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review 2020-03-01 08:30
The Vault Between Spaces Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

 


Book:  The Vault Between Spaces

Author: Chawna Schroeder

Genre: Young adult Christian Fantasy

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Every legend must start somewhere…
No prisoner who enters the gates of HopeWell ever leaves. But from the moment Oriel sets foot inside Anatroshka’s most formidable prison camp, she unsettles both commandant and prisoner alike with eyes that see beyond the surface and music that trails her everywhere.

Petite and delicate though she appears, Oriel bows before neither threat nor punishment. Moreover, she makes no attempt to hide her intention: Oriel plans to escape the inescapable HopeWell.

But when facades are stripped away and myth becomes clothed in flesh, what begins as a prison break becomes a mission to stop the invasion of evil itself.



Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 


Chawna Schroeder is Minnesotan writer who enjoys snow, chai tea, and playing “what if?”—even if that game occasionally gets her into trouble. She also loves stretching both her imagination and her faith to their limits and helping others to do the same. As a result, her writing explores the vastness of God, His multifaceted nature, and the potential of a life lived with Him. This means both learning the boundaries He created for our protection as well as demolishing the human boxes that restrict both God and people.
When she isn’t reading or writing, a variety of other activities fill her “free” time: practicing piano for church, preparing Sunday school lessons, studying the biblical languages, or working on one of her handwork projects while
enjoying a movie.
 
Chawna’s other books include Beast, a coming-of-age fairytale for teens and adults, and the Bearing the Sword curriculum, which teaches the basics of discernment to teens through in-depth Bible study and media analysis. You
can connect with Chawna through her website (www.chawnaschroeder.com), blog (www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/ChawnaSchroederAuthor/).
 
 

More from Chawna

 

Beyond Reality

Life can seem so drab and dreary, clouds of monotony graying the days and the chill of trouble piercing the night. It is not the world we would choose to live in, yet it is the world we often find ourselves trapped within, imprisoned by circumstances beyond our control.

Perhaps that is why myths and fairy tales carry such strong appeal. They promise what we see is not all there is. They infuse the world with possibility. They dare us to believe that now isn’t forever. They offer us hope.

Yet many myths and fairy tales are so far removed from our normal world, we end up dismissing them as irrelevant, the stuff of children and starry-eyed idealists. For no sensible person would believe in seven-headed dragons or wing-footed messengers, in fairy godmothers and cursed spinning wheels. Yet the magnetism of such stories remains.

Which is where The Vault Between Spaces comes in. We begin with a recognizable world. Chain-link fences and cars, umbrellas and guns—these are things we know. More than that, the world feels familiar: drab, monotonous, inescapable, hopeless.
Then one lone girl steps into that world—our world—and changes everything, challenging us to question all that we thought we knew. Could there be more truth to those childhood tales than we ever dared believe?
 

My Review

 
Alas, another stunning Christian fantasy! If there are more books like this one, I may have to start calling myself an aficionado of the genre! When choosing books to read either for review or leisure, part of my decision is often motivated by the cover because I don’t read synopses before reading the book itself, and the cover for this book is gorgeous. Thankfully, the story itself is just as much so.

As I read, it became apparent that with “The Vault Between Spaces”, Chawna Schroeder represents a compendium of story ideas that blend seamlessly together into a fascinating tapestry of intrigue and mystery. Part allegory, the story follows Oriel into the prison camp and beyond, with unlimited imaginative effects. The prison camp reminded me very much of the concentration camps of the Holocaust, with that same undercurrent of hopelessness and helplessness. The main message implores readers to remember who they are. Fans of Sharon Hinck’s “Hidden Current” will not want to miss this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
 
 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Chawna is giving away a themed basket including autographed copy of the book, $10 iTunes gift card (since music plays a dominate role in the book), embroidered bookmark, and embroidered denim book bag!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2019-12-14 10:00
The Camera Never Lies Review
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Camera Never Lies

Author: David Rawlings

Genre: General fiction/allegory/magical realism

Release Date: December 3, 2019

David Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler, returns with another probing story: what would you do if your secrets were revealed to those around you?

Daniel Whiteley is a successful couples counselor who regularly puts families back together, helping them face up to the things in life they hide. But his own marriage is falling apart.

His wife, Kelly, knows Daniel is hiding something from her, but she doesn’t dare probe for fear her own secrets will be revealed.

When his grandfather dies, Daniel inherits an old SLR camera from a time when cameras pointed away from the person taking the photograph. On the camera is an inscription: “Use this camera wisely and remember, regardless of the picture you think you took, the camera never lies.”
 
When Daniel first uses his new camera he finds someone has already filled the roll of film. Annoyed, he processes the film and finds photos of a secret that he’s been hiding from his wife and daughter.
 
He has no idea who took them.

Now every time he uses the camera, the photographs reveal another secret about himself the he is desperate to keep-as well as those of his wife, which he is desperate to uncover.



Click HERE to get your copy.  

About the Author

 


David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.
 

 

My Review

 

No matter what you think you might see, the camera never lies.

Because I heard so many positive remarks about “The Baggage Handler”, I decided to give “The Camera Never Lies” a try. Photography doesn’t really interest me, although I do enjoy looking at nature and wildlife photos, and I have never been a fan of having my picture taken. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when I skimmed the synopsis, either. Had I not read so many favorable reviews when this author’s previous book toured with CelebrateLit, I likely wouldn’t have signed up to review this one, and I’m glad that I did!

Blending elements of magical realism and allegory, David Rawlings’ “The Camera Never Lies” explores the secrets that we hide and the consequences to which they lead. This story reminds me of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” television series, and I can easily envision it as an episode; likewise, if this book had a theme song, I think that Natalie Grant’s “The Real Me” would be a perfect fit. Rawlings offers great insight into the human psyche and how one lie leads to a cascade effect, even subtle lies such as pretending that things are fine when they’re not. Using a camera to develop the ideas in the narrative is brilliantly apropos because “[t]he camera reveals how our lives truly are. We can’t trick it, even if sometimes we think we can trick ourselves and everyone around us.” Furthermore, “Truth cannot simply be avoided, covered up, or ignored, and the camera chooses the truth it shows.” The symbolism also works well, as with the fictional prescription drug Mendacium, which references the term “mendacious” and its Latin etymology from words meaning “lying” and “fault.” The revelations from the storyline filter through the lens of truth, exposing the lies.

One aspect of this book that I did struggle with was the characters. I didn’t particularly like any of them, with the occasional exception of Simon, nor did I feel a personal connection with any of them. I found myself groaning and rolling my eyes a bit with David, in particular, but to be fair, his reactions are believable and his approach to life is essential to the plot’s execution. Also, although there is no direct mention of faith, there are easy parallels to Christianity throughout the text and in the theme of uprightness vs. deceitfulness. Sometimes we, like Kelly, might think that honesty doesn’t always work, but as Simon tells her, “Well, sometimes your honesty doesn’t produce results you can see with your eyes. Sometimes the results are about your own integrity.” This immediately brought to mind Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It all comes down to trust. We have to decide who or what we are going to trust in, ourselves or the Lord, and when we choose to trust in Jesus, we find the truth, the way, and the life. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Read an Excerpt

 

Read an excerpt of The Camera Never Lies HERE.

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 5

amandainpa, December 5

Older & Smarter?, December 6

Through the Fire Blogs, December 6

Blogging With Carol, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

For Him and My Family, December 7

Christian Bookaholic, December 8

Emily Yager, December 8

Splashes of Joy, December 8

As He Leads is Joy, December 9

Mamma Loves Books, December 9

Vicky Sluiter, December 10

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 10

Robin’s Nest, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

Genesis 5020, December 12

Remembrancy, December 12

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 12

Pause for Tales, December 13

A Reader’s Brain, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Seasons of Opportunities, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15

To Everything There Is A Season, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 15

Just the Write Escape, December 16

janicesbookreviews, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Hallie Reads, December 17

My Devotional Thoughts, December 17

Quiet Quilter, December 18

Literary Reflections Book Blog, December 18

Godly Book Reviews, December 18

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review 2018-11-17 14:21
A cautionary tale, with plenty of action and philosophical touches thrown in.
Killing Adam - Earik Beann

I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you’re looking for reviews, I recommend you check her amazing site here), and I thank her and the publisher for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This is a very interesting book, and I doubt anybody reading it will fail to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist. The concept is easy to grasp. Accidentally, (there was an experiment linking several people’s brains) an artificial intelligence (who later describes itself as a “singularity”) called Adam is born. Adam quickly takes control of the whole world, creating ARCs (altered reality chips), which are inserted into everybody’s brains, and allow people to control everything around them and to live get interconnected and live in an altered (virtual) reality world. Of course, the intelligence behind the inventions (and there is a company behind it too, BioCal) gets to control the brains of the people involved, in turn. You can imagine Terminator with AIs instead of physical robots, or Matrix, although in this case people are not physically hooked onto a computer, but hooked they are, nonetheless. Adam is extraordinary, but a megalomaniac and cannot stand the thought of coexisting with other singularities who might take a different view of matters. He will not stop at anything to achieve his ubercontrol and will use (and has used) any means necessary.

The story, told in the third-person by an omniscient narrator, is plot-driven. Each chapter is told from a character’s point of view (so there is no confusion as to whose point of view we’re following), mostly the main characters: Jimmy (a man who cannot be fitted with an ARC due to a brain injury suffered while he was playing American football), Adam, Trixie (another singularity, and one who sees things very differently to Adam), Jenna (one of the people —or “nodes”— hosting Trixie), and other secondary characters who play their part in the action but whom we don’t learn much about. Jimmy is the character we get to know better, but due to his personal circumstances, his life has become so limited that there is little information we gather in the time we spend with him. He is married and loves his wife, but as she’s mostly hooked onto the altered reality (23 hours a day), he can hardly spend any time with her. He attends “Implants Disability Anonymous”, an association for those who have difficulty adapting to life because they do not have an implant (and it is extremely complicated to live in a world centred on an alternate reality if you are an outsider), and has a friend, Cecil, whose life circumstances are very similar. He becomes a reluctant hero, and, perhaps preciesly because we do not know that much about him, it is easy to imagine ourselves in his place.

There are other characters with plenty of potential, especially Crazy Beard, an amateur philosopher who feels at home anywhere, and whose pearls of wisdom are eminently quotable. The language is not overly technical or complex and although there are some descriptions, these are not very detailed or lengthy. In a way, the experience of reading this book is similar to what life must be like for the characters of the novel hooked onto the alternate reality. You become so immersed in the story and focused on the content that you don’t see or notice what is around you, including the details about what surrounds you. The scenes and the actions succeed each other at a fast pace and, every-so-often you are thrown out of that reality by a detailed mention of a location or of an in-depth description of a character’s thoughts or feelings. And then, back you go, into the story.

The novel can be read as an allegory for our modern lives, increasingly taken over by social media and online content (yes, it is not a big stretch to imagine that you could walk along a crowded street and be virtually invisible because all people you come across are focused on their devices), a cautionary tale. Indeed, some of the technology, like the connected fridges and the self-driven cars are already here. It can also be read as a straightforward science-fiction/dystopian novel, with touches of humour, philosophical thoughts, and an inspiring and positive ending (and no, I won’t tell you what it is). Hard science-fiction fans might take issue with some of the novel’s premises (I missed getting a sense of how this alternate reality was, as we mostly see the effects of it but not the actual content), and a fair deal of suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy the novel if you are looking for a realistic story, but if you enjoy speculative fiction, plenty of action, and are open to a story that will make you look around and think, you’ll love this novel. I look forward to the author’s future works.

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-07-18 02:58
So much hidden meaning
The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is included in the list of 100 titles chosen by American citizens for The Great American Read hosted by PBS. (More info on the books on the list and how you can vote for America's favorite novel can be found here.) In an effort to read more diversely (and to have the ability to recommend books for the adults in my branch) I started with this book as I had never heard of it despite it being listed as a 'classic'. The story follows Lila Mae Watson who is the first female person of color to be an Elevator Inspector. In the world created by Whitehead elevators are the height (ha!) of technology and the majority of the population see them as somewhat mystical and beyond the realm of ordinary comprehension. (There are even guilds which seek to elevate the status of Elevator Inspectors in society to those in political office.) Even more confusing to discern are the two distinct sects of theory as to the maintenance and future of these machines. One school of thought is firmly rooted in the reality of the technology while the other views them as metaphysical creations that can be 'sensed'. Lila Mae belongs to the second school of thought which further compounds the problems that she faces among her coworkers and the public that she encounters on her daily rotations. This sci-fi novel is rooted in the reality of race. What drives the story are the veiled discussions of race but it is told through the lens of technology innovations. It is ultimately a story of hope for a better world where we are 'elevated' from the weaknesses and barbarisms of our current reality. Whitehead challenges our perceptions of our accepted reality as he argues that established views are not solely based on what we see with our eyes. This is a book with a seemingly simple premise about elevator manufacture and maintenance in a world so very similar (and familiar) to our own but instead what we get is a complex discussion of race and how we can (hopefully) rise above. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease

 

What I'm Currently Reading: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-28 17:21
THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang
The Vegetarian: A Novel - Han Kang

I'm not sure what I feel about this book.  It is three points of view about Yeong-hye (husband, brother-in-law, and sister.)  I liked it but I have questions which will probably be answered or discussed in my book club.  The first part I wanted to smack the husband upside the head because of how he dealt with Yeong-hye.  I found the second part sensual and erotic.  The third part as the sister tells her tale made me wonder why they didn't just let her go.  This is not a book that easily can be forgotten.

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