Monday, April 21, 2008

CSFF Tour proudly presents: The Begotten, by Lisa T. Bergren

Check out and buy this great book here

Visit the author's website


Medieval Italy--home of Roman Catholicism, burning of heretics, fierce arguments concerning icons and illuminations--the setting for one of the most creative fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time.

The author’s premise is this: What if the lost, uncanonized letters of St. Paul to the Corinthian church were found and kept secret for centuries until the appointed time? What if, in those letters, there was divinely inspired prophecy about a group of people with spiritual gifts that would amass and become a force to be reckoned with?

Father Piero, a Franciscan monk, has been entrusted by his teacher with a portion of these letters. His documents contain illuminations that picture some of The Gifted. He knows that he is one of these gifted because his likeness appears in the pictures. Somehow he must find the others depicted and gather them together for the cause of Christ. Other than that he knows little and must rely totally on faith for the rest.

Lady Daria D’Angelo, Gianni, Father Piero, and an odd band of friends follow God’s leading as events that they never could have imagined unfold. Shadow and deception threaten to take the town of Siena in their grasp unless right can overcome.

I have not studied in depth this period of history as it relates to Christianity and Catholicism, but the author obviously builds upon mindsets and power struggles existing during this time period. She sets the stage plainly for a good-and-evil battle of immense proportions. The most poignant point she makes is that “the Church” may not be on God’s side after all, but on the side of darkness. Scary stuff, but so goes the way of religion in history--it’s not all piety and charity.

I found this novel engrossing and very well-conceptualized. The danger was palpable and the reader is put through a wide range of emotions. The author delivered her story through expert character formation, plot, dialogue and conflict to create a thoroughly enjoyable tale. I highly recommend it and have already ordered the next book in the series, The Betrayed.

And finally, check out the other blogs on this tour for more goodies:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Jill Hart
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Melissa Meeks
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CFBA features: My Soul to Keep, by Melanie Wells

Melanie is one of my favorite authors. Below the obligatory info I've listed a link to my review of the book and an interview with Melanie (done previously a month or so ago). Enjoy!


As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits and a staple gun…

It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year…graduation day. And her little friend Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seen to lead nowhere.

The police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces of a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

“Like water rising to a boil, My soul To Keep’s suspense sneaks up on you…before you know it, you’re in the thick if a frightening drama…Superbly crafted.”
---ROBERT LIPARULO, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes A Horseman

“Written with passion, a good dose of humor and, dare I say it, soul, this novel reminds us that we all, with grace and good fortune, bumble our way toward salvation.”
---K. L. COOK, author of Late Call and The Girl From Charmelle


A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists.

When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. Melanie lives and writes in Dallas.

The Book Link

Link to my review on the Suspense Zone

My interview with Melanie on the Suspense Zone

Monday, April 07, 2008

CFBA book of the week: Amber Morn, by Brandilyn Collins

I haven't read this book yet, but if it's anything like the others in the series, it's sure to be a show-stopper. Here's the rub:


The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than sixty seconds.

Bailey hung on to the counter, dazed. If she let go, she’d collapse—and the twitching fingers of the gunman would pull the trigger. The rest of her group huddled in frozen shock.

Dear God, help us! Tell me this is a dream . . .

The shooter’s teeth clenched. “ Anybody who moves is dead.”

On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read “Scenes and Beans” bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside.

Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the “comments” section of the blog—so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can’t possibly provide. But if he doesn’t, over a dozen beloved Kanner Lake citizens will die...

Amber Morn is the climactic finale to Collins’ widely read Kanner Lake series. All first three titles in the series, Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, and Crimson Eve, were bestsellers. Library Journal placed Crimson Eve on its Best Books of 2007 list, and hailed it the “Best Christian suspense of 2007.”

A few early reviews of Amber Morn:

“… essential reading … a harrowing hostage drama.” – Library Journal

“… heart-pounding … breakneck pace … satisfying and meaningful ending.” – RT Bookreviews

“This cataclysmic ending left me breathless … Kanner Lake is the Best Suspense Series of 2007/2008.” –

“Collins has saved the best for a last .. a powerful ensemble performance.” --

“… a staccato tempo … Sometimes you just have to close the book in order to come up for air.” – Dale Lewis

“…a masterpiece of page-turning suspense with a cast of dozens.” – Peg Phifer


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline

“Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®”

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 19th book. Her first, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences.

Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith. Visit her Website to read the first chapters of all her books.

The Book Link