Category Archives: Christian

The Traitor’s Pawn

Title: The Traitor’s Pawn
Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2917-2

“I just … I need you to forgive me, Aubrey,” the policewoman is told in Lisa Harris’s novel, The Traitor’s Pawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-thirty-three-page paperback targets those who enjoy crime suspense with Christian undertones and light romance. Containing no profanity, the topics of kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the first chapter of the writer’s next novel, author’s biography, and advertisements for other Revell books.

Set in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jack and Aubrey used to be best friends as teenagers, but their relationship abruptly ended, with one fearful of divulging true feelings. When FBI agent Jack happens to be in the area hunting down an American involved in a Chinese spy ring, Aubrey, a policewoman, is kidnapped. As their paths cross unexpectedly, they race to catch the traitor before more are injured or killed.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that packs plenty of action and tension between two past friends who must work together to solve who is selling government secrets. I like the sensitivity of Jack and how he deals with his past decisions. Aubrey’s character shows how trusting God helps her deal with heartache, disappointments, and life-threatening situations.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the calling on God for His protection. Others may not care for a story of a woman dealing with forgiveness of those she loves. The reader may feel frustrated that Jack appeared unaware of all the turmoil in Aubrey’s family life if they were once close friends.

~ Wish ~
While I liked the relationship between the two protagonists and how they both were scared to move forward, I found the persistent interruptions too obvious every time they tried to discuss the future. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are into spy stories involving the FBI and police, this is a quick read that caters to those who like re-establishing relationships, forgiveness, and trusting in God.

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2yr27I1

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Ishmael Covenant

Title: Ishmael Covenant
Author: Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4530-9

“But know this … the box has a mission of its own. Do not deny the box from its intended purpose,” the Gaon warns in Terry Brennan’s book, Ishmael Covenant.

~ What ~
The first in the Empires of Armageddon series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy political Christian suspense involving the Middle East. With no profanity except for the use of the word hell, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a map and list of characters, while the ending includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, and an excerpt to the next book in the series.

In this read, Dipolocatic Secret Serviceman Brian Mullaney is banished to guarding the US ambassador in Israel, a man who has recently been given a special Jewish box that contains a centuries-old prophecy about the coming Messiah and destroys anyone who touches it. It is a race to get the unique box safely to a Jewish synagogue before Turk, a mysterious man, gets it first.

~ Why ~
I appreciate books about the future, especially if they involve the second coming of Jesus Christ. While this one is the first in a series, it shows how the Middle East is lined up for changes when the antichrist evolves and the Tribulation begins. I liked the portrayal of the main character and his struggles personally and spiritually.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian-faith based novels or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus will not appreciate this book or care for its simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may already be aware of the Old Testament predictions, the history of the Middle East, and Biblical end-time prophecies.

~ Wish ~
While including detailed historical background information, the story often gets bogged down to the point the reader wants to skip sections if they already know about it. I found its unsatisfying ending abrupt, although I know it is only the first in its series.

~ Want ~
If you love a suspenseful and political read involving the Middle East, this first book in a series about its potential future may interest you, but I struggled to get through it and felt no closure at its rushed ending.

Thanks to the author, Bookpleasures, and Kregel Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#IshmaelCovenant #TerryBrennan #KregelPublications #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2WSplAV

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Blaze of Light

Title: Blaze of Light
Author: Marcus Brotherton
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-0-525-65378-3

“To really live, you must almost die. To those who fight for it, life has a meaning the protected will never know,” Gary is told in Marcus Brotherton’s biography, Blaze of Light: The Inspiring True Story of Green Beret Medic Gary Beikirch, Medal of Honor Recipient.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-seventy-two-page book is based on the true story of Gary Beikirch, a Medal of Honor recipient who was a Green Beret medic during the Vietnam War. Targeted toward those who like real-life accounts of dealing with the fog of war and overcoming the emotional distraught of it, topics of alcohol/drug use, dying, death, and war may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this factual tale based in the 1970s, twenty-two-year-old Gary finds himself in Dak Seang, Vietnam, protecting the Montagnards, who he has come to value and love, from the NVC who surprisingly attack their village of indigenous fighters, women, and children. Even after being seriously wounded, he arduously tries to save the injured until he is helicoptered to a nearby hospital to heal. When he arrives back in the States, his emotional state is fractured and broken more than his body, and his only redemption is resolved when he turns to the Almighty.

~ Why ~
This is a hard read of the sacrifice and suffering a soldier makes for his country, especially when he returns back to America, only to be mocked and ridiculed. I appreciate Gary and any other serviceman who went to Vietnam and am greatly thankful for their commitment. Gary’s life story is full of confusion, disappointment, and tragedy, yet it shows how God’s hand was always there, protecting him and keeping him safe.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate the read that confirms God is the answer. Some may not like reading about the surgical procedures, detailed destruction, injuries, or deaths that are sad and heartbreaking.

~ Wish ~
Since I received an uncorrected proof of this book, I hope photographs of Gary and his family are included in the final print. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy stories about the physical survival during war and emotional and spiritual redemption, this would be a great book to read or pass on to someone struggling with their purpose in life and how God is in control.

Thanks to the Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#BlazeofLight #GaryBeikirch #MarcusBrotherton #WaterbrookMultnomah

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3aQsAwG

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Chasing the White Lion

Title: Chasing the White Lion
Author: James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3578-4

“Welcome to the Jungle. Take care you are not eaten,” Talia and her elite team are warned in James R. Hannibal’s novel, Chasing the White Lion.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-five-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a suspenseful thriller involving CIA agents, master thieves, and a team working together to bring down a syndicate boss. With no profanity, topics of violence, kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

As a page-turner, this lightly Christian-based tale focuses on Talia Inger, a CIA agent who has an eidetic memory and recently turned her life over to the Lord. With the help of a wheelman, she and a grifter, spy, thief, chemist, and hacker band together to be invited into the inner circle of a high-crime organization run by the White Lion and the Archangel in what they call the Jungle, a game of deception with high stakes involving thalers, arms deals, and child refugee kidnappings. As the highly-trained group chases down their marks, Talia must learn to lean and trust her rogue tribe and, most importantly, God.

~ Why ~
I like reading worldwide suspense that involves a female protagonist who has to deal and overcome her past as she relies on Christ. The story is fast-paced, with the band of misfits traveling from the United States to Russia, Africa, the Czech Republic, the Greek Islands, and Thailand to uncover a deadly crowdsourced crime syndicate.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are not followers of Christ and do not like stories about international crime blended with the underlying emotional impact of child trafficking may not appreciate this story. Others may tire of the bantering of the teammates, far-fetched scenarios, and limited relying on God.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked how Talia learned to depend on the Almighty through prayer, I felt the author missed the perfect opportunity to give the eternal plan of salvation. I found some of the team members’ quibbling and joking misplaced. Due to the plethora of characters, it would be ideal to include a list of them at the beginning of the book. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are a fan of current-day international intrigue and suspense involving an eclectic group of clandestine professionals going after the bad guys, you may appreciate this read, but I found it confusing and complicated from start to end.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #JamesRHannibal #ChasingtheWhiteLion

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wBS95M

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The Jeremiah Study Bible: Psalms & Proverbs

Title: The Jeremiah Study Bible: Psalms and Provers
Author: Dr. David Jeremiah
Publisher: Worthy Books
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1545-1

The Jeremiah Study Bible: Psalms and Proverbs presents the best of biblical insight along with clear, practical application to bring about authentic transformation in your life,” the back jacket states on Dr. David Jeremiah’s new book.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-eight-pages, this thin leather-bound collection targets men and women seeking a read of the complete book of Psalms and Proverbs with study notes. Using the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, all chapters of the two books are included with introductions, underlining verses, notes, and highlighted topics. The author’s welcome page, ways to study, and introduction are at the beginning.

Focusing only on the two iconic books from the Old Testament, added highlights throughout involve topics of Picture This, FYIs, Historically Speaking, For Reflection, Teaching Points, Tough Questions, and Essentials of the Christian Faith.

~Why ~
I have always enjoyed reading these two books written mostly by King David and his son, Solomon, as there are ample depth and teaching in them that can be used in our daily walk with the Lord. With the book being leather-bound, it makes a lovely bedside table book that can be picked up and read often.

One of the inserts I appreciated was an FYI titled The Royal Psalms regarding Psalms 93 to 99, reminding us how the poems celebrate God and a King and describe His rule. Another favorite was Picture This: The Price of Immortality regarding how several verses in Proverbs contain word pictures correlating to living life realistically.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate this read. This is not an in-depth devotional but mainly the two books of the Bible with minor commentary and inserts so would not be apropos for a Bible study. Some may not care for the referred Bible version.

~ Wish ~
Not a fan of the ESV, I wish other Bible versions were offered in this beautiful gift book. It would be helpful to include an attached page ribbon marker.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a classy gift for someone special who loves reading the Psalms and Proverbs, this makes a thoughtful choice if you like the ESV.

Thanks to Hachette Book Club for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2IkEvqm

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Out of the Embers

Title: Out of the Embers
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3535-7

“There was more to Miss Evelyn Radner than she wanted the world to see. The question was, what was behind the pretty mask, and why did she feel the need to hide?” Wyatt wonders in Amanda Cabot’s novel, Out of the Embers.

~ What~his three-hundred-and-thirty-six-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a historical romance during the mid-nineteenth century in Texas involving racehorses, a restaurant, and finding love. The beginning includes a town map, while the ending has an author’s note, an excerpt from the next book in the series, writer’s biography, and advertisements. With no profanity, topics of abandonment, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

The first in the Mesquite Spring series, this tale focuses on twenty-three-year-old Evelyn Radcliffe who senses she is being watched the past ten years after her parents are murdered. When the orphanage she and a young girl living at is burned to the ground, they flee to Mesquite Springs, an idyllic town where Wyatt Clark raises racehorses. While hiding her and her charge’s past histories, Evelyn opens a small restaurant yet wonders if she will ever feel safe enough to find true love.

~ Why ~
I appreciate a read when it is engaging enough without being too mushy in the romance department, and this one has mystery and intrigue trying to resolve who is after the protagonist and the little girl. I liked learning about the town and its many characters who will, no doubt, be part of upcoming books in the series.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories about living in a small Texan town in the 1850s, taking care of horses, and old-fashioned romance will pass on this series. Others may find the sweet romance with no sex or adult situations predictable and repetitive in its description.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked guessing the outcome of Evelyn and Polly’s past and how Wyatt had to figure out what he wanted in his life, I figured the outcome early. I wished the author mixed up some of the wording whenever the two main characters talked about not wanting to marry or  when they “pressed lips.”

~ Want ~
If you are an avid fan of horses and clean romance with a glint of mystery, this quick read of two individuals learning about love while finding themselves will keep you occupied for several hours.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #AmandaCabot #OutoftheEmbers

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2IfQDZv

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Star of Persia

Title: Star of Persia
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3471-8

“Why did she think for a single moment that God cared for a lonely young woman in a foreign palace in a foreign land,” Esther ponders in Jill Eileen Smith’s Biblical fiction novel, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy an enhanced version of the Biblical story of Queen Esther and her oftentimes lonely relationship with King Xerxes. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, topics of execution and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements complete the book.

In this retold story taken from the Old Testament, King Xerxes banishes his favorite wife when she would not show herself at one of his banquets. Forlorn, depressed, and quick to make rash decisions, the dictator trusts the wrong people continually but finds new love in young Hadassah, a Jewess who has been unwantedly chosen as his new queen. As she falls in love with a Persian leader who is almost two decades older than she, the renamed Esther must not only deal with her secret of being a Jew and solitude lifestyle but also a vicious, scheming wife, an over-achieving advisor, and others.

~ Why ~
The book of Esther is one of my most cherished stories in the Word of God, so I was excited to read this rendition. I like the secular history interjected throughout the story as it relates to palace politics, interaction with guards and servants, and family-related dynasty outcomes. The trustworthiness and sincerity of young Esther are well developed and promoted between her relationship with the king and her cousin, Mordecai.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like fictionalized Bible stories may pass on this one as the author has used ample liberties to enhance the story. With Vashti having met Esther when the younger girl was only six years old, parts of the story are fabricated. Some may find the mix of secular history blended into Scripture confusing, but it does help comprehend Persia’s military and kingdom nances.

~ Wish ~
I liked the detailed descriptions of palace life in Susa during Old Testament times. I wish the novel was more accurate to the Bible and included the full story (however, the author does explain why parts are omitted). With a plethora of characters, it would be helpful having a list at the beginning of the book of which ones are fictional.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy learning about Esther’s rise to becoming a queen and how she had to stand up for her belief in God and her people, this is an intriguing read that has plenty of fiction added.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2I6YPvi

#StarofPersia #JillEileenSmith

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A Death Well Lived

Title: A Death Well Lived
Author: Daniel Overdorf
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-63357-188-4

“One thing was certain, though — today he’d have to suppress any admiration that had been growing in his heart for the Jews. He was a Roman centurion. Dominant. Powerful. Violent,” Lucius reminds himself in Daniel Overdorf’s novel, A Death Well Lived.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-twenty-six pages, this paperback is a rendition of the last few weeks of Jesus’s life, observed by a Roman centurion named Lucius Valerius Galeo. After Lucius beats an innocent Jew almost to death and witnesses the Nazarene’s miracles, he struggles with his anger, vocational power, and spiritual beliefs while trying to come to terms with his involvement controlling Jewish rabble-rousers. Due to topics of physical abuse, crucifixion, and death, the story may not be apropos for immature readers.

~ Why ~
If you are interested in a historical fiction depicting one soldier’s viewpoint of learning about the King of the Jews, this book focuses on one’s internal conflict of power and hate versus love and kindness. I liked how the writer conveyed the main character was torn by his Roman loyalties and the Truth. While explaining how Christ had to die on the cross for our sins and rise again, the novel hones in on dealing with forgiveness, especially regarding those under the soldier’s protection.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some may not like such an iconic story being retold. Others may not appreciate the ample liberties taken by the author by adding conversations and scenes to Scripture.

~ Wish ~
I felt there were several inconsistencies with the Word of God such as depicting Jesus’s ribs were cracked and he lost consciousness. I wish the version of the Bible used was stated and all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a story of what our Lord did by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins from a fictionalized soldier’s outlook during Jesus’s last days on earth, this will be a helpful reminder.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wKgDda

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The Basic Bible Atlas

Title: The Basic Bible Atlas
Author: John A. Beck
Publisher: BakerBooks
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7790-6

“And we will not fully understand this story unless we understand the place from which it has come. That is why you need an atlas. Because some of what the Lord has to say to us, he has said using geography,” John S. Beck writes in the introduction of his book, The Basic Bible Atlas: A Fascinating Guide of the Land of the Bible.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-seventy-six-page paperback targets those who want to have a better understanding of the lands mentioned in the Holy Bible. After a map and illustration list plus acknowledgments, the book is divided into two parts: Introduction to Geography and Putting the Story in Its Place. The ending includes notes, Scripture index, and an index of place names. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced.

In this book that focuses mainly on Israel and its surrounding areas, over sixty maps with illustrations explain the Old and New Testaments’ geographical locations relating to the stories they provide. The first part has an introduction to the atlas and Biblical world that includes the ancient Near East, regions mentioned in the Bible, and Israel’s major cities, towns, roads, zones, rainfall, seasons, culture, soils, and products. The second and larger section of the book is subdivided into eight chapters covering the creation, the exodus, conquests, the kingdom’s establishments, divisions, and exile, and when Jesus was living as well as church stories.

~Why ~
This is is a wonderful read as it is basic and too the point so the reader can pick a topic of the Old or New Testament and pinpoint on a map where it took place. I loved looking at the maps’ notes and learning that Israel covered 6,750 square miles, the Jewish people’s meandering route for forty years in the desert, where Samson lived and died, the travels of the Ark of the Covenant, the expansion of Jerusalem and its Temple, and Elisha’s history. Understanding the distances Jesus traveled and places He performed miracles were interesting as well as Paul’s many journeys.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not be interested in an atlas that shows how God was and is always there, taking care of the beloved Jews and Christians. Others may wish there was more content to the discussions, but it is a basic synopsis.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more stories of every person’s whereabouts in the Bible, but this would be a major task. Including an index by people’s names would be helpful for quick look-up. By accident, I noticed Susa (Nehemiah and Esther) was not listed in the index. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are wondering how far Moses traveled, where Bethlehem is related to Jerusalem, or how the Word of God was spread in the New Testament, this is an excellent source of knowledge that will amaze you.

Thanks to BakerBooks for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2vwG3KE

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The Bible in 10 Words

Title: The Bible in 10 Words
Author: Deron Spoo
Publisher: Worthy
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1427-0

“Each word, found in the first page or two of the Bible, sets the stage for God’s perfect world, the brokenness that follows, and the restoration God has in mind for those he loves,” Deron writes at the beginning of his book, The Bible in 10 Words: Unlocking the Message of Scripture and Connecting with God.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-nine-page hardbound targets those who like a simplistic devotion of the Word of God concerning less than a dozen keywords. Using the Christian Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV is also referenced. The ending includes acknowledgments, notes, and the author’s biography.

In this short read, ten simple words from the first three chapters of Genesis are discussed and shown how they relate to Jesus being revealed from the beginning to the end of the Bible. The major words are Light, Dust, Breath, Garden, River, Eat, Alone, Naked, Afraid, and Alone as well as one final, perfect word: Jesus. With an introduction and ending, each chapter begins with a written out Bible verse or two and a quote, followed by several pages regarding the topic. Chapters end with a prayer, three to four discussion questions, and further Scripture to research.

~ Why ~
This is a thoughtful read regarding ten words from Genesis and follows them through the Bible. The author discusses finding the True Light, accepting our ordinariness with humility, having a spirit-filled breath to worship; allowing God to tend to our needs; noticing blessings and boundaries; listening with our hearts to the Lord’s instructions; being alone yet wanting God’s companionship; shedding guilt and shame when our true self is uncovered; instead of freezing, fighting, and fleeing when afraid, have the fear of the Lord; understanding life is a gift with a curse so we must persevere, and Jesus is the answer.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you may not like this book, yet it may be one that ties the Bible together as it focuses on how Christ is shown throughout it. Others may not appreciate reading the writer’s personal stories about his wife, children, family trips, and visits to a monastery as well as tales of chess games, the Heimlich maneuver, shoelaces, and the Mona Lisa to name a few.

~ Wish ~
While I enjoyed the down-to-earth explanations of the words conveyed, I expected there to be more detailed discussions about each as written in the Bible (one word is mentioned only twice in Scripture). I wish it was more of a study book with more Biblical research. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like reading a contemporary book of ten words found in the first book in the Old Testament and their correlation to Jesus Christ, this is a nice read at a sophomoric level that contains the writer’s personal reflections. It may be a good read for a new believer.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

More about this book can be found at https://amzn.to/2Uyy1eK

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