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Book Review ~ Hearts Set Free By Jess Lederman

About the Book


In 1930, the rag-tag riffraff stop called Las Vegas need a fighting man to shepherd their tiny church after their pastor is murdered. Might David Gold, a washed-up boxer and Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, be the answer to their prayers?

At the same time, Luke, a native Alaskan boy, is on quest to find his father, who has abandoned his family for a beautiful woman whom his mother vows to kill. Little do mother or son know that their journey will take them to a small town in Nevada where demons and angels walk among men.

In 2011, Science Cable TV producer Tim Faber is determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his lover, Joan Reed, strives to regain the faith of her youth. They’re bound for Las Vegas to meet 99-year-old Luke, who holds the key to a mystery they must solve—and answers that will forever change their lives.

Hearts Set Free weaves together these three tales of men and women who journey from the darkness of doubt to triumphant faith and from the ache of loneliness to everlasting love.

Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

General/Speculative

Rating

5 Stars

Review


Jess Lederman exhibits bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire. He trudges along the plot confidently, carrying the reader along a thrilling and fiery ride that is as sure as his faith in God. It is [nearly] impossible to read Hearts Set Free and not believe that there is a God. This is the kind of story that separates the grain from the chaff both in plot and in the heart of a reader, chasing away any doubt that the utmost joy is possible even in the midst of the worst suffering—there is such a thing called the [Joyful] Fellowship of Suffering that not only draws one closer to Jesus, but puts one in a position where they can stand in awe of the Cross and its power. Stories like this remind us that the cross indeed does set hearts free!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to JKS Communications for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About the Author


Jess Lederman, founder of the website, The Works of George MacDonald, is well known worldwide to fans of the Scottish novelist and minister whom C.S. Lewis referred to as his “master.” While Hearts Set Free is his first work of fiction, he has published over forty books on the global financial markets and is currently at work on a Christian-themed novel set in Las Vegas in 1955. When he’s not writing, Jess is apt to be playing Chopin nocturnes on the piano. He lives with his wife and two young sons in a small town in the Pacific Northwest and can be reached at jess@jesslederman.com

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Album Review ~ Control Vol. 2 By Joel Vaughn

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Urban Pop

Rating

5 Stars

Review


Control Vol. 2 begins with such energy and vibes that prepare the heart and soul for worship and praise, as is mirrored in the opening song, Unreserved. Joel Vaughn brings the flavor unique to him that breathes passion and unreserved surrender to a God he believes in, and this shines through in his voice and music. It’s impossible to miss—and almost unforgivable not to mention—the undeniable growth of the singer and songwriter in Vaughn. The increased confidence in craft is evident, amiable, contagious, and inspiring, as though Vaughn not only knows what He is about, but believes the truth preached in his music, lives by them, and now offers them to the world.

Since Control Vol. 2 picked up from where Vol. 1 left off (read the TBAP review here), the same theme runs through—Letting Go and Letting God, which is the best decision any individual could ever make. The songs portray various situations and circumstances where faith may be tested, and the believer is reminded that in God’s hand the journey is sure, and growth happens, the outcome is good and victorious, the faithfulness and face of God are seen, and His heart and goodness are ever experienced.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A thank you to DREAM Label Group and DREAM Records for a free album copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

About Joel Vaughn/Control Series


Control Vol. 2 is the second and final volume in the Control series. Control is the third offering from the singer-songwriter on DREAM Records. After seeing his first top 30 AC single, Pray It Up, from Control Vol. 1, Control Vol. 2 offers new pop tracks like More Than Good Enough and I Look To You. Joel teamed up again with Ross King, Patrick Mayberry, Carter Frodge and Jeremy Camp, Mia Fields, and Seth Mosely to create a pop anthemic masterpiece. Joel Vaughn, originally from Texas, lives in Nashville, TN.

Book Review ~ Other Bodies By Joel Ohman

About the Book


For fans of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent comes a YA dystopian/light romance with a strong female protagonist who is forced to question everything…

In a world where immersive VR suits distort what is real from what is not, and the AI Personhood Act blurs the lines between body and bot, the choices sixteen-year-old Hattie Martins faces are very personal.

Welcome to Hattie Martins’ dystopian Philadelphia, where everything is not as it seems…

Just as her life is looking up–a new job, new friends, a new date–Hattie discovers not all progress in her beloved, futuristic Philadelphia is for the best. Societal regrets can become personal regrets in an instant. Choices don’t always come with second chances, and when they do the cost can be unimaginable. How far will she go to undo her greatest regret? And worse yet, what will she become if it’s too late?

In a world where bots are equal to bodies, what does it mean to be alive?

What is real?

Which bodies matter?

What about the other bodies?…

In this blistering new young adult novel from the #1 bestselling author of the Meritropolis series, readers will question everything they know about life and reality in a unique dystopian adventure that is equal parts moral dilemma and romance.

For fans who enjoy similar works from authors such as Veronica Roth, James Dashner, and Suzanne Collins!


Category

Inspirational/Fiction/Young Adult

Genre

Dystopian/Romance

Rating

3.5 Stars

Review


Other Bodies is a story that depicts the journey of Hattie Martins, a heroine who’s found herself in a semi-violent environment where most must do what they can to survive: Jobs are scarce. Gangs rule. And real love is rarer than the dream of a good life. With a past that haunts her and won’t let go, her present circumstance changes for the better with the future looking promising until a sudden discovery presents one that is born out of a bad choice with consequences and a reality skewedly underplayed by society and other parties involved.

Social issues such as abortion, feminism, teenage pregnancy, assisted suicide, reproductive rights, and classicism, as well as emotional issues like heartbreak, loneliness, and casual sex play a role in platforming the theme of the story—Jesus gave His body for “other bodies,”  and so we are called too to sometimes give up convenience of our bodies for a time for others too. In making a case for prolife (and against assisted suicide and racism), “other bodies are not your body including the one inside you; if you believe all bodies are equal, then that equality extends to the one inside you.” The author emphasized this in his note to readers:

“It is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is doing permanent and fatal harm to another innocent human body. But what about rape, incest, and disability? Since none of these circumstances are sufficient to justify harming another innocent body after birth, they are not sufficient to harming an innocent body before birth.”

Overall, Other Bodies is a gripping story that boldly looks the current social issues in the eye without flinching and digs its heels in.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A thank you to Flyby Promotions and Propeller LLC for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

About Joel Ohman


Joel Ohman lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Joel is the author of the #1 bestselling Meritropolis series—“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist” and the new YA release, Other Bodies.

For FREE giveaways and VIP access to pre-release books, gift cards, and special announcements, join the Joel Ohman Reader’s Group now at JoelOhman.com!

Album Review ~ Come Alive By Radiate Worship

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Worship/Contemporary Rock

Rating

4 Stars

Review


Radiate Worship’s opening inspires a glad heart and a joyful smile that wells from deep within. The powerful music of the overall album invites more than hand clapping and feet jumping; it goes farther to invite deep united worship in heart and in spirit, and in absolute surrender.

The songs are heartfelt prayers that every worshiping believer can relate to, as it ushers one into the presence of God. And the bold instrumentals add life to the overall music, piercing the soul in a way that invites deeper worship.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to DREAM Label Group and DREAM Worship for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About Radiate Worship


Radiate has its origin in Pinsekirken Tabernaklet Ungdom in Bergen, Norway.  The members love to discover new and groundbreaking ways of doing worship. This is reflected in their music, where they wish to create songs that communicate both their belief in, and journey with God. A God that is present and working today, as he always will be.

“Radiate worship aims to create music that inspires and engages both those who believe, and those who still do not,” says lead singer, Martin Midgård Hagen.

Their new album Come Alive is the release that was resonating best in all of the members of Radiate Worship. “Coming back to the sound where it all started was by far the best choice that we could ever have done”. After an amazing experience with God in Martin’s and Anna’s life, Trust came to life, and went on to start something new in the band. Radiate Worship wanted to release an album that urged all listeners to really live life outside the comfort-zone, and not be satisfied with life as one knows it. There’s always more to find in God, there’s always new perspectives that’ll come to light – if one truly seeks God through all aspects of life. Our own-built framework of who God is, is ment to be be pushed to a greater extent. It’s outside our comfort-zone where the real magic happens.

Book Review ~ The Way Of The Warrior: An Ancient Path To Inner Peace By Erwin Raphael McManus

About the Book


Best-selling author, pastor, futurist, and cultural thought leader believes that to experience and establish peace, we must first confront the battles that rage within.

McManus shows that encountering peace does not occur by accident, but rather by artful intention. Warrior is a call to decisiveness, self-examination, and the pursuit of spiritual wholeness. Through the ancient biblical practices of humility, focus, ownership, clarity, strength, and vulnerability, he guides readers to a deeper understanding of their inner workings and provides the guidance they need to establish peace and tranquility in their homes, neighborhoods, communities, and even the world! In the style of a battle-wizened teacher, McManus delivers wisdom, instills passion, and provides the sacred movements needed to become the warrior you were meant to be.


Category

Religious/Christian/Non-fiction

Genre

Christian Living

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


With an artful, poignant and compassionate voice, McManus leads with a message of what it truly means to be a warrior in our day.

Worry. Anxiety. Fear. Doubt. All four disturb our peace and threaten true freedom. To fight and conquer them—the greatest war to ever be fought by any individual—is to know true peace. This is what it means to be a warrior; the path of the warrior is the path of inner peace and not outward violence.

With clear-eyed but bold vulnerability and healthy doses of life’s experience thrown in, and then combined with the message of the Gospel, McManus weaves a beautiful illustration of what is worth fighting for in our world—the soul—by overcoming one’s shadows and demons that lurk within us. When this battle is won in the ideal sense, there will be no battle left outwardly to fight, for every war first started in the heart.

McManus presents a tangible approach to conquering which would include embracing life and its inadequacies by looking through the lens of faith on a whole new level, possible only on the platform of peace—the kind that only Jesus, the True Peace Warrior, can offer. Faith begets peace. Peace begets faith, and the cycle continues—a journey worth embarking on if life will be enjoyed to the fullest as God intended. Through McManus’ illustrations, it becomes infallibly clear that the only way to truly live is to follow the path of peace. And the path of peace is The Way of the [true] Warrior.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Waterbrook Multnomah for a free paperback copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About the Author


Erwin Raphael McManus is an iconoclast, artist, and cultural thought leader known for his integration of creativity and spirituality. He is the founder of MOSAIC, a church movement started at the heart of Hollywood with campuses across Los Angeles, Orange County, and Mexico City, and a global community that spans around the world. Erwin is the acclaimed author of The Last Arrow, The Artisan Soul, Soul Cravings, and The Barbarian Way. His books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Kim.

Album Review ~ As Long As I Live (Vol. 1) By Canyon Hills Worship

Category

Religious

Genre

Praise/Worship

Rating

4 Stars

Review


There’s a softness to the overall music that invites listening hearts to dive deeper into God with heartfelt joy and love. The delightful metaphoric lyrics highlight the joys of a faith-filled journey that fully embraces God and His Word.

In Canyon Hill’s As Long As I Live Vol.1, the heart cry and message to wholly love God just He loves us, and to trust Him, is a timeless message that the Church may be used to hearing, but one that will always resound no matter what.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it’s my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to DREAM Label Group/DREAM Worship for a a free album copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About Canyon Hills Worship


Based out of Seattle WA, Canyon Hills Worship is composed of worship leaders and songwriters at Canyon Hills Community Church. Their songs include Peace, It Is Well, and Over All. Their mission is to honor God and offer hope to His Church through singing His praises.

Book Review ~ American Omens By Travis Thrasher

About the Book


“This is your wake-up call, Cheyenne. You’ve been sleeping your whole life, dreaming those dreams. The alarm clock is about to go off, and there won’t be any way to press the snooze button. So just keep walking. Keep breathing. And maybe start believing.”

The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world’s top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of many of the renowned people who publicly declared their faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team, including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books, to help him take the battle transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it’s too late?

Category

Fiction/Christian

Genre

Futuristic/Sci-fi

Rating

4 Stars

Review


In this quintessential thriller, Thrasher combines mystery, science fiction, and history in an exceptionally outstanding way—more so because all elements were delicately handled such that none got it the way of the others. Add that to the masterful pacing of the plot to a fine finish.

American Omens somewhat depicts one out of a thousand possible outcomes for the future in the face of today’s drama and chaos on the world front, and Thrasher took this probable reality and spun it into a seamless tale that adeptly inspires on a whole new level, a thoughtful consideration of today’s complacency—what are the consequences of the overtly liberal decisions of today, and more so, of remaining silent and on the sidelines when these decisions are turned into law that will clearly echo down the timeline and into eternity, especially when some of us know better?

When all is said and done with the reflecting, one can’t deny the entertaining ride that Thrasher’s work surely delivers.

A provocative and smartly written fiction!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A “Thank you” to Waterbrook Multnomah for two free paperback copies in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About Travis Thrasher


Best-selling author TRAVIS THRASHER has written over fifty books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with musicians like American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and reality TV stars Bill Klein and Jen Arnold from TLC’s The Little Couple. Upcoming projects continue to expand Thrasher’s profile including the book, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice about the lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.
Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area.