Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oxygen by Olson and Ingermanson, a review

Oxygen by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson

Originally published in 2001 by Bethany House, 368 pages; now available on Kindle

Genre: Christian near-future science thriller

Valkerie Jansen is a capable scientist who keeps her head in awful situations, so it’s no surprise that she’s drafted to join a mission to Mars. Problem is, she’s replacing the beloved commander of the group of four, and the other three have already been training for many months. Can she fit in?

After plenty of training, the new group of four takes off. But apparent sabotage causes an explosion that eats up much of their oxygen, and there isn’t enough for all four of them to make it to Mars. They don’t have the fuel to turn back. So… Who will live and who will die?

Because of the sabotage, the teammates can’t trust each other. Is this a nightmare? Or does it become a tale of ingenuity in the face of insurmountable odds?

What do I think? I really enjoyed this award-winning book. I learned a whole lot about how NASA works and what a mission to Mars, using current technology, would look like, what it would be like to be in space. And of course I was wonderfully entertained by this great story. I’m glad to hear there’s a sequel!

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, a review

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Published 2012 by Thomas Nelson, 311 pages
Genre: Young adult supernatural with romance elements, Christian

Brielle is crippled by her despair as she blames herself for her best friend’s death. To learn to cope, she returns to her dad and the small town she calls home from the big city where she had attended a performing arts high school. Old friends reach out to her, but she rebuffs them. Then an amazing new boy shows up and shakes her from her lethargy.

Jake shares a supernatural gift with her, and soon she’s aware of angels and demons. In fact, she can see what no one else can. And she learns that a demon wants to kidnap Jake, who’s becoming dearer and dearer to her. What can she do to protect him? After all, she’s just a girl with angel eyes.

What do I think?

I thought this book was terrific. The angels and demons fit the Biblical mold. Not only were there unforgettable characters and unpredictable situations, but Dittemore crafts words like a poet, with beauty and strength. You should read this book! I’ll be waiting for the next one in the trilogy, due out in a year or so.

Find out plenty more about this book by checking out what other bloggers are saying on the blog tour for it at

Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse, a review

Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse
Published 2012 by Marcher Lord Press, 464 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy/supernatural, suitable for teens and adults

Rowen Mar discovers a strange white mark on her hand and loses her soldier father on the same day. Her father was her only friend and protector in her village of suspicious folk, who can’t forget that Rowen is adopted–and that no one knows anything about her parentage. After a strange power in her flares up and terrifies both Rowen and a man who tries to attack her, she finds herself kicked out of the village. But somehow there’s a place for her to go: she gets a job offer to be bodyguard to the royal family in the capital city.

Soon those that work with her, including the captain of the guard, find she’s a healer. She realizes she’s an Eldaran, sort of an angelic race that had been thought to die out on the earth. And not just any Eldaran, but one with the power to reveal the darkness in the human heart. It’s a gift she doesn’t want.

The captain of the guard realizes he’s falling in love with her. But she’s not a follower of the Word, as he is. What will he do?

And how about Caleb, a lord of the southern kingdom intending to conquer the north where Rowen lives? Caleb’s got uncanny gifts in his chosen field: that of assassin. And he plans to strike close to Rowen.

What do I think?

This is a terrific book, one you just can’t put down. I loved the characters and the well-crafted plot. It’s Morgan Busse’s first novel, but don’t let that put you off–it contains a high level of sophistication and polish. I’m really looking forward to more. I hope I don’t have to wait too long.

My review of Book 1, Daughter of Light

My review of Book 2, Son of Truth

My review of Book 3, Heir of Hope

Children of Angels – a tween fantasy take on angel genes

Today we are hearing from author Kathryn Dahlstrom.

Genesis 6: 4 – “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them; they were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

For me, this intriguing and mysterious Bible verse set up a fantasy concept that I ran with: what if the genes of the Nephilim resurfaced in a kid of today? What if he suddenly developed angel powers? What if he saw angels and demons?

The concept led to my novel for readers aged ten and up—Children of Angels, book one of the New Nephilim series published by WinePress Publishing. Synopsis: a young teen, shocked to learn he’s half angel, must battle human and demonic forces out to destroy him for proving that God is real.

Mind you, I’m not saying that the ancient Nephilim had angel powers. Their name means “fallen ones” which is an apt description of them, I think. The Bible describes them as giant-sized in Numbers 13 and leaves it at that. My make-believe premise is this: what if their genetic material was concentrated enough to produce angel traits in a modern person? (How concentrated half-angel genes wind up in my characters is part of the story’s mystery. I hate spoilers so I’ll practice the Golden Rule by doing to blog readers as I would have them do to me.)

I’m out to give readers the truth of Jesus’ love and power within the fun of fantasy. My main character isn’t a kid with all things perfect from his parents to the SUV. Rather, his dad is in prison, his mom barely scrapes by, and he’s picked on in school. He thrills over his newfound angel powers—flying is the best—but winds up attacked by demons (the ultimate bullies) in his middle school hallways. When the Lord of Hosts calls him to be a Battle Leader of Angels, he balks. Can God really turn a loser into a warrior?

I’m writing Book Two of the series right now. Meanwhile, a faith-based film producer is considering Children of Angels for a future project! It has a long road to go from book to film, but his very thinking about it is enough of a miracle for now.

I’m also the author of a six-book fiction series called the Good News Club. As a screenwriter, I’ve had two screenplays optioned by film companies. Further, my producer friend has asked me to adapt his family fantasy script into a novel. The project will be filmed this summer.

So: do you think God can turn a loser into a warrior? Leave your comments here.