Christian Living, Reviews (songs & books)

Yellow Balloons: an Album Review

Morning, I trust you are being productive this July! I have not been! I don’t know. Life’s crazy, kids. Now back to our topic, which was. . ? Oh yeah, I was going to share with you an album review!

I’m sorry this post is so long (1,300+ words), but it’s divided into sections, and I hope that makes it more skimmable while still allowing you to catch the message!

Side note: each link is to a Spotify page. Sorry, I don’t really do YouTube.


David Dunn is the most underrated artist I listen to. He crosses Christian pop, contemporary, and electro-ish (don’t quote me). He’s in my top ten, and for good reason, I think.

Dunn has four albums: For the Life of Me (2012), Crystal Clear (2015), Yellow Balloons (2017), and Perspectives (2020), along with a few EPs and singles. Yellow Balloons is my favorite, and was masterfully written, organized, and created. Let me explain why.

It’s a short 10-track, 37 min 57 sec album, but it packs a powerful punch. Here’s the tracklist, along with the duration time in parenthesis:

1. Kingdom (3:06)

2. Open Arms (3:48)

3. Grace Will Lead Me Home (4:11)

4. I Don’t Have to Worry (3:17)

5. I Wanna Go Back (3:50)

6. Ruins (3:05)

7. History (3:11)

8. Masterpiece (3:37)

9. Vacation (5:59)

10. Yellow Balloons (3:49)

Looking at the cover, I thought this would be a fun, lighthearted, thoughtful, electro album.

The cover, copyright to David Dunn, I assume. In other words: don’t steal.

But oh was I wrong! With most albums, even Dunn’s others, there are a few themes and overarching messages, usually tying into the album’s cover and title. However, sometimes the connections are loose, or there’s no connection at all. Yellow Balloons differs dramatically.

No song in the album is random. They all align—very strongly. The cover itself, with the yellow lines and picture of Dunn, doesn’t relate too much. But the album title, which is the title of the last track as well, is incredibly fitting.

I’ll just spoil the themes now—according to David Dunn in one interview, most of the songs are about Heaven and little kids/childhood; a third and fourth theme I noticed is the security we have in God (which I’ll call “security”) and restoration. But we’re not done yet on the depth.

I’ll explain further, but right now, I’m going to go song by song, name the themes present, and offer a short explanation! Also, say whether the song is slow/bittersweet or upbeat/profound, and provide some lines.


1. Kingdom

Theme(s): Heaven. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. This song reaffirms some important theologies of Heaven. So many people have this image of Heaven in their minds, and a lot of the time it’s faulty. Heaven as the afterlife is better than we can ever imagine.

The song says: “Not Just a set of pearly gates and angels with wings, no it’s more / Heaven is here, Heaven is now / Heaven is a thing that is coming down / Lives in the hearts of those who believe / The Kingdom of God that’s living in me.

2. Open Arms

Theme(s): security, restoration. Sound: slow/bittersweet. It talks about how God is strong enough to handle our messy life and broken hearts. How He’s always waiting for us to turn to Him.

The song says: When we find ourselves inside the darkness / And confusion is hiding where the light is / He is always there, with open arms.

3. Grace Will Lead Me Home

Theme(s): Heaven, restoration. Sound: slow/bittersweet. This song talks about a place of rest; the Christian’s true home—Heaven. Only through God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness can we have access to Heaven. Some parts are based on John Newton’s Amazing Grace, I believe.

The song says: Through every trial I have come / Only Your grace will lead me home.

4. I Don’t Have to Worry

Theme(s): Security, childhood. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. This song gives examples of popular radical Bible stories, like David beating Goliath. These are things we hear as little kids, but when you think about it. . . our God is so powerful. So, with Him watching over us, we don’t have to worry.

The song says: I know; You split the sea / And You held it there; for the world to see / I-I know; that deadly flames / Were made powerless; when they Heard Your Name / So what am I so afraid of?

5. I Wanna Go Back

Theme(s): childhood. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. The most popular track on the album, this song is about returning and being reminded of the simple, strong faith many have in their childhood—before adult and teenage struggles poisoned our faith.

The song says: And then I grew up / And then I got older / And my life got tough/ And we grew apart / Oooh, I wanna go back / To “Jesus loves me, this I know” / “For the Bible tells me / “For the Bible tells me so.”

6. Ruins

Theme(s): restoration. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. This song is an imagery of the ruins and rubble of your life, and the truth that God can use those broken pieces to build something new in and for you.

The song says: Tomorrow’s hard to see when, you’re not there / The broken, the busted, the world that you trusted / Is gone / What if the rubble that you stand in / Are the perfect pieces that the Builder needs?

7. History

Theme(s): Security, restoration. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. This song ponders the “what ifs” in the scenario of a perfect world (Adam and Eve not sinning), then decides that God has history in His hands.

The song says: What God did with history / To me it’s just a mystery / And I don’t know, that’s ok / Oh cause faith is just a funny thing / I believe, He knows better than me.

8. Masterpiece

Theme(s): restoration. Sound: upbeat/thoughtful. We are His masterpieces. God doesn’t make mistakes, and he has a plan for each of us.

The song says: You, make, a symphony / From broken melodies / You do it beautifully / You, take, the mess of me / Make it a masterpiece / You make a masterpiece

9. Vacation

Theme(s): Security, restoration. Sound: slow/bittersweet. This song is a cry to God for rest. He, David Dunn, wants “a vacation” from the stresses of time and life, to be with Jesus.

The song says: I wanna go where the clocks all stand still / To get away from the heat and the uphill / Where all the work is through / And all I need is You / I wanna take a vacation, just to be with You.

10. Yellow Balloons

Theme(s): Heaven, childhood. It ponders security and restoration. Sound: slow/bittersweet. This one changes everything. . . the deep truths you notice in those upbeat songs that turn them from “boppy” to heart-breakingly bittersweet.

See, this whole album was almost a therapy, let’s say, for Dunn. A storm of thoughts and emotions as he processed the tragic death of his two-year-old niece, Moriah. Her death was a medical mystery, and it struck the family hard.

The song says: So we cry on her birthdays / And wish that we knew / Why You took her to Heaven / So soon / And we beg for Your presence / We beg for more of You / ‘Cause our beautiful girl / Left the world.


The album was released in 2017, and she died in 2015. The song Yellow Balloons is achingly raw and honest, as Dunn struggled to find hope and trust in God. Unlike most tracks in the album, this one I’m careful to not listen to whenever.

Why? It’s personal and deep. A lot of people listen to songs just because they sound good, and Dunn’s voice alone with a sad guitar is beautiful. . . but the lyrics mean just as much to me.

In Conclusion. . .

Releasing yellow balloons into the sky at a memorial is a practice that a lot of people do, including David Dunn’s family. They’re a symbol of hope, a bright ‘glow’ in a dark time.

Each theme alone seems regular at first for a Christian artist, but when you put them all together, the pieces start to fit together, and then you get to the last song. . . this album just wows me.

The album Yellow Balloons has catchy tunes and mesmerizing sounds, but it’s also plenty full of depth. That is why this is one of my favorite albums ever. I hope you’ll give it a listen, and also take a minute or two to pray for families that are hurting because of similar tragic losses.

Reviews (songs & books)

Stolen (Element Wolf book #1): a Review

*Reader sees the post’s name* “Wait a second, Danny, I recognize the name of this book! But. . . why do I?” Is that what you’re asking? If so, here’s my answer: you have seen me talk about this book here. I announced the publication, and I promised a review. About -10 years- 4 months later, here it is! A review of Stolen (Element Wolf book #1) by Jehanne J. Hedrick. Now, let us begin, shall we?

Synopsis (from the paperback version):

IN THE FACE OF EVIL, WILL FLIGHT FIND THE COURAGE TO DEFY THE DARKNESS?

Flight is the first-born to the unbreakable alphas of Star Pack—the pack of wolves that rule the harshest territory in Yellowstone. The young pup is noticeably strong, and he’s full of potential no wolf can deny. On his first day outside the den, Flight is overcome with love and pride for his ice-locked land.

But after his entry into the world beyond the den, Flight’s perfect life in his beloved homeland is cut tragically short as everything the young pup loves is whisked away from him. Flight finds himself in an ominous land known as Avida, ruled by a vengeful wolf with a haunting past.

The pup is astonished to learn that he is part of a mysterious prophecy which claims he holds unusual powers given only to him. However, the ruler of Avida wants Flight to use his abilities to help her destroy the pup’s entire pack so she can claim his homeland.

Desperate to rescue everything he loves from destruction, Flight forms his own plans against the cruel alpha of Avida. For months, Flight works in secret with newfound allies, readying their plans before the ultimate bloodshed. But when the day comes, what happens is more shocking than Flight could have ever prepared for.

My Opinion:

Story: An awesome read. Stolen is a huge book, let me tell you, and it’s not easy to carve a beautiful masterpiece from such a large piece of stone, but Hedrick did well. She managed so well to depict these wolves, 🐺 and I was amazed by the fight scenes. Many of you readers know that I love wolves, and my main project is a wolf story. It’s hard to write a wolf’s actions properly and accurately, without being repetitive. The author knew what she was writing; clearly educated on wolves. 🤓 Though, there were a lot of characters to keep track of. There were some characters (and scenes) that appeared in the beginning and appeared or were referenced much later when I had already forgotten them. Throughout the book my brain filtered through the great amount of content by picking the more noticeable scenes and characters and tossing the less important or interesting ones away.

As careful as Jehanne J. H. was, some repetition still occurred. Notably in Flight’s thought progressions. This may be a style though. I’ve seen it done in another book series I read.

As for the last main battle, I have some thoughts. . . ‘hackles bristling’ was way overused. Those hackles were really bristling, I suppose. One event that occurred was explained imaginary, but then was apparently real life. . ? 🧐 A last thought on this is. . .

A SPOILER!!! BEWARE!

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No main or even significant side character died! 🤯 Like, what? That might sound cruel and violent, but the way the story went and how things happened and such, it’s almost entirely unrealistic. That was a disappointment.

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Spoilers are done!

Finally, one of the most important things to note that would almost entirely wipe out any negative of this book in my opinion. . . there was no romance!!! Ahahaha! 😎 Okay, maybe there were a few romantic mentions, but they were only things like ‘By the way, I can tell you like her, kinda. The end.’ Hedrick, know that the lack of romance makes me ecstatic. 🥳

As for spirituality, a deity/supernatural being was hinted at only a few times. This leads me to believe that future Element Wolf books will continually focus a bit more on the hinted deity (God). But I can’t be entirely sure, though the author is a Christian.

Design and art: The cover is beautiful. I love it. Though there are two weird parts to it. For one, below the wolf’s chest is a flame that looks like a three fingered hand trying to hold him, and two, where the legs meet the flames, it doesn’t make sense. It appears as though they are supposed to be in front of the flames but then they are also covered by the fire? I don’t know. Those two things just look weird and are kinda annoying. Besides them, the cover is amazing.

I was elated to see that the book had MAPS! They’re pretty cool, but aren’t as detailed as other book maps I like, and one of them is kinda unclear. But, either way, maps make a book so much better, in my opinion.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Statistics:

Pages: 478 (Amazon stat)

Genre: Fantasy

Amazon Rating: 5 Star

Amazon link: Here

Author’s website: Authorjhedrick.com

Author Bio (Paperback Version):

Jehanne J. Hedrick is a young writer with a passion for wolves and nature. She developed a love for storytelling at age seven, and that love has continued to grow ever since. She strives to use her words for the service of others, and her goal is to use her writing to shed light into a broken, darkened world. Aside from writing, she also enjoys music, art, and learning more about one of her favorite story subjects—wolves. Visit her at: www.authorjhedrick.com!

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador

Reviews (songs & books)

CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE): a Review

Clouds (The Mixtape) - Wikipedia
CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) cover

It’s finally here! The review on NF’s CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) I promised so long ago! It’s one of my longest posts, and it took a while to do, but I had a lot of fun. It was difficult to actually accurately rate them, and the ratings (1 star – 5 star) may not be entirely synonymous with my thoughts, but I tried. 😛

For this review, I’m going to use the Goodreads rating system:

5 stars: it was amazing

4 stars: I really liked it

3 stars: I liked it

2. It was okay

1. I did not like it

Alright, let’s get started!

Spotify link to CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE): Click here.


1. CLOUDS

The song’s message & stats: CLOUDS was released as the second of three singles to promote the coming eleven-song mixtape. The main theme of it is that his head is in the clouds. He’s mentioned being in the clouds in several other songs, which include Just Being Me, Turn the Music Up, and Outcast. He raps a lot about how he’s not the average “Hollywood” rapper. He says he’s not chauvinistic, he doesn’t hang around phonies, drink codeine or the like, and isn’t really about trophies or being rich. He also raps a lot about how he’s done what others thought he could never do, and how he’s ‘shaken the whole [music] industry’. It’s comprised of an intro, a bridge after the 6th verse, and 7 verses of straight-rap. One of the four of the mixtape with a music video.

My thoughts: The song has a movie-like style (as do most of the songs in the mixtape). That along with the. . . odd flow and higher and wilder tone of NF’s voice really got me interested in the song when I first heard it. The flow and tone were different from NF’s usual style—CLOUDS’ release painted the style for the rest of the mixtape. If NF continues to use this style, I’ll definitely miss the old flow and tone (though all I have to do is listen to one of his older records ;)), but I’m excited for what’s coming next in his fifth record. Both NF and his music are experiencing exciting changes, but NF has continued his integrity and ethics.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

2. THAT’S A JOKE

The song’s message & stats: THAT’S A JOKE is a lot about how people continually doubted (and still doubt) NF’s skill, but he always proves himself. How he is constantly getting better, and is well-suited and prepared for the intensity and danger of the music industry.

My thoughts: This is a decent song. I like it. But it seems to have less of a, let’s say. . . solid meaning to it, and it just seems like a joy-rap (like, joy-ride but joy-rap) for NF, especially since a lot of it is delivered incredibly fast. When talking to a friend, he/she pointed out that the theme of the song was ‘redundant’. I thought about that, and tend to agree. It also seems like an overused NF theme. A lot of his songs are about how deep he is in his other songs and how skilled and unstoppable he is.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

3. JUST LIKE YOU

The song’s message & stats: From what I take of Spotify stats, JUST LIKE YOU is either the most popular song on the mixtape, or the second (CLOUDS would be theo ne to fill the spot JUST LIKE YOU doesn’t take). No surprise. The song’s main idea is this: Millions of us are going through very similar things as you, so don’t feel alone. We all fail and make mistakes, so when those things happen to you, know that it’s okay; we all go through it too. Don’t let the feeling of failure overtake you.

My thoughts: Wow, just writing the above makes my eyes feel hot and watery. The moment I listened to this masterpiece, I thought something like, “well now I know what my favorite song in this mixtape is”. It’s just so beautiful, and the message is so true and really good. Listen to it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

4. STORY

The song’s message & stats: This song is different from any other NF song, in the way that it is practically a movie but in song form, and really short (4 minutes and 39 seconds, the longest song of the mixtape). Hence, the name “story”. It’s about a woman named Erin who goes to a grocery store really early and– well, I’ll let the song explain it to you. I don’t want to give away any spoilers. 😉  Also, the song makes more more sense with the music video. Whether it’s a fictitious or factual story, I have no idea, and neither do most people, I think.

My thoughts: After I finished listening to the song for the first time, I kind of stared in shock for a few moments. It is intense, and I’m not even talking about camping (please tell me if you get that). Not to mention it’s like no other NF song, as I said above. I think it’s a pretty good song. Though, it’s a story, so I think I will treat it as such. In other words, it isn’t really the song to casually listen to. Another thought from the same friend I mentioned earlier is that this song points out that we don’t realize how much could change in just a few seconds. I believe that’s true, and it can be a reminder to cherish our moments and even the little things.

Content warnings (includes ones from the music video): Mention of drugs; blood, violence.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

5. PRIDEFUL

The song’s message & stats: This song NF wrote to someone specific. The lyrics of the song say that this person was someone who NF used to trust and be very close to, but they betrayed him in some way, and became prideful and jealous, therefore hurting and breaking his trust and their relationship. The identity of the other person is unknown. It could be a relative, former friend, ex girlfriend, ex coworker, or someone else. It has a simple structure: an intro, a verse, a chorus, another verse, the chorus repeated, and an outro, along with melodies.

My thoughts: I like it. It’s not INCREDIBLE, but it’s really good. This is a song anyone can easily sing/rap too. It’s not super speedy, but not that slow. I think that’s convenient because it’s a song that a lot of people could relate to. It’s a good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

6. LOST

The song’s message & stats: Apparently this song had been long anticipated by listeners (I myself have neither Twitter nor Instagram so I wouldn’t have known). NF collabed with Hospin for this song. NF said that it was supposed to be released earlier, but he got busy rescheduling The Search tours and concerts, and then performing them and stuff. This song also has a music video. My least favorite of the four, but it’s still cool. Both NF and Hospin teased the release of LOST a few times. As for the meaning of the song, NF and Hospin rap about being mentally lost.

NF verse meaning— He raps about what it means to be ‘lost’, and what a lot of people do when they’re lost. He raps about himself being lost, and what it’s like in his mind.

Hospin verse meaning— Hospin raps about how there are a lot of people who are after him and broken his trust, and he also explains some of his mental struggles.

My thoughts: I think this is one of NF’s most deepest songs in mixtape. One reason it’s one of the most popular in the mixtape, I think. It also features another deep rapper. A second reason why it’s more popular. A third reason is that it’s very relatable. Likely everyone in the world has gone through/is going through a feeling of being lost. Personally, I really like it. It’s not one of my favorites, but I do love listening to it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

7. LAYERS

The song’s message & stats: The shortest song in the mixtape, it’s more about himself, in a way, and is mostly about how NF has layers. -So basically he’s an onion. Just kidding, hehe. If you get that reference, tell me! Which ties back into the whole idea of the slogan “real music”, if that makes sense. By that I mean that he doesn’t just rap about, like, typical things such as money or fame, but he goes deep, and raps about different sorts of tough topics. Some character traits he mentions himself having (not all directly) are ambition, drive, soul, heart, rapping skill, religious beliefs, a mental cloud, and confusion. It’s a fairly unique song in that it is simply divided into 2 parts, with just a pause for music in between (you’ll see what I mean). The beginning of the song starts with a few sorrowful piano notes.

My thoughts: Definitely one of my favorites (but aren’t most of them?). It used to be one of those ‘decent NF songs’ but lately it’s grown on me. Every unique trait of it is awesome—the sorrowful beginning, the increased rapping speed near the end of part I, the tie between part I and II, the idea of a part I and II. . . There was one line that stood out to me that I liked: “This [is] a lil’ somethin’ to hold ‘em over for what’s next”. From what I understand, that means that the mixtape is just a snippet of music to keep us “occupied”, for lack of a better word, until he releases his next record, which will be soon, as he hasn’t released a record in a while. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for his coming album!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

8. DRIFTING

The song’s message & stats: This song is shaped in a regular manner, beginning with the chorus, a verse, the chorus again, a second verse, the chorus a third time, and an outro. But, similar to LAYER’s divide between part I and II, DRIFTING has a divide between the chorus and the outro composed of a simple piano solo. DRIFTING is mostly about NF’s struggles with strongly disliking himself, feeling insignificant, and how he’s just drifting. . . stuck in the same rut, not ever coming ashore, to a real conclusion or mental breakthrough. The outro brings a more hopeful message. He’s crying to God to pull him out of rut, and asking God to show him that he really is special, significant, and loved. This is similar to the mournful type of song you find prevalent in The Search.

My thoughts:

This is a song a lot of people can relate to. Feeling lack of self-love, like they’re stuck in a rut, or like they’re just drifting. . . lost. I know I’ve felt some of these things. I know people who have felt these things. I do like how his lyrics turn back to God for the last part of the song.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

9. TRUST

The song’s message & stats: TRUST is NF’s fastest song. By that I mean he’s rapped faster in that song than in any other one of his songs. TRUST, which features rapper Tech N9ne begins with a melancholic violin solo. Then NF raps one very wordy but speedy verse, and sings (or, rather, shouts) the chorus. Next Tech N9ne also raps a very wordy but speedy verse, and NF finishes by ‘singing’ the chorus doubled. TRUST consists of almost exactly 1,200 words, which is pretty long, but it’s delivered in only 4 minutes and 24 seconds. From what I read, the average amount of words in a song is 100-300 and the average length of a song is 3 minutes and 30 seconds, so TRUST is pretty impressive.

It’s hard to tell what the meaning behind the song is. From what I observed by reading the lyrics and listening to the song, more effort was put into making the flow and delivery easier than writing deep and meaningful words. The only thing part of the song that seems to relate to the theme of trust is the chorus, which is kind of weak. Read or listen to it and you’ll know what I mean. It seems to be mostly about NF’s and Tech N9ne’s lives as artists, and their uniqueness and honesty.

My thoughts: Pluses for the speed, and minuses for the weaker theme. I really like the flow and tune of Tech N9ne’s verse. That’s about all I have to say.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

10. PAID MY DUES

The song’s message & stats: PAID MY DUES was the first CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) song released. It was released as a single in 2019, only around 5 months after The Search. In PAID MY DUES, NF raps about how so many more critics and haters than he had before appeared after he released The Search. Also about how he’s ‘paid my[his] dues’, and ‘made it through’, and will continue to stay making real music and being honest. One line I thought quite interesting in reference to critics pointing out his bad side is this: ‘They rigged the lights so y’all can see / The parts of mine that aren’t so bright’.

My thoughts: I think it’s a pretty good song. It has a similar theme to THAT’S A JOKE, but it’s a bit stronger and deeper, I think. The music video for it is really cool.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

11. CLOUDS – Edit

The song’s message & stats: This is a repeat of the song CLOUDS that’s entirely the same except for the beginning: this one doesn’t have the whole long build up but CLOUDS does.

My thoughts: I like CLOUDS better than CLOUDS – Edit, but the pro of CLOUDS – Edit is that it has lowercase letters!!!

[I don’t think it needs a rating.]

My overall thoughts on the mixtape as a whole

I like the mixtape a lot! I don’t think I like it more than Therapy Session or Perception; there are many more songs in The Search than in CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE), so I can’t rightfully compare the two; and I think I like the mixtape more than Mansion.

I like the fact that he’s getting better at rapping faster, and I’m enthralled with the changes he’s made to his style. I like the themes of several of the songs, as well. Finally, I think the cover is awesome.

Two things that I find annoying about CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) are. . .

1. The all-caps titles! They are just very annoying and I hope NF doesn’t stick with them. I MEAN, WHO USES ALL-CAPS THESE DAYS? I DEFINITELY DON’T.

2. The repetitions among the songs. There were several repetitions. First, the beginnings. Almost all of the songs start with a piano or violin solo, some odd vocal, or some other similar drawn out intro. JUST LIKE YOU is the only one that immediately begins with singing. To be honest, it’s getting pretty annoying. Or maybe that’s just me and I should mingle them up more with NF’s other songs and not play each mixtape song in a row. *shrugs*


Well, that’s all I have to say about CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE)! Whether you’re an NF fan or not, I hope you find at least one of his new songs enjoyable, if not all. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador

Reviews (songs & books)

Elysium (Tartarus Chronicles Book 1): a Book Review

Elysium (The Tartarus Chronicles #1) by Keith A. Robinson

Some of you, my readers, have probably noticed that I’ve been absent a day longer than I said I would be. It has been over two weeks, and on my home page I claimed that I would post once every week, or once every other week. My excuse is this: June has been a very, very busy month.

You and your puny excuses.

Hey, you don’t even know anything about my life outside of my blog, so. . . shush.

Hmph.

Anyway, today I’m doing a review on a book I recently finished: Elysium, book one of the Tartarus Chronicles by Keith A. Robinson!

Synopsis (taken from the back of my paperback version):

Gunther Leuschen, a particle physicist, gets pulled through a mysterious portal and transported two hundred years into the future to an exotic underground world inhabited by other humans from earth. Despite the society’s advanced technology, the people are unable to find a way to return home. But when Gunther himself develops the technology, it is taken from him by a malevolent force and modified to be a powerful weapon.

With the aid of an unlikely mix of companions, Gunther seeks to take back his invention and reopen the portals. Standing in his way are genetically altered soldiers, technologically enhanced humans, and corrupt government officials. Yet even greater than these obstacles are the questions that arise about the nature of truth—questions that challenge the very core of his beliefs.

My Opinion:

This was the first apologetics fiction book I have ever read. My mom got it for me at a homeschool conference (and it’s signed 😎). Apologetics fiction is fiction that seeks to defend a religion, in this case Christianity. Robinson’s reasoning for God’s existence and the Bible’s truthfulness in Elysium is very thorough, and incredibly thought provoking! Let me tell you, it was a very good book. The plot was excellent, I loved the characters, and Mr. Robinson did a good job deeply delving into just a few, but still making the side characters captivating. A beautiful mix of action, suspense, theological debates, and much more. However, it did annoy me to see a few typos, mostly relating to the misplacement of quotation marks. I’d give it a four-and-a-half star rating out of five (minus one half for typos).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

(Trust me, if I could make those stars gold I would have.)

Stats (ya gotta love ’em):

Pages: 224

Reading age: 8–18.

Genre: Christian futuristic fiction.

Amazon rating [Below]:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Amazon link: Click here.

Author bio (taken from the back of my paperback version):

Keith A. Robinson has dedicated his life to teaching others how to defend the Christian faith. Since the release of Logic’s End, his first novel, he has been a featured speaker at Christian music festivals, homeschool conventions, apologetics seminars, and churches, as well as appearing as a guest on numerous radio shows. In addition, he is also the Extensions Director of the Creation Science Society of Milwaukee.

When not writing or speaking, Mr. Robinson is the full-time public school orchestra director at Indian Trail High School & Academy. He currently resides in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his wife, Stephanie, their five children, and a Rottweiler.

P.S. Don’t forget about the poll on which music album I should do a review on! You can find it here.

Reviews (songs & books)

Book Review of Shards of Sky

Woo-hoo! This is my first book review, and I’m ready. So, let’s jump in, shall we?

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My book review for today is of Shards of Sky, by E. C. Colton (I’ve interviewed her once on the Right Kind of Writer). You may be wondering: “Danny-Boy, my good man, why do you post this on a Saturday?”

I’d have to answer with, 1) ‘Danny-Boy’ is reserved for my blog-conscious only, and, 2) this is the day I scheduled to publish a SoS (Shards of Sky) book review, as part of her blog tour, gaining anticipation for the launch of SoS on April 18! I was given an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), and, in return, I gave this honest book review.

Synopsis:

Will hope prove itself worth fighting for?

Nestled within the mountains of Colorado, life is anything but perfect for two children and their negligent aunt. Yet it becomes even more of a disaster when a mysterious accident leaves Aryon mute and Jenn terrified for their futures. Battling her own sorrow, bitterness, and distant memories, Jenn journeys through the mountains of Colorado in search of their father, who may only be as real as a wisp of mist. The biggest things standing in her way are the miles of seemingly endless forest, her shattered memories, and a mysterious woman trailing her.

As she journeys on, Jenn is forced to confront her past. Has time changed her memories? What will it take to be strong and unhindered by the darkness around her? And does this woman hold the key to her past—her real past?

But no matter where Jenn goes, a shard of sky shines bright overhead as a distant reminder of the hope she’s fighting to hold onto—and the person she could become. 

Heart-wrenching and emotionally moving, this story delivers a powerful message of courage and the wonder of hope.

My opinion:

I expected a good book from this young author, and that’s exactly what she gave me. The pieces of the plot of this novella fit incredibly well. Right from the start, I fell in love with the wording – very well done. Not to mention that the cover portrays the book’s vibe beautifully. The main character, Jenn, was portrayed incredibly. Her arc, her flaws, her good qualities… very realistic, and fairly easy to sympathize with. I would definitely recommend this. I’d give this 124-page YA fiction novella a 9/10.

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Shards of Sky sound interesting? Here is the preorder link. For those who preorder the SoS ebook (before the launch date, April 18), if you insert a screenshot of your receipt into this form, E. C. Colton will contact you with the FREE preorder goodies that come with the preordered purchase of SoS.

Below are images of some of the goodies…

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 8 – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (intro), Cynthia at Achinty (interview)

April 9 – Mia Harden at Windows to Mia (interview)

April 10 – Daniel L. Amador at The Right Kind of Writer (review)

April 11 – J. S. Clingman at My Little Hole in the Ground (interview)

April 12 – Allie Jo Anderson at Allie Jo Anderson (review)

April 13 – Althea Truth at Apple Blossoms (interview)

April 14 – Liesl Brunner at Quote, Unquote (interview), Ryan Elizabeth at Ryan Elizabeth Writes (interview), Hannah E. M. at Precarious Book Stacks (review)

April 15 – Allyson Jamison at Shay’s Scribbles (interview)

April 16  – Addison Vallier at Story Well (interview)

April 17 – Cara from Paper Strider (review)

April 18 (launch day) – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (finale), Samantha Hopper at Stuck in a Story (review & interview)

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E. C. Colton is a Christian, entrepreneur, cat mom, and author of A Change of Heart. She strives to write stories that illustrate deep truths through realistic characters. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drawing, designing graphics, and scribbling away in a vintage notebook with a cup of tea. 

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Thanks for reading! I hope you do decide to get Shards of Sky. It’s a beautiful book.

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Credit to E. C. Colton for photo [of Shards of sky paperback].