Hi Reading Friends! We have a treat for you–a guest post by Peter Younghusband! Peter is one of our earliest subscriber friends and is our special guest all the way from Australia! We’ve asked him to share with you about his Christian Fiction Review blog. Be sure to check it out and sign up for his newsletter with his reviews on Christian fiction. Now, here’s Peter!
Welcome, Peter! First, please tell us the name of your blog and where we can find you.
My blog is called Peter Younghusband’s Christian Fiction Review. The address to my Christian Fiction Review site is http://www.christianfictionreviewguru.blogspot.com.
Please tell us when and how you began your book review blog.
I started the blog in October 2013 when an author, Steve Goodwin (http://www.stevegoodwin.org/), contacted me to say thanks for a very comprehensive review of his first book. He had investigated my other reviews on Amazon and suggested that I should start a blog as he believed my reviews, being longer and more comprehensive, would encourage authors and readers alike.
My blog is targeted towards anyone who enjoys the genres of:
· spiritual warfare involving angels and demons,
· edgy speculative Christian fiction
· horror from a Biblical point of view
· Christian special ops, military
· supernatural themes
· Nephilim related (Genesis 6:4)
· Christian mystery/thriller
· Christian science fiction or fantasy
· Christian time travel
· Christian Steampunk
Could you please share with our readers the criteria you follow in choosing books you will review?
First, it has to be by a Christian author. I like the description to indicate that it is Bible-based, and as a bonus it would imply or state that it does not detract from the Bible or its doctrines, it will honour God and not just entertain but have an encouraging message.
I also love it when the author is a new author. If I am able to, I will try to review their novels. This is one reason my blog exists: to promote and encourage new authors and their books to potential readers.
The cover has to grab me as well. More and more authors nowadays are realising that they cannot spend years devoting themselves to the planning, researching, writing, editing, and the publishing process and not devote similar time (well, not years!) to creating/developing a suitable cover that will reflect what their book is about and grab the reader’s attention. So many times, I have been very impressed with the book description and want to read the book, but the cover is of poor quality, boring and uninviting, and I have passed on the book only to discover from someone else or from the reviews that it is a great book.
Other times, I have taken a risk despite the lackluster and uninviting cover and the book has been just fantastic. The former is not what an author or potential reader wants. The cover should grab the reader’s attention instantly and demand to be bought and read. The cover can be almost a masterpiece as the novel should be as well. It can be a novel’s best public relations tool.
I check out the author’s website, Amazon author page, reviews, twitter profile, Facebook author page, or book page, as I want to know as much as possible about the author before I buy. This gives me a good handle on whether this book is going to entertain, edify, and educate me from a Christian/biblical world view.
If the author has included poetic license to enhance a biblical theme, or explore the question of “What if…….” then I am more than interested, as I love the edgy, speculative element. For example, what if a vampire got saved? Could a Nephilim be forgiven? What if you could time travel to the time of Christ? What if God gave you special powers to use for the advancement of the Gospel, how would you use it? Does a human clone have a soul and could they be saved? This list is endless and offers some fantastic plot lines for the creative Christian author to promote the Gospel, and show what God is all about while entertaining and taking the reader for a wild ride.
Author, reader/friend, and publisher recommendations play an important part as well. The more I know of these sources, the more I am geared to read that particular book.
What is a favorite book that you have reviewed?
Two books stand out as favourites (though there are many more!)—
Bruecke to Heaven: Children of the Light by Timothy Tron
When two of Jesus’ seventy disciples are sent into the wilderness, they find themselves in a remote Alpine valley delivering the Word of God to an ancient people. A miraculous event occurs and they realize they are not only to give them the Word, but the abilities and gifts that go with it; one of which becomes memorization. Centuries later, when the people of the valley are asked to leave their homelands because of their known gift, their memorization of the entire Bible, a journey and adventure like none other begins. They quickly learn they had been imbued with more than just one ability, and soon, their bridge to Heaven becomes a race for their lives.
What impressed me about this story is that the author is a descendant of the “ancient” people that he mentions in this novel and some of the events are based on his ancestors’ lives. I am eagerly waiting for the sequel to this one.
Guardians of Eden by Graham Carter
A thousand years have passed since Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden. Their descendants have multiplied and spread across the face of the planet. In recent times rumours have begun to spread regarding a strange race of beings, the Nephilim, said to be the giant offspring of unholy alliances between the fallen sons of God and women of great beauty.
Life in Thalan’s tiny, seaside village seems a world away from such events until the day servants of a Nephilim king arrive looking for him. Could it be that seventeen-year-old Thalan holds the key to the downfall of these powerful giants? And what is the significance of the ancient prophecy about the seed of Eve crushing the serpent’s head? The answers lie in a quest to find the legendary Garden of Eden and the fabled Tree of Life that stands in its midst. But can Thalan and his brother survive the hostile journey to the other side of the world to find out?
This is one of the better novels concerning the Nephilim and this novel is researched extensively. What impressed me is how the author tied an artifact from this story all the way to the Cross of Christ at the Crucifixion and how he constructed this account was one of the most beautifully described I have read. I wept reading this section as it really does bless you and uplift you spiritually.
Please tell us about the award system you follow.
When I started my blog, I began to explore what I expected in Christian fiction and after much thought, I identified that I expect Christian fiction to have:
· entertained me immensely,
· encouraged my walk with God,
· not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not, as far as I discern, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine,
· honoured God,
· not encouraged worship of the created (e.g. angels) instead of the Creator (God).
If it includes a topic that the Bible is silent on, I don’t get too concerned as long as it:
· does not conflict with or undermine the Bible or doctrine,
· does not dishonour God,
· does not have the potential to give the reader a misleading impression of what God and Christianity is,
· generally meets the expectations mentioned previously. If it does, then this will show in my review.
However, I do respect the author’s right for poetic license. This usually encourages me to contact the author to find out what their motive was in going down this path. This helps me understand their mind set.
There is another reviewer, David Bergsland, who is also an author, whose passion is for quality Christian fiction that showcases what Christianity is about and shows who Christ is in fiction, and when he saw some similar qualities in my reviews, he asked me to join his review blog and post my reviews there as well.
In the past 12 months, David Bergsland developed Awards to show the Christian/spiritual/biblical aspects of an author’s work. These awards are based on a booklet he wrote called A Spiritual System for Rating Books. It is free for download (click on the booklet’s title) or for a small cost on Amazon.
David Bergsland felt that this rating system and their associated Awards were necessary as he quotes,
“Many so-call Christian books available are so worldly, surely they couldn’t be written by believers – or could they? As I started researching this years ago, sometimes I was surprised, sometimes I was appalled, often I was just puzzled. I mean, if you’re going to write heathen books, why pretend they are something they are not? Why call books Christian, if they have no Christian content?”
The following links are taken from the Reality Calling website, David Bergsland’s base for his ministry.
—What is our vision? Discerning the spiritual levels of Christian fiction | Reality Calling
—Four levels of Christian fiction: A call for reality with our characters… | Reality Calling
—Award: Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction by Reality Calling | Reality Calling
—Award: Christian Redemptive Romances by Reality Calling | Reality Calling
—Award: Christian Spirit-Filled Speculative Fiction by Reality Calling | Reality Calling
—Award: Christian Spirit-Filled Romance by Reality Calling | Reality Calling
—Award: Christian Religious Fiction by Reality Calling | Reality Calling
Feedback from the authors who have received these awards has been very positive and they see this as one confirmation that they are in God’s will to write for Him and honour Him in their work. The Awards give readers confirmation that they will have novels that are biblically-based, uplifting in their faith, and showcase the many attributes of God, the many doctrines of the Bible, and have Christian content.
For the first few Award recipients, I create a special post for them and they can be found here, but then I felt that the Award should be part of my review of that book, so I started including them in the review. An example can be found here for Dark Hearted, Book Two of The COIL Series by D.I. Telbat.
Thank you, Dee, for hosting me as a guest blogger on the Telbat’s Tablet site. I have been very blessed, strengthened in my faith by reading David Telbat’s books and these have been a highlight of my reading experience. It has been my pleasure to support David in his ministry through my review blog.
Dee: Praise the Lord, Peter! And our thanks to you for sharing about your blog with us! David Telbat and I are both happy that you are enjoying his books and we really appreciate your in-depth, quality reviews of his work.
Reader Friends, thank you for joining us today for this guest post by Peter Younghusband. We’ve had other guest posts in the past. You may like to read, “Melanie of Christian Bookshelf Reviews” and, “God Takes a Prayer and Turns it Into a Ministry.”
Here is a link to Peter’s review of Dark Edge, the FREE Prequel to The COIL Series by D.I. Telbat, and Peter’s review of Dark Liaison, Book One, if you would like to read them. You can find the review here for Dark Hearted, Book Two. Peter is reading the rest of The COIL Series so those reviews will be coming. Again, you can find his Christian Fiction Review site here, and you can follow him on Twitter here!
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