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Monday, December 21, 2009

The Personifid Invasion R.E. Bartlett

[The Personified Invasion by R.E. Barlett]

In, The Personifid Invasion, the world has advanced long past using real bodies-- at least, most of it has. Intraterrestrials, or Inters for short walk the streets. They claim to bring higher knowledge and all good things to the backward civilizations on earth. They claim that religion and worship are chains that bind and that you must move beyond them. They claim to be a higher life form.  Emotional and physical suppressant and inflation patches, are common play for those that still have real bodies. If you need more strength? Tranquility? Peace? Just slap on the patch. Nevertheless, most have become personified, having their soul transferred to a fake body leaving themselves behind. You can look like anything you want, never really become hungry, hot, cold, it’s perfect—isn’t it? ‘The Followers’ believe that the Inters aren’t as harmless at they appear and that they are really here to hurt and destroy, could they be right? Could there really be a brooding menace lurking past the beautiful fa├žade?


The Personifid invasion, at least to me, embodies Christian speculative fiction. The writing delves into subjects long spurned or forgotten previously and masterfully brings them into connection with the spiritual side of life. I’m naturally skeptical with any book that deals with something akin to aliens…but this book blew that away. At first with a few character names like Antha,and Anphra I worried about telling them apart. But once the story started, no need! Yikes! Mr. Bartlett made a real futuristic spell binder complete with characters that are real enough to meet, a setting and plot that will have me dreaming the rest of the day, and some food for thought that will stay with me. Five out of five stars for this book, it truly is, Speculative Fiction to the max!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Restorer, By Sharon Hinck


 [The Restorer Sharon Hinck]

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck is the first book in the Sword of Lyric series, a great first book! Susan Mitchell is the heroin in a story of fantastical proportions. She’s a normal housewife with four kids and a loving husband. But even with those blessings life just isn’t too easy, she needs a space of her own to battle the dark clouds that have encircled her. At her husband’s wish, more of a loving decree, he builds her an attic hideaway—one that turns into something so much more. Transported through a portal in her attic Susan is thrust into a world of political intrigue where corrupt council members grapple for power and forsake the One. Mind and soul poisoning enemies that want only to destroy. And those who would dispatch with the verses and follow the lands surrounding them into their “enlightenment”. Susan is thrown into a great story by Mrs. Hinck with many unique players and lovable, and equally despicable players: A disgruntled but loyal guardian, Tristan who is still mourning a sister. His best friend, a wild card named Kieran bitter of his loss of a sister and cut loose from the council. And a council member intent on having it all, Cameron. No matter what alliances cost the people. Finding her missing, her husband Mark enters into this strange world looking for his wife. How does he know about this hidden world and will he be able to find her in time?

Questions and unknowns dog Susan from the moment she is pulled through the portal, but will her reliance on the One and love of her family be enough to sustain her? Or will she fall to the darkness that wishes to be rid once and for all, of—The Restorer.

I really enjoyed the book and the spiritual themes about God were refreshing and encouraging. Thanks Mrs. Hinck!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

The Topical Memory System, The Navigators

The Topical Memory System is going to be a great addition to my arsenal, and anyones, of Christian materials to better my spiritual walk. The verse cards in multiple translations were great for a guy like me that has often over the years gone between the translations at seemingly random choosing. They have verses in NIV, MSG, NASB, NKJV, ESV, KJV, NRSV, and NLT, a translation for anyone!!

Thankfully though they don’t just give you the versus and expect you to know where to start, they give you a course workbook, something concrete to go from. The workbook is divided into multiple sections each focusing on a different spiritual aspects such as: A:Live the New Life, B:Proclaim Christ, C:Rely on God’s resources, D: Be Christ’s Disciple, and E:Grow in Christ likeness.

 For each section they have a set of verses for usage, such as--for section B, Proclaiming Christ, they have Romans 3:23 as one of the versus. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Or for section D, Be Christ’s Disciple, one of the versus is Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The plus of extra translations in addition to the work book make this memory serious a positive addition to anyone’s shelf. Thank you!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Jungle Warfare by Christopher A. Cunningham

[Jungle Warfare Christopher A. Cunningham]


 
The book was direct and to the point. I believe it also stayed on solid Biblical grounds as it tackled questions sales representatives and those who are just wondering if you can be a salesman and at the same time, strong Christian, are asking.  While not a bad book by any means, it was also not my favorite. I found the idea of a Christian-In-Sales manual based off a World War Two jungle warfare manual quite intriguing! So perhaps I was looking for the wrong things when I opened up the book but I expected more drawing of parallels and perhaps short stories to go with the devotional days. If I had come to the book expecting a devotional book with a slight military slant, then I think I would have been happy with it. But as it was, that was not what I expected.  Even with this setback though, I found the book carried strong in practicality ideas, spiritually strong. It clearly articulated the idea that a man may be a super salesman, and also be a rock solid Christian. I would recommend this book to any salesman I know, with the conveyance that it was a salesman’s devotional, not a jungle warfare devotional for salesmen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Out live your life, by Max Lucado

[Outlive your life Max Lucado]

Max Lucado’s most recent book, Out Live Your Life-You were made to make a difference,  is another great titled rolled out by this Christian author. He examines the early church, the book of Acts, and who was in the early church making a difference for God. It’s the modern truck driver as Peter, the grocery store clerk as John-Mark. All average Joe’s, making a  non-average impact for God. The difference between them and the average man is the power of God working in their life.

Even with one glance it’s clear that the book has fun stories, interesting writing, and an impacting message. As you dig deeper the fun stories become meaningful, the interesting writing, just a byproduct of the Christ centered book; and the impacting message? A mainstream theme in the book, as it examines the idea of outliving your life.

Overall, on a scale of one to ten(ten being the best), I would give this book an eight point five. It was an interesting book with a deeper side that went beyond the writing, and turned my thoughts to “Outliving my life”. Thank you Mr. Lucado, keep writing!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Beyond Opinion By Ravi Zacharias

[Beyond Opinion Ravi Zacharias]

Beyond Opinion is a hardcore apologist book for the serious believer.  Mr. Zacharias clearly and somewhat concisely, with the help of other co-authors, lays out a book designed to combat and reach beyond the thinking of popular religious ideas in the culture, ideas such as Atheism, Hinduism, New age philosophy, Islam, Youth culture Ideas, Eastern Religion. Beyond addressing the ideas in the above religions/and or ideas, the book contains an entire chapter on Conversational Apologetics, how to get to the heart of the issue and address the person.

As a teen reader that likes to dig into books like this, I was eager to crack it open and start digging! One thing that struck me as I read was that I definitely found some of the authors more interesting than others, to the extreme. Perhaps it was their topics and not the authors themselves, but it seemed the book would go through extremely dry sections. Something I did appreciate about the differing writing styles was that the stories that were sometimes shared were varied and quite interesting. I always found the point of them hammered home and usually convicting. Theologically and Biblically, I think this book was right on the proverbial money.

All in all the book was not an easy read, but it was a worthwhile one. I would recommend this to any teen or adult that is serious about learning about being an in earnest apologists.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Find the book on Deepershopping here.
Find more books like it at Deepershopping here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eternity's Edge

 [Eternity's Edge by Bryan Davis]



Eternity’s Edge is the second installment in the thrilling and wonderful, Echoes from the Edge series. Bryan Davis whipped up a masterpiece in this book of suspense and mystery, filled with the true love of friends. Again Mr. Davis kept me guessing and urging the story onward(in a good way). This is not a book to start late at night--unless you want to give up sleep to read it! The musical tie-ins with this book just got stronger and really added a cool dimension to the story. New characters pop up as well as our favorites. One of the best second book in the series books I've read.

[Synopsis]



Kelly is in the hospital from Mictar’s last assault on her life essence, leaving her vision blurry and Kelly half blind. But even a hospital isn’t a safe place for her. Kelly gets two visitors simultaneously, Mictar and his life sucking persona, and Nathan making sure she’s alright.  When Mictar makes a play on her life, Nathan tries to stop the dimensional stalkers’ revenge, but even he is no match for Mictar’s power.  Not hearing anything from inside the door during Mictar’s motor suspension, Tony barges in tries to intervene. But Mictar only pauses for a second before removing Tony from the fight. With only a radio for help they blast classical in an attempt to cut through Mictar’s hellish tunes, and barely succeed.

With this intensely gripping start  to kick off the plot, Mr. Davis brings to bear a powerful second book in the series. The book is woven spanning multiple dimensions and countless lives that will never be the same. The search for Nathan’s parents continues amongst inter-dimensional portals with the mirrors.With the right song, is it true they could go anywhere? During the uses of Quattro, Nathan and Kelly being to realize something is different about the Quattro mirror, even wrong?  It does more than it seems it should , but doesn’t always react the same, it’s not predictable...it’s almost as if it has a mind of its’ own.

On a trip, with the now young girl Francesca, Nathan is taken into the realm of Supplicants and guardians by their musical serenade. With his song they are transported to the land of dream and song. On their voyage he meets his supplicant, Scarlet. His intercessor. He is her love, and she intercedes for him with her life’s entire passion, but what will the cost be? Could the cost be her life? Patar arrives time and time again spouting cryptic passages to the son of Solomon. His words seem to make no sense to Nathan...But even as strangely as they sound, doubts come to Nathan. Do they make too much sense? Is he really being selfish, about his parents, his wants, Kelly? What about the supplicants, do they really have to die? Patar seems to think so, is it just more doom and gloom prophecies? What would Mr. Shepherd do? Nathan is driven by doubts that confuse his choices trying to keep his father’s choices his choices. Could Francesca be right, what if Nathan needs to stop looking to what his father would do and try to figure out what he should do.

Kelly’s past life still comes back to haunt her, and can she overcome it? Can she still help Nathan search for his parents? What does she think about Nathan? About his ideals, will she wait? Kelly will sacrifice everything for him, but when will Nathan tell her about the Lord, and the redemption found there?

 Nathan’s parents, are still on the run from Mictar, will they be found? Nathan, Clara, and Kelly’s counterparts and slowly being destroyed in the different worlds, will they be next?

Check out this awesome book by Mr. Davis!! It’s a must for your bookshelf.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Superlative Stream


[The Superlative Stream by Kerry Netiz] 

The Superlative Stream: Kerry Nietz just turned out another fantastic title with our favorite characters :SandFly, HardCandy, and if you can count the lovable personality-Darktrench. They reach the Betelgeuse system and find something out of the ordinary. Not the Superlative Stream waiting for him as SadlyFly had hoped, but instead, civilization? After sending out a probe and having it destroyed, they realize it might not be friendly inhabitance, and then it’s proven. Unable to absolutely avoid the impending attack instead of making them await the verdict, Darktrench puts SandFly and HardCandy to sleep.

When they awake  things are definitely different. Darktrench won’t respond to their prodding and it looks like…they are going to get boarded. HardCandy wonders if their impending meeting with the planets’ inhabitants is a fulfillment of more Abdul prophecy. Sandfly is not so sure, something is amiss, but what? What is the voice telling him, it doesn’t make sense! They are boarded by the strange shimmering craft, and—no one is aboard. Following it’s beckoning stream commands the pair leave the now nonfunctional Darktrench and embark down to the land.  What they find? Muscled and blue skinned men, could they really be Jinn as HardCandy supposes? They travel underground and dock in the city, everything is dazzlingly beautiful, but from what the strangers say, there is many more cities just like this, many of them below ground!

 The caste system the blue skinned men fit in, binds them in ways not unlike debuggers and Abduls, but they claim it is freeing. Is everything as wonderful as it looks? Everything is stream aware and building from the most basic of elements all things can be changed and crafted. Created, Maintained, Reclaimed, the three castes are kept busy. Everything is customizable, perfect, but HardCandy wants the surface air and to walk on a planet again.  And since Hard wants it, and Sandfly doesn’t have a good reason why not, he acquiesces.

When on a walk with HardCandy, Sandfly kisses her, and the incurring shock from the stops send her into a non-responsive coma. SandFly is torn as to how to best help her. Should he try to return to a nonfunctioning Darktrench and try to take her home? Join one of the castes? What would help her more, can he even do anything? The Jinn seem to believe the only option for helping her is to have him join a faction, only then can he be fully stream aware and able to help her. When SandFly joins the Maintainers, everything changes. With his new template he can do anything, fix anything, his life  completely changed, ultimately different and he has accepted everything is random, just like Shem, one of the Jinn, said.

Why is the person in the chamber tube in his room? The face holds no significance to him. Why should it? SandFly wonders at the strange phenomenon, shouldn’t they have removed this already? The person doesn’t look like him either. He has HardCandy sent to the planets ICU sector and continues with life glad to be rid of the object. Days and days pass without a thought for his past life or even HardCandy, and then…in the middle of working on a project, a triped appears with a message for him, could he be from A-A^3. What does it mean?

I won’t spoil the ending for you, it was toooooo interesting to chance ruining it for you, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and believe it to be a worthwhile read for all.