Personal Reflections on “A Time to Speak”

I must admit. Writing a post about a book is one of the most difficult things for me to do. Especially when you want to show how incredible a book has moved you. How on earth does one express the joys of a story in only a few hundred words? It’s near impossible.

I considered quoting a passage that I particularly loved. But honestly, what’s the point. Once I stepped across the threshold and started I’m not sure where I would stop quoting. The list is endless.

Let me simply say this with all honesty: I love this Series. I can’t wait to dive back into this world again. And I cannot wait for the release of book 3.

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There is a certain beauty within these pages. One founded on Truth that echoes across a canyon like distant thunder. Cheesy I know– But I ‘m a geek who finds himself moved by words and the pictures they paint.

I realize that what I write here may not be seen as a review- And I’m okay with that. Because a review can’t really display exactly the way a story makes you feel. It can’t show beauty, pain, or make one feel the pulse of your heart as you race with a character while the stakes grow larger. Only the pure enjoyment of a story can do that. All I can do is provide what I hope is more meaningful- A nod of approval. And a challenge to dive in.

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I was honored to receive an advanced copy of book two in Nadine Brandes “Out of Time Series.”

A Time to Speak starts off directly where the first book left us. And the first lines are just as powerful as book one, setting the tone for the rest of the story:

“I’ve been robbed of my death.

A date was set, a coffin prepared,

and a grave dug in the earth, yet I breathe against my own will…

Parvin Blackwater is struggling with acceptance. With accepting the death of her twin brother, accepting the fact that the clock that counted down to zero (or her death) was in fact not hers, and accepting that she is alive. But Parvin Blackwater of Book 2 is different. And despite a weight of blame she feels for what may have happened- She is determined. The line on page 3 sets her arc for the book up:

“I don’t have the energy to be offended… I need to get moving, start fixing all the brokenness clouding my village. I have a calling to fulfill…”

Her trust in both God and others doesn’t come near as easy as it once did and as a result there is a struggle within.

But that’s the entire point of A Time to Speak. Stepping out, and taking a step of faith. So many times we look throughout life and see injustice being done. From those that may be weak and have no voice or power to influence, to those that distort and twist God’s word for their own ambitions, to the preying on of young innocents, time and time again we feel a sense, a calling, an urge to speak out and proclaim truth- But instead we find ourselves cowering back and living in the midst of shadows.

Parvin Blackwater gives us hope that we can be more than simply silent figurines on a mantle.

Let me leave by saying this: Fiction by no mean is truth. It is not scripture in the least bit. But it is built off a worldview the author has. And when that worldview has God’s word as a foundation, then light can’t help but seep through. The truths that come out through this story are theologically and doctrinally sound. And as a result… It speaks and challenges me in ways very few stories can. It leaves me hungry and craving more.

The last lines in this second book are powerful. More powerful then the first. The questions that burn in my mind are endless. So be warned- And be prepared to leave this story with Goosebumps.

 

Be sure to check back in this Monday October 12th: I’ll be interviewing Nadine where we discuss all things Books…

Also Nadine will be having a Facebook Launch Party on October 20th. You can sign up to attend through the pic below.

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If you are interested in connecting with Nadine or learning more about her and her work you can do so through the following links below.

A Pleasure to Burn…

Ray Bradbury and Dystopian

This month I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of book 2 in the : “Out of Time Series” by Carol award winning author Nadine Brandes. (More to come on that later) I absolutely love Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic stories. From Mad Max, to The Postman, to Hunger Games, The Stand, this Genre just never seems to die. In fact- Just when some publishing-expert declares it’s on its way out, another hit pops up on the shelf.

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But that got me thinking about my favorite book of all time by no less than my favorite author. It’s the one Dystopian story that has withstood the test of time over and over and over again.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 was first published in 1953, and remains a classic. Bradbury wrote it in nine days on a typewriter in a library at the University of California Los Angeles.

There has been much discussion that has taken place over the years as to its meaning – was it a response to Nazi book burning?  An allegory of the McCarthy era and political censorship in the USA? A forewarning of the excesses of “political correctness”?  A story about television’s (or how about iPads) increasing omnipresence and the accompanying erosion of critical thinking? I’m not even sure Bradbury himself fully knew the meaning (as he wasn’t ever entirely forthcoming about why he wrote it.)

But what is it about this short little novel that seems to be able to stand the test of time? I think Neil Gaiman did an amazing job of summoning it up:

“Sometimes writers write about a world that does not yet exist,” Neil Gaiman begins his Introduction to the 60th Anniversary Edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451:

 This is a book of warning. It is a reminder that what we have is valuable, and that sometimes we take what we value for granted….

 People think—wrongly—that speculative fiction is about predicting the future, but it isn’t; or if it is, it tends to do a rotten job of it….

 What speculative fiction is really good at is not the future but the present—taking an aspect of it that troubles or is dangerous, and extending and extrapolating that aspect into something that allows the people of that time to see what they are doing from a different angle and from a different place. It’s cautionary.

 Fahrenheit 451 is speculative fiction. It’s an “If this goes on…” story. Ray Bradbury was writing about his present, which is our past.

In our life we are faced with the same day to day challenges that Bradbury faced. At times we shake our heads at the constant polarization around us, the constant bickering, the push – pull within society and we stop and ask the same question- “If this goes on…”

It is difficult to look around society and think will it ever get better than this. Most of us would go so far as to say no. But I have a feeling that it’s quite possible we can move beyond the hopeless and see some light ahead to pave our way forward.

Bradbury ends Fahrenheit 451 with hope & faith in a better future. There are many that would disagree with me. And they have every right to think I am wrong. The town has been flattened by bombs, but the books of history, faith, fantasy, and all genres live in the “Book People.”

“They plan to pass this knowledge onto their children and wait until society needs that knowledge again. They don’t have long to wait because several bombs hit the city while they are hiking that day. After weathering the shock waves from the blast, they turn back; civilization needs them. On the way, Montag begins to remember Ecclesiastes.”

By ending this novel with the destruction of the city and the world as they knew it, Bradbury gives the idea that changes are coming and this civilization will change and grow, and rebuild (like the mythical phoenix to which Granger refers in the end.)

“A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak,” Montag thinks as the book people move up the river at the end of the story.

I’m very passionate about my beliefs. I find myself on most days biting my tongue. I’ve learned I’m normally stuck in the middle like a small child in a divorce. But there comes a time when I have step out and voice what I feel is injustice.

That’s why I love Dystopian Fiction: It makes us say “I wish I had this courage…”

What about you dear reader- Is there something in life you should have spoken up about but never did…? If so, why not…?

Surviving Henry Review- @ErinTYoung #BookReview #asmsg #ACFW

Erin+Taylor+Youngs+BookErin Taylor Young has penned a book that left me completely tuned into the story, earning me strange looks in coffee shops and from across the room as I could not find a way to contain my laughter.

I can honestly say that after three chapters Erin Taylor Young had become one of my new favorite authors. By page 29 I was smiling, by page 30 I was laughing, and by the time Henry met Angel (The owner of his K9 University) I found myself unable to put the book down, as I read up until two in the morning.

Surviving Henry is not your typical run of the mill Dog Book- It’s a story of a rogue K9 that loves life and teaches his owners to do the same. As I read I was reminded of some of my favorite dog movies growing up (Turner and Hooch, Homeward Bound, and of course the classic Lassie) however, Henry beats them all in both laughter and lesson…

Erin shows us through her relationship with Henry a life lesson in God’s unconditional love.

This is one book I plan to keep on my shelf and re-read from time to time.

My Friend Louie is OUT!!!!! #MFLouie #99cents #ASMSG

9465038_origMy new novella is now available on Kindle, Smashwords, and other devices where ebooks are sold.

I really hope everyone enjoys it, I definitely enjoyed the journey I took while writing it.

On a side note, if you have time today stop by http://www.kirstinpulioff.com/ and check out her incredible review of the book.

 

TOMORROW IS THE DAY!!!! My Friend Louie is Available Tomorrow #ASMSG

jeremy_final_websizeTomorrow is the Day…

Tomorrow my new novella My Friend Louie will be hitting the ebook market. I’m very excited about the release of this little story and I hope everyone enjoys it.

My Friend Louie is a twisted story of a Bi-Polar fifteen year old boy and his baseball bat. Caught between the pain of his parents divorce and a ruthless bully down the street, Michael Davis feels neglected and worthless, until he meets Louie. Now Michael feels a power that gives him confidence while also causing him concern about who he is becoming.

Launching at only $0.99 cents…