CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals Review

So the payoff day for my part in the blog tour – what did I think of the book Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson?

The book starts off with a rush of action in Romania as Gina Lazarescu is fleeing from a battle with some Collectors, the Undead freed from an ancient Jerusalem cemetery. Having struck their leader a fatal blow, she has to survive the wrath of his follower.

The mysterious Cal Nichols and teen orphan Dov Amit are also engaged in a conflict with a Collector who has taken on a bear as a temporary host. Cal has to protect Dov as he is one of the Nistarim, 36 hidden ones who bear the burdens of the world. If he were to fall without someone to take his place, it could usher in the Final Vengeance.

As Gina, Cal, and Dov face their foes, other Collectors are on the move, doing their part to try and bring down the human race, in order to inflict some revenge on the Almighty who banished them into the Separation from physical sense, the reason they take on human hosts.

If Gina survives, will she be able to fulfill her destiny? How will she heal from her years of wounds. Could there really be power in Nazarene blood, as Cal has claimed?

As Cal maneuvers to protect Gina and Dov, what will happen as his greatest adversary seeks to complete his work in bringing about the destruction of the Nistarim?

There are things that Eric Wilson gets right. When the heroes are in conflict, there is real danger. He keeps the suspense high on whether they will survive or fall. Not every sympathetic character makes it. Gina is a strong protagonist with a complex background. She’s not perfect. She is strong but has doubts. She tries to do what is right but struggles. She continues to be the strongest part of the novel. Cal Nichols is also a very good character, and there are interesting insights about him after being so mysterious in the first book, Field of Blood.

Eric does a lot of research for his novels, and his settings are usually rich with detail and vivid description. The deserts of Israel contrast with the wooded wildness of Transylvania and tranquil small-town Oregon. He throws in some intriguing plot points that intersect with history. Some of them pay off, while others are too much of a stretch with the complex interaction of mythology he has created for this series.

There’s also a lot of spiritual themes weaved into the story that speak poignantly into today’s world. The way anger, bitterness, or lust can intwine us in thorns that bind us may not be literal as in Jackals, but it is a powerful revelation nonetheless. Many people may be taken aback by the idea of “Christian vampires.” One thing Wilson does is not make them sympathetic. The creatures are evil, and he never shows them in a light that plays down their terrible ways. The battle of good and evil is portrayed in vivid terms in the book, but this battle is a good metaphor for the spiritual and emotional battles of life today.

Unfortunately, the book is almost too ambitious to hold up everything he tries. The plot is exciting and driving in the first third or half, but the last section of the book is an underwhelming build-up for the third book, with some minor drama at the end to try and keep the suspense factor continuing. The classic “second act” in a trilogy is The Empire Strikes Back, where there are major obstacles for the heroes to overcome for the third, while being dealt blows that leave them very vunerable. Haunt has the bad guys joining forces in the end and the good guys hiding out. The third book (Valley of Bones, coming in 2010) should have a good climax, but this book was left wanting in the process.

Another drawback is the description being overdone at times. Wilson can paint some visual word images, but he can overdo the narrative. There is too much “thinking” by both good and bad guys that slows things down and makes the book too dense. Sometimes it seems all the research and knowledge he has pours out in excess. The plot becomes uneven at times due to TMI.

Overall, Eric Wilson is attempting an ambitious speculative story tied into Biblical themes and settings. There are strong elements that make the story an interesting read, but other aspects bog it down and keep it from its full potential. As far as the whole premise – I am usually pretty accepting from a theological standpoint with what the author is presenting to see if it can work. I am willing to allow some leeway in how things are interpreted. Some may find the mixing of demons (the Collectors) with a legend of Jewish mysticism being applied to verses in the Gospels too far to go for a story. I think it provides an interesting platform to share some profound truths regarding the battle we all face. I hope Eric can hit the home run with the third book.

Bottom line: Make sure you read Field of Blood first because there was too much established there to step into Haunt of Jackals. I still got lost at times due to reading Blood last year. It is an interesting premise with some definite points of suspense and near-horror that get the blood pumping, with some overly dense plotting and description that slows down other areas. If the premise makes you curious, I recommend it. If you’re not into vampires or are sensitive to some blood and gore, it would be a book to pass one.

The whole idea of vampires and other supernatural archtypes in Christian fiction is an interesting point of discussion. I welcome thought on this book or the subject, and we can keep the dialogue going after the tour. Let me know what you think, and check out the other posts that are listed at Becky Miller’s opening post of the tour.

CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals Review

So the payoff day for my part in the blog tour – what did I think of the book Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson?

The book starts off with a rush of action in Romania as Gina Lazarescu is fleeing from a battle with some Collectors, the Undead freed from an ancient Jerusalem cemetery. Having struck their leader a fatal blow, she has to survive the wrath of his follower.

The mysterious Cal Nichols and teen orphan Dov Amit are also engaged in a conflict with a Collector who has taken on a bear as a temporary host. Cal has to protect Dov as he is one of the Nistarim, 36 hidden ones who bear the burdens of the world. If he were to fall without someone to take his place, it could usher in the Final Vengeance.

As Gina, Cal, and Dov face their foes, other Collectors are on the move, doing their part to try and bring down the human race, in order to inflict some revenge on the Almighty who banished them into the Separation from physical sense, the reason they take on human hosts.

If Gina survives, will she be able to fulfill her destiny? How will she heal from her years of wounds. Could there really be power in Nazarene blood, as Cal has claimed?

As Cal maneuvers to protect Gina and Dov, what will happen as his greatest adversary seeks to complete his work in bringing about the destruction of the Nistarim?

There are things that Eric Wilson gets right. When the heroes are in conflict, there is real danger. He keeps the suspense high on whether they will survive or fall. Not every sympathetic character makes it. Gina is a strong protagonist with a complex background. She’s not perfect. She is strong but has doubts. She tries to do what is right but struggles. She continues to be the strongest part of the novel. Cal Nichols is also a very good character, and there are interesting insights about him after being so mysterious in the first book, Field of Blood.

Eric does a lot of research for his novels, and his settings are usually rich with detail and vivid description. The deserts of Israel contrast with the wooded wildness of Transylvania and tranquil small-town Oregon. He throws in some intriguing plot points that intersect with history. Some of them pay off, while others are too much of a stretch with the complex interaction of mythology he has created for this series.

There’s also a lot of spiritual themes weaved into the story that speak poignantly into today’s world. The way anger, bitterness, or lust can intwine us in thorns that bind us may not be literal as in Jackals, but it is a powerful revelation nonetheless. Many people may be taken aback by the idea of “Christian vampires.” One thing Wilson does is not make them sympathetic. The creatures are evil, and he never shows them in a light that plays down their terrible ways. The battle of good and evil is portrayed in vivid terms in the book, but this battle is a good metaphor for the spiritual and emotional battles of life today.

Unfortunately, the book is almost too ambitious to hold up everything he tries. The plot is exciting and driving in the first third or half, but the last section of the book is an underwhelming build-up for the third book, with some minor drama at the end to try and keep the suspense factor continuing. The classic “second act” in a trilogy is The Empire Strikes Back, where there are major obstacles for the heroes to overcome for the third, while being dealt blows that leave them very vunerable. Haunt has the bad guys joining forces in the end and the good guys hiding out. The third book (Valley of Bones, coming in 2010) should have a good climax, but this book was left wanting in the process.

Another drawback is the description being overdone at times. Wilson can paint some visual word images, but he can overdo the narrative. There is too much “thinking” by both good and bad guys that slows things down and makes the book too dense. Sometimes it seems all the research and knowledge he has pours out in excess. The plot becomes uneven at times due to TMI.

Overall, Eric Wilson is attempting an ambitious speculative story tied into Biblical themes and settings. There are strong elements that make the story an interesting read, but other aspects bog it down and keep it from its full potential. As far as the whole premise – I am usually pretty accepting from a theological standpoint with what the author is presenting to see if it can work. I am willing to allow some leeway in how things are interpreted. Some may find the mixing of demons (the Collectors) with a legend of Jewish mysticism being applied to verses in the Gospels too far to go for a story. I think it provides an interesting platform to share some profound truths regarding the battle we all face. I hope Eric can hit the home run with the third book.

Bottom line: Make sure you read Field of Blood first because there was too much established there to step into Haunt of Jackals. I still got lost at times due to reading Blood last year. It is an interesting premise with some definite points of suspense and near-horror that get the blood pumping, with some overly dense plotting and description that slows down other areas. If the premise makes you curious, I recommend it. If you’re not into vampires or are sensitive to some blood and gore, it would be a book to pass one.

The whole idea of vampires and other supernatural archtypes in Christian fiction is an interesting point of discussion. I welcome thought on this book or the subject, and we can keep the dialogue going after the tour. Let me know what you think, and check out the other posts that are listed at Becky Miller’s opening post of the tour.

CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals Day 2

Yesterday’s post gave a background to Eric Wilson’s Jerusalem Undead series, Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals. Today I want to highlight what people are saying about Wilson’s books in particular and vampires in Christian fiction in general.

I’ve posted a couple of times on the topic of vampires in Christian fiction (by this term I mean fiction produced by the CBA, which focuses on the evangelical Christian market for the most part). There was some good discussion in the comments, so don’t miss those.

Anytime you want a lively discussion on issues in Christian fiction, don’t forget to look to Mike Duran, who caused a little stir with his Novel Journey post, “What’s More Dangerous, Amish Heroines or Christian Vampires?” Again, don’t miss out on a stirring debate in the comments. Don’t forget about his classic “The Good Vampire” post either. He considers the possibility of “Stoker’s Dracula as Christian Fiction.” Finally, he discusses his take on “Christian Horror,” which would certainly involve vampires (and it mentions Mr. Wilson).

For a different perspective, I ran across the site VampChix, where apparently they are fans of shortening and misspelling words. Or perhaps they are females who like vampires. In any case, they interview Eric Wilson himself, which is interesting to see him explain his series to a “non-Christian” audience.

There’s many other posts I could find if I had the time. I know there’s a few other books with a Christian outlook to hit this subject, such as Never Ceese or Shade. I hope I’ve provided some food for thought here. I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts on the issue of Christian fiction and vampires, or if you know of other links worth investigating. Tomorrow I plan my review of Haunt of Jackals. See you there.

CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals Day 2

Yesterday’s post gave a background to Eric Wilson’s Jerusalem Undead series, Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals. Today I want to highlight what people are saying about Wilson’s books in particular and vampires in Christian fiction in general.

I’ve posted a couple of times on the topic of vampires in Christian fiction (by this term I mean fiction produced by the CBA, which focuses on the evangelical Christian market for the most part). There was some good discussion in the comments, so don’t miss those.

Anytime you want a lively discussion on issues in Christian fiction, don’t forget to look to Mike Duran, who caused a little stir with his Novel Journey post, “What’s More Dangerous, Amish Heroines or Christian Vampires?” Again, don’t miss out on a stirring debate in the comments. Don’t forget about his classic “The Good Vampire” post either. He considers the possibility of “Stoker’s Dracula as Christian Fiction.” Finally, he discusses his take on “Christian Horror,” which would certainly involve vampires (and it mentions Mr. Wilson).

For a different perspective, I ran across the site VampChix, where apparently they are fans of shortening and misspelling words. Or perhaps they are females who like vampires. In any case, they interview Eric Wilson himself, which is interesting to see him explain his series to a “non-Christian” audience.

There’s many other posts I could find if I had the time. I know there’s a few other books with a Christian outlook to hit this subject, such as Never Ceese or Shade. I hope I’ve provided some food for thought here. I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts on the issue of Christian fiction and vampires, or if you know of other links worth investigating. Tomorrow I plan my review of Haunt of Jackals. See you there.

CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals


The Undead are here.

At the CSFF blog tour, at least. The book of the month for the CSFF is Haunt of Jackals, by Eric Wilson. The Jerusalem Undead trilogy and its first book, Field of Blood, is a far cry from another Wilson book-the novelization of the movie Fireproof. Suspense and the battle between heaven and hell is an Eric Wilson trademark, and that’s what a reader will find in this series.

Since we’re starting in the middle of a series here, there’s bound to be some confusion. Wilson builds an elaborate background for this tale, with a lot of characters and a lot of theology mixed with speculation. Today’s post will explain some of the setting for the books.

The Jerusalem Undead series has been referred to as a “Christian vampire” tale. It doesn’t deal in classic vampires, and they certainly won’t sparkle in the sunlight.

Collectors: These are spirits who had rebelled. Separated from physical senses and pleasure, they can only interact with this world if they are in hosts, whether human or other forms. A special cluster of Collectors forms when the blood of Judas Iscariot (“the man from Kerioth”) soaks a field outside of Jerusalem, the Akeldama or “Field of Blood”, and seeps into a family’s ossuary cavern.

The remains of two human families, the house of Ariston and the house of Eros, are reaminated when these spirits are able to access the remains. Due to the special evil of Judas, they are more powerful than other Collectors. They feed on human blood, but they won’t die if they don’t get it. They can also grow literal thorns in humans that can be harvested, keeping their victims in bondage and using them as pawns. Since “the life is in the blood,” memories can be found in drinking it.

Nistarim: Jewish tradition says there are 36 righteous ones who, in humility and anonymity, carry the burdens of the world while staying God’s hand. In the Christian Bible, we are told that saints came up out of the tombs after Jesus’ death and resurrection. What happened to these people? Could they still be among us, hidden and immortal? Could they, in fact, be the Nistarim, “the Concealed Ones”? These stand against evil such as the Collectors, but if the Nistarim can be destroyed, will it usher in the Judgment?

Gina Lazarescu: We meet this Romanian girl as she is about to turn 12, the age of adulthood according to Judaism. She is central to the story as there are connections between her and both groups. As she grows, will she learn to take her place in this epic struggle, or fall under the weight of the burdens she carries?

Cal Nichols: This man is a mystery, with an unknown connection to Gina and the Nistarim. Is he there to watch over her, or will he be her undoing?

The story veers from Israel to Romania and the United States and back. It is a dense story packed with intrigue and mystery. Check back tomorrow for more on the idea of “Christian vampire” stories, and see my fellow tourmates below for their take on Eric Wilson and his books.

Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Nissa
John W. Otte
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

CSFF Tour – Haunt of Jackals


The Undead are here.

At the CSFF blog tour, at least. The book of the month for the CSFF is Haunt of Jackals, by Eric Wilson. The Jerusalem Undead trilogy and its first book, Field of Blood, is a far cry from another Wilson book-the novelization of the movie Fireproof. Suspense and the battle between heaven and hell is an Eric Wilson trademark, and that’s what a reader will find in this series.

Since we’re starting in the middle of a series here, there’s bound to be some confusion. Wilson builds an elaborate background for this tale, with a lot of characters and a lot of theology mixed with speculation. Today’s post will explain some of the setting for the books.

The Jerusalem Undead series has been referred to as a “Christian vampire” tale. It doesn’t deal in classic vampires, and they certainly won’t sparkle in the sunlight.

Collectors: These are spirits who had rebelled. Separated from physical senses and pleasure, they can only interact with this world if they are in hosts, whether human or other forms. A special cluster of Collectors forms when the blood of Judas Iscariot (“the man from Kerioth”) soaks a field outside of Jerusalem, the Akeldama or “Field of Blood”, and seeps into a family’s ossuary cavern.

The remains of two human families, the house of Ariston and the house of Eros, are reaminated when these spirits are able to access the remains. Due to the special evil of Judas, they are more powerful than other Collectors. They feed on human blood, but they won’t die if they don’t get it. They can also grow literal thorns in humans that can be harvested, keeping their victims in bondage and using them as pawns. Since “the life is in the blood,” memories can be found in drinking it.

Nistarim: Jewish tradition says there are 36 righteous ones who, in humility and anonymity, carry the burdens of the world while staying God’s hand. In the Christian Bible, we are told that saints came up out of the tombs after Jesus’ death and resurrection. What happened to these people? Could they still be among us, hidden and immortal? Could they, in fact, be the Nistarim, “the Concealed Ones”? These stand against evil such as the Collectors, but if the Nistarim can be destroyed, will it usher in the Judgment?

Gina Lazarescu: We meet this Romanian girl as she is about to turn 12, the age of adulthood according to Judaism. She is central to the story as there are connections between her and both groups. As she grows, will she learn to take her place in this epic struggle, or fall under the weight of the burdens she carries?

Cal Nichols: This man is a mystery, with an unknown connection to Gina and the Nistarim. Is he there to watch over her, or will he be her undoing?

The story veers from Israel to Romania and the United States and back. It is a dense story packed with intrigue and mystery. Check back tomorrow for more on the idea of “Christian vampire” stories, and see my fellow tourmates below for their take on Eric Wilson and his books.

Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Nissa
John W. Otte
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

Movie Review – Twilight

It’s the movie everyone is talking about: Twilight.

So what is it about this movie that has half of the 12-30 year age group of females wildly excited?

Maybe a guy in his 30’s isn’t the best judge.

Anyway, unless you’ve been under a rock (considering the economy, it may be more secure than your mortgage), Twilight is based off the first book in the best-selling series by Stephenie Meyer. First, the quick summary to make sure we’re all on the same page. Seventeen year old Bella moves to Forks, WA, to live with her dad in the wettest, cloudiest place in the US. While adjusting to a new school, she meets Edward Cullen, a very handsome boy who at turns shuns her and acts interested in her. Her dogged pursuit reveals his secret: that he is a vampire, part of a “family” of vampires that only drinks the blood of animals so they don’t have to be killers. Edward is drawn to Bella both in love and to the scent of her blood, fighting his natural urges. As Bella and Edward explore their relationship and she is immersed in this strange new world, other forces enter their lives that threaten all they are trying to build.

How’s the movie? It isn’t as good as the book (when is a movie ever?). It stays pretty true to the book, so fans of the series should be pleased overall. The director tries to visually create a mood with filtered shots and lots of dreamy/vexed/glaring looks by the love-struck couple. The movie slows down at times due to this, but doesn’t bog down. There are hints of suspense interspersed enough to move things along.

The actors who play Bella and Edward have some chemistry, but it wasn’t enough to convince me of their resolve to press forward into such an unorthodox relationship. Kristin Stewart (Bella) portrays teenage awkwardness well and anchors the movie, although she is asked to pose gaping way too often. Robert Pattinson (Edward) is charismatic enough, but he isn’t always an imposing, remarkable figure. I don’t know whether to blame the screenwriters or the actors. Other characters like Alice are under-utilized, but I’m sure it’s hard to compress a long novel into two hours.

There’s been some controversy about the novel and movie, both in regular reviews and specifically Christian reviews. One general complaint is that Edward has stalker tendencies, since he watches Bella as she sleeps and always seems to be around. This is shown in the movie somewhat, but it doesn’t come across as creepy. My 12 year old niece picked right up on it and recognized that’s not a good trait for a boyfriend. The couple only kisses passionately a couple of times, but there is a lot of restraint, even though once they talk late into the night and she ends up sleeping and cuddling up to him (no nudity or intercourse).

Spiritually, there are obvious concerns about the whole concept of a vampire and drinking blood to sustain life. I’ve read blogs that point out the perversion this idea makes of Christ’s sacrifice for us and the sacrament of wine specifically. Personally, if I can accept the idea of an impersonal Force in Star Wars and random mutation and evolution in the X-men series as acceptable platforms for story-telling, then I don’t have a problem with vampires. I understand the above criticism, but it doesn’t strike me as blasphemous.

With the specific story, there are positives. Edward’s family is “vegetarian”, meaning they have learned to survive on animals. They hold to their promises to the local Native American tribe, and they back each other up. They work hard to protect Bella when danger arises, and Bella is willing to sacrifice herself to save a loved one.

Overall the movie was enjoyable, and it was fun to see it in the theatre (although it exposed some weak special effects). I’ve seen other reviews that state the movie will appeal to fans of the book and not bring in the uninitiated. Since I’d read the books, I can’t judge very well. They may not have created enough magic as the book’s author, Stephenie Meyer, did. My niece hadn’t read them and enjoyed it, even not being one for romance (tomboy has her picture next to it in the dictionary). There’s probably not enough explosions to draw a hard-core male audience, but it is a good introduction into a new world (ready for the already announced sequel). Using discernment is always needed, as writers and directors always have some form of agenda, but it is not a scandalous movie that need be feared and shunned. If you have a pre-teen or teen who is prone to becoming too emotionally involved with something, then Twilight is a bad choice. If they have some judgment, then it can create some interesting discussion.

Stars? If I had ’em, probably a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Movie Review – Twilight

It’s the movie everyone is talking about: Twilight.

So what is it about this movie that has half of the 12-30 year age group of females wildly excited?

Maybe a guy in his 30’s isn’t the best judge.

Anyway, unless you’ve been under a rock (considering the economy, it may be more secure than your mortgage), Twilight is based off the first book in the best-selling series by Stephenie Meyer. First, the quick summary to make sure we’re all on the same page. Seventeen year old Bella moves to Forks, WA, to live with her dad in the wettest, cloudiest place in the US. While adjusting to a new school, she meets Edward Cullen, a very handsome boy who at turns shuns her and acts interested in her. Her dogged pursuit reveals his secret: that he is a vampire, part of a “family” of vampires that only drinks the blood of animals so they don’t have to be killers. Edward is drawn to Bella both in love and to the scent of her blood, fighting his natural urges. As Bella and Edward explore their relationship and she is immersed in this strange new world, other forces enter their lives that threaten all they are trying to build.

How’s the movie? It isn’t as good as the book (when is a movie ever?). It stays pretty true to the book, so fans of the series should be pleased overall. The director tries to visually create a mood with filtered shots and lots of dreamy/vexed/glaring looks by the love-struck couple. The movie slows down at times due to this, but doesn’t bog down. There are hints of suspense interspersed enough to move things along.

The actors who play Bella and Edward have some chemistry, but it wasn’t enough to convince me of their resolve to press forward into such an unorthodox relationship. Kristin Stewart (Bella) portrays teenage awkwardness well and anchors the movie, although she is asked to pose gaping way too often. Robert Pattinson (Edward) is charismatic enough, but he isn’t always an imposing, remarkable figure. I don’t know whether to blame the screenwriters or the actors. Other characters like Alice are under-utilized, but I’m sure it’s hard to compress a long novel into two hours.

There’s been some controversy about the novel and movie, both in regular reviews and specifically Christian reviews. One general complaint is that Edward has stalker tendencies, since he watches Bella as she sleeps and always seems to be around. This is shown in the movie somewhat, but it doesn’t come across as creepy. My 12 year old niece picked right up on it and recognized that’s not a good trait for a boyfriend. The couple only kisses passionately a couple of times, but there is a lot of restraint, even though once they talk late into the night and she ends up sleeping and cuddling up to him (no nudity or intercourse).

Spiritually, there are obvious concerns about the whole concept of a vampire and drinking blood to sustain life. I’ve read blogs that point out the perversion this idea makes of Christ’s sacrifice for us and the sacrament of wine specifically. Personally, if I can accept the idea of an impersonal Force in Star Wars and random mutation and evolution in the X-men series as acceptable platforms for story-telling, then I don’t have a problem with vampires. I understand the above criticism, but it doesn’t strike me as blasphemous.

With the specific story, there are positives. Edward’s family is “vegetarian”, meaning they have learned to survive on animals. They hold to their promises to the local Native American tribe, and they back each other up. They work hard to protect Bella when danger arises, and Bella is willing to sacrifice herself to save a loved one.

Overall the movie was enjoyable, and it was fun to see it in the theatre (although it exposed some weak special effects). I’ve seen other reviews that state the movie will appeal to fans of the book and not bring in the uninitiated. Since I’d read the books, I can’t judge very well. They may not have created enough magic as the book’s author, Stephenie Meyer, did. My niece hadn’t read them and enjoyed it, even not being one for romance (tomboy has her picture next to it in the dictionary). There’s probably not enough explosions to draw a hard-core male audience, but it is a good introduction into a new world (ready for the already announced sequel). Using discernment is always needed, as writers and directors always have some form of agenda, but it is not a scandalous movie that need be feared and shunned. If you have a pre-teen or teen who is prone to becoming too emotionally involved with something, then Twilight is a bad choice. If they have some judgment, then it can create some interesting discussion.

Stars? If I had ’em, probably a 3 1/2 out of 5.

CSFF Tour – Shade

Hey there. I’m still here, just doing a little more juggling. It’s time for the monthly CSFF tour, which is featuring John Olson’s latest book, Shade.

This book is set in San Francisco and involves a graduate student possibly getting involved with a mythical underground world, or possibly dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. The question becomes whether the weird things happening to her reality or her own warped imagination.

I was intrigued by the book, but I (wisely) didn’t sign up for it, figuring I wouldn’t have much time with our new baby to commit. Still, I want to promote this book, as the buzz I’m hearing about it is significant and interesting.

Becky Miller, our tour ringleader, referred in her first tour posting to a post of mine regarding vampires in Christian fiction in which Shade was mentioned. It was actually mentioned by someone else in the comment section, but that’s where I first got wind of it.

I’ve tried to read most of my tourmates posts regarding Shade, and I wanted to highlight a few that were the most interesting.

John W. Otte has three posts, giving a good review, explaining how he came by the book, and how ambiguity can be a good thing.

Nissa discusses the use of “real” vampires in Christian fiction in a few posts (make sure to scroll down for more).

Pam Morrisson gives her review and a good overview of the book.

Chawna Schroeder gives a review, an intro to John Olson, and an excerpt from the prologue.

There’s also an interview with John over at Title Trakk that discusses an older book of his as well as Shade, and an interesting story from Randy Ingermanson (scroll most the way down to read it; hat tip to Val Comer) that aren’t officially part of the CSFF tour.

I’m interested in getting this book after all this. Check out other tourmates below for more on Shade. Especially Steve Trower for vampire-inspired music!

John Olson’s Web site – http://www.litany.com/

*Participants’ Links:
Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Kait
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Steve Rice
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

CSFF Tour – Shade

Hey there. I’m still here, just doing a little more juggling. It’s time for the monthly CSFF tour, which is featuring John Olson’s latest book, Shade.

This book is set in San Francisco and involves a graduate student possibly getting involved with a mythical underground world, or possibly dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. The question becomes whether the weird things happening to her reality or her own warped imagination.

I was intrigued by the book, but I (wisely) didn’t sign up for it, figuring I wouldn’t have much time with our new baby to commit. Still, I want to promote this book, as the buzz I’m hearing about it is significant and interesting.

Becky Miller, our tour ringleader, referred in her first tour posting to a post of mine regarding vampires in Christian fiction in which Shade was mentioned. It was actually mentioned by someone else in the comment section, but that’s where I first got wind of it.

I’ve tried to read most of my tourmates posts regarding Shade, and I wanted to highlight a few that were the most interesting.

John W. Otte has three posts, giving a good review, explaining how he came by the book, and how ambiguity can be a good thing.

Nissa discusses the use of “real” vampires in Christian fiction in a few posts (make sure to scroll down for more).

Pam Morrisson gives her review and a good overview of the book.

Chawna Schroeder gives a review, an intro to John Olson, and an excerpt from the prologue.

There’s also an interview with John over at Title Trakk that discusses an older book of his as well as Shade, and an interesting story from Randy Ingermanson (scroll most the way down to read it; hat tip to Val Comer) that aren’t officially part of the CSFF tour.

I’m interested in getting this book after all this. Check out other tourmates below for more on Shade. Especially Steve Trower for vampire-inspired music!

John Olson’s Web site – http://www.litany.com/

*Participants’ Links:
Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Kait
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Steve Rice
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise