The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD

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We all heard those great stories from the Bible when we were kids; we know all about Cain and Abel, Jonah and the whale, and the Three Wise Men. Okay, so we know the stories, but do we really know what God is trying to tell us through these stories?

Many times, we don’t actually know the full story, because Scripture is often taken out of context, intentionally or not. We also live in a completely different culture than the biblical writers did, so we may not fully comprehend the subtleties of language and cultural contexts that shaped the lessons contained in the Word. Our traditions and societal differences can skew our understanding of the Bible, if we only take the bits and pieces we know and love out of their context.

But thanks to teachers like Eric Bargerhuff, we can be shown and/or reminded of the Truth behind some of the most popular stories in God’s Word. In The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories are Misunderstood, Bargerhuff does a fantastic job of placing the stories back into their context–biblically, culturally, and historically–to help seekers of the Truth understand the Bible more deeply.

A few years ago, I got Bargerhuff’s The Most Misused Verses in the Bible and really appreciated his expository style and easy-to-read information. His latest is just as good and would be a wonderful tool for pastors, Bible study leaders, and students of the Word alike.

If you want to have a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the Word of God, I suggest you grab a copy of The Most Misused Stories in the Bible. And happy learning!

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

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From the publisher: “Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct.

“Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

“It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.”

Can I be honest with you? I was never a fan of Temperance Brennan and the Bones books (or the TV show). I tried, I really did. But I could simply not force myself to be interested in that character. So, when I saw that Kathy Reichs had a standalone novel with a new heroine, I debated whether or not I should bother to read it.

However, I’m glad I picked it up. Sunnie is very different (to me, at least) than Temperance was. I felt much more at ease with these characters than with previous Reichs books that I’ve read. And the story, including both the mystery Sunnie is trying to solve and her own backstory, was intriguing enough to keep me interested, wanting to know if I’d really figured it out or if Reichs had another twist to throw at me.

Two Nights is a great beach read, so grab a copy when it is released on July 11th and head to your favorite chill spot.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

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From the book: “Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.

“Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

“For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.”

If you’re like me and you loved Mary Weber’s debut Storm Siren trilogy, don’t expect this series to be the same. It is a completely different world, a completely different genre–but it is just as gripping to read.

It took me a bit to get into the book, because it is so different from her Storm Siren world, but Weber had to build this world, write history for this dystopian Earth society, and give us reason to cheer for or want to strangle her characters (which I absolutely did on both counts). Once I felt at home with the Corps and gamers and ambassadors (and never felt comfortable with the Delonese…), I could not stop reading.

There are so many layers to this story, each one more intense than the one before, and many lessons that can be taught through this book. It could be a great classroom (or dinner table) conversation launcher for issues that we face (or, sadly more often, ignore) in our own society.

But the ending…

 

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*Thanks to BookBub for this pic.

I just have to say, there’d better be another book coming soon! Until then, read it!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Fiction and NetGalley for the ARC of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

The Toch Island Chronicles by Kat Heckenbach

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Angel doesn’t remember her magical heritage…

…but it remembers her.

Angel lives with a loving foster family, but dreams of a land that exists only in the pages of a fantasy novel. Until she meets Gregor, whose magic Talent saves her life and revives lost memories.

She follows Gregor to her homeland…a world unlike any she has imagined, where she travels a path of self-discovery that leads directly to her role in an ancient Prophecy…and to the madman who set her fate in motion.

 

 Seeking Unseen

It may be Angel’s wish…..

IT’S BEEN two years since Angel learned the magic chip of wood inside her locket would grant any wish. What is taking her so long to choose?
An alarming discovery about her beloved foster brother Zack makes the decision easy…but everything else gets complicated after she runs into her old friend Melinda, who demands to go along for the return to Toch Island.
…but it’s Melinda’s journey.
MELINDA doesn’t fit in with the magical freaks any more than she did with the losers back in Florida, but she never wanted to belong before. A secret world surrounds her where even the bugs have magic…
She’s more of an outsider than ever.
So when ex-con Doran Ashe slinks out of the shadows and offers her an easy road to powers of her own, Melinda follows him despite—or maybe because of—everyone’s warnings.
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Magic and mystery entwine – hidden in the web of time.

Melinda knew Kalek’s music created powerful visions, but it wasn’t supposed to actually send her into the past!

It definitely wasn’t supposed to bring someone back to the present with her. Especially not someone tied so tightly to Melinda’s own past, someone to prove, once again, that her family ancestry was made up of psychopaths who should never have existed.

Now it’s her chance to change her lineage–and history–forever.


When I began my journey to Toch Island in Protection’s Prison back in February, I knew this series would be good, but I had no idea just how wonderful the stories would be. Kat Heckenbach has created a realm that I long to actually visit. Her descriptions are vivid, her characters are full and complex, her plots are engrossing. I giggled, I cried (which I hate doing…thanks, Kat!), I didn’t want the stories to end.

I, very honestly, read all three of these novels in one day…I could not stop! I was sucked in instantly and did not want to leave. And to keep from dropping some spoilers, I’ll leave it at that. Great for everyone from tweens in age to teens at heart, the Toch Island Chronicles are books that I would highly recommend to all fantasy lovers. 🙂

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Recruits by Thomas Locke

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From the Book: “It’s a world they’ve only seen in their dreams–until now.

“Twins Sean and Dillon Kirrel have dreamed about a world beyond their own since they were children, but it has always been a fantasy. Not long before their eighteenth birthday, however, the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor and the revelations he shares bring that far-off world within reach.

“When Sean and Dillon learn they share a unique gift–the ability to transfer instantly between worlds–they are offered an opportunity to prove themselves as recruits to the planetary Assembly. But unlocking their abilities awakens an enemy beyond anything they ever imagined, thrusting them into an interplanetary conflict that could consume the entire human race.”

I love to read Thomas Locke books. His “Legends of the Realm” series is one of my favorites. It’s cool to see an author like Thomas Locke not pigeonhole himself into one specific genre, and Recruits is definitely different from the “Legends of the Realm.” I’d say it’s more similar to his “Fault Lines” series, but for young adults, and with aliens.

But I have to be honest, I wasn’t able to get as into this book as I wanted to. I am more than certain, however, that it was not the writing or character development or anything Thomas Locke did that caused me to be a bit apathetic–I’ve just been too distracted lately. The book was well-written, fast-paced, and kept me wanting to know how it would all turn out. And Locke posited some really interesting ideas about space travel and other planetary populations, that made me go hmmm.

If you like your sci-fi, check this book out. I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

I won this book from Revell in a Goodreads giveaway! So, if you’re on Goodreads, make sure you enter any contest that you actually want to win–they really do work! 🙂

Invitation by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky

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From the book: “Four strangers with gifts they don’t understand. A world falling into darkness. This is Harbingers.

“You’re invited on a journey of suspense and the supernatural as four of your favorite bestselling authors team up for a unique series.

“From the minds of Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky, Invitation compiles the first four episodes of HARBINGERS, each following a different character.

  • Brenda — the street hustling tattoo artist who sees images of the future
  • The Professor — the atheist ex-priest ruled by logic
  • Andi — the professor’s brilliant but geeky assistant who sees inexplicable patterns
  • Tank — the naïve, big-hearted jock with a surprising connection to healing power

“Brought together for the first time in “The Call,” the four soon realize pockets of darkness are emerging throughout the world. Whether it involves a mysterious house, the unexplainable death of animals around the world, or an otherworldly little girl, each puzzle they solve brings them closer to the ultimate explanation of what’s happening. But will they discover the truth in time?”

The idea of this series of collected novellas is wonderful: as they explain in the introduction, this group of author friends wanted to write engaging stories that could be read in one to two sittings. They see it as a kind of game for authors. Each author writes from the perspective of one of the four main characters, and each story builds off of the one before it. The stories are all unique, but work so well together.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, but altogether pretty darn cool, and I’d seriously recommend you pick up a copy of Invitation, HARBINGERS Cycle #1, as soon as possible. Happy reading!

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Firstborn Swag Offer

Hey all!

Just wanted to post a quick update on the book I reviewed a few weeks ago: Firstborn by Tosca Lee.

The amazing Tosca Lee is offering a pile of swag to all those who pre-order Firstborn and send a copy of their receipt to her “Asylum Warden” Cindy (cindy@toscalee.com) by May 9th.

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Check out even more about this fabulous offer (plus tons of super cool extras if you happen to preorder multiple copies!!) on Tosca’s website by clicking here.

Happy reading!