Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg

Book description:

New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg returns with a high-stakes political thriller set in Russia.

Everything he learned to protect the president, he must use to take out theirs.

With an American president distracted by growing tensions in North Korea and Iran, an ominous new threat is emerging in Moscow. A czar is rising in the Kremlin, a Russian president feverishly consolidating power, silencing his opposition, and plotting a brazen and lightning-fast military strike that could rupture the NATO alliance and bring Washington and Moscow to the brink of nuclear war. But in his blind spot is the former U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker, trained to protect but ready to kill to save his country

My review:

Joel Rosenberg is an amazing author, and I have enjoyed every one of his books I have read. He usually writes books that center on Israel, but this one was about Russia.... and no less of a great story than his normal fare.

  Rosenberg came up with a great main character in Marcus Ryker, and wove a great story around him and the Russian characters he created. He was a very likable character, and it gave a fascinating look into the life of a Secret Service agent.  As with his other books, there are some pretty scary scenarios in the book that you hope never happen, but know they very well could happen.

 I learned a lot by reading this book. I learned about Russian-American relations, relations Russia has with countries near it, and about Russian government. That isn't to say the book is boring or hard to get into. It is not. It is extremely interesting with a lot of intrigue and suspense that made me want to keep reading instead of laying the book down when I needed to.

 Rosenberg did do something in his book I did not see coming, and ticked me off a bit at'll have to read the book to see what that was. I was afraid he'd kill off the main character like in his last book, but - slight spoiler here - he lets that up in the air. Literally.

 This was truly an awesome read that was entertaining while also being sobering. Though fictional, the book does show how tenuous relations are between Russia and  the US, and how bad things could get if those relations become strained.

About the author:

Joel C. Rosenberg is the founder of The Joshua Fund and the New York Times best-selling author of THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), EPICENTER (2006) and DEAD HEAT (2008) with more than 1.5 million copies in print. THE EZEKIEL OPTION was named by the ECPA as the Gold Medallion winner of the "Best Novel of 2006." Joel, an evangelical Christian whose mother is Gentile and whose father is from an Orthodox Jewish background, previously worked with several U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Steve Forbes, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV shows.

He and his wife have four sons and live near Washington, DC.

The Kremlin Conspiracy is available from Tyndale House Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Vines Expository Bible


Pastor Jerry Vines leads you on a journey through the Bible, with observations and understanding straight from a pastor's heart. Based on sermons and lessons from Jerry’s lifetime of teaching ministry, this Bible provides a unique, passage-by-passage guide through every book of Scripture and explains how each part applies to your life.

Features Include:

NKJV paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
200 "Presenting the Message" detailed outlines from Jerry Vines' sermon archive
100 "Living the Message" articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
200 "Applying the Message" notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
300 "Discerning the Meaning" word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
66 Book Introductions
Topical Index
NKJV Concordance
10.5 point print size

My review:

  I like to review a Bible occasionally, and this one intrigued me. They used a favorite version for it, the new King James, which drew me in.

 I obviously did not have time to read through the whole Bible, but did spend time looking over the features and reading some of the articles and outlines, and other features.

 I thought the book introductions were very well done, interesting, and did a great job of describing the focus of the book.

 There are 200 "presenting the message" features, such as one on "How to pray in a crisis". These typically take up 2 pages, and are something I found both interesting and helpful. I also liked and found helpful the "discerning the meaning" and  "applying the message" features which are much shorter and are scattered throughout the Bible in small boxes.

 The Christian market has a wide array of study and devotional Bibles, and one can wonder what the difference is. I am not familiar with Jerry Vines, but I like this Bible that has his notes and thoughts throughout it, and is a Bible definitely worth checking out.....even if you already have a few study Bibles. This one is definitely different.

About Jerry Vines:

Jerry Vines was born in Carrollton, Georgia near Atlanta in 1937. Before attending seminary, he pastored his first church, Centralhatchee Baptist Church, at the age of 16. He was educated at Mercer University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Rice University before pastoring in churches in Alabama and Georgia. While pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama he was elected President of the Alabama Pastors' Conference. He relocated to Jacksonville in 1982 to co-pastor the First Baptist Church with Homer G. Lindsay, Jr.

In June 1988, he was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, served two terms, and was supportive of the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence. During his first 20 years at First Baptist Jacksonville, he baptized 18,177 people and oversaw the building of an $8 million preschool building, a $16 million auditorium and four parking garages, totaling almost $14 million. Vines also was influential in starting the First Baptist Church Pastors' Conference which drew thousands of ministers and church works from across the world. Vines announced his retirement from First Baptist in May 2005 and preached his last sermon as pastor of the church in 2006 at the close of the 20th annual Pastors' conference. In 2017, Vines enrolled in the Ph.D program at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. [1]

He has since started his own ministry, Jerry Vines Ministries. This ministry is an outreach to further educate pastors in different areas of the ministry. Vines is married to the former Janet Denney and they have four children and seven grand children.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Only By Death, Ozark Mountain Trilogy #2 by Kathy Herman

Book description:

Is Liam Berne a loving son—or a murderer? The second book in the Ozark Mountain Trilogy, Only by Death is a thought-provoking suspense story of a man who loses everything and learns he must die to find life.

After much agonizing, Liam Berne takes his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, to the Sure Foot River and drowns her. A mercy killing, he tells himself, to spare her years in a nursing home. And getting his inheritance early isn’t a bad thing either.

Dixie Berne’s body is recovered and the coroner cannot find any sign of foul play, though Liam’s sister isn’t convinced. Then Liam hears rumors that a twelve-year-old boy has witnessed the drowning. Terrified that he will be discovered, Liam sets out to intimidate the boy into silence. Little does Liam know that someone else suspects him—someone who intends to make him pay.

My review:

 Kathy Herman has been one of my favorite authors since I read her first novel, Tested by Fire, 17 years ago. It has been 5 years since I read a new book by Kathy Herman, which was Not by Sight, #1 in this series. The author had a lot going on, so it was 5 years between the release of the two books. I have been looking forward to this book for 5 years, so I bought it and read it as soon as I could........after re-reading book one.

  I have enjoyed all of Kathy's books, and the characters in those books.... but I really like the people in this series. Part of that is the first two books center on kids....a 16 year old girl in book 1, and a 12 year old boy in book 2. For some reason, kids in books really draw me in and tug at my heart strings....if a guy can admit such a thing.

 Book two takes up two years after the first book, and centers on the youngest boy in the Cummings family.....Jesse. Book one was really good, but this one was even better. It was an emotional book, and the issue of faith was at the center of the story. Although the story and Jesse were fictional, I was convicted by the faith and willingness to die of a 12 year old. Including myself, too many of us don't live the way this fictional 12 year old lived......yet it is exactly how we are supposed to live. Kathy has never been afraid to put Christian content in her books, and a theme or message that goes beyond just entertaining.

 I did read the book in one evening, and could not put it down. It was suspenseful, encouraging, and convicting. The book definitely gets 5 stars from me, and I was sorry to see it end, though I loved the ending.

 Thankfully, book 3 is not 5 years away, but is slated to release in August of this year..... and I can't wait to read the final book in this trilogy, the story of the oldest boy in this great fictional family...... Hawk.

About the author:

Best-selling suspense novelist Kathy Herman has written twenty novels—including the Secrets or Roux River Bayou Series, Sophie Trace Series, the Seaport Suspense Series, and the Phantom Hollow Series—since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. She and her late husband Paul have a blended family of three grown children. Kathy lives in the Northwest.

Only by Death and Not by Sight are available from David C Cook Publishing.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Assignment by Devon Blanton

Book description:

The ASSIGNMENT is a book that was inspired by constant questions from people who simply wanted to know, what life is all about? The desire to find purpose and significance is a staggering need for the modern church of today. People who find it truly know peace. Those who do not, can search a lifetime and never know that the answer is right in front of them. Inside these pages are unique perspectives that are expected to trigger those “ah ha!” moments for every reader. Truly, this could be the “GAME CHANGER” that effects you for the rest of your life!

My review:

 Blanton is a new author to me. I had actually never heard of him until a Facebook friend asked for people to review some of his books. I like what I have read so far.

 The Assignment is not a long book. It has 13 chapters, coming in at 5-6 pages each. Following each chapter is a page covering key word studies in context. That is followed by a couple pages of workbook questions, making this book a study type of book.

 The overall theme of the book is a search for significance. The author covers that subject very well, and in an easy to read way that makes for an interesting read. I found the questions at the end of each chapter very thought provoking, and quite in depth.

 For anyone wondering what your life is all about and for, this is a great book to read and study.

About the author:

Dr. Devon Blanton is a pastor conducting a full time ministry along with a very busy Christian Counseling practice. He holds an earned Doctorate in Religious Education, specializing in Counseling. He is certified in Family and Marriage, Grief and Drug Abuse and Health and Nutrition. He is also a Certified Health Coach. His post-doctoral pursuits include an earned diploma in Psychiatric Studies. He also completed brief studies in Cardiology and Resuscitation from Perelman School of Medicine, Penn State University. He further expanded His studies in nutrition from Texas A&M, Vanderbilt University and Stanford University. This all coincides with his four pillar philosophy on Counseling. These focus on the Physical, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial parts of who we are. He is also the Founder of Cross Anchors Solutions, a high level training program out of Durham, NC providing training in Leadership Development, Biblical Counseling I, II, Advanced Biblical Counseling and Health and Nutrition. He has authored several books including: The ASSIGNMENT Holes in the Soul Shake the Heavens, Move the Earth Health is the Best Medicine Raising God.

Thanks to  the author for the review copy.