Thursday, January 27, 2011

Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles

The first time I ever heard of Merrie Destefano is when she added me as a friend on FaceBook. My first reaction was to send her a message asking who the heck she was (as I do for all other people who I have no clue who the heck they are). She simply replied saying she was a new Christian author who had a book coming out soon.

So I guess I just shrugged and sort of reluctantly accepted. Several times afterward I've heard things about her novel, Afterlife, but I had no clue what it was about. From the title and the cover, I didn't feel too interested. I might someday get around to reading it, but for that time being I certainly had enough to read.

Later I read Merrie's description of her own novel, and I got slightly interested. Then later I entered a sweepstakes on a website to win a signed copy of the book. After that, I practically forgot about the book. Still remembered it every once in a while, but never got too interested.

Well, that was until a week or two ago when I found out that I won that sweeptakes. One out of five winners, not including the grand prize winner who won a $100 Amazon gift card (unless that was included with one of the people who won a signed book). This was a few months after the sweepstakes ended.

It was right then, after I read the email from the website, that I realized that if I hadn't won, I might never get around to reading the book.

I started the novel. It takes place in a strange world. It's actually our world, in the far future. The book never gives a date, which I believe is intentional. These days the hottest products and stuff you can buy are electronics, computers, video games, awesome things from ThinkGeek, et cetera. In this strange future, the hottest item you can acquire is not exactly an item. It's a longer life.

Every time you die, you have a chance to resurrect again. You can live up to nine lives, having a lifespan of around 500 years. Every time you die and resurrect, you can a new body and a new life. You lose many memories, but you remember many as well. Dying and resurrecting is a good way to escape your current life, whether due to depression, or being chased by the government.

There are many rules to follow, though, and one of them being that after resurrection, you must be looked after by a "Babysitter" for a week until you become stable.

Enter Chaz Dominguez, long-time Babysitter and descendant of the man who "invented" resurrection. His brother owns the resurrection company, Fresh Start, but he is just a plain old Babysitter.

But there's nothing really boring about being a Babysitter. You can break more laws than anyone otherwise would guess, and use many strange weapons, as long as you do not abuse your authority and powers.

Chaz was recently given another "Newbie" to look after for their first week of new life, and she seems like just another normal Newbie. But after a while, Chaz starts to believe there's something else about her. Something's not right about her, and his is just nagging him to find out what.

Alas, an adventure starts. An adventure of mystery, suspense, and trial. A government plot is discovered, a top secret organization arises, and guess what I'm going to say. Like I've said for almost all of the rest of my book reviews, the main character is thrown into it all. Chaz, his brother Russel, his Newbie Angelique, and some mysterious space-police dude.

Actually there is no mentioned space travel. That was a joke. The last character mentioned is a high-ranking officer in the current law-enforcement system on earth. His name is and was Skellar. He was not trustworthy or too bright. No wonder the characters didn't trust him.

The story overall blew my mind. I do say that a lot too, and it's true. It was one of those novels that drew me in and didn't let go unless I forced it. By the awesome ending, I'll say the book is really amazing.

There's an occasional "damn" or "hell" in the book, but I don't mind it much. People swear a lot worse in modern-day television and movies. Besides, I don't even consider "hell" a swear word (don't see how it is).

The book took me a while for me to stop saying "huh?" This was a very strange future. There was technology such as resurrection, amazing virtual reality technology, a strange and extremely powerful weapon called "liquid light", and even more. I was having trouble thinking of this as an actual world.

Well, until I thought of it in Star Wars terms. This story isn't any more wacko than our old favorite science fiction TV and movies. It's almost more believable, the way it's written.

Anyway, I thoroughly loved this book. If you're into science fiction and/or thrillers, you'll love this book too.

Strange enough, in the amount of time it took me to write this review, I had enough time to read another whole 400-500 page novel (it takes a long time for me to write, I guess), so expect another review in the next several days. I might start it today. Maybe finish it too, but I don't know.

Anyway, see ya around!

Friday, January 21, 2011


My book reviews are just getting longer and longer. It took me a few days to write the review of Left Behind, and I'm currently around halfway, or less, through my review of Afterlife. I'll probably finish the review on Monday, due to my weekend being full. (I'm going to Winter Jam, baby! Ten bands for ten dollars!)

Just saying, I'm not really less active on my blog. It just takes a long time to write stuff. :)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Left Behind

You have no clue how many times my brother has nagged at me to read this book and start the series. That along with Harry Potter and The Hobbit (that latter of which I'm about halfway through, reading on-and-off). It has paid off well.

I actually won this book and the next seven books in the sixteen-book series (in great condition!) in a white elephant gift exchange several years ago. I did some calculating, and the first eight books in the series, when in new-like condition (which they're in) are worth about $112. Holy moley!

The Left Behind series as a whole has sold over 65 million copies, and also has spurred three film adaptions of books in the series (along with a full blockbuster-budget remake coming soon!), three video games, four spin-off series, several non-fiction books, graphic novels, and even a compilation album by several different bands that were inspired by the series.

I'd seen the first Left Behind movie at least five to seven years ago, so I knew a bit about it. I knew it had a cool story and that it was well-written. (I knew the latter from reviews from other people.)

I wasn't completely prepared for the book. It's a drama full of action and adventure. Love and repentance. Hate and lust. Grief and hope. This book indeed scared me.

In one terrible moment, millions of people across the globe vanish from existence. Everything they owned, including their clothes, were still on earth. Everything but their bodies and souls. This obviously caused a great havoc, as due to lack of drivers in vehicles and such, and thousands of other people were injured.

This must be one of the worst events in earth's history, because not a single person on the planet knew what happened. Loved ones were suddenly gone before their eyes, and every single child, even unborn babies, all disappeared seemingly into thin air.

There are two totally different people who the novel focuses on. A captain of an airplane, Rayford Steele, and a internationally famous journalist, Cameron Williams. They don't know each other, but somehow they're connected in a way the readers can't figure out. At least not at first.

There are all sorts of rumors about what happened to make millions of people disappear. From space aliens to the rapture. But after some strange discoveries, Captain Steele starts leaning towards the rapture. Maybe something spiritual really took those millions of people away to Heaven. Maybe.

Filled with action and excitement, this novel is a must-read. I say that for a lot of books, and I mean it for every one of them. I've never read a better drama in my life, and it's just the first of sixteen novels. It had an almost cliffhanger ending that made me start just the beginning of the second book, Tribulation Force, so I could settle down. This book is a fun ride.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Interview with Erin Healy

Well some time ago I got really bored and started thinking up very weird ideas of what I could do. Surprisingly one of the first things I thought of was an email interview with someone. It's an idea that I've toyed with several times in the past, but never really acted upon. I always thought I could interview someone like Charlie Dominici or Erin Healy or somebody.

So I went for Erin Healy. We're friends, in a way. We've had several interesting and friendly conversations over email and FaceBook, and I figured I'd go ahead and see if I could get an interview. Here, a couple weeks later, I have what I wanted.

Erin Healy is an award-winning Christian editor and author who has worked with authors such as Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Jane Kirkpatrick, Randy Ingermanson, and Gilbert Morris. Yes, I did just get a couple of those names from Erin's FaceBook page, but that is completely irrelevant.

Anyway, I settled down at my computer, and wrote out ten questions. No more, no less. Well, unless you count the off-record question about whether she'd seen the Dawn Treader yet. This is how the interview turned out.


Reuben Horst: So how are you and your family doing, Erin?

Erin Healy: Doing great, thanks! Happy to be resuming routines now that the holidays are over.

RH: How old were you when you got into writing or editing?

EH: I regretfully admit that I plagiarized my first story while in second grade from my best friend, who was (and probably still is) a brilliant, imaginative thinker. After that, I found my heart in third-grade poetry and haven’t stopped writing since. Improved stuff, I hope. The editing didn’t come until later, while working my way through college. I had jobs on the newspaper and also as a tutor, teaching peers to write strong papers.

RH: What are your favorite authors of all time, Christian or non-Christian?

EH: This is such a tough question. I can name one author or a bazillion, so I’ll just name one. I read all of Chaim Potok’s books while in college and haven’t yet met an author who has moved me emotionally as much as My Name Is Asher Lev did. Potok, who was Jewish, wrote amazing stories about the painfulness of Jewish history and about what happens when an individual’s faith and experiences butt heads. I find that his stories transcend religion and are easy for me to enter.

RH: Of all the books you've helped edit for an author, which would you recommend the most?

EH: Ah, you move from tough to impossible! Honestly, I don’t know how to answer the “most” part of this question. I recommend different authors for different reasons. All of them have such strengths. I recommend Jane Kirkpatrick for living historical sagas and poetic prose; Lisa Samson for gritty and stunning characters; Ted Dekker for the adrenaline rush; Colleen Coble for the romantic adventure … and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

RH: Are you satisfied with the result of your second solo novel, soon to be released, The Promises She Keeps?

EH: Yes. It’s very different from my first novel. Promises keeps the supernatural core, but without angels and demons this time, and without oppressive darkness. The result is a spiritual conflict between characters that is more interpersonal than private. I hope readers feel that Promises still does a great job of asking high-stakes spiritual questions in exciting, dramatic, and memorable ways while drilling a few more inches into the human heart.

RH: Without giving away anything you’re not supposed to, what do you think of Forbidden, the upcoming novel you edited for Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee?

EH: It’s fantastic, of course. I think readers who enjoyed Ted’s Circle Trilogy will love Forbidden.

RH: Is there any chance that you and Ted will go back and finish your sequel to Blink of an Eye? (I believe you told me I could nickname it ‘Blink Again’ a while ago.) I know the project was indefinitely delayed, and you really aren’t planning on going back, but is there a chance?

EH: Chances are slim to none. Ted’s with a different publisher now, and unless the new house resurrects his passion for the idea—which was really custom tailored for our co-authoring publisher at the time—I don’t see it happening.

RH: Of the four novels you’ve written (two solo and two with Ted Dekker), which one is your favorite?

EH: In my mind, I don’t put my solo and co-authored books in the same category of thinking. Between Kiss and Burn, I love Burn for its metaphorical mind-bending. Between Never Let You Go and The Promises She Keeps, I’m partial to Promises, because it’s closer to the kind of stories that I really want to be writing.

RH: Do you have a third solo novel in the works?

EH: Yes. It’s called The Baker’s Wife (Fall 2011), about a police officer who takes a little bakery hostage because he believes the owners kidnapped his wife. The baker’s wife must find her before time runs out. I’m sending the manuscript to the publisher tomorrow—look for a synopsis on my website in late spring or early summer.

RH: What’s your favorite brand of soda?

EH: Diet Dr Pepper!

RH: Thanks for your time, Erin!


I actually won a signed copy of Erin Healy's first solo novel, Never Let You Go, on FaceBook about a year ago or so. Sometime pretty soon after it came out in May. I just found out today that she'd recently had a sweepstakes contest for The Promises Shes Keeps too, but I missed it. I don't feel as bad as I would have if I hadn't also just found out today that I won a signed copy of Merrie Destefano's novel Afterlife from a sweepstakes that I forgot I'd entered a few months ago.

Anyway, look for Erin Healy's new book, The Promises She Keeps, coming in February!
Erin Healy's FaceBook Page


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

You know, it really doesn't feel like 2011. Still feels like 2010.

The reason I haven't been so bloggy in the past couple of days, is due to my life being pretty busy. Been playing a lot of new computer games, due to the release of the Humble Indie Bundle #2, and all of the totally wicked deals on Steam. I recently started reading the international best-seller Left Behind, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It's the first of thirteen books in a series of the same name.

I've made very few New Years resolutions, and the few I've made I'd like to keep private.

I've had an awesome year, thanks to the awesome people who've kept me alive these years. This holiday season has been a bit depressing for a few reasons, but I'll get over it.

Anyway, I hope to see you guys all around! The only person I know for sure who reads my blog regularly is my grandpa, but Happy New Year to anyone else also!

Enigmatically without delay (whatever that means),