Awakening is a beautifully written and emotionally rich tale that weaves together the past and the present. Jezebel is a cleaner with a tragic past but life takes an unexpected turn upon meeting a new client, one Mr. August De Sanguine. Jezebel discovers that there is more to our world than she previously believed, but August seems to both pull her in and push her away. He has his secrets, but she does too, and she hopes to reach beyond the mask he has formed. Their fates are bound somehow, but their paths are tangled and winding, twisting together in ways neither of them could have foreseen.
Awakening is such an emotionally touching romance novel because of the way it addresses the human experience through characters and experiences that are more than human. The author touches on trauma, love, desire, sorrow, sex, and so many other aspects of the experiences of life. Even though many of the characters are otherworldly in some aspect, it is the deep emotional connection that the author weaves that allows the reader to relate to these characters and see our own sorrows, traumas, and desires in them.
Despite the sometimes quite heavy sentiments discussed by the narrative, Awakening also has an intricately layered plot that starts out relatively simple but grows increasingly complex and detailed. The world-building and mythology of the book is original and unique enough that it seems to outdo many popular franchises. Additionally, the story covers both past and present in a way that fleshes out the innate connections between the two. I found the extended flashback both enjoyable and informative as to the connections that make Jezebel’s and August’s story so magnetic and fateful. The story starts out what what seems to be a fairly simple love story but goes on to reveal some of the secrets of the universe and the origins of humanity as well as the power that lies within each individual.
Awakening is written in such a way that readers will forget that the story is fiction. Although the book is not action-packed, it is rich, well-imagined, and will keep readers turning pages. I highly recommend this book for those interested in romance and provocative philosophical ideas and theories.
Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M
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Did Jesus Die For Dogs? examines the relationship between nature and God’s salvation. Why was this an important book for you to write?
We miss so much when we ignore the full scope of salvation: understanding, joy, and purpose to name a few things. What I mean by understanding is, for example, we all know that Jesus was born in a manger. The focus in Christmas sermons is almost always on his humility. But, where else COULD he have been born? If he is the savior of the whole creation, it is only fitting that he be born surrounded by humans AND ANIMALS. The first Adam was born surrounded by plants and animals, the same needed to be true for the second Adam. The lyricist of “Joy to the World” understood this; when explaining the meaning of Jesus’ birth he wrote: “. . . let men their songs employ while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy. No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the Curse is found [the Curse being the twisting of the universe by sin].” He understood that the Messiah would bring in a renewed universe where the lamb would lie down beside the lion. The Curse would be lifted and Eden would return. Christ was messiah for the universe.
We miss joy because we miss God’s presence around us. The Gospel of John starts “In the beginning was the logos. . . “ Logos is usually translated as “word.” But to many if not most of John’s original audience, they would have read it in accord with popular stoic philosophy which used logos to refer to the rational structure of the universe. The very foundation of the universe became flesh. Johannes Kepler, founder of modern science and a Lutheran pastor, explained to an acquaintance that he studied science to understand the regularly repeated acts of God’s self-revelation. For Kepler, and biblically, each reflection on a body of water is placed there actively by God. Wind is God moving each molecule of air. All things hold together because God actively holds them together. The universe is not a machine wound up and now running on its own. In other words, God surrounds us and the whole world is holy.
And although I don’t draw these implications in the book, we miss purpose because we think only preachers and evangelists matter to the Kingdom of God. But this whole world is loved by God. We scratch God’s heart when we misuse creation. Global warming, plastic in the oceans, habitat reduction . . . how can Christians stand by and let what is loved by our Creator and Redeemer be decimated? Once we understand the depth of God’s love for bees, songbirds, frogs, polar bears, the need to defend them is obvious.
What do you feel is a common misconception people have about God’s salvation?
Certainly most Christians view salvation as a ticket out of hell and into an otherworldly eternal church service. The biblical picture is much different. Salvation is a never-ending process of being engulfed by the whirlwind of God’s creativity. God built a physical universe and we are physical parts of that universe. This universe, though twisted now, will be restored and become the arms of its creator wrapped around each one of us. God did not create us to live in an ethereal realm, that’s why, according to the Bible, the universe will be physically renewed and we will be physically resurrected.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
Assurance that all parts of this creation matter to its creator. God will not lose what God has created. All will be restored. It is as true for critters as for people, “God is God of the living, not of the dead.”
This book certainly has an attention grabbing title. What was the inspiration behind the book’s title?
I’ve watched the sadness, almost despair, of believers who have lost a pet. The church seldom offers any consolation although it should because salvation embraces animals as well as people. I wanted to drive that home with the title. The subtitle “What does the Bible say?” lets readers know this is a study of actual scripture. Other authors have covered this material from a history of theology standpoint, but presenting the biblical picture is less common. I wanted to let the audience know that the Bible affirms the everlasting value of the relationships we form with animals.
A notorious bullfighter demands a change in the world of Spain’s bullfighting. He realizes that the younger generation is more caring about animals and that the bloodshed of animals in the industry must stop if it is to survive. This controversial topic brings about a dark and twisted story. Meanwhile, a story about the dark web emerges. A Spanish detective is solving a difficult case that leaves many unanswered questions. The author ties the two stories together with friendship, love, and culture. It is a beautifully written and cultured book that makes you fall in love with the city of Rhonda in Spain and all it has to offer.
Darkness in Rhonda was incredibly eye opening and intriguing as it tells the story of a Spanish detective named Leon Prado and his lifelong friend Juan Romero. Paul S. Bradley begins the tale with a backstory of the gentlemen when they were young and how their families merged. The story then switches to present day in the beautiful, historical city of Rhonda, Spain. As the author tells the story of what is happening, he does a remarkable job of explaining in detail how to bullfight and I felt as if I was staring the bull in the eye myself. You can imagine the bull’s horns nearly colliding with your ribs and the way the bullfighter must dance about to avoid being mauled by the beast. At the same time, the author beautifully captures the essence of the culture, going into detail about the Spanish wine, crusty bread, Spanish cheese and most importantly, the meat industry in Spain.
The story brings in many characters and at first it is difficult to stay on track but as you read, you get to understand who each character is and the important role each of them play. Alongside Pedro and Juan are business partners and family friends named Phillip and Amanda and their story becomes truly captivating. Each character is narrated in detail and you can imagine them in their finest outfits perfectly described. The author does a great job creating characters that are complex, yet relatable. The story line was surprisingly easy to follow for having no background about Spanish culture or Spain as the reader. The author has created an enthralling plot including love, tragedy, mystery, and friendship. Darkness in Rhonda is the second book in the Andalusian Mystery Series and truly captures a gorgeously historical city and makes you feel as if you are there yourself, taking part in the beautiful Spanish history.
Pages: 261 | ASIN: B07PF8BJ5Y
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The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
Posted in Interviews
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Charlas Con Dios En Calzoncillos contains discussions with religious representatives of different faiths. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Most people are seriously and justifiably concerned about their thoughts on God and religion. Fears prevail and limit humans’ ability and disposition to express their feelings on the subject.
Asking questions to representatives of different creeds exposed some crucial differences among them. However, I tried to convey the message that mutual understanding can be achieved EVEN when individuals have opposite points of view.
My motivation in writing this book was based on a life-long struggle to deal with this issue and showing how important it is to express your ideas to GOD, even when you don’t know (as it happens in the book), He’s speaking to you.
This book contains some fictional stories to get a larger point across. What were some themes you wanted to capture in these stories?
Life without humor is a pathetic experience. Those who believe in God and his extraordinary goodness will notice his great sense of humor and of course, his capacity to do miracles.
Another very important point I made in the book is the suggestion that God is not directly responsible for human beings cruelty, and that He is extremely frustrated about humans’ highly dysfunctional behavior. That becomes even more pronounced when He recognizes that He’s unable to correct it. God’s attitude is humble and compassionate and he admits that the creation process of the world and human beings, regrettably, and to his deep regret, suffered from “infrastructure failures”.
I like the title of his book. Where did the inspiration for the title come from?
Perhaps, subconsciously I felt that those who believe in God would like to have chats with Him in a very personal and intimate way. Talking to God in underwear would be one way of doing that.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
Believing in God is far better than not believing in God. Appreciate God’s incredibly smart and beautiful he created for our world but also understand his limitations, as mentioned in the book by Rabbi Isaac. Also, make an effort to tolerate the doubts of the agnostic, Dr. Terrin, and don’t hate him for his ideas.
Nobody’s is perfect and God appears to be the first one to recognize that. Don’t feel guilty for your doubts. God will be grateful to you for your candor, sincerity, and understanding. And remember that He’ll never be able to avoid tragedies in your life, but will give you the strenght and capacity to fight adversity.
Dios viene a la Tierra como hombre para comunicarse con seres humanos directamente. El libro contiene discusiones con representantes religiosos de distintos credos y tambien contiene capitulos humoristicos. Se cataloga como “ficción”.
No tengo conocimiento de que algo parecido se haya publicado anteriomente.
Posted in Interviews
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Heavenly Whispers is a daily devotional perfectly written for people on the go. Why was this an important book for you to write?
So many people are working unprecedented hours night and day to provide for their family and make their mark in the workplace, leaving them with some guilt for not taking time to give to God. My purpose with this book was to remove that “guilt” we easily place on ourselves. God knows our hearts, and responsibility. With this book I give you, one thought and scripture to focus on, something to ponder during your hectic schedule. I tried to be as balanced as possible, covering different aspects you might encounter or gain new insight.
Time with God has nothing to do with time on a clock, to me it is sacred time during those busy hours where your inner man reflects and speak to God.
This book contains so many beautiful and inspirational selections of scripture. How did you choose what went into this book?
Honestly without the guidance of the Holy Spirit I don’t think I would have been able to write this book. Some life experiences and lessons I have learned He would bring to remembrance, and when praying about it, I would ask for words that would be helpful to the reader.
My favorite is John 17:17 on day 125. Do you have a favorite from this collection?
Day 189, Ephesians 3:16 is just one of my favorites. This one however is based on a personal encounter I went through when I was only a 3-day, born again baby. Back then I did not yet have a Bible, and, when faced with a demonic force I had to take a stand and say “no” 3 times, before that entity would leave me be. This is where I learned about the power our words have. With Christ taking the center within your inner man, you are an unstoppable force.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I just released a booklet in my Mother tongue; Afrikaans, as I believe my own “people” are deprived of new revelation God has for them, and we are in uncertain times in our country. My heart’s desire is that it would release new hope and inspiration. I would like to however release my next book in 2020 but I am working through some ideas.
This little book is packed with inspiration and encouragement.
Heavenly Whispers is a pocket-size devotional focusing on one scripture per day with a simple prayer that will inspire the reader to take small steps to impact others in an inspirational way. This devotional will suit the on-the-go persons to have a few minutes to spare to recharge and receive their daily upliftment from God that will carry them through the day.
This book is a quick daily read but packed with insights and new revelations. Be ready to be transformed to a better version of yourself.
Posted in Interviews
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James Frost is an aspiring writer with huge plans, but life seems to have things laid out quite differently for him. Rejection letter after rejection letter, James begins to lose confidence, becomes increasingly filled with fury, and sees no way out of his destiny as a school janitor. His father’s offhand attitude about James’s future does nothing to help his morale. Then, James meets Leigh–a woman who could not be more different from him if she tried. A devout Christian always seeing the positive side in trying situations, Leigh brings about changes in James and sends him careening down a drastically different path of emotions and a newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
James and Leigh both shoulder great burdens and are destined to have found one another at this specific moment in both their lives. Hebert paints a grim picture of the life Leigh endures as a woman with overbearing parents who manipulate everything from her love-life to her own self worth. James, with all of his issues, is as much a blessing to Leigh as she is to him.
Hebert addresses warped body images in a realistic and tasteful manner as he highlights the relationship between Leigh and her mother. In addition, he draws James into the dynamic by having him gently override the damage created by Leigh’s mother. Nowhere is this more poignant than when James, in no uncertain terms, explains to Leigh that she is speaking her mother’s words and not her own. Everyone needs a James in his/her life–he an amazing voice of reason.
James is an amazing character on many levels. Hebert has gifted readers with a champion of free thinking while molding a character who is broken and in need of love and faith. As a reader, I was touched on more than one occasion by the descriptions of James’s poor health, his financial struggles, and his staggering lack of self confidence. Hebert certainly gives readers a main character for which they can both cry and cheer.
I was more than impressed with the turn of events in which James becomes a giver of strength and a builder of self-confidence. It is quite a stark difference from the outset of the book wherein James’s feelings are scattered and he’s falling toward depression. Meeting Leigh is just the tip of the iceberg; meeting Meranda completes the change begun by Leigh.
Hebert’s book is an unconventional literary approach to expressing Christianity. Readers do not often find text professing faith in Jesus Christ written in the form of a novel. Each of the stories surrounding James Frost’s life tug at the readers heart and doesn’t stop. James and Leigh are memorable and relatable. Hebert’s in-depth look into James Frost’s transformation is a testament to faith, love, and hope.
Pages: 334 | ASIN: B002QHVW1G
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Evan is a normal twenty-first century man who works as an architect. However, to interrupt his daily routine, none other than Zeus himself, has decided to transport Evan to the sixth century BCE. Evan now travels across ancient Greece with his companions, including Atlanteans, a high priestess, and his friend, Dexion, who has the power to see into the future. All of this is for a mighty cause, Evan has been chosen by Zeus to unite two powerful relics in order to save the Gods from extinction.
Stuck in the sixth century BCE Evan longs to return home. Given his precarious position between times, the juxtaposition of his wants against his reality serves to highlight the stark differences between the comfort of home that Evan is used to and what he is currently facing. For instance, walking across a sandy plain in sandals verses the want for a motorbike to make short work of the distance. His modern life’s influence over his worldview often leaves him homesick, but he must complete his mission. On the other hand, his life back home gives him ways to solve the problems he faces in the sixth century BCE, taking ideas from the pop-culture of his own time and bringing them into the past to aid his quest. This fusion of time periods makes for some brilliant innovations and cross-overs between what we as the reader understand to be ancient Greece, and the modern day.
The Labyrinthine Journey is book two in Luciana Cavallaro’s Servant of the Gods series and it follows on fluently with the events of the previous book with references here and there to book one. Something striking about the series is the relationship between mortals and Gods. With whole chapters dedicated to the musings of God’s and their society it gives the reader an insight into their intentions. Furthermore, the book proposes an alternative viewpoint on the beginnings of Christendom. The Greek Gods fear that they will lose their dominance in light of a God-sent child being born that will potentially lead to the widespread belief in a single God instead of the current pantheon.
This retelling of the birth of Christ from the God’s perspective explains why Zeus wants the relics united – to maintain his and the other Gods’ significance. However, there are some Gods trying to interfere with the mission and stop Evan’s and his companions’ journey. Evan searches ancient Greece, already in possession of the first relic, for the second to unite the two. The perilous journey over a treacherous landscape naturally reminds one of the epics of Homer.
The Labyrinthine Journey was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I give it five out of five for its sophisticated and inventive retelling of the well-known and widespread story of Christ and its ability to connect it to the overarching quest narrative seamlessly. Luciana Cavallaro’s prose fits the story perfectly, making the journey truly epic. Furthermore, the fusion of God’s, monsters, ancient philosophers, magical ancient relics and even time travel, leads to unexpected twists and turns throughout the novel.
Pages: 311 | ASIN: B075QGZQP9
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