The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald

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(I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.)
This book was an absolute delight to read. It has a little bit of everything: adventure, battles, political intrigue, betrayal, friendships, danger, legendary creatures, dragons, fairies, gnomes and so much more!
I loved that it centers around an eccentric home school family, and, no, not a denim skirt wearing family, just a normal home school family. (NO offense if you wear jean skirts.) The Larcens are fun, relatable, and just a little crazy.
Describing this book is hard because it has so many elements that would normally turn me off from a book: it’s safe, it’s Christian fantasy, it’s safe. LOL. I don’t need to put any sort of warning on it. There is no language. The kids are smart and not rebellious. The romance is sweet, mild, and not acted upon by either party. It has a family that trust the Lord and loves each other. There is nothing here that isn’t good and wholesome. Most books that I can say this about are also boring, badly written, preachy, and trite.
Not The Tethered World.
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Map of the Tethered World.(Supplied by H. FitzGerald.)

 

When their parents disappear, the Larcen children have their lives turned upside down and the adventure begins.
The mythological creatures are handled perfectly: just different enough to be interesting and just familiar enough to tie them to other stories. The struggles faced by Sadie as she tackles a world she only wants to leave are real and relatable without being annoying. Sophie is my heart and I love her to death. She spends most of the adventure trying not to have too much fun. Brady grows into a man by fighting and sacrificing himself, and Brock finds his place. (Brock’s story is one of the great joys of this book.)
If you have a kid, boy or girl, who loved Narnia this is the next book for them. It’s written very much with Lewis’ world in mind and has much of the same feel. Danger and struggles are there, but not so detailed or dark that they overwhelm the story.
This is a great book to read to introduce the wide world of fantasy to adults and children alike.
So, I say this story is safe in the same way I would say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is safe. It has moments of great darkness, but also great joy. It has moments that made me chuckle and laugh while I read, and moments that brought me to tears.
If you are tired of YA books that seem to have far more Adult and not enough Young, if you want a story about kids who aren’t so worried about boyfriends and girlfriends, but about taking care of their family, if you want faith that isn’t preachy, and if you want good fun adventure, check out The Tethered World.
On a personal note, I’ve worked with Heather for a couple years now on her writing and her on mine. She was one of the earliest members of the Manet Writing Group that I founded and a dear friend. The praise I’ve given her book isn’t something I take lightly and isn’t given because I actually know her. Her writing is wonderful and her world is magical. I plan on giving her book as a gift to my nieces this month and can’t wait to talk to them about it.
Join us for a FB Launch Party for the release of The Tethered World this evening! There will be some awesome door prizes given away including a Kindle and gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. If you join us, make sure you say I sent you! 🙂
(If you follow the link above it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase The Tethered World which will give me a small kick-back. Thank you in advance!)

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Heather L.L. FitzGerald lives in Texas with four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his wife. She homeschooled her children–one of whom is autistic–and teaches ballet at a fine arts school in Forth Worth. Heather is a member of the North Texas Christian Writers, and helps to facilitate the Manet writer’s group in Fort Worth, Texas. She loves drinking ice lattes, cloud watching, and getting lost in a good book.

 

You can connect with Heather on her website/blogFacebook, Pinterest: (Belongs to her main character, Sadie), Character blog: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures.), Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

Shatterworld by Lelia Rose Foreman

(From Google)

(From Google)

Shatterworld by Lela Rose Foreman

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZG2MT6K/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ZG2MT6K&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=QOA6DAYZKOZXH4BU

 

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I was pretty excited about that because it was the first time that had happened for me. J I’d seen other bloggers get books for free to review, but I’d never gotten one before. Exciting.

Shatterworld is Christian science-fiction. It is the perfect example of good writing taking something that probably sounded odd/dumb/crazy and making it engaging. I think anything well-written and developed will be enjoyable regardless of how silly or cliché it might be. This book is proof that I’m right. J

This is the story of a young girl who’s is part of a fundamentalist, theonomist religious group who flees persecution on Earth to form their own society on a new planet. Yes, my brain kept thinking Amish in space. The book begins just as they select a planet and details out the establishment of their colony. Conflict comes when Rejoice’s love of astronomy goes against the rural and agriculturally focused life the Elders have planned. How does star-gazing help grow crops?

Now, before some of you give up on this story based on the ‘Amish in space’ part, hear me out.

This book has hexacrabs.

It is amazing the way Foreman makes everything feel logical, real, and well-developed. But, the beauty comes in her alien race, because *Spoilers* the humans aren’t alone. The hexacrabs are fascinating. Their culture, language, and characteristics are appealing even as they are foreign. I relished every interaction with them. They are the element that keeps this story from being preachy or underdeveloped. Foreman has a gift with cultures, a real gift.

Without spoiling the story for you, I also loved how Rejoice is challenge throughout the story to be herself and yet weigh her own selfishness in that. I love how not only does Rejoice grow and change, but everyone does: parents, teachers, elders, siblings, friends, and hexacrabs. The world feels very rich because no one is static. They are all affected by what they believe, why they came here, the choices they made, and the world around them. This book, while simple in many ways, was a great example of the idea that side characters should all think they’re the main character.

I enjoyed the moment when disaster strikes and Rejoice waits to hear from God to see how she should proceed. At first, I worried she might actually hear God, instead she applies her God-given gifts to the situation and heroically save the day with the help of her autistic brother Makepeace. A perfect example of God using means within his sovereignty.

While I obviously don’t agree with all the theology because it’s a story about a fundamentalist/theonomist space travelers, the story never becomes preachy and the flaws within that belief system are easily seen. I think some good conversations could be had with your children as they read this book about the nature of sin, selfishness, gifts, family, church authority, and so much more.

If I was to nitpick this book, my only complaint would be the huge amount of characters to keep up with complicated by the names of some of them. This wasn’t a big deal to me, but I can see it being a minor hang up for some people.

Overall, this book is a wonderful adventure for both boys and girls, clean, with a strong family structure and plenty of opportunities for discussion. Plus, as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

From Darkness Won and Psycho

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UNFX64/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B004UNFX64&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=HY4GMZILWOQQ2RVZ

From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson

I enjoyed this series more than I have any other so called “Christian” speculative fiction. The characters grew, were interesting, and everything wrapped up into a nice happy ending. Things weren’t happy-go-lucky for all the good guys and the bad guys were pretty evil.
I have just a few complaints:
1) The lack of major deaths of anyone we really cared about left me feeling bored with the last book. I never really felt like anyone was in danger. And when one person did die, it was convenient not heartbreaking. The author had no problem putting her characters in dangerous situations and even wounding her main character, but after multiple battles with no death, I was no longer engaged emotionally.
2) Lead Female was less annoying than book two but still very annoying. She constantly disobeyed orders, even in the middle of a battle, and out shown all males present . . . right. Her escapades were crazier than the hero’s most of the time. I found her decisions to be unrealistic and made me want to bob her over the head half the time.
Overall, I enjoyed the first book a lot, and the other two are okay. I enjoyed the story enough to finish it and be engaged through the whole thing. I would recommend it for any teen to read, especially if they enjoy fantasy.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590203356/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1590203356&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=6KMQXTYX5QXMMQO6

Psycho by Robert Bloch

I read this book in about two hours a few days after watching the movie. One way or the other the ending is going to be spoiled…so pick your poison: Movie or Book.

The book was a quick read, and for its genre, pretty clean. It doesn’t go into a lot of the gore or sexuality present in most “serial killer” type thrillers. While it is gory and does deal with some sexuality, they are mentioned but not soaked in. This would be a good book for a “newbie” in the serial killer criminology world because it would let you get your toes wet without dumping you in the deep end. As far as my own research goes, this is a nice, cleaned up version of the real Ed Gein case. It leaves out much that they found in his house of horrors, but still uses him as a basic template for Norman Bates.

The book is creepy, interesting, has a good ending and isn’t overly sexualized or gory though those things are present. The book, or the movie, would be a good start before, say, jumping in with Silence of the Lambs to see if this is a genre that interests you.

If you’re looking for something with more details about how the Detectives deal with serial Killers, the actually psychology of serial killers from the law enforcement side, this book won’t be as interesting. It is a very “layman’s” version.
Still fun and creepy.