Monday, June 28, 2010

Jesus Manifesto

Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is a great book to get you into studying the scripture to see who Jesus really is, which is not always who He’s made out to be. This book makes you see for yourself what your answer is to the important question “Who do you say that I am?” Have you lost sight of who Jesus really is and instead replaced Him with the doctrines of a church or what someone else says about Him? Each person needs to know who Christ is through their own study of the Word and own encounter with Him.

Sweet and Viola take the time to point out the problem—that many people have “Jesus Deficit Disorder.” They make the gospel about so many other things but don’t realize that unless Christ is at the center of it all, even the good things don’t matter. As Sweet and Viola point out the things that have stopped us from seeing Jesus for who He really is and placing Him in His rightful place, they also se scripture to point us in the right direction—that said, one should still always study the scripture for themselves. This is a good book, and a good tool for anyone that wants to make sure they know Jesus for who He really is.

Book provided by Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jerusalem's Undead: Valley of Bones

Eric Wilson, your Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy has placed itself permanently at the top of my favorite series list. The story contained within those three books is brilliantly inspired. I fell in love with the characters . . . well, except the Collectors, in which case, I loved to hate them. Okay, I do admit, one of them I didn’t hate, but anyway.

On to my comments.

So could vampires be explained Biblically? In the story that spans three books—Field of Blood, Haunt of Jackals, and Valley of Bones—it certainly seems possible. While they aren’t exactly explained with scripture, the way history is tied into the story, one would wonder just how possible it could really be.

Valley of Bones continues right where Haunt of Jackals leaves off. (For any who haven’t read these books yet, I won’t spoil it—WELL worth the read.) The story of Gina, Cal, the Nistarim, and the Collectors comes together in a climactic battle of good and evil. The Collectors are trying to bring final vengeance on their terms by taking out the Nistarim, those who bear the burdens of the world. If even one Nistarim falls without another to take his place, the world would end. But the Collectors’ numbers are dwindling. Will they succeed in ushering in their Final Vengeance? Or will the Nistarim and Those Who Resist succeed in taking out the Akeldama Cluster?

As I mentioned, history is tied into this story. First, the history of the Nistarim found in Matthew 27:52-53. From there, Eric ties in other pieces of history--usually with a bit of something left unexplained. These bits and pieces are weaved perfectly into the story, making it that much more enthralling.

The description and exploration of the settings in the story also add to the believability. In reading about the foreign places, and even the places within the US, it was easy to envision it in my mind even though I’ve never been to most of them myself.

And of course, the characters are what make the story. Following Gina, Cal, Natira, Erota, and the others within the pages, you find yourself captured within their minds, reading their thoughts, feeling their emotions—whether you love or hate them.

All in all, Valley of Bones is an amazing ending to this excellent trilogy. And I am sure I will read these books again and again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mr. Liparulo, you and your endings have done it again!

Imagine you have the ability to go into the past and change it. Imagine it was your calling in life. It seems to be the calling of the King family in the Dreamhouse Kings series by Robert Liparulo.

I’ve just finished book 5 of this 6 book series, and I wish I had book 6 right now so I could dive into it. Anyway . . . so about Whirlwind . . .

This book is properly named. From the moment I opened the cover and started the first chapter to continue the exhilarating quest with the King family, adrenaline has pumped through my veins. There is a whirlwind of adventure in those 310 pages. I’ve followed the Kings, hoped with them, wanted to scream for them, and cheered them on in their battles.

R.L. Stine’s endorsement of this series is fitting. As an elementary and middle school kid in the 90s, I was a fan of Goosebumps. The Dreamhouse Kings series has kept me on edge just as much as those books once did!

And then, there’s Mr. Liparulo’s endings. Yes, sir, I know we’ve talked about this before, but really? It just HAD to stop there? Now I’ve got to get Frenzy that much more. I’ve got to know what happens to Xander, Dae, Toria, Ed, Keal, Jesse, and even the evil Taksidian (who, by the way, in my head sounds like Scar from Lion King when I read his dialogue).

Will they find their mom? Will they change the past before it’s too late for the future? I guess I’ll have to get a copy of Frenzy soon and read it to find out.

I’m excited!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lis Wiehl's Hand of Fate

So it’s taken me a while to finally get to this book. I’ve had it for well over a month, but until schoolwork was done, I hardly had time to read. Now, after finishing Bride Collector, I’ve finally been able to enjoy Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl. It’s the second of her Triple Threat Novels, and I have to sadly say I haven’t read the first one. Yet, I can say this is a great read with interesting twists. And though it is the second book, if you haven’t read the first one, you don’t feel completely out of the loop—I was still able to get to know the characters as well as I would any other book, though when it hints at things that happened in the last one, you may feel a little behind.

In this book, the reader follows Allison, Cassidy, and Nicole as they investigate the death of Jim Fate, a famed voice of talk radio. There are more than enough suspects, since he seemed to make a lot of people hate him with his opinions. Each lady also deals with personal conflicts as they’re trying to figure out who murdered this man, including one of them who was closer to Fate than what she let on with her friends. All in all, interesting, and it reminds me of the show Women’s Murder Club—which was based off novels by James Patterson, though I have yet to read the books.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bride Collector

I have to admit, the first few chapters of this book had me wondering if I should even continue reading. But I did. It’s Dekker. He has that way that just makes you want to know what happens and how the light shines in the end despite the darkness the story takes you through to get there. This story is dark, but it is full of pinpricks of light, like stars giving a glimpse of light in the darkest night. And the ending . . . oh what a beautiful ending. But I won’t say anything else about that now.

The Bride Collector brings together an interesting array of characters, full of a wit and beauty all their own. The FBI agents, Raines and Holden, are intriguing, but not so much as Roudy, Andrea, Cass, and Paradise. And in this story, while it does deal with those threatening to kill the body, it is also a story about what kills a person from within. The story is a beautiful story of love, and a story of facing the fears within oneself. While there is light at the end of the tunnel, the journey to get there is dark—but it is a beautiful and insightful read.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Radical by David Platt

So my recent facebook status—Are we settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves?—actually came from an excerpt of the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, a book by David Platt. And I must say, just the first chapter is a challenge to how anyone views their Christianity. It got me to think and I’m sure this is something I will be taking to heart for quite some time.

If the rest of the book is like the first chapter, I’m not sure steel-toed boots will help because this message is so weighty that you’ll feel your toes being stepped on as he asks questions and compares the message of the Word with the message of the church today. Are we shaping Jesus into what we want of Him, or are we letting Him shape us into what He wants of us?

This book is definitely on my must-read list.

You can also read the first chapter of this book (in PDF format) by going here:

To order a free copy of The Radical Question: What is Jesus Worth to You then go here:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Roy Hallums: Buried Alive

Buried Alive is an intriguing book about the almost year-long captivity of Roy Hallums in Iraq. He relives the kidnapping and the captivity to great detail. Hallums was in captivity for 311 days, and while we don’t get to read about all of those days, with the information he provides it is easy to imagine each of the places he details. His family’s reactions are scattered throughout the book as well. The rescue by the US Special Forces is so touching at times it could make you cry.

Reading his family’s reactions is at times heartbreaking. There are times this story is so real to the reader that you forget you’re just reading a book and feel like you are there watching the events take place. You hear the voices of the captors and the other hostages. You can imagine the small room and cramped it must have been at times. Yet, we can never fully know just what this man endured. For he did endure. And he has now shared his story with the world. It is shocking, but it is most certainly inspiring.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Free To Be

“Can you not see that your fears of what could happen are keeping you from what could be?”

Free Book by Brian Tome is a great book that challenges our everyday thinking and invites us to enjoy freedom in Christ. He tackles the issue of strongholds that may keep us from experiencing that freedom. Then he offers advice and wisdom based on experience and Biblical understanding to help attack the fears that come at each one of us. He talks about forgiveness, the love all Christians are supposed to live by, and how God wants us to have freedom in Him.

This book certainly makes a person think about the fears that attack our lives every day. Some of them may be small, but they are still fears. As is pointed out several times, God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. That spirit of fear keeps us from living life to its fullest, keeps us from loving the most, and keeps us from experiencing all God has for us. Brian Tome confronts these things head on, and asks the reader to do the same. I certainly recommend this book to anyone that wants to deal with the fears and strongholds in their lives and experience life freely.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More to Read!

So I have been kind of busy lately. There has been school work to be done (Eng 102 and Phil 101). And with the reading I have had to do for those classes, I haven't read much for myself the last few of weeks. I am hoping to get this week's assignments done before the weekend so maybe I can enjoy a day or two of reading bliss. Here's my list:

I'm almost done with Brian Tome's Free Book. I must say, it is great read, and I have learned some things.

After that, I have Buried Alive by Roy Hallums. I am a bit nervous because it is a heavy topic.

Then I finally get to read Burn. I have been looking forward to this book for a while now. I'm sure it will be great.

Depending on whether another book arrives in time or not, I also have Karen Hancock's The Shadow Within. I ordered that one with a gift card a friend gave me for my birthday. I first read her book Light of Eidon in 2008 I believe. So I am looking forward to finally continuing this story.

So what about you? What good books have you read lately?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy 2010!

So I started back to college at the end of October. And because of that, I haven't read as much as a hobby as I have for school. In fact, I have three stories I am trying to read, I am starting my classes for this session, and I just ordered two more books to read. Getting a little bit swamped from it? Maybe, but I love it.

One thing I never finished was the Dean Koontz's Frankenstein reviews. I read the third book, Dead and Alive. It was a great ending to the trilogy--following Deucalion and the other characters around as they plot how to take care of Frankenstein once and for all. The characters are all unique and some are downright funny. I think the way it ended was fitting. And a bit eerie. Overall, I was pleased.

Let's see what I get to read this new year.

May your year be filled with blessings.