logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Religion
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-06-01 13:20
Terrific characters and a ray of hope in a dark, dark world
Blackthorn - Terry Tyler

I’ve read quite a few novels by Terry Tyler, and the whole of the Project Renova series, and I was looking forward to this one as well, as it is a story set in one of the settlements we visited in the last novel in the series, Legacy(you can find my review of Legacy here and there are also links to the rest of the novel available on that post).  Blackthorn is a pretty memorable place and my previous visit to that world made me think of Westworld (the old movie rather than the series, which I haven’t watched), because it was like an amalgamation of the worst of Ancient Rome and a Medieval court. Some of the events that happened in that novel are bound to be fresh in the minds of readers, and they are referred to in this novel, but I think even people who haven’t read any of the other novels in the Renova Series would be able to enjoy this one, as the author does a great job of creating a vivid world, and it’s not difficult to understand the rules and get to know the characters that play the different parts. Yes, those who have read the whole series will have a fair more background, and it fits in beautifully with the rest, but that should not deter new readers from trying it (and judging by the reviews, it seems that many new readers have enjoyed it as well).

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the plot, because there are a number of surprises, and the author has built them up perfectly and paced the story so that we discover each bit of information with the characters at a particular point in the story, sharing in their feelings and emotions, and that helps explain and justify their actions. Most of the story is told in the first person present tense, by the three main characters: Evie, a young girl, a shacker (because there is a strict social order, and where you are born determines your lot in life in Blackthorn. It’s very difficult to rise above one’s station and those who try pay dearly for it), who works in a bakery and leads a very modest life (she has no other option), clever, witty, and a bit of an outsider; Byron Lewis, a guard from a family with a long tradition in Blackthorn but also a bit of an outsider; and Lieutenant August Hemsley, who is a good an honest man, a bit of a loner and has always tried his best to do his duty, remaining blind to some of the most unsavoury aspects of life in Blackthorn. There are also brief chapters told in the third person (and in italics) that offer readers some hints and clues as to other things that might be going on behind the scenes and that our three narrators have no access to. Although those three get to learn plenty about what is really going on, readers get an even closer look at the darkness and horror most of the population are completely unaware of. This is a dystopian novel, science-fiction about a possible future if civilisation were to collapse (in this case due to a virus, a particularly scary thing to read at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic), and it touches on a lot of themes: social control, organised religion, faith, spirituality, and tradition, power and manipulation, family, friendship and identity…

I have mentioned the main characters and the way the story is narrated. There are other characters who play important parts, like Ryder Swift, an outlier who used to visit Blackthorn every year, charismatic, good at telling stories and a favourite with the shackers, who becomes something of a religious leader; Wolf North, the governor, a master manipulator who is one of the darkest characters in the whole story, and many others with smaller parts, like Evie’s friends and relatives, the other guards, the women who live in the House of Angels (I’ll let you learn about that when you read the story)… but if I had to choose one, my favourite would be Evie, who reminded me of Lottie, one of my favourite characters in the whole of the Project Renova series. Tyler excels at creating characters, some likeable, some dislikeable, but all real human beings (no matter what strange worlds and circumstances they might live in), and we see how the three protagonists grow and develop during the novel (the three of them are keen readers, so that helps the connection as well), refusing to be defined by socially-designated roles and categories and coming into their own. This helps us engage with them and feel touched, marvelled or horrified by their experiences, and we feel sorrow when we leave them (although the author hints at a possible follow up on some of the characters’ adventures).

Notwithstanding the author’s focus on her characters, she manages to create a truly compelling and realistic world in Blackthorn, one that might feel fairly alien to our daily experience and we might not like, but one we can understand, and some aspects of which might be uncomfortably recognisable. Her description of the different parts of the city, the conditions the inhabitants have to live in, their routines, their way of life, their hardships and/or privileges are seamlessly woven into the story, rather than told in long stretches of information dumps, and we learn all we need from wandering around Blackthorn’s streets with the narrators, sharing in their observations, their day-to-day life and their adventures. We see their homes, their places of work, we follow them to the bakery, the prison, the outskirts, the governor’s home, the bars, their friends’ homes, and we get to know the hidden spots in Blackthorn as well. This is done in a fluid style, with an eye for detail that does not disrupt the narrative or interrupt the plot (even when there are short chapters that take us back to earlier moments in the story), and the writing is perfectly in sync with the narrative, not calling undue attention to itself but rather serving the story. There are contemplative and beautiful moments; there are some funny touches; some truly horrific events, and some touching and hopeful passages as well. Tyler’s writing mastery keeps increasing with every novel as demonstrated by this book.

The ending hints at new beginnings and at many more stories. It brings some wonderful surprises and some disappointments (not totally unexpected), but I won’t go into details. I loved it, and, for me, it is a hopeful ending.

This is another great novel by Terry Tyler, and one set in a world that most readers will be able to connect with. I loved its unlikely mix of characters, the fantastic baddy (Wolf North his pretty up there with the best, or worst, depending on how you look at it), the masterful way the story is told, and how it makes us pause and think, about the past, the present, and the future. A few words of warning, there are some violent scenes (not extreme but upsetting), some very dark and nasty happenings, and its take on official religions could be challenging for some readers. Personally, I can’t wait to read the sequel to Hope.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2020-05-24 05:00
Assessing Your Prophetic Self Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: Assessing Your Prophetic Self

Author: Paula A. Price PH.D.

Genre:  RELIGION / Christianity/Pentecostal & Charismatic

Release Date: April 17, 2020

The Prophetic Primers are a series of smaller books based on the best-selling The Prophet’s Dictionary and The Prophet’s Handbook that will bring clarity, discovery, and definition to the training of prophetic gifts. In Assessing Your Prophetic Self, Dr. Paula A. Price provides diagnostic tools, as well as language and knowledge, to discern, measure, and encourage the gifts of novice prophets. Readers will receive links for an online prophetic assessment test. Dr. Price also sets specific and measurable objectives, goals, and outcomes for the formation of a prophetic ministry. Also includes an introduction for the seasoned prophet looking to mentor others in the ministry.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Paula A. Price is quickly becoming the international voice on the subject of apostolic and prophetic ministry. She has founded and established three churches, an apostolic and prophetic Bible institute, a publication company, a consulting firm, and a global collaborative network linking apostles and prophets together for the purpose of kingdom vision and ventures. Although she has written over twenty-five books, manuals, and other course material on the apostolic and prophetic, she is most recognized for her unique 1,600-term The Prophet’s Dictionary, a concise prophetic training manual entitled Church Prophets, and her follow-up, The Prophet’s Handbook, a tool for establishing prophetic ministry in the church. Paula is host of her own program, Let’s Just Talk: Where God Makes Sense. She has a D.Min. and a Ph.D. in Religious Education from Word of Truth Seminary in Alabama. She is also a wife, mother of three daughters, and the grandmother of two. She and her husband Tom presently pastor New Creation Worship Assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 

More from Paula

 

My previous books, THE PROPHET’s DICTIONARY and THE PROPHET’s HANDBOOK have sold extremely well and have offered guidance and wisdom to many. This new book, ASSESSINGG YOUR PROPHETIC SELF is the first of The Prophetic Primer Series that will bring more clarity and discovery to your training in the prophetic.
 

Blog Stops

 

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Spotlight)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 22

Book Love, May 23 (Spotlight)

For the Love of Literature, May 24 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 26 (Spotlight)

For Him and My Family, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 28 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, May 29

Andrea Christenson, May 30 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Through the Fire Blogs, June 1 (Spotlight)

 
 

Giveaway

 


To celebrate her tour, Paula is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2020-05-02 01:29
One of the rare books that will stretch your heart
Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship - Gregory Boyle

I recommend this to any human being, Christian or otherwise, who wants to grow in kinship with others and feel the loving embrace of the Divine. 

 

This was such a beautiful and moving reflection on how Fr. Gregory Boyle has encountered the true meaning of God in his life, his friends, and his work through Homeboy Industries. 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2020-04-29 05:00
The Multicultural Church Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Multicultural Church

Author: Dan Willis

Genre:  RELIGION / Christian Church/Growth

Release Date: February 21, 2020

Despite the progress our country has made in Civil Rights over the past century, Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated times in America. It seems like the only people striving to lead in the area of racial reconciliation are politicians, activists, and celebrities. Pastor Dan Willis wants to know… Where is the church? What can the people of God do to become leaders again and not just be Johnny-come-lately followers? The art of bringing harmony to the masses lies in the love all should see in the church of God. If the church is to make a difference and return to relevance in this world, the only option is multicultural ministry. If leaders are not prepared to minister to this growing culture, then American Christianity is in danger of becoming nonessential to the body of believers. For years, Dan Willis has led a growing, multicultural Christian community in the suburbs of Chicago. In The Multicultural Church, Dan shares what he has learned, the mistakes he has made, and what can be done to successfully minister to a diverse culture.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


As a boy, Dan Willis’s dreamed of becoming a neurosurgeon until the fateful day when, at age sixteen, he was called to “temporarily” take over as pastor of a local church. Dan took that small ministry of sixteen people and nurtured it into the largest multicultural church on the south side of Chicago, consisting of over five thousand members. Today, Dan still serves as senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations, in Alsip, Illinois. The driving force of Dan’s ministry has always been one of uniting the races. To look out over the congregation during a typical worship celebration, you will see men, women, and children from over seventy-two different nations. Dan is also a gifted singer, musician, and producer. He founded a community choir called The Pentecostals of Chicago, bringing together black, white, Hispanic, and Asian singers from over twenty Chicago area churches. This group, now known as The All Nations Choir, has six albums to its credit and has performed with artists from Celine Dion to Kirk Franklin, and has served on missionary trips to the orphanages of Kingston, Jamaica.

A celebrated television host, he created and hosted the Emmy-nominated shows Inspiration Sensation and I’m Just Sayin’. Dan has traveled the country ministering and teaching men and women through the Starting Line Prison Fellowship organization and has also been a national and international speaker on the topics of music, ministry, racial reconciliation, leadership, and community development. Dan is the author of Freedom to Forget and most recently, Praise Is My Weapon. Dan continues to live in Alsip with his wife, Linda, and is father to four grown children and eight grandchildren.
 

More from Dan

 

I have led a successful and growing multicultural congregation in the Chicago suburbs for over twenty years. I wanted to write a short book packed with practical information sharing my personal stories of successes and failures in cross-cultural ministry.
 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate his tour, Dan is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-04-18 21:33
Luxurious package takes some unpacking
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter

Do I dare call this full of symbolism, and therefore feel the need to scratch under the surface of these tales? Then again, is there any fairy tale worth it's salt that is not so.

Lets start saying that the way this is written is incredibly sensual. I was surprised because I was sure the first tale (The Bloddy Chamber), would turn up into a hardcore purple prose BDSM. It does not become explicit, but the erotic charge and the tug of war between desire for freedom and sexual or base hungers, innocence and a curiousity for corruption, is heavy and all encompassing on that one and several others in this collection (The Tiger's Bride, The Erl-king).

Puss in Boots was hilarious in all it's terribleness. Not one character in it can be called good, our narrator least of all, and yet. Lots of laughing OMG, no!

 

The Snow Child was... How do you pack it that fast? It takes infinitely more to unpack.

All of them are incredibly evocative. Also disturbing. Oh, and they screw with your mind with the POVs and tenses too.

 

I'm a still quite discombobulated by much of this, and I'm pretty certain I don't get even most  of what this is conveying, but frankly, at some point I started researching some fairy-tale stuff for background, and found out there are whole freaking books essaying on the meanings of this collection, so I reckon I'm good enough just keeping it floating on the back-burners of my mind.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?