A Promise of What is To Come

Title:  A Promise of What is To Come

Author:  First Fruits of Zion

Website:  https://tv.ffoz.org/

Year:  2017

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

On the website are the videos for each of the 26 episodes that coincide with the study by the same title.  You can purchase the study guide at https://ffoz.com/a-promise-of-what-is-to-come-study-guide.html

The study guide is optional if you just want to watch the video lessons on the website and take notes if you desire.  I really enjoyed the nuggets of wisdom and the short trips to Israel to get understanding of the meaning behind various Hebrew words and their usage.  I enjoyed seeing the many different sites and places that are beautiful in Israel as Arron taught.  The only negative of the videos is the cameraman in Israel was at times not so steady with the camera and it was a little distracting.

I bought the study guide so I pre-read what the lesson was about and so I can share it with my family.  The front of the study guide says it best, “…Kingdom-focused and Jesus-Centered Teaching from a Messianic Jewish Perspective.”  However, the material is presented in such a way as not to overwhelm the listener and it makes it easy to quickly recall what is being taught.

I know for me I will eventually go back and go through the teachings again, because I am sure I didn’t absorb all the knowledge shared.  The lessons don’t last more than 30 minutes, and they are very well formatted and easy to use for individual or group study.  Plus, it isn’t expensive to get the study guide should that be desired.

Why not at least visit the site, look around and listen to a couple of teachings before making up your mind about whether you want to do the study.  The First Fruits of Zion is very welcoming to both Messianic Jews or Messianic Gentiles or seekers.  So, jump in and get wet, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to do more lessons and share this website with family, friends or anyone else you know!


Dark Deception (Defenders of Justice #2)

Title:  Dark Deception (Defenders of Justice #2)

Author:  Nancy Mehl

Pages:  308

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

This is another great suspense thriller from Nancy Mehl!  I have read most of her books and have found them all to be well-written and exciting with plenty of tension that builds to an exciting climax.  The setting in this story is in a small town in Arkansas in the present day.  Kate is in the Witness Protection Program and living under an assumed identity.  She was the only witness to her sister’s murder six years ago.  It is soon found out that her sister was the victim of a serial killer.  Tony DeLuca is the Federal Marshal who protected her during the trial all those years ago.  Kate developed a crush on Tony, but he kept his distance, thinking she was too young.  Now, new evidence has been discovered that might clear the man Kate sent to jail.  Tony is sent to bring Kate back for another trial.

In this story, Kate has walled herself off from God and everyone else as she has buried her grief and pain over her sister’s murder.  She has put it in a box and won’t open it; it is too painful.  Tony DeLuca has arrived in town to escort her to testify yet again.  Kate doesn’t want to see her sister’s killer again.  It brings back the fear, pain and grief; it hurts too much.  Tony gently advises her to deal with her grief so that God can heal her.  She wants that relationship with God re-established, but can she open that box and let go and let God?  Tony rents a cabin at a local fishing resort, but is attacked and left for dead.  He survives, but he is now on full alert and in protection mode for Kate.  Before Kate can decide whether to deal with her emotions or not or even leave to testify, she is kidnapped by an unseen man.  As soon as Tony discovers Kate is missing, he is on the move to rescue her, but will he find her in time?

This is a page turner to be sure!  I kept glued to the pages in anticipation to see how Kate and Tony were going to get out of many adverse situations.  The danger mounted and some of the pieces of the puzzle began to fall in place, but how would the story end?  How would the loose threads be tied together?  You’ll just have to get a copy for yourself to find out!  It was an exciting page-turner from beginning to end.  Don’t miss this one!


Title:  Plummet

Author:  Brandilyn Collins

Pages:  309

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Challow Press

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Cara Westling has just left an abusive marriage and is starting over in the new town with her teenage daughter.  It has been two weeks since they moved and Cara started her new job as an administrative assistant for the small town’s prominent and wealthy financial planner, J.L. Larret.  Cara has no money, but is able to rent a small house and a so-so neighborhood.  Her daughter is facing bullying at school and in text messages.  Cara initially is unaware of this, but knows her daughter doesn’t like her new school.

Cara is pulled into a coverup of a murder.  She is manipulated and bullied into cooperating with the killer as he/she directs the coverup.  The police start asking questions and Cara is a nervous wreck.  In an attempt to further bind Cara to him/her, the killer offers to pay the tuition at a private school for Cara’s daughter.  Cara wants what is best for her daughter and now that she knows that her daughter is being cruelly bullied, she agrees.  The police continue to question and Cara’s anxiety is off the charts.  She can’t stand what she has done and is losing sleep, vomiting and a nervous wreck.  How can she keep up the charade?  How is she once again the victim?  She wants to be such a strong example for her daughter, but what is she to do now?

This story has got plenty of tension and builds to a great ending!  The timely issue of cyberbullying is depicted in this story, which made me aware of how easily this could happen and the its extent.  My only negative comment on the book is I thought there was too much time spent on Cara’s angst about choices she has made.  However, the story ended with a bang that caught me by surprise!  I have read many of this author’s novels and find them to always offer lots of suspense and plot twists, which make them interesting and fun to read.  I look forward to her next offering with anticipation, and I hope readers take the opportunity to read this exciting story.

Fatal Trauma

Title:  Fatal Trauma

Author:  Richard Mabry, M.D.

Pages:  297

Year:  2015

Publisher:  Abingdon Press

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Kelly Atkinson and Mark Baker work in the ER.  Kelly is a nurse and Mark is a doctor.  One night an emergency room visit by two drug cartel members will change the lives of Kelly and Mark.  Now, they have been marked for death by a drug cartel that has infiltrated Texas from Mexico.  The Zetas have vowed vengeance on anyone in the ER when their two members were there.  An anesthesiologist and a surgeon are shot.  Kelly and Mark have attempts made on their lives, but try their best to stick together and protect one another.  In addition, Mark becomes a suspect in a shooting of a female doctor at the hospital whom he is dating.  The hospital administrator wants Mark fired to reduce the bad publicity for the hospital.  As it seems Mark is getting closer and closer to being arrested fired, and the detectives don’t seem to be looking at any other suspects for the shooting, Mark is in despair and turns to a fellow doctor for advice.  Dr. McCray tells Mark that he can only get peace from surrendering control of his life to God.  Mark was raised in a Christian home, but when he began college he pushed God aside.  Mark sees a peace in Kelly as well as she also is a Christian, trusting God with her life.

As Mark and Kelly become honest with their deepening feelings for one another, can they live long enough to discover true love with each other?  Is there something more going on at the hospital as the administrator is so adamantly opposed to Mark?

If you like medical suspense thrillers, then reading this book is a good way to spend your day.  The action isn’t nonstop, but the story is well written.  There is enough tension and suspense to hold the reader’s attention.  One negative to the story for me was that I didn’t like Mark’s waffling between the women in the story.  He took too long to decide which woman he decided to love.  I did like how Mark knew there was something missing in his life and that missing piece was God, and he quickly changed his life to reflect this change in attitude.  Kelly was consistent in her faith throughout, even when facing scary situations.  She was an admirable female lead character.  I like Mr. Mabry’s medical thrillers and have read many in the past.  I look forward to reading his more recent works in the future, and I hope you will get a copy of this thriller to read for yourself!

The Empowered (A Trevor Black Novel)



Title:  The Empowered (A Trevor Black Novel)

Author:  Trevor Black

Pages:  464

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Tyndale

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

After reading book one titled, The Occupied, I really wasn’t sure how the author could make a sequel more thrilling, but he accomplished that and more!  The Empowered is a spine-tingling tale of the continuing encounters between Trevor Black and the unseen spiritual realm.  Beginning with the prologue and throughout the book, never is there a dull moment for readers.

The Empowered has cranked up the level of Trevor’s encounters with demons in the here and now along with showing the need for knowledge and tons of prayer on Trevor’s part.  Trevor makes a decision to keep being open to the calling God has given him to help others understand what he sees as being real and not something to play with or quickly dismiss.

In the sequel, a lot of the action takes place in New Orleans.  Trevor has a tough job trying to find the killer and the leader who is using dark spirits to take peoples’ lives.  Trevor’s daughter who starts out being a real hard young person to convince of the reality that Trevor sees in the spiritual realm, but later is more open to the possibility of demons and their powers.  The mystery in finding out who killed two prominent lawyers and trying to pin them on Trevor makes the novel more interesting.  At times, it was hard to distinguish who is for God and who is against Him.

What happens to Trevor’s daughter in the book put my heart in my throat and yet showing how much more powerful God is was awesome!  While all of this is of course fiction, one need only read the daily news or listen to the radio with an open mind to understand that there are most certainly powers of evil that are out to bring chaos and destruction.  However, we must remember that humans can always choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God or to be empty or possessed, especially when dealing with the occultism or the worship of Satan.

Normally, these types of stories would give me nightmares, but these books didn’t.  One reason is because I was praying before I read and another is the tale shows truth when it speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit and the weapons a believer has when they put on the full armor of God as stated in the book of Ephesians in the Bible.  On the front cover, I disagreed with Library Journal comparing Craig’s novel to Stephen King or Dean Koontz as they aren’t even written with the same purpose or truth as Craig’s Trevor Black Novels entail.  I hope you read both stories and consider fact from fiction, which is pretty obvious to those who believe in God and study the Word of God!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Occupied (A Trevor Black Novel)

Title:  The Occupied (A Trevor Black Novel)

Author:  Craig Parshall

Pages:  448

Year:  2016

Publisher: Tyndale

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Before reading the recently released sequel, The Empowered, I needed to reread what occurred to the characters and plot line in book one.  I am really glad that I did because I had forgotten what a well written story this is!  The main character is Trevor Black whose life has been realigned after falling apart as consequences from choices made by himself and other minor characters.

While there are times when Trevor sees demons, and experiences their power or sees how they possess people, that isn’t all there is to the book.  Trevor is a disbarred lawyer who tries to explain to a judge why he can’t represent a client because he sees a demon while visiting the client.  He is on a journey that actually started in his childhood.  I think the author paints a good picture of how what happens when we choose to open ourselves to the spiritual realm when one isn’t careful what one reads, sees or believes.

As I read the story, I began to understand that Trevor is seeing into the spiritual realm and doesn’t understand how to handle it.  There is a minor character that comes alongside him to aid his understanding.  Trevor is on a spiritual journey where he is going to learn about the power of God that surpasses the power of the prince of the air.

He is also becoming involved in a murder mystery that has stymied law enforcement and stretched from New York to Trevor’s hometown.  The victims range from people he has no personal connection with to those who were childhood friends.  As I read these chapters, it really was emotionally impacting.

The ending is extremely powerful and one I didn’t see coming.  I believe anyone who reads the novel won’t soon forget the powerful impact to their heart and understanding what a brilliantly crafted tale leads to real truth!

I hope readers who want suspense, tension, action, adventure and a powerful spiritually impacted story will read the book and as well as the sequel, The Empowered.

End Game

Title:  End Game (Wil Robie Series #5)

Author:  David Baldacci

Pages:  416

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Grand Central

My rating 1 star out of 5.

What happened?  How can an author who writes well crafted stories with such detail and believable plots end a series on such a sour note?  I have read some excellent books written by the author, but this is the second time in ending a series the author has failed to write an engaging, in-depth and plausible novel.  Why is it that the other books were focused on the plot, the in-depth plethora of possibilities and then add such nonsense without having any direction or meaning of a tale?

I don’t like reading books that throw in such sexual stuff and tons of foul language in the first place, and most of the books David has written don’t include this type of stuff.  So why does he add a bunch of it to the last book on top of such a weak and directionless ending?

If the author has one Achilles heel, it is not knowing how to wrap up his characters like in the other novels with an intriguing plot.  I love the Memory Man series he has written!  With another installment due out April 2018, I just am hoping he doesn’t try to end the series with a novel sub-par like he has in End Game and his John Puller series where the ending was horrible too.

Normally, I don’t write reviews if I don’t like a book.  Authors work hard to put forth stories their followers will enjoy and share with friends.  However, with two series ending below standards or hopes for readers, I write this with the hope the author will do a much better job with future endeavors when he decides the character’s time is up.