Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Paradox Bound by Peter Clines

On a fluke, I requested The Fold by Peter Clines because I thought the cover looked interesting. When I saw that he had written another book, I requested that as well.

Turns out I don't think I'll be a fan of Clines.

Paradox Bound is a muddled mess. Maybe it's because I could not fully invest in the characters like I did with The Fold or if the story itself never resonated with me, I really can't tell you all the reasons.

We're talking time travel and pop culture references here. Is that not begging to be a hit? But it isn't. Not in this case.

Maybe when I give it some more time, I'll pick it up again and dive back in. Perhaps it simply was my state of mind. But I couldn't root for Eli as he bemoans his hometown. The hunter nor the drivers.

Maybe I'll slip back to 14 and see if there is hope yet for my enjoyment of Peter Clines.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Crown Publishing.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

This is being compared to The Hunger Games series and I suppose you could jump to those comparisons. But this book appears to have more going on beneath the story of this first book.

Reintgen has created a cast of characters that are so different, everyone can have their favorite - the one their rooting for.

We're in the future with the main character is Emmett; he along with a group of others have been selected by the Babel Corporation to survive a series of tests/competitions in order to be chosen to land on the planet Eden and extract a valuable substance called nyxia.

Every character has a story that seemingly equate why Babel selected them. The competitions are grueling and who you root for may not survive the trip to planet Eden.

The first part of the book is the big set up and the twists start coming near the end but don't expect a clear cut ending as this is the first book in the series and it clearly ends with you wanting to know how the story can possibly go on...but it does, right?

I was surprised at one thing that had to do more with the author than anything else. He has written about his Christian faith. It is clear by some of the names that he uses part of the Bible as his backdrop: Eden, Babel Corporation, there is talk about God and the Bible; but here is the thing for me - there is alot of swearing in this book. I mean ALOT of swearing.

I'm not trying to be a prude and I get that those things are said by teenagers. My argument (one that I make whenever I think it's used in excess) is how does it progress the story? How does using so much swearing enhance the characters or the plot? In my opinion, it does not in this particular story.

But with that being said, this is an intriguing beginning and I can't wait to see where the story goes.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Crown Publishing.

The Master's Mind by Lance Hahn

The battle is in the mind. Change the way you think and you'll change the way you live.

There are many books already written about the importance of your thoughts and how you think. This book goes one better. Lance Hahn takes you through parts of the Bible and then unpacks some vital applications.

There's this thought going around, Christians are supposed to be free and have "the joy in the Lord", right? If that's the case why are so many Christians' attitudes so horrible?

Well, the answer is possibly in how Christians think and use their minds.

Hahn will help you understand what is going on inside your mind and how to surrender to God's Spirit in order for Him to overcome whatever junk you allowed to set root within.

You will be clear that this author wants you to trust in Jesus as Savior and Messiah. He is not interested in writing one more self-help book.

He uses clear illustrations as he unpacks depression, anxiety, addiction, fear and a few others.

This book should be read by any Christian who struggles with their identity in Jesus and reconciling how they think now to the Kingdom of God reality.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Midnight Line by Lee Child

You can tell when an author might have a few thoughts on how his character has been represented in the movie version.

Jack Reacher, in the mind of Child, is a hulking guy and not at all the size of Tom Cruise. There are repeated points of emphasis on this size thing as Reacher is nicknamed Bigfoot.

I have only read one other Jack Reacher story. I have seen both movies. The first story I read surprised me. It had been given to me as a gift and it remained on my shelf, unread, for a long time. When I finally opened it, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the typical sort of book I would read but it gave me a couple days of entertainment with some crime-deduction going on.

This story is more in line with current events - dealing with the drug epidemic going on throughout the country. It isn't really action-packed or thrills-a-page sort of deal. This is a steady walk through untangling a knot that grows thicker as you go.

Child does well inside Reacher's mind and he should as he's written how many of them?

This was a good book for fans of the Jack Reacher saga. I'm not sure if it's a book for everyone, the author's name certainly lends some star power and the movies might pull in some more readers.

But I wonder, after a while, with so many books following the same character, does the reader ever get over-saturated with it? Or does it become simply that you want to go on the journey with the character even though you pretty much know how things are going to progress and end up.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Delacorte Press.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Come As You Aren't

This is a role playing game for couples.

You select Who, What, and Where cards randomly and place them inside an envelop and give it to your partner. Then you act it out.

Touted as an enhancer to relationships, this made me laugh more than anything. The options and suggestions as to who you become and what you are doing is just not fun at all.

I can appreciate the gesture and maybe, MAYBE some couples would get a kick out of this, but I would assume most will view it as a gag gift and never look at it after they open it up for the first time.

There have to be better options out there and this is most definitely not worth your money or time. Get creative using something else.

This relationship aid is not good at all.

This game was provided for review, at no cost, by Clarkson Potter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Whisper by Mark Batterson

This guy has a way with words that makes it so comfortable to sit down and take off with whatever book he's written.

Whisper is the Batterson book on how to hear from God. Is it an audible voice? Is it more like that "inner voice" that says yes or no?

I really enjoy reading books by Batterson. He writes in a conversational way and his stories and applications are so brilliant.

You'll read about personal experiences and frustrations that, I'm willing to bet, many Christians deal with when it comes to hearing the voice of God and wanting to know what His Will is in their life.

This is like all of his other books in that it is very inspirational as well as motivational. It doesn't beat you over the head and make you feel worthless, it doesn't speak down to you as if you aren't faithful enough to get it.

It is just what you need to read to wrap your mind and attitude around how God still speaks to people today.

You'll find amazingly simple applications that are as practical as anything. You will not regret reading this book and putting it into practice.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Multnomah Publishing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible

My eight-year old cannot quit looking at this Bible.

With over 700 full-color images, information, and articles, there are so many things to grab the attention of your young kid.

It is the full NIV text of the Bible. Even though it says "Kids'" on the title, the text is not watered down to a toddler's reading level.

I think it is meant for children aged 8-12. As I said there added enough side-bar content to capture the wavering eye and reengage them with what they're reading.

I am very impressed with this and would encourage parents to take a look at this for their son or daughter.

The study aspect comes into play by having those sidebars chock full of insight and contextualizing some of the words and themes that a kid might not fully grasp with NIV terminology.

Great version for the age-group intended.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Zonderkidz Publishing.