Saturday, March 26, 2016

#REVIEW: Behold The Man by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Title: Behold The Man
Series: The Jerusalem Chronicles #3
Author: Bodie and Brock Thoene
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: March 1, 2016
ISBN:  978-0310336037
Genre: Biblical fiction
Pages: 368
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis:  How could Jesus—who preached righteousness before God, and love and mercy toward neighbors—be so hated and pursued? To the Temple officials, he was a threat to the livelihood and authority of the priesthood. To Herod Antipas, he was a threat to his ambition to be the King of the Jews. And to the Roman overlords, he was seen as a dangerous threat; a man who commanded an army of the common people. He could heal wounds, offer miraculous provisions, and even raise from the dead. If Jesus had accepted popular acclaim and become an earthly king, he would have been unstoppable.

Jesus’s last days are explored through three people who interacted with him: Governor Pilate, for whom Judea will either make or break his career; Pilate’s wife, Claudia, desperately seeking aid for her much loved, crippled son; and Centurion Marcus Longinus, caught in the middle between loyalty to the Empire, love for Claudia, and an ever-increasing belief in Jesus as the Son of God. After encountering Jesus, none of them will ever be the same.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was such an awesome book to read during Holy Week. It revolves around Pontius Pilate, his wife Claudia, their son Philo, and a Roman centurion named Marcus Longinus. Starting out in Rome, we are introduced to the hidden desires and treachery of the Roman court. We meet Pontius Pilate and see a part of him not seen in the Bible.
Though reading this side of Pontius Pilate created by the authors made me dislike Pontius Pilate even more. I used to feel sorry for him, feeling as if his hands were tied in the matter of Jesus' execution.The authors did a fantastic job of creating a believable and empathetic character out of Claudia. I do agree with others that the ending felt rushed and I wasn't able to enjoy it as much.
Fortunately, though this was the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, since I hadn't read the second book in this series.

#REVIEW: A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

Title: A Daring Sacrafice
Author: Jody Hedlund
Series: An Uncertain Choice series #2
Publisher: Zondervan / HarperCollins Publishing
Published Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 222
ISBN: 0310749379
Genre: clean romantic fiction
Buy it Link: Amazon

Synopsis: In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she's grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she's come to despise.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I love Jody Hedlund's writing. She takes known fairytales and legends and puts her own spin on them. This book was a spin on the tale of Robin Hood. There is a level of unbelievability in the idea that a woman in close to medival times would have grown up in the woods and been trained in archery to such an extent, then become something akin to Robin Hood to her people. However, if you put aside reality and history for a moment and just immerse yourself in the amazing writing of the author, it is so easy to enjoy this book.
Juliana Wessex is typical of the characters that the author creates: strong, intelligent, strong moral compass that sometimes goes a little wonky when feelings are involved. For those who like a fairytale happy every after, there is one at the end of the book that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. I think in books like these, the happy ever afters are so important and necessary.
Overall, this is yet another great book from Jody Hedlund that you will love to read, especially if you like the story of Robin Hood.

#REVIEW: Risen by Angela Hunt, Paul Aiello, and Kevin Reynolds

Title: Risen
Author: Angela Hunt, Paul Aiello, and Kevin Reynolds
Publisher: Bethany House
Published Date: December 29, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764218453
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction / movie made into book
Buy it Link: Amazon
Synopsis: Epic in scope, yet deeply personal, this novelization offers a unique perspective on the story of the resurrection. Roman Tribune Clavius is assigned by Pilate to keep the radical followers of the recently executed Yeshua from stealing the body and inciting revolution. When the body goes missing despite his precautions, Clavius must hunt it down.

His investigation leads him from the halls of Herod Antipas to the Garden of Gethsemane and brings him in touch with believer and doubter alike. But as the body still remains missing, Clavius commits to a quest for the truth--and answers that will not only shake his life but echo throughout all of history.
Rating: 5 stars
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was amazing from the very first page. It is set in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus and the days afterwards. The book (in case you haven't seen the movie) revolves around Clavius, a Roman soldier put in charge of finding the missing body of a crucified man that has gone missing. As Clavius searches, and honestly leaves no stone unturned, more questions pop up than answers.
In case you haven't read the book, or seen the movie, I won't spoil it for you, but truly it is amazing. It's so fun to read about something that probably actually happened, after all, Pilate and his Jewish "friends" wouldn't have just left a missing body go unsearched for.
The other storyline that is in the book, which was left out of the movie, is beautiful, and truly pulls the story along at times as the search for the missing body drags on. While I understand time constraints, especially in a movie, it is kind of sad that some major characters were pushed to the side in the movie.
This is one of the few books that I will keep in my library to re-read.

Friday, March 25, 2016

#REVIEW: The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss by Susan Gregory

TITLE: Daniel Fast For Weight Loss
Author: Susan Gregory
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Published date: December 29, 2015
Pages: 272
Genre: Biblical diets
Buy it: Amazon
Synopsis: If you’re tired of chasing the latest diet fad only to find that you’ve gained weight, it’s time to try an entirely different approach. The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss succeeds where other programs fail because it focuses on your relationship with God as well as on your relationship with food. Once you discover the pleasures of eating the food God has provided for optimum health, you will not want to turn back. The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss offers a strategic, biblically based plan backed by solid research that will eliminate your cravings and help you to drop those unwanted pounds once and for all.

Susan Gregory, “The Daniel Fast Blogger” and bestselling author of The Daniel Fast, is back with a spiritual and practical roadmap to this wildly popular 21-day fast for anyone who wants to lose weight and develop a lifestyle of health in a way that honors God. Way beyond a diet plan, The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss includes more than 90 new recipes, multiple tips for successful fasting, a 21-day devotional, and practical guidance for maintaining weight loss and good eating habits even after you complete your Christ-centered fasting experience. Embark on a life-changing journey toward happiness and confidence about the body God designed for you.
My Rating: 3 stars
My Review: I  received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The premise in this book isn't a new one: trying to eat based off some quote in the Bible. This particular partial fast lends its groundwork to Daniel 1 and Daniel 10 found in the Bible. At first when I read the book, I thought people were crazy for even attempting this fast. After all, all fruits and vegetables, no meat, no sugar, no bread, no coffee, no tea, no fruit juice unless it is an ingredient in a recipe, no animal products (cheese, milk, eggs are all out).
Then I decided, what the heck? I need to find something to do for Lent, so I went all in on this Daniel Fast. For reasons out of my control, but health related, I had to stop the fast two weeks into it.
The book is helpful in explaining the reasons behind the Daniel Fast, the part of the Bible it is based on, and the guidelines of the fast. I think the best part of the book though are the recipes toward the end of the book that help the person who has decided to do this fast. They really start the person out on the right foot.
Though I wasn't able to continue with the fast, I was introduced to some very interesting foods hat I wouldn't have normally even thought of trying before this fast. It was an interesting experience.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#BLAST: His Final Deal by Theresa A Campbell


His Final Deal

by Theresa A. Campbell


About the book

Layout 1
Raymond Brown, popularly known as Smooth Suave, is one of Jamaica’s biggest drugs lords. With eight children by six baby mommas and counting, he’s a player for life. A true baller, he lavishes in his wealth. He’s a shot caller with “soldiers” wheeling and dealing all over Jamaica. It’s Suave’s world, and everyone else just lives in it . . . or so he thinks. However, his nemesis, King Kong, sees it differently. Rivals since childhood, King Kong is hell-bent on destroying Suave at any cost. As the war over power, drugs, and money intensifies—from Wilton Gardens (Rema) to Arnett Gardens (Jungle)—bodies are dropping like flies, washing the island of paradise in blood. But it is the murder and kidnapping of two of Suave’s loved ones that bring him to his knees. Being framed for murder, hunted by the cops, pursued by his enemies, betrayed by friends, tormented by a horrid secret, and fighting to protect his family and empire, Suave is nearing his breaking point. Yet, he isn’t going down without a fight. VoilĂ ! Suave makes a deal to eradicate his enemies—but if it backfires, it could very well cause him his own life. Then God counteroffers Suave’s deal with His own—one that will undoubtedly give Suave the victory he needs but requires him to give up his drug empire and turn his life over to the Lord. With his motto being, “I don’t do God,” will Suave accept God’s deal or take the risk of his own deal?

“Today, I want to talk to you about redemption,” Bishop Hudson began. “Ephesians 1:7 says, ‘In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.’ Amen. Redemption is possible through the blood of Jesus! Hello, somebody? I said, you can be delivered from the bondage of sin and find peace with God. Am I speaking to somebody?” “Amen, Pastor,” a member shouted from the front. “You better speak to me, Bishop,” a young lady in the choir yelled. Bishop Hudson paused, took off his jacket, and handed it to his assistant. He grabbed the microphone out of the stand and paced the pulpit. “We all are in need of redemption. You know why? Because we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” Hmmm, interesting, Suave thought. Even Christians need redemption, too. As if he read Suave’s mind, Bishop Hudson remarked, “So you can act like you were born holy, pure, and righteous all you want, but that’s not the case. We were able to become a child of God because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross. His death was in exchange of our life.” “Praise the Lord,” “Thank you, Jesus,” and “Hallelujah” rang throughout the church. “Do you want to be free from the burden of guilt?” Bishop Hudson asked, looking out at the congregation. Suave shifted in his seat, wondering why the bishop was looking at him. “Do you want to be free from curses and bondage?” Bishop Hudson stepped down from the pulpit into the aisle. “God already purchased our freedom,” he said, his eyes wandering from one face to the other as he moved closer to the back. He better stop picking on me, or else I’m stepping. With his arms folded and face screwed up like a dried apple, Suave defiantly stared at the bishop as he seemed to get closer. I’m no punk. “I said, you can go from being a sinner to a saint if you accept God’s gift of eternal life.” Bishop Hudson was now at Suave’s bench where he paused. Suave glanced at the bishop through the corner of his eyes, his head held straight. He didn’t acknowledge the bishop, and for his own sake, Suave was hoping the bishop wouldn’t acknowledge him. “I’m glad to see you this morning, my brother.” Bishop Hudson looked down at Suave, who still wasn’t looking at him. All eyes in the church turned toward the back where Suave sat. Alwayne and Annette held hands and nervously looked on. Bishop Hudson was known to prophesize to his members, revealing things that no one else knew but God. He would also predict certain happenings that always came true. This usually made some members excited about receiving a blessing, and others nervous when they hadn’t been walking on the “right” side. “God is going to give you a second chance.” Bishop Hudson rested his hand on Suave’s shoulder. “Those demons that are haunting you are leading you down a narrow road.” Suave’s heart began to gallop in his chest. He wanted to brush off the preacher’s hand, but he felt compelled to hear what the man had to say. “Your mind gets so mixed up at times that you find it hard to differentiate between the real thing and your imagination. But God says to tell you that He is going to give you the victory.” Some people were now standing on their feet clapping, some praying, and others speaking in tongues. “Deliver him, Lord,” an elderly man shouted. “Set your son free, Father Jesus,” screamed another member. “God is going to right the wrong that was done to you, so you can be free to serve Him and His people.” Tears filled Bishop Hudson’s eyes as he leaned over to Suave, his face only inches away from Suave’s. On a will of its own, Suave’s neck turned, and he locked eyes with the bishop. Suave’s tears betrayed him and seeped down his face.
About the Author


Theresa A. Campbell is the author of the captivating novels, "Are You There, God?" and "God Has Spoken." She was born and raised in Jamaica West Indies. She received her bachelor's degree in business administration from Baruch College, and a master's degree in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Theresa has had a deep passion for reading since she was a child. It is her desire to inspire readers by writing stories from the heart to uplift their faith in God

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