Tag Archives: redemption

Review: Dark Star, by Creston Mapes

Dark Star, by Creston Mapes (Multnomah, 2005) Dark Star, by Creston Mapes

Rock idol Everett Lester has dragged himself and his band from sordid beginnings to the peak of fame—and into as many excesses and vices as he can find. Through it all, two women hold increasing influence in his life: Endora Crystal, his personal psychic, and Karen Bayliss, a young stranger whose letters say she’s praying for him.

The novel is written in two intertwining threads: Everett’s past leading up to his present, and his present, told in the form of an autobiography written from prison while he’s on trial for murder.

It’s a dark tale of redemption, with elements of spiritual warfare and the occult. Some readers may be uncomfortable with scenes of Endora’s tarot cards in use. She does have power, which Christian readers would recognize as not the power of the occult but the power of the devil working through her.

I found the book a good read, although some aspects of the ending didn’t work for me. What I enjoyed was watching Everett discover the Light and then learn how to live it out as his world fell apart.

I love what Karen says to Everett at one point:

What do you think, that God’s looking at you going ‘Oh my! This Lester is a bad one… I better stay away from him, or he’ll rub off on Me?’ You think you scare Him? You think He doesn’t know your problems or can’t overcome your sin? He’s God, for heaven’s sake. [page 172]

Good message for any of us.No one's too far gone for redemption. If you liked Dark Star, try Heaven's Prey.

Dark Star was Creston Mapes’ first novel, followed by book 2 in the Rock Star Chronicles series, Full Tilt, and a number of Christian suspense novels. For more about the author, visit crestonmapes.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Christmas in Shades of Gray, by Tina Pinson

Christmas in Shades of Gray, by Tina PinsonChristmas in Shades of Gray, by Tina Pinson (Desert Breeze Publishing, 2013)

We meet David Pareman as a terminally ill man in hospital, bitter and alone. There’s something about his voice, though, that appeals. I bought the novel after reading the opening online. Listen to how he describes himself:

It’s Christmas time, but I’m not feeling altogether festive. Given the strands of tubing attached to me and all the off sounding carols played by the machines keeping track of my body rhythms, and the packages of blood and saline tied up neatly on stands, I could be the Christmas tree… I am a Christmas tree. A Charlie Brown special—weak and spindly. [Kindle locations 83 and 203]

Chemotherapy is poisoning David, and the morphine makes him hallucinate. Still, his mysterious visitor, Arion, seems like more than a figment of the medication. In Christmas Carol style, Arion whisks David out of the hospital bed and into scenes from his past: unflattering scenes that reveal David at his worst.

Tina Pinson is wise to introduce us to David in a way that builds sympathy, because he is not a likeable man. He has ruined many lives, and parts of his story are hard to read. He finds them hard to watch, here at the end of his life.

The search for something—anything—redeeming in David’s and his children’s lives brings only despair. Reading, I assumed that Arion’s insistence on a reason why God should answer David’s prayer for his children was to bring David to realize he can’t earn favour and needs to ask for grace.

Christmas in Shades of Gray is a satisfying tale. The ending is hopeful yet realistic, and there’s a twist I didn’t see coming. If David’s sordid life tempts you to stop reading, push through to the end. It’s worth it.

Tina Pinson’s website says that she “started writing in elementary school. (it was that or get in trouble for lying).” She’s the author of the Shadows (American Civil War) series plus 5 other novels including Christmas in Shades of Gray.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Heaven’s Prey Facebook Party Tonight

Heaven's Prey Facebook PartyCome and join the conversation … and maybe win a prize! Click the image to go to the event on my Facebook page for more information, or to sign up. When the party starts, there’ll be clear directions on how to join in. I just wish we could serve some real food!

Also… today’s the final day for the Heaven’s Prey blog chase. The chase posts will still be available tomorrow, but we draw for the free book tonight 🙂 Haven’t taken the chase yet? Click here to start running:

Heaven's Prey Blog Chase graphic

News About Heaven’s Prey

Today is release day for Heaven’s Prey! I’m now a published novelist, and some of my imaginary friends are venturing out into the world. This is a long-held dream for me, and I still can’t quite believe it’s coming true. (Yes, even after all those edits!)

I’m doing a lot of online interviews and guest posts to promote Heaven’s Prey, and they’ll all be listed on the blog tour page. (Links will be added as the events go live.) I’d love to have you pop by some of the sites and say hello.

Some other things I wanted to share with you:

We have some special incentives for those who buy the paperback version. click the banner below to find out more about these limited-time options (and where to order online):Heaven's Prey Book Blast

The Heaven’s Prey blog chase is on until Nov. 7, with a chance to win a copy of the novel. Click the banner below to jump to the first stop on the chase.Heaven's Prey Blog Chase graphic

Goodreads members can enter to win one of two print copies of Heaven’s Prey.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Heaven's Prey by Janet Sketchley

Heaven’s Prey

by Janet Sketchley

Giveaway ends November 11, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Heaven’s Prey: the villain

Dressed in prison drab, Harry Silver lounges in his chair in the visiting room. His dark hair could use a trim. He pins you with mocking blue eyes. He speaks:

Understand one thing. If this were real, I wouldn’t be talking to you. Period. Some tabloid journalist came once, and I was bored enough to see him. Wanted the inside scoop on what I’d done, what it felt like … [Harry’s lip curls] Your nice little Christian blogger here wouldn’t dare print the language I used to tell him off.

[He scans the tiny room.] I was a champion race car driver, until the governing body stripped me of my title. On the track, behind the wheel, I was alive. There’s not much life in here. Just memories: of speed, and of the twisted passions that destroyed my career.

Such beautiful women … I couldn’t stop, didn’t dare ask for help. That would have ended things even faster. The last one—Susan—why did she have to be a Christian? How dare she forgive me? She paid, let me tell you. She paid. But at night, even in this miserable place … I still hear her voice. [His fingers dig into his hair as if trying to hold his head together.] I still hear those words: “Jesus loves you.”

cover art: Heaven's Prey by Janet Sketchley[He spits a stream of curses we don’t need to hear. Glares.] I don’t want God’s forgiveness! And He’s not getting mine. He took everything I’ve ever loved. Except racing. I took that from myself. If you want the details, read my story.

Heaven’s Prey. [He makes air quotes.] If God is chasing me, it’s not to rescue me like Susan said. It’s for judgment, not mercy. Even I don’t think I deserve to live.

I can tell you, though, I’m in this mess because little choices add up. I didn’t wake up one morning and say “Hey, I think I’ll become a serial rapist-murderer today. Just for kicks. They’ll all be young, blond. So what if it finishes me?”

I’d give anything to go back and undo the mess I’ve made. But it’s too late. Eight lives too late.


Link: Heaven’s Prey page.

Here’s the Cover for Heaven’s Prey

cover art: Heaven's Prey by Janet Sketchley

I’m blown away, and so happy to finally see what Ruth looks like. Our cover designer really captured the feel of the novel.

What do you think?

[Clicking the cover will take you to Heaven’s Prey on Amazon.com (affiliate link for Choose NOW Publishing). To see more of designer Christina Fuselli’s work, visit Fueslli Art and Design.]