If God is Good…

If you have turned on the TV or checked the news online today chances are you have heard about the shooting at a theater in Aurora.  Witnesses say a masked gunman, dressed in black, walked into the theater with a gas mask on, threw gas canisters into the theater and then opened fire on the crowd. (Hear two witnesses account of the tragedy).

Rather than wonder why God would allow such things to happen, read this to uplift your spirit and your faith in God in times like these:

Randy Alcorn, the author of the book If God is Good, also talks about his book here:


The Forsaken by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega has done it again, writing yet another gritty and truly terrifying novel, The Forsaken. This time he weaves a tale about Jude Foster, a cop on the trail of a supernatural serial killer. The killer doesn’t kill them by any natural means and brands each of his victims with the mark of a broken cross. There are no witnesses and very little information to go on besides what the killer purposefully leaves behind. So how do you chase down a killer like that?
Jude goes on a full scale assault to take down the killer who he had chased once before, a year before the events of The Forsaken. He uses every resource available to him and now with the help of a new partner, Rachel, the daughter of a former detective on the force. Both Jude and Rachel have something to prove, that they belong there, hunting down killers.
Estevan Vega is a wonderful storyteller and an expert in the psyche of his characters, allowing the reader some sort of an emotional bond with characters not normally relatable. The viewpoint of the story switches from time to time inside each of the characters to give you that deeper understanding of who they are. Even minor characters sometimes share the limelight.
As Jude gets closer and closer to catching his killer we find ourselves diving deeper and deeper into his character and into his past. Jude has a real darkness inside of him and a terrible past to match. Jude is facing his own demons as it were, and he draws himself closer and closer to the most powerful one of all. Can he fight off the evil that surrounds him and lives within him as well?
The Forsaken is a wonderful psychological thriller, but beware! If you thought Estevan was dark and edgy before he has managed to take that several shades darker. Some moments of The Forsaken are truly terrifying, belonging in a really creepy horror film. If you like creepy, then you will definitely love this book! Estevan Vega will keep you glued to the pages with excellent pacing and keep you awake at night with his amazing sense of imagery. So check this book out and if you like it be sure to read his other books such as Arson and Ashes!

Ashes by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega has done it again with his new book simply called Ashes.  This new tale picks up where Arson left off, telling the story of a boy with the power to create flame with his hands and his dear friend who was horribly burned in a fire
when she was young.  The end of Arson left us breathless, wondering where he would take us, where Arson and Emery would be taken, on this next part of their epic journey.

Arson and Emery have literally been taken away, far away into a horrendous laboratory where their bodies and their minds are being tested to see where they get their abilities.  Tested with machines and by psychologists, all deep beneath a top-secret government facility.  How in the world will they ever get out much less survive?  Emery’s father begins his search to find her with much desperation.  His relationship with his wife is tested once again by the fires that he now faces.  Will they make it through all of this together?

The thing that is most striking to me in this story is the trials that each character faces, and must face alone.  They all begin to fight their own demons, hoping that by doing so they will find their way.  Most of the story each main character spends alone in some fashion, and so we see deep within the minds of the characters.  That is something that Estevan Vega is particularly accomplished at, helping us to see and hear the thoughts of his characters, seemingly bringing them to life before our eyes.  Reading this book is better than watching the movie, though a movie wouldn’t be a bad idea with all the trippy and crazy things going on in this story.

If Arson cranked it up to eleven, Ashes somehow managed to crank it up to twelve, and the nonstop action and thrills kept me up late into the night more than one time!  I certainly can’t wait for the follow-up to this amazing book, as Estevan decided once again to hang us high up on that cliff’s edge on the very last page.  I won’t spoil the story for you as you must read it for yourself, but all I will say is a Phoenix can do more than simply death by fire. Now go get the book already!

The Priest’s Graveyard

Ted Dekker has done it again. The Priest’s Graveyard is a hit out of the ballpark and into the hands of millions of readers. But what makes it so amazing? Ted Dekker has managed to create characters that we can feel, that we can understand and agree with, and characters that connect with the hearts and minds of every reader. Continue reading “The Priest’s Graveyard”

When Colors Bleed by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega is far from being a household name today heard in Christian circles but his is a name you soon won’t forget. Estevan Vega is perhaps one of the very best writers out there today with his first major novel Arson just recently releasing. That is one of my favorite pieces of fiction in a long time, and so when the opportunity to read his collection of short stories, When Colors Bleed, came up I could not pass it up!

The collection begins with the story Baby Blue, which is a romantic tragedy told oh so elegantly. It consists of the characters of Casey, a struggling girl who has never found love, and Thomas Rayford, a mysterious man who comes in one day from the rain looking for a suit in Casey’s store. He comes back week after week only looking at one suit, a baby blue one that no-one else will buy. He tells her how it is beautiful to him and how special it is even though he is the only one who looks at it. The story develops in a way that captured me instantly and took me along on a magical ride. The ending was as marvelous as it was tragic and it left my mind unravelling.

That is not all however. The second story is Vanilla Red, a tale of a man locked up for life in a padded cell. But what makes this story so powerful is the perspective. It is told from within the mind of this man, a man so crazy it is hard to understand. Diving beneath the skin of this character onto the path that led to this cell is almost poetic. It has a lyrical and almost beautiful feel to this horrific and terrifying story, lending the character an almost sane quality. It is some truly amazing prose and my favorite of this collection.

The final tale is called The Man in the Colored Room. It is equally mysterious as the first and as beautiful as the second, but is about a man who finds himself waking up in this colored room for an unknown reason. As the reader figures out the mystery of it all you are learning alongside the man so it really brings you into the story. The ending is unforeseen and it is truly amazing how Estevan Vega can manage it in such a short tale. You must read When Colors Bleed, and you will be hooked on his writing forever after!

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore is a modern twist on the classic mystery novel created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He never liked creating the tales of Sherlock Holmes so loved by his readers, and would rather move on to more interesting writing from his point of view. He saw it as far too simple writing and eventually grew to hate his own character, Holmes. In fact he killed off the hero Holmes in one of his books. The odd thing is that after a few years he came back and wrote Holmes back to life. Why? Nobody really knows. Those years have been lost, a very odd thing for a person that wrote in his diary
In modern times a different mystery is brewing regarding that very diary, the one that has gone missing all these years. Someone has found it, but when that someone turns up dead we fall into a Holmes like mystery of our own. Continue reading “The Sherlockian by Graham Moore”

Blessed Child by Ted Dekker

Bill Bright and Ted Dekker had a wonderful book in their hands from it’s inception.  Blessed Child is a novel about a young boy named Caleb who is left in the care of one Jason Marker.  Jason is a Peace Corps representative working in the heart of Ethiopia.  He runs into Leiah, a Red Cross nurse who is covered in physical scars from her past, but it is Caleb that brings them together and Caleb that launches their adventure around the world.  Something seems a bit different about Caleb, and when he comes to the U.S. with Jason unusual things begin to happen.  Caleb has the heart and the faith of the child he is and when extraordinary powers begin to show through him he believes God is giving him this gift.  Of course no one else can believe it is God and so Caleb is tested for his powers. Continue reading “Blessed Child by Ted Dekker”

Quick Preview – Walls by Ryan Rush

Why Everybody’s Stuck (and nobody has to be)

Do you ever feel stuck in life?  Have you ever faced a problem that just feels impossible?  I know I have.  There are some problems that even God cannot fix…right??  Well maybe you are looking at things all wrong.  Maybe God can fix it, HAS fixed it and you are the problem.  You have erected a wall between you and God’s plan for you, blocking your way to greatness.  Or maybe you have been tricked into leaving up a wall from your past.  A wall created out of fear and hurt.  We all create these kinds of walls and most of the time we never take them down.  All of these walls present one simple problem, we can’t get past them.

What can we do to bring down these walls to have our own personal breakthrough?  That is what this book is all about.  It is not about the quick fix or the easy remedy or the 10 step approach to solving all your problems, but it does present a way to help.  Not without a little pain mind you. Continue reading “Quick Preview – Walls by Ryan Rush”

The Topkapi Secret

There is a book, hidden for many years from prying eyes, that contains many secrets.  Blood was spilt over this book, literally on it, and this murder caused the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims today.  This book is called the Topkapi codex, kept safe at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.  It is this manuscript that the new book The Topkapi Secret is about.  The author, Terry Kelhawk, did an amazing job of researching the information for this book.  It raises such questions about the integrity of the modern Koran that it could be called a new DaVinci Code, but in this case, it is based on fact, not fiction.  To see, take a look at all of the sources Terry provides in the appendix.

The Topkapi Secret begins with the two characters of Mohammed Atareek, a researcher of ancient Koranic manuscripts, and Angela Hall, a UC Berkley English professor.  Mohammed is interested in the integrity of the Koran, and is looking at all the old manuscripts to try to find something of use, but the real manuscript he wants to see is the Topkapi codex, and none are allowed access to it.  Angela is recovering from the recent loss of a friend and colleague as well as a recent divorce.  She ventures to the Middle East with a friend and is enjoying her trip when she runs into Mohammed, who rushes off with her in search of adventure and the Topkapi codex. Continue reading “The Topkapi Secret”

American On Purpose, by Craig Ferguson

The improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot

I have just finished listening to the first book on tape I have heard in a long while, Harry Potter probably being my last.  I don’t tend to care for books on tape as I lose interest too quickly and my attentions stray to other places.  When I heard my favorite talk show host Craig Ferguson had written an autobiography I was interested, and I don’t even like reading an autobiography.  I was determined to go down to the local library and get the book to read, but never got around to it.  It wasn’t long until I heard that Craig  had been nominated for a Grammy.  I was intrigued, as I didn’t understand how he could get a Grammy, but then I learned it was for his book.  Now I had to get it, but I decided to get the audiobook instead.  How could I pass up listening to a Grammy nominated book read by Craig Ferguson? Continue reading “American On Purpose, by Craig Ferguson”

The Strange Man

I recently reviewed this book for The Christian Manifesto, but you should know about this book if you don’t already!  Therefore I am re-posting my review here for your great enjoyment!  It is quite the thriller, and you get to read a short story at the back of the book, which I also reviewed HERE, so check it out!

The Strange Man is the first act in the upcoming Christian horror trilogy,The Coming Evil, which tells of a world filled with horror movies and comic books, where there is no longer anyone who believes in such things, but yet they are still real.  Dras Weldon has grown up in this world hearing of monsters and goblins, and of the creature called the Bogeyman who takes away bad little girls and boys.  Dras is a twenty-two-year-old unemployed man stuck in the world of adolescence, collecting GI Joe figures in his unkempt apartment.  He has lived a life under the watchful eye of his older brother Jeff, the local pastor.  Dras has always professed Christianity but has never had a life of spirituality, but soon everything he believes in will be put to the test. Continue reading “The Strange Man”

Among The Dead by Greg Mitchell

Among The Dead is a short story written by Greg Mitchell as a prequel to his new “The Coming Evil” trilogy.  It is included in the back of the first book, The Strange Man.  I recently reviewed The Strange Man for The Christian Manifesto, and I thought it would be good to give you a review of this prequel short story as well.

The book maintains the same main characters as The Strange Man, but does a great job of establishing their characters and the evil that is just around the corner for them.  The world no longer believes in the creatures and monsters of the night, but these Demons are real and they are coming to stake their claim in this little town. Continue reading “Among The Dead by Greg Mitchell”

The Day Metallica Came to Church

When you think of Metallica what do you think of?  Do you think of some heavy metal concert you went to with some of your friends or do you think of “the band that is going to hell”?  Have you ever heard of the houseplant song?  It is an old favorite of mine, written by the christian band Audio Adrenaline which I have been fortunate enough to see a few times.  The song they wrote goes a little like this:

Once I read a book
And this is what it said
If your music has a beat
Then you’re gonna wind up dead
It doesn’t really matter if it’s Christian or not
If it’s syncopated rhythm then your soul is gonna rot
And this book was called “Ha! Your Gonna Burn”
And in the second chapter I went on to learn Continue reading “The Day Metallica Came to Church”

Dr. Seuss

What kind of books did you read while growing up?  Chances are that you read at least one Dr. Seuss book in your life.  At first they all just seem like a crazy story made up in a crazy part of the mind, but take another look and you just might learn something more.

Have you ever read The Sneeches?  It tells of these creatures that are segregated into stars and no-stars on their stomachs.  Seuss wrote this book to tell young children about segregation and racism.  Seuss even experienced it himself as he was mistaken for a Jew, even though he was a German Christian.  Seuss was made fun of and he saw others in the same situation and felt the need to do something about it.  Seuss was not always on the right side though, as during World War II he was for the Japanese imprisonment and believed it was good how we treated them.  I believe that Seuss had a change of heart when he realized what he was saying years later when he began to write Horton Hears a Who. Continue reading “Dr. Seuss”

Never Let You Go by Erin Healy

Lexi Solomon is doing all she can to raise her beautiful little girl Molly even though her husband Grant abandoned her seven years ago.  Not that Grant was much of a father figure, as he was addicted to several types of drugs and even was dealing them.  Lexi’s own father is in a mental institution after a mental breakdown.  Lexi’s sister’s murder triggered his mental collapse, combined with Lexi’s mother leaving him soon afterward.  But now the man responsible for Lexi’s sister’s murder, Grant, and Grant’s own drug dealer Warden (who is demanding payment with interest) are all back in town.  It sounds like a scenario only cooked up in the TV soap opera realm, but I promise you, this story has much more to offer than that!  Erin Healy writes an excellent novel that thrills you to the bone and leaves you shaking! Continue reading “Never Let You Go by Erin Healy”

The Circle Series 4-in-1 by Ted Dekker (Pt. 2)

White by Ted Dekker book coverFirst of all, if you haven’t read part 1 of my review you should read it first!

The next part in The Circle by Ted Dekker is White, and for the most part it is the conclusion to the tale of Thomas Hunter.  In White, Thomas faces his most difficult trials yet as not just one, but two worlds are facing an end.  In our world Thomas is trying to keep war from breaking out all over the globe and the Raison Strain from ravaging what is left of the population.  He must also face innumerable trials on other Earth as the Horde seeks to exterminate the remnant of the circle that is remaining.  Those left alive are now known as the albinos and it is the Horde that now live in the forests.  Most of all Thomas must know what it means for an albino to fall in love with Horde. Continue reading “The Circle Series 4-in-1 by Ted Dekker (Pt. 2)”

The Circle Series 4-in-1 by Ted Dekker (Pt. 1 of 2)

The Circle by Ted Dekker 4 in 1 book cover

Ted Dekker‘s greatest books are finally together under one binding and they couldn’t look better!  When you pick it up it has weight but is certainly lighter than if you were carrying around all of the books.  Not that you would….or would you?  It finally looks like an actual book of history with the leather thong and all.

Now all of that is nice and all, but Ted decided to make this particular edition extra special.  THIS version of the circle books has an alternate ending, and yes you read that right.  A new ending to the book series that so many fans have grown to love!

Ted Dekker’s book series began back in February of 2005 with a novel by the name of Black.  Black is the tale of a man by the name of Thomas Hunter and his dreams, but these are no ordinary dreams Continue reading “The Circle Series 4-in-1 by Ted Dekker (Pt. 1 of 2)”

Petra: City In Stone by T.L. Higley

This new book called Petra was a great read and really enlightened me to the times of the early church as they were being persecuted in Rome and elsewhere around the world.  In this book the main characters Cassia and her son Alexander travel to the city of Petra, a city carved in stone.  When Cassia discovers that her husband was heir to the throne the Queen plots to kill Cassia’s son Alexander and calls on demonic powers to carry out her goal.  This is to have her own son gain the throne of the kingdom.  Cassia joins a Roman named Julian, who has also fled his home, and his band of believers in the Jewish Messiah.  They seek a protection and a movement from God in that wondrous city. Continue reading “Petra: City In Stone by T.L. Higley”

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

The Pirate Queen is a modern drama in the life of one Saphora Warren and her relationship with her husband Bender and the rest of the family.  As I read it I truly had a hard time understanding the writing style of this book. I just can’t quite get Patricia’s style.  It was highly erratic and very confusing to me.  To get a clearer understanding of what happened in the first few pages of the book I turned to look for other reviews of the book.  Here is a pretty good description of what happened, though I didn’t know how to  figure out what was going on:

For the sake of their three children Saphora Warren stayed married to her womanizing spouse plastic surgeon Bender. However, with the nest empty, she has had enough of his cheating so decides to leave him and their affluent lifestyle. Her plan is to let Bender remain on the affluent estate overlooking Lake Norman where they just did a shoot for Southern Living magazine; she will move to their dilapidated bungalow Oriental on the Outer Banks.

As Saphora begins her exit speech, Bender interrupts with two words: “I’m Dying.” She agrees to remain with him at Oriental though she also feels like a fool for her sympathy towards the father of her children. Paradise Lost becomes more crowded than Noah’s Ark when a horde of family members arrive and townsfolk keep dropping in on them. As Saphora seeks herself she finds inadequate time to do so; instead she asks God for a sign of divine guidance to help her find Paradise Regained. Continue reading “The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman”

The Place by Kevin Kaiser

I recently read a short story by Kevin Kaiser, brand manager of Creative Trust and the man behind Ted Dekker.  He is a very creative person and I thought it would be cool to share my thoughts on that short story that he wrote.  It currently goes by the title of The Place and it really seems to be an exploration of the ideas of what a creative person is.  What purposes an artisan has in the world of today and what purpose art has had throughout history.

The main character is not known by name but only by what he does.  He is an artisan himself and he lives on the outskirts of a small village.  He is woken one night by a small boy that wants to show him how to fly, how to be alive and extraordinary. Continue reading “The Place by Kevin Kaiser”

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews has been getting a lot of reviews from me recently, but it is for a really good reason.  Andrews has a way of writing that cuts to the heart of the story and feeds you the most tender cut of meat, something you really can grow on.  He writes about things that not only are interesting and exciting, but are of spiritual significance.  The Heart Mender is another such book, and is quite possibly the greatest book he has written thus far.

In The Heart Mender Andy writes about a personal discovery that led to learning of some really exciting events that took place in his own backyard…..literally! Continue reading “The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews”

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado delivers again in this stunning book that seeks to awaken a movement among christians that will rock this world.  What would happen if the events that took place in the book of acts took place just in our home towns?  In our back yards and on our porches?  What would happen if we christians cared for the world as Christ calls for us to do many times throughout the bible?  What if we gave a little to pay for a well in africa or to feed the hungry or clothe the naked? Continue reading “Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado”

Great Parents, Lousy Lovers by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham

This new book does seem to take the form of many similar self-help books on love in a relationship but in reality Great Parents, Lousy Lovers gives you a fresh take on how you should live your life towards your spouse.  It attempts to be new and fresh in many ways and I believe it succeeds in that goal quite well and it keeps this book rather interesting from beginning to end.

A parent in todays fast paced world can be a great parent and yet still have a healthy love life, which is very important in a happy marriage.  This is the philosophy that drives this book and it is this idea that is reinforced throughout.  The book gives great insight into a typical marriage today and how one is to balance being a good parent with being a great lover. Continue reading “Great Parents, Lousy Lovers by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham”

Havah by Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee thrilled me with her last book, Demon: A Memoir and now she enthralls me with her newest book Havah.  This book elegantly tells the tale of a woman we all have heard of but know too little about.  Tosca goes deep into the tale of Eve in this novel and tells the tale that was never told. Continue reading “Havah by Tosca Lee”

The Boy Who Changed The World by Andy Andrews

The Boy who changed the world is a new children’s book by Andy Andrews which tells the tale of Norman Borlaug.  This tale has been told in Andy’s book The Butterfly Effect as well but this time it has been further simplified for a child’s reading.  Also focusing on one story instead of a couple also helps simplify this book for kids.  Where this book gets its heart is its great illustrations and its interpretations of the major events of the story in such a way that a young child would understand.  This book is approximately a Juvenile reading level though an adult’s help in understanding the deeper concepts of the book would help a lot.  The main purpose of the book is to say to kids that because of something they do today they could change the world!

I would again recommend this book to anyone who has kids who are reading and would love to give them another great story.  Also it helps as an adult to read this with your kid as it is a gentle reminder to give yourself some perspective.

This book was provided to my by BookSneeze to review.  I was not required to give a positive review and anything I have said is purely my own opinion of this book.

Be sure to check out my review of Andy Andrews’ other book The Noticer.

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

The Butterfly Effect is a great new book from the mind of Andy Andrews.  Andy yet again writes of making a difference in the lives of those around you and how you can change your life for the better.  In this particular book he retells the story of a man who changed the history of the world with one brave choice.  A man who created his own butterfly effect.

Who are we to say that we won’t create our own butterfly effect upon those around us?  We may or may not see the impact we have on the lives of those around us but you can be guaranteed it will make a big difference further down the line.  Maybe you won’t be around to see it but it will happen.

This book is a great read, and though it is short it packs quite a lot into such a small package.  All you really need is a little perspective as Andy would say, and he is right.  This is a book I would recommend to anyone to put on their coffee table in their living room.  It is a perfect little bit of light reading for a cloudy day.

This book was provided to my by BookSneeze to review.  I was not required to give a positive review and anything I have said is purely my own opinion of this book.

Be sure to check out my review of Andy Andrews’ other book The Noticer.

Quick Preview: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

Sun Stand Still is a new book and small group study by Stephen Furtick and it looks to change the way we view and use faith.  To give us a renewed faith that is strong in Christ.  There are also videos by the author to use for small group discussion.

This new book pushes forward and looks to God as the source of all that is good.  It asks us to place everything in the arms of God as we ask him for physical and spiritual healing, ask for our every waking need.  There is a lot to be learned for many Christians today as many of us have little to no faith in God and what he will do for us.

I definitely recommend this book to those who are struggling in our faith, which is really all of us.  I’m sure the study will be highly beneficial for those looking for more.  So check it out for yourself when it comes out September 21st!

BANNED-Immanuel’s Veins

Ted Dekker is a great author and writer of some of my very favorite novels.  Among those novels is his new book Immanuel’s Veins.  This novel is full of amazing imagery depicting vampires in a new light, with chivalry and fighting enough.  The story is largely a love story however, and also largely reflects upon the biblical story in the Song of Solomon also known as Song of Songs.  It is this reason why Immanuel’s Veins has been banned from Holland.  It is seen as far too sensual of a book for a christian audience and so the publisher refused to print the book. Song of Solomon is a highly sensual book of the Bible and many churches tend to steer away from teaching from it while other churches will use it in marriage courses and such.  The question among many is whether or not Song of Solomon is appropriate for many audiences.  Does it go too far?

My question is, why are you asking that question of a book of the Bible?  The Bible says all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  I understand that Immanuel’s veins is not on the same plane as the Bible of course so I am not equating the two, but the message contained within the book is one of a biblical, sensual love.  This kind of love is very beautiful in the eyes of our Creator God and should be viewed with respect.  All Immanuel’s Veins did was emulate this same love within the realm of fiction.  Does this make it wrong?  Is Song of Solomon wrong?

Please comment and let me know what you think!  Do you feel the same way or do you think sex should have no part in christian literature?  Where is the line drawn for you?

I definitely recommend Immanuel’s Veins to you so please read my review for the book!

What in the World Is Going On? by Dr. David Jeremiah

What in the World Is Going On? is a highly interesting book written about the end time prophecies and is written rather well.  This book is probably one of the most simple and easiest to understand, which is often a major hurdle when reading about prophecy.  The book speaks of ten signs that you cannot ignore about future events.  These 10 signs present themselves as 10 chapters within this book as Dr. David Jeremiah focuses on each for a while. Continue reading “What in the World Is Going On? by Dr. David Jeremiah”

Arson by Estevan Vega

Arson by Estevan Vega is a tragic tale of a boy who is called by the name Arson Gable.  Arson has lived his whole life running from people who would judge him for the events of his past, but now those events seem to be catching up with him.  However he isn’t the only one running, everyone seems to be running from their own past.  Arson is always remembering the tragic day that changed his life forever through fire.  That day changed him in more ways than one, he now wields the power of flame from within his very hands.   Continue reading “Arson by Estevan Vega”