Friday, June 27, 2014

Good call review

Jase Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame has put together a book called "Good Call."  I am not sure what you would call it... an autobiography, maybe?  He writes in an interesting and unique manner.  He tends to stick with the topics of God and hunting, weaving back and forth between the two.  Well, zig zagging is more that phrase I would use rather than weaving.  He tends to shift between the two topics without much warning.  And the man does love those two topics.  If you can't stand either one, than you probably won't get far in this book, even if you are a DD fan.  However, if you are open minded to Christianity and know and understand hunting, than this is an interesting book.  His stories are interesting, especially about hunting.  The farther you get in the book, the better he gets.  He tends to reveal more of the personality you see on TV as he gets more comfortable in the writing.  I give it a 3 stars due to taking awhile to warm up.  It is number 1 best seller on the outdoor and hunting list.  It is definitely that good.

Friday, June 20, 2014

gathering shadows review

Nancy Mehl consistently writes good books.  I have been reading the Road to Kingdom series and now she has started the Finding Sanctuary series with the novel "Gathering Shadows."  Sanctuary is a small town outside of St. Louis that is home to many conservative people.  Not conservative in a right wing way, but in a living life simply and quietly.  Primarily a Mennonite town, Sanctuary is the perfect place to go for..well....sanctuary.  Wynter works in St. Louis at a television station in the news.  Her latest assignment is to put together a piece on unusual Missouri towns.  Sanctuary comes up on her list when a friend shows her a picture of Mennonite children living in Sanctuary.  One of them has a striking resemblance to her abducted brother, Ryan.  Ryan was taken 9 years before.  Wynter; Zac, her photog; and Lyndon, her father, go to Sanctuary to find the boy in the picture and come across one road block after another.  Sanctuary is not only good for sanctuary, but also for those looking to stay lost. 
This is  a nice turn from the Kingdom books.  The characters seem to be more in depth.  The writing has gotten better.  The writing was good in the Kingdom books, but Mehl seems to truly be growing as a writer.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishing. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

a deep devotional

"Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church" by James Stuart Bell with Patrick J. Kelly is a day by day year long devotional compiled of writing and prayers from leaders of early Christianity.  Each day has a scripture, prayer or message, and the author.  Most of the authors I had not heard of.  I have been Christian all my life, but am not anywhere near what you would call a scholar.  Though the language has been updated, the messages are still told in historical fashion.  The reading can get a little dry sometimes if you are not used to it.  These stories go in pretty deep with their message.  If you are looking for a light hearted quick read for daily devotion, this is not the book for you.  If you want to go deep and to the root of the early church beliefs, than have at it.  I received this book for free from

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


What's the scariest thing you can think of?  Having all of your equipment hacked?  "Hacker" is a retelling of the story of Job told only as Ted Dekker can tell. Imagine the legend of American Indians being able to leave their bodies combined with DiCaprio's Inception and give it an Old Testament twist and then have Dekker make it creepy and you've got "Hacker".   "Hacker" is the third installment of the Outlaw Chronicles.  In my opinion, this is the best of the three.  Probably because the story is more possible than the others. 
Nyah is a 17 year old girl who has everything taken away from her until she is left with only herself.  And there are men even trying to do away with that.  Nyah becomes desperate to save the last surviving member of her family, her mother, and tries to hack into a major information storage company.  She comes across information she shouldn't see and that others are willing to kill for.  She is then on the run and goes to her former friend, Austin (from the first book) and they launch into brain hacking.  Things only get worse from there.  I liked this book.  Like I said, it's the best of the three in the series.  Dekker is great at creepy and can sometimes go to the point of ridiculous, however, in this novel he toes the line perfectly.  A-  I received this book from Worthy Publishers.

Worthy Publishers conducted an interview with the author.  Here's a little peek into the brain that makes you hide, yet you still can't stop reading.

  1. Your main character in Hacker, Nyah, makes a living by cracking the firewalls of major corporations. What role does technology play in her development as a character?

TD:  Nyah roots a great deal of her identity in technology. In doing so she defines who she is by what she does. She even says so at the beginning of the book. I am a hacker. We all do this. For her, technology is what she knows, it’s what defines her, and provides the comfort zone. But it’s also her prison, which she comes to discover later.  


  1. How does personal loss affect Nyah’s view of God?

TD: When we meet Nyah, we find her in a place of great suffering especially for someone her age. That colors everything, just as it does for everyone else. For Nyah, the inescapable question is, “Why is there such suffering in the world?” Or more to the point, “Why is all of this happening to me?”  That offense, that feeling of injustice and unfairness, feeds her entire view of the world, including her view of God as a distant, uncaring creator.


  1. Why do you consider Hacker a modern-day parable?

TD: Parables are meant to re-frame the world differently so we can experience it again for the first time. Hacker takes a simple concept that many people already believe, that there’s another reality so near to us that we’re unaware of its presence most of the time, and puts it center stage. The story doesn’t have a moral or try to make a point per se, because that’s not what parables are for, but it does ask you to look at the world through new eyes—Nyah’s.


  1. The central question in each book in this series is, “Who am I?” What prompted you to explore that question?

TD: The question of identity is central to all of life and, in fact, most of my own striving and struggle can be traced back to it. We define ourselves, almost without thinking much of it, by what we do. I’m a mother, a father, a man, a woman, a writer, an accountant… The list is neverending. But strip that all away, as death will one day for all of us, and what remains? Are you, at your core, really a mother or a father or an accountant? Or are you something far more and we’ve only bought into the notion that this costume, which we call the body and our careers and talents, is really who we are?


  1. The series so far includes a 17-year-old who claims she has been buried alive, a 13-year-old orphan with no memory, and a 17-year-old genius computer hacker. What are the similarities between these characters?

TD: [Laughs.] You’ll have to read the books to find out for yourself. Ultimately, they are all forced to take a journey that begins in the valley of the shadow of death and ends on the other side of it.



  1. What role does the unseen play in your books?

TD: An enormous role, because that’s how it is in real life even in a literal way. Physicists tell us that the visible universe is a miniscule slice of what actually exists, we just can’t see the rest. But just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s non-existent.



  1. What makes your characters in this series “outlaws”?

TD: It’s their journeys, which lead them “out of the law” of death and suffering into the light. It’s the same journey we all get to take, and which we’re called to.



  1. You grew up as a missionary kid among cannibals in Indonesia. How do you think your unusual upbringing affects your writing and your faith today?

TD: My upbringing gives me a unique way of looking at the world. Understand, I grew up among people for whom spirituality was integral to life. It wasn’t tacked on or part of life… There was no separation. They believed in the unseen, they witnessed its powers, and lived as though the seen and the unseen were woven together in a beautiful, mysterious way.


Monday, June 2, 2014

the last bride review

Beverly Lewis is at it again.  "The Last Bride" is her latest in the Home of Hickory Hollow series.  This series does not need to be read in order.  In this installment, Tessie, a young Amish woman, is in love with a man her father has forbidden her to marry.  The couple decides to take matters in their own hands and secretly marry at the justice of the peace, but then doesn't tell anyone.  Especially Tessie's father.  In a tragic accident, Marcus, Tessie's husband dies leaving her pregnant and no one believing her about their marriage.  Tessie struggles with becoming her own woman, facing an unpredictable future, and being honest with her family.  This novel also deals with the scary subject of intermarrying and genetic diseases that the Amish deal with when having children.
This book is groundbreaking for the Lewis' usual writing.  The widowed mother takes care of herself and her child; she does what needs to be done.  The subject matter all of the stories that coincide with this novel are all different and modern. Especially the touchy topic of marrying relation. the writing is typical Lewis and is does extremely well. I liked this book.  I recommend it highly.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House publishers and