Sky Zone

Sky Zone
by Creston Mapes
David C. Cook
Retail Price $14.99
Amazon Price: $13.20

Book Description: 

A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.

A terrorist threat.A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions. Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn’t making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives–and the lives of thousands of innocent people.This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith–and why we are never in as much control as we think.

Review

This book is part of the Crittendon Files series and while it is best to read the entire series, I feel that this book can stand alone.  The main character is Jack Crittendon, a journalist with the daily paper in Trenton City who ends up in investigations that are way over his head!   I really enjoyed the plot of this novel.  Jack is a very believable character and easy to relate to. He is an ordinary, everyday kind of guy that you might have in your own life.  He has a wife and family and normal, everyday family issues.  You can see yourself reacting just as he does in a given situation, which is probably one reason he is such a likeable character.  There were other characters who were involved in things that were totally unexpected, which added to the suspense.   I found this to be a very enjoyable read.

~Reviewed by John K.

    The Last Con

    Product DetailsThe Last Con
    By Zachary Bartels
    Zondervan
    Retail Price:  $15.99
    Amazon Price: $10.80

    Book Description:  

    THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.

    Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.

    But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.

    A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.

    Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.

    Review

    This is really and exceptional book.  It is very unique in the Christian genre as it deals with some rather intense issues and the hero of the story has a questionable reputation.  While the book has many dark themes, the author uses humor to lighten it up, which makes for a good mix.  It also has a strong historical thread that I found intriguing and enlightening.  I thought Bartels did a great job describing the events involving Malta and Marie Antoinette.   The novel may have seemed like your everyday thriller at the start,  but it  hit home as the story developed and we saw two men, one a fake preacher and the other an ex-con who was converted while serving time, both question the faith upon which they have built their lives. As the book unfolds we see them find inner strength and their true selves,   It was not only an action-packed read, but had a real moral to the story.  I was impressed.

    ~Reviewed by Pat B.

      Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)

      Product DetailsMermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)
      by Colleen Coble
      Thomas Nelson
      Retail Price: $15.99
      Amazon Price: $12.40

      Book Description:  

      Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

      Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

      Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

      When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

      As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

      Review

      I love mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.  I also love romance novels.  Author Colleen Coble brings together the best of both genres in Mermaid Moon.  I have read many of Coble’s books, but I have to say, I feel that this is one of her best.  The plot is well laid out, and the mystery drives you to keep reading.  Her characters are well-developed and interesting, and the prose and dialogue were equally balanced to both set the scene and show me the characters’ thoughts and feelings.  As for the setting, you can tell she did a lot of research so that she describes the area flawlessly.   This book delivers just what I was expecting as a suspense and mystery fan, lots of twists and turns and a surprise, but satisfying ending.  It was an excellent read.

      ~Reviewed by Shannon J.

       

        The News Makers

        Product DetailsThe News Makers
        By Lis Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price:  $26.99
        Amazon Price: $18.38

        Book Description:  

        TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?

        Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won’t come back to sabotage her dreams.

        Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can’t deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.

        On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses—and films—a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes—again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can’t just be coincidence. But what is it?

        Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster—and her troubled past—don’t catch up with her first.

        Review

        This was a fantastic suspense novel in the Christian Genre.  It is obvious that the authors did their research of the media, especially network news reporting and Wihel brings with her the experience she has derived from being on Fox News.    The story is captivating and grabs you right from the start as you sense the danger and intrigue ahead.  The characters were well-developed and likable and you could relate to them easily.  The book moved along nicely and was easy to read.  While the plot was somewhat predictable, I did find myself surprised in several instances as the plot took some turns that I wasn’t expecting. This suspenseful novel offered a real journey into the competitive world of television news.

        ~Reviewed by Tricia C.

         

          If I Run

          Product DetailsIf I Run
          by Terri Blackstock
          Zondervan
          Retail Price: $15.99
          Amazon Price: $9.42

          Book Description: 

          Casey knows the truth.

          But it won’t set her free.

          Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

          But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

          Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

          Review

          Terri Blackstock is a Christian fiction writer that has become well known for her Christian mystery/suspense novels.  Her books are full of danger and intrigue as well as suspense and mystery and this one is no different!  InIf I Run Blackstock sets the stage for and exhilarating, satisfying read with redemptive qualities.  The book is well written and the characters are fully developed and she has an overriding theme of God’s redemption in a messed up world.  It left me thinking deeply about my own expectations of others, and understanding Gods plan in my own life.  This author always gets me thinking and challenges me to take a look at my own preconceived notions and judgments.

          Reviewed by Allie B.

            The First Hostage

            Product DetailsThe First Hostage
            By Joel C. Rosenberg
            Tyndale House
            Retail Price: $26.99
            Amazon Price: $18.38

            Book Description:  “The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

            With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

            As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

            Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

            Review

            Events in this novel could very easily happen in today’s world and many parts of the plot could be pulled form the headlines in any major newspaper.  It is that realistic.  The First Hostage follows. J.B. Collins a reporter for the New York Times who has been covering ISIS activities. This book’s opening finds him in Jordan, covering a recent attack in the area. During the attack the leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, the president of the U.S.A. is missing and presumed captured and the king of Jordan has to fight for his kingdom and his very life.   There is so much action and suspense that you will not be able to put the book down without a good reason.  I found myself up late at night reading because I was so intrigued.  The ending certainly sets the stage for the next book in this series, and readers find it hard to wait for it!

              The Power of God’s Names

              The Power of God’s Names
              By Tony Evans
              Harvest House Publishing
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $11.98

              Book Description: 

              In his exciting new book, bestselling author Dr. Tony Evans shows that it’s through the names of God that the nature of God is revealed to us. Who is God in His fullness? How has He expressed His riches and righteousness? How can you trust His goodness? As you get to know the names of God and understand their meaning, God’s character will become real to you in life-changing ways.You will explore the depths of God as

              • Elohim: The All-Powerful Creator
              • Jehovah: The Self-Revealing One
              • Adonai: The Owner of All
              • Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Who Provides
              • El Shaddai: The Almighty Sufficient One
              • El Elion: The Most High Ruler
              • Jehovah Nissi: The Lord’s Banner of Victory
              • Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Our Peace
              • Jehovah Mekadesh: The Lord Who Sanctifies
              • Jehovah Rophe: The Lord Who Heals
              • Jehovah Tsikenu: The Lord My Righteousness
              • Jehovah Robi: The Lord My Shepherd
              • Immanuel: God With Us

              By studying and understanding the characteristics of God as revealed through His names, you will be better equipped to face hardship and victory, loss and provision, and all of the challenges life throws at you.

              Review

              This is a thought provoking book about the importance of knowing the names of God, especially when you are trying deepen your relationship with Him.  So much of our confusion results because we don’t know  who God really is, how He works in our lives.  By studying and learning the names of God you will gain power to stand strong. You’ll find strength for times of trial, comfort for pain, provision for your soul’s deepest needs. And your walk with God will be transformed.  Evans writes in an easy, understandable style that will help you to grasp God’s names and His greatness.

              ~Reviewed by John C.

               

                I Like Giving

                I Like Giving: The Transforming Power of a Generous LifeI Like Giving
                By Brad Formsma
                Waterbrook
                Retail Price $14.99
                Amazon Price: $11.26

                Book Description:

                When you choose to live a generous life, you start to change and so does the world around you. Something incredible happens when giving becomes your own idea, not something you do out of duty or obligation.

                When you move from awareness to action, miracles happen. As you make giving a lifestyle, you’ll realize you’re not only loving life more, you’re also creating a more generous world— a better world for all of us.

                Rich with inspiring stories and practical suggestions, I Like Giving helps you create a lifestyle of generosity. Inside you’ll find:

                • Giving—something you get to do, not something you’ve got to do.
                • How to raise kids with a sensitivity to others’ needs.
                • You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference.
                • Practical ideas for giving to people around you every day.

                I Like Giving is about experiencing the joy of giving. We all have something to give. Giving goes way beyond money or things. It can be a listening ear, a touch, or simply the gift of time. Giving is living.

                Review

                I would characterize myself as a giver.  I tend to look out for others and it gives me great joy to give to others.  I’ve raised my kids to have the same love of giving with varying success.  Some “took” to it more that others, which leads me to believe that temperament has something to do with it.  So when I saw this book, I just had to read it.  I love how the author uses so many different stories to convey the message of generosity for people of all ages. I also appreciate that some of the stories don’t require spending a single dollar; they just encourage you to pay attention and to act. I have shared many of the ideas in my own family, who are now adults themselves and with my grandkids. This book is a quick and easy read and will change your attitude towards living a generous life and it is inspirational.

                ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                  God Is Able

                  God is AbleGod Is Able
                  By Priscilla Shirer
                  B & H
                  Retail Price $12.99
                  Amazon Price: $11.69

                  Book Description: 

                  Got an IMPOSSIBLE situation? The anxiety it brings can wake you in the middle of a needed night’s sleep and then stalk you in the middle of broad daylight. It can sneak up on you and cast a cloak of fear and concern over your shoulders that you can’t seem to shake no matter how hard you try. It can take you down. Squash all hope. Stop you in your tracks.
                  IMPOSSIBLE. IMPENETRABLE. UNCHANGEABLE. Maybe so . . . until God gets involved. No matter the details of your circumstance, His raw power potential and immeasurable ability refuse to cower in the face of any challenge. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. Not even that thing.
                  This is the uplifting, well-reasoned answer from New York Times best-selling author Priscilla Shirer—not a denial of life’s adversities and troubles, but a biblical reminder that God is always up to great things, even when His great things are greater then instant remedies and visible change. He is a God who cares . . . and a God who CAN. Believe it. Experience it. God Is Able.

                  Review

                  While it might not seem possible to build an entire book around two short Bible verses, that is exactly what the author does in this book with Ephesians 3: 20-21.  In a down to earth, upfront way, she lays out God’s Word in a meaningful way. Through the use of humorous as well as serious stories Shirer guides the reader on a journey of understanding that nothing is out of God’s reach. No matter what your particular situation, God knows about it and He is able to bring about a result that is best for you. This book will fire you up and inspire you to be brave and bold in all circumstances, because even if you are weak, God is not.  He is able. Period.

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                    Killing Jesus

                    Killing Jesus: The Unknown Conspiracy Behind the World's Most Famous ExecutionKilling Jesus
                    By Stephen Mansfield
                    Worthy Publishing
                    Retail Price $22.99
                    Amazon Price: $16.22

                    Book Description: 

                    “The execution of Jesus was a crime born of the streets, the barracks, the enclaves of the privileged, and the smoke-filled back rooms of religious and political power brokers. Its meaning lives in these places still.”

                    It is the most fiercely debated murder of all time. Its symbol is worn by billions of people worldwide. Its spiritual meaning is invoked daily in time-honored rituals. In Killing Jesus, New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield masterfully recounts the corrupt trial and grisly execution of Jesus more than two thousand years ago.

                    Approaching the story at its most human level, Mansfield uses both secular sources and biblical accounts to bring fresh perspective to the human drama, political intrigue, and criminal network behind the killing of the world’s most famous man.

                    Review

                    Even in an increasing ungodly world, the crucifixion of Jesus goes almost undisputed.  This book brings a fresh look at the death of Christ from an historical perspective.  The author goes into the horrific details of what a crucifixion entails and just what Jesus had to endure.  Along with he also researches the prophecies that were fulfilled, examines the betrayals Jesus faced, and reminds us of the hope we now can have because of His sacrifice.  It was an excellent book giving much background and bringing to life the Easter story.

                    ~Reviewed by David H.