Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan

Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute.

As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life—when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty . . . his street empty . . . his whole town empty . . . empty except for an eerie, creeping fog—and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog.

Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell?

Tom is a good reporter—he knows how to look for answers—but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything—including Tom’s life—hangs in the balance.

My review:
   This book, along with all of the others Andrew Klavan has written for Thomas Nelson, is written for a teen audience. I wish books like his had been around when I was a teenager, but that doesn't stop me from reading them now. The reading level he writes at is one most adults can enjoy also.

  This book is totally different from his others. It is just as suspenseful, and maybe even more. The main character, Tom is dealing with all kinds of creepy events and creatures, and the reader figures something is going on, and that this isn't some bizarre fantasy book..... and as I figured, not all is as it seems. I did figure out what was going on before the author made it obvious, but I won't give that spoiler out.

  In addition to its great entertainment value, the book teaches a great lesson anyone should be able to catch: We should always tell the truth, even when its not popular and can make people angry. Its never OK to cover up wrong.

  This may be Klavan's best book for teens so far. Even though I caught on eventually as to what was going, the way he started the book and spun  the story was a masterpiece of writing. There is a lot of descriptive writing, and he easily pulled me into the story and kept me in it until I read it to the finish.

  Most of Klavan's books don't have much or any Christian content, but are totally clean and have what is called a Christian worldview. This book actually has more Christian content than most, along with the message of doing the right thing.

  I'm an adult and loved the book, but I also have the rave reviews of three teenage girls who read it and loved it. So there you have it. It is definitely worth reading.

About the author:


Andrew Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar award five times and won twice. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Don't Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Empire of Lies. He is currently writing a series of thrillers for young adults called The Homelanders. The first two novels in the series are The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. His satiric video commentaries can be seen on PJTV.com.


Nightmare City is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

That Was the Best Christmas! by A.R. Cecil

These heartwarming stories set during the holidays in the years between 1906 and today will rekindle the reader's own memories, giving perspective to the present and hope for the future. Each short story is set amidst historic events when people came together and found opportunities to exchange the true gifts of Christmas: kindness, encouragement, forgiveness, peace, hope, belonging, and more. The main character of each story is a boy or girl, man or woman whose heart opens to give or receive love, bringing personal transformation and causing them to always look back and say, "That was the best Christmas!" Each story is penned by A.R. Cecil with a gentle twinkle in her eye, giving the reader delightful twists of plot and humor and revealing Mrs. Cecil's warm understanding of human relationships - with each other and with the Creator who sent his Son that first Christmas Day.25 very short stories are just right to read one a day during the Advent Season!


My review:
   I have always enjoyed Christmas stories, and am partial to books that have several stories in, so this book was right up my alley. Most of the stories are around five pages in length, which makes it a great book to read when you only have time to read a few pages.

  The stories are set in the years between 1906 and today, and each one is subtitled with "a gift of.....", i.e.: Trust, Answered Prayer, a Savior, etc.

  I enjoyed reading the book, and found the stories interesting and the kind that help remind one of the real meaning of Christmas. Great book.

About the author:


A.R. (Alice) Cecil writes from her heart and experience as a mother, grandmother, teacher, and follower of Christ.

She earned a MSFA (Master of Science in Fine Art) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A former third-grade teacher, she has been writing for many years. Her published works include Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell their Stories of Forgiveness and Healing (contributing author) and In that Place Called Day: Poems and Reflections that Witness God's Love (a collection of poetry). Another book, If the Fish Could Talk, is forthcoming in 2014. Alice and her physician husband reside in Louisville, Kentucky. They enjoy traveling to visit their four children and four grandchildren where they live in various parts of the world.
  

That Was the Best Christmas! is available from Cladach Publishing.

Thanks to Cladach for the review copy.
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

A Furious Love Is Hot on Your Trail! Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment. In this newly repackaged edition—now with full appendix, study questions, and the author’s own epilogue, “Ragamuffin Ten Years Later,” Brennan Manning reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. The Father beckons us to Himself with a “furious love” that burns brightly and constantly. Only when we truly embrace God’s grace can we bask in the joy of a gospel that enfolds the most needy of His flock—the “ragamuffins.”

Are you bedraggled, beat-up, burnt-out?

Most of us believe in God’s grace—in theory. But somehow we can’t seem to apply it in our daily lives. We continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on a score sheet.

Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we’ve done. We come to Him as ragamuffins—dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His “furious love.”

Brennan Manning’s now-classic meditation on grace and what it takes to access it—simple honesty—has changed thousands of lives. Now with a Ragamuffin’s thirty-day spiritual journey guide, it will change yours, too.

Includes a 30-Day Spiritual Journey Guide!


My review:
   I can't believe this book has been around since 1990, and I just got around to reading it. Its something I needed to read for a long time, but maybe the time was right for it to do the most good now.

  If you're like me, and have always struggled to fully believe God loves you, if you have had trouble truly grasping the idea of grace, and that it is for you.... you need to read this book. There were so many "wow" moments for me in this book. Manning really opens up the reality of God's love and does a great job of shooting down the doubts we can have about it.

  I do wish I had read this book earlier in my life, before my doubts had become so grounded, but it has given me new hope and a fresh look at God's love and grace like I have never experienced.

  A verse Manning came back to a few times, was Luke 15:20, in the story of the prodigal son: So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." He made the point that before the son had even asked forgiveness, before he even had the chance to say anything, the father had run to him, embraced him, and welcomed him home..... that put a whole new light on that story, and how eager God is to welcome us back. I can't say enough good about this book. There may be a few things I wouldn't agree with 100%, but this is one of those books that can be life-changing, and has far more that I agree with, than not.

About the author:


Richard Francis Xavier Manning, known as Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013)was an American author, friar, priest, contemplative and speaker. Born and raised in Depression-era New York City, Manning finished high school, enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean War. After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Upon his graduation from the seminary in 1963, Manning was ordained a Franciscan priest.[2]

In the late 1960s, Manning joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld, a religious institute committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor. Manning transported water via donkey, worked as a mason's assistant and a dishwasher in France, was imprisoned (by choice) in Switzerland, and spent six months in a remote cave somewhere in the Zaragoza desert. In the 1970s, Manning returned to the United States and began writing after confronting his alcoholism.


The Ragamuffin Gospel is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

I received an e-book of the book for review, but bought a paperback copy of my own.
  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Critical Reaction by Todd Johnson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Critical Reaction
Bethany House Publishers (November 19, 2013)
by
Todd M. Johnson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012. Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

ABOUT THE BOOK

After decades of turning out plutonium for the arms race, the Hanford Nuclear Facility has long been shuttered, though its deadly legacy cannot be fully contained. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings for radiation leaks are told the risks are under control. They believe it, until the worst happens: a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Two workers, lifer Poppy Martin and new hire Kieran Mullaney, believe themselves lucky to survive the blast. But as the debris is cleared, they discover their safety is not assured. Dead ends and closed doors halt their efforts to discover what really happened--and what radiation may have poisoned them. When stalling and threats force them into the hands of experienced trial lawyer Ryan Hart, they learn that theirs is no ordinary lawsuit. There is something still hidden in the desert of eastern Washington, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it never sees the light of day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Critical Reaction, go HERE.

My review:
  I enjoy legal thrillers, but there aren't many authors writing them on the Christian market, so its nice to see a new Christian legal thriller author come along.

  I read Johnson's first book, The Deposit Slip, and was impressed, so when this one came along, I snagged one for review, and in my opinion, he has gotten better with his second novel. This one was based on an actual court case he worked on as a lawyer, so not all of the story is fictional.

  The book did have a great plot, characters, and setting. It is one of those books that once I started it, I didn't want to put it down. One problem I have had with some legal thrillers I have read, is some of the court and legal stuff can get a bit laborious, but Johnson did a great job of keeping it interesting and in terms people that aren't legal experts could understand.

  Speaking of the author, I participated in a chat on Facebook with him and several other readers, and he seems like a very nice down to earth guy who wants to write books that stay true to his faith.

  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and though I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and thought a few more pages and details would have tied the book up better, it is a great book that I'd recommend to suspense and legal thriller readers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson, with a book giveaway

One girl in need of a home. One woman in search of a home for her heart. One Christmas where it all seems possible.It felt strange to be out here in the middle of the night, still wearing the Amish dress--a dress that had belonged to Miri. Rachel's footsteps crunched in the snow, and halfway between the barn and the house, she paused to look up at the night sky, wondering if more snow was in store, but all she saw was velvety black and stars. Millions of twinkling stars. She had never seen stars like that before, so bright and so close, almost as if she could touch them with her hand.


Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend the week before Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.

With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio's Amish country. As love begins to blossom, family secrets emerge, and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

Join bestselling author Melody Carlson on an emotional journey into the heart of what family truly means at Christmastime.

My review:
   Melody Carlson has been putting out a Christmas novel every year for several years in a row, and they are always a fun and interesting read, and totally different from the previous ones. When I see her name attached to a Christmas book being offered for review, I don't even read the description of the book, I just reply that I want to review it...... and I am never disappointed.

  This book has a sad beginning, but not so much that it casts a pall over the rest of the book. It quickly goes into the dilemma of Holly, the little girl at the center of the story.

  I'm not a big fan of Amish books, and there are Amish people in this story, but not like in most of the stories where Amish girl meets Amish guy and they get married and live happily ever after. The Amish in this book cause some problems for the little girl in the story who because of a surprise in  her parents' will, may not get to spend her life with the aunt that she wishes to.

  The story is well written, the Amish people presented in a believable way, and though the ending isn't a complete surprise, it is a great ending and the book would make a great addition to your Christmas reading.

About the author:


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, the Life at Kingston High series, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

For more information about Melody visit her website at www.melodycarlson.com.

A Simple Christmas Wish is available from Revell, a division of Baker Book Publishing.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Giveaway:
  Thanks to the author and her husband, I am giving away a copy of A Simple Christmas Wish. There is one required entry, and one extra entry:

  To enter, comment and tell if you have read any of Melody's books, and if so, name at least one.

  If you haven't read any of her books, go to her website and check out her books, and comment with what book interests you the most.

Extra entry: (make a second comment saying you did this, or if you already have)
Do one of the following:
"Like Melody's Facebook page.
Subscribe to Melody's newsletter.
Become a fan on Goodreads.

I will draw a winner on December 1 using Random.org

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas At Harmony Hill, and a book giveaway

She stared up at the Shaker buildings. They took in those in need. That was why she was riding into their village. But she couldn't stay here. Not forever. They divided families. She'd heard her grandmother speak harshly of the way Shakers didn't believe in marriage and had special houses where children were kept from their parents.

Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn't take a newborn from his mother's bosom. Heather's mother couldn't have imagined that happening or she'd have never told her to come . . .
A stirring story of healing, hope, and home at Christmas
It is 1864 and the nation is torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. With her husband at the front and nowhere else to turn, she seeks refuge in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Amid the tumult of the times, Heather yearns for the peace she sees in this strange community. But can this longing really be fulfilled amid these people with their peculiar beliefs about family?

As Christmas approaches, the joy of new life and the love that is born of forgiveness may hold the answer.

Join bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart for a peek into the world of the Shakers--and the world of the human heart.


My review:
   I've never read any books by Ann Gabhart as her books are more for women, but I never pass up a Christmas novel, so now I can say that I have read one of her books.

  This book is set during the Civil War and is set among the Shakers. I hardly knew anything about the Shakers before reading the book, and I learned quite a bit about them while reading this story. Needless to say, I don't think I could ever be one. :-)

  I like the author's writing style. I do read a lot of books, and when I am reading a new author I take note of things like writing style, and she has a great easy to read style that is also interesting. Even with the Shaker beliefs, she didn't just rattle it off, but through the characters, she gave a great glimpse into their beliefs that wasn't at all laborious or boring.

  Outside of modern times, the Civil War is my favorite setting for a book. The book doesn't just revolve around the Shakers, but also around the war, and its affect on people. I was again reminded of how it was a war that had family members fighting each other, even brother against brother.

  The couple in the story is already married, so there isn't a lot of romance, but it is a story of hope and forgiveness, themes that we all need at this time of year, and a reminder that its what Christmas is all about.

   I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas At Harmony Hill, and once I started reading it, I read it until I finished it. It is a great read, and definitely worth reading. And if you're a woman and haven't read Ann's other books, it may help you find a new author to read.

About the author:


Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.


Christmas At Harmony Hill is available from Revell, a division of Baker Book Publishing.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Giveaway:
Ann has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her book, Christmas At Harmony Hill.
The giveaway will run for 10 days, and I will pick a winner using Random.org on November 29.
US and Canada only.

To enter:
Go to Ann's website, and do one of the following:
Check out her other books and comment with what one you'd like to read
"Like" her Facebook page. Comment saying you did.
Sign up here for her newsletter, comment saying you did.
Become a fan on Goodreads. Comment saying you did.
Follow Ann on Twitter, and comment that you did.

If you already do any of these, you can still comment.
Get an extra entry by doing two of the suggested entry methods. Make two comments.

Real by Jamie Snyder

"Would people know I'm a Christian if they didn't see me at church?"
This gut-check question was just what Jamie Snyder needed. Like many of us, he sensed his faith had become mechanical rather than meaningful, scheduled rather than passionate. Emboldened, Snyder set out to recapture the sold-out lifestyle of early followers of Jesus.

Here he shares how to live the life Jesus desires of us, a life defined by

Unbridled generosity
Daring courage
Rebellious joy
Risky faith
Relentless hope
Scandalous grace
Mad love

Be challenged. Be encouraged. Be a 24/7 follower of Jesus.


My review:
   There have been a few non-fiction books that I have read this year that have really impressed me, and this one falls into that category. It isn't a long book, coming in at only 173 pages, but it is packed full of great writing.

  The author goes with the premise that too many Christians are not just putting on their Sunday best in clothes on Sunday, but their Sunday best everything, and we need to live the same all week as we do on Sunday.

  To be honest, the book is rather convicting, and will cause most readers to mentally flinch, but its a great book that needs to be taken to heart and should cause the readers to examine their own lives and put more effort into being real.

  One of the most challenging chapters in the book was on carrying our cross. Jamie describes what the cross meant back in Jesus' day, and what it truly means to carry one's cross nowadays, and I am afraid too many of us really aren't getting it.

  This book has discussion questions and a prayer at the end of each chapter, and though it can be read alone, it would make a great book for a study group.

  This does rank among the best and most challenging books I have read this year, and I'd highly recommend it.

About the author:

Jamie Snyder writes and preaches to thousands of people every week as pastor of Lakeside Christian
Church. He previously served at the country's fifth largest church, Southeast Christian Church, where Kyle Idleman pastors. Jamie and his wife, Alex, and their two young sons live in Lakeside Park, Kentucky. Learn more at www.lakeside.org.


Real is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel with a giveaway

Julia Whittaker's rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker's son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds---and his liver---crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a "living liver" transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon's time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.

But can Julia ask a young woman---someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with---to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she's never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?

And what if she discovers in her own daughters' lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she's probably embarking on a fool's errand---searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.
Book review:
    I am a big fan and advocate of Christian fiction, and am convinced that God can use some of it just as much as a non-fiction book. This is one such book. Admittedly, it is written more for women, but it has some great relationship advice that men could use also.
 
  The book is as good as it sounds. The plot is more intricate and complicated than I expected, but not so much that it wasn't easy to follow. Yes, the book is an enjoyable and entertaining read, but it delves into relationships and the results of choices, results that can affect a lot of people. Through some great fictional characters, the authors show the dangers of living loose sexual lives, but also shows how God will forgive any sin and bring good out of bad.
 
  The book goes back and forth between the past and present quite a bit, but with the authors' writing style, it is done smoothly and I was never at a loss to understand what was going on. I had to read the book in one day, as I messed up and didn't realize until today that  I needed to post the review today.... I thought it was a few days away. Fortunately, the book is such an enjoyable read that I couldn't put it down and easily finished it in one afternoon.
 
  This is a great book to read for leisure, but I'd also recommend it to anyone who may be having relationship issues. There are a lot of good insights in this novel.
 
About the authors:
 
Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach with a master's degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman's Battle series. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers.)

Learn more about Shannon: http://www.shannonethridge.com
 
Kathryn Mackel is a best-selling author and acclaimed screenwriter for Disney and Fox. She was on the screenwriting team for Left Behind: The Movie, and Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She is the acclaimed author of "The Surrogate", "The Departed", and "The Hidden" and resides in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband.
Learn more about Kathryn: http://www.kathrynmackel.com
 
To Know You is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing
 
Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.
 
Shannon Ethridge is celebrating the release of  To Know You (co-written by Kathryn Mackel), by giving away a $100 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs and a personal coaching session, as well as throwing a Facebook Author Chat Party!

toknowyou-rafflecopter

One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 19th. Winner will be announced at the "To Know You" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 19th. Connect with Shannon and friends for an encouraging evening of fun chat, book club discussion, giveaways, and a chance to win a PERSONAL COACHING SESSION WITH SHANNON!

So grab your copy of To Know You and join Shannon on the evening of November 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER or Pinterest and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on 11/19!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Man of Honor by Lorree Lough

On a steamy spring morning, Dusty Parker part-time pastor, part-time search-and-rescue team member, and full-time administrator of a school for troubled boys joins the search for a missing teenage girl. He partners with volunteer and inner-city school teacher Grace Sinclair, and what they find bonds them in ways neither could have expected. As they begin to build their lives together, a visitor from the past causes Dusty and Grace to further open their hearts and home. But a threat is looming on their seemingly perfect lives and in one terrifying night, everything changes.

My review:
   I don't read many romance novels, but the author is a really nice lady and a great author. Plus, she sent me a copy of the book just for posting a recipe. :-)

  The book isn't really a romance, though there is a lot of romance in it. This series was written to honor First Responders, so there is a lot in the book besides romance.

 I really enjoyed the book. Loree created several great characters, and especially the main character, Dusty, and a terrific plot. There is a lot more to the book than a couple meeting and falling in love. Dusty fosters eleven boys that no one else wanted, and there is even a little bit of suspense as a gang leader causes them trouble trying to get  the boys to add to his gang. I know the book is fictional, but it really struck me how we all need to do more to help others. Yes, it would disrupt your life to foster and try to help kids that had no one and some of who had been in trouble, but we all need to do more than we do. Reading the book made me want to go out and find a bunch of kids to help, which isn't really possible right now, but its great when a fiction book and move you like that and make you want to do something good.

   I won't give any spoilers, but the book doesn't tie up everything in a nice little bow, and I actually didn't like the ending. I sent the author a message that said "Arrrrrgh! How could you....." But it was still worth reading, and I enjoyed all but the ending. :-)  I even read the book in one day, which is what I do when a book is really good. This is a great series, and its nice to see an author undertake a series with the intention of honoring the people who are out there day after day, often risking their lives to save the lives of people they don't know.


About the author:

Yes, it’s true: Once upon a time, best selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the Midwest. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for her grandkids, but mostly, she just writes. Over the years, her stories have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards and 4- and 5-star reviews.
 
Loree has more than 4,000,000 (yes, that’s FOUR MILLION) copies of her books in circulation, and in March of 2014, she’ll have 100 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; four novels optioned for movies; more releases slated for release between now and 2016), 68 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print, and over 30,000 letters from fans (carton of books to be delivered to Melissa P. in Halifax, Nova Scotia for writing the 30,000th letter)!
 
Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.
 
A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations (click the "Giving Back" tab to see a full list).
 
She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."


Thanks to Loree for the book, which was not given to me to review, but I posted one anyway. :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Four Blood Moons by John Hagee, with a book giveaway

FOUR BLOOD MOONS
­– Research Based on NASA Science, Scripture and Historical Events –
 
Does God use the sun, moon, and stars to communicate with us? Does He use the heavens as His own personal, high-definition billboard to announce things to come?
 
According to John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church, New York Times best-selling author and founder of John Hagee Ministries and Christians United for Israel, the answer is yes.
 
In an astonishing new non-fiction book, Four Blood Moons, (Sept. 10, 2013/Worthy Publishing) Pastor Hagee draws on scripture, NASA science and recorded history in order to explore the significance of astronomical events and to caution believers of a momentous, upcoming lunar event that may directly impact not only the nation of Israel but possibly all of mankind.
 
Four Blood Moons derives its title from full lunar eclipses, called “blood moons” because only the infrared band of light gets around the Earth, making the moon appear red. In some centuries, there is a very rare series of four consecutive blood moons, called a “tetrad” by astronomists.
 
According to Pastor Hagee, tetrads have occurred on the Jewish holy days of Passover and Sukkot only three times in the last five hundred years. Incidentally, these same three dates in Israel’s history just happen to be the three most important dates in all of its history, writes Hagee. Four Blood Moons discusses these three incredible historical events in detail:
 
·      In 1493–94, the four blood moons occurred on the Jewish holidays of Passover and the Feast of Trumpets. According to Hagee, this event signified the beginning of the fall of Spain following expulsion of the Jews (1492) and was God’s announcement to the world that “the mantle of prosperity had thusly been placed on the shoulders of an infant nation that would become the United States” since it became a refuge for the Jewish people.
 
·      The second appearance of four blood moons appearing on Jewish holy days was 1949–50. They occurred on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles and coincided with Israel’s being declared a nation.
 
·      The third occurrence was in 1967–68 when the Six-Day War took place, uniting the city of Jerusalem with Israel for the first time in two thousand years – a monumental prophetic event, writes Hagee.
What’s more, the next four blood moon tetrad, falling on the same Jewish holy days, is set to happen starting in April 2014 – only the fourth time in the last five hundred years. The dates for each upcoming blood moon are as follows:
·       April 15, 2014 - Jewish Passover
·       October 8, 2014 - Feast of Tabernacles
·       April 4, 2015 - Jewish Passover
·       September 28, 2015 - Feast of Tabernacles
After the first two blood moons in this sequence, and before the final two blood moons, will be a solar eclipse on March 20, 2015 (Rosh Hashanah).
 
What is the prophetic significance of these events?
 
“Over the last 500 years, these lunar events all falling on holy days were an announcement of a time of tears and tribulation that ended in tremendous national triumph for the Jewish people,” says Hagee. “There are no solar or lunar accidents; every heavenly body is controlled by the unseen hand of God to send signals to humanity of coming events.”
 
In Four Blood Moons, Pastor Hagee cautions that, while no one knows the mind of God, the anticipation of this lunar event does tell us that God is getting ready to change the course of human history.


My review:
   I have made the statement before that I don't read enough nonfiction, and when I do, it is rarely prophecy books. This one sounded very intriguing, so when I got the chance to review it, I decided to go for it.

  I've never read anything by John Hagee before, but its obvious that he knows his "stuff." This is a fascinating book, and thought he did a great job of laying out the information he had, I can't put it into my own words to explain it, so you'll have to read the book to understand it for yourself. :-)

 He makes a great case for something big happening to Israel some time in 2014-2015. As I said, I can't explain it, but it has to do with four blood moons appearing in relation to the Jewish calendar. He shows times in history when the same phenomenon happened and what was going on with Israel at the time, and it was always something major. I am admittedly a bit of a skeptic with this kind of thing, but Hagee made a believer out of me, and that's not easy.

  In addition to laying out his case for something happening in the next two years with Israel, Hagee also gave a lot of history of the persecution of the Jews. Maybe I have just been out of school for too long, but there was a lot of information that I don't remember, such as how much the Jews were persecuted and tortured in Spain, how much the British helped Hitler's cause, and more. I was again reminded that the Jews are God's chosen people, and Hagee helped cement my belief that God will bless those who are good to His chosen people.

  I don't often read a book like this in one sitting. That happens with suspense novels, but this book reeled me in and I read through it in one evening, and found it to be a very fascinating and enjoyable read, and one I'd recommend for anyone interested in end time events, and Israel's place in the world and end time events. I have a copy of the book to give away, details at the end of the blog post.

About the author:

John Hagee is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, as well as Jerusalem Countdown,
which itself has sold over 1 million copies. He is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a nondenominational evangelical church with more than 20,000 active members, as well as the founder and president of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his radio and television teachings throughout America and in 249 nations worldwide. Hagee is also the founder and national chairman of Christians United for Israel, a grassroots national association with over one million members to date.


Four Blood Moons is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy Publishing for the review and giveaway copies.

Worthy Publishing Group (www.worthypublishing.com) is a privately held, independent voice in Christian and inspirational publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee, comprised of three divisions. Worthy Books publishes a boutique list of trade titles across a broad spectrum of genres, including current events, biography, fiction, devotionals, spiritual and personal growth, and specialized Bibles. Ellie Claire is a line of gift and paper expressions, and Freeman-Smith is a value-priced, impulse book imprint.  

Giveaway details:
Courtesy of Worthy Publishing, I have one copy of Four Blood Moons to give away.

To enter, go to the publisher's website, check out some of the books they have available, and comment with the title and author of a book that interested you.

Using Random.org, I will pick a winner on November 21. Deadline to enter is midnight on November 20.
 

Peril by Jordyn Redwood

Dr. Thomas Reeves is at the pinnacle of his career. The Department of Defense has awarded him a lucrative contract for his new research into superior autobiographical memory, which promises the ability to create combat troops able to quickly learn complex battle plans and enact them perfectly under the most demanding battlefield scenarios.

An elite unit has received neural grafts from fetal cadavers of genetically altered brain cells with enhanced NMDA receptors. The results are remarkable . . . until the recipients begin suffering hallucinations, nightmares, paralysis, . . . and death. Dr. Reeves searches for answers, but DOD insiders want him to stop the search.

The situation becomes public when pediatric ICU nurse Morgan Adams, Dr. Reeves’s daughter, is taken hostage by three research subjects in an attempt to force Dr. Reeves into disclosing why they are sick. If answers aren’t revealed within twenty-four hours, patients in the pediatric ICU will be killed.

This spine-tingling conclusion to the Bloodline Trilogy raises spiritual and ethical dilemmas torn directly out of today’s headlines. When does life begin? How far does commitment to family go? And can the sins of the father ever be forgiven?

My review:
    I have been privileged to review all of Jordyn's books she has written so far, and enjoyed each book immensely. As often is the case with new authors, she keeps getting better with each book. I enjoyed the first book, the second was even better, and the third better yet.

  Jordyn seems to have a knack for coming up with some unusual killing methods, weird phenomenon in humans,  and experimentations on humans. This third book was no exception. At the center of the story is two medical doctors struggling with their marriage in the aftermath of losing a baby to death. They become involved the fallout from medical experiments done on soldiers with PSTD, and there is some fascinating things described when the doctors are working on their human lab rats.

 In my opinion, this is the most exciting book in the trilogy. I will try not to give much away, but there is a very exciting hostage situation that had me on the end of my seat, reading as fast as I could.

  This isn't a long book, coming in at 274 pages, shorter than most suspense novels, but Jordyn makes great use of those 274 pages and fills them with a ton of suspense, drama, and even some romance.

  All is not just entertainment. The book deals a lot with forgiveness, not just of others, but of oneself, of the power of God, ethical questions of when does life begin, and how much doctors should try to play God.

  The book couldn't have been better. The author has written a great suspense novel that has a great message, and though her medical knowledge and training comes through in the book, it is put in terms even I could understand. I highly recommend this book, and the whole series, which should be read in order for the most enjoyment.

About the author:

Jordyn Redwood has served patients and their families for nearly 20 years and currently works as a pediatric ER nurse. As a self professed medical nerd and trauma junkie, she was drawn to the
controlled chaotic environments of critical care and emergency nursing. Her love of teaching developed early and she was among the youngest CPR instructors for the American Red Cross at the age of seventeen. Since then, she has continued to teach advanced resuscitation classes to participants ranging from first responders to MD’s.

When she discovered she also had a fondness for answering medical questions for authors, this led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge. This blog is devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction.

Jordyn lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters and one crazy hound dog. In her spare time she also enjoys reading her favorite authors, quilting and cross stitching.

Jordyn loves to hear from her readers and you can contact her at jredwood1@gmail.com.

Connect with Jordyn:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001524971656
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5448455.Jordyn_Redwood
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/jordynredwood/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/JordynRedwood
And her website: http://www.jordynredwood.com/

Peril, and the rest of The Bloodline Trilogy is available from Kregel Publishing.
Thanks to Kregel for  the review copy.

Derailed by Dave and Neta Jackson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Derailed
Worthy Publishing (October 8, 2013)
by
Dave and Neta Jackson


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Forced to give up his hard-earned retirement, Harry Bentley goes back to work as a detective. Receiving a bizarre undercover assignment that sends him across the country by train. Things suddenly go awry when it appears one of his new neighbors may be part of a smuggling ring and suspicion rises about his own son’s involvement in a major drug cartel. The second in the Windy City Neighbors series, Derailed is a contemporary, and often humorous, tale in an urban setting, featuring ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. Intersecting with Grounded (book one), the Jacksons employ their innovative storytelling technique of “parallel novels.” Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Derailed transports you to Beecham Street—a typical, isolated American neighborhood . . . until hope moves in.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Derailed, go HERE.

My review:
   This is the second in a series of books set in one neighborhood, with each book centered on a different neighbor. I enjoyed this one even more than the first one, maybe because it was from a man's perspective instead of a woman's. I do wish the series was written from a third person point of view instead of the first person, as I think it would make the books even better.

  This one was very entertaining, but also had a great message in it. The main character, a black guy in probably his early 60's or so, has moved into the neighborhood with his wife and teenage grandson. While taking cinnamon rolls to all of their new neighbors to introduce themselves, they discover two houses down from them is a gay male couple. I am not excusing the sin, and I won't go into a lot of detail, but using the fictitious gay couple, the authors had a great message about loving our neighbors, even when we totally disagree with their lifestyle. It impressed me so much that I wrote a blog post about loving our neighbor on my other blog.

  I did have a few issues with the book. At one point, someone is angry at a police dog that searches out drugs and angrily called it the actual name for a female dog.... granted, they ARE called that, but it seemed out of place for a Christian book, and given the tone it was said in, it seemed more like the bad use of the word. There were also a few cases where the main character started to curse and it had the first couple of letters..... its natural for the brain to fill it in, and I wish they had not done that.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Traces of Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2013)
by
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson.
****
Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.


ABOUT THE BOOK

From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values.

At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life.

Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Traces of Mercy, go HERE.

My review:
   I don't normally read romance books, but this one was written by a man and starts out during the Civil War, so I requested it.
  
   I enjoyed the book. I does have a lot of romance in it, but it also deals with the aftermath of the Civil War and the feelings between the North and South, which was interesting to read. I was disappointed in the ending -a lot disappointed, but since this is the first book in a trilogy, I am hoping the authors work things out better in the other two books.

The Prodigal, a Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett

From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Jack Chisholm is “the people’s pastor.” He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, “We have got to do better.” Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn’t know is anything about grace.

This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news.

After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books.

Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.

But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: “Come home.”

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably.

Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It’s the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.

My review:
   I like it when a book sounds worth reading, and when I read it, it does not disappoint. And that it didn't disappoint is an understatement.

  For a long time, I have been a firm believer that God can use Christian fiction to speak to people, to move them, and even help change them. Not all Christian fiction is light fluff and romance. There is a lot that is not. Such as this book.

  There have been a few times when I read a book and it hit home with me so much that I felt it was written for me. This book may fall into that category more than any I have read. Yes, the book is fiction, but man does it pack a powerful message. I was moved, convicted, felt hope, and gained some new insights into God and how He works. From reading a fictional novel.

  I really liked and identified with the main character. No, I didn't go on a drunken rampage and cheat on my wife - I'm not even married. But like the main character, I have had such a performance based religion instilled in me that I missed the whole message about God loving me. That He would love me no matter what I did, no matter how far I could stray. There was a scene in the book that echoed my own thoughts and feelings that I have had, that I started crying. The main character had just been dealt a major blow and was ranting about God still punishing Him even though he had repented and was trying to do right, and his friend did a great rebuttal of that wrong thinking.

  This is an excellent book. Anyone who struggles to believe God loves them, and feels they need to strive harder to please Him, needs to read this book. Its more than a fictional story. Its a powerful message a lot of people need to read and take to heart.

  The authors created a terrific main character, and spun a great plot around him. It is intended to be a modern retelling of the prodigal son story from the Bible, and I would say the authors accomplished that, and opened up the idea of the story in a whole new and fresh way. I loved the book, and devoured it in the same day I got it in the mail.

  I did have one big issue with the book. I still firmly believe Christians should not drink alcoholic beverages. I've heard all of the arguments, and don't even get why it is an argument.... its something that anyone is better off not doing, especially Christians. The book has a LOT of beer drinking going on. The pastor in the book even worked on his sermon while sitting in a bar, drinking beer......

  That said, and as strongly as I feel about the issue of alcohol, the whole idea and message of the book is so powerful, I am still giving the book 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads, and am highly recommending it. It is an awesome read.

About the authors:

Brennan Manning spent his life and ministry helping others experience the unconditional love of
Jesus Christ. A recovering alcoholic and former Franciscan priest, his own spiritual journey took him down a variety of paths, all of them leading to the profound reality of God’s irresistible grace. His ministry responsibilities varied greatly – from teacher, to minister to the poor, to solidary reflective. As a writer, Brennan Manning is best known as the author of the contemporary classics, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba’s Child, Ruthless Trust, The Importance of Being Foolish, Patched Together, and The Furious Longing of God.

Greg Garrett is a novelist, memoirist, and theologian and cultural critic who has written over a dozen critically-acclaimed books and published forty short stories in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. His debut novel Free Bird was chosen by Publishers' Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the top fiction debuts of 2002, and many have been moved by his autobiographical writing on depression and faith, Crossing Myself and No Idea, but he is probably best known for his books on religion, politics, and culture. His newest book is Faithful Citizenship, a work examining why the political process is so badly broken--and how to make theological decisions. You may have heard (or read) him talking about religion, politics, and culture in the media. His work has been covered by The New Yorker, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, National Public Radio, CBS Radio, msnbc.com, The Bob Edwards Show, The National Review, Commonweal, and many other broadcast, print, and web venues.

Greg writes regularly for Patheos (http://patheos.com), THe Huffington Post, and for print and web publications ranging from The Washington Post to Poets & Writers. He is currently doing thinking, research, and writing for a novel with best-selling author Brennan Manning, and a book for Oxford University Press on the afterlife in literature and culture. Greg is an award-winning Professor of English at Baylor University, Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Wales, and a licensed lay preacher based at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.

Greg lives in Austin, Texas with his family. His heroes include Martin Luther King, Barbara Jordan, Henry David Thoreau, Robert F. Kennedy, Desmond Tutu, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. His favorite authors include PD James, Walker Percy, Graham Greene, Nick Hornby, Barbara Brown Taylor (are you really still reading this?), Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Merton, Rowan Williams, and Anne Lamott. His favorite color is blue (No, yellow!), his favorite guitar is a Taylor GS-7 acoustic, and he prefers both green and red chile (Christmas!) on his blue corn enchiladas.


The Prodigal is available from Zondervan Publishing.

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

King's Faith DVD with a giveaway

About the film:
Eighteen foster homes. Nine arrests. One life-changing moment.
After Brendan King’s life spiraled to rock bottom, the teen found hope in a new relationship with Christ while serving time in a juvenile penitentiary. Recently released from prison, Brendan finds solace in the foster home of a couple struggling with suppressed grief.
 
As the city-bred teen enrolls at a suburban high school, he finds support from a group of believers. Yet the bonds of his old way of life—and the gang that wants to know where he hid their stash on a long-ago night—are strong. In his darkest moment, Brendan found faith. Now he must decide if it’s worth the price to hold on to it.
 
KING’S FAITH is produced by DiBella and Faith Street Film Partners LLC, a Rochester, NY-based collective of filmmakers, churches, investors, and supporters.   

“KING’S FAITH is a compelling story 
which features solid acting and a good storyline.”  
The Dove Foundation


“KING’S FAITH is a very redemptive, uplifting movie
extolling the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” 
MOVIEGUIDE®


KING’S FAITH stars Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield (The Women of Brewster Place, Madea’s Family Reunion), Crawford Wilson (Judging Amy, Zoey 101), Kayla Compton (Entourage), and James McDaniel (Malcolm X, NYPD Blue).
 
KING’S FAITH features the themes of courage, forgiveness and overcoming your past highlighted with the important message of youth in foster care. The film prompts audiences to consider many of the questions they struggle with today: How can I stand firm in my faith when life’s challenges put me to the test?   Where do I turn when I feel paralyzed by loss and grief?  Can I find true forgiveness from my wrong choices?
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Run Time: 108 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13           
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Special Features: A 10-minute behind-the-scenes feature, commentary, discussion guide, Bible study clips affiliated with the LIVE IT OUT Bible Study
 
My review:
   Sadly, there aren't a lot of really good Christian movies out there. There are a lot that are cheesy and/or have bad acting, but not a lot of them that are worth watching. Thankfully, in recent years there have been some that are the exception to the rule. This movie falls in to that category.
 
   I thought the movie sounded good when I received the email offering it for review, and it far exceeded my expectations. It has a terrific cast of actors. Crawford Wilson plays the main character, Brendan King, and does a great job of portraying a teenager that has been in and out of foster care.
 
  There is some violence and gang action, but it is not overdone at all. I caught no bad language at all, nor anything else that I found offensive..... and I'm picky about things like that in a movie.
 
  The movie had a great plot, though it was a sad one also. Though the movie is fictional, it did bring home to me the reality that there are countless teenagers in the going through a lot of what the teenager in the movie went through. Countless foster homes, drugs, gangs, and more. The movie is also a great testimony to how God can save a young person like that and completely turn their life around.
 
  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I started watching it with the intent to stop halfway through and go to bed, but I got so caught up in it that I stayed up late and finished it. As I popped the DVD out of my player, I found myself wishing I could somehow help kids in those kind of situations. So be forewarned, the movie may stir you.
 
     I would highly recommend this movie to any Christian. It is definitely up to the quality of Fireproof and Courageous. Teens especially will enjoy the movie, but adults would also.
 
Watch the trailer/Visit the official website www.kingsfaith.com
 
Thanks to FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network for the review and giveaway copies.
 
Giveaway: courtesy of FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network, I am offering one person the chance to win a copy of the King's Faith DVD.

Ways to enter: (any one)
1) watch the movie trailer at www.kingsfaith.com, and comment on this blog post by saying you watched the trailer.

2) comment about the review

3) tell what your favorite Christian movie is

The giveaway will run for 10 days, and I will pick a winner using random.org on November 16.
 
  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Singularity by Steven James

Jevin Banks is searching for a killer--and answers to terrifying questions he never even thought to ask.
When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn deep into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret that could change the very fabric--and future--of human life on the planet.

Based on frightening scientific realities and bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the riveting sequel to Placebo.


My review:
   Steven James quickly became one of my favorite authors with his Patrick Bowers Thriller Series. This series, The Jevin Banks Experience, is totally different, and to be honest I wasn't sure how much I was going to like the series. I actually read the first book, Placebo twice and liked it better the second time around, and have been waiting for the second book to come out.

  Singularity doesn't disappoint. There seemed to be more action and suspense in this book, and I was more familiar with the main characters, which helped a lot. He has come up with some very interesting and unique characters, and I enjoyed reading more about them and their interactions with each other. There was a lot of technical and science talk of things that are foreign to me, but James presented the ideas in such a way that I got the general idea.

  In this book, there was more details given about the main character's act, who is an illusionist, and I found that whole thing fascinating and intriguing. I also found some of the ideas in the book a bit frightening, and the possibility that there may be people trying to attempt the things in the book that the scientists were trying to attempt.

  Singularity had more of Jevin struggling with doubts about God and His existence, and I enjoyed the Christian content that was mostly absent in the other series.

  I did enjoy reading Singularity. It was a very entertaining read, and it is obvious Steven James has done a lot of research into the world of magicians and also of modern science and technology. The book was set against the backdrop of Las Vegas, and he also gives a good look at what life there is
like. I would recommend this series, though the books should be read in order.

About the author:

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than thirty books, including Placebo and the bestselling Bowers Files thriller series. He is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.

Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.