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review 2018-04-23 00:52
More Than Conquerors
When God Says "Go": Rising to Challenge and Change without Losing Your Confidence, Your Courage, or Your Cool - Elizabeth Laing Thompson

 “When God Says Go” is tellingly subtitled “Rising to challenge and change without losing your confidence, your courage, or your cool”. This clever alliteration gives an indication of the story within, because although this is a work of nonfiction, it reads more like a collection of personal accounts, threaded together to form a manifesto of sorts about facing and conquering life changes. The truth of the matter is, few of us welcome change, yet we all find ourselves having to deal with it throughout our lives. We like to be in control, and so often when God beckons us to a task, we balk due to fear and uncertainty. Thompson points out a profound truth here, however: “God’s call wasn’t about the people he called—God’s call was about Him. It was and is and ever will be about Him…When we live our life devoted to fulfilling God’s purposes, we stop worrying about ourselves: our success, our reputation, our appearance. We lose ourselves in Him. In His purpose. In His call.”

Building upon this insightful realization, each chapter is about a calling. Ten Biblical characters’ stories are highlighted among twelve chapters, after which a relevant explication in a modern setting ties the past and present together, followed by a corresponding example from the author’s life. Each chapter ends with a “Let’s Go Deeper” section, which includes a Bible reference for further study, a journal prompt, and a prayer prompt in the form of a Bible verse. This thoughtful organization and conversational tone draws readers in and makes “When God Says Go” a wonderful resource for either individual or group study. No matter how great or seemingly small our own calling may be, this book reminds us that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved—and still loves—us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-04-17 21:04
River Rising
River Rising - John A. Heldt

The five Carson siblings have been in turmoil since the disappearance of their parents several months earlier. When oldest sibling, Adam receives a packet from his parent's lawyer, the pieces begin to come together. However, the packet reveals a secret website set up by their parents telling of their discovery of time travel portals and the subsequent adventures in different time periods. After Adam reviews the evidence and reads through how the portals work, he gets his siblings together and they unanimously vote to travel through time in order to reach their parents. They plan to go through a portal near their hometown in Arizona, taking them back to the 1880's; however when they step through the portal they end up near Johnstown, Pennsylvania in December 1888. The siblings quickly try to acclimate themselves into the time and begin the search for their parents. For twin siblings, Cody and Caitlin, this means enrolling in school. For middle brother, Greg, an adventure into the truly wild west to track a lead in Arizona territory and California. For Natalie, using her journalism skills to follow leads while Adam manages information and holds down the fort from the temporary home at the Colbert Boarding House. Even though the sibling's main objective is to find their parents and return home, the extended stay in Johnstown has led to romantic entanglements for four of the five siblings and their parents keep slipping through their fingers. On May 31st, 1889, the Johnstown flood devastates the town and the inhabitants leaving the Carson siblings in disarray.

River Rising is an epic time travel adventure. This is a story you will want to take your time with and sink into. From the moment the five siblings walk through the time portal and into 1880's Pennsylvania, ‚ÄčI knew I was in for an exciting ride. Amazingly, all five siblings: Adam, Greg, Natalie, Cody and Caitlin are very well developed and individual characters. They each take turns at telling their part of the story through their point of view while continuing a cohesive story line. Pennsylvania 1888-89 was a wonderful year to travel back to; much like the Carson siblings I was amazed at the time period where Benjamin Harrison had just been elected President, Mark Twain was in his prime, the West was still wild and Punxsutawney Phil has made his first appearance. Through the sibling's eyes, I was able to see many of these events first hand. Unlike the characters in Heldt's other time travel series, the Carson siblings did not travel through time thinking about the possibility of altered timelines. I am very interested in how their very involved actions in 1888 may have altered things in the present. I am also very interested in how the time portals work; it is know that they appear on solstices and seem to appear in areas that are known to be sacred or have paranormal activity. I would love to figure out more about them and where else they seem to pop up. Near the end of the Carson sibling's grand adventure, the game of cat and mouse that they have been playing with their parents seems to be no closer to the end and the intensity increases when tragedy strikes with Johnstown flood; I had a hard time putting the book down. Ending, with a huge cliffhanger, I can not wait to see what happens with the Carson family next. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-16 14:40
Alex is threatened and thrown into a mission in Cairo
Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz

Razim is a bad guy, a psychopath that recently joined Scropia. 

 

He wanted a few things, to build up the reputation of Scorpia for being the big bad again. He wanted to use Alex Rider to humiliate the British government. And he knew the past failure is the mistake of people undermining Alex Rider because he is a teenager. 

 

Not again. He wanted to setup Alex Rider for his plan and killed him in the process.

 

The MI6  fall for it. And so Alex Rider was against sent on a mission. This time, with hie only trusted adult Jack.

 

Julius  is a clone who was supposed to replace replace a rich kid. It turned out the rich kid is not a rich kid at all. It was Alex Rider cover identity. And the way he had gone through surgery to make him look like Alex pissed him off. He was prisoner seven. He escaped from jail with the help of Scorpia. 

 

The trap is set. And Alex is in real trouble. 

 

This book is much darker than the previous one. Alex usually got into danger because the adults in MI6 or CIA were bad decision makers who don't care about the life and safety of a orphaned teenager. 

 

After a few brush with death, Alex was still a kid and the darkness he experienced hasn't really cast shadow in his personality. 

 

Not this time. 

 

 

It would be surprised that he is not suffering from PTSD and grief. Alex was just one very good and skill and unfortunate kid. His mental state would be like a kid who had survived the war zone. 

 

Good one. With interesting plots. 

 

Including the bad guy Razim telling Alex his evil plan right before he executes them.

 

Enjoy reading this one. 

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text 2018-04-15 03:03
Reading progress update: I've read 182 out of 431 pages.
Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz

The setting up is much better in this one. 

 

Scorpia has a new management. The new bad Razim is psychopath. And he planned to get back the bad ass reputation of Scorpia after two big failures. He also attributed the failures to Alex Rider. 

He planned to set up to reveal that MI6 is using a teenager as a bargaining chip to blackmail the British government to give back some Greek statues to Greek as part of a paid request from a new client. 

 

Alex Rider is now back to school. He got taller and now 15 year old. He had visited Sabina and they are still together. He had planned with Tom Harris, his best friend. 

 

All that changed when a sniper take a shot at him at school and Tom got hurt in the process. 

 

Now Mrs Jones and Blunt had him in mind for a new mission in Cario. That is a secret code and there might be a threat to an international school in Cario. 

 

Now that Alex is in danger in school. They suggested to enroll him to a school in Cario instead to keep an eye on things and keep him safe. 

 

Now Jack is going with him this time.  

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review 2018-04-12 19:06
Wendigo Rising
Wendigo Rising - James A. Hunter

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

Still an original setting, one that makes use of less known supernatural/folklore creatures (such as Sasquatches—I don’t think I’ve seen a single vampire yet in this series, and this is refreshing). We also find again some of the previously involved characters, such as agent Ferraro, Yancy’s old Vietnam comrade Greg, and James from the Guild, along with unlikely allies in the person of, well, Bigfoot and his daughter (he’s not named Bigfoot, although Yancy keeps calling him Kong, for want of being able to remember his full name). To be fair, at times I preferred these two Sasquatches, once they got past their tendency to refuse to explain their real reasons.

Some of the action scenes were pretty interesting. There’s a curious ‘battle of the bands’ at some point, mixing music with combat, and that isn’t something I’ve often read. Other such scenes left me quirking an eyebrow, though, like the one with Cassius. I quite dig Cassius, but I’d like to know more about him, apart from the little Yancy tells us about him, and the fight scene I’m thinking about, the one at the end, was… OK, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to make of it. It was fun in a WTF way, but it jarred with the rest of the UF/supernatural-oriented action. I think a little less action in parts would’ve been good here.

This book tended to annoy me more than the previous ones when it comes to Yancy’s personality, though. I’m all OK for the grumpy, no-strings-attached guy who prefers to live in his car, but the way he acts at times is much too childish for someone with so many years of experience, and especially so many battles and betrayals behind him. I guess this is why I particularly appreciated the moment when ‘monsters’ put him back in his place regarding ‘all the people they had killed’ vs. ‘did you ever wonder if the monsters you killed had friends and families?’

Conclusion: 2.5 stars, there are good things in this series, and the end paves the way for more, since part of the threat is gone, but not fully… and things could still go terribly wrong.

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