Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TWO RENEGADE REALMS . . . PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME!

As I had not read the previous novel, ONE REALM BEYOND, I had to do a little bit of research in order to get some background.  Thank you to all the people who reviewed the first book on Amazon, especially Emileigh, who gave me a first-rate introduction to the characters!

Having said that, TWO RENEGADE REALMS is easily a stand-alone novel, and the writing style – excuse me, the STORY-TELLING style of author Donita K. Paul – captures the entire person from the first page.  One does not merely read about the events that are occurring on the pages; one becomes a member of the party, and is standing alongside Cantor, and Bixby, and all the rest as they struggle to find the answer to their various quests – and questions.

In TWO RENEGADE REALMS, the Cantor party is tasked with finding the famed realm walker Chomomountain, and free him from his imprisonment.  Instead, they find themselves joining in his predicament.  It will take all of their gifts and abilities, as well as the grace of Primen (a cognomen, in this series, for the One True God) to succeed.

I must confess to having read enough to write a review on this book, as said review is already long overdue.  How much did I read, you may ask?  Probably 10 pages, at best.  What are my intentions?  I’m going to FINISH THIS BOOK!!!  The writing style, the creativity that the author brings to this work, and the desire to bring glory to God, and God alone, are evident enough, and more than enough, to enable me to write this review in this fashion.

My most humble apologies to the author and Zondervan for the tardiness of this review.


5 stars for a fantasy that brings one closer to Him

TWO RENEGADE REALMS:  (Book Two of The Realm Walkers)
Donita K. Paul
Zondervan
ISBN 978-0-310-73581-6
JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Christian /Fantasy
416 pages
$12.99

PILLARS OF FIRE BY LAURICE E. MOLINARI . . . DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A POSITIVE REVIEW!!!

From the back cover:  “Just because thirteen-year-old Vero Leland has discovered his true identity doesn’t mean his life has gotten any easier.  Middle school is humiliating at best, and his training in the Ether – the spiritual realm that surrounds the earth – has only intensified.  Becoming a guardian angel, the fiercest of warriors, is not for the faint of heart.”

Just because one CAN write, doesn’t necessarily mean that one SHOULD write.  Especially when one’s secular creativity intrudes upon the sacred.

While author Laurice Molinari has an impressive curriculum vitae, and while she may be writing with the best of intentions, her theology (if this is truly what she believes) stands in need of serious correction.  The bio blurb on the copy that I received for review suggests that this may truly be the case:  “Laurice lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where her lifelong love for our heavenly guardians inspired her to write a book about them.”

Angels are NOT “born,” they do NOT “grow up,” attend middle school, and receive immunizations.  They are ageless creations of our Heavenly Father, and one cannot forget that ONE THIRD of those angelic beings rebelled, lead by Lucifer (who, may I remind you, is ALSO a created being, and was once the chiefest of them all!).  It tires me, and saddens me . . . yes, and even vexes me . . . when a creative imagination oversteps its bounds and boldly “rushes in where ANGELS fear to tread.”

The fact that this book is targeted for children in grades 4 – 6, and is published by Zonderkidz, just makes this book even more disturbing.  To think . . . hundreds, or even thousands, of our most impressionable minds could be impacted by this distorted view of angels (an earlier generation would call it heresy) ought to have caused second thoughts to arise.  In the minds of the author, and the publishers, as well.


2 STARS

PILLARS OF FIRE:  Book Two in The Ether Series
Laurice E. Molinari
Zonderkidz
ISBN 978-0-310-73556-4
JUVENILE FICTION / General
356 pages
$16.99 hardcover w/jacket

Saturday, December 13, 2014

WATCH FOR THE LIGHT: SEASONAL READINGS ON A TIMELESS EVENT

We have all been impacted by the most significant event the world has ever seen . . . the Advent of Jesus Christ.  The word Advent simply means, "to come near."  To approach, and remain close.  And the First Advent of Christ . . . God himself coming near, and remaining close . . . is "a riddle wrapped in a mystery shrouded in an enigma" that the prophets of old, and the angels in heaven, have been trying to wrap their minds around since it was first proclaimed . . . in the book of Genesis:
 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."                        Genesis 3:15 

Throughout history, some of the finest minds and most brilliant intellects have struggled with this conundrum, and in this book the fruit of their labor has been collected for the rest of us to consider and to contemplate.

The title of the book is more than a means of grabbing one's attention, though.  It is an invitation to do just that.  To open the hearts and minds of seekers of truth, ranging from Aquinas, and Kierkegaard, and Lewis all the way up to Dillard, and L'Engle, and Yancey.  To drink from the cup of their thoughts, and musings, and to savor their reflections and conclusions that they have ultimately arrived at.

Accept the invitation, during this time of year, to Watch For The Light.

Watch for it.  Wait for it.  Witness it.

5 stars for a work that the world has been waiting for

WATCH FOR THE LIGHT
PLOUGH PUBLISHING HOUSE, Ed.
ISBN 978-0-87486-917-0
Religion / Spirituality / Meditations
$24.00 Hardback w/ Jacket

Friday, November 28, 2014

THE PATMOS DECEPTION BY DAVIS BUNN . . . WHO IS REALLY BEING DECEIVED?

A good book is like a fine bottle of wine; once you open it, you need to let it breathe. 
Otherwise, the experience will be less than expected.

THE PATMOS DECEPTION is a good book. 

Davis Bunn brings to your table characters that are fully rounded, deep, complex.  The interactions are thoughtful and genuine.  The setting, modern Greece, is as much a character in the book as Nick, and Dimitri, and Sofia, and Carey.  Open the book, brew your favorite beverage . . .and let it breathe.

Nick Hennessy, an investigative journalist hailing from Texas, has been tasked with the responsibility of investigating the disappearance of invalauable Greek antiquities.  He has the credentials, he has the chutzpah, he has the charisma, and he knows just the researcher to assist him in his assignment.   However, his journalistic career has hamstringed his ability to engage fully with the moment, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. 

Carey Mathers, fresh from her studies in forensic archeology, has accepted a job with the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities.  Her studies have exquisitely prepared her for the job, when one considers that the Greek isle of Patmos, where the Apostle John received his vision of the Apocalypse, was a particular focus of her research.

Dimitri Rubinos, for whom the Greek islands represent his life, holds on by his fingernails to the family charter boat business. But his country's economic chaos isn't the only thing that has turned his world on its head.

Engage with this book.  Savor it.  Allow it to caress all of your senses, and The Patmos Deception will become, to you as well, as a fine wine.

The Patmos Deception is a good book.


5 stars for another excellent offering from Davis Bunn

THE PATMOS DECEPTION (Kindle Edition)
Davis Bunn
ASIN B00KDN8A60
Fiction/Inspirational/Mystery/Suspense
Bethany House
337 pages
$14.99 U.S., paperback
$ 9.99 U.S., Kindle Edition

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THE EMISSARY BY THOMAS LOCKE . . . THE EPIC GENRE HAS BEEN REVIVED!!!

The e-mail I received inviting me to review THE EMISSARY by Thomas Locke
informed me:
“This is a new kind of story that focuses on the positive aspects that come from our life walk: courage in the face of hardship, growth, and change.”

Every one of us must wrestle with these issues as we make the break between choosing to live our lives according to principles of the kingdom of hell, or by the principles of the kingdom of heaven.  The Lord Jehovah, through his servant Moses, declared:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,
Deuteronomy 30:19 (HCSB)

Life is not about choices, life is a series of choices, and living one’s life in light of the ramifications of the choices that we make.  And that message is declared on every page of Scripture.

Enough preaching.  On to the story itself.

Hyam, the hero of our story, is much like the crops that he grows; the fruit on the surface is abundant, rich, and varied . . . and yet there is more to him than meets the eye.  The roots run deep; deeper than even Hyam knows.  His mother’s dying request is for Hyam to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice . . . and where his extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light.  It was also a place that holds bitter memories for Hyam, and the one place to which he had vowed never to return.  But how can one deny his own mother? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelations rock his world to its very core.  An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.

Thomas Locke writes with an attention to detail that doesn’t bog one down with the details.  The action varies as the scenes change, but is intentionally directed to the final resolution.  The characters are complex, and  yet one doesn’t really see them as characters at all.  From the opening pages, one is swept off one’s feet and taken where the stories, and dreams, and aspirations . . . and the dangers, and the heartaches, and the losses . . . take one.

I’m reminded of the preface to HUCKLEBERRY FINN:
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Because Mark Twain desired the reader to “join in” the adventure – not psychoanalyse the author, or subject the story to the typical “literary critique.”  As Thomas Locke desires in THE EMISSARY.

5 stars for an odyssey that leaves you longing for more

THE EMISSARY
Thomas Locke
ISBN 978-0-8007-2385-9
Fiction/General/Contemporary
Revell
400 pages
$14.99 U.S., paperback


Thursday, November 6, 2014

VANISHING GRACE: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS?


Philip Yancey, obviously, is not afraid of a challenge.  In VANISHING GRACE:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS?, Yancey takes on the entire population of modern-day Pharisees . . . that populate the pews of the 21st Century mainstream denominational churches.  People who are content, complacent, and contemptuous of those who don’t attend “their” church, or believe the way “they” believe.  And he does so in a journalistic fashion; asking questions, searching for answers . . . and yes, reporting the truth as it is, not how we would like it to be.

It’s a difficult book to get into.  I had to re-start it several times, before it started clicking for me.  You see, I’m probably one of those modern-day Pharisees.  I want the people to walk through the door, and sit down in the pew, and listen to me.  Do I work hard at preparing messages from the Word of God?  Absolutely – ask my family.  After a 40-hour week job, and preparing for Sundays and Wednesday evenings, the only time they see me is in church. 

But Yancey has shown me, through this book, that things need to change.  Scripture calls us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world.  We are to shine the light of the gospel – but in order for light to be effective, it has to reach the optical sensory receptors of another person.  Light shown in a closet – read “church,” – isn’t going to do anybody else any good.  Salt seasons the Word of God, but it also serves as a preservative – and it makes people thirsty for more.  But the salt isn’t going to do any good if it doesn’t come in contact with the taste buds of another person.

A city set on a hill cannot be hid; unless it is draped in the camouflage of traditional programs and dry-as-dust presentations.

In another challenging book (the author is simply known as Fynn) entitled MISTER GOD, THIS IS ANNA, the precocious 6-year old engages Fynn in a simple, yet profound, conversation:
          “Fynn . . . why do people go to church?”
          “Fynn:  Well, I suppose to learn about God.”
          “Anna:  Well then . . . WHY DO THEY KEEP GOING BACK?  I think it’s because they didn’t get Him in the first place . . . or they’re just pretending.”

For Anna . . . and I feel, for Philip Yancey . . . once you get God, you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life giving Him away. 

The good news isn’t good news . . . until someone gets the good news.

5 stars for a challenging book that will change your life for the better

VANISHING GRACE; Whatever Happened To The Good News
Philip Yancey
978-0-310-33932-8
Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational
Zondervan
298 pages
$22.99 U.S.



Friday, August 22, 2014

THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE by Dr. Charles F. Stanley

Are you trying your best to be a “good Christian,” but still feel that something’s missing?  Does the “peace that passeth all understanding” seem to be missing in your life?  Has your spiritual walk come to a stand-still?

Maybe you need a fresh start . . . and a fresh understanding of The Other Comforter that the Lord Jesus promised his disciples he would send. 

The Spirit-Filled Life by Dr. Charles F. Stanley provides an introduction, and invites you into his study as he patiently peels back the layers of misinformation, misunderstanding, and just plain bad theology that have been foisted upon the third member of the Trinity . . . The Holy Spirit.

In this primer on the Holy Spirit, you will discover:
·        Who He is . . . and who He isn’t
·        How the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer
·        What it means to hear the Spirit’s voice
·        What happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family, your friendships, and every other area of your life

And so much more . . .

Be prepared to take some time with this book; it’s not “How To Rock The Holy Spirit In 30 Days.”  This is going to be a journey that will transform your understanding of the Holy Spirit . . . and it will transform your life, as well.

5 stars for fresh teaching on a difficult subject

THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
Charles F. Stanley
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4767-5206-8
Religion/Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
283 pages
$15.99 softcover

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Streams In The Desert Devotional Bible by Zondervan

I’ve been enamored with the devotional Streams In The Desert ever since I came to saving faith.  So when my wife received a copy of the NIV Streams In The Desert Devotional Bible – I snagged it.  With permission, of course.

Zondervan does the usual great job with the NIV text, including textual aids and some cross references at the bottom of the page.  However, this is a devotional Bible, not a true study Bible, so don’t look for a lot of that material.

It’s strength lies in the devotions that are tied to various portions of scripture; 365 of them, to be exact; one for each day of the year.  Drawn from Streams In The Desert, as well as from other authors, the devotions help the reader to “put shoe leather” to the passage under consideration.  I was preparing the evening message when this arrived, and I found material that fit perfectly with my message in the very first devotional.  Very cool!

The review copy I received was the hardback copy, with a dust jacket.  The dust jacket was designed to suggest that this was a book that had been on the shelves for many, many years.  As such . . . some might not find it so appealing.  Also, one of the “features” mentioned on the back cover was a ribbon marker.  The copy I received did not have that ribbon marker.

But I’m not throwing the book back, by any stretch of the imagination.  As mentioned, I’ve already “put this book to good use,” as it was intended. 


4 stars for a classic devotional Bible

STREAMS IN THE DESERT DEVOTIONAL BIBLE
L.B. Cowman, ed. by Jim Reimann
Zondervan
ISBN 978-0-310-44184-7
Bibles / New International Version / Devotional
1,508 pages
$34.99 hardcover with jacket

Monday, August 4, 2014

DEBT-PROOF LIVING BY MARY HUNT

While the author admits that this book is actually the 3rd Edition, the world of finance, money, debt and the problems associated with all of the above have so drastically changed that one might well say author Mary Hunt has written the same book – three times over!

And I say, “God bless her, for it!”  Because the problem of debt has grown to be an enemy of enormous size, and its chief weapons are depression, distress, and despair.  Let’s face it – debt is BIG BUSINESS these days.  For every book written trying to show the way out of the wilderness, there are ten more books written, ten more voices clamoring that you really DO need that new item, and it really IS ok to whip out that credit card and get it NOW!

Mary Hunt is not afraid to stand in the shadow of the giant, and sling her stones of wisdom and practical advice in order to bring him to the ground.  And while the book IS somewhat intimidating in terms of size (311 pages) author Mary Hunt brings a readable style honed by years of teaching her methods, and is able to explain and illustrate complexities in such a way that you really DO get it.

Mary Hunt is not idealistic when it comes to this subject.  She recognizes that she is never going to single-handedly reduce the $851 BILLION United States credit card debt, and the $1 TRILLION dollar student loan debt to a zero amount.  However, in her own words, “What matters are individual lives. I measure effectiveness and progress by the mail I receive from people whose lives have been forever changed because they learned how to manage their money by following the debt-proof living principles you will find in this book.”

Who knows?  You could be her next success story!


5 stars for a book that is not afraid to take on the giants!

DEBT-PROOF LIVING
MARY HUNT
ISBN  978-0-8007-2145-9
CLBF / Personal Finance
Revell
311 pages
$ 14.99 (U.S.) 

Friday, July 11, 2014

STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE by John B. Wallace

STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE has a subtitle; The Gospel Of Grace For Mormons.  John B. Wallace as an active member of the LDS church for two decades, but in the last twenty years has come to see the beauty of simply being a follower of Jesus Christ.  So John’s heart is definitely focused on reaching those inside the walls of the LDS church, redeeming the time that he spent “inside” the organization.

However, the message of John’s book is a jumping off point for conversations with ANYONE who is not yet a follower of Jesus Christ.  It is primarily for this reason that I was so drawn to this book for review in the first place; folks, who doesn’t need the Gospel of Grace?

The author’s passion for the truth begins with the foundation of Christianity – the Word of God – over and against The Book of Mormon. And he makes no apologies.  One quote I feel is necessary to establish John B. Wallace’s primary focus:
“My job is to invite you, the Latter-day Saint, to research all available evidence and come to your own conclusion that the Bible has been not only translated correctly but also transmitted down through the centuries with an astonishing degree of accuracy.  Once you are convinced of this, my preference is that you set this comparatively insignificant book down and immerse yourself in the Bible . . . When you do this, you will discover that the Bible is all about the cross of Jesus.”
STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE, p. 7

Having laid the proper foundation, John B. Wallace follows this line of reasoning through a searching examination of the cross, a defense of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal security of the believer.  He makes his case for “works” by placing them in their appropriate context – these are acts that we are able to perform as a result of our salvation, not in order to attain it, and they are of inestimable value to the new believer, as well as to others, as evidence of the New Birth.

With references to the Book of Mormon, and to Mormon doctrine (which the author explains to a degree for the non-Mormon reader), this book does have a target audience.  However, the principles that John B. Wallace elucidates in STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE make this a primer for anyone who is actively seeking an opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone.

I love books that provide room for notes!  STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE provides oversized margins, as well as 5 blank pages at the end of the book, that you can fill with your personal thoughts and reactions to the book.
5 stars for a passionate defense of the truth by John B. Wallace

STARTING AT THE FINISH LINE
John B. Wallace
ISBN  978-0-9914622-0-9
Religion / General
Pomona House Publishing
202 pages
$ 14.99 (U.S.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Advocate by Randy Singer

Luke, a Greek physician, Christian, and companion of the Apostle Paul, compiled the first 2-volume history of the Christian church.  We know them, respectively, as The Gospel Of Luke and The Book Of Acts.  You can find them in the New Testament portion of the Bible.

These books were each addressed to an enigmatic personage, Theophilus.  Whether Theophilus was an historical figure, or whether this was a play on words (Theophilus literally means, “Lover of God”) is still being debated.  Acclaimed author Randy Singer has taken the character of Theophilus and crafted an excellent book that centers around this young man’s training and subsequent career as a lawyer in the courts of Rome during the time of Christ.

As assessore for Pontius Pilate, Theophilus has a ring-side seat as the greatest story ever told unfolds before his very eyes.  He is the one who suggested that Pilate offer the release of Barabbas, certain that the crowd would release the innocent man, Jesus, instead.

The plan backfired, and Theophilus would forever live with the thought that he was instrumental in the death of an innocent man.

Many years, and two Caesars later, Theophilus is once again tasked with the defense of an innocent man, the Apostle Paul.  However, with age comes wisdom, and this time
Theophilus can no longer be a disinterested bystander.  It’s not just Paul’s life that hangs in the balance.

Rich with historical and cultural detail, and passionate with the mental, emotional, and philosophical forces of the day, The Advocate is a book that will help you understand the context of Christianity, and cause you to re-examine your own beliefs concerning the Jesus of history. 

Reviewer’s disclaimer:  Randy Singer pulls no punches.  There are scenes that may be considered too graphic for the younger reader.

5 stars for life-changing fiction by Randy Singer


The Advocate
Randy Singer
978-1-4143-9130-4
Fiction / Christian / Historical
Tyndale Fiction
473 pages
$24.99 U.S. (hardback, jacketed copy)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

THE COMPELLING CONCLUSION TO THE WELL SPRING SERIES BY JAMES L. RUBART

“It would be wonderful if we were all able to get our entire worth and identity from being a child of the King, but it doesn’t always work that way.”
The Spirit Bridge, page 19

Scripture teaches time and again that when we are at our weakest, then we are strong.  Because it is in those moments of absolute surrender that the King of the universe can fully have His way with us.

What is left unsaid, or is at least tacitly ignored, is the converse of that statement; “When I am strong – in my own strength, in my own will, in my own agenda – that is when I am at my most vulnerable.”  And that “strength” usually arrives at the awards ceremony.  You know, when you’ve beaten the competition, when you’ve reached (exceeded?) your goal, when you’ve crossed the final hurdle and are basking in the warmth of well-wishers and accolades.

The Warriors Riding are indeed, riding – riding the crest of the latest success in their spiritual battles.  Yet, as in all types of warfare, there are casualties.  The Song, Brandon Scott, sacrificed his most powerful, most personal part of his being – his voice – for The Leader.  Now, with nothing to sing about, he is on the ropes.  And on the edge of returning his Membership Card for The Warriors Riding.  However,  The Temple – Reece Roth – has discerned that The Song is critical in the next spiritual engagement.  He just hasn’t discerned whether Brandon will ever return.

The street-magician Simon is racing to remember his past before his ignorance obliterates his destiny,  And Miyo, a brash young warrior with advanced knowledge of spiritual realities and supernatural armor even Reece doesn’t know about, will be pivotal in the final war against The Warriors Riding.

If only the Warriors knew which side Simon and Miyo were truly on.

Probably the only draw-back with this book is, with so many references and nuances to the previous two books, it’s difficult to promote it as “stand-alone.”  That having been said, James Rubart has crafted a series on spiritual warfare that is so mesmerizing, and yet so authentic in its scriptural basis, that you should really desire to obtain the complete series.  With a Study Guide at the end of the book to launch small-group discussion, the conclusion of The Well Spring Series takes the reader deeper yet into an understanding of The Enemy, and echoes again the words of the powerful hymn by Martin Luther:
The prince of Darkness grim, 
We tremble not for him; 
His rage we can endure, 
For lo, his doom is sure, 
One little word shall fell him.


5 stars for a message that needs to be heard by James L. Rubart

SPIRIT BRIDGE
James Rubart
ISBN 978-1-4016-8609-3
Fiction / Christian / Suspense
Thomas Nelson
371 pages
$15.99 U.S.

Friday, June 13, 2014

RAPTOR 6 - THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS, BOOK 1 BY RONIE KENDIG

Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'" —Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!
raptor6-400-click

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.

* * * 
The heart doesn’t choose an appropriate moment to stake its claim.

That much Captain Dean “Raptor Six” Watters finds out in one big hurry.  He and his team are situated in an area where tensions are high, and millions of lives hang in the balance.  Ten military super-secure computers have “gone missing,” and the military intelligence contained in their memories is close to being on the open-market.

Zahrah Zarrick, a missionary teacher to Afghan children, is the unwitting key to this modern-day Pandora’s Box.  While her heart is on her sleeve for the children she’s teaching, her expertise in quantum cryptology makes her the prime target for the hackers who are committed to the downfall of the United States.

Raptor Six and his team are playing catch-up, as Zahrah disappears before they can make contact.  With the clock ticking, Dean is finally coming to grips with the stakes that are at hand in this game – and the fact that his heart is “all in” just makes this one hand he cannot afford to lose.

Ronie Kendig writes with a passion for Special Forces and their cause without reservation or apology.  While some of the foreign language words and phrases are difficult to grasp at first, and with a glossary dedicated only to military terminology and acronyms, it was a bit difficult for me to get a handle on some of the communication.  However, the context eventually sorted it out for me; it just takes a little work.  Which compels the dedicated reader to pay that much more attention.  New from @RonieKendig | Raptor 6! Enter to win a Kindle HDX.With Ronie Kendig at the helm – is this really a bad thing?


5 stars for Special Ops action, suspense and a passion for others by Ronie Kendig!

Raptor Six
RONIE KENDIG
ISBN 978-1-61626-040-8
Fiction/Christian/suspense
Shiloh Run Press
349 pages
$12.99 U.S.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

UNDETECTED . . . Riveting Suspense and Romantic Intrigue

It’s the same argument used by critics of the four Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Why four gospels, and why are they so different . . . and yet so similar?  Because the author’s were writing to different people groups, and were presenting different aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There have been rumblings that “Dee Henderson is slipping; her writing has changed!  This isn’t ANYTHING like her O’Malley series!”

Well, guess what . . . this isn’t the next installment of the O’Malley series.  And I’m here to let you know . . . Dee Henderson IS NOT SLIPPING!  The romantic suspense is still there, stronger than ever but better; because of its subtlety.  And the “learning curve” that Dee Henderson had to work through in order to write UNDETECTED is not something for the faint of heart.

From page one, the book had me hooked.  I’m writing this review on the strength of the first 100 pages, because I want to be able to finish the book without worrying about a review deadline . . . it’s just that good!!!

Commander Mark Bishop is in charge of the Gold Crew on board the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada.  He is one of a handful of picked men, highly trained for a burden of command like few others jobs in the military:  keeping the crew of the Nevada trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch nuclear weapons upon presidential authority.  It makes for a long day, and a stressful . . . and lonely . . . life.  Which is why Mark wants someone to come home to.

Gina Gray, aka “Gina The Genius,” would love to be married.  An unexpected breakup, though, has her focusing her attention on what she does best.  Gina has had more breakthroughs in ocean science research than anyone twice her age.  She’s on the cusp of yet another one . . . and if she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter. 


5 stars for riveting suspense and romantic intrigue

UNDETECTED
Dee Henderson
978-0-7642-1243-7
fiction / romantic suspense
Bethany House
476 pages
$15.99 (U.S.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TRUTH STAINED LIES: A UNIVERSAL STORY WITH AN ETERNAL MESSAGE!

One of the fundamental rules of blogging is:  “Once it’s out there, it’s out there.”  Once you hit the ENTER key, you can’t delete it, you can’t remove it, you can’t retrieve it.  And you certainly can’t deny it.

Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on local homicides.  When she finds a threatening note warning her that she’s about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out on her blog, she dismisses it as a harmless prank. 

Then her brother becomes the principal suspect in the murder investigation of his ex-wife.  Tried and convicted in the media, he is now scrutinized by the very society of bloggers and commentators of which Cathy is a card-carrying member.  And it is up to Cathy and her two sisters, Holly and Juliet, to put aside their doubts and fears and learn the art of investigation.  Because their brother is under the gun . . .and his 5-year old son is the killer’s next target.

I’ll confess . . . I read and reviewed Terri Blackstock’s second book in the Moonlighter’s Series, DISTORTION, first.  It was so well-done that I had to have the entire series.  And there was something niggling at the back of my brain; I’d seen TRUTH-STAINED LIES somewhere.  Recently.  Oh, yes . . . there it is, on my bookshelf! 

Coming to the book (both of which are stand-alone, although if you read them as I did there are some potential spoilers in Book 2) with a pre-understanding of the principal characters was interesting.  And it made reading the first book (despite the aforementioned potential spoilers) easier.  It was like slipping on a comfortable pair of old slippers . . . it just felt right.

I’ve been a fan of Terri Blackstock since collecting her Cape Refuge series, and her craftsmanship has only improved over the years.  With strong characters that nonetheless demonstrate the fatal flaws of original sin and the need for a Savior, Blackstock’s fiction is inspirational without being preachy.  And her skills as a scribe will keep you reading to the soul-satisfying conclusion.

5 stars for a universal story with an eternal message

TRUTH STAINED LIES
Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-28313-3
Zondervan
361 pages
$ 15.99 (U.S.)



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DISTORTION by Terri Blackstock - Carefully Crafted Fiction That Won't Let You Go!

Actor Danny DeVito, in the movie RENAISSANCE MAN, made the statement:  “All I know is, the choices we make dictate the lives we lead.”  Bob Cole, gunned down in the parking lot of a U-Haul dealership, learned this truth the hard way.

Unfortunately, life’s hard lessons don’t take place in a vacuum.  Juliet Cole, her two sons, and a myriad of other family, friends and colleagues are left to deal with the collateral damage.  In so doing, Juliet Cole makes chilling discoveries that lead her to believe that this was no random drive-by shooting.  A threatening voicemail merely clinches the deal.  Now Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger, as well.

What the killers don’t realize is that they’ve just unleashed a powerful force guided by faith and driven by the need for justice.  And while the investigation continues, Juliet asks herself over and over again; was Bob an innocent victim . . . or a hardened criminal?

The quest for answers by New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will keep you riveted to your seat and flipping pages to the shocking conclusion.

5 stars for carefully crafted fiction that won’t let you go.

DISTORTION
Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-28314-0
Zondervan
361 pages
$ 15.99 (U.S.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CRITICAL CONDITION by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
   Zechariah 13:9 (KJV)

It’s been said, “What doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger.”  Shannon
Frasier is discovering the truth of those words first hand.  As her fianc√© lay dying in her arms, medical student Shannon Frasier received his dying words, “Help me!” as her life’s mission.  Blazing her own trail into the inner sanctum of medical surgery, Dr. Frasier has determined that never again would she allow Death to win a battle uncontested.

Years later, another gun-shot victim lay in her front lawn.  Once again, Shannon’s hands are covered in blood.  Once again, Death had claimed another victory.  But what happens in the ensuing weeks will make this event seem as peaceful as a Sunday morning.

For the man who lay dying on her lawn held a secret; a secret that he whispered with his last breath.  A secret that will rock Shannon’s world, which is already complicated enough.  Struggling with the return of her sister, a recovering addict; her pastor father’s recent sudden weight loss; and her seeming inability to commit to a long-term relationship with her “almost- fianc√©,” Shannon finally comes to the conclusion that she is the one who needs help.  And there’s only One Person who could possibly bring her through this crucible in one peace.

The twists and turns that author and retired physician Richard Mabry bring to this book will keep you turning the pages to the stunning conclusion.

5 stars for a fine combination of suspense, faith and romance

Critical Condition
Richard L. Mabry, M.D.
ISBN 978-1-4016-8740-3
Fiction/Christian/Suspense
328 pages   
$15.99 US



Friday, April 4, 2014

THE MANUAL TO MANHOOD . . . EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK!

A plethora of miscellany.  Or “Much Ado About Everything.”  You pays your money, and you takes your choice.  The Manual To Manhood is almost encyclopedic in the things that it covers, and it claims to cover all the skills that “a man” needs to survive. 

Each “skill” is organized sequentially step-by-step.  For most men this is a bonus – it’s idiot-proof!  If you can read, you can do it.  Whatever “it” happens to be.  And they don’t just throw it out there; they actually explain “why” you need to be doing whatever “it” happens to be at the time.

I just wish I’d had this manual when I was growing up.  The school of hard knocks provides a sterling diploma – but you really have to earn it.  This book will take some of the lumps out of life for many a young man. 

5 stars for a manual that I wished I’d had growing up.


The Manual To Manhood
Jonathan Catherman
Revell
ISBN 978-0-8007-2229-6
Youth / Nonfiction
284 pages
$14.99

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

IT'S SWEEPSTAKES TIME!!! FOLLOW THE LINKS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN FABULOUS PRIZES FROM DAVIS BUNN!


“Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
                                                                                     Matthew 26:38-39 (NKJV)

A relationship with the Lord God Almighty is not for the faint of heart.  It is not so much a series of tasks as it is a lifelong commitment which demands ones best at every instance.  Five individuals are about to discover the truth of these words.

Five unique people.  Five very different walks of life.  Yet they have two things in common; they believe that they have heard the voice of God, and they have responded in obedience.

As John, Ruth, Alisha, Jenny and Yusuuf simultaneously arrive in New York for very different reasons, they are inextricably drawn together to the same hotel lobby.  Led by the Spirit, introductions are made and the purpose for their meeting is revealed in a flash mob:  Hope Is Dead.

Trent Cooper has his priorities in order.  Me, myself . . . and I.  He lives with the fury of one who sees, and has been denied, his hearts desires.  Always striving, Trent is never going to be content with a brass ring.  Visionary, and with a clear understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, Trent Cooper will not rest until he has it all.  Trent lays it all on the line for the one roll of the dice that will either make him . . . or break him.  He doesn’t realize that in so doing, he’s already lost.

The Turning is a contemporary allegory of an eternal story; a story of rebellion and reconciliation, of romance and redemption.  A story of sin and salvation, and the eternal struggle between the god of this world and the King of Kings.  And while the adversary may wish you to believe that there is a pitched battle raging throughout the ages, and the outcome is precariously balanced on the edge of a knife . . . nothing could be further from the truth. One little word shall fell him. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review.


5 stars, for a story that reveals the impossible . . . and makes it possible.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Impossible . . . is made possible! The Turning by Davis Bunn Available April 1, 2014

"Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."       Matthew 26:38-39 (NKJV)

A relationship with the Lord God Almighty is not for the faint of heart.  It is not so much a series of tasks as it is a lifelong commitment which demands one's best at every instance.  Five individuals are about to discover the truth of these words.

Five unique people.  Five very different walks of life.  Yet they have two things in common; they believe that they have heard the voice of God, and they have responded in obedience.

As John, Ruth, Alisha, Jenny and Yusuuf simultaneously arrive in New York for very different reasons, they are inextricably drawn together to the same hotel lobby.  Led by the Spirit, introductions are made and the purpose for their meeting is revealed in a flash mob:  Hope Is Dead.

Trent Cooper has his priorties in order.  Me, myself . . . and I.  He lives with the fury of one who sees, and has been denied, his hearts desires.  Always striving, Trent is never going to be content with a brass ring.  Visionary, and with a clear understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, Trent Cooper will not rest until he has it all.  Trent lays it all on the line for the one roll of the dice that will either make him . . . or break him.  He doesn’t realize that in so doing, he’s already lost.

The Turning is a contemporary allegory of an eternal story; a story of rebellion and reconciliation, of romance and redemption.  A story of sin and salvation, and the eternal struggle between the god of this world and the King of Kings.  And while the adversary may wish you to believe that there is a pitched battle raging throughout the ages, and the outcome is precariously balanced on the edge of a knife . . . nothing could be further from the truth. One little word shall fell him. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review.

5 stars, for a story that reveals the impossible . . . and makes it possible.


THE TURNING
Davis Bunn
ISBN 978-0-8024-1168-7
Fiction/General/Contemporary
River North Fiction
292 pages
$14.99 U.S.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FREE "SNEAK PEEK" OF THE TURNING by Davis Bunn

Today at 7:02 AM

   
Davis Bunn's latest novels
Sneak Peek

Read the first three chapters of my novel, The Turning, 
right now, before it releases on April 1. 
  1. Visit my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/davisbunnauthor.
  2. Click the 'Free Sample' tab below the cover photo.
  3. Once you've liked my Facebook page, click the large link at the top of the graphic that says, "Click here to start reading."
Two Videos
Free 40-Day Devotional: Print, E-mail and Audio


To enhance your experience of The Turning and to help you prepare to hear from God, we've created a series of devotionals for you to download.
Contests Start Next Week: Great Prizes!
Plan to visit my Facebook page next week. I'll be giving away copies of The Turning and will be kicking off a sweepstakes. You could win an Apple iPad Air or a Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Bible Commentary, and $100 Gift Card for ShopMoodyPublishers.com! 
Share this e-blast with a friend: Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn