Saturday, February 21, 2015

RIVER'S EDGE: Cape Refuge Series Book 3 by Terri Blackstock

Where do YOU go for YOUR information?

Cape Refuge is experiencing another storm, and it isn’t caused by natural phenomena.  As the political race for mayor between Ben Jackson and Pastor Jonathan Cleary heats up, more lives stand to be impacted by the outcome of the election.  Police Chief Matthew Cade knows that if Jonathan doesn’t prevail, his job is on the line as well.

When Ben Jackson’s wife goes missing, the rumor mill begins.  And when a local psychic leads authorities to the river’s edge – directly to the location of Lisa Jackson’s body – it’s only adds fuel to the fire. 

Amidst swirling accusations, suspicious minds, and chaotic lives spinning out of control – there is still The Truth.

The Truth will set you free.  Free indeed.

Exploring a variety of real-life issues, and written with Terri Blackstock’s trademark for deep characters, realistic relationships, and suspense that holds you to the very last page, RIVER’S EDGE will impact your life long after you’ve put the book down.

5 Stars for Christian Suspense at its finest!


RIVER’S EDGE:  CAPE REFUGE SERIES BOOK 4
Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-34279-3
Fiction / Christian / Suspense
Zondervan
360 pages
$ 10.99 (U.S.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FINDING FAVOR WITH THE KING: Preparing for YOUR Moment In HIS Presence by Tommy Tenney

Every now and then, a book comes along that forces you to slow down and really pay attention to what you are reading.  Pay attention to what you are experiencing as you are reading.  Pay attention to what you are learning from what you are experiencing as you are reading.

Every now and then, a book comes along that transforms your life.

FINDING FAVOR WITH THE KING:  PREPARING for YOUR MOMENT in HIS PRESENCE is just such a book, in my own humble opinion.

Author Tommy Tenney, an international speaker and author has always been a challenging read for me, for a number of reasons.  One, he doesn’t pull any punches.  He speaks from the heart, and his heart is tuned to listening to his Father.  If you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t open this book.

Two, Tommy Tenney can COMMUNICATE!!!  He uses illustrations, analogies, personal anecdotes, Scripture, commentary . . . whatever it takes to get his point deep into the heart of the reader.  He uses every tool in the shed to make sure that you get the point. 

Three, Tommy Tenney doesn’t waste time.  He gets right to the point.  But he does so in a way that completely covers the point, without losing your train of thought.  He shows you where he’s coming from, lets you know when he’s got there, tells you where he’s going . . . and he also shares with you the importance of the point that is currently under discussion.  He tells you how to put that particular point into action in your life, as well.  You learn from Tommy Tenney – and it doesn’t even feel like “learning” at all.

In this latest book by Tommy Tenney, the author places the book – and the life – of a young Jewish girl by the name of Haddassah.  We know her better by the Bible book that bears her name – Esther.  FINDING FAVOR WITH THE KING has become my favorite commentary on the book of Esther.  Tommy Tenney covers the historical / cultural background of Esther with the skill of a seasoned scholar, and shares the significance of those historical / cultural issues with the passion of a pastor (sorry, my Baptist roots are showing!)  For instance, were you aware that the other participants in the “beauty contest” didn’t get to go back home?  They remained in the king’s harem . . . for life.

Were you aware that the “gallows” that Mordecai prepared for Haman was not intended for hanging – but for impalement?

But the importance of the book is found in the “application.”  Tommy Tenney looks at Esther with fresh eyes, and shows us how important it is for every one of us to prepare for our own “moment” in His presence.  FINDING FAVOR WITH THE KING is not a task for an hour, or a day . . . it is a task for a lifetime.  And oh, what a day that will be when we finally get “our moment with the King!!!”

Thank you, Tommy!  I wish they had an option for 6 stars!


5 stars

FINDING FAVOR WITH THE KING:  Preparing for YOUR Moment In HIS Presence
Tommy Tenney
ISBN 978-0-7642-1172-0
Christian Living
Bethany House
238 pages
$15.99 U.S.

BLACK DRAGON, BLACK CAT . . . AUTHENTIC MARTIAL ARTS FAITHFULLY DELIVERED!

I downloaded this e-book from BookBub, because although I've never studied martial arts . . . every guy KNOWS martial arts, right?  Right.  However, this was one of those books that once you start reading, you cannot put down until you read the last word.  Seriously.  The Oriental mind (as far as I can tell in my limited exposure) is faithfully represented on these "pages."  There is a fount of wisdom, excitement, tension, and drama that I haven't come across in decades of reading.  And there is a prequel to this book . . . and there is a sequel, as well!!!  If you are at all interested in authentic martial arts stories, this is the series for you!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

ROMANCING YOUR BETTER HALF by Rick Johnson

There’s no doubt in my mind that author Rick Johnson knows what he’s talking about, when it comes to discussing marriage and family issues.  He is a best-selling author, the founder of Better Dads, and is a sought-after speaker at many large parenting and marriage conferences across the United States and Canada.  And I’m sure that the information being shared in this latest book was intended to be a means of strengthening the marriages of those who read it.

My main issue with this book was the “commercials.”  I understand that when you’ve been doing something for as long as Rick Johnson, a “routine” develops.  And that’s what I’m getting when I read this book.  I feel as if the author has taken every weekend retreat he has ever done and tried to cram it into one book.  It’s information overload.  The facts and statistics weigh down the book that feels like it should be three times as many pages as it actually is.  And the illustrations and anecdotes are conveyed with the energy of the old joke that everyone has already heard.

The wisdom is there.  I’m struggling to find the wit.  And I fail to feel the passion.


3 ½ stars

ROMANCING YOUR BETTER HALF
Rick Johnson
ISBN 978-0-8007-2234-0
FLMA / Marriage
Revell Publishers
202 pages
$12.99 U.S.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015




THE PASSION TRANSLATION BIBLE:  JOHN, THE PSALMS, AND PROVERBS
DR. BRIAN SIMMONS
ISBN  978-1-4245-4958-0  (JOHN:  ETERNAL LOVE)
           978-1-4245-4942-0  (PROVERBS:  WISDOM FROM ABOVE)
          978-1-4245-4936-8   (PSALMS:  POETRY ON FIRE)
Holy Bible / Translation / Commentary
Broadstreet Publications
108 pages (John)
143 pages (Proverbs)
301 pages (Psalms)
$ 19.99 (U.S.) Psalms
$14.99  John, Proverbs

The reason for reviewing three different books in one post is due to the fact that the books themselves are not the focus.  Rather, I wish to expose readers to the Passion Translation Project, of which I have received the three volumes for review:  John: Eternal Love, Proverbs:  Wisdom From Above, and The Psalms:  Poetry On Fire.  Each of these volumes is an original translation from the desk of Dr. Brian Simmons.  Brian and Candice Simmons have been described as true pioneers in ministry. As a spiritual father and mother, their teaching and spiritual gifts have opened doors in many nations to take the message of authentic awakening and revival to many. For the last 40 years they have labored together to present Christ in His fullness wherever God sends them.

After a dramatic conversion to Christ in 1971 Brian answered the call of God to leave everything behind and become a missionary to the tribes. Taking his wife and three children to the jungle of Central America they pioneered church plants for many years with the Kuna people group. While serving as missionaries, Dr. Simmons planted churches and established leadership for the churches that Jesus birthed. As a linguist, Brian also was the co-translator for the Kuna New Testament.

Many people have approached the Holy Bible with the preconceived notion that, because the Bible was written over a period of 1500 years, by 40 different authors, in numerous geographical and historical / cultural settings, it must be inherently impossible to dogmatically declare “Thus saith the Lord.”  No one can ever really say what it was that God was communicating in His word, and therefore the Bible is irrelevant to my life today. It’s a best seller, it’s a wonderful book – but it has no authoritative bearing on my life, in the here and now.

Dr. Brian Simmons candidly begs to differ with that point of view, and he does so in a warmly devotional manner, firmly resting on bedrock scholarship.  His ministry has produced THE PASSION TRANSLATION, a dynamic-equivalent translation of the Holy Scriptures from the ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into modern English.

The Passion Translation Project is a groundbreaking attempt to re-introduce the passion and fire of the Bible to the English reader. God longs to have His Word expressed in every language in a way that would unlock the passion of His heart. The goal of this work is to trigger inside of every English speaker an overwhelming response to the truth of the Bible—unfolding the deep mysteries of the Scriptures in the language of love, the language of the heart. This translation is accurate to the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts, but passionately powerful in a contemporary form.

So why another translation? Many wonderful versions of our Bible now grace our bookshelves, bookstores, software programs, even apps on our phones. So why add one more? The reason is simple: God wants His message of love to be received in every culture, every community, and every language. So, what about the language of love? There is a language of the heart that must express the passion of this love-theology. That is the purpose of the Passion Translation.

The Passion Translation is not merely a word-for-word translation; it is a thought-for-thought expression of God’s passion. Expect to be surprised, even stunned by the depth of revelation that this translation brings to you.


5 stars for a translation burning with passion that springs from compassion

TWISTED INNOCENCE by Terri Blackstock (Book 3 of the MOONLIGHTERS SERIES)

Fasten your seat-belts . . . it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

In the third installment of the MOONLIGHTERS SERIES, Terri Blackstock reveals the truth behind all the clich├ęs . . . “Life is no picnic,”  “We all have to grow up sometime,” and “Life is never always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.”

Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

Holly Cramer’s past is rapidly becoming present.  And it isn’t a pretty picture.  No one was even supposed to know about Creed Kershaw, Lily’s biological father.  She’d never even told him about the pregnancy.  So when the police show up asking questions as to his whereabouts, all Holly sees is row after row of trouble that she was going to have to work over.

Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love.  But by God’s grace, she is not going to have to go through it alone.  And when she comes out on the other side of this crucible, she and all who survived will be fit vessels for the Master’s use.

5 Stars for fast-paced Christian suspense!


TWISTED INNOCENCE
Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-33237-4
Fiction / Christian / Suspense
Zondervan
308 pages
$ 19.99 (U.S.) (hardback w/ jacket)

BREAKER'S REEF by Terri Blackstock (Book 4 of the Cape Refuge Series)

And God wins.

I do not, in the least, mean for the three previous words to be flippant, sarcastic, or misconstrued in any way.  God wins!  Terri Blackstock weaves this theme throughout her Cape Refuge Series, and greatly desires that if you don’t get anything else from her works of fiction, you will come away with this message:  God wins!

When a teenage girl’s body is discovered in a boat between Tybee Island and Cape Refuge, all evidence points to a famous mystery writer who has taken up residence in the small town, Marcus Gibson.  Sheila Caruso, a newly-employed secretary for the best-selling author, discovers that a scene in one of his books perfectly mirrors the crime scene, and the author’s eccentricities lend support to the theory.

When a second dead teenager is discovered – again, paralleling a scene from one of Gibson’s novels – Police Chief Cade is pretty much convinced he has his man.  Then Sheila’s daughter, Sadie, goes missing.  In a race against time, there are many questions to be answered.  And many lessons to be learned.

Facing the challenges of stereotypes, prejudice, injustice, and the ever-present darkness of the human heart, Terri Blackstock just wants every one of her readers to know . . . God wins.

In the latest chapter of the series, BREAKER’S REEF, Terri Blackstock brings new challenges to familiar faces.  While references are made to situations in the previous books, BREAKER’S REEF is easily read on its own.  Readers new to the Cape Refuge series will be able to meet the residents of Cape Refuge, and develop a relationship with them that will instill in them a desire to “go back to the beginning.” 

5 Stars for a message for page-turning suspense!

BREAKERS’S REEF
Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-34278-6
Fiction / Christian / Suspense
Zondervan
329 pages
$ 10.99 (U.S.)