Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Auralia's Colors, by Jeffrey Overstreet




ABOUT THE BOOK:

As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.


When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to Jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lot more!


PRAISE

"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."
--Publishers Weekly


“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”
-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
Noor and Dragon's Keep


“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”
-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The
Curse of the Raven Mocker





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

MY REVIEW:

I read a plethora of books. Some are fantastic. Some are mediocre. But most of them are unoriginal, either because they vaguely resemble a previously written work, or the plot is partially predictable. I won’t say that Auralia’s Colors is entirely unpredictable; however, the joy comes in soaking in every chapter, not in guessing the ending. In the joy and freedom and innocence portrayed in the writing comes the originality.

Overstreet has created a feudal-type world in which the kingdom of House Abascar is spotlighted. The king’s former wife (who ran away years ago and is presumed dead) forbade the commoners use of bright colors, to the detriment of all. Abascar has forgotten who it is and what it should become. And the only ones who seem to remember life before the forgetting are the Gatherers who have been banished from inside Abascar’s walls. They may be mistreated and overworked, but they have a young friend and ally who has brought meaning back to their lives.

Her name is Auralia. She doesn’t know why she is named thus, or where she came from, but she knows where she is going and what she is supposed to do. She takes organic material from the world: fur from large cats, remnants of leaves and grass, flowers, natural dye and weaves them into gifts for her friends. She and her beautiful trinkets and garments are beloved by the Gatherers. But they cannot tame her or make her stay in one place too long. She is ruled by no one.

On a day when Gatherers are able to appeal their banishment and gain access to the kingdom once more, Auralia joins the throng donned with her magnificent hand-woven cape of color. What will happen when she confronts the king and bedlam ensues on account of her? Will the kingdom welcome colors within its walls again or will someone pay the price for daring to break the law?

Again, I think this is a very unique novel, one from which most readers can find enjoyment and wonder. Don’t be surprised if you come away with questions and wonderings you haven’t pondered in a while. Auralia’s Colors tends to do that.

I eagerly await the next book in The Auralia Thread series, Cyndere’s Midnight.

My interview with Jeff will be featured soon at The Christian Suspense Zone

The Book Link

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CFBA this week: Try Dying, by James Scott Bell



ABOUT THE BOOK:

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.

"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."
~Library Review~




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

The Book Link

MY REVIEW:

Although this novel isn’t classified as a mystery, it still is one. Ty Buchanan goes through hell and high water to find out who murdered his fiancĂ©. One could call it a legal thriller because the main character is a lawyer—one who’s going to find answers, regardless of the consequences.

Bell is the master of plot, as anyone who has read Plot and Structure knows. The story line was great, bolstered by some nice side plots that were woven into the main one. I love it when everything seems multi-directional but then converges in an unexpected way at the end. The action moved a bit slowly for me, but that doesn’t mean the author is at fault, it just means the plot was a bit too character-driven for me—the slower plot is a side effect.

I experienced nothing earth-shattering or mind-blowing while reading, but the book held my attention regardless. When I see great writing, almost any plot can interest me enough for me to finish it and give it a thumbs up. Which I do.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Stunning Conclusion of my Deadfall Review...

Yesterday, I posted the first portion of my review. As of Wednesday morning, I had not yet finished the novel. However, yesterday I did. Here's what I have to add:

I have now finished Deadfall. While partially predictable, the ending was satisfying—not one of those where you say, “You’ve got to be kidding! Don’t kill off the main character! Why is the bad guy getting away?”

And there’s no mushy romance (YAY!) or trite monologues that make you want to puke. There was one time where one of the POV characters had a conversation with another character and I thought it was a tad unbelievable considering the situation they were in, but that’s highly subjective, and I’m a picky daughter-of-a-gun.

It’s definitely worth the read, people.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

CFBA rocks the house with: Deadfall, by Robert Liparulo





ABOUT THE BOOK:

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armed with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-acclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at www.LIPARULO.com


"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"
-In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall."
-Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!"
-Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller.
-Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more."
-DAve Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent



A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website (www.robertliparulo.com) and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.

And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.

MY REVIEW:

I'm going to blame my husband for the fact that I haven't finished reading Deadfall. He saw the cover, thought it looked cool, and stole it from me. Time passed and he hadn't finished yet (not unusual for him). Not realizing the time neared for the CFBA blog tour, I stole it back and started reading. I'm in the midst of it right now, and I think I'll be done by tonight.

So, I'm going to give my thoughts on it so far and then come back tomorrow and tell you if the ending lived up to the rest of it. Sound fair? Of course it does.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the privilege of reading Bob's previous works, Comes a Horseman and Germ. I've heard many good things about them. Now that I've tasted his writing style, I'm definitely going to have to get them ASAP.

I won't run down the plot, because that's covered above in the "About the Book" section. I will say that all the hullabaloo I've heard in previous months about the "excessive gore and violence" in Bob's works is simply overstated. I've seen more violence on CSI: Miami or any James Bond or Die Hard movie.

Seriously, it doesn't bother me that someone is blown to smithereens. And chronicling that in a bit of detail just paints a more accurate picture in my mind and makes me hate the bad guys more. I feel it's justified (if it has to be).

The plot is good, if not overused--bad guys take people (in this case a whole town) hostage for their own purposes (we find out what that is later in the book) and then some good guys come in and try to stop them. The novel takes place in Canada, though, which is different, and the unlikely good guys are hunters on vacation who kinda get thrown into the game. Good stuff.

I sound like a broken record when I keep saying stuff like this, but hey, it's my blog and my review and my opinion: too much description. Okay, I said it. Sorry. I think that for weapons enthusiasts or hunting enthusiasts, the extra paragraphs would probably be interesting, but not for me. Put some dialog in there or something and get me to the next scene so I can see who gets blown to bits next.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying this book. The redemptive themes are a little buried, but I'm picking them out--the value of friendship and sacrifice being two.

All in all, I give Deadfall a thumbs up. Now I have to go finish and find out if the conclusion thrills me as much as the rest. To be continued...


The Book Link