No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? By Christopher Johnson is an introspective religious and spiritual book. It contains many quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from famous people and some other religious figures with thoughts connecting it. Each chapter in the book covers a topic, such as love and forgiveness and then they all follow the same formula of having different quotes and speculation on these quotes. Johnson mentions in the book that his work is the result of conversations with different people in his life and his thoughts on these quotes.
Johnson’s work is interesting. He has quotes followed up with statements that are thoughts on these subject matters. The thoughts connecting these quotes are not always religious, some of them are statements referring to life, but the bulk of them are religious. In addition to quotes, there are topics for each chapter, and some contain metaphors. The metaphors, connecting quotes and thoughts are well done and seamlessly flow into one another. I quite enjoyed the vampire metaphor a lot. It fits into what the author was doing with that chapter perfectly, and I never thought of why vampires cannot go into the sunlight before, but his explanation of it made sense and fit so well with the text. Another analogy I greatly enjoyed was the tortoise and the hare. Johnson relates this to life and states that some are fast to separate but slow to come together, and I found that I agreed with that to a point.
I think for some, this book could be controversial, more specifically the parts addressing homosexuality. I personally do not agree with the sentiments made. I think when making claims similar to these, it would have been nice to have other sources other than Bible quotes and quotes from people that back up thoughts to make it more balanced. Without the balance, it comes off more as a strictly religious text. I do not think Johnson is intending to be biased, but I would have enjoyed other sources with similar statements.
Some of it seems contradictory at times too. For instance saying that God does not have a part in everything because He gave us free will and does not pull all the strings in everything, but then stated God supplies our money. But from the text, it would seem if we choose to work to make money, then we are supplying money through choice. Definitely a mind bender! The book is definitely thought-provoking at times, such as the chapter on forgiveness. That was an interesting read.
Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to those who are open to religious talks, as the book felt like a church sermon in each chapter, or those who are of Christian faith. I am open to seeing others’ perceptions and thoughts who are different from my own, so it was an engaging read and food for thought.
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07964NR4B
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Have you been in a situation where all hope seems lost? Have you felt like God is abandoning you? Have you ever felt like you faith is wavering? Like you are losing grasp of your relationship with God?
Heavenly Whispers taps into all of these feelings and serves as a guide to devotion to help keep that bond with God. This is a guide to keeping a hold on faith and remaining strong under God despite the storm that’s raging. This book will help you devote yourself to God unencumbered by your own mind and self-imposed hurdles by providing you with a strong and insightful scripture every day for 222 days. It comes in a tiny package. You can have it in your pocket for whenever and wherever the need to commune with God arises.
There are so many great qualities here. First is the carefully picked words from the Bible. The prayer after each scripture. Then there is how the message just seems to tap into that deep yearning for God. Another great thing, it is not bogged down by stories. There are no endless paragraphs of one person telling you how they do things and how this will succeed. The author delivers the scripture and prayer and then leaves it up to you to execute. Another thing that I really liked is that the devotion sessions are short. You could have a moment with God as you wait for the train or between meetings. It really is the best travel companion.
I feel like the book could have benefited from a sort of appendix at the back. A guide on which pages to go to when faced with specific situations.
Dr. Ronel Benade has provided people with a way to gain divine knowledge in a daily piecemeal way that makes all the wisdom of God attainable.
The prayers are simple and impactful and the author urges the reader to go on and impact the world positively. I find that the mere act of sharing this book with others is impactful. There is greater joy in receiving these little bits of Heavenly whispers.
Pages: 232 | ASIN: B07KMXN44F
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The Transition, Initiated by Copernicus and Galileo, from Religion to Science: The Beckoning Bridge Many Find Difficult or Impossible to Cross’ By Lawrence H Wood is a nonfiction book that seeks to shed light on the dichotomy between religion and science, and how the two can continue to co-exist side by side. The author details the transition from a religious based understanding to a scientific based understanding that began to occur in the mid sixteenth century, and discusses the two different explanations of ourselves and our surroundings–how they developed and why they co-exist when such coexistence is a constant source of confusion and conflict. In this book, Dr. Wood, a science historian, focuses on examining the historical aspects of science to further the reader’s understanding of the subject.
This books is divided into sections that look at various aspects of the historical development of science. It’s a fascinating topic that is given very little attention in an academic setting, since most science classes focus exclusively on the actual science with no mention made of the history of science. I found it interesting to read about the historical development of scientific understanding, as people came to understand various scientific principles, starting in the 1500’s when Copernicus observed that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the Sun around the Earth, as was the previous accepted belief. This marked the beginning of modern scientific investigation, along with the invention of the telescope and the microscope. I liked that the book described many scientific principles and theories and how they came to be discovered, and covered many different science disciplines, including geology, physics, biology, archaeology, and chemistry. I enjoyed reading about the discoveries and contributions of a wide range of scientists, from the sixteenth century to the present.
The book focuses on a variety of subjects from discovering that the Earth is billions of years old to modern advances in DNA and gene-splicing, but the author describes it in terms that make the information accessible to average people who may not view themselves as particularly scientific-minded. The author’s use of graphs and charts to illustrate points was a welcome inclusion that helped to further my understanding of the explanations presented in this book. Another helpful tool was the author’s summation of information at the end of each chapter.
Pages: 444 | ISBN: 1532024576
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God, who loves so deeply and delights to give, has made a multitude of promises throughout the Bible to His children. Yet, there are many of them who never posses their promises. They become weary with the wait and burdened down by questions like, “What do I need to do in order to inherit the promise God made me?” God has come through this author to provide His children with the answer that is sure to cause them to posses all their promises: You gotta let God finish! The Holy Spirit delves deep into God’s word by looking at the lives of various men and women throughout the Bible to shed light on the loving heart of God, His unfailing ways, and sure faithfulness toward His children, proving that all you have to do is allow God to finish what He began in order to receive all that He has. Readers’ lives will be completely transformed as they receive these revelations that have come forth from God, and as a result they will inherit all that God has for them and enter into their Promised Land!
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The Beauty of His Presence by J. Shannell Evans is a forty day-daily devotional for Christians. Each passage includes Bible verses mixed with everyday scenarios to which the reader can relate more closely. After each passage is an open ended set of questions with a writing area that lends itself to daily interpretation and reflection. The book begins with verses and passages about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It delves into Jesus’s birth and death from the start then incorporates the roles of faith, prayer, fellowship, and more within its pages. The author incorporates her personal opinion and experience into the work making it feel more personal and real to the reader.
Evans has curated a nice flow of devotionals. One flows nicely into the next, while at the same time standing alone should someone get off track or skip around. The passages are concise enough that reading one a day would not be a daunting task at all, and many would likely be able to easily read several. They are simply written while still being engaging. The book could easily be used in a group Bible study or Sunday school group. The questions after each section would be good for facilitating group discussion. The daily “Create your own ‘Thought for the Day’” prompt will leave readers with personal food for thought that they can ponder on throughout each day.
I like that the voice of the writer is incorporated. Evans gives accounts of her personal experiences and struggles. This makes the book feel less stuffy and rigid. It makes lofty goals of being a so-called “good Christian” feel attainable. Her personal voice keeps the book light and friendly. It feels more like a conversation than a sermon, and that is comforting. The book keeps a positive, uplifting vibe throughout. The content is heavy at times, but manages to give a hopeful air encouraging a closer walk with God.
I think the substance of the book is on target for its intended audience. Readers will enjoy the relatable stories paired with the daily verses. Evans has put together a great body of work with this book. I feel that it will be a book that will strengthen Christian’s relationships with Christ. It will give hope and positivity to the most downtrodden of readers.
Pages: 206 | ASIN: B079K5BJQY
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The day is fast approaching when the compilation of the many testimonies manifest in the various branches of His church will be woven together into a beautiful tapestry revealing the effort to which the Holy Spirit has gone, that God might have a happy, and united people. Yet today, the Restored Church is fractured. In this book, author Patrick McKay uses figurative language, common testimony, and prophetic expressions to illustrate the personal conviction, great spiritual truths, and lofty ideals of our epic latter-day theme. Each branch of the Restored Church has a rich legacy of testimony that has been created, preserved, and transmitted to them from the initial days of the Restoration, reminding us all of our spiritual birthright as inheritors of the angel message. McKay has seen the destiny of the Saints of the Restoration, and has written to set them free, offering fresh insights and optimism to enliven the reader to press forward toward Zion’s borderline.
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The book starts with the author taking us back to her childhood. She writes about an awful incident at home. In an attempt to perhaps discipline her, her mother physically abused her because she had an argument with the brother. She was so hurt and afraid, even thinking that she could die from the punches she received that day. The author also talks about how she tried to be her best but no one ever appreciated her efforts. Not even the excellent grades could get her a simple nod from the people around her.
Angelo Lowery tells of her story growing up. The good, the ugly, and the unfortunate. In all her narrations, she never forgets to mention how gracious the will of God is. The writer has gone through a lot. Experiencing just a fraction of what she has gone through can be quite overwhelming. Life can be disappointing, but we need to keep holding on. I love that the writer used examples from her family, friends and other associates in her life. Some of the things she talked about hit home, and I couldn’t help but think about some of the decisions I have made in my life.
I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me is a book written for everyone who is on the verge of giving up. Don’t lose hope. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep seeking. It is only a matter of time before everything falls into place. The author reminds us not to focus on the bad things that have happened to us. Yes, you may feel like this life is not worth living, you may have had the worst experiences among your peers; don’t feel sorry for yourself, the good Lord is out there looking for you. Sometimes all we need are challenges that make ourselves aware of the situations around us. Don’t blame yourself. It gets better with time. Don’t be quick to anger. The author excellently explains what holding grudges does to you. She knows first-hand, what carrying other peoples’ burdens does to your body. Strive to stay positive and always pray to God for strength.
I love how the author emphasized healing after hurting. Angelo Lowery’s life is proof enough that overcoming pain and suffering is possible. When writing this book, the writer had people who are heartbroken and those going through mental distress in mind. Her kind words are warm to the soul, and will help anyone who feels like this universe is not doing them justice. Open up to those who care, turn to God and always keep a positive attitude. There are so many lessons that one can learn from the author’s life. I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me speaks directly to you as a person.
Pages: 150 | ASIN: B0777KSDVF
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A Fire in the West is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and inspirational fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Harry James Fox: I agree that the novel steps all over the genre boundaries. Some have insisted that the books in the Stonegate series are really Dystopian or Action/Adventure with elements of Romance. My only defense is that I wrote stores that I enjoy reading. I suppose I wanted a novel that explored a collapse of civilization that would later lead up to the events described in the Bible in the Book of Revelation. But I decided not to write about the final Armageddon. These novels might be thought of as a prelude, however. I tried to make a believable society that could reasonably have developed a few generations after the beginning of a new dark age. I was not concerned with fitting within conventional genres, so it must have happened organically.
Lucia Mudgway: It was actually Harry James Fox’s idea about this trilogy in the first place. Harry masterminded the plot and story-line as well as outlining the major characters and the map of the area and the names of the towns, and and I helped create and develop it as well as adding some new characters into the mix. Basically, my writing was inspired by my faith and my knowledge of history from my undergraduate studies at University where I completed a Bachelor of Arts/Humanities degree majoring in Creative Writing and History. I am currently completing a Masters of Divinity degree after completing a Grad Dip in Creative Writing last year. A lot of my ideas did happen as I was writing, and it often felt as if there was an external spiritual force working with me.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Harry James Fox: The characters from the earlier books were old friends, such as Donald and Rachel. But the character that I liked the best was Arielle (“Ari”). She has a big heart and finds the strength to face adversity and emerge the stronger for it. I like her level head and her courage. I do find that I need some help in developing female characters, but my co-author, Lucia, was helpful in making her believable.
Lucia Mudgway: My favorite character was Robbie as he reminded me a little of the prodigal son whose defiance led him into dangerous waters where his faith was tested after doubting God and backsliding. I also loved the evil False Prophet as he reminds us that we are living in a world of spiritual darkness today from leaders who are not always interested in looking after the people, but where self interest and power are what motivates them. I guess I have a fondness for the false prophet because I helped create him with Harry. I found some inspiration for his character in Ephesians 6:12 which states, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It was evil that ruled the mind and soul of the False Prophet, so I would recommend reading the three books of the trilogy to get a better picture of how despicable the False Prophet really is. The second book, “The False Prophet” reveals his character more fully.
You both have written a fascinating novel. What was the collaboration like between the two of you on this book?
Harry James Fox: Lucia helped a great deal with the second novel of the series, and she actually wrote a novella based on the characters in the first book in the series. I then expanded this novella into a full-length novel. But I decided that the third novel would be one where we both were co-authors from the beginning. I was very pleased with the partnership. I probably would have procrastinated, but she helped keep me focused. I rather specialized in all things military, and she was the creative idea person that created an intriguing plot. It all went quite smoothly.
Lucia Mudgway: The collaboration between Harry and myself was pretty amazing and we work really well together, bouncing off each other for ideas. I am definitely interested in working with Harry in the future on other books, but at this present time I am trying to complete a novel I started years ago called “The Isis Factor”, which is a fictional thriller/romance inspired by facts and some true events. This story is set in England where the major protagonist, Nick Flanagan, an MI6 agent, is caught up in a world of terrorist activity from terrorists buying arsenal supposedly from the Russians for military training camps in Afghanistan. I am hoping to complete this in 6 months and have it published soon after completion.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Harry James Fox: I always have several projects at different stages of incubation. I am considering reworking some unpublished material and creating a novella, a prequel to the Stonegate trilogy. I imagine it will be published in 2019. I am a former intelligence officer and definitely have an interest in Lucia’s book “The Isis Factor.” I have volunteered to help with some technical details.
From author Harry James Fox, and co-author, Lucia Mudgway, comes an epic Christian fantasy, third in the Stonegate saga. In this gripping finale, Donald of Fisher and Rachel of Westerly as well as Carla and other favorite characters return to face another attempt by the evil False Prophet to overwhelm the free towns of the East. However, this tale centers around Donald and Rachel’s son, Robby, as he confronts all of his demons— his forbidden love for Ari, his cousin, and his conflicts with his father, Donald. Ari, Carla’s daughter, also finds herself in the heat of battle and is tested as she had never imagined. Family secrets emerge amid the threat of war, but courage, duty, and love become more important than ever. Will the False Prophet finally succeed in stamping out freedom, or will good finally triumph over evil? Will Robby find redemption for his decisions, and will the shocking truth about his past set him free to be with Ari?
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A Fire in the West is a Christian fantasy novel that is the third installment in the Stonegate Series. The third book takes place a hundred years after the first two, in the west of the Rocky Mountains. Even though the book takes place in the future, it seems that civilization has taken a back step. The novel takes place in the United States, and even though some locations are easily recognizable to the reader, it’s evident that they have changed in many ways. The one thing that has completely changed are the characters within the novel. They are left without the technological advances needed or wanted to face life’s challenges. They’re faced with evil and have to work together to battle it while keeping their basic values intact.
One of the big things that I appreciated within this novel was the authenticity of the main characters. I found there to be a good mix of characters and all were believable. Harry James Fox and Lucia Mudgway do a great job at giving each character a level of complexity that makes them more interesting. The authors also do a good job at setting up the dystopian future that the characters are living in, so these aspects of the novel are believable to the reader as well. I can see how the break from the social norm and downfall of technology came about.
Even though this was the last book in trilogy, the reader can still follow along with the story line without having to read the first to books. It’s a good enough story to want to go back and read the first two however.
I thought that the theme of Christianity within the story was a bit off from what I was expecting. We understand from the beginning of the novel that Christianity has remained with the characters despite the collapse of just about everything else. This story line provides the argument that once everything else is gone, our faith in God remains. But the characters don’t discuss or display an intimate relationship with him throughout the novel. I felt that there was no specific relationship with God illustrated throughout the novel, and I thought that the characters also don’t seem to give a second thought to the devil or the idea of hell. He’s present within the novel, but I never got the feeling that the characters actually feared him, it was more of a loathing towards him. These missing pieces aren’t necessarily a bad thing, just something that I thought might have been incorporated into the tale.
This book can be read and enjoyed by adults and young adults. Fox and Mudgway work together to create an interesting story that keep the reader’s attention and harkens back to an important aspect of any society, culture, or religion – morality.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B07DRRMZLF
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For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath provides a glimpse of the havoc the Devil can wreak when he comes for the End of Days and in search of a young Office Manager. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this novel?
The very first inspiration was a sort of vision, about 10 years ago. I saw a woman standing in a room surrounded by old wood and stones. She was close to a canopy bed and she was carrying a big, heavy, woolen blanket towards a window. I felt her sorrow, she was sad about somebody, she tremendously missed a person. Ten years after I was sitting in my beautiful sunroom in Northern BC, sipping tea and staring at the dark woods outside, the trees turning red, brown and orange, the crab apples filling the air with their sweet smell. I stared for maybe 5 minutes, after which I felt an extreme urge to write. I took my laptop and hastily started recording the events that would lead to “For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath”. I started writing in September. I had the entire story in my head, but I was busy with my daily activities, so I decided to set up a plan: I had to write at least 3,000 words a day, making up for those days in which I did not have time to write. That year the winter was particularly harsh, I felt I was held captive, and writing was the only escape from the daily -30°C, from the roads covered in ice and snow, from the long hours of darkness. I wrote almost every day, not having to think once about how the story would evolve: the adventures just flew out of me, in a sort of “channeling”. In February my first book was finished, but 6 more were already brewing in my head, including the sequels of this first book. It was only at that point that I decided to walk the next mile, and treat it as a professional work. I contacted the BC Editors Association and was smitten by their reactions to my little story. After contacting the BC Editors Association, I decided to go on a solo trip through British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alberta. Every evening I would check my emails and find those of authorities in the field that loved my work and were looking forward to read the entire story. This incredible experience spurred me to publish the novel.
My upbringing also definitely influenced my story-telling. Both my parents are attached to traditions, religion, legends and magic. My mother made sure that I would not forget about my roots, the Valley, the village “on top of the lake” (Summus Lacus), our religion. My father enhanced everything with magic and mystery.
This book is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, christian, and supernatural as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story was absolutely not planned. I just decided to start writing it without even knowing how it would evolve. I did not prepare an outline, I did not fill my walls with sticky notes, I did not have pages and pages of comments. I do have a little notebook, containing information regarding, for example, how old the characters are, if they are allergic to something, when their birthdays are, when they met each other. Nothing about the story itself. It was as if I was writing events that really happened, and the intention was just to make sure those occurrences could be remembered by future generations. My editor, Janet Southcott from Viridian Earth Contract, called my novel a “New Age fantasy”.
Your book has some fantastical creatures, but what I enjoyed was how your characters worked in harmony with one another. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?
I didn’t necessarily plan to capture any theme related to collaboration and compassion, so it definitely happened naturally. I do like the idea of different beings cooperating and developing these strong emotions and this genuine attachment for one another. In the beginning, the characters happen to come together for a higher cause; they are sort of forced to cooperate. In fact, we sometimes read that Emma doesn’t really appreciate the sternness of Ella, but, like a daughter-mother relationship, she respects the opinions and directions of a more experienced female. If we consider the novel from this point of view, it seems that the characters always approach a new “companion” with reservation, doubts and distrust. Of course, this is also caused by the events happening in the Valley, but don’t we often all react like this during our first meeting with somebody? It’s only after a few shared experiences that we manage to open up to the person in front of us. This is exactly what happens to Emma, Ella, Abela, and all the characters in the book. It is more obvious for Emma, because she is the one recollecting the events, we don’t really know what the other characters think of her, their first impression on her, but we can figure it out by reading about their behaviours and interactions with Emma through her own words. At the same time we can see how the characters evolve within their experiences: their core is the same, but their values change. There are no emotional barriers anymore; there is no time for counterproductive drama. The transition to peasant life also intensifies these values, all of a sudden the reader realizes that without technology and commodities, the characters have to communicate more, they have to cooperate and develop skills they weren’t even aware they had. Also, it is clear that by being the fellowship so diverse, each of the characters bring a different set of assets, which is shared between the members, increasing their knowledge and understanding.
This is book one in a trilogy. Where will book three pick up and when will it be available?
Book #2 and #3 are already in the process of being created, I just need the time to sit down and write them both. Book #2 will start with the main characters leaving the witch’s house and migrating to a more secure place: the gnomes’ kingdom beyond the mountains. The rest of the novel will bring more adventures and many unexpected twists. The common threads will still be the millennial fight between good and evil, love, friendship, occult, strength and hope with the Apocalypse permeating and hanging over everything like Damocles’ sword. Book #3 will incorporate also the final countdown until the last battle between good and evil, the one that will decide on the faith of humanity and Earth.
When the Devil puts his price tag on your head, you know you have to call upon some very special friends to help you stay alive. Welcome to the world of Emma. Thrown from relative obscurity into a time of being hunted, our young protagonist must transition from modern day to peasant life with difficult choices and a need to adapt. Life on the run takes trust and belief in the power of others, on a vastly changing stage. Emma Plant’s first novel throws the reader into a place where reality is no longer three dimensional. Descriptions of fairies, witches, gnomes and demons paint a picture for anyone who may wish a glimpse beyond the veil. Her characters live in the reader’s imagination beyond the final page, with the promise of a sequel, and potential trilogy in the offing. This new-age fantasy story will appeal to young adults through to senior years and is a page-turner from start to finish.
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