Wednesday, September 30, 2015
That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.
When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.
DiAnn Mills is still an author I haven't read many books by, but I have enjoyed each one I have read. She hasn't disappointed me yet, and this newest novel of hers is even better than the others I have read.
Book #3 in the FBI Houston series, Deadlock is pretty much a stand alone title, as the other two are. There is no continued story line in the books, though some of the characters from the previous books make an appearance in this one, and the setting is the same as the other two books.
Deadlock is a "who dun it" sort of novel in ways. There is a bad guy, and though the FBI find a lot of clues and people connected to the killer, the identity of the top guy is kept a secret until the end, and I was totally surprised.
The book has plenty of suspense, drama, and action in it, and also family problems and threats and intimidation tactics. There is a Christian message throughout the book, but those who don't like "preachy" novels should still like it.
The most stars you can give a book is 5, but I enjoyed this novel so much that I would give it 6 if I could. I had a hard time putting it down, and found myself turning the pages as fast I can read. I highly recommend it, and readers of Christian suspense will enjoy it.
About the author:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
Deadlock is available from Tyndale Publishing.
Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.
When the youngest prince disarms the cruel knight Scarface, the nation’s most dreaded enemy, with an act of compassion, everyone finally realizes how good it is that each person is unique.
This delightfully illustrated fairy tale for children three years and older instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.
"A gentle fairy tale about a young prince with Down syndrome who saves his kingdom from a menacing knight…. [It] offers a special needs child in a positive, starring role and can be read simply as a satisfying fairy tale…. The author, herself the mother of a child with Down syndrome, and the illustrator ably introduce a difficult subject in a fictional context with a light, sure touch."
Down Syndrome can be a tough issue to address, and this book is a great way to address it with kids. Through a kid's story, it shows how children with Down Syndrome look and act different, yet have traits and actions that the rest of us don't have. This is obviously a story way below my reading level, but I found it well-written and well illustrated.
It isn't a long book, coming in at just 32 pages, but the author and illustrator do an excellent job of explaining Down Syndrome in a way that doesn't demean kids with it, but shows that though they are different, they are just as valuable. The author has a son with Down Syndrome, so this book is written from someone with personal experience.
About the author:
Silke snow is a journalist and works as a TV program maker at a public broadcaster in Cologne . She is married and has three sons . Her youngest son Noah was born in July 2008 with Trisomy 21 ( Down syndrome ) .
"At first, when Noah was born, we were shocked and sad. And it wasn’t easy to see how some people look at children with special needs as strange or different. But the catalyst for this book was witnessing the effect he had on many people, despite being categorized as disabled. In fact, our little prince brings much love, joy, and sunshine not only to us, but to all around him. Children are a wonder, and we must see them with the eyes of our heart: each child just the way he or she is."
About the illustrator:
Heike Sistig studied Special Education and Art and is a trained art therapist. She works full-time as an editor for children's television. Heike Sistig has illustrated several children's books, and gives her collages as a freelance artist in galleries. She lives with her family in Cologne.
Check out her website.
The Prince Who Was Just Himself is available from Plough Publishing House.
Thanks to Handlebar Publishing for the review copy.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Carole at The Power of Words blog nominated some bloggers for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award even though I am not a sister - yeah, I changed the name for this post. She gave me some questions to answer, and I am supposed to nominate 10 other bloggers, but to be honest I don't keep up with a lot of blogs and most of the ones I keep up with are not blogs about books, so I am just going to answer the questions and leave it at that, and urge anyone who read this to check out Carole's blog.
1) What do you enjoy most about fall? I love the colors of fall, the cooler temperatures that aren't too cold, nor too hot. I love seeing pumpkins, corn shocks, and other fall decor, and eating everything pumpkin.
2) What book are you currently reading? The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.
3) Are you an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between? Somewhere in between. I still struggle with the idea that people actually like me, yet I am pretty outgoing. I like being around people but also like my alone time.
4) What's your favorite genre? Least favorite genre? Favorite genre': Christian mystery/suspense. Least favorite: Amish fiction
5) What is one of your favorite reads so far this year? It was probably Sabatoged by Dani Pettrey
6) Have you enjoyed a non-fiction book that you would recommend? The one I am reading, The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. And although not recent, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman.
7) If you had a bucket list, name one thing that would be on it. Travel the country taking pictures of churches and old barns.
8) Do you have a favorite hymn or Christian song? And Can It Be and Great Is Thy Faithfulness
9) If you were given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? Somewhere warm in the winter. To get away from the snow.
10) What Bible verse has ministered to you recently? Jeremiah 29:11
Posted by Mark at 3:41 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2015
The stories are Noah and His Great Ark, Moses Crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Fall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Big Fish, Feeding the 5,000, and Man Through the Roof.
This book is way below my age level, but I like to review books for kids too. This book is a little similar to the "Where's Waldo" books that were popular years ago, only they are all Bible stories and you search for more than one thing in the pictures, and there are also questions to answer about what you are looking for.
I think the book is great. The illustrator did an excellent job, as did the author. Not everything in the pictures are things found in the Bible, but this is meant to be a fun and amusing book for kids, and that is what it is. I am not sure what age it is geared for, but my eight year old nephew was looking at it and seemed to be enjoying it, though I would guess it is meant for younger kids than that. I would also say kids of any age could have fun with this book, especially finding the items mentioned in each story.
About the author and illustrator:
Josh Edwards has written a number of Bible stories and innovative activity books for kids, building on his experience as a teacher and artist, and as a father of three rapidly growing children. A Londoner by birth, residence, and preference, he has travelled widely and always loved books and reading.
Emiliano Migliardo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1971, and has been working in children's media, publishing comic strips, humor, games and illustrations for more than 20 years. He knew he wanted to dedicate his life to drawing since a young boy, and he has.
Bible Stories Gone Crazy is available from Kregel Publishing.
Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.
Monday, September 14, 2015
The Columbus Code is just that – the true, historical puzzle few could comprehend until today. Consistent with great historical fiction of our time, New York Times best-selling author Mike Evans pens a story replete with intrigue, adventure, and brutal persecution. The story begins with John Winters, an American Secret Service agent, who unravels centuries old truths about Christopher Columbus and the real drama that lay behind those famous voyages to the Americas.
I didn't have a lot of time to read and review this book, having just received it on Friday and having a review date of Monday - today, but it was a book that was hard to put down, so I had no problem getting it read over the week-end.
The book is a great mix of historical events and puzzle and modern day suspense and political intrigue with a shadowy group trying to destroy the American dollar and economy. I thought the book was well written, and though most of the main characters didn't seem to have a relationship with God, it had a Christian world view and a lot of the puzzle was rooted in Christianity.
The Columbus Code is well deserving of a 5 star ranking. Great plot, characters, suspense, and the author's expertise on foreign matters comes through as well as the research he had to have done for such a book as this. The book takes the reader from the US to Barcelona Spain, to Israel, and back to the US while keeping the reader well entertained and on the edge of their seat with suspense.
As far as I can tell, this is Evan's first foray into fiction, and it is a great start. The book ends well, but I got the idea there could be a possible sequel. I hope there is, for it would be worth reading more about the Columbus Code.
About the author:
MIKE EVANS is a #1 New York Times best-selling author with more than 25 million copies in print, including Christopher Columbus: Secret Jew. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Ten Boom Museum in Holland (tenboom.org) and also of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem (FOZHC.org). Evans is founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team (jpteam.org) and has sixty published books.
The Columbus Code is available from Worthy Publishing.
Thanks to Worthy Publishing for the review copy.
The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back To The Garden by Kevin DeYoung, with a giveaway
He has worked with clients such as Target, LEGO, WIRED magazine, Nike, Adobe, XBox, The New York Times, and more. Invisible Creature also designs and curates their own line of products for both children and adults. Their products can be found in stores such as Barneys New York, Walker Art Center, Nordstrom, San Francisco Museum of Art, Super7, Whole Foods, and more.
Additionally, Invisible Creature's client list reads like a veritable who's-who of the music world, including Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Cornell, Wolfmother, Alice in Chains, and countless others. In 2008, Invisible Creature received their fourth consecutive Grammy nomination for packaging design.
Don's love for mid-century design and illustration lays the groundwork for Invisible Creature’s aesthetic, although his range reaches far beyond any one, specific style.
He lives with his wife and their 3 children on a ranch 30 minutes southeast of Seattle.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Vander Laan has always believed that to more greatly understand and appreciate the Bible, one had to have a sense of the land and the culture from which it sprang. Biblical analogies and examples, while meaningful and helpful even to this day, were first meant to convey God's truth to particular people in a particular time and place. So the more fully we can appreciate those times and places, the more fully we can respond to the power of the Word.
WHAT'S YOUR MISSION?
God gave the assignment to His people thousands of years ago: to bring "lost sheep" back into the love and safety of His kingdom. He said to become a "Kingdom of Priests," and put God on display to show the world what He is like. It's still our task today. In this thirteenth volume of the That the World May Know ® film series, you'll glimpse the urgency and rewards of welcoming the strangers and prodigals the Lord longs to embrace. Discover the mission that can give your life --- and the lives of those around you --- greater meaning than you ever imagined.
Join renowned teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan as he guides you through the lands of the Bible. In each lesson, Vander Laan illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures. Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the That the World May Know® film series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.
I have long been interested in this series, but have never had the chance to check any of the DVDs out until I got the opportunity to review this one. I recently did a review of a DVD that was similar to this one that I thought was too brief and didn't have much depth, but this is completely the opposite. There are 5 different lessons on the DVD, all of them averaging 31-32 minutes. The DVD has fascinating footage of Israel and Jordan. Ray Vander Laan has a small group of people he addresses as they travel with him throughout the Middle East, which makes it more interesting than if he were just addressing the camera.
There is a book for the DVD that I believe comes separately, but was also given to me with the DVD. Coming in at 252 pages, there is a lot covered in the book. Each session:
Focuses on passages of Scripture explored in the film.
Includes sidebars, maps, photos, and other study tools.
Features questions that facilitate discussion and inspire personal reflection.
The lessons cover Abraham and Sarah, Israel at Sinai, Jesus renewing the Mission, the prodigal son, and the seeking father. Vander Laan ties it all together in the plan of redemption in a way that is fascinating and easy to follow and understand. Each lesson is covered by approximately 40 pages in the book.
I found the DVD and book very well done, and something that would benefit any Christian. It could be done by an individual, a family, or a Bible study group.
About the author:
Ray's preaching and teaching ministry is focused on understanding the Bible in light of the historical and cultural context in which God placed it. This perspective on the Bible highlights God's call for His people to be a transforming influence on their culture. He uses research of the top scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, and Biblical study as tools to explore the Biblical text ever more deeply. His gifts, expertise, and calling are to link that cultural information and the Bible so that its message applies to our lives today in very practical ways.
Isreal's Mission is available from Focus on The Family
Thanks to Litfuse for the review copies.
Monday, September 7, 2015
Intersect uses the creative medium of video storytelling to start and facilitate discussions about where your story and God's story converge. We can all relate to stories, as we all have our own stories. Some of them are joyous and easy to share with the world. Others are difficult and remind us of times that we sometimes wish we could simply forget. But nonetheless, we all have beautiful lives that are marked by events, situations, and circumstances that have shaped us uniquely into who we are today.
I was excited to review this, as I think it is the first review of this kind I have done. The DVD is done well, having 5 different individuals tell their stories from one man dealing with his wife abruptly leaving and divorcing him to a singer having a hard time making it. After each person tells their story, one of the DVD producers talks.
Inside the DVD case is a booklet with questions to answer. They follow a specific pattern:
1) Topical questions about the theme of the video.
2) Deeper question looking at the root of that theme.
3) Question about the story told in the video.
4) Introduction of a Bible passage with questions about what the Bible says about the theme.
5) Challenge to seek God's truth with respect to the video theme.
This DVD would be great for newer Christians, but maybe not so much for more mature Christians. I feel the questions and videos are too brief and don't have enough depth, but that doesn't mean it cannot be a good tool for newer Christians.
About the authors:
ROB PEABODY @AwakenRob
Rob is the Co-Founder and International Director of Awaken, a non-profit charity that exists to resource the church for action. Awaken creates resources that inspire, educate, and equip local churches to live as Kingdom-bringers in their communities. In 2011, Rob and his wife, Medea, along with their two boys left his position as a lead campus pastor at a mega-church in Texas to pioneer and lead fresh expressions of church seeking to engage unreached 20-30's in northeast London. His latest book, Citizen, was released in Autumn 2014.
CRIS ROGERS @RabbiRogers
Cris is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Cris planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.
Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.
We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still:
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. Let A. W. Tozer’s pursuit of God spur you also into a genuine hunger and thirst to truly know God.
Other than a devotional that was given to me several years ago, I had not read anything Towser had written. This book is deep, deeper than I am used to reading, but it was an interesting read. Towser makes a great case for we Christians needing to constantly pursue God, and it not being a one time thing that happens when we become Christians.
The book was originally published in 1948, but is still relevant today for Christians in 2015. It is full of wisdom and quotes such as this one: “Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token homage to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is ABOVE, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choice he makes day after day throughout his life.”
This book is an updated version, and since I never read the original version I have no idea what was changed. It is written in modern English, but the original could have been also. It is formatted very well, and with short chapters it doesn't take long to get a chapter read, though I would recommend reading a chapter and thinking about it before going on to the next so you have time to digest what you have read.
A couple of more quotes from the book:“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.”
“If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.”
About the author:
Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897, on a small farm among the spiny ridges of Western Pennsylvania. Within a few short years, Tozer, as he preferred to be called, would earn the reputation and title of a "20th-century prophet."
Able to express his thoughts in a simple but forceful manner, Tozer combined the power of God and the power of words to nourish hungry souls, pierce human hearts, and draw earthbound minds toward God.
When he was 15 years old, Tozer's family moved to Akron, Ohio. One afternoon as he walked home from his job at Goodyear, he overheard a street preacher say, "If you don't know how to be saved . . . just call on God." When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to the attic where, heeding the preacher's advice, Tozer was launched into a lifelong pursuit of God.
In 1919, without formal education, Tozer was called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. That humble beginning thrust him and his new wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz, into a 44-year ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Thirty-one of those years were spent at Chicago's Southside Alliance Church. The congregation, captivated by Tozer's preaching, grew from 80 to 800.
In 1950 Tozer was elected editor of the Alliance Weekly now called Alliance Life. The circulation doubled almost immediately. In the first editorial dated June 3, 1950, he set the tone: "It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that."
Tozer's forte was his prayer life which often found him walking the aisles of a sanctuary or lying face down on the floor. He noted, "As a man prays, so is he." To him the worship of God was paramount in his life and ministry. "His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life," comments Tozer biographer James L. Snyder. An earlier biographer noted, "He spent more time on his knees than at his desk."
Tozer's love for words also pervaded his family life. He quizzed his children on what they read and made up bedtime stories for them. "The thing I remember most about my father," reflects his daughter Rebecca, "was those marvelous stories he would tell."
Son Wendell, one of six boys born before the arrival of Rebecca, remembers that, "We all would rather be treated to the lilac switch by our mother than to have a talking-to by our dad."
Tozer's final years of ministry were spent at Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Canada. On May 12, 1963, his earthly pursuit of God ended when he died of a heart attack at age 66. In a small cemetery in Akron, Ohio, his tombstone bears this simple epitaph: "A Man of God."
Some wonder why Tozer's writings are as fresh today as when he was alive. It is because, as one friend commented, "He left the superficial, the obvious and the trivial for others to toss around. . . . [His] books reach deep into the heart."
His humor, written and spoken, has been compared to that of Will Rogers--honest and homespun. Congregations could one moment be swept by gales of laughter and the next sit in a holy hush.
For almost 50 years, Tozer walked with God. Even though he is gone, he continues to speak, ministering to those who are eager to experience God. As someone put it, "This man makes you want to know and feel God."
This updated version of The Pursuit of God is available from Aneko Press.
Thanks to Aneko Press for the review and giveaway copy.
Courtesy of Aneko Press, I have one copy of The Pursuit of God to give away. Simply comment to enter, and I will pick a winner 10 days from now using random.org.
Purchase the book here in paperback, and get it free here.