The Warden And The Wolf King Tour Wrap


WingfeatherSagaWhat an awesome tour CSFF put on for the finale of the Wingfeather Saga, The Warden And The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson. We enjoyed stories of personal interaction with the author, reviews of the earlier books, and a thoughtful look at the twisting of an existing myth about names into something deeper, something born from the Christian worldiew.

In all, twenty bloggers wrote thirty-four articles introducing this middle grade (though some refer to it as young adult) fantasy, and the final book of the series in particular.

I’m happy to announce that we have a winner of the July CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award: Bruce Hennigan. If you haven’t already, you can read all three of Bruce’s excellent articles on his site: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.

Besides these posts, I encourage you to read Shannon McDermott’s “A Superstition Transformed” dealing with names and myth and an effective twist of the established fantasy trope.

You can also read Keanan Brand’s Day 2 post in which he shares a few passages from The Warden And The Wolf King, illustrative ones if not favorite.

I think there are a number of quotables in this book, but unfortunately I got so caught up in the story that I forgot to write them down. Here’s one, though, and a good one, too:

The set up: Armuly the Bard is talking to Sara Cooper who thinks “all this talk” about the Shining Isle of Anniera is wishful thinking.

“I’m sorry, but the Shining Isle is a long way from here.” Sarah looked down. “So is Janner.”

“That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The Shining Isle exists as surely as the floor you’re standing on. It may be hard to believe, but it’s real, I tell you. Sometimes in the middle of the night, the sun can seem like it was only ever a dream. We need something to remind us that it still exists, even if we can’t see it. We need something beautiful hanging in the dark sky to remind us there is such a thing as daylight. Sometimes, Queen Sara”—Armulyn strummed his whistleharp—“music is the moon.”

I think Christians can be the moon, too. So go out and be the moon to someone today. ;-)

CSFF Tour Wrap – One Realm Beyond


CSFFTopBloggerFeb14One reason I like blog tours is because I inevitably learn something from other tour members about the featured book or a related subject. The February tour for One Realm Beyond by Donita Paul is no different.

I learned, for example, that Mrs. Paul has put up a Pinterest board for my favorite character Bixby. You can learn some fascinating facts about the character from Julie Bihn’s post, “Five Things I Learned from Bixby’s Pinterest – CSFF Blog Tour.” I also learned about the appearance of dragons and serpents and the purpose of symbols in Shannon McDermott’s day 3 post.

There were some excellent reviews, such as this one by Chawna Schroeder and much discussion about favorite characters. (By my unofficial tally, it’s a tie between Bixby and Bridger).

In all, twenty-nine bloggers took part in the tour, posting forty-four articles. And now that the flurry of blogging and visiting other sites and commenting is settling, there are only two things left to do–buy your copy of One Realm Beyond, if you don’t have it yet, and put your hands together for this month’s winner of the CSFF Tour Top Blogger Award – Shannon McDermott.

Congratulations, Shannon!

CSFF Blog Tour Wrap – Outcasts By Jill Williamson


CSFFTopBloggerJan14What a great tour for Outcasts, the second book in Jill Williamson’s The Safe Lands series. Not only did the tour participants provide great content, a number of people shared the posts via Twitter or Facebook. Reviews of Outcasts spread to Amazon and Goodreads and any number of other social media sites. In other words, buzz is happening.

RebelscoverIn the end, twenty-two bloggers posted about Outcasts. Notably Meagan @ Blooming with Books posted a short interview with Jill, asking specific questions related to the Safe Lands; Jason Joyner discussed why dystopian fiction is the perfect genre for Christians; Julie Bihn speculated about the third book in the series, Rebels, based on the back cover reveal at Goodreads; and Shannon McDermott took an intriguing look at the various factions opposing the Safe Lands regime. (Sadly, due to illness, Steve Trower was not able to regale us with his usual Tour Tuesday Tunes post. I’m sure it would have been remarkable!)

In all there are a grand-total of thirty-four posts connected with the tour about Outcasts. Several pointed to the captivating (pun intended) book trailer for the first in the Safe Lands series, Captives. If anyone is still vacillating about whether or not to jump in and read this series, perhaps the video will help you decide.

Also, the new plan, for now anyway, is for me as the CSFF Grand Puba or Overlord or Head Honcho–whatever names our members use–to choose the winner of the Top Tour Blogger Award instead of putting it to a vote. So, I’m happy to announce that the January 2014 winner is Julie Bihn! Congratulations, Julie, and thanks for giving us such interesting and original content in your posts.

And now the video:

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm  Comments Off  
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Tour Wrap-A Cast of Stones and The Hero’s Lot by Patrick Carr


CSFFTopBloggerAug13First, congratulations to Shannon Dittemore who won the first August tour CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award with her posts about Captive by Jill Williamson.

The second tour, a two-fer kindly made possible by Bethany House Publishing, featured A Cast of Stones and The Hero’s Lot, Books 1 and 2 of The Staff & the Sword series by Patrick Carr. In all twenty-two bloggers participated by posting forty-one article related to the novels.

What’s more, lively discussion centered around A Cast of Stones continues at Spec Faith with Patrick’s response to a number of issues that came up in various posts and reviews–some related to CSFF and some connected to the challenge I gave Mike Duran.

Of all the CSFF’ers talking about the books, these are eligible for the second August CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award because of their three articles posted during the tour. As usual the check marks are linked to specific articles, so you can read or review the articles, then vote for the blogger you think most deserves recognition for their insights, entertainment, research, or whatever else you think makes for good blog writing.

The poll will be open through Friday, September 13. I appreciate all who take the time to vote. Thank you.

Captives CSFF Tour Wrap


CSFFTopBloggerAug13The CSFF tour for Captives by Jill Williamson, originally scheduled for July, was well worth the wait, I’d say, based on the reviews and various articles discussing topics introduced by the book.

Several participants offered book give-aways. Steve Trower came through with his usual, entertaining Tuesday Tunes post, Shannon Dittemore looked at the motivating factors behind a classic dystopian novel, and Jason Joyner provided an interesting view of the story by writing as if he were living in the Safe Lands.

In the end, 21 bloggers posted 44 articles during the tour. Here are the participants who posted at least three times, with check marks linked to their articles. Take some time during the next ten days to review their posts and then vote in the poll below to determine who will receive the First August CSFF Tour Top Blogger Award.

You’ll have until midnight (Pacific time), September 1, to vote.

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm  Comments Off  
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CSFF Blog Tour Wrap – Storm by Evan Angler


CSFFTopBloggerJune2013Despite our coming into a series on book three, the CSFF Blog Tour turned in a good number of favorable posts discussing Storm by Evan Angler. This middle grade end times, apocalyptic dystopian fantasy proved to be a surprise to many of us.

In all, nineteen of us posted thirty-five articles! The one I would have loved to read was an interview with the elusive Mr. Angler, but perhaps another day.

But this brings us to the hardest part of the tour (from my perspective)–choosing a top tour blogger. Hard, yes, but still worthwhile. Bloggers that put in the extra effort to post throughout the tour and to write interesting, meaningful copy deserve to be recognized. And those participants eligible this month are

(Each check mark links directly to a blog tour article).

And now, it is time to vote.

Published in: on July 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm  Comments Off  
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CSFF Tour Wrap – Merlin’s Blade


csffbannerI love blog tours, but I really love the ones that get people excited about the book we’re featuring. That’s what happened this week with Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard. In all twenty-five bloggers participated in the tour, posting a total of forty-one articles. We had two interviews (here and here), countless reviews (two by tweens, here and here), and a comparison of the Arthur myth with that of Robin Hood. As always we had the hilarious commentary by our lone Brit, Steve Trower, and his usual Tuesday Tunes offering. In other words, there was lots of entertaining content.

Here are the bloggers who posted all three days, making them eligible for the CSFF May Top Tour Blogger Award. As a bonus this month, our author has offered the winner a signed Merlin’s Blade poster!

As always, the check marks link you to tour articles, so you can review what each blogger wrote, then vote for the one you think posted the best content this month. The poll will close Monday, June 10, at midnight Pacific time.

Broken Wings Tour Wrap


CSFFTopBloggerApr2012In case you haven’t picked up on this, I love the CSFF Blog Tours, but I have to admit, some are more fun than others. The tour we held this week for Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore ranks as one of my all time favorites.

Why so? We had a good turn out–twenty-three participants–though certainly not the greatest number we’ve had. We had a nice number of posts–forty-six, which averages to two apiece. We had some give-and-take–participants answering one another in comments or in posts. A lively exchange always makes a tour more interesting, but we’ve had ones with greater amounts of discourse in the past. So what made this tour so good?

I think it was the quality of the posts. I don’t remember a time in which so many bloggers went to Scripture to research or compare or study. When a novel can push readers to examine God’s authoritative Word to see what is true, well, that’s the ultimate in “thought-provoking,” I think.

Then, too, there was more enthusiasm than many a tour. Bloggers said they found a new favorite or they’d become fans or they were anticipating the third book in the trilogy. More than one who said they weren’t partial to angel books said they were pleasantly surprised by Broken Wings. More than one said they found this second in the trilogy to be a stronger book than the first. More than one said the book crossed over from its target (female) young adult audience to adults of any stripe.

In short, enthusiastic bloggers writing quality posts makes for an outstanding tour. Thanks to all the participants and those who commented. But now . . . (drum roll, please) all that’s left is for us to pick the April Top Tour Blogger–which I don’t think is going to be easy.

Here are the nominees and the links to their articles. You may want to peruse them before you vote.

Published in: on April 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm  Comments Off  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore, Day 3


brokenwings-coverToday is review day, but first I want to mention a couple of my fellow CSFF Blog Tour participants’ posts for Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore. For the first time in tour history we have a video review. As a matter of fact JoJo Sutis posted videos all three days of the tour, but check out her review. It’s pretty cool hearing the enthusiasm in her voice as she gives her recommendation at the end–something that words on a screen can’t quite capture.

Also Karielle @ Books à la Mode has a wonderful interview with Shannon Dittemore, and she arranged for a publisher book giveaway–a great opportunity for anyone interested in reading the Angel Eyes Trilogy but thinking it’s hard to spend money on three books. Well, the winner of the giveaway can buy Angel Eyes now, enjoy Broken Wings as a freebie, and start saving for the final installment Dark Halo coming out in August.

Another participant–one of three new to the tour this month–is also holding a giveaway, so anyone interested in winning a free copy of Broken Wings might consider entering both to double the chances. This second offer is from Emma or Audrey Engel.

And now my review.

The Story. Broken Wings continues the Angel Eyes story where the first book left off. Teenagers Brielle and Jake are looking forward to a future together, but Jake now has a secret. Before long, trouble surfaces in the form of a young woman who shows interest in Brielle’s father and who seems to have a negative influence on him because he has become belligerent toward Jake and has started drinking heavily.

If those real life issues weren’t enough, the forces of evil have targeted Jake and Brielle because of their special gifts–his to heal, hers to see beyond the terrestrial.

Strengths. I posted yesterday about Shannon Dittemore’s quality of writing because I wanted to do it justice. That still didn’t happen, but suffice it to say, I think the strong voice and the poetic language are huge strengths in the story. But so is the theme.

I don’t often rave about the theme (which, by the way, I’m not giving away, because that would be a huge spoiler) of a novel because some readers may immediately conclude that the book was preachy. For me, it’s just the opposite. A theme isn’t really well done if it stands like gaudy decor that can’t be overlooked. Shannon weaves the themes of her story seamlessly in with the other elements of character development and unfolding plot.

Speaking of which, there is lots going on in this book–conflict in the heavenlies, discord at home, mysteries surrounding Brielle’s mother and Jake’s parents, and a key issue of trust. Never a dull moment, you might say.

Weaknesses. There’s one aspect that Broken Wings can’t get away from–it reads like a middle book. That’s because it IS a middle book. Although Shannon does a masterful job in bringing each book to a resolution, there’s no denying that the Angel Eyes Trilogy is one grand story and Broken Wings is the middle piece, the equivalent of The Two Towers to Lord of the Rings. Is that really a weakness? Only in the sense that readers not knowing what they were picking up might be dismayed–either by not having read Angel Eyes, Book 1 or by realizing that much of the mystery won’t be answered until Dark Halo, Book 3.

Earlier this week another issue came up in a post by Shannon McDermott. She said she found she didn’t care as much for the two main characters in this second installment. I realized I had a similar experience but for a different reason. I didn’t find anything the characters did or their unfolding personalities objectionable. In fact, in many ways I learned to know them better, especially Brielle, because of the interactions they had with different people.

Then why did I feel some distance? I believe it’s because I didn’t know early in the story what the characters wanted or needed. There was lots going on, mind you, but it seems the characters were mostly responding to what was happening to them as opposed to making things happen. It’s the latter that gets me cheering for characters, hoping for their success, fearing their failure. Certainly this was what I experienced during the climax which was beautifully engineered. I would have felt closer to the characters if this had been the case throughout the story.

Recommendation. In no way am I any less wildly enthusiastic about the Angel Eyes Trilogy or Shannon Dittemlore as a writer. In fact, I’ve noticed on the tour reviewers who were mildly in favor of Book 1 are now declaring themselves to be fans or moving these books into the category of favorites. More than one has said they believe Broken Wings is a stronger book. It’s an indication, I think, that these books have what Christian readers are looking for–a wonderful story, told well, which reveals deep spiritual truth. I rank the Angel Eyes Trilogy as Must Read for Christian teenage girls, and I highly recommend it for all teens and adults.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

CSFF Blog Tour Wrap – The Orphan King / Fortress of Mist


csffbannerThe accomplished novelist Sigmund Brouwer reworked an earlier set of novels to create the books in his new Merlin’s Immortals series, of which The Orphan King is book one and Fortress of Mist is book two. The CSFF Blog Tour had the good fortune to feature both books last week.

Twenty-six bloggers took part in the tour, posting a total of forty-five articles. Among my favorites were Rebekah Loper‘s comparison of the series upon which the Immortals is based with this new iteration. I also loved Stever Trower’s Tuesday Tunes with the new slant toward telling the story with his song selections. Very clever and fun! Several of us discussed magic, and many of us compared book one with book two.

But now it is your turn to determine which articles rose to the top. Here are the bloggers eligible for the February CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award:

Thanks in advance for your help selecting the winner (and can we please bring an end to the ties we’ve been having? ;-) ).

Voting ends midnight (Pacific time), March 4. That’s a week from today.

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