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CSFF December Blog Tour ~ Day 3 The Fatal Tree

Welcome to the final CSFF blog tour of 2014
This month we are reviewing and discussing The Fatal Tree
the final book in Stephen Lawhead's Bright Empires series.

The Fatal Tree
Bright Empire #5

I received a copy of The Fatal Tree from Thomas Nelson in conjunction with this CSFF Blog Tour in exchange for tour participation and my honest review.

All 5 books are available for purchase at the following:

or as a preorder Kindle 5-in-1 bundle 
available 1.6.15

Visit Stephen Lawhead online or on Facebook 

Thanks for joining us and it's not too late to check out all the tour stops!


CSFF December Tour ~ The Fatal Tree Day 2

Welcome to the final CSFF blog tour of 2014
This month we are reviewing and discussing The Fatal Tree
the final book in Stephen Lawhead's Bright Empires series.

The Fatal Tree
Bright Empire #5

It starts with odd little wrinkles in reality and when the anomalies accumulate to a level that a dimension can no longer sustain - that dimension along with all those living in it will be extinguished as if they had never existed...
is here and we are about to slip over a cosmic cliff.

Our questors have been separated by both time and space.  The ley lines have become unreliable as the anomalies increase.  And the physical side effects are increasing with each jump making each trip increasingly dangerous.  But the Spirit Well must be reached and they have to discover a way around the Fatal Tree which now guards that which they seek.

One man may have the knowledge they seek, but can they trust the man who has sought to destroy them?  And what ulterior motives could Archelaeus Burleigh be hiding?  Kit knows that the man responsible for his great grandfather's death can't be trusted but Mina, Cass, and Gianni feel that the preservation of the Omniverse is worth the risk.

In this the final book we revisit scenes from the previous books but from the viewpoint of other characters who were part of the original scene.  A true merging of past, present and future. 

Get ready to go on an adventure that will test your ability to adapt and prepare to grow your mind! Paradoxes, Time loops, and Quantum mechanics, oh my!  The unknown is greater than you ever imagined and one misstep or decision can destroy it all!  Join me tomorrow for Day 3 and more about The Fatal Tree.

I received a copy of The Fatal Tree from Thomas Nelson in conjunction with this CSFF Blog Tour in exchange for tour participation and my honest review.

All 5 books are available for purchase at the following:

Visit Stephen Lawhead online or on Facebook 

Be sure to check out all the tour stops during the 3 day tour December 15 - 17, 2014

Exile ~ Review

A Novel of the Bloodforge 1
By Tom Stacey

Deep within the Widowpeak an ancient race is waiting to be awakened.  And two young boys are about to pay the price that the awakening will cost.  And the Verian Empire will soon teeter on the edge as it is falls to this hidden enemy - an enemy that take the appearance of those they hate.

There are those who have an awareness that something is not right.  But can they discover what is wrong before it is too late?  Heroes are few.  The army is far away.  Hope lies with a long forgotten warrior, a soldier who has lost his memory, a young woman who wants to forget her past, and a young man riddled by guilt.  The coming war is not for the faint of heart, if you hesitate you will die.

Exile will appeal to fans of epic fantasy.  This is a world who's very survival is in question as it fights a war it never saw coming.  Battles will be lost and won, but the war is just beginning.

Some secrets should never be discovered...
   Barde jerked a thumb at the portal into the
   To Loster it looked like the maw of some fell beast waiting to swallow the 
   two small boys. “We don’t know what’s in there...”
   “Afraid are we? That makes sense at your age.” Loster scowled. The 
   challenging voice in his head was strangely silent on this matter. Instead it 
   seemed that his older brother had taken its place.
   “I’m not afraid, I just...” he paused. “It’s that.” He pointed at the mosaic. 
   “We don’t know what it means.”
   “So let’s find out,” said Barde.
   They stepped through the doorway into the Widowpeak, though both took 
   care to walk around the dark figure on the floor.
We know not what we are about to unleash with a single decision.

I was provided a copy of this book through PUYB in exchange for my honest review and my tour participation.

About the Author:
Tom Stacey is an English author of the fantasy novel, Exile. Tom was born in
Essex, England, and has lived there his whole life. He began writing at school,
Displaying Tom Stacey.jpgoften taking responsibility for penning the class plays, or writing sketches with his friends. While attending university to read history, Tom developed his writing by creating several short stories, some of which would later become to basis for his debut novel, Exile.

Tom self-published Exile in summer 2014 and is currently working on the sequel as well as another unrelated novel. He earns a living as a video producer in London in the day and writes at night, a bit like a really underwhelming superhero.

For More Information:

• Visit Tom Stacey’s website.
• Connect with Tom on Facebook and Twitter.
• Find out more about Tom at Goodreads.
• Visit Tom’s blog.
• More books by Tom Stacey.
Contact Tom.

About the Book:

On the fringes of the Verian Empire, two small boys stumble upon a strange
altar, buried in the heart of a mountain. There they awaken a horror unseen
for generations, that will descend upon the realm of men while it is at its
weakest. For Veria is a nation at war with itself, only recently recovered from
a bloody rebellion, and the time of heroes has passed. The empire is in a state
of chaos, and while its ruler, the Empron Illis, rids the land of his remaining
enemies, unseen forces are gathering at the borders. However all eyes are
turned inwards. The Empron is not a well man, and there are whispers among
the common folk that his advisors are spies; demons that only wear the flesh of

Yet there is hope...

In the distant mountains, a forester who has buried his past learns that he has
not been forgotten, and that his crimes have sought him out at last. But he is
no simple woodsman. He is Beccorban the Helhammer, Scourge, Burner and the
Death of Nations, and his fury is a terrible thing.

For when all the heroes are gone, Veria will turn to those it has forgotten,
before all is lost.

Title: Exile
Author: Tom Stacey
Publisher: Tom Stacey
Pages: 389
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Format: Kindle

For More Information: 
• Exile is available at Amazon.
• Pick up your copy at Barnes and Noble.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Displaying Exile banner.jpg


CSFF December Tour ~ The Fatal Tree Day 1

Welcome to the final CSFF blog tour of 2014
This month we are reviewing and discussing The Fatal Tree
the final book in Stephen Lawhead's Bright Empires series.

The Fatal Tree
Bright Empire #5
By Stephen Lawhead

Today I'm taking a look back at the series up to this point and if you haven't read the books this 
will give you a brief insight into the series.  
(And if you haven't read the previous four 4 books you need to!) 

The Universe is vast- more vast than most people can possible fathom.  There are billions of galaxies in our Universe alone.  In addition there an unknown number of dimensions as equally vast as our own Universe.  If you don't believe me just ask Kit Livingstone (if you can find him, that is!)

The Bright Empire series by Stephen R Lawhead opens with The Skin Map.  In this we are introduced to Cosimo "Kit" Christopher Livingstone who is about to begin the adventure of a lifetime.  Kit is about to follow his great-grandfather Cosimo Livingstone on a search for the Skin Map, a search that will span centuries and dimensions.  A search that could destroy everything in the omniverse if they accidently change history in just one dimension.

But what is this Skin Map and why is it so sought after?  The skin map was created by Arthur Flinders-Petrie as a series of various symbols tattooed upon his body that were turned into parchment upon his death.  The greatest of his various mapped symbols lead to the greatest of treasures - the Well of Souls.

But nothing is ever easy and Kit, his great-grandfather and the Questors are not the only ones seeking the map.  Burley and his men are seeking it too and he plans to use the power he would gain in untold evil.

But due to his inexperience Kit, Cosimo and Sir Henry have a secondary quest, to rescue Kit's girlfriend Wilhelmina "Mina" from whatever time/dimension she was pulled into.  But nothing ever goes as planned and the three are separated.  The Skin Map is filled with unexpected twists and turns up until the very end so that you are left wondering what comes next in The Bone House book 2.

The Bright Empire series by Stephen R Lawhead continues with The Bone House.  

With the unexpected deaths of Cosimo Livingstone and Sir Henry at the hands of Archelaeus Burleigh, Kit  must rely on the Ley traveling skills that Mina has developed since she was transported to 17th century Prague.

But with time/dimensional travel there are a variety of trips covered in The Bone House including Kit's visit to Egypt in 1822 where he meets up with Doctor Thomas Young who are both on a mission that was brought about by Mina. While Kit is in Egypt with Dr. Young, Mina and Giles are with Dr. Young in Edinburgh.

Arthur Flinders-Petrie's life is further revealed as are the exploits of his great-grandson Douglas Flinders-Petrie to obtain the Skin Map that Arthur created.

When Mina, Kit and Giles finally arrive at Mina's new home in Prague, they are shocked to discover the one man that they are trying to avoid is there!  Burleigh is in Prague and all too soon discovers that Kit and Giles did not die in the Egyptian tomb they were imprisoned in.  In their attempt to escape Burleigh, Giles is injured and Kit manages to make it to the Ley line that Mina had directed them to.  But Kit finds himself in the Stone Age where he makes a discovery he was not expecting the Bone House.

 The Bone House is filled with trips that span the centuries and the globe will leave you anticipating what will come next in The Spirit Well book 3.

The Bright Empire series by Stephen R Lawhead continues with The Spirit Well.  

The Bone House
 left us with Kit having discovered what he believes to be the Spirit Well, a conclusion he came to after observing Arthur Flinders-Petrie enter a deep water filled environment with a dead woman who is restored to life.

Mina, after being warned by Haven of Burleigh's suspicions, has left Prague in the hopes of somehow locating Kit.  When she can find no sign of him, Mina goes to Spain in the hopes that Brother Lazarus can help her in her quest.

Meanwhile we are introduced to Cassandra Clarke who, while on a dig in Arizona, discovers by accident the Ghost Walk.  But when she determines to study this phenomenon she jumps to other places and becomes lost to her time and place, ending up in 1950s Damascus.  There she finds the Zetetic Society who are seeking to achieve God's purpose for His creation - unity and harmony as the Creator intended and to be fully realised at "the end of time and the beginning of eternity.

In the Spirit Well we discover the circumstances that resulted in the creation of the Skin Map and its separation as well as Burleigh's discovery of the ley lines.

The Zetetic Society is searching for Sir Henry, Cosimo, and Kit who have disappeared along with Sir Henry's portion of the map.  The society feels that discovering them is of the highest priority and assign this task to Cassandra.

Treachery and betrayals abound as many search for the greatest discovery of Arthur Flinders-Petrie.  A discovery that Kit has discovered, but can he find his way back?

As is often mentioned by various characters throughout the series There are no coincidences.  There is a purpose behind everything that happens in our lives though we may not be able to ascertain it at the time.

The Spirit Well is filled with trips that span the centuries and the globe will leave you anticipating what will come next in The Shadow Lamp.

The Bright Empire series by Stephen R Lawhead continues with The Shadow Lamp.

Ley travel is imprecise, but it can be done to within a few days of when one wants to arrive, unless something goes wrong.  And as is often the case something does go wrong for several of our ley travelers.  But this is all part of the journey.  The journey to reach the Spirit Well that Kit discovered by accident when he was misdirected into the Stone Age.  But the Bone House is no longer accessible and a large tree is in its place.  And the gargantuan yew is channeling an enormous amount of energy from the ley in which it is growing.

Cassandra points out an amazing coincidence to Kit in that the yew tree is a symbol immortality and eternity and in a sense that is what they are searching for in the Spirit Well.  But little does Kit know that he may hold the answer to saving the Omniverse, the known and unknown, from complete and total annihilation!

Time from the first moments of Creation is at stake if the event that caused the imbalance is not found. The ever expanding universe is beginning to retract upon itself and time is growing short.  An act of Arthur Flinders-Petrie may destroy everything, and we will be alive to witness our own obliteration!

The Shadow Lamp will span centuries and dimensions and if you are very observant you just may see the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning in The Fatal Tree.

Get ready to go on an adventure that will test your ability to adapt and prepare to grow your mind! The unknown is greater than you ever imagined!  Join me tomorrow for Day 2 and more about The Fatal Tree.

All 5 books are available for purchase at the following:

Visit Stephen Lawhead online or on Facebook 

Be sure to check out all the tour stops during the 3 day tour December 15 - 17, 2014


Somehow Christmas Will Come ~ Review

Somehow Christmas Will Come
By Peggy Blann Phifer

Molly Dugan is worried about her brother Patrick.  He just hasn't sounded right since the death of his wife.  And then there is Bethany her 6 year old niece.  When she puts her life in Minnesota on hold to spend time with them in their home in Las Vegas the situation is worse than she imagined and it is about to get worse.

With the help of Bethany's grandmother Jessie and Pat's best friend Trace, Molly plans her new life with Bethany as very important part of it.  

And in the midst of their grief and upheaval this broken family comes together for healing as a new loving family.  And as Molly promises Bethany Christmas will come.  This is book is both lovely and heartbreaking at the same time.  The promise of Christmas shared is fulfilled and you will delight in it too.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT BOOK: When Molly Dugan’s best friend gets married and leaves St. Paul, Minnesota, to live in Georgia, Molly feels alone and plans a visit to her brother, Patrick, in Las Vegas. Molly had been worried about him ever since his wife died in a tragic boating accident. Grieving she could understand, but she sensed something deeper going on. And she was concerned about Patrick’s six-year-old daughter, Bethany. So she sets aside her life in St. Paul to spend an indeterminate time in Vegas. When Molly gets there, she finds more than she bargained on. And in the lead-up to Christmas, the situation only gets worse…. 6 year-old Bethany loses her last anchor. How does Molly convince her that somehow, Christmas will come.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, book reviewer and author interviewer, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader who loves to escape by diving between the covers of a good book. Peg enjoys handcrafts of all kinds and her home shows off some of her work, though most end up as gifts for friends and family. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband of 25 years, Jim.

Watch for the Light ~ Review

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas 
with writings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Annie Dillard, C. S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, and more
Released by Plough Publishing

Watch for the Light is a collection 45 selections to read and contemplate throughout the Advent season.  The selections are dated beginning with November 24th and continuing through January 7th (Epiphany).  

This book allows us to take a step back from the hectic and relentless pace we've let ourselves be caught up in, to truly grasp the meaning that this season should hold for us.  It's not endless activities - parties, programs, present buying, year-end brag-bemoan letters.  But rather this is a time of remembered celebration of a simple, humble birth and a life of sacrifice that ended not on a cross but continues yet today and is endless.

If you have ever wondered what it's all about take the time to Watch for the Light and reawaken the wonder of the season in your life this year.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Plough Publishing House through Handlebar in exchange for my honest review.

The Book:

 Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there's a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season. Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us--not only during Advent, but every day. Whether sampled at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase "holiday preparations" new depth and meaning. Includes writings by John Donne, Meister Eckhart, Dorothy Day, T. S. Eliot, Gustavo Gutierrez, Eberhard Arnold, G. M. Hopkins, Martin Luther, Edith Stein, Thomas Aquinas, Dorothee Soelle, Philip Yancey, and others. 

From Publishers Weekly:
   It's hard to go wrong with writers such as these. . . . Born of obvious passion and graced with superb writing, this collection is a welcome--even necessary--addition.


Demon's Heart ~ Review

Demon's Heart
By Emily H. Bates

All his life Rustav has been the victim of his uncle's abuse, but no more.  Rustav is determined to leave the abuse, the hate, and the beatings behind forever.  He's running and he is willing to enter the Forest and face the demons that live within to escape.

But his escape is halted at the very edge of the forest when he succumbs to the injuries his uncle inflicted.  But there is something about the mountain village of Gebir that holds him, so that he delays his plans to escape while his injuries heal. As he heals he makes friends with Dantzel and her mother Anna, young Cabel, and Anton.  And yet the forest calls to him - he hears the whispers - and the call is strong.

When Rustav's past finds him in Gebir, he must again flee the Guard who have tracked him.  As he makes his escape, he takes the time to warn those who have come to mean the most to him.  And to his surprise Dantzel escapes with him into the forest.

But the forest hides a powerful secret, a secret that could cost Rustav and Dantzel their present, as well as, their pasts and their futures.  Can they escape the forest before it is too late and Courei falls to the demons and those who would see the nation fall?  And will Rustav discover the truth of who he truly is?

Demon's Heart is a thoroughly engaging book that you won't want to put down.  The only draw back is that book two has not yet come out.  This is one book that you'll want to read multiple times, looking for hints and clues you might have missed the first time through.  And there are various factions at work and one is left wondering (like Rustav) who can be trusted in this fight for control of Courei and her people!

Debut author Emily H. Bates has created a world you'll want to revisit which in my opinion is the highest praise one can give.

I was provided an advanced review copy of this book by Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.

About the book:
Young ruffian Rustav is determined to escape his abusive uncle and hated homeland, even if it means braving the demon-infested forest. His escape is halted, however, when a race of legendary beings reveal him to be the country’s fabled heir. As the people rally around him, Rustav teeters precariously between raising his people from the dust—or destroying them from the inside.
Demon's Heart blog tour
About the author:
Emily H. Bates grew up in Northern California, where she spent much of her young life happily closeted away with a book. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in German Linguistics, married a dashing young man from her study abroad in Germany, and now writes novels in English. She currently resides in Washington with her husband and her very busy daughter.