Sunday, July 31

40 by Travis Thrasher

What would you do if knew the date on which you would die?  Would you be happy with how you lived your life, or would it be filled with regrets?  Would you tell other people, or would you keep it to yourself?

This is the situation facing Tyler after his guardian angel, Matthew, says that Tyler will die on his 40th birthday—less than a year away.  A music producer who worked on one of the biggest hit albums in the last several years, Tyler has been on a bit of decline.  His star musician never shows up to any meetings, and there seems to be trouble getting a studio to sign on to a popular Christian singer looking to crossover into a more secular market.

Sunday, July 24

Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Choices of One is the newest edition into the expanded universe.  That it is written by Timothy Zahn is a welcome relief.  Zach is the author of The Thrawn Trilogy, which helped ignited the Star Wars expanded universe, which now features numerous bestselling books and spans a time frame which starts thousands of years before A Phantom Menace and go until over 40 years past A New Hope (the Fate of the Jedi series), or if you count the graphic novels it goes more than one hundred years past A New Hope (the Legacy series).

Even though the Rebels succeeded in destroying the Death Star, there fight is far from over.  After being discovered on Yavin 4 they are in search of a new base, and the Empire is dead set of destroying them before they do.  Meanwhile, a mysterious warlord named Nuso Esva from the unknown regions seems to be growing more powerful daily.  Neither the empire nor the rebels seem to know fully which side, if any, Nuso is on.  All three groups end up in the Poln system, trying to dig deeper into the issue.

Thursday, July 21

To Be Perfectly Honest by Phil Callaway

Thou Shall Not Lie.

We all know that commandment, right?  But are there limits, or exceptions to this?  Is it lying to laugh at a joke, even if it’s not funny?  Is it okay to lie when telling the truth would reveal a surprise such as an upcoming gift?

These are just a couple of the situations that Phil encountered while trying to live a full year without lying, which he does at the request of the publisher.  That’s right, it was his publisher’s idea, not his own.  When I read that, it instantly sent up red flags for me.

God Wins by Mark Galli

God Wins by Mark Galli
*please note that I have read Love Wins, though I have not reviewed it at this time.

As soon as Rob Bell's Love Wins was first announced, a huge fury of criticism rose against him.  Many acted as if they knew exactly what Rob was going to say based purely on the title, subtitle, and a short teaser trailer.  The book's release served to fuel the criticism of some, but it also caused people to think and engage with new ideas.  Not everyone who read the book agreed with Rob Bell, but not everyone who disagreed with him harshly criticized him.  In the wake of Love Wins, it seems publishers decided to hit on a potential goldmine by releasing books responded to Love Wins.  God Wins, by Mark Galli, is one such book.

Wednesday, July 20

Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne

When I was in late elementary school, my parents read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – I quickly fell in love with both.  Since then I read the books numerous times and did more than one report on J.R.R. Tolkien, especially where The Lord of the Rings was concerned.  When I saw that Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounters series had a book on Tolkien, I knew I had to give it a try.

When I first received the book, I was a little disappointed at the length.  At barely 130 pages (this is not counting the bibliography), I was concerned about the quality of the content and worried that it would be too brief.  On the plus side, I knew it would be a fast read.

Sunday, July 17

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin and Alex Malarkey

In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his son Alex were in a terrible car accident.  Kevin sustained only minor injuries, but Alex was near death and many did not expect him to live.  Alex was in a coma for two month, barely clinging onto life.   Though the doctors could not explain it, Alex began to heal.  It was slow, but at the end of the two months Alex woke, and boy did he have a story to tell.  He spoke of seeing the accident as if he was not seeing it from his body and described things that he should not have known.  From there, Alex says that he was brought into heaven.  He also recounts being told (in Heaven) of another man who ‘died,’ went to heaven, and returned to earth, and said that man’s descriptions were accurate (I’m presuming he’s talking about 90 Minutes in Heaven, though it is not directly identified beyond vague references).

Thursday, July 14

World War Z by Max Brooks

After many years, the remaining human population is beginning to settle back down, though the whole human race is still haunted by the zombie outbreak. That zombie outbreak spread throughout the world, resulting in a massive war: humans versus the undead. The war is over now. 12 years have passed since the United States declared victory on their soil. For many other countries, victory came later. World War Z seeks to document, through numerous interviews, the events which occurred in the war. Interviews are held with people from all over the world and from all levels of society. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of war.

Wow. I really liked this book. Max Brooks creates a vivid picture of a world torn by war and the undead. As the interviews progressed and more details were revealed concerning the zombies and the war, it consistently felt real. I felt that if a zombie outbreak were to actually occur, the events in this book would be entirely plausible.

Thursday, July 7

Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper

According to John Piper, joy is at the root of a Christian’s relationship with God, using the terms Hedonism and Hedonist to describe this.  This is not to be confused with straight-up hedonism, and Piper makes sure to note and explain the distinction.  A Christian, he says, should take pleasure and experience joy in worshipping and following God.

Piper begins with an explanation and an early defense of his position.  From there, he examines how his ideas are to be found in various aspects of Christian life.  Subsequent chapters cover marriage, Scripture, prayer, and even suffering.  All of this is with the goal of worshipping God and serving God.

Saturday, July 2

Breath of Angel released

Back in April I reviewed Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley.  Well it was finally released in mid June!  You can check out my review here.

Meanwhile, I have a huge stack of books on my desk to read.  I'm hoping this July will allow me to feature many book reviews.

And have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!