The Queen and the Handyman by Maria Tatham

The Queen and the Handyman


by Maria Tatham

Marta is almost a Queen. The only surviving child of the King and Queen of Zuphof, she will soon be crowned. When the carefully-guarded secret of her father’s fate is not guarded carefully enough, she discovers he may not be dead. Marta impulsively steals away to Count Drugen’s castle, his last known location. With only the palace handyman, Trimble, to assist her, and despite the growing improbability of the king’s survival and increasing dangers, Marta pushes on to demand the truth of King Peter’s fate. Her faith and her courage will be tried, and the cost of knowing may be her life. Guarding her life is Trimble, who has his own mysteries to hide.

Maria weaves an elegant and fanciful tale of human flaws and heavenly grace. Marta is lovable in the foolishness of youth, striving to exercise her fledgling wisdom, stumbling again and again upon the error of trusting her own impressions.

This is not your ordinary fairy tale. Spiritual battles weave themselves among the physical perils. Mythic creatures appear to challenge Marta’s grasp of reality, but quickly fit in to the story to emphasize fundamental truths.

I had to take back my “Never Do This” ban on multiple-character introductions at the beginning of the book because Maria’s writing is so skillful and graceful. With flair, she presents a room full of people of all types and occupations. No confusion ensued, and I didn’t have to muddle through. Main characters were central and supporting cast was appropriately described. Hopefully, Maria will write an article for me to link or post explaining how she accomplished it. It was fantastic!

Maria poses a point of view contrary to the traditional tale of good and evil. Worldly wisdom is challenged, and “natural” reactions are rejected in favor of a thoughtful approach to even the direst circumstances. Deep and abiding hope covers all, as the characters face trials small and big with deep courage and trust in God. Even the characters’ mistakes fit into the tapestry of the story, giving opportunity for other characters to show their true colors.

The Queen and the Handyman is a book with depth and thought-provoking lessons that I would recommend to all ages.

Buy The Queen and the Handyman at Amazon!

By at http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61739-972-5

Visit Maria’s website http://christianfantasyforwomen.com/

 

Disposable People by Ezekel Alan

Disposable People

by Ezekel Alan

Poverty and desperation describe the start of life for Kenneth E.S. Lovelace, or Kenny. Born into a squatters village called a “Depression” in 1970’s Jamaica, he struggles with all the dangers and trials of poverty. He and his kind, living in one-room self-built houses on someone else’s land, are “Disposable People.” Kenny shows us his world through a collection of diary entries written to Semicolon, his true love. Peppered with bits of his writing collection, poetry, and reminiscence over time we gradually hear his tale. This novel takes a train-of-thought approach to Kenny’s experiences. A progression of understanding, rather than a chronology, takes the reader scene by scene through his childhood and out of the “Depression”, or “That hateful f***ing place”, and into his life as a successful author, far from the squalor of his childhood.

Ezekel Alan’s book wowed me on so many levels. Kenny is thoughtful and honest, confessing all his sins to Semicolon.  Ezekel displays gorgeous poetry, joy, beauty, culture, ideals, horror, sin, murder, fear, suspicion and faith, all surging through his tale. The graphic nature of many of Kenny’s experiences are often witnessed while Kenny and his cousins eavesdropped without shame “because we all knew that everything we did was being quietly observed by the cold unblinking eyes of Eternity.” It’s all part of the honesty and depth of every bit of the book. Kenny bared his soul to Semicolon, telling her what he experienced and valued, but also what he felt, learned, and how he failed. Scandalous or horrific scenes are highlighted with a knowing, dark humor, but contain profound lessons learned.

There seemed to be a kind of love/hate relationship between Kenny and his old home. Though he describes it with stark and unforgiving frankness, he does so with an underlying pride and affection.

Even the source of the book is mysterious and poetic, “A Novel Inspired by True Events”. Somehow I heard the voice of my own grandmother, transported across time, culture, race, and nationality. I guess some opinions appear everywhere: “If he had gone to church, none of this would have ever happened to him.”

Buy it on Amazon!

To learn more about the author go to  http://ezekelalan.com/

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Farsighted

By Emlyn Chand

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: Four out of Five Stars

Bonus! This blog tour has a $100 prize for one random commenter as chosen by random.org. Leave comments on this post your chance to win! You can also visit other tour hosts and leave comments on their blogs to enter for the random commenter prize.

This is my first Blog Tour participation. I’m a person who learns by doing, so this is me doing. My review will live at the “Book Reviews” page.

Description:

Alex Kosmitoras, blind from birth, is an otherwise normal high school boy, until he develops powers of foretelling the future, as well as perceiving events currently happening elsewhere. His new friends Simmi and Shapri, two girls in his class, have been drawn to him because they also have powers. Simmi can affect people’s moods and Shapri can speak to the dead. Shortly after meeting Simmi, Alex begins to have feelings for her. Then he has a vision of her gruesome death. Prevention of this disaster becomes his obsession, compelling him to hone his powers and push his own boundaries. Alex must crack the mystery of his  visions and stop a telekinetic boy named Dax from killing the girl he loves.

Review:

Farsighted was exciting and engaging. Emlyn’s characters were lovable and she made me want to know what happened to them.

Alex’s bravery through his challenges and his manliness was refreshing and made me respect him. I connected with him from the first few pages, loving his frank perspective and unique challenges. His many, shifting emotions were dead-on for a sixteen-year-old boy, and they enriched the story. I really enjoyed the view into his sightless world under the context that he had never seen before. Omitting that aspect from his descriptions made the descriptions sizzle, and that takes talent. Only once or twice did I think, “Would a blind boy be able to tell that was happening?” The plot engaged me as I was pulled through the book by the
momentum of the story, not left hanging by too much description or rabbit trails.

A few of the dramatic scenes seemed rushed. With all the great emotional description of Alex’s feelings through the rest of the book, I was surprised how little some of the big scenes were explored in this way. The scenes of Alex’s dad’s disappearance and reappearance, the false breakup with Simmi, the fake romance with Shapri, Alex’s mom knowing the whole time about his powers, and the final confrontation with Dax left me wishing for more details, particularly in how everyone felt. The characters’ feelings here so richly described elsewhere that I expected it to flow through the whole narrative.

The description of Alex’s identification of people by their smell, and his awareness of what was happening through sound was fantastic. I wanted to hear all about his perceptions and impressions in this unique perspective.

Alex’s numerous and dramatic visions belied the quick ending. There was so much buildup to the horror of Simmi’s death and the evil nature of Dax that the tame ending felt a bit like an anticlimax. This is truer with real life than with a novel, and I felt Emlyn could have gotten more out of her ending.

The segue into a second book was obvious, but not so abrupt that I felt cheated. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series!