Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden

Jennie is home on summer break from her first year at college when the spaceships arrive. After six weeks, she is determined to convince her parents, in particular her mom, that it is safe enough for her to return to college. After being turned down several times, her mother tends to the garden out back only to be attacked my an unknown being. As Jennie looks outside, she sees several of them. Her family's trip to the hospital begins Jennie's terrifying journey to protect her family.

Hugh Harris is trapped in his high rise apartment building. Being a high school biology teacher and working toward his master's in animal behavior, he takes a scientific approach to figuring out what is going on with the aliens and the beasts that have been unleashed. As the days go by, he wonders how long he will last as his food diminishes. When he sees a young woman and her child, he wishes to help them as they are being followed by several red, bloated wailers. If he makes the decision to leave the building, there is no going back.

Brad Harris only cares about Brad Harris. Luckily, with his ability to think quick and rely on this self-preservation skills he makes past the beasts and wailers only to be taken down by a set of railroad tracks. He is rescued by a church bus. He has no problem taking their help and using up their resources.

The military base is now open. Heading to the base is the only chance for survival. How will they make it? Will they run into the beasts? Will the wailers find them? Who will survive?

To be honest, when I agreed to read and review this book, I had no idea what it was about. I didn't even read the synopsis. But a book called Sanctuary couldn't be bad, right? I mean, the TV show Sanctuary on Syfy was one of my favorites. So, I had no expectations going in. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.

This books is sci-fi meets zombie apocalypse meets the Book of Revelations. Although this book has some Christian elements, you don't feel like you're getting a sermon preached to you. The theme of faith, whether it's in God, people or just that things will work out, is needed in stories to provide hope that the characters you love with make it through the terrifying ordeals they face.

The book starts off with the aliens already having invaded Earth. After six weeks, the beasts arrive. From there the book seems to be nearly non-stop action. Throughout the book the point of view switches between Jennie (the protagonist of the story), Hugh Harris (a high school biology teacher) and Brad Harris (Hugh's brother that stole his girlfriend). The varying point of views give us a pretty good understanding of everything going on with the beasts and the zombies, or wailers as they're called in this book. All their stories meet up at a church that promises to take them to the military base for shelter and protection.

Pauline Creeden does an excellent job balancing the genres of christian, sci-fi and horror. She keeps a steady pace and before you know it you've finished the book! I read this book in nearly one sitting in less than 6 hours (including potty and snack breaks).

If you're looking for something a bit different than your regular alien or zombie book, try this alien AND zombie book!

Awesome! Read it!

“Left Behind for the Hunger Games Generation”
Synopsis: In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?
Book Trailers

When Jennie reached the back door, she saw them. Four large dog-like creatures with pinched faces like bulldogs and lion-like manes. They snarled, and one of them leapt at the window on the top half of the door when it saw her. Jennie jumped back and fell hard on the cold tile floor. The bottle of painkiller bounced across the kitchen tiles. The creature slammed against the window a second time, cracking it. She blinked hard. Her heart sunk, and the hairs on her arms stood on end. A horrendous gargling howl rent the air, causing a shiver down her spine. She held her breath and waited for the creature to slam into the door again.
“What on earth?” she whispered to herself.
When the third attempt never came, she scrambled toward the door. Blinking hard, she used the door knob to help herself stand. Out the cracked window, her mother was still out of sight, but the last of the dogs headed across the field behind her backyard.
“MOM?” Jennie called out.
The rumbling faded, and the vibrations in her chest receded with the dogs. She pulled open the door and rushed onto their back deck. “Mom, where are you?”
When she reached the banister, she looked over the side. Her mom lay sprawled with one hand on the lattice. Blood gushed from Mom’s leg and her opposite arm. Jennie’s ears rang and flooded with every beat of her heart.
Jennie didn’t know how she got to the second floor of her house, but she found herself shaking her sleeping father. How had he slept through the rumbling? “Outside, it’s Mom…”
Her father leapt from the bed. Mickey, her little brother, lay asleep and undisturbed. Dad ran down the stairs and outside in his flannel pajama bottoms and white t-shirt. He scooped Mom up to his chest and carried her inside. Blood stained his shirt in crimson.
“Jennie, call 911!”  Her father had said it at least three times before it finally registered in her brain.
She pulled the cell phone from her pocket, but it refused to connect. With a groan, she grabbed the cordless from the wall receiver, glad her heart stopped pounding in her head so she could hear.
“All operators are busy at this time,” a mechanical voice deadpanned, “Please stay on the line, and the next available operator will take your call.”
“They have me on hold, Dad. Should I hang up and try again?” She held the phone in both hands away from her face.
“No, just stay on the line.” Her father lifted the shredded jeans from Mom’s leg. “It looks like a shark bite. What on earth happened?”
Jennie took in the damage through tear-filled eyes. A huge chunk was taken from her mother’s calf, exposing the fibrous tendons that covered the bone in her leg. A bloodstain grew on the beige couch. Was she going to die? Panic rose up.
“What happened, Jennie?”
“I...I...They looked like lions, or dogs, or something. The rumbling shook the whole house…I tried to go outside to get Mom, but—” A sob blocked her throat.
Her father grabbed a throw pillow and held it against the leg. Mom’s exposed forearm laid across her chest in much the same condition as her calf.
“Grab me the duct tape.”
Jennie suddenly remembered the phone, put it back to her ear, and headed to the hall closet. She reached for the shelf above the jackets and grabbed the junk basket next to the toolbox.
“Please stay on the line. An operator will be with you shortly.”
She shoved the phone in the crook of her neck and fished through the box.  Half the contents dropped around her feet. Who cares? When her fingers wrapped around the silver duct tape, a short-lived relief sent prickles down her arms. But the urgency gripped her chest in less than a heart beat, and she threw the junk basket on the ground with the rest of the items.
“Hurry, Jennie!” her father called from the living room. “And turn on the TV. Maybe they’ll have something about what’s going on.”
She handed her father the tape and turned toward the TV. The mechanical voice on the phone came through again, followed by more easy listening.
When she clicked on the TV, the shouting and wailing began before the picture warmed up on the screen. A sideways picture of New York City broke through, with the shaky voice of the newscaster voicing over.
“What we are watching now – I can’t believe it – is live footage of Times Square,” the newscaster’s voice paused for a deep breath. “We’ve lost our man on the scene and his camera man to what appears to be some kind of new alien creature. Just a short half-hour ago, the doors to the ship that hovered above Central Park opened and these dog-like creatures flooded out.”

Jennie couldn’t pull her eyes from the screen. She straightened and dropped the phone on the hardwood. The battery popped out and skidded across the floor.

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.

Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.

One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.

Why on earth did I write a Christian novel that has both aliens and zombies in it?
When I was a teen/young adult and my faith was wavering at best, there were several movies out with the likely design to shake faith even more. End of the world movies were in their hay day. Alien invasion was another big one. And I couldn’t help but wonder. If something like this actually happened, would anyone be able to maintain their faith?
And now today, Zombies are on the rise.
Could aliens be reconciled with the Bible? Zombies? This is the purpose of Sanctuary.
Because of its poetic nature, the book of Revelation lends itself to a plethora of interpretation. I am not saying that my book is the only true possibility, but it could be one. Could not demons be misinterpreted as alien life forms? Might not Satan use this mirage to his advantage to explain the bitter water or the blotting out of the sun, moon, and stars?  And then there’s Revelation 9:6 - "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."
 If anyone reading this book at least opens themselves up to the fact that yes, a biblical interpretation could resolve the problems between faith and an apocalyptic reality, then Sanctuary has completed its purpose.

PTB: How long have you been writing?
PC: When I was about 9 years old, my father bought me a typewriter for Christmas. It was what I wanted. I wrote a novel, can't remember much about it, but I know it had a unicorn in it. :) I was unicorn obsessed at the time. But my "novel" was only about 10 pages. And since then, I wrote short stories off and on for almost 30 years (aging myself). But my first full length novel was written in 2011.

PTB: What inspired you to write this story? How did it begin?
PC: This story actually began as a short story. I wrote it for Fear and Trembling magazine: - I got such a huge response from the short that I felt compelled by readers to give the novel a go.

PTB: What's the best advice you've been given since you became an author?
PC: Read. Never stop reading. And realize that EDITING is huge and takes a lot of time.

PTB: Who are your favorite authors:
PC: Neil Gaiman, CS Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Oscar Wilde, JK Rowling, and Suzanne name a few

PTB: What are you  reading right now?
PC: Through a Glass - by Y. I. Lee (Dark Fantasy), The Windgate - by Braxton Cosby (Bill Cosby's Nephew), The Absence of Mercy by John Burley (Suspense/Thriller), Judge by RJ Larson (Fantasy)
A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway (Steampunk)

I read 5 books at a time because I have ADD and get bored easily - so I flip back and forth between them like a man with a remote control.

PTB: If you could only read 5 books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
PC: The Bible, CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, And do they have a Harry Potter Omnibus so I can count that as one?

PTB: What's your favorite thing to snack on while writing?
PC: I don't eat, but I bribe myself with Snapple - I only allow myself to drink the stuff when I'm writing or editing :)

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