A few tunes to listen to, if you are so inclined, at this time when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
A lot of people say they want a book to have plenty of action right from the start. Well, how about starting off with a parachute that doesn't open, and the reader is seeing everything through the eyes of the jumper? Smashing into the trees, in and out of consciousness, aware that everyone is fearful for his life, pain. Will he live? Is his leg busted beyond repair? Will he have a chance to make some amends before passing on? Will he get to tell his best friend that he had asked Jesus to be his savior a few days before, so everything's okay if he does die?
Right from the first sentence, A Soldier's Family had me hooked. "This was not the smartest way to die." What? Let's face it, you have to keep reading with that opening. I suppose it's a bit of a spoiler to tell you that Manny Péna, the special teams pararescue jumper, does indeeed survive, but he needs to if there is any romance to come. While he survives, he has a long rehabilitation ahead of him for the damages done when he hit the tree (which was probably better than the ground), and there is a huge question over whether he will be able to return to the job he loves.
When Manny gets out of the hospital, he moves in with his best friend, Joel, and his wife Amber, until he is able to be on his own again. This puts him in constant contact with Celia, Amber's good friend and a lady that he embarrassed in the rudest way at a wedding. Rude enough that she slapped him hard. Since then, they have had an uncomfortable awkwardness between them, each attracted to the other yet certain of rejection if he or she tried to be friendlier. As it turns out, Celia's teenage son Javier responds in a miraculous way to Manny, so much so that his whole attitude and behavior changes. Since Celia's husband, a policeman, was killed in the line of duty several years back, life has been difficult for Javier and Celia, and Manny fills a need for Javier. Celia had promised herself never to fall in love with another man in a dangerous job, though, so she is fighting a battle with her own feelings. Manny is certain that Celia hates him, probably still holds that wedding fiasco against him. Celia doesn't like to reveal her true emotions at any time, and the two of them send mixed and misunderstood signals constantly.
I like the feisty Celia, although sometimes I want her to just open up a bit more, but she's a fun character. Manny is the kind of guy, at least now that he's a Christian, that man a woman would fall for, no doubt. A real hero type, but he has some past history to live down. This story has lots of snappy interchanges, clever episodes, and development that makes the reader care about the people in the story. You want to see Manny get back to his old self again, you want to see Javier mature into a fine godly young man. The strength that comes from God is evident in many ways, yet it is a natural part of the tale, not forced.
Cheryl Wyatt has made excellent use of her own experiences as a nurse, a mother, her experience with hip surgery and the military, weaving details that add realism. Her own tender heart and solid faith are evident as well. I look forward to more beautiful novels from Cheryl. I recommend this book for all ages, especially for those who love romance and military men/women!
You can buy A Soldier's Family at Amazon.com and Christianbook.com online, as well as many bookstores.
Cheryl Wyatt's website is here.
On Shoutlife, you can find Cheryl here
Miss Wyatt and her publisher, Steeple Hill, have generously offered a book for me to give away to one of the readers who leaves a comment on this blog or any of my other sites. So be sure to leave a comment !
Monday, March 17, 2008
St. Patrick's Day was originally a special day to honor a man through whom the Lord did an incredible work. Around the year 390, Patrick was born into a Christian family in Britain. At age 16, his village was raided by the Celts and he was captured and taken to Ireland where he was sold as a slave to one of the tribal chiefs. He eventually escaped from his captors and returned to Britain. Years later, Patrick had a dream in which he saw Irish children begging him to bring the gospel to them. He took this as a sign of God's calling, and, in 432, he returned as an ambassador of Christ to the very land from which he had once escaped.
Little is known about what happened next, but, just a few years later, most of Ireland had converted to Christianity. Close to 300 churches were established and roughly 120,000 people had been baptized as Christians. This work had an ongoing impact as Ireland became the major center for the translation and preservation of Scripture. There's no telling how many souls were eternally affected as a result of the work that God did through Patrick. Consequently, the church in Ireland decided to set aside the day of his birth, March 17, by tradition, in honor of his service for the kingdom.
Today in the United States, it has disintegrated into an excuse for drinking green beer and a lot of silliness. The leprechauns and all the "wearin' o' the green" is not problem, but it is sad to see the true testimony of Patrick, such as we know of it, lost even among Christians. Little is much in the hands of God. One slave boy was used to reach a nation for Jesus. What could He do with you or me if we let Him have complete control?
Saturday, March 1, 2008
In Palm Bay, Florida, a cop killer is on the loose, an especially brutal criminal who soon escalates his killing spree to include a pastor and people in a mall. Top profiler Robbie Sanchez is called on to lead her team of agents from Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but she soon discovers the case is bringing up disquieting memories of her own father’s murder. The clues aren’t adding up to produce any viable suspects. Why would anyone intentionally murder this policeman and pastor, both well respected and loved in the community? And why did the killer rip a cross from the victim’s clothes?
Meanwhile, the police manhunt is bringing unwanted attention on Lifetex, a laboratory near the crime scene of the police killing. Lifetex is carrying on some very secret work which is not ready to be revealed to the world yet; they are illegally cloning humans. Drs. Silverstein and Meyer have worked tirelessly on the project and believe they have produced the most perfect human being ever, yet Dr. Meyer has an uneasy feeling when Adam looks at him. Why doesn’t he feel elated at their accomplishment?
The Void is a spiritual thriller and crime mystery with more than enough suspense and action to keep readers turning pages anxiously. Unlike the case in the majority of suspense/thrillers/mysteries, the murderer is revealed at an early stage of the story. It doesn't hurt the suspense in this case. It leaves us to ponder just how--and if--he will be discovered and captured. Will his killing spree continue? What about his plans for Robbie?
Mark Mynheir’s experience and knowledge as a policeman serve him well in writing a novel of this genre. As one who has worked with narcotics and SWAT teams, he handily adds detailed descriptions of police work, crime scenes, and the operations of teams on a mission such as this one.
There are some discussion questions at the end of the novel, questions that cover some heavy social and spiritual issues. The Void would be a good choice for a book discussion group or a literature class. While it is an adult book, teens would also find it appealing. There are several instances of violence and some intense evil spirit activity, but these scenes are not too gory or graphic. It's an edgy, current tale with strong Christian applications and plenty of action.
For the month of March, Christian Fiction Review Blog is pleased to be spotlighting
The Void by Mark Mynheir. If you check the main site between March 2 and March 8, you'll find an insightful essay each day concerning the novel and the author. On March 8, one copy of Frank Peretti's The Oath will be awarded for the best comment made on the CFRB blog's during the tour of The Void. See the CFRB blog roll to the left of this page to go to other member sites.
Click here to visit Mark Meinheir's website, Copwriter.
The Void may be purchased online from Christian Book Distributors, Amazon. com, and the publisher, Random House. (CBD has the better price at $9.99)
The Void by Mark Mynheir
Published by Waterbrook Multnomah, a division of Random House
ISBN: 978-1-59052-400-8 (1-59052-400-4)
352 Pages; August 21, 2007
Retail Price: $15.99