Monday, September 17, 2012

Back Cover Review:
by Michelle Perry
Open the Floodgates of Life-Changing Encounters with God

Born without her left hip and leg, Michele Perry is no stranger to overwhelming impossibility. Yet again and again among the vulnerable children in South Sudan, God uses her and her co-workers--and even the children--to accomplish the impossible. Here she shows you, too, how to experience God's supernatural intervention genuinely, fully in your everyday life--wherever you live.

Each chapter includes practical keys, discussion questions and application exercises to show you:
  • how you can grow in awareness of God's presence
  • how you can be sure of His voice
  • what it's like to see a vision
  • how to recognize the holy in the ordinary
  • how to foster your own supernatural encounters with God
  • and more!
Accept His invitation and witness Him moving in miraculous and wondrous ways again and again.
"A must-read."--Randy Clark, overseer, Apostolic Network of Global Awakening; co-author with Bill Johnson, The Essential Guide to Healing and Healing Unplugged

"A major mentoring tool for your life."--Sid Roth, host, It's Supernatural! television show

Michele Perry is the pioneering director for Iris Ministries South Sudan, founded in 2006 under Rolland and Heidi Baker. She also founded Nema International in 2007 and has spent the last fifteen years ministering and speaking around the world. A native of Florida, Michele studied at Baylor University and has previously served in Bangladesh, India, and the inner cities of the U.S. She is also an artist, photographer and poet and spends her time between the work in South Sudan and establishing a support structure for its practical needs in the U. S.

About the Author

Michele Perry is a visionary and creative whirlwind. An artist, author and photographer, she travels the world to share the lessons she is learning on this unpaved road into God's heart-- and to keep learning.

After five years of basing in South Sudan, Michele continues to oversee the work there while spreading her time between establishing a Western base of creative support structures for project needs, traveling to speak and being onsite in South Sudan roughly 1/3rd of the year mentoring and encouraging the amazing team of missionaries and indigenous leaders that God is raising up.

She longs to see a supernatural company of people who take walking lessons from Enoch be released to soar into the wildest dreams of God, embracing the audacity of heaven, walking in two realms at once. Michele's first book was Love Has a Face.

She is the founding National Field Coordinator for Iris Ministries, Inc., in South Sudan and is ordained by Heidi and Rolland Baker under Iris Ministries. Michele is also the founder/ director of Nema International, Inc. She writes regularly at and is frequently available for speaking engagements in the West.

 Back Cover Review:

The title honestly says it all...this book is an invitation to hear God's voice, to intimately know Jesus like we were created to and to desire the Holy Spirit (who the Bible clearly says God has sent to help us) to be active in our daily lives.

What does the dictionary say “supernatural” means? of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena...of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.

I did discover that the word "supernatural" scares some people. One person literally ran the other way shortly after I told them the title of this book. I went home and asked Chet (my husband) why he thinks that is? He said he thinks it's because many of the things labeled "supernatural" focus on the demonic. I think people confuse the word "paranormal" with "supernatural". Media encourages this confusion further.

Let me assure you, it is clear that Michele is passionately in love with Jesus and that her goal and her aim in this book and in her life is for others to know Him too.

"In this supernatural journey, if I want to walk in the fullness of every promise He has given, I must never reduce my theology or my expectation to the level of my current experience."

God does not fit in any box that man creates. He is an out-of-the-box God and it’s not His desire for us to live “in the box” either. Within what He shows us in Scripture? Absolutely. Within our own limits of faith? No.

This is what is in my heart after reading Michele’s book: Yes LORD, Invitation wholeheartedly, hungrily accepted! I want to hear God's voice. I want to do what God wants me to do. I want to be who God says I am. I want to know Him. Not just in Heaven but Here and Now. I do not believe that I can pick and choose from His Word. I believe that every word of the Bible is true and relevant for today. What the Disciples saw and did, we can do. The Holy Spirit is not less powerful today than He was then. These things are not just for yesterday, they are for today and they are for tomorrow. God can be trusted. Jesus can be trusted. The Holy Spirit can be trusted. Every Person of the Trinity is of God, all safe, all Love in its pure and perfect form. And I will choose to trust anything the LORD wants to do. He is Good. And He is Great. And it is my pursuit to be completely Heavenly-minded so that I can truly be of some good here on earth!

This book was provided for review by Chosen Books but the views expressed in this review are entirely my own (and I already bought a copy for my family to read - mine is too marked up to share!). ;)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Back Cover Review: Raven (The Sewing Circle Series) by Christl Boyd

Years of "entertaining" men at the Urbane Saloon have left Raven Caitlyn Wirth feeling hollow inside. After sneaking away on a train headed west in hopes of finding a place to live where no one will bother her, she stumbles upon the town of Walnut Creek. There she meets Rancher Beau Mason whose steadfast character and unwavering faith in God make her wonder if perhaps she isn't meant to be alone after all. Can Raven heal from the wounds of her past or will her former way of life catch up with her and destroy everything she's ever dared to dream of?

Christl Boyd grew up with a fascination for life in bygone eras and a first name spelled so uniquely that her teachers usually said it wrong. (It's pronounced, "Crystal" by the way.) As a teenager, she discovered a love for writing and an awareness of how powerful the written word can be in peoples' lives. The desire to 'breathe life' wherever she goes has translated into opportunities to have two short stories published (Faithwriters: Come Away with Me), author skits and dramatic productions for churches, as well as teaching at women's bible studies, retreats and conferences. She is a pastor's wife, mother and homemaker who enjoys great mexican food, the sound of the ocean and riding roller coasters in her homestate of California.

Raven is beautifully crafted Historical Fiction. It is a story about grace and restoration. It is also the best self-published novel I’ve read (as good as many coming from a regular publishing house) – VERY well done! I felt emotionally connected to Raven, the main character and I didn’t want to put it down either – it only took me two days to read which is quick at this stage in my life. =D

The punctuation is a little rough around the edges but the story held its own…and you can’t beat 99 cents on Kindle for a great story…

I’ll definitely recommend and will be reading more from the Sewing Circle Series by Christl Boyd.

I purchased Raven (The Sewing Circle Series) with my own ten dimes and the opinions expressed in this review are definitely my own.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Back Cover Review: Freedom's Stand by J.M. Windle

Jamil renounced a life of jihad when he encountered the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, but villagers and authorities in the hills of Afghanistan respond with skepticism . . . and even violence.
Relief worker Amy Mallory is shocked by the changes in her organization—changes with dire implications for the women and children under her care. And concern for her former assistant, Jamil, weighs heavily on her heart.
Former Special Forces veteran Steve Wilson faces off against the riots and corruption of Kabul’s upcoming election. He's looking for something that will give his life purpose but is confident that he won’t find it in Afghanistan.
All three are searching for love and freedom in a country where political and religious injustice runs rampant. But when religious freedom becomes a matter of life and death, they discover that the cost of following Jesus may require the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author:
As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Curently based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty. She has more than fifteen books in print, including political/suspense best seller CrossFire and 2010 CBA Award finalist and Christy Award finalist Veiled Freedom.

Back Cover Review:

I took Freedom’s Stand with us on vacation and my husband could barely get my nose out of the book (my review is long delayed due to the difficulty of taking notes on the beach - sand and pens just don’t get along...or laptops for that matter). Freedom’s Stand is the sequel to Veiled Freedom – and my favorite book that I’ve read by J.M. Windle! In fact, it is one of my top two favorite novels that I’ve read this year.

Jeanette has the knack of bringing to life the country and heart of Afghanistan, especially the plight of women and believers. Her characters wrap your heart around their lives and take you for a ride – and it’s well worth the journey.

Title Trakk’s Review and Author Interview –

Freedom's Stand by J.M. Windle

Author Interview
1.  What led you to write a story set in Afghanistan?

Like so many reading this interview, I believed the 2001 overthrow of Afghanistan's Taliban regime presaged new hope for freedom and peace in that region. Anyone who follows the news is aware that neither freedom nor peace have ever materialized. Instead today's headlines reflect rising violence, corruption, lawlessness and despair. The signing of Afghanistan's new constitution, establishing an Islamic republic under sharia law tolled a death knell for any hope of real democracy.

And yet  so many players I've met in this drama--whether military, embassy, humanitarian--have involved themselves for the most part with the best of intentions. The more I came to know the region and love its people, I was left asking, if trillions of dollars in aid, all the weapons the West can bring to bear, and a lot of genuine goodwill aren't enough to bring about lasting peace and democracy, then what is the true source of freedom? Can outsiders ever truly purchase freedom for another culture or people?  Searching for answers to that question birthed Veiled Freedom and its sequel Freedom's Stand.

2. You have a firm grasp on the plight of the Afghan people, their politics, and their country.  Your realistic writing has prompted government agencies to question you to determine how you’ve received classified information.  How do you go about researching your stories with such accurate details?

Thoroughness is key. I can honestly say that if I missed a single tome dealing with Afghanistan's present or past, as well as Western involvement there, it wasn't on purpose. Add in my own sojourn in Afghanistan (don't ask for details; I went deliberately under the radar), as well as extensive input from contacts on the ground who are real-life counterparts of my characters: Special Ops, private security, humanitarian aid, Afghans, etc.  Additional research tools like Google alerts, local news and blogs, security and embassy info coming out of Afghanistan kept me daily updated during the writing process.

3. Tell us about your own visits to Afghanistan. What did you experience there?

What I found most shocking was how little has changed, despite a decade of American and NATO occupation and trillions of aid dollars. People are still starving, beggars everywhere.  After an initial freedom, most women are back in burqas. Mud-brick hovels are still the norm, while less than six percent of the country has electricity. Afghans express more concern over the corruption and brutality of local police and government officials than the Taliban, while Islamic sharia law trumps any pretence at freedom and human rights.

Not that all Afghans have failed to benefit. Partially finished aid projects from police stations and schools to power plants sit empty and crumbling from shoddy construction all over Afghanistan. But there are entire neighborhoods of brand-new turreted, gabled and towered mansions, built by the elite who've profited from both the aid windfall and opium boom, too many of them government ministers.

4. What real-life situations or people in Afghanistan inspired this story?

Ironically, the real-life story that most inspired Freedom's Stand had not yet happened when I began writing it. Even as I answer these interview questions, Afghan father of six and amputee Sayed Mossa has now spent six months in a filthy Kabul prison cell, without legal representation or formal charges, enduring horrific abuse, for the sole crime of choosing faith in Jesus Christ. His arrest came after cell-phone images of Sayed and other Afghans praying in Christ's name and being baptized were publicized. His situation reflects so closely the story of Freedom's Stand, I might have been reporting on it. In actuality, though Sayed's arrest came afterwards, conditions on the ground were such that I knew it was only a matter of time before my fiction became reality.

The plight of Afghan women also inspired this story.  If fictionalized, all events and bios I included are based on true-life experiences. Including some of my own. Riding a bike, for instance, with another expatriate from their humanitarian compound to another a few blocks away, a faster, therefore safer, trip for expat women than walking. Though swaddled head to toe in headscarf and chapan despite intense summer heat, we drew the attention of some Afghan male passersby. Their automatic reaction was not curiosity or even disdain for our daring to be on a bike, but to begin stoning us. My companion was knocked from her bike, left with a serious knot on the head. The next day bike transport was placed out of bounds for the expat female personnel, one more small freedom lost. It was one of many lessons in what Afghan women experience every moment of every day--and they can't get on a plane and fly away!

My characters are themselves complete fiction. But they definitely reflect their many true-life counterparts I've come to know, whether humanitarian, private security, embassy, military, or Afghan.

5. Some readers might think that your stories are anti-Afghanistan or anti-Muslim.  How would you respond to that accusation?

On the contrary, it is because I have come to love so much the Afghan people that I find myself angry at the oppression and injustice I've witnessed there or under any other Islamic totalitarian regime. Whether Muslim, Christian, or any other religious belief, faith should be a matter of heart choice, not government imposition. Women should have the right to live free of abuse and to have equal representation under the law. The poor and underprivileged should have equal access to justice and fair governance as those who can afford bribes. It is a misnomer that Muslims do not want these things as much as any other human. Across the Islamic world, it is Muslims who are rising up to agitate for personal freedom. And it is Muslims who are being crushed by their own governments for those demands. I am as passionate about human rights and freedom for every Afghan and Muslim as for Christian believers thrown in prison for daring to exercise personal choice of faith.

6. When it comes to cultural differences, how should we distinguish between moral (or human-rights) issues and traditional practices?

An excellent question without any black-and-white answer. Every individual may draw the line differently. But tradition and culture have too long been used as justification for unjust practices, whether slavery, abuse of women and minorities, government imposition of religion. Two Scriptural principles that helped propel civil rights movements still offer the best guideline: "Love your neighbor as yourself"(Mark 12:31) and "Do to others as you would have them do to you"(Luke 6:31).

7. What do you want readers to come away with after reading this story?

I would like readers to close this book with a better understanding of Afghanistan and the entire Muslim world and how vital and interconnected events there, especially such issues as freedom of worship, speech, human rights, are to our own country's future and security. Even more so, I want every reader to understand what is the only true source of freedom. Bottom line, when enough individual hearts change from hate to love, cruelty to kindness, greed to selflessness, their society will be transformed as well. Change a heart, change a nation. And how does one change hearts? Hopefully, by the last page of Freedom's Stand, the reader will have an answer to that as well!
8. How can your readers help meet the needs – material, political, and spiritual – of people in Afghanistan?  Where can they find more material on this subject?

They can help by raising their voice on issues of human rights and freedom of speech and worship, especially in countries receiving our tax dollars and military aid. Organizations like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs offer great resources on how to get involved. To learn more about Afghanistan itself, my own website and blog ( has a list of recommended reading and other material. To donate, there are wonderful humanitarian groups serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there are also less reputable startups milking the aid bonanza. While security cautions do not permit offering specific recommendations here, longevity of service in Afghanistan and a trustworthy reputation as a non-profit are two good qualifiers a basic Google search will show up.
From Used with permission from the author.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Marriage Carol
Moody Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman


CHRIS FABRY is a graduate of W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and Moody bible Institute's Advanced Studies Program. Chris can be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. He received the 2008 "Talk Personality of the Year" Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He has published more than 60 books since 1995, many of them fiction for younger readers. Chris collaborated with Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye on the children's series Left Behind: The Kids. His two novels for adults, Dogwood and June Bug, are published by Tyndale House Publishers. Chris is married to his wife Andrea and they have five daughters and four sons.

GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the bestselling Five Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio program airs on more than 400 stations.


On Christmas Eve twenty years earlier, Marlee and Jacob were married in a snowstorm.   This Christmas Eve, they are ready to quit, divorce is imminent. Their relationship is as icy as the road they’re traveling and as blocked with troubles as the piling snow. They take a shortcut to get to the lawyer’s office, on a slippery, no-fault path. She thinks they need to stay on the main road. He disagrees. They fight. Story of their lives and they slam into a bank of snow , spinning, drifting, falling, out of control. Just like their lives. Reluctantly, freezing cold, hungry, scared, she trudges up the hill. Paul is nowhere to be found. Her ears frozen, fingers and hands red, she comes to a house on the hillside, built like a Bed and Breakfast, a green wreath on the red door and the door-knocker is in the shape of a wedding ring.

The red door opens and the first thing she notices is the fire in the room, blazing hot, a warm, inviting, friendly place and the voice of an old man welcomes her in. There are three golden pots on the hearth, shining, glimmering things. The old man claims that they are used to restore marriages. She laughs—and begins a journey through her past, present, and future that will test how she views her lifelong love. There are two futures available. Which will she choose?

If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of A Marriage Carol, go HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett with a Back Cover Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Proof of Heaven
William Morrow Paperbacks (November 1, 2011)
Mary Curran Hackett

Mary Curran Hackett is the mother of two children, Brigid Claire and Colm Francis, and is married to Greg Hackett. She received an MA in English Literature from the University of Nebraska and a BA from the University Honors Program at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Danbury, CT, she has traveled extensively and lived in various places throughout the U.S., but her favorite place in the world is home with her kids, husband, and her stacks of books. Like her character Colm Magee, Mary suffers various heart and brain ailments, but thanks in part to her brother, a physician, as well as her own doctors, she now has a pacemaker and a heart that beats on its own at least most of the time. This is her first novel.

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family.

He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.

But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.

A magnificent debut novel, Mary Curran Hackett’s Proof of Heaven is a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of the power of love and the monumental questions of life, death, and the afterlife.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Proof of Heaven, go HERE. 

Back Cover Review:

Overall, this book disappointed me which is unfortunate because (for the most part) the writing and plot were very good. One chronic problem that made reading it frustrating was that the Point of View changed paragraph by paragraph throughout the whole book, and sometimes more often than that.

Also,  the book contained a lot of profanity. If in the end I felt that this would be a story that would draw an unbeliever to God as an outreach tool that might have helped to justify it...maybe. Also, it started out with just the brother, who didn't want anything to do with God, swearing, but later on some of the other characters joined in. Cathleen struggled to hold on to her own faith and perhaps this was to emphasize her crisis of belief? But it didn't seem necessary.

The ending too confused me - I think it was supposed to be the "proof of Heaven" for all of the characters - but I just didn't understand what exactly happened.

So all that to say, I thought the author was a good writer but I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy this book.

The views expressed in this review are obviously my own.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Church: What Was God Thinking? by Bruce Isom

Ekklesia = Church What is it supposed to look like?
Fellowship = Participation What is my Role?
Ministry = Service What is my Gift?

Have you ever wondered…
  • If church today is how it was meant to be?
  • What the church would look like if we put aside the traditions history has added and simply follow what is clearly written in the New Testament?
  • What people in the early Church would say about modern ministry?
  • If you have a place in the Body of Christ, and if so, what is it?
Do you hope that Heaven will be much better than your Sunday morning
service? Does it even have to be on Sunday?  Does your church feel like a left shoe on a right foot — something that just does not seem to fit right? Maybe there is a reason. Have you ever longed to see something more, something different, something extraordinary come out of your church?

In Church: What Was God Thinking? Bruce Isom:  
  • Gives a refreshing perspective from Scripture on what Church is meant to be: Including what the Bible says that God likes and dislikes in a Christian community
  • Focuses on principles that can be applied to any church structure, whether traditional church, cell church, house church or any other type of gathering.
  • Describes what spiritual maturity is and what it is not, and ways the believer can mature
  • Describes how Christians from different maturity levels can bless each other.
  • And so much more!
 In this thought provoking book, Bruce Isom shares insights that will challenge your perspective of Church. It will help leaders rethink how they approach ministry and believers to view Church like  they never have  before.  He gives a picture of Christian Community that is vastly different from many churches today.

Since committing his life to the Lord in 1974, Bruce Isom has had a passion to see church become all it was meant to be. In 1988 he became a missionary in Hong Kong serving the Lord with his family in various types of ministry, including church planting. He longs to see all believers in the Body of Christ become mature, living out their full potential and fulfilling their God-given roles in the Church.