Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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All Fall Down is a great start to a new series. I didn’t love it as much as Gallagher Girls or Heist Society, but I loved the characters and it’s an interesting setting. Plus Ally Carter can deliver on plots! The twists still surprised me, even when I should have expected them! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

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Free eBooks from Baker Publishing in May!

Good news! Baker Publishing (Bethany House) has a ton of discounted and free eBook specials during the month of May! Different titles are discounted at different times, so check this out right away!

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Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham

I’ve been saying that Biblical fiction is hot for quite a while. Just out this week, Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham is the latest Biblical novel from Bethany House. I’ve been a Cliff Graham fan since I read his books about King David, so I was really excited to see he’s writing a new series about Caleb and Joshua. And that was all before I read it!

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I read it in one sitting last night. It’s AWESOME. The book of Exodus is full of great material and Graham knows how to use it. Caleb starts out as a mercenary in Pharaoh’s army, loyal to Egypt, completely unaware of the Hebrews and their God. He doesn’t see the plagues from the safe haven of Goshen, he lives through them. The battles are intense, the plagues are terrifying, and Caleb himself is a compelling character. We see him as a young man, a seasoned soldier, and a wily, aging general that still commands his troops with an iron fist.

Caleb harshly punishes his troops for failing to care for a widow in the camp. When she protests that she is not worth their humiliation, he tells her, “Good lady, the reputations of a million men are worth nothing when compared to a single command from Yahweh. Many of the songs of victory that we sing are about the Lord our protector. None need his protection like the widow, and he joyfully defends her.”

Graham’s gritty, no-holds-barred style is a bit of a risk for the more conservative Bethany House, but epic stories like this one are what most of the Old Testament is about and we need writers like Graham who are willing take us into the fire of God’s wrath and show that His love shines as brightly there as it does in the manger of Bethlehem. One last quote.

“A man’s bloodline does not matter. Only his heart. Yahweh gives his own bloodline to those who worship him.”

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Predicting the Future…Or Something Like it…

Ahem. I can now predict the future.

No, really! How you ask?
Well, I can’t predict your future or tell you when the price of gas is going to go up, but I can totally predict trends in the Inspirational Fiction market. if you insist on proof, a while ago (Okay, a long time ago, this post was unavoidably delayed) I attended Library Journal’s Christian Fiction Book Roundup webcast. I asked two questions about Inspirational fiction trends and the publisher representatives actually answered both of them! (And no one else’s, maybe I was the only webcast attendee…)

Anyway, according to the publisher representative panel, the following Inspirational Fiction Trends should be on your radar. Romantic Suspense. (No surprise here, but Inspy romance is changing, so it’s worth paying attention to this trend.) World War II and American Revolutionary historicals are gaining popularity, but other lesser known historical time periods (read: not “Prairie Fiction” *Happy Dance*) are also gaining momentum. Biblical Fiction is definitely coming back (which I predicted two years ago) and Teen Fiction is also gaining ground in the Inspy market. (Which I also predicted here.)

So there you have it. Proof that I can predict trends in Inspirational Fiction. Now whether or not that’s a useful skill is still up for debate…

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New Middle Grade Favorites

I’m participating in a Juvenile and Young Adult Reading Challenge right now, a contest between several library systems to see who can read the most Middle Grade and Young Adult literature. I won’t win, (SIGH…) but I’ve discovered some new favorites! Book-eighthday340 InquisitorsMark_revised_final-198x300First, The Eighth Day and its sequel, The Inquisitor’s Mark Dianne K. Salerni. The concept is an extra day of the week that only some people (called transitioners) know exists! Of course there’s some people that only exist on the eighth day of the week making for some complicated math… Anyway, throw in some ties to Arthurian legend and a plot to destroy the world and you have this series. I just finished The Inquisitor’s Mark last night and now I’m all like, “What the 3rd book isn’t out yet! NOOOoooooooooo!!!!!”tumblr_inline_n2lyrdF2r71sc4c1wtumblr_inline_n2lyxlKyxb1sc4c1wtumblr_inline_n2lyplJjMT1sc4c1w

Second, JAMES RILEY. If you haven’t read his Half Upon a Time trilogy you should. Like, right now. I love fairy-tale retellings, and Half Upon a Time is one of the best I’ve read in a while. Jack, the main protagonist, is the son of Jack [and the Beanstalk.] A main protagonist who’s not a girl/princess/prince is a refreshing departure from the retold fairy-tale formula. And it’s HILARIOUS.

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