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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Visitor by J.L. Pattison

The Visitor

A stranger in a cornfield, a letter detailing horrific future events, and a chance to change the fate of a nation slipping into turmoil.

Theodore Garfield never believed the old farmer’s story about the day the stranger appeared in his cornfield. And Theodore was even more skeptical about the letter the visitor left behind detailing the gradual downfall of America beginning with the assassination of a future president named John F. Kennedy.

Years later the farmer’s story is all but forgotten until a young senator named John F. Kennedy is elected president. With the farmer and the letter.

The Guru's Review:

I love time travel novels. It was this that attracted me to this short story. The plot was also another factor, of course. Usually a time travel novel has its plot designed to alter history and its events. Such is the case with The Visitor. The author has a fascination with the assassination of President John F Kennedy and this is very nicely portrayed through the main character and the plot. It draws you in and you find yourself accepting the challenge of preventing JFK's assassination just as the main character has.

This is a great example of what makes fiction speculative: the what if of the story; what if I could alter history? Would I do it? In this short story, Pattison portrays this very well and it is a compelling read. Apart from his fascination with the assassination of JFK being one motive for making this short story speculative, Pattison gives evidence of a greater motive. He seems to be concerned with what is developing to American society ripped from today's headlines or implied from those headlines,
(Theodore): “I'm telling you because I don't want to take this to my grave and you're the only person I can trust. I am not sure how much of a difference you can make, but I know you can do more than I can now. I implore you to do whatever you can to prevent Kennedy's assassination because once that happens, everything will change.”
Theodore spoke of a future where their government would engage in surveilling its own citizens— cataloguing their every move, action, and thought— all under the guise of keeping them safe. A future where Americans will not only tolerate the intrusion, but welcome it. Quade rolled his eyes when Theodore muttered something while drifting in and out of consciousness about millions of parents murdering their children in utero. Then Theodore's final sentence arrived. He pieced together a disjointed string of slurred words about internment camps and a great culling of American citizens, then fell silent.
And a few pages later,
...within the next couple generations, Americans will become so distracted by various gratifications that they won't even realize their government revoked most of their liberties. And by the time they recognize what's happening, it will be too late. They'll awaken to discover that they've amused themselves to death.” “There would be resistance.” “There will be no resistance to the boot on their necks. And eventually they will grow to love the boot.” Theodore paused as he struggled to swallow before continuing.
And yet, there seems to be a third motive for Pattison writing this short, that even if we could travel back in time, we would have to deal with the sovereignty of God,
"Let me get this straight,” Theodore said smirking while shooing a persistent fly away from his face. “During the years this letter’s validity could have been proven, it went missing, only to reappear after those events passed?
I'm afraid so. You see, I believe God is sovereign, and if man develops a way to travel through time to change the outcome of certain past events— events that God has ordained to take place— then no matter what we do, we will not be able to change them. This could explain Mr. Blair showing up at the wrong time and place, and how I misplaced the letter for over forty years.
It is these motives that forms the backbone to this short. It adds depth and strength to the plot and its action. It strengthens the characterisation of Quade when he realises (too late) the truth of what Theodore told him and realises that the future of society is not going to be a safe one.

I have read a few time travel novels where the technology of time travel is described in some detail, but due to the shortness of this story, this is absent. Pattison gives very few details of how the Visitor at the beginning of the story arrives in the year 1899. Having now read this short, it is just not necessary to have this technology included. Not only due to the shortness of this story but this absence gives the author more time (and words) to concentrate on the main story line as I have outlined above. I guess this backs up the saying that less is more!

When I read this short, I was hooked on Pattison's writing and imagination. I now follow him on Amazon and Goodreads. I have read his second novel, Alibi Interrupted (also a time travel short concerning JFK's assassination) and this just adds to Pattison's talent as a gifted author and story teller. I am looking forward to him writing his first full length novel.

Thoroughly enjoyed this short while giving me something to think about concerning the future path society seems to be taking when ignoring God's sovereignty and taking matters into their own hands.

Highly Recommended. 5/5

To read a preview or buy The Visitor, click on the Buy or Preview icon below.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Author Spotlight: Marshalee Patterson

Today, I am spotlighting author, Marshalee Patterson. I discovered her second book, The Path of the Chosen Warriors as a free book from Amazon. It was then advertised by the author on a few Facebook groups that I belong to. After reading what she had to say about this book, I decided to offer her an Author/Novel Spotlight post to promote this new book and herself as she is a relatively new author.

So let me introduce you to this new, Christian author, Marshalee Patterson. First let's have a look at her Bio.

Marshalee Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She has always had a love for reading. It was while attending the Merl Grove High School that she discovered that she loved writing stories.

Some of her favourite novels were written by Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo, as she found she liked the true to life stories that we all can relate to.

However, after leaving high school, she went on to pursue a career in banking as a Bank Teller and didn’t follow up on her writing. It wasn’t until after she visited Italy in 2003, she started to relive the experiences and wanted to write about it. She gives credit to being a Christian as it is the Holy Spirit that she says guides her in writing her books.

She writes Christian romance/adventure and family books, where all her characters are created from her own experiences, with the experiences of a few and this she said helps her to write with a lot of heart and love.

She hopes that through her novels she can inspire people of all ages with the message of hope in Christ and showing them that through him comes deliverance. Her goal is that through this medium, she can give readers a better knowledge of how to be victorious against satan’s tactics and exposes some of the devices he uses by creating stories where readers can better understand situations and root causes of demonic doors opening in our lives and through spiritual warfare prayers that she herself have been using and saw results, they too can learn to stand strong against the devil themselves too.

She is a lover of nature and the tranquillity of it. She finds nature refreshing and peaceful. She loves different cultures especially the Spanish which she feels makes us learn to appreciate ours a little more in areas where we have been ungrateful or unappreciative. She loves salsa music very much and dances it well too. She is a proud Jamaican.

Now let's have a look at The Path of the Chosen Warriors which has just been released today, August 18, 2015, in e-book and printed editions:

Book Description:
This action packed Christian Romance book is one filled with Spiritual Warfare, where a young couple that was just rediscovering their love, was thrown into a strange town by a terrible storm. Soon they must discovered how to break the chains of the town's people who were held captive to a demon god called Abaddon, by allowing Christ to minister through them while risking their lives and in doing so, they themselves discovered their true calling. 

I asked Marshalee why she wrote this novel and she replied:
Well I wrote that book after the Lord gave me dream, of people offering their own to a demon God and it is also to be a tool to help make people more aware and alert to what they dream. Since I started learning about warfare prayers and saw how the Lord reveal the source of things that I was struggling with because of family curses or witchcraft covenant through certain movies I use to watch that most think of as innocent, I started to understand, and the more I prayed them, the more I saw myself having victory in the spirit realm and things making more sense, so that is one reason for the book.

I don't know if there will be a sequel as I write by the Lord's command, but I feel that I may have one that tackle the issue of witchcraft but that's when the Lord thinks I'm ready and knowledgeable enough about that.

I don't just write for entertainment, Yes, I use that format but only to make the spiritual lessons more understandable. The theme is spiritual warfare as that's what we are facing every day as Christians whether we like it or not. You can either choose to fight or be crushed. The book is fairly new, so I haven't gotten much feedback as yet, but just did a promo and I know I will be hearing some good feedback soon. I have a great review on amazon so far which gives readers a good insight of the content. check out here for that.

I think after reading this it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect, so here is one and the explanation why she chose this:

I chose this section as an excerpt because this is the one of the most important message in the book. It’s about the newly converted Christians that have come to confront the demonic high Priest that was now possessed by the evil host Abaddon, in order to free the young couple and their friends who were shipwrecked in the strange town in order to let God use them to deliver them. I wanted the message in this chapter to be on teaching Christians to know that when they work together without letting things distract them, how strong they are in conquering evil, as the devil like to use that to weaken the link and end up bringing confusion.


At the sight of the last man’s death, he fell to his knees and shouted, to the surprise of the crowd, who didn’t even notice him standing in the entrance of the shrine while the angels wiped out the angry mob.
“Forgive me, God of these people. I see now that there is a greater power than Abaddon and I am sorry for all I have done against you,” and he fell on his knees and began weeping.
The people started rejoicing as they saw their enemies all dead and the High Priest on his knees. Some ran past him inside to free their friends. As those outside saw their friends emerge, they began cheering and embracing.
Ruth turned back towards to shrine and watched as the High Priest sobbed quietly to himself while everyone was celebrating. She walked towards him and knelt in front of him as he had done to her earlier and placing her hand upon his chin, she lifted it up to face her.
She smiled at him as she saw that there was still human love left in him. She told him to renounce Abaddon to be free of his hold. He started to renounce Abaddon and started to repeat what Ruth was saying to him to accept Jesus into his life, when suddenly his appearance changed and Ruth saw herself staring into the eyes of Abaddon himself.
Her eyes widened as she felt his hand on her throat. She grabbed his hand to free herself as she started to feel her breath diminishing. He forced her to stand as he got to his feet. Suddenly Joshua noticed she wasn’t near him and turned to see her being choked by the High Priest.
As he rushed towards him to free her, he was grabbed by the free hand of the High Priest and thrown back into the crowd, getting their attention now. They all gasped as they realized that it was no longer the High Priest but Abaddon himself. He was damn strong,” Joshua said to himself as he was helped up to his feet by someone.
As Abaddon walked more towards them, they stepped back as the sight of him was nothing they had ever seen before. Even though they saw the blackness in his eyes and felt the evil within him, they remembered the God that just saved them and they held their faith.
“Abaddon we aren’t afraid of you; our God told us that we have power over all rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in the high places. Therefore we command you to release her and be consumed by fire,” a few shouted at him and then was joined by the rest.
They kept on calling on the fire of God to consume him and as they did the High Priest started screaming at them in the creepiest voice that made Ruth shiver. But even as she could feel breath leaving her slowly, she saw only the High Priest and tried to reach him.
“Fight him, resist him, command him to leave you in the Name of Jesus,” and at that name, she saw the switch from demon and man and back to demon and the look she got from the demon this time was deadly.
He began to squeeze her neck harder giving her little air to breathe but just enough for her to say, “The Blood of Jesus is against you Abaddon,” and with hearing that he violently threw her into the air and she landed in the river.
The people grew fiercer towards him and began to shout at him to be consumed by fire which started to burn at him causing him to scream violently, throwing the High Priest’s body to the ground. They then commanded him to loose him and die until the body of the High Priest was left motionless on the ground.
While that was happening, Brad and Joshua rushed into the river to get Ruth. She had fallen hard and was lying beneath the water. They were happy that it was a still river which prevented her body from being washed downstream.
As they lifted her from the water and laid her on the river bank, she seemed to be bleeding on the forehead. It seemed she had hit her head on a rock when she landed in the water. Ripping his shirt off Brad wrapped it around her head to stop the bleeding and then Joshua started CPR.
She hadn’t taken in a lot of water as she wasn’t under that long, so she was revived quickly, but the head injury was causing her to slip into unconsciousness. Joshua sat and pulled her into his arms and began to weep and tried to keep her conscious.
“Baby stay with me,” he said nervously, “remember we are going to have a son named David… who will love music like you do and sing like you.”
As he held her in his arms, he continued, even though his voice started to crack as the words came out, “Remember…. how you promised never to leave me….. and that we will grow old together,” he said to her and kissed her cheek.
“God, you told me she’s the one for me, you can’t take her away so soon. Let her be healed by the stripes of Jesus which He bore for her in Jesus Name,” he prayed as the tears slowly ran down his cheeks.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End of Excerpt ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This novel has one Amazon 5 Star review:

Top Customer Reviews

 Does good always triumph over evil?
By Claudette Beckford-Brady on February 7, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase  

A story of spiritual warfare: the perpetual fight of good over evil in a paranormal setting with demonic forces attempting to overcome the Christians in the community. Marshalee Patterson has crafted an inspirational novel with a great plot and storyline which I can envisage as a movie. The story draws you in and holds your attention as you want to know what the final outcome will be. Who will triumph? Will the evil forces of Abaddon defeat the Christians? Will Ruth and Joshua escape from Sodom Shadows and return to their home in Shiloh City? Suspense, action, intrigue and more, in this story which takes the reader to the realm where the struggle for supremacy takes place. Although in a fictional setting the author makes it quite clear that evil forces exist in this literal world we live in and that a battle must be constantly fought in order to overcome and stay ahead of the forces of the devil. A good read.

If this content has piqued your interest in Marshalee and her novel, you can check her out at the following social media platforms:
Createspace link: Marshalee Patterson

Amazon Author Page:
Marshalee Patterson
The Path of the Chosen Warriors can be purchased at Amazon from the link below and you can also read a further excerpt as well:

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian fantasy, romance, the supernatural or spiritual warfare, to consider reading The Path of the Chosen Warriors and help promote Marshalee's novel by adding a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

I am really looking forward to reading The Path of the Chosen Warriors, and Marshalee's future novels.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Buster's Legacy: Book Five of the Adventure Chronicles by Jeffrey Allen Davis

Buster's Legacy: Book Five of the Adventure Chronicles

Four disappearances in Jameston, Missouri, have come before the brutal murder of one of the Renegades. When the killers leave graffiti indicating that the attack was due to the victim’s link to Adventure, Renegade leader Ben Shalley opens a line of communication with Jamie Raleigh that brings the ninja and his friends into town to investigate.

To add to the situation, three friends from Thera have come to the Mother World to find a demonic ruby that may be linked to the troubles. But what does all of this have to do with a short story that Buster Goodman wrote when he was thirteen?

Heroes and villains must join forces to battle a greater darkness. And, in the process, a few souls may be saved.

The Guru's Review: 

When I finished this latest instament in the Adventure Chronicles, one thing stood out to me. This is book 5 in this series. In some cases, the more books that are added to a series, the more the series losses its flavour and plot and seems to become watered down. Reader's start to consider that this author needs to end it for the series sake and the reader's as well.

Well, I can say that this is not the case with Davis' Adventure Chronicles. This volume is just as fresh as the first but in one sense even more so. I mentioned in the past two reviews that this series has taken off since Davis introduced more of the supernatural, and specifically spiritiual warfare in Volume 3, Gateway to Thera.

Buster's Legacy continues with the fantasy elements from the world of Thera and these spiritual warfare plot lines. It seems that there is not only plot lines from the Earth characters that we have all come to love to continue this series, but there is from the world of Thera as well. These last three novels have been a mixture of plot lines from both these worlds. It is this, and the supernatural, spiritual warfare themes that have made this series such an enjoyable and spiritually uplifting reading experience.

I also mentioned in my review of Book 1, Invasion of the Ninja, that Davis has successfully combined Christianity and martial arts together and they enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Both these elements are successfully continued in all the books in this series, including this one. These two elements form the pillars of success for this series. I pray that Davis keeps this formula as it has proved to be a winner so far.

I found the premise of this current volume unique. Davis has set up this plot cleverly. The reader is not aware of where this demon possession comes from until after the half way mark of the novel. Then when this origin is revealed, you think that not something I would have thought of or guessed. This may have been purely poetic licence on the author's part, which is fine, but how this happens may also be possible with how demon possession works. Either way, it is an effective plot development.

Again, Davis has portrayed spiritual warfare biblically. This is and always will be a winner as it reinforces how a believer can overcome demon possession as well as uphold biblical principles. By overcoming, I mean as the believer who is using these biblical principles to cast out a demon from the possessed. The reader, whether they have a relationship with Jesus or not, will not be lead astray through portraying spiritual warfare in this way. And this is what a Christian author should portray if they include spiritual warfare concerning demon possession in their novels.

I appreciated Davis' portrayal of how confidently Elvara is when she practiced her faith in standing on the Word of God while practicing the spiritual warfare principles in casting out the demons many times in the final confrontation at the end of the novel. There is nothing like having a character in a novel such as this who shows what it is to know who they are in Christ. Elvara is the epitome of this and I find this a great encouragement to myself in this. The bible is rich in the various aspects of who we are in Christ. I am encouraged to see Davis included some of these aspects in novels such as these through characters such as Elvara.

As with the other novels in this series, I have thoroughly enjoyed this new instalment. So glad to hear that Book 6 is on the way as well.

Strongly Recommended.

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 4/5

Story 4/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Average Rating 4.6/5

Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Buster's Legacy contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award Jeffrey A. Davis with
The Reality Calling Spirit-Filled Speculative Fiction Award

Congratulations Jeffrey A. Davis!

To read a preview of Buster's Legacy, click on the Preview button below: 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Blog Tour: Hide it In Your Heart by Annie Doulass Lima

When Annie approached me about being part of her blog tour to promote her new release, a coloring book for adults based on the Word of God, I was enthusiastic. These colouring books hold special interest and importance for me. My wife suffered a spontaneous, massive brain injury (haemorrhage) in 2004 and she nearly did not make it. The surgery was a life saver. By the grace of God, she sustained very little damage, just some hearing and memory loss. Since then, she has to engage in active and stimulating exercises to keep the brain active. Computer games, puzzles and these colouring books have had a huge impact on her ongoing rehab. I have seen her creativity in the completion of her colouring books and some of them are a joy to behold.

Seeing what these colouring books can do from a therapeutic point of view, I can see how these would be a lot of fun for the child that is still in us as adults. I applaud authors like Annie Douglass Lima, who have been created these coloring books for us. In this new creation, she has taken these books to the next level. Not only can they be fun, promote our creativity, assist in brain injury rehab, but can also help stimulate a love affair with the Word of God. Just like children, we learn better when the delivery is fun and entertaining. So check out Annie's post below. You never know, it might just open another door for you!
Over to you, Annie: 

More than just a coloring book, this inspirational activity book will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy some creative fun while hiding God’s Word in your heart.

The 35 separate verses and passages are printed in colorable word art with decorative borders, blank on the back to make them easier to remove and frame or display, if desired. Each one is accompanied by two different activities or puzzles featuring the verse or key words from it.

Hide it in Your Heart is an ideal Scripture memorization aid for Christian schools, homeschool programs, Sunday schools, or your own personal use. Children and adults will enjoy learning, practicing, and meditating on these artistically presented verses from the New International Version Bible.

Proceeds from the sale of Hide it In Your Heart will be donated to www.Christar.org to help provide a translation of God’s Word for a particular people group in East Asia who do not yet have the Bible in their own language.

Here are a few sample coloring and activity pages from Hide it In Your Heart. If you'd like to color them or complete the word puzzles, click here to access a PDF that you can download and print.

Hide it In Your Heart is available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to order your copy for $8.99. 
HOWEVER, you can get it for 15% off if you order it here on CreateSpace with coupon code JZBVVBH8The code can be used an unlimited number of times and will not expire, so feel free to order as many copies as you like for family and friends. Hide it In Your Heart makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys word puzzles, coloring, or God's word! 
You're welcome to share the code with others, too.

Happy coloring!

About Annie:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:

Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of "interviews" with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Distant Boundary: Prequel to The COIL Legacy by D. I. Telbat

Distant Boundary: Prequel to The COIL Legacy

In this novella, Distant Boundary, Prequel for The COIL Legacy Series, D.I. Telbat takes us to a distant land where danger knows no boundaries.

Now working for COIL, Agent Titus Caspertein has left the criminal underworld to carry the cross of Christ, but survival has never seemed more unlikely for this new Christian.

Assumed dead after a bungled humanitarian airdrop, Titus fights for his life against hyenas, wild dogs, and isolation in the African savanna.

With two broken limbs, and predators prowling for his blood, Titus relies on a young boy to keep him alive. Unless his wife, Annette, finds him before a heavily armed rhino poacher does, Titus will become a casualty of the Zimbabwe wilderness!

With a Bonus Chapter from Distant Contact, Book One in The COIL Legacy, map downloads, and cover design by Streetlight Graphics, we pray you enjoy this exciting Prequel to The COIL Legacy. And discover there is truly no redemption without sacrifice.

The Guru's Review:  

Having now read this, I can say that this prequel provides a worthy introduction to this new series, COIL Legacy.

It follows on well from Dark Zeal, the last volume of the COIL series. It also follows on from the conversion of Titus in this same last volume. Strategic from Telbat as not showing what happened to him from Dark Zeal would make us wait for a future volume to find out. This break in continuity would take the reader longer to build a rapport with this new character. Telbat has mentioned in the past that we would hearing more from Titus so it seems that he is important to this new series. If this is so, it pays to establish his placement and importance from the start.

For a short story of this length, 82 pages, Telbat succeeds in setting the scene, pace, atmosphere and tension. As a result, I was transported to this hot, dusty, drought stricken Zimbabwean environment.

The plot for this short lends well to the first mission of Titus and his new wife, Annette. I loved the way Telbat showed how the dire circumstances that Titus found himself in tested his faith. The same with Annette. I dislike an author's portrayal of a character's newly found faith in Christ as unchangeable and rock solid. Not so with Telbat. He has depiected faith in his novels as they are in real life. I related to the fact that both Annette and Titus had to learn to trust God to deliver them both from this situation. Their faith waned but both realised they only had God to rely on and it was not in their hands anymore, but His. Showing a character's faith as realistic is what readers will relate to. Reader's who are Christian will relate to this from their own experience. Those who don't will see the Christian living out their faith under these circumstances as non-conventional and even strange. This may encourage them to question why this is (and lead to them closer to God's truth). It may even provoke them to question the validity of their own reaction to the same circumstances.

This is one thing that I have loved about Telbat's COIL novels. His Christian characters are three dimensional and relational, so is their faith. Telbat's depicts Corben, head of the COIL organisation, as one who has a strong faith. This faith is grounded well in Christ, but it is his past that gives his faith a relatable edge and humbles him. It would be tempting to have depicted him as a super spiritual, bible quoting CEO but then he would just be a character in a novel and not a relatable one. I would find it hard to relate to him like this.

I say the same for Titus and Annette. It is their pasts that are making them relatable and their relationship with Christ a humble one. Not only is it due to who Christ is and what He has done for them via the Cross, but it is this past that has made them appreciate this. They know what they are willing to sacrifice for Him. They both make mention of this in the novel.

In novels like these that depict the suffering and persecution of Christians, I suggest that Telbat would have had to make these faith based. Herein lies why his Christian characters show that their faith is worth living out and dying for. It reminds me of the catch phrase and theme of all his novels, "..there is no redemption without sacrifice".

I really enjoyed this short prequel to the COIL Legacy series. My interest is piqued for the rest of the series. I am glad that the next instament Distant Contact is ready for me to enjoy.

Highly Recommended.

To read a sample or buy this novel, click on  Buy or Preview below.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Dark Zeal (COIL, Book 5) by D. I. Telbat

In Dark Zeal, Book Five in the COIL Series, D.I. Telbat takes us into the heart and heat of Gaza, Israel. Agent Corban Dowler infiltrates Gaza City for a routine medical op, but soon discovers an international plot by Hamas terrorists to destroy Israel, forcing him to respond as a soldier of Christ.

Wounded and captured, Corban gathers his wits to attempt winning over greedy arms dealer Titus Caspertein in order to save Israel from destruction. Corban's mission is further complicated when UN humanitarian American Annette Sheffield is kidnapped and within reach, and he defies government orders to stage a rescue.

Meanwhile, Luigi Putelli, ex-assassin and family guardian, searches for his friend in war-torn Gaza City to offer his services once again. With Hamas militants closing in, and the Israeli Air Force targeting extremists, Corban calls in other operatives to help complete his mission, and prays they aren't all mistaken for terrorists.

Bullets and missiles are flying in this fifth book of the COIL Series, with cover art by Streetlight Graphics. Experience tunnels, drones, and the horrors of the Gaza war zone. But where darkness seems to thrive, God has placed His eternal light in the heart of faithful servant and bold spokesman, Corban Dowler. Join us for this continued Christian Suspense saga, and be reminded: there is no redemption without sacrifice. 

The Guru's Review: 

This is the last book in this COIL series. While it is rather sad that this current series must come to an end, all is not lost. Telbat has just published a follow on series, COIL Legacy. Everything continues from this series.

Every author strives to develop further their craft with each novel. Based on this, I would expect this last one to be the best. This is definitely the case with this volume. If Telbat was to stop writing with this novel, at least he would go out with a bang. He would leave his readers with one memorable and unforgettable series. They would have been entertained, their faith strengthened, God honoured, and a seed of faith planted or watered for others. Dare I say that this standard of writing and effects is now what I am expecting in this next series? I do not have any doubt about this. What seems to feed Telbat's development of his craft is his passion for the Gospel of Christ, the Great Commission and its associated mission field.

I must confess, that I did not have much of a passion for overseas missions before reading novles of this genre. Yet, it is the writings of this author and one other, Martin Roth, who has sparked in me an increasing awareness and passion for the mission field. It is these authors and their stories that keeps me coming back for more. I am finding that I thirst to see what God does in such dire circumstances that God places these characters in. It is here, that Roth and Telbat shine in showing this through their character's expressing their faith and submission to God. Is there a spiritual lesson here for all whether we are in a persecuted Christian environment or not? Definitely, and to this point, this is where Telbat and Roth are successful in Christian fiction. They both not only entertain but show the light of Christ, the power of prayer and how to be His obedient vessels to break the oppressive nature of those governments and military regimes that are hell bent on destroying the Gospel of Christ. What better place for this spiritual war to start than with those who have placed their faith in this God?

I found this volume to be one enthralling and compelling read. In one sense it felt like Telbat had brought many character plots and relationships from previous novels into a head in this one. It was great seeing the continuing relationship beteen Dowler and Luigi Putelli continue. The latter's quest for God has had me almost praying for his salvation, despite knowing he is just a fictional character! I cried at his demise, feeling both the sadness and grief of Dowler over this and that Putelli had to suffer as he did. Yet, Telbat tempers this with the knowledge that his suffering and quest to know God was not in vain. That was a comfort for Dowler and this reader!

I am glad also to see further development in the relationship between Nathan and Chen Li and that Nathan's secret is not a secret any more.This lends itself for future plot developments that I hope I will see in this next series. I cannot help but wonder if the demise of Dowler is also deliberate to expand/develop further plot lines in this new series and help take it to the next level.

With the introduction of a new major character, any review cannot leave out a mention of who this character is. Reading about Titus Caspertein,arms dealer, gives me the impression that Telbat is very fond of this character. There is an implication that Titus will feature maybe prominently in the next series. I loved reading about his spiritual struggle with the morality of his past and present and the effects of the Spirit working through Dowler's witness, convicting him of this. It egged me on and I found myself again, yearning and praying for his salvation. I even wondered if the angels rejoice when a fictional character accepts Christ as the Word says they do with the human race! Such is the power of story and its delivery on a reader's active imagination! I am sure God has a sense of humour!

Speaking of introducing a new character into a series, this is not the first time Telbat has done this. I can count three now. Two in this volume (Casperstein and UN humanitarian Annette Sheffield) and one in a previous one. All three have varying and diverse backgrounds, but Telbat shows they all have the same similarities. Their backgrounds have all reinforced the rebellious sinful nature that is at enmity towards God. We are all guilty of one or all what the apostle John says in his Gospel:
For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 (HCSB)
Yet, Telbat shows God doing what He does best. He shows these three characters the destructive nature of these three pitfalls and what they need to do about it. They realise their sin and act on the encouragement and conviction of the Spirit that they need Jesus in their lives to be free of their sin. It is very encouraging to see Telbat show what these three then do, become fellow missionaries and soldiers in this spiritual warfare. They go from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light.

In this volume, Telbat has upped the hatred of God and Christians through the Hamas tactician, Carac Hassad. I found myself becoming tense and disturbed at the level of deception, hatred, bitterness that exuded from this character. Telbat has also upped the degree of political intrigue, military tactics and warfare in the Hamas' attempt to destroy Israel. These are descriptive enough to transport you there where you can almost feel the heat, the grime, the fear, the oppression, the loss of hope, and the pervasive evil from the Hamas regime. It does give the reader a definite sense of how real it must be and even more so than what real life depicts as reflected by watching the news on a daily basis on these issues.

Telbat has tied up this last volume in such a manner that has your interest remains piqued and you want more so this leads in nicely to the COIL Legacy series. Looking forward to this immensely.

Strongly Recommended

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 4/5

Average Rating 4.6/5



Reader Award Bestowment: 

Spiritually, based on this review, the previous novels in the COIL series, the following reference booklet,

and that this series contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award D. I Telbat with

The Reality Calling Redemptive Speculative Fiction Award

Congratulations, D. I. Telbat!

To read an excerpt or buy Lazarus, click on the icon below:

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Lazarus by V. K. Dorner

Lazarus by V. K. Dorner

Resigned to an eternity of helping those less fortunate, Lazarus finds himself in modern day New York City. But his simple life is thrown into turmoil when he meets a woman who is a mirror image of his long lost love and learns from a mysterious ally that an ancient enemy is amassing an army of soulless soldiers. With his past and present intermingling, Lazarus struggles to prepare for a battle that will test the limits of his strength and faith.

The Guru's Review:  


I picked this up as a free download. I made the mistake of reading the first few pages and I was hooked. Read this over the weekend and I am so glad I did. After the first few chapters, my reaction was WOW! What a plot and what a concept! This novel is constructed well, the author also writes well, the plot flows consistently, no peaks or troughs, keeps you coming back for more and you just cannot put it down. I found my curiosity building with each chapter and each event; Dorner really knows how to reel you in. I found my interest in some of the unique aspects of this novel increasing such as why immortality is granted after being resurrected by Jesus and the bestowing of the gift of ra'oh (no spoiler here, you will have to read it to find out, although the green eyes of Lazarus on the cover might give you a clue! and yes, that Lazarus, the one from the biblie!). You keep reading wondering where the author is going with this and it just adds to the building tension and deepening of the plot and of your reading pleasure. 

This novel is very faithful to the biblical account of the characters and events that it contains. Part of the clever construction is the poetic license that Dorner has employed surrounding the biblical events of these characters that the bible is silent on and this is successful in blending this plot and its intriguing concept seamlessly into each other and makes for one unified and well-rounded experience. I chucked in awe and excitement as I read how the effects of this contributed to this experience and how well this worked.

Dorner is very good at making her characters very relational, especially of the main character and protagonist, Lazarus. You find yourself becoming endeared to him, not because Lazarus is a biblical character and one that you may not know much about (the biblical account does not go into much detail), but from what he experiences in the present and his use of the gift of ra'oh and ministering God's love and mercy to those he comes across. What makes him come alive apart from this, is the flashbacks of his life from the biblical account and the gaps, or poetic license, that Dorner has created that is a joy to read. I usually find flashbacks tedious in novels as they always seem to hold too much information and unintentionally break up the plot and pace making it disjointed. Not so in this novel. Dorner's use of this unifies the novel, tying the past to the present, especially those events of Lazarus, Tali and Mordecai. If only other authors could be this successful in their flashback technique as Dorner! In this novel, these flashbacks add credibility to the characters and the plot, and its spiritual themes.

One of the things I loved while reading Lazarus is the honesty and sincerity that permeates from Dorner in honouring God in all parts of this novel. I have said before in other reviews that you should be able to discern the relationship between the author and God by the way they have treated the subject matter, the spiritual issues/themes, or doctrines of the bible including how they have portrayed God or Jesus and any Christian characters. I can honestly say that I can see that Dorner loves God and is very honouring of Him as this is evident in the flashback scenes, the spiritual warfare scenes being true to the biblical account and doctrine, how Lazarus is obedient and submitted to God since being granted immortality and seeking God many times when he discerned that God's guidance is needed or His involvement is directly requested and He responds, how she has portrayed Jesus, even how she has not sensationalised the demonic as shown through Mordecai. 

Dorner even extends this honesty and sincerity in a very brief but tasteful account of marital relations between Lazarus and Ruth to show the love between these two as husband and wife as God intended. There are two very brief and vague descriptions that are not titillating and do not detract from the plot or taint the flavour of this novel or dishonour God by its inclusion. Another example is the feelings that Lazarus develops for Claire, although she is married, but this shows how human Lazarus is and where these feeling comes from (no spoilers but his reasons are understandable) and true to Lazarus' commitment to God and his submission to same, he acts on his obedience and honours God in his final decision which is used by God to restore Claire's marriage.
This novel ticks all the boxes that I like to see in Christian fiction

  • it has entertained me immensely
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not, I believe, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God). 
This is one very memorable and engaging novel. I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Highly Recommended

World Building: 5/5

Characterisation: 5/5

Story: 5/5

Spiritual Level (including spiritual warfare): 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level: 5/5

Average Rating: 5/5


Award Bestowment:

Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Lazarus contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Speculative Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award V. K. Dorner with

The Reality Calling Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction Award

Congratulations, V. K. Dorner!

To read an excerpt or buy Lazarus, click on the icon below: