Browse Category: Reseña

Review – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book description

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

Read the complete description here.

First impresions

When I knew that Blake Crouch was the mind behind Wayward Pines I knew I had to read Black Matter. I thought it’d have that mystery and intelligence just like the TV show (at least the first season) and I was not wrong. Warning: spoilers ahead.

Review

It wasn’t easy when I wanted to start reading Black Matter, actually it took me some effort to get along with the pace. The story starts giving you a detailed background about a couple of characters, Jason and his family among them, and then about some places and events as well . The best thing is that the action arrives just in time and then the pages start turning by themselves.

Dark Matter stretches the possibilities about the Schrödinger’s cat experiment and Quantum superposition, we’re introduced to Jason’s life, just as he experiences it and lives it. Jason it’s a scientist that put aside many of his dreams in order to search for a normal life with a family. We get a plot twist soon enough and then everything Jason knew to be true becomes a lie or you could say it becomes a half-truth.

The first part of the book focuses on the struggles Jason faces to understand what’s happening, which in the long term involves mental and physical suffering. In his fight to find the truth, he’ll be involved with people and places that have been part of his past but with a very different present. Yes, I know it sounds crazy… and it is.

The second half of the book is charges with action and adventure. It’s here when it’s almost impossible to put the book down. You’ll encounter places and landscapes that could belong to a futurist setting but also some that you could find a post-apocalyptic book. Then you’ll also find some situations that may give you a headache.

Conclusion

Dark Matter was among the finalists as the best book in the science fiction category in the last Goodreads awards and though it didn’t win, it’s definitely a very recommended reading for those looking for a good science fiction book with unexpected but creative plot twists.

Rating:

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Review – Shaken by Tim Tebow

Book description

Who are you when life is steady?
Who are you when storms come?

Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.
In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny. Following an exceptional college football career with the Florida Gators and a promising playoff run with the Denver Broncos, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. He was released after one season.
In Shaken, Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted Tebow in life-changing ways.

Though traveling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it!

Your Circumstances do not Define You,
Your Identity Does.

First impresions

I knew about Tim Tebow through Facebook, as many contacts started to share his participation on the Home Free TV show, I’m not a sport guy. Shortly after I was offered to join to his book release campaign and it seemed a good opportunity to know more about Tebow so I joined and yes, I am late.

My review

The good thing about Shaken is that it’s written from experience. Tebow shares his ups and downs through his life in the football world and is honest in the way he experienced each season during the past years.

Shaken offers practical examples of the struggles each one of us can live in the real life and how our foundation in God is the difference between living in victory or defeat. Sharing from his younger days, from biblical stories and from testimonies he has encountered while doing social work Tebow encourages and exhorts to stand for the right things and make a difference where we live and in our sphere of influence.

The book is written in a very simple language which makes it easy to understand. Actually I don’t get the need for the future Young Reader’s Edition to exist, the book is short compared to your average christian book and Tebow is really good at communicating practical truths with practical examples.

Conclusion

I’d recommend Shaken mainly to those who are familiar with Tebow and know what to expect from his writings and then I’d recommend it to those who want, or maybe need, a good dose of encouragement and hope.

Rating:

I received this book from WaterBrook & Multnomah in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Review – Ordinary by Tony Medina

Book description

What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary?Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. Tony Merida wants to push back against sensationalism and “rock star Christianity,” and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.

Through things such as humble acts of service, neighbor love, and hospitality, Christians can shake the foundations of the culture. In order to see things happen that have never happened before, Christians must to do what Christians have always done­. Christians need to become more ordinary.

Let’s think together about how we, ordinary people, doing ordinary things, might turn the world upside down.

First impressions

I chose this book for three main reasons. First, I needed a short book to read in order to complete my book reading challenge. Second, the cover looks awesome (with the book in my hands, feels awesome as well). And third, the subtitle of the book sounded really challenging and honest for us as Christians.

Content

I’m not sure how to describe Ordinary, I wouldn’t say I’m don’t agree with the principles presented here: loving involves action. The book focuses in specific areas where everyone could get involved, going from thing, like feeding the poor, to adopting a child.

The thing I didn’t like was the way Tony wanted to force this issue on the readers. It’s difficult to put it into words, but I think that while it was an extensive “to do” list for Christians, it lacked the “why”. And by this I mean the book never tried to explore the the reasons behind “why” we as Christians should behave in a certain way besides the “just because”.

I think true loving actions come from a heart that already is in tune with God’s heart and not from a list of requirements in order to be in tune with God’s heart.

Conclusion

From my initial list, Ordinary just filled my first two expectations. It was a short book and it looks awesome. It’s a good reading but maybe not what you’re expecting.

Rating:

Review – The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

theshack

Book description

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation. Evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note–apparently from God–inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

First impressions

I read The Shack six or seven years ago for the first time. Shortly after I found several reviews pointing how theologically inaccurate the story was and somehow I thought maybe I’ve missed something. I wanted to give the book a new chance and decided to read it again. Also there’s a movie adaptation coming up, and wanted to refresh the story in my mind.

Review

There are two ways you can read (and review) The Shack: as a mere work of fiction and inspiration or as a theology work about God and suffering.

In the former, you have an amazing and emotional story that empathizes with almost every living soul on Earth. There’s something in Mack’s suffering that clicks with our personal daily struggles, making us part of the quest to find an answer and if possible, a solution. Then there’s the mystery behind the character (as in, the person) of God. How is He like? what does someone like God look like?  Is there a God? Does He care about us? The Shack responds some of these questions with a lot of creative freedom.

All this ingredients produce an exciting page turner, at least for those familiar or interested in these topics. There’s one issue that needs to be addressed and so the plot it’s clear from the very beginning making The Shack a fast reading.

In the later, you have an interesting view on God, the Trinity, the work of Jesus and its implications on humanity, and many other theological subjects you can think of (seminary, prayer, church, forgiveness, religions). The author (or should I say the author using God’s voice) didn’t just limited his views on the matters related to the story, but he also used The Shack as a way to express his disagreement with many practices and doctrines of Christianity unrelated to the story, but definitely a priority to Young.

This is where things could be confusing to some people. I had friends that would say something like: “It’s like Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit would say in The Shack…” giving a book the same value as The Book, maybe not out of rebellion, but out of ignorance of what the Bible says about God.

Conclusion

On the same note I hope my review is not confusing to some of you. I really liked reading The Shack for the second time, but encountered some theological issues that can by skipped if reading with a mentality of a casual reader. I’d recommend to read this book in the same manner you would read Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Rating:

I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Becoming a Disciple Making Church by Neil T. Anderson

makingadisciple

Book description

Life-Changing Discipleship Can Be the Expectation, Not the Exception

As leaders, we want the people in our churches to become spiritually mature disciples of Christ, but so many remain stuck in struggles and sins. Personal and spiritual conflicts are holding them back from the true freedom that can be found in Christ alone.

Neil Anderson has been walking individuals through this journey for over a quarter century, but now he wants to teach pastors and church leaders how to do this for their own churches. As the culmination of his life’s work, Becoming a Disciple-Making Church shows you how to help your people resolve conflicts–from difficult marriages to unrepentant sin to church disputes–through genuine repentance and faith in God. Rather than giving up or simply referring people to counselors outside the church, embrace the fact that God through His Word has answers to problems of the heart and mind. And in this ministry of reconciliation, true discipleship will happen.

First impressions

Neil T. Anderson is the author of Victory Over the Darkness a really well known book among Christians, that I haven’t read. That was the reason I wanted to check Becoming a Disciple Making Church, which is a really good introduction to Anderson’s work.

Content

This is not an original work, in the sense of being new material. It’s a collection of different chapters from different books in the context of building a leadership capable of building disciples using the principles in each section.

It’s not that the book it’s not good for this reason, on the contrary, there’s a lot of subjects of interest for everyone and the best thing is that you can put them into practice right away. Some examples are, How to overcome:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sexual strongholds

Each chapter explains the meaning of each concept and its psychological and biblical background. Finally it gives you the tools necessary to deal with each issue using biblical principles.

Conclusion

Reading Becoming a Disciple Making Church it’s a good start if you want to get familiar with Neil T. Anderson or with his work. It’s a really worth reading.

Rating:

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes

atimetorise

Book description

What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? This is the concluding book in the Out of Time Series.

First impressions

It’s been two years, and finally it’s the turn for A Time to Rise to be released. This book marks the final chapter in the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. I’m excited for this release and because if you liked the first two books, then you’ll love this one.

Warning: The Story section starts with some OBVIOUS spoilers, if you want to be completely safe, please skip to the Conclusion section 😉 lol.

Story

A Time to Rise literally picks up the story where the last one left and we have Parvin trusting God against all odds. There’s no need to wait for action, because right from the first chapter, there’s a good dosis of adventure and persecution.

Nadine Brandes successfully develops the story without feeling rushed of slow paced. The two main ingredients I liked the most from a Time to Rise are:

First, there’s a lot of action: persecutions, bombings, rescue missions, but thankfully they have a purpose as they help to untangle many of the unanswered questions left from the previews books (Jude anyone?). These action scenes are very detailed that you can feel as if you’re watching Mission: Impossible with all the special effects. They’re vivid, they feel real.

And second, there’s also a lot of internal dialogue between Parvin and God. Parvin starts to grow out of her relationship and trust in what God is communicating and out of what she’s applying into her circumstances, just like in real life, lol. I liked the idea of God being present in our everyday life and the idea of us making God part of our daily life.

And finally we have the ending. Please stand up and give an applause to Nadine for not rushing the ending as many authors do. I loved the way she started to build tension little by little to give me time to deal with the climax, and to give me time to deal with Skelley Chase being ________ by the end of the book (how? why?)

Characters

Parvin, feels stronger this time. Yes, she still has questions for God, but she also has more confidence on Him. On the other hand of relationships, her relationship with Hawke is part of the story (I mean, it has to be), but thankfully is not being abused to the point of distracting you from the main plot.

I missed Willow, well… the old Willow. It was a character I liked from the very beginning and I was sad when I knew she wouldn’t be the same. I think she had more potential as a character, but at least she’s still present throughout the story.

Skelley Chase, is a complicated character and when everything was finished I still couldn’t figure out who he really was. I mean… how is that… why did he… was he always the good/bad/good/? guy?… Nadine did an awesome job bringing such a complicated character to life but also giving him such an unexpected ending.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say good bye to the this series. Make sure to get the Out of Time trilogy if you’re looking for an awesome dystopian story with great and easy-to relate characters but also if you’re looking for a series that challenges you to live your life at its full potential.

Rating

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review – Light of the Last by Chuck Black

lightofthelast
Book description

After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.

Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.

It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.

Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America…and his own soul.

First impressions

It was in 2014 when I started to read this series from Chuck Black, now with Light of the Last, everything comes to an end (right?) I was hesitant to read this one but I couldn’t just leave this series unfinished. Beware that the following review may contain spoilers. 

Story

Being honest I wasn’t sure I could follow or understand the story after book two. Book three seems to continue where book one left off, with Drew being the main character.

In Light of the Last humans and angels come together to face the world’s America’s greatest villains: demons Islamic terrorists.

I liked the story and character development, I liked the writing and fast paced action with great fighting scenes. I liked the freedom the author took about angels and their mission and intervention with humans.

I didn’t like the way the author changed the focus of the story as it began as an epic fiction about the end of the days, but suddenly everything was about the United States it politics and terrorism.

Maybe I’m alone here, but I also didn’t like the connotation Islamic religion was given. No I’m not muslim, actually I’m a Christian, but as if having Islamic extremists being the bad guys was not enough, the author also implies that there’s demonic activity surrounding them. Did Black ever mentioned demons being around Drew’s non-christian friends? I don’t think so.

Characters

Drew had an awesome improvement since book one. He didn’t get mature by magic, as sometimes happen, but as the story progressed it was believable how the events took him from one point to the other. His experience with the angels was the part I enjoyed the most, while his love story being the part I enjoyed the least.

Conclusion

Maybe I’m gonna sound contradictory, but Light of the Last is the best book of the trilogy to me. There’s a lot of action and mistery going on the whole time you never have time to get bored. Overall it was an interesting reading but this is maybe the last book I’m reading by Chuck Black.

Rating:

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

thecalling

 

Book description

Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels—he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp—and the CityWatch soldiers closing in—Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

First impressions

After The Choosing, I was excited to keep on reading about Carrington’s adventure against The Authority. The first book set the scenario for an amazing follow-up but I’m not sure I read the right book. Please read at your own risk, since there may be some spoilers from book one.

Story

There are some sequels that pick up right were the first book left, but this is not one of them. Actually this is a whole different story seen through Remko’s eyes; now, after looking at that cover, everything makes sense.

Time has passed and there’s a new enemy in town a.k.a. Authority City and a new hero. Remko is the one in danger this time while Carrington is changing some diapers, I mean… really because now she’s a mom.

There’s still plenty of action and things going on in Remkos life that keeps you interested long enough. While the first book focused in the issues happening IN the city and with the bad guys, this one is focused with the issues happening OUT of the city at the seers camp and with the good/not so good guys.

Characters

Remko, is the central character, unlike many other YA books this one has no POV’s but everything is related to what he’s feeling or thinking or doing. Thank God there’s a believable character development and you can see how Remko is still fighting some ghosts from his past but at the same time taking new responsibilities and challenges.

Jesse, a new character that appears out of nowhere but became a favorite of mine instantly. He’s an archer living in the woods until he finds the seers camp. He has a lot of potential, and thankfully there’s a high probability we’ll see him again.

Aaron, the Jesus type of character, or maybe Jesus himself (who knows?) is seen a lot this time. I love how Rachelle gave him a personality that really inspires you through his dialog with others. I’m excited to see what’s happening with him in the final installment.

Conclusion

The Calling was not the sequel I was expecting but it was indeed a great sequel. There are many loose threads in the story that make you wish to have the last book right now, and thankfully it’ll come out this fall. If you enjoy dystopian stories infused with faith, The Calling is for you.

Rating: 

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.