Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Full Tilt, by Creston Mapes

52506X: Full Tilt, Rock Star Chronicles Series #2Full Tilt, Rock Star Chronicles Series #2

By Creston Mapes / Multnomah Publishers Inc.

We’ve all followed the careers of our favorite bands or musicians. But unless we’ve lived the life of one, we have no idea what one really goes through on a day-to-day basis. Creston Mapes gives us a glimpse into what this kind of life may look like. More specifically, one that has been captured from hell’s flames and is now committed to saving others from destruction.

Everett Lester has had a difficult life. He endured a dysfunctional family before his rise to fame as a rock star in the band DeathStroke. Power and pleasure brought him nothing but dissatisfaction and pain. Until he met Christ, his Savior, and Karen, the love of his life. Things should be perfect now, right? Wrong.

While planning his Living Water concert tour, circumstances hurl problems at Everett that he can’t control. His bails out his brother, Eddie, from his gambling debts only to find he can’t quit betting. His nephew, Wesley, hangs out with meth junkies who snare him into deeper trouble. Everett and Karen must endure a personal struggle of their own as well. Those things, however, may be the least of his worries.

As the evil surrounding Everett grows thicker, he realizes that his family is being targeted by organized crime. Their very lives are threatened as a result of extending a helping hand. Can Everett overcome the external forces pushing and pulling him and also conquer his inward struggle with insecurity and temptation? Will he trust God to work miracles through prayer and obedience?

I highly recommend Full Tilt. It’s easy style and gut-twisting realism kept me enthralled throughout the book. And I, along with Everett and Karen, was inspired to believe God’s promise: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3a).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Soul Hunter, by Melanie Wells

Creepy. Haunting. Realistic. Thought-provoking. Hilarious. Those are the first words that come to my mind in attempting to describe The Soul Hunter. Oh, and rats. If you can’t handle rats, don’t even pick up this book. Better yet, deal with your rat phobia and pick up the book anyway.

The night before her 35th birthday, Dylan Foster and her boyfriend David are scheduled to go out for a nice dinner. While she is getting ready for her date, Dylan hears a thud at the front door. She runs to open it, hoping for a present from UPS. Instead, she finds a bloody axe on her porch. After reporting the incident, she finds out there has been a murder, and she has been thrown right in the middle of it.

Happy birthday to Dylan.

You’d think Dylan would’ve had enough trouble from demons and murderers. But the saga continues and even worsens for this Texas psychologist. In addition to the axe, terror strikes when Peter Terry shows up again. Can things possibly get worse? Oh yeah.

The story continues as the search for the murderer intensifies. But things are not as they seem. A deeper power is at work for those whose lives hang in the balance. Will Dylan lean on the One who can get her through this ordeal? Will more innocent people have to suffer, or will mercy reign?

In the first book of this series, Dylan learned the inestimable value of prayer and the Word. With that knowledge under her belt, will she put on God’s full armor as the only way to combat the devil’s evil schemes?

There is a battle raging for men’s souls. Those who wish to harm mortal man play for keeps. Thankfully, there is Someone stronger than the forces of darkness, and He is available to those who call on Him. Spiritual warfare is real, as the author has intimated in this supernatural tale. I admire the way Wells has us peer into the unseen (and sometimes seen) and think about what is happening beyond our limited vision. If we have the spiritual eyes to see, we will find God is definitely at work.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend this up and coming author of supernatural suspense. This genre deserves more fantastic books like this one.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Blind Dates Can be Murder

Readers, be aware. Not only is this book entertaining and inspirational, but informative as well. (How do you get wine stains off a blouse?) Move over, Martha Stewart. Here comes Jo Tulip.

Household hint guru Jo Tulip continues her climb to fame in this second smart chick mystery. Her agent is sure that she will enjoy greater success with her syndicated column and increase traffic on her blog by joining a dating service. Jo proceeds hesitantly, since she doesn’t want anyone to think she’s desperate. Little does she know that will be the least of her headaches.

Jo can solve virtually any tough stain problem, but when her blind date collapses on the restaurant’s floor, she has no remedy for death. The evening deteriorates further as Jo learns that her mystery man was not her real date, but a fake. Instead, she finds her true date tied up in the dead man’s trunk. Thankfully, he is relatively unharmed and good-looking to boot. Perhaps the night wasn’t a total loss. But why was he targeted for violence and she for deception?

Jo phones her best friend, Danny, to fill him in on the news. He expresses fear for her safety amidst the current dilemma, wishing she would be more careful. After all, he is in love with Jo, and must find a way to tell her. Will she respond favorably to his declaration of love?

Danger lurks at every corner. Innocent people teeter at the brink of destruction and criminals keep getting away with murder. How will neat freak Jo and photographer Danny get to this puzzle’s core?

There’s nothing like a good mystery, and this novel is worth its weight in clues. Clark’s characters are delightful, the story full of interesting side plots and an overarching theme of God’s care for us. The heroine isn’t the only one who realizes the hope she has in Christ, and who is able to bask in His forgiveness.

My nod of approval accompanies this lively mystery. I came away encouraged that “regular” people like me can be used by God to change things for the good. Thank God He guides us in the right direction and rewards those who sacrifice their desires for His own. Besides, He alone knows what’s best for us. Who are we to mess with it?