Jill Williamson’s Blog

Premiere: On the Runway by Melody Carlson

Posted by on Aug 6th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 2 comments

Review by Jill Williamson

When Paige and Erin are helping their mother with a live, on location segment for the news with Paige in front of the camera and Erin filming, Paige starts critiquing people’s clothing. Erin is mortified at how rude her sister is and worries her mother’s job is now in jeopardy. But a reality show producer saw the segment and asks Paige to be the star of a new fashion reality show called On the Runway. Paige’s mother has one condition: Erin goes on the show too, as a cameraman. And so Erin is thrown into a world of glitz, glamour, and drama, whether she likes it or not, pretty much to babysit her impulsive older sister. 

Loved it! With the reality TV craze, this book is a clever addition to Christian fiction for teen girls. The book sucked me in. I couldn’t put it down. It was so fun and realistic and slightly horrifying as we watched Paige barge onto the set of another popular reality show and make waves. I guess that just means I relate more with Erin’s practical personality. The characters were so real, I felt like this was happening in Hollywood right now and if I flipped to the right channel on my TV, I’d see Paige and Erin doing their thing. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. If you haven’t read this book, what are you waiting for? Two girls getting the opportunity of a lifetime, a little romance, a lot of Hollywood drama. This is a perfect for teen girls.

Age Range:  13 and up
Genre: contemporary
Part of a Series: On the Runway, book one
Pages: 224
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: 2010


Posted by on Aug 3rd, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Podcasts | 0 comments

CLICK HERE to download To Darkness Fled-Episode 37

Achan fights Esek, then meets an opponent even more fierce.

What’s Your Story?

Posted by on Jul 31st, 2012 in Adventures in Faith, Jill Williamson's Blog, My Story | 4 comments

Years ago, sometime back in 2005, my husband and I took the teen leaders in our youth group down to Saddleback Church. We thought it was fun to show our teens that all churches aren’t the same. And we also liked to “spy” on other churches and see what cool ideas we might steal for our own youth ministry.

Doug Fields

Doug Fields

That night, Doug Fields gave the talk, which was “Tell your story.” This message hit me hard because up until that point, I’d been afraid to tell my story. I thought that if the teens knew the person I’d been, they’d be disappointed in me. But Doug said the opposite that night. He said that my personal story, my journey to faith, needed to be heard. He said, “Next to God’s story, your story may be the second greatest one ever told.”

I left that place convicted. And I started telling my story. And it brought people closer to me, rather than pushing them away. Because you know what? We’ve all messed up! And the fact that I had messed up made me a real human being to the teens in our youth group. It made them realize that they weren’t the only ones who’ve messed up.

We all have a story. You might think your story is boring. You never stole cars or did drugs or had an abortion. You were pretty much a good kid, going to church, obeying your parents, getting decent grades. So, you might thing, “What’s to tell?”

But if you love Jesus and have a relationship with him, you have a story. You made a choice in your life, and that choice has power. People will want to hear about how you met him. And someone will relate to why you made that choice.

And coming to Christ is only part of your story. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you survived a health crisis. Maybe you had a sibling fall away. Maybe your parents are divorced. Maybe you struggle with your weight.

It doesn’t have to be a devastation. Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you work with kids. Maybe you’re from another country. Maybe your family adopted a child.

If it is a devastating story, be brave. Start by confessing your story to a trusted adult (maybe a parent or youth worker). Let them advise you about sharing your story publicly or with your friends. Some people might judge you. But you know what? Even if you tell a trusted friend and that person blabs your story–first of all, that stinks!–but that experience becomes part of your story too. Life can be really hard. But with Jesus at our side, who can truly harm us? 

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

Share your story with your friends

Nothing you do in this life is more powerful than who you are. God made you who you are and has a plan for your life. So think about it. Pray about it. You have a story to tell—probably more than one. Think over your life experiences. Which story might you feel comfortable sharing with others?

-How you came to know Christ as savior
-How God helped you overcome something in your life
-How you’ve grown in your faith
-How God used something in your life to bless others
-Why you believe what you believe 

Pray. Ask others to pray for you. Make sure your heart is in the right place. Telling your story isn’t about impressing anyone. It’s so that God can use your testimony to bless and encourage others. Keep it simple. You don’t have to give the details of your sins. Don’t name names.  But be honest, keep your focus on God’s will, and trust him. We all have a story to share. Are you ready to share yours?

Do you already share your story? Or is something holding you back? Leave a comment and let me know.

And if you want to share it with me privately, you can use this form.

Crater by Homer Hickman

Posted by on Jul 30th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 2 comments

Review by Jill Williamson

Crater is a Helium-3 miner on the moon. He’s also one of the few decent guys left on the natural satellite. When he saves the life of a coworker, he earns a promotion he’s not certain he wants that sends him on a dangerous adventure across the moon to pick up a package that many will do anything to keep him from obtaining.

Moon science fiction for teens? Sweet! This book was sort of a high-tech future meets the Old West on the moon. Many of the characters who live there had never been to earth. I loved Crater’s character and his voice. He was a lot of fun. This type of science fiction is a much needed genre for Christian boy readers, so I’m excited to see it available. Girls who love science fiction will like it too. There is a little romance thread in there, as well, but it’s not mushy enough to bother boys. If you like science fiction or adventure stories, you’ll like Crater. 

Age Range:  10 and up
Genre: science fiction
Part of a Series: A Helium-3 novel, book 1
Pages: 311
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: 2012


Posted by on Jul 27th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Podcasts | 0 comments

CLICK HERE to download To Darkness Fled-Episode 36

When Achan discovers that Vrell is being held captive in Esek’s camp, he tells the knights he is going to get her back, whether they like it or not.

Interview with Author Sigmund Brouwer, Author of The Orphan King

Posted by on Jul 24th, 2012 in Adventures in Life, Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 32 comments

Today I’m talking with prolific author Sigmund Brouwer, who has written numerous books. His most recent release is called The Orphan King, which I reviewed yesterday. Click here to read my book review.

Sigmund, I loved The Orphan King! Great book. Where did this story come from? And how is it connected to the Wings of Light series?
Thanks for kind words about the story. It’s one that has always seem to own me, instead of it belonging to me. It’s definitely connected to the Winds of Light series; there was much of the story that was untold — action taking place between what we as readers could see — and Shannon, my GREAT editor gave me a chance explore the rest of the events and put them on the pages. I wanted to do my best for those who read the original series, so that if they liked it the first time around they would have many aha moments, and enjoy the story from this fresh perspective.

I hope that a strong theme emerges as the story unfolds. I think that each of us faces age-old ideas and conflicts, and each of us must learn the same lessons learned by individuals of previous generations. Some things — science and math — can be passed along from one generation to the next, but the important matters in our spiritual lives have to be relearned by each new generation. I hope the epic battle between Merlins and Druids is a reflection of the battles that each of us face and the decisions that each of us have to make, with consequences for each of us that truly have eternal implications.

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

Click to read more reviews on Amazon.com.

Well, you have me totally hooked. I might just have to go searching for all the Wings of Light books so I can read them. Get those aha moments in reverse. How many books will be released in the Merlin’s Immortals series?
At this point, it’s definitely a trilogy, but I’m doing my best to make it longer than that. It’s very enjoyable to be back with the characters.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First a cowboy. That lasted until second grade. Then I truly dreamed about playing hockey. After all, I’m Canadian, eh! But all along, underneath it, I knew I wanted to be an author.

When did you decide to try writing books?I sent out for first short story for publication when I was 20; it took hundreds of pages of writing on a clunky typewriter and dozens of rejections until my first story was published about seven years later. Then three years after that, I had my first books published, called The Accidental Detectives series.

What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures?
Without a doubt, fatherhood. Our girls are 8 & 12, and ‘Daddy’ is my favorite word in the world. I’m glad I had other adventures in my twenties before getting married — riding a bike across Canada, hitching through Europe and other stuff — because those are great memories of more conventional adventures — but I wake up every morning looking forward to spending time with the girls. Last week we went looking for dinosaur bones in an exposed riverbank. Every weird rock they found convinced them they had discovered a new species, and it was an amazing adventure.

It sounds like it. My kids take me on a new adventure every day. Here’s a little bit about The Orphan King.

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan.

“My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil.”

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems. From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

Thomas is very trusting. Sometimes that trait helps him, but sometimes it gets him into trouble. How might teens like Thomas discern whether or not a person can be trusted?

That’s the perfect question to ask someone who considers fatherhood the greatest possible adventure. I sure hope I have the answers by the time my girls reach their teens!

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

Click to view preorder page on Amazon.com

LOL! What new fictional adventure are you working on now and when can we read it?
I’ve just completed Fortress of Mist, the next book in the Merlins Immortals, and very soon I’ll get started on the third book.

In the mean-time, I do have another book coming out this summer — historical love/adventure set in the politically turbulent years of Rome and Jerusalem in the years just before the Roman army destroyed the Temple. It’s called The Last Temple, and completes a trilogy with co-author Hank Hanegraaff.

Ooh. That sounds like a fun series. And I love the covers of Fortress of Mist and The Last Temple! (Makes mental note to read Last Disciple series.) Where can readers learn more about you and your writing?
I’d love it if they visited my website www.coolreading.com. I’d love it even more if they stopped by www.rockandroll-literacy.com. I visit about 250 schools a year to help promote literacy, and it would be great to hear from anyone who wanted me to visit a local school.

If you’re a teacher, or if you just like a great presentation, visit  www.rockandroll-literacy.com and watch the short video about how his presentations work. It’s pretty fun stuff.

Thanks for being here, Sigmund! And thanks for writing books that make boys want to read!

And because I loved The Orphan King so much, I’m giving away a copy of the book! So, if you want to win, enter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

Posted by on Jul 23rd, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

Click to read more reviews on Amazon.com.

Review by Jill Williamson

Thomas is planning an escape from the corrupt monastery he grew up in. He has many secrets left for him by his dead mother. But when he sets out to accomplish that which he has been planning for years—to take the castle Magnus—he finds himself in the company of an odd band of companions. Some know things they can’t possibly know. Who to trust? And who are the Immortals?

This book was so cool! I loved it. My kind of story. 1. Medieval. 2. A mystery. 3. Mentions of King Arthur and Merlin. The characters were wonderful. A young orphan, a mysterious knight, a pretty girl, and a pickpocket boy. Who to trust? What is going on? So many questions that all played out to a satisfying conclusion. And at only 224 pages, a really quick read. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: historical fiction, fantasy
Part of a Series: book one in the Merlin’s Immortals series
Pages: 224
Publisher: Waterbrook Publishers
Released: 2012


Posted by on Jul 20th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Podcasts | 0 comments

CLICK HERE to download To Darkness Fled-Episode 35

The other traitor is discovered when he kidnaps Vrell.

Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire by the Miller Brothers

Posted by on Jul 19th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire

Click to read more reviews on Amazon.com.

Review by Jill Williamson

After Hunter’s last trip to Solandria, he’s pretty much deserted by his best friend, who doesn’t remember the trip. But Hunter can’t forget it. He meets up with two new friends who recognize the Author’s mark, and together they are transported to Solandria to embark on a very dangerous quest. Hunter must carry the Flame to Torpor in an attempt to find the other marked people. They meet plenty of people along the way. How will they know who to trust?

These are really fun books for middle grade readers. They’re filled with adventure and allegory and all kinds of cool things. Plus they have neat pictures at the beginning of each chapter for those readers who still like a visual every now and then. I really enjoy the way the Miller brothers tell a story. And I love the way the weapons in Solandria are powered by faith. Pretty cool stuff. If you haven’t heard of these books, I recommend them for readers aged ten and up.

Age Range: 10 and up
Genre: fantasy
Part of a Series: book two in The Codebearers Series
Pages: 352
Publisher: Warner Press
Released: 2009

Christy and Todd: The College Years by Robin Jones Gunn

Posted by on Jul 16th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

Christy and Todd the College Years

Click to read more reviews on Amazon.com.

Review by Jill Williamson

This is a three-books-in-one volume that contains the final books in the Christy Miller tale. I’ve given a review of each story below.

Book 1: Until Tomorrow
Christy, Todd, and Katie travel Europe together, and Christy wonders if she and Todd are going to grow closer or farther apart.

This book made me laugh. Traveling for three weeks in Europe sounds like so much fun, but Robin Jones Gunn showed a more realistic side of such an adventure. Confusion, fatigue, hunger, awe, and running out of money! The trip was worth it for the characters and me, though. Fun story.

Book 2

As You Wish
Christy is back in Southern California attending the same college as Todd and Katie. She’s never had so much time to spend with Todd before, and now that he’s told her he loves her, Christy struggles over whether or not to say it back.

Finally! Christy and Todd get to spend some real time together on a regular basis. After so many books, this is what we’ve all been waiting for! I loved seeing Christy wonder over her relationship with Todd. I say what I’ve said all along. This is a GREAT series for teen girls. And this book in particular is perfect for girls contemplating true love. One of my favorite Christy books!

Book 3

I Promise
Christy and Todd discover some major differences between them which cause Christy to question whether or not they’re right for each other.

*SPOILERS* Another fabulous book for girls wondering if they’ve found “true love.” Christy and Todd work through a lot of things about each other and come out okay in the end. But this book will give readers a glimpse of a more realistic happily-ever-after as Christy and Todd go through pre-marital counseling and survive the coming together of their extended families. It’s a satisfying end to the series. A standing ovation for Robin Jones Gunn. Loved this series!

Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: contemporary
Part of a Series: Christy Miller
Pages: 656
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: 2008