Tales of Elhaanai, by Nicole Thomas, is a mystical fantasy tale of power and betrayal. It is a book that follows the rightful heir to the throne of Elhaanai on a journey to regain his destiny. In the thirst for power, the King of Elhaanai is killed by his sister and is also after the life of the Queen of Elhaanai who is pregnant with a child. She gets cornered and shot with an arrow. However, she is determined to save her unborn child and so through a magical ritual, the Queen puts the soul of her child into a widow named Wleia, who herself is already pregnant. Wleia gives birth to twins. Sixteen years later, the son Eric and his twin sister from Wleia set out to regain the throne which was snatched from his parents and is his ultimate destiny.
Tales of Elhaanai is the first in a series of fantasy books by author Nicole Thomas. This novel delivers the perfect setup for a series that will be steeped in family rivalries and bitter battles for power. Nicole Thomas is a wonderful story-teller and immediately pulls you into the book with plot twists, magic, suspense, and much more, from the very start. The characters are well-written with a uniqueness to each of them. One of my favorites is Wleia who is wise and fierce but kind at the same time. She is the unsung hero of this book. However, Nicole still manages to not let the reader get lost in too many characters.
This was a very gripping read with the theme of good vs. evil embedded throughout. The novel is fast-paced and the character development is strong. Another central theme of the novel is Faith. Walking on the path of destiny to regain the lost destiny requires a lot of faith and it is well incorporated into this novel.
The writing is sharp for a first-time writer. Although I would have liked to explore the preceding life of the Queen and King of Elhaanai a bit more and in the beginning, it is a bit harder to make sense of where we are starting, the novel is still engaging for the rest of the story.
The words are crisp and clear and the ending leaves you wanting more. I believe Tales of Elhaanai can be enjoyed by both young adults and new adults alike. Tales of Elhaanai is a very entertaining fantasy novel that was hard to put down.
Pages: 130 | ASIN: B0874DYVJB
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The next novel in The Immortality Wars series continues . . . Her parents are viciously murdered by a band of killers. Hidden in the bottom of a roadside ditch as a baby in swaddling clothes, Evangel is only steps away from them. An old hermit, Matthew Greatworth, finds her the day after this tragedy unfolds.She is touched by a rare spiritual power and raised by Matthew in the heart of a sylvan wilderness. Evangel grows up in the quaint hermitage Matthew built years ago.In her 17th year, outlaws terrorize Matthew while she is away. The young girl reaches him just as his eyes are carved out of their sockets and placed on a stump before him.The miracles and struggles against those seeking to kill her, as well as those disbelieving the power of her presence, all come together in a battle of good versus evil. In a vision of clarity and prescience amidst her struggle for survival and meaning, she finds her future soul mate, Pall Warren, on a battlefield of death, and casts a prayer of protection around him. Evangel’s remarkable journey to save herself, her newfound friends and then those who believe in her, brings to the reader a hauntingly beautiful and startling tale of wonder.
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Anna is an unlikely but intriguing combination of being both a secret Chrstian and an astro-geologist. She is known as a Remnant, the last of the religious in a world that does not allow religion to exist. She is accompanied by her endearing and adorable sidekick, the robot Z. They both find themselves on a deeply challenging and mysterious mission that is taking place on a new moon, where life has been discovered. This new life also seems to contradict the knowledge that Anna has been fed so far- especially by one influential Dr.Syke.
Remnant is an enthralling yet charming read. Some of the ideas behind the faith vs science conundrums were handled in such a fascinating way- without insulting the intelligence of the reader. It sort of reminded me of a few scenes in the classic HG Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, in the manner with which it dealt with these potentially controversial subjects.
Although I would have loved some further explanation for the motivations behind the Planetary Science Commission’s decision to ban religion- I felt like it was smoothed over too quickly. I would have liked a deeper exploration of the debate between science and religion, but they are satisfying enough to move the plot forward and give Anna’s character motivation. This turned out to be better for me because I was skeptical going into a Christian science fiction book. The novel makes interesting points, but remains accessible to anyone.
The humor and dialogue in this book saves itself from too much seriousness and it’s a relief. Z was an exceptionally fun character and I think more science fiction novels should do themselves the favor of including a can’t-help-but-love-him/her sidekick. The pace was breakneck and the plot stuck around in my head a while after I finished it.
I’d recommend this one to anyone who wouldn’t mind their science fiction with a bit of religion. I felt more curious and attuned to the mysteries of this world and others after it after reading Remnant.
Pages: 482 | ASIN: B07SPCXCG8
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The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
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It all begins innocently enough: a woman finds an animal that has been the victim of inexplicable torture. However, neither the cat nor the woman are average in Natrelle Long’s The Tattooed Cat. This short novella grips readers from the get-go as it plunges directly into the meat of the story. Charley, our bad-assed protagonist is elegant and rough all at the same time. She is determined and passionate. She will find who exactly has hurt the cat she saved. The journey will lead her face-to-face with the darkness of humanity as the man-hunt reveals much more is going on than animal abuse. What begins with a cat ends with a corpse.
This is the perfect kind of book to tuck into during a quiet afternoon. The short length of the book lends itself to easy reading and the story is perfectly contained within the minimal pages. There is no room for filler or other such garbage in this tale. Every sentence has purpose and each character has meaning. The characters Long creates are true to modern interpretations of humanity. The characters speak like real people, especially Charley, and it all drives the point home.
It’s a quirky book in that there is enough content to write something even twice as long, but yet the ending is neatly wrapped and perfectly delivered that the need to drag the story out disappears. By being able to devote attention and detail to this short book Long still succeeds in creating a whole world with minimal building. Many novellas have the issue of limited time to grab a readers attention and explain the world to them at the same time.
Maybe it’s the cat, maybe it’s the fact that Charley is so determined to unravel the mystery she finds herself knee-deep in that makes The Tattooed Cat by Natrelle Long so interesting. Once your attention is grabbed there is no escaping the desire to read every single word and find out once and for all how the cat and the nefarious deeds of a single man are interconnected. We are reminded of humanity’s darkness and weaknesses and that the world is not a beautiful place. But we also get to see the beauty of a single person working towards polishing this ugliness. This is a book you won’t regret picking up.
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Jesus and Magdalene follows the story of Jesus and his return to modern day Earth where he meets Magdalene who is an activist fighting for a better world. This is an intriguing setup to a novel and a unique perspective of a religious story. Why was this novel important for you to write and what was your inspiration?
Religion has played an important role in my cultural development. I was christened, I went to catechism classes, I was confirmed and I went to mass until the age of fourteen. I wanted to create something truly original, involving contemporary problems, politics, the existence of God and human nature using facts, humor, and irony. For example, the relation between Christiany and Ecology or why there are so many racial conflicts. Jesus and Magdalene don’t give answers, but present questions. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? My novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.
Jesus and Magdalene are biblical figures, but in your story they’re striving to make a better world as regular people. How did you handle the balance between biblical and fictional characters to make them feel real and relatable?
For me, Jesus is the most important figure in History. Jesus was the first to say that all men are equal and to question the dogmas of the temple rulers. He also saved a woman from being stoned, according to the tradition. He was a much greater revolutionary than Castro or Che Guevara. Even those who don’t believe they are influenced by Jesus’ teachings. Freedom and Equality – those are the basis of all western society. In my novel I try to describe the challenges Jesus would face if He would visit us again, 2000 years later. But,although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind.
What kind of research, if any, did you do to keep the story accurate?
I read the Bible and I search for biblical studies and interpretations.
Is there a pivotal moment in the story that you feel best defines your characters?
Yes, there is a pivotal moment in the story that defines not only the characters but also mankind (in my own interpretation). A con man – Professor Kacimba – is going to recognize Jesus, while the others don’t. A swindler sees the son of God when he tried to read his hand, but the rest of people, including this modern Magdalene, only see a normal man. This is supposed to be funny and sad at the same time.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I am writing a novel about Communism, Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin wall. The Staline or Lenine ghost could be one of the characters. I hope to be published in the next year.
Jesus returns to earth and meets activist Magdalene who is fighting for a better world. He find an extremist ecological group, which is plotting to destroy a maize plantation it believes to be genetically modified. Then, he observes the rise up against a tourist development that is to be built in a forest reserve. Finally, he witnesses an armed conflict between blacks and gypsies. However, although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind. And only a conman will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.
Posted in Interviews
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Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan is a romance story following a young Irish woman, Kate who falls in love with a mysterious man. However, in a fit of panic and fear she quickly rejects him. She spends time reflecting on her upbringing, educational background and her successes in life. While doing so, she has a life changing epiphany that she had deeply loved the man she rejected years ago. Her search for this man takes her on a wild journey through the kingdom of Beast, Eden, and Hell where she struggles to rescue the man she unconditionally loves. After saving him from the depths of Hell, the two lovers walk toward Heaven, but as he walks past her through the gates they close behind him, leaving her. Now it is his turn to search for her, upon their way back to Heaven, the two find themselves in situations where Kate must again save her love. Once they reach the gates of Heaven, Kate finally comes to realize that her quest was not for the man she loved, but to find who she truly was.
Within this book Ruth Finnegan flawlessly blends poetry with prose that brings beauty and intrigue to the story. It takes rare and exceptional talent to blend the two genres together in a way that doesn’t disrupt the story and Finnegan found that perfect balance. Finnegan expertly brings forth all of Kate’s emotions throughout the story, it is almost unbelievable that this is her first novel. She has a writing style that is truly unique and cannot be compared to anything else I have read. Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest does have a few Christian elements to its story although it didn’t come across as overwhelming.
The novel is about love and romance, but it is also about life experiences that shape and mold the person we become. Finnegan presents this in a way that expands the mind; it makes the reader ponder their own life experiences and how those experiences affected their lives. One major theme is finding how to define yourself through yourself and not in terms of other people. While Kate may be rescuing her love throughout the novel, in reality she is actually beginning to save herself.
There are a few moments when Finnegan creates new words for her story, but they are easy to understand and read because she roots them in traditional Greek and Latin, much like actual words. Others have described the book as dream-like, and I would have to agree, she creates a story that has the atmosphere and tone of a dream-like state. In fact I was almost waiting for Kate to wake up and realize her journey was a dream. This novel is like no other novel in theme or writing style. Finnegan has successfully created something that is truly unique and a real treasure to read.
Pages: 322 | ISBN: 1942146175
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