Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

Immanuel's Veins (Books of History Chronicles) by Ted Dekker
Genre: Adult Fiction (Paranormal Romance/ Historical/ Christian)
Date Published: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice.

Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover.

With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds.

Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow.

Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

"A heart-wrenching journey of redemption and hope that left me sobbing, laughing, and clinging to every word."--Donna McChristian, 44, Environmental Chemist.

Immanuel's Vein's is part of the Books of History Chronicles by Ted Dekker. I'm a big fan of Ted Dekker. He's one of my favorite authors, so this is going to be a such hard review to write because I didn't enjoy this book. I felt like the book could have been a lot shorter as there seemed to be a lot of repetition of thoughts and actions. I didn't find the romances to be believable. To feel as strongly as Toma claimed to have felt for Lucine, they really didn't know each other. I got very little idea of how Lucine really felt for Toma too. They didn't spend much time in each other's presence throughout the book. So, where did this deep love come from? How was it more than lust? As a reader, I needed to see more to believe it. I needed a reason to root for them as a couple. Lucine wanted love, but she wanted a man to earn her love. With her past experience, I totally get that, but then she lets another man whom she doesn't like at all court her because she misinterprets something she sees of Toma.

The Vampire aspect was unique. While I didn't like the comparison between Jesus and Toma(I don't think the character of Toma was enough of a fitting example), I understand the symbolism the author was trying to portray. To me, this was all the more reason to give us a romance we could really root for. I think that would have brought it all home.

The actions and events surrounding the ending really grabbed my attention. I was able to see some of the characters for who they really were. I can't help but wonder if we'll see some of these characters again. It was definitely left open for that possibility. I wouldn't mind seeing one or two of them again too.

As always, Ted Dekker's writing is beautiful. He really paints an amazing picture within his stories. Immanuel's Veins was no different. He takes chances when he writes, and I love that.

Ted Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the headhunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.
After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study Philosophy and Religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel was published.

Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.

To learn more about Ted Dekker and his books, visit his website.You can also find him on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Where Bluebirds Fly by Brynn Chapman

Where Bluebirds Fly by Brynn Chapman
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Historical/Science Fiction Romance)
Date Published: March 8, 2013
Publisher: Self

Verity Montague is a servant in 1692 Salem. Her flaming red hair and mismatched eyes make her a prime target for accusation of witchcraft. Orphaned during the Indian raids, she and her brother with Asperger's Syndrome come to live with the key historical figures of the trials-The Putnams. They keep their synesthesia secret- that days, months and years appear as color in Verity's mind, and for John, that symphonies play in a Fantasia-style performance of colors and geometric patterns.

Truman Johnstone 's ability to discern people's expressions, and decipher if they were lying- made him an outspoken child. Being different kept him from being adopted till he was fourteen. He now runs an orphanage for problem youths, and is a feeding therapist in his desire to help children deal with their peculiarities. To give them the childhood he never had.

The harvest festival corn maze Truman creates every year has an unwelcome visitor. Children hear disembodied voices skipping through the corn maze amid the backdrop of eerie orchestral music. In every year of the calendar, intermittent doors of time swing open and closed, so long as the cornfield stands. 

In societies set on sameness-all are outsiders. 

They learn the traits that make us outcasts, may be the very ones that make us great, and that true love may heal all, and even transcend time.

Where Bluebirds Fly by Brynn Chapman takes it's readers back and forth in time between the Salem Witch Trials and present day. Verity has Synethesia, and her brother has Asperger's Syndrome. In a time where it doesn't take much to be accused of being a witch, poor Verity becomes a prime target. Truman also has Synethesia. He is from present day and works with orphaned children, many of whom also have problems and/or disorders. Though these two are from two completely different times, there is a rift in time and they are able to meet. This rift isn't predictable and there are things that control it which I haven't completely figured out.

I thought the author captured the hysteria of Salem quite well. This is a sad time in history that has always fascinated me as it has many others, and this book gave us a pretty good glimpse of the mind set of the time. It showed many sides to human nature, both good and bad.

The attraction between True and Verity was pretty instantaneous. They fell in love fast. They had much in common though, and the cultural gap between them didn't hold them back. They learned from each other and adapted.

There was so much going on within this plot, it could be a bit overwhelming at times, and I'm not sure I fully grasped everything that was going on behind the scenes. The story ends in a way that leaves it open for a sequel, and I hope there is one because I was left with so many unanswered questions.

Where Bluebirds Fly by Brynn Chapman was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Check out my review of Heart Murmurs by Brynn Chapman writing as R.R. Smythe

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

She also writes under the pseudonym R.R. Smythe . Check out my interview with the author as R. R. Smythe!

To learn more about Brynn Chapman and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.