Favorite Books of 2011

It was a strange year of reading for me.

I know I read a fair amount of books. Some just didn’t stick with me. There were several books that I started and didn’t finish. I’m getting picky. I don’t want to waste my time reading books that don’t grab me. I don’t have as much patience to give a book a chance either. They’d better grab me in a few chapters at most, or I’m moving on.

When it came time to put together my favorites, I had to think a little. A couple of books aren’t my usual cup of tea, but I really enjoyed them. One is considered “pulp fiction.” Shouldn’t a best of list be selective?

Nah. These are the fiction books I enjoyed the most in 2011.

6.  Pattern Of Wounds by J. Mark Bertrand. This is the second book in a series about Roland March, a homicide detective in Houston who almost burned out in the first book. Here he is continuing to deal with doubts about his ability even as he deals with a potential mistake in his past. I don’t read a lot of the hard-boiled detective stories, but if I did, Bertrand would make me very picky, because he gets into the mindset of March so well. The story simmers, and the themes of the book are deftly handled. As I said in my July review – no sophomore slump here.

5. Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren. The first book in the River of Time series. Two teenagers are in Italy with their archeologist mother, far from any social action. When the girls enter an ancient tomb, they are thrust into 14th century times, with knights and castles. Headstrong Gabi is separated from her sister Lia, and she is rescued by Lord Marcello. Bergren has done other novels in this setting, and her research and setting is top notch. It is supposed to be a Teen fiction book, geared toward girls. I don’t care. Good writing is good writing, and I’m a sucker for romance when done right.

4. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones. After writing this post, I’m going to lose my man card. I picked this book up for my wife to read for a blog tour, but I had heard Jenny was a funny writer. I flipped through the first chapter, curious about her humor. I finished the book in a few days. Lucy needs a sponsor to save her girls’ home. Former QB Alex Sinclair needs an image makeover in his race for Congress. He’ll make sure Lucy’s charity gets funding if she acts as his fiancee through the race. Who knew such a plot would snap me in without nary an explosion? Again, good writing is good writing. And I got a shout out from Ms. Jones, so it was all good.

3. The Resurrection by Mike Duran. OK, so I break the pattern of initials in these authors. I’ve referenced Mike’s blog Decompose for a long time, and was excited to read his debut novel. Reverand Ian Clark is doubting his own faith, even as he struggles leading a California church. When one of his congregants, Ruby, is associated with a resurrection of a boy, he doesn’t know how to take the miraculous. Ruby doesn’t know why God chose her for a miracle, and the sleepy town they live in may not continue to sleep with such supernatural happenings occuring. It is suspenseful, a little creepy, and very thoughtful. Lots more on it, including an interview with Mike, here.

2. Pay Me In Flesh by K. Bennett. I think having a zombie book in here should cancel out the chick books above ;). Mallory Caine is an LA lawyer without a soul. Most people think lawyers don’t have souls, but she really is undead. She doesn’t look the part, but brains are her staple, along with justice for the oppressed. When she discovers a conspriracy that may be leading to Lucifer setting up his new base of operations in LA, will Mallory be able to stand up for the living and undead alike. This book reads amazingly like James Scott Bell’s work, but I’m sure it is just a coincidence…

Finally, my favorite book from 2011 is:

The Monster In The Hollows by Andrew Peterson.
Andrew Peterson is just about the favored all-around creative person of Spoiled For The Ordinary. He is an amazing musician, but his YA series The Wingfeather Saga is a wonderful combination of adventure, whimsy, suspense, and heart. Monster is the third book in the series that features the Igiby children, who were once normal children, until the siblings found out they are the lost heirs of a conquered kingdom and are hunted by the terrible Fangs of Dang and a Nameless Evil (know as Gnag the Nameless). One part Princess Bride, one part lyrical language, and a dash of Lord Of The Rings equals this excellent book and series. If you don’t believe me, my kids will tell you the same.

That’s it for fiction in 2011. There’s one other book that greatly impacted me last year, and I will share about it soon.

What books did you enjoy over the last year?

Favorite Books of 2011

It was a strange year of reading for me.

I know I read a fair amount of books. Some just didn’t stick with me. There were several books that I started and didn’t finish. I’m getting picky. I don’t want to waste my time reading books that don’t grab me. I don’t have as much patience to give a book a chance either. They’d better grab me in a few chapters at most, or I’m moving on.

When it came time to put together my favorites, I had to think a little. A couple of books aren’t my usual cup of tea, but I really enjoyed them. One is considered “pulp fiction.” Shouldn’t a best of list be selective?

Nah. These are the fiction books I enjoyed the most in 2011.

6.  Pattern Of Wounds by J. Mark Bertrand. This is the second book in a series about Roland March, a homicide detective in Houston who almost burned out in the first book. Here he is continuing to deal with doubts about his ability even as he deals with a potential mistake in his past. I don’t read a lot of the hard-boiled detective stories, but if I did, Bertrand would make me very picky, because he gets into the mindset of March so well. The story simmers, and the themes of the book are deftly handled. As I said in my July review – no sophomore slump here.

5. Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren. The first book in the River of Time series. Two teenagers are in Italy with their archeologist mother, far from any social action. When the girls enter an ancient tomb, they are thrust into 14th century times, with knights and castles. Headstrong Gabi is separated from her sister Lia, and she is rescued by Lord Marcello. Bergren has done other novels in this setting, and her research and setting is top notch. It is supposed to be a Teen fiction book, geared toward girls. I don’t care. Good writing is good writing, and I’m a sucker for romance when done right.

4. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones. After writing this post, I’m going to lose my man card. I picked this book up for my wife to read for a blog tour, but I had heard Jenny was a funny writer. I flipped through the first chapter, curious about her humor. I finished the book in a few days. Lucy needs a sponsor to save her girls’ home. Former QB Alex Sinclair needs an image makeover in his race for Congress. He’ll make sure Lucy’s charity gets funding if she acts as his fiancee through the race. Who knew such a plot would snap me in without nary an explosion? Again, good writing is good writing. And I got a shout out from Ms. Jones, so it was all good.

3. The Resurrection by Mike Duran. OK, so I break the pattern of initials in these authors. I’ve referenced Mike’s blog Decompose for a long time, and was excited to read his debut novel. Reverand Ian Clark is doubting his own faith, even as he struggles leading a California church. When one of his congregants, Ruby, is associated with a resurrection of a boy, he doesn’t know how to take the miraculous. Ruby doesn’t know why God chose her for a miracle, and the sleepy town they live in may not continue to sleep with such supernatural happenings occuring. It is suspenseful, a little creepy, and very thoughtful. Lots more on it, including an interview with Mike, here.

2. Pay Me In Flesh by K. Bennett. I think having a zombie book in here should cancel out the chick books above ;). Mallory Caine is an LA lawyer without a soul. Most people think lawyers don’t have souls, but she really is undead. She doesn’t look the part, but brains are her staple, along with justice for the oppressed. When she discovers a conspriracy that may be leading to Lucifer setting up his new base of operations in LA, will Mallory be able to stand up for the living and undead alike. This book reads amazingly like James Scott Bell’s work, but I’m sure it is just a coincidence…

Finally, my favorite book from 2011 is:

The Monster In The Hollows by Andrew Peterson.
Andrew Peterson is just about the favored all-around creative person of Spoiled For The Ordinary. He is an amazing musician, but his YA series The Wingfeather Saga is a wonderful combination of adventure, whimsy, suspense, and heart. Monster is the third book in the series that features the Igiby children, who were once normal children, until the siblings found out they are the lost heirs of a conquered kingdom and are hunted by the terrible Fangs of Dang and a Nameless Evil (know as Gnag the Nameless). One part Princess Bride, one part lyrical language, and a dash of Lord Of The Rings equals this excellent book and series. If you don’t believe me, my kids will tell you the same.

That’s it for fiction in 2011. There’s one other book that greatly impacted me last year, and I will share about it soon.

What books did you enjoy over the last year?

Top Books of 2010

A new year already? Sheesh!

I haven’t been able to read as much this year. I hope it changes, but I still read some good books and want to feature the best I’ve read from 2010. The first link is to the book’s Amazon page, and the second link is to content here at Spoiled for the Ordinary (SftO).

5. The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead. The opening salvo in the 5 book Bright Empires series, Lawhead continues his skillful use of British legend for story fodder. StfO discusses it here.

4. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. Good writing is good writing, whether a book is written primarily for a male or female audience. This book is considered “contemporary fiction” even though it may seem geared toward a female audience. Anyone who appreciates well-written fiction will enjoy this tale of a terminal woman making a way for her young daughter in the hometown she left behind years ago. I give it a manly thumbs up in this review.

3. Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. This book sparked a lot of discussion during the CSFF tour, and was one of the most provocative we’ve reviewed. The book started slow, but those with patience will find a rich tale of faith that wrestles with issues of immigration, legalism, license, and grace set in the Southwest in both the 1700’s and modern day in an intricately woven tapestry. There is much more in these posts.

2. Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand.  This book introduces us to Roland March, a Houston detective nearing burnout. In a gritty, true-to-life voice, Bertrand draws us in to the ups and downs of March’s last chance at getting back into homicide investigation. Noted in SftO posts here

1. Listen by Rene Gutteridge. She has hit the #1 spot in my list before with one of her comedic books. This time she brings a tale of suspense that deals with the power of words. Conversations in a small town start being posted on an anonymous website, causing a lot of strife when private words become public. This is what I wrote in my review this year:

However, the book is more than an entertaining read. The theme of the power of words is well-crafted, and it invites anyone to take a thoughtful look at their own use of language to hurt or heal. Some books try to beat you over the head with a message – this story takes you along for the ride but leaves you pondering it afterwards. It is not preachy, but it is a valuable part of the whole message.

 —

There was one very near miss that could easily make my list – Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs. It is different from his usual style, but highly entertaining nonetheless.

Here’s to more great books in 2011!

Top Books of 2010

A new year already? Sheesh!

I haven’t been able to read as much this year. I hope it changes, but I still read some good books and want to feature the best I’ve read from 2010. The first link is to the book’s Amazon page, and the second link is to content here at Spoiled for the Ordinary (SftO).

5. The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead. The opening salvo in the 5 book Bright Empires series, Lawhead continues his skillful use of British legend for story fodder. StfO discusses it here.

4. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. Good writing is good writing, whether a book is written primarily for a male or female audience. This book is considered “contemporary fiction” even though it may seem geared toward a female audience. Anyone who appreciates well-written fiction will enjoy this tale of a terminal woman making a way for her young daughter in the hometown she left behind years ago. I give it a manly thumbs up in this review.

3. Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. This book sparked a lot of discussion during the CSFF tour, and was one of the most provocative we’ve reviewed. The book started slow, but those with patience will find a rich tale of faith that wrestles with issues of immigration, legalism, license, and grace set in the Southwest in both the 1700’s and modern day in an intricately woven tapestry. There is much more in these posts.

2. Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand.  This book introduces us to Roland March, a Houston detective nearing burnout. In a gritty, true-to-life voice, Bertrand draws us in to the ups and downs of March’s last chance at getting back into homicide investigation. Noted in SftO posts here

1. Listen by Rene Gutteridge. She has hit the #1 spot in my list before with one of her comedic books. This time she brings a tale of suspense that deals with the power of words. Conversations in a small town start being posted on an anonymous website, causing a lot of strife when private words become public. This is what I wrote in my review this year:

However, the book is more than an entertaining read. The theme of the power of words is well-crafted, and it invites anyone to take a thoughtful look at their own use of language to hurt or heal. Some books try to beat you over the head with a message – this story takes you along for the ride but leaves you pondering it afterwards. It is not preachy, but it is a valuable part of the whole message.

 —

There was one very near miss that could easily make my list – Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs. It is different from his usual style, but highly entertaining nonetheless.

Here’s to more great books in 2011!

The CSFF Greatest Hits – Number 1

What??

Ah, this is it!

The CSFF Tour for August has the loose theme of “favorites.” Some bloggers have talked about their all-time favorite books. My take was to go over all the tours I’ve been a part of and pull out my favorite books and tours. Which books inspired me?

Honorable mention goes to Robin Parrish and his book Fearless. A wildly suspenseful read, and it inspired my most-visited post, “Why Do We Need Heroes?”

BUT…out of over 40 Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog Tours, the book (and tour) that came out on top..

I give you number
Blaggard’s Moon by George Bryan Polivka.

This book is special.
Bryan writes with a descriptive touch that “sets the reader on the high seas feeling the salt air, or ducking the musket balls and choking on the gunpowder.” He writes characters that each leap off the page, with individual voices that make them seem real (sometimes too real).
This book was written after his Trophy Chase trilogy of pirate books, but is actually a prequel. It sets up the trilogy in a marvelous way, but stands on its own with a heartfelt tale of revenge, love, and loss.
Make it so, number one
The book has a unique structure, with pirate Smith Delaney waiting for a certain, gruesome death recalling a story told by master pirate storyteller Ham Drumbone. The back and forth between two different storytellers and the story is a little confusing at first, but is well worth the effort.
The book follows pirate king Conch Imbry, pirate hunter Damrick Fellows and mysterious lady Jenta Smithmiller as intrigue, battle, and death weaves throughout. The reader is left guessing how this all ties together, which it does very nicely at the end. Will Damrick succeed in clearing piracy from the waters, or will the wily Conch outwit the determined vigilante? And how does beautiful Jenta affect both men’s plans?
That’s right! #1!
I have to say that I had fun with the tour as well because I had a special visitor for this blog tour. One of the scurvy scoundrels from the book, Spinner Sleeve, stopped by to, uh, “oversee” what I had to say. Having a pirate at your back and a cutlass at your throat makes for an interesting blogging experience.
For the rest of my posts on Blaggard’s Moon and the rest of Polivka’s Trophy Chase trilogy, see these posts.

This tour has a lot of interesting posts featuring a variety of speculative fiction. Get the updated list here.

The CSFF Greatest Hits – Number 1

What??

Ah, this is it!

The CSFF Tour for August has the loose theme of “favorites.” Some bloggers have talked about their all-time favorite books. My take was to go over all the tours I’ve been a part of and pull out my favorite books and tours. Which books inspired me?

Honorable mention goes to Robin Parrish and his book Fearless. A wildly suspenseful read, and it inspired my most-visited post, “Why Do We Need Heroes?”

BUT…out of over 40 Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog Tours, the book (and tour) that came out on top..

I give you number
Blaggard’s Moon by George Bryan Polivka.

This book is special.
Bryan writes with a descriptive touch that “sets the reader on the high seas feeling the salt air, or ducking the musket balls and choking on the gunpowder.” He writes characters that each leap off the page, with individual voices that make them seem real (sometimes too real).
This book was written after his Trophy Chase trilogy of pirate books, but is actually a prequel. It sets up the trilogy in a marvelous way, but stands on its own with a heartfelt tale of revenge, love, and loss.
Make it so, number one
The book has a unique structure, with pirate Smith Delaney waiting for a certain, gruesome death recalling a story told by master pirate storyteller Ham Drumbone. The back and forth between two different storytellers and the story is a little confusing at first, but is well worth the effort.
The book follows pirate king Conch Imbry, pirate hunter Damrick Fellows and mysterious lady Jenta Smithmiller as intrigue, battle, and death weaves throughout. The reader is left guessing how this all ties together, which it does very nicely at the end. Will Damrick succeed in clearing piracy from the waters, or will the wily Conch outwit the determined vigilante? And how does beautiful Jenta affect both men’s plans?
That’s right! #1!
I have to say that I had fun with the tour as well because I had a special visitor for this blog tour. One of the scurvy scoundrels from the book, Spinner Sleeve, stopped by to, uh, “oversee” what I had to say. Having a pirate at your back and a cutlass at your throat makes for an interesting blogging experience.
For the rest of my posts on Blaggard’s Moon and the rest of Polivka’s Trophy Chase trilogy, see these posts.

This tour has a lot of interesting posts featuring a variety of speculative fiction. Get the updated list here.

The CSFF Greatest Hits – Number 2

Greetings, wayward travelers. You have come upon the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour for August. This month you are treated to a “free-for-all”, as we had no specific book or website to promote. Instead, you will find a wide variety of books discussed, from all-time favorites such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, to newer books by contemporary authors.

Here at Spoiled for the Ordinary, I am focusing on books from the 4 years I’ve been doing the tour (o_O). My how time flies…

Coming in at number
The two books of the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten.
I can’t think of a better series (other than Narnia) to recommend for kids other than the Wingfeather Saga. Andrew Peterson has created a fun fantasy series with peril, adventures, and toothy cows. Who can ask for more than that?
Peterson is an accomplished singer/songwriter, so his prose, as I’ve mentioned before, has a lyrical quality to it. He keeps a great pace, leaving my kids dying whenever we hit a cliffhanger as I read to them (which is pretty much every chapter!) It is probably most reminscent of The Princess Bride, with whimsy and suspense. I mean, how great is it to have a bad guy who is a Nameless Evil, (named Gnag the Nameless, natch). This leader of the Fangs of Dang (dang Fangs!) is after the Lost Jewels of Anniera. He thinks the Igiby children have them in the first book, only to find out (spoilers) that the three kids ARE the lost jewels.
The world Peterson has created is a magical place, with a great literary history (Peterson often quotes from these imaginary works, the footnotes are worth reading in this book). There is a thoughfulness about this work, and the deep themes within it, that continue to resonate in me after several readings.
I have to also give a personal story. For a homeschool English assignment, I thought it would be a good exercise for my two older boys to write a letter to Peterson. They asked their own questions and offered their favorite parts of the book, as well as offering their artistic interpretations of key scenes (they each drew him a picture). My boys called me a couple weeks later at work so excited, because Andrew had written them each a personal handwritten letter, refering to their letters specifically, and commenting on their art. What a class act!
So for number 2 in CSFF Tours, I have to give a shout out to a good man, a great musician, and a thoughtful writer, Andrew Peterson! If you have missed these books, you have missed a treat. And bomnubbles. Don’t forget the bomnubbles.

See what else is going on for the CSFF Tour this month with the latest at Becky’s blog (the mother ship as we like to say…)

Oh, and a note from Becky: “Before I forget, we have just a little over a week left in the voting for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction – Readers’ Choice. I hope you’re planning to vote.”

I voted for North! Or Be Eaten. What’s your vote?
 

The CSFF Greatest Hits – Number 2

Greetings, wayward travelers. You have come upon the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour for August. This month you are treated to a “free-for-all”, as we had no specific book or website to promote. Instead, you will find a wide variety of books discussed, from all-time favorites such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, to newer books by contemporary authors.

Here at Spoiled for the Ordinary, I am focusing on books from the 4 years I’ve been doing the tour (o_O). My how time flies…

Coming in at number
The two books of the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten.
I can’t think of a better series (other than Narnia) to recommend for kids other than the Wingfeather Saga. Andrew Peterson has created a fun fantasy series with peril, adventures, and toothy cows. Who can ask for more than that?
Peterson is an accomplished singer/songwriter, so his prose, as I’ve mentioned before, has a lyrical quality to it. He keeps a great pace, leaving my kids dying whenever we hit a cliffhanger as I read to them (which is pretty much every chapter!) It is probably most reminscent of The Princess Bride, with whimsy and suspense. I mean, how great is it to have a bad guy who is a Nameless Evil, (named Gnag the Nameless, natch). This leader of the Fangs of Dang (dang Fangs!) is after the Lost Jewels of Anniera. He thinks the Igiby children have them in the first book, only to find out (spoilers) that the three kids ARE the lost jewels.
The world Peterson has created is a magical place, with a great literary history (Peterson often quotes from these imaginary works, the footnotes are worth reading in this book). There is a thoughfulness about this work, and the deep themes within it, that continue to resonate in me after several readings.
I have to also give a personal story. For a homeschool English assignment, I thought it would be a good exercise for my two older boys to write a letter to Peterson. They asked their own questions and offered their favorite parts of the book, as well as offering their artistic interpretations of key scenes (they each drew him a picture). My boys called me a couple weeks later at work so excited, because Andrew had written them each a personal handwritten letter, refering to their letters specifically, and commenting on their art. What a class act!
So for number 2 in CSFF Tours, I have to give a shout out to a good man, a great musician, and a thoughtful writer, Andrew Peterson! If you have missed these books, you have missed a treat. And bomnubbles. Don’t forget the bomnubbles.

See what else is going on for the CSFF Tour this month with the latest at Becky’s blog (the mother ship as we like to say…)

Oh, and a note from Becky: “Before I forget, we have just a little over a week left in the voting for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction – Readers’ Choice. I hope you’re planning to vote.”

I voted for North! Or Be Eaten. What’s your vote?
 

The CSFF Greatests Hits – Number 3

Hearken back to May of 2006. Do you remember what was happening back then? Do you even remember what you had for breakfast yesterday?

Anyway, I recall (thanks to the power of the web) that it was the first time I participated in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy tour! Amazing how time flies. There have been a lot of good books that we’ve covered, and for this special August 2010 edition of the CSFF Tour, I give you Spoiled for the Ordinary’s best of:

Coming in at number…

is The Gifted series by Lisa T. Bergren, from April 2009. The CSFF Tour featured the first book of the series, The Begotten for this tour. The story continues in The Betrayed and The Blessed.
This series was set in Italy of the 1300’s, a dynamic time with rival popes competing for leadership of the Church and the continued mixing of cultures across the Mediterranean Sea. The premise rests on the Lost Corinthian Correspondence of St. Paul, letters lost at the compilation of the Bible.
Fragments of the letters are being hunted by Father Pietro and Lady Daria, as it foretells the gathering of a group called The Gifted that will walk in the gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring light and healing to a dark time. The group is pursued by a lord willing to walk in very evil ways in order to bring the Gifted to ruin.
This series was considered borderline “speculative” as it is set in a historical period and wasn’t fully science fiction or fantasy. Still, the premise and supernatural aspect of the story brought it to the attention of the CSFF Tour, and it became one of my favorite series we have featured. Bergren did a lot of research and brought this intriguing pre-Renaissance period to life. The characters were rich and the suspense thick. I had two books in mind for this tour, and needing a third to feature. After skimming through all of my CSFF posts, I had almost forgotten about The Gifted. I’m tempted to pull them out and re-read them after refreshing my mind – if you missed this series and enjoy a historical tale, make sure to check this out. 
Read my review and other thoughts on The Begotten at these links. Check back Tuesday and Wednesday for my 2nd and 1st favorite tour books.
In the meantime, I’m sure these folks will have some interesting posts as well – my fellow CSFF tourmates!

Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
George Duncan
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Mike Lynch
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Jason Waguespac
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

The CSFF Greatests Hits – Number 3

Hearken back to May of 2006. Do you remember what was happening back then? Do you even remember what you had for breakfast yesterday?

Anyway, I recall (thanks to the power of the web) that it was the first time I participated in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy tour! Amazing how time flies. There have been a lot of good books that we’ve covered, and for this special August 2010 edition of the CSFF Tour, I give you Spoiled for the Ordinary’s best of:

Coming in at number…

is The Gifted series by Lisa T. Bergren, from April 2009. The CSFF Tour featured the first book of the series, The Begotten for this tour. The story continues in The Betrayed and The Blessed.
This series was set in Italy of the 1300’s, a dynamic time with rival popes competing for leadership of the Church and the continued mixing of cultures across the Mediterranean Sea. The premise rests on the Lost Corinthian Correspondence of St. Paul, letters lost at the compilation of the Bible.
Fragments of the letters are being hunted by Father Pietro and Lady Daria, as it foretells the gathering of a group called The Gifted that will walk in the gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring light and healing to a dark time. The group is pursued by a lord willing to walk in very evil ways in order to bring the Gifted to ruin.
This series was considered borderline “speculative” as it is set in a historical period and wasn’t fully science fiction or fantasy. Still, the premise and supernatural aspect of the story brought it to the attention of the CSFF Tour, and it became one of my favorite series we have featured. Bergren did a lot of research and brought this intriguing pre-Renaissance period to life. The characters were rich and the suspense thick. I had two books in mind for this tour, and needing a third to feature. After skimming through all of my CSFF posts, I had almost forgotten about The Gifted. I’m tempted to pull them out and re-read them after refreshing my mind – if you missed this series and enjoy a historical tale, make sure to check this out. 
Read my review and other thoughts on The Begotten at these links. Check back Tuesday and Wednesday for my 2nd and 1st favorite tour books.
In the meantime, I’m sure these folks will have some interesting posts as well – my fellow CSFF tourmates!

Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
George Duncan
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Mike Lynch
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Jason Waguespac
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher