texas Book-aholicOctober 29

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsOctober 29

Bigreadersite , October 30

Carpe DiemOctober 31

Lis Loves ReadingOctober 31

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d56e/the-mending-of-lillian-cathleen-celebration-tour-giveaway