I've read my fair share of fantasy. Joe Abercrombie is quietly writing his way into a great fantasy world of independent stories. To be fair this is nI've read my fair share of fantasy. Joe Abercrombie is quietly writing his way into a great fantasy world of independent stories. To be fair this is no Game of Thrones, this is better.
Along The Shattered Sea, is a collection of kingdoms dominated by The High King who is old and not entirely popular. He has asked that all of the smaller kingdoms not wage war until he has finished his Temple to the One God. This request is ignored and war in sues. During a raid party, a king is killed along with his son; therefore, the second in line must be installed. This feeble young man, Prince Yarvi, is studying to be a political minister not a king for battle. He is too small to wear armor. Too weak to carry a shield, born with only one good hand, and too dumb to know that his loving Uncle wants the crown. After a failed raid against their enemies is taken prisoner, sold into slavery and begins to plan his revenge. With the help of his oarmates, and some dumb luck, he gains his freedom and begins the long journey home.
The book is a great look into a broken world full political distrust, slave trading, sea merchants, and kings bent on glory not leadership. What is not here is the epic battles on open fields with orcs and sorcery. No this is a story about living in a harsh world full of greed and anger. I looking forward to the next one in the series.
The rating is purely based on this version of the text. The digital rendition had line breaks and page breaks that were unnatural to read. The SermonsThe rating is purely based on this version of the text. The digital rendition had line breaks and page breaks that were unnatural to read. The Sermons themselves, this was the second time I have read these works and enjoyed them again. Highlights include Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and The reality of Spiritual Light....more
I borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currentI borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currently looks in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. The history, background materials, and comparison charts are a wonderful read for those not knowledgeable; but as a whole, it reads more like a seminary textbook instead being intended for the average layman. The last third of the book would be most beneficial to Pastors and lay leaders looking to build "new members" classes and redeveloping the Sunday School program. The major idea being the creation of the three tiered program of classes that identify new believers, growth and discipleship of followers, and the mentoring of believers and leaders of the church. ...more
I haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never brI haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never branched out into his other writings. With all of that being said, I liked about 90% of the book. I didn't necessarily love it, but it was fun to read. New characters in the christian archaeology thriller genre are hard to beat out the old ones but this one is worth the time for the new perspectives it brings to the apostles Luke and Paul. (view spoiler)[The premise of the novel is in the same vein as The DaVinci code and the Templar Novels. Paul's lost manuscript has been found and is now being sought after by art thieves and archaeologist. Enter, August "Augie" Knox, a theology professor at a small independent theological seminary in Dallas. His connections with tour guides and theologians in Rome pulls him into this now crazy race to find, protect, and ultimately reveal the precious artifact. I really like this new Augie Knox character and would be willing to read a story with him again. His faulty and quirky in a wholesome way that is continuous approachable. The problem is that the bad guys and psuedo-bad guys are wood characters and for the most part transparent in both motive and scheme. At the same time that we get this story, three others are layered on top of it. The story of Augie and his future wife. Paul in the last few weeks before his execution in Rome and the actually autobiography that Paul has written. The other major problem I have with the story is Paul's motivation for persecuting Christians. We get a great POV into how he is trained in Jerusalem and becomes a member of the Sanhedrin. We even see how he logiaclly stands against Jesus's ministry during his times at the Temple Mount and crucifixion. The problem occurs when it is assumed by Jenkins and MacDonald that a broken heart is his major reason for persecutions, it lost me. It actually got to a point were I wanted to speed through the story of Luke and Paul to get back to reading about the lost manuscript being found and moved around. In the end I cared more about Luke not getting caught in Rome, during the writing of the manuscript, than I did about Paul's pre-conversion story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Steven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and brokenSteven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and broken nihilistic heroes, Patrick Bowers is a logical and faithful man of the law. He uses science as a means and not a ethical crutch to do he wants, that is directed at you Sherlock Holmes. In this novel, we really get to see the emotional and logical connection that law enforcement has to make everyday and it is not done in the stylist Lethal Weapon or Rush hour buddy cop kind of way.This time we find Bowers on the cusp of his wedding and what would turn out to be one of the worse weeks of his life. Richard Basque, the cannibal psychopath, is slowly working his way closer and closer to Patrick Bowers. Meanwhile, someone is tainting shipments of anti-depressants as a means to cause mass suicides across the US. As if this is not enough, Tessa, Bower's step-daughter, is in the final weeks of her Senior year, no Prom date but a cute guy is interested and a possible graduate speech to boot. Toss in a pair of garden sheers, a crime novelist, her daughter, and a side trip to India and you have the one of the best novels in the series. For those looking to find a hard science based legal thriller, without the sex and cursing, this is your series but do your self the favor and start at the beginning, The Pawn. Spoilers!!!!(view spoiler)[ After reading Opening Moves, I couldn't figure out what made that whole story seem off to me. I thought maybe it was the publisher/editor or the fact that it was a flashback. The novel was good but just wasn't the Patrick Bowers I was use to, then I read this one and it was obvious. I like the Patrick that is more like me. Family guy with stress from both sides of life, family vs career. Techie but still has friends and can unwind around regular people. Some of the best scenes for Patrick are the ones where he is trying to figure out how to handle being Tessa's "dad." Brineesha and Ralph are great foils for this and provide him parental advice that he desperately needs. Alternatively, after Lien-hua's attack she is mostly pointless in the story except for the wedding at the end. Her encounter with Basque really turns on the heat but I like her as a character and at times she completely disappears for chapters because of her recovery. Brineesha helps to fill the role and some muddled and teenage angst driven conversations from Tessa help, but Bowers is on his own in this one and that what scares him the most. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Michael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one pagMichael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one page goes by without sound biblical reference and additional examples of modern leaders used to make a point. For many looking to read a neo-pop culture version of John Maxwell, this is your book. And that is not meant to be a drumming of the book at all, but instead an acknowledgment that the iPod generation is moving into leadership roles and they need more than just Passion Conferences Podcast to get them motivated to lead. His style of writing is light, airy, and conversational but not vapid. I was struck by his use of the CEO of Starbucks as an example, since recent comments of the CFO seem to be a little anti-church, but Youseff backs up the secular example with scripture. He balances the tools you need to be a leader with modern examples and the moral steerage of Jesus Christ, without the negative nagging patriarch tone of some older leadership readings. I'm really blessed for reading it and will definitely keep it in my rotation of leadership readings for the next few years. Comparisons would lead me toJesus, CEO, writings by Francis Chan or Louie Giglio, and some of Andy Andrews works.
Francis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of MFrancis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of Multiply is that the form of Discipleship has waned greatly in the last century. Where churches have focused greatly on creating converts, the growth and depth of faith has shallowed out. Thus the lay leadership is ill-equipped to meet the growing needs of the current generation of believers. If I were to recommend this to anyone it would be a group, especially Sunday School Leaders, as a bible study focus for the a month or the year. A lot of what he has to say has more of an impact if a group can plan impact activities instead of an individual working singularly within a church....more
I finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the lI finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the leader of a fairly large ministry/church. The downsides of the book are that it appeals well to a niche market. Those who have not read the copious amounts of leadership materials from Druker, Maxwell, and Roth will find this a great place to start reading about Leadership Principles. Mohler mentions them in passing and quotes them in various places but his purpose is slightly different from theirs. Where the previous writers speak more to the general ideals of leadership, Mohler talks about the application of leadership in a ministers/discipleship leader's life. I imagine that a bulk of this work was generated as a part of his teaching at Southern Seminary. At times reads as a do this, not that, if you become a head minister following your MA Div. His information on communication management skills and PR would be a critical leg up for anyone. However, those looking for a more generalized or business approach to leadership may want to go with other books available in the genre. Lay leaders of the church might also benefit more from a devotional style leadership reading instead of a how-to.
This book was provided to me as a ebook review by NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing...more
For those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/HalliburFor those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/Halliburton based conspiracy is great and interesting but tends to fall apart at times. The uplifting elements come from the relationships developed between Royce, Kitra, Charles, and the local elders. The digital edition from amazon was nice but some noticeable copy/edit issues started showing up in the second half of the the book.
(view spoiler)[ My favorite parts of the book had to be his time in Israel. His dreams of a simple future and helping keep the watch of his newly adopted peoples in the Rift Valley. What completely tears this down is the idea that Royce wouldn't accept this as his true future and walks away from it and Kitra in the last chapter. Other elements that surprised me were that I could see Royce and Crowder redeveloping Lodestone or a new group based out of Kenya to do the work for Ambassador Walton. Overall the openness of this stories ending is too much for my taste and didn't seem to jive with the development of Royce as a character during his time in Israel. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
My wife found this at our favorite used bookstore. It was shelved in the Christian Fiction section and is distributed by B&H. First, Ralph Reed knMy wife found this at our favorite used bookstore. It was shelved in the Christian Fiction section and is distributed by B&H. First, Ralph Reed knows his way around beltway politics. His characters at times come off as being copies of current or former politicians and their actions are founded in truth. Second, he can develop a mystery that makes sense and seems to be believable. In this book a US Senator is found murdered and it may be connected to CIA/NSA investigations on the Iranian Nuclear program. The problem is that even though it is a political thriller, it is masquerading as Christian Fiction. Granted it is not laden with expletives, like many in the Political Thriller genre, and characters have some kind of faith, many are associated with a group similar to the Family Foundation, but the issue is that their faith is not necessarily motivating their actions. The reflective introspection of many characters as they challenge their faith with secular politics are lacking or completely missing. Compared to others who write in the genre their is no overwhelming faith driven characterization.
I would put his prose and storytelling on the same level as Joel C Rosenberg and Davis Bunn but there are times that his writing seems a bit flawed. If you are looking for inspiration from a character who is a prayer warrior of a flawed character looking for faith in a broken world this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a David Baldacci without the cussing and gratuitous sex, this is your book. In reality it should be a political thriller written by a Christian instead of Christian Political Fiction. I may try and find one of the other two books in the series but I've got others in the que ahead of this one....more
Probably the best book in the series because Capt. Geary is forced to deal with the major loses in Cavalas system, his impending return to Alliance spProbably the best book in the series because Capt. Geary is forced to deal with the major loses in Cavalas system, his impending return to Alliance space and the possibliity of political feuding, and the fleet commanders who are using computer worms to take over the fleet. Additionally this is the first book without any real romance since Geary and Rione began their odd relationship. From a leadership standpoint this book is excellent to look at the ussuses of post-failure/loss planning and the benefits of a trustworthy and trained leadership cadre within an organization. ...more