Posted in book reviews

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. JenkinsDead Sea Rising (Dead Sea Chronicles #1) by Jerry B. Jenkins
Published by Worthy Books on November 13, 2018
ISBN: 1617950092
Genres: Christian Fiction
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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Synopsis

FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JERRY B. JENKINS COMES A HEART-STOPPING ADVENTURE OF HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. During her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

“From a criminal investigation in Manhattan to the birth of Abram in ancient Ur, Jerry Jenkins weaves together a tale of drama and suspense that will draw you into the lives of two families separated by 4,000 years of history yet sharing remarkably similar struggles of faith. Dead Sea Rising combines the thrill of a whodunit with the moral and political intrigue of the ancient, and modern, Middle East. But be prepared. Once you begin, you won’t be able to stop until you reach the final page!” —DR. CHARLIE DYER, PROFESSOR-AT-LARGE OF BIBLE, AND HOST OF THE LAND AND THE BOOK RADIO PROGRAM

“If you love history—especially biblical history—this is a fun and fascinating read!” —JONI EARECKSON TADA, JONI AND FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY CENTER

 “Jerry Jenkins’ dialogue is equal to the best of Nelson DeMille, his storylines equal to the best of John Grisham. And now Dead Sea Rising . . . this book may be Jerry’s best.” —ANDY ANDREWS, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TRAVELER’S GIFT AND THE NOTICER

“Jumping back and forth in time at a breakneck pace, Dead Sea Rising is a thriller as only Jerry B. Jenkins can tell it. Biblical history combines with gripping contemporary mystery. Just be aware—you’ll be hooked.” —JAMES SCOTT BELL, INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS AWARD WINNER

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WHAT DID I JUST READ?!?!?

So let me begin by telling you guys, this book just completely and totally messed me up!! Though whether in a good way or a bad way remains to be seen…

First off, let me just give you a warning… this is the first book in a series!!! 

I didn’t realize that. 

So as I raced through the pages, desperate to know what happens next, who is behind everything happening to the Berman family, and what’s going to happen with Terah and the King – I expected it all to be wrapped up in a nice little bow…

BUT IT WASN’T!!!

And now I have to wait for the next book!!! And to be honest, I’m not sure my heart can withstand the suspense…

So if I disappear from the internets and you never hear from me again – Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins did it!

My Thoughts on Dead Sea Rising:

The story starts in Manhattan, New York, with Nicole Berman being informed her mother has tripped and broken her hip. Her father is too far away to get there before surgery, and Nicole rushes to the hospital to be with her mother.

The scene laid out on these first two pages had me hooked and ready to support Nicole through whatever was about to come…

But from there, we’re transported from a present-day hospital in Manhattan to Mesopotamia, 2000 B.C., during the reign of King Nimrod, and we’re in Ur with Terah and enthusiastically awaiting the birth of his unborn child.

Then we’re back to the present day where it turns out, Nicole’s mom’s fall wasn’t an accident…

And in the past, Terah and his unborn child are in danger…

AND THAT’S THE FIRST 10 PAGES!!!

The Characters:

I loved pretty much every character in this book!

The main character, Nicole, was a strong and smart female who’s waiting to hear back on whether or not Saudi Arabia is going to let her lead a dig there (she’s an archeologist). Nicole and her mother, Ginny, are close and so Nicole is incredibly heartbroken to learn that her mother is in the hospital.

Nicole and her father, Ben, aren’t as close as she and her mother are, and we quickly discover there may be a reason he stays so guarded… what secrets has Nicole’s father been keeping??

And while I truly enjoyed this book immensely (and without giving away any spoilers)

Did Jenkins HAVE to kill off one of my favorite characters? Maybe it’s the lack of sleep I’ve been getting with our newest placement, but I bawled my eyes out over a character that’s barely even in the book! I won’t say the name or even gender, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved them and now they’re gone and I’m broken hearted!!!

The Story:

I’ve already said it, but I was pulled into this story from the very beginning!

The author, Jerry B. Jenkins, was one of the authors for the Left Behind series, which I absolutely LOVED (and what got me interested in actually studying the bible and not just reading it for the good stories), so I should have known this was going to be one of those books I wasn’t going to want to put down.

But I was unprepared for the level of unchecked emotional turmoil I was going to experience by the time I finished reading Dead Sea Rising! This is one of those books I started that life forced me to put down for a little while, and it was torture every day that went by without me being able to pick it back up and find out what happened next…

And then I finally reached “the end,” only to discover…

IT’S NOT THE END!!! There’s another book coming out soon.

I was left with so many questions my head may explode!!!

So all in all, I loved Dead Sea Rising and I recommend it to EVERYONE!!! But I’m super upset I can’t read the next part of the story already… My only complaint is that it ended so abruptly and I’m without the next book.

Have you also read or planning to read Dead Sea Rising? What do you think? Leave me a comment below!

four-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar – BOOK REVIEW

36576005Title: Auschwitz Lullaby
Author: Mario Escobar
Publication Date & Publisher: August 7, 2018, Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Length: 304 pages
ISBN: 9780785219958
My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.
For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.
Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.
For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

My review:

I could summarize my reaction to this story only one way:  SOOOOO MANY TEARS!!!
Auschwitz Lullaby is such an emotional story! I was an emotional mess the entire time I was reading it! I know that doesn’t sound like a good time to everyone, but I was ready to re-read this one as soon as I finished it… and put myself through the misery all over again!
Helene is a wife and mother we can all look up to. She loves her family fiercely. She’s been supporting them for some time now since her Romani husband is no longer able to work in Nazi territory. And she doesn’t show fear when the Nazi’s come! When faced with the decision to either stay behind and live a comfortable life or follow her husband and children into the Nazi’s camp, she makes it clear there was only one choice:

“There’s no need for you to come, Frau Hannemann,” the sergeant insisted.
I looked straight into his eyes and asked, “Do you think a mother would leave her children in a situation like this?”
“You’d be shocked if I told you all I’ve seen in the past few years,” he answered. “Very well, come with us to the station. We have to get them to the train before ten o’clock.

This wasn’t the only time Helene was given the chance to leave. But she won’t abandon what she knows is right. She ends up protecting not just her own family, but every child in the camp comes under her protection. At one point, she tells the doctor this:

“My family is here. I can’t leave without them. I’m a mother, Herr Doktor. You all wage your wars for grand ideals, you defend your fanatical beliefs about liberty, country, and race, but mothers have only one homeland, one ideal, one race: our family.

One of the hardest things to read in this story centered around the experiments Dr. Mengele was performing on twins. Helene has a set of twins and she lives in constant fear of someone showing up to take them. Mengele uses this on more than one occasion to force Helene to bend to his will.  We’re currently fostering twins and I’ve become a huge fan of all twins! I find myself automatically drawn to and loving every twin I meet (real or fictional). So this aspect of the book drew me in and caused an even deeper emotional wound for me.
There isn’t a single character in Auschwitz Lullaby that I didn’t feel some connection with. I either loved or hated them, but don’t expect to get a lukewarm feeling about anyone! That being said, there were times when I was confused on how I felt about a couple characters. In a situation like this it’s easy to think of the guards as less than human. It’s really the only way to rationalize what they do. But somehow, Mario Escobar managed to keep reminding me that they’re real people, with real feelings (good & bad), and no one is purely evil or purely good.
This truly is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Helene’s journey and sacrifices to protect her family and others around her is amazing and will stick with me for a very long time!

I received a free review copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
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A Home for the Redeeed by Sue Behnke – BOOK REVIEW

31164677-_sy180_Title: A Home for the Redeemed
Author: Sue Behnke
Publication Date & Publisher: July 13, 2016, WestBow Press
Genre(s): Christian Fiction
Length: 206 pages
ISBN: 13: 9781512748406
My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

“He remembered with bitterness how much he had aspired to become a pastor. He had assumed that somehow it would change him. It would make him a different person, a better man. When he earned the title pastor, it seemed everyone else also assumed he was some super being, above the rest, with keys and answers to all life’s problems-the voice of God no less.
He had to admit he believed his own publicity for the longest time.”
Carl is a disillusioned pastor, toying with despair, watching his marriage fall apart. Leading the flock, he still has to counsel those who knock at his door, deal with an attack of the media, and still find a way to love a church that is no longer confident in his leadership. Benjamin is an atheist. His life is shaken by encounters with angels and supernatural happenings. He believes he has a divine message for Pastor Carl. Brendan, a member of the church, used to be a street urchin and an addict. He is a babe in Christ. His transformation is still rocky, and his relapse threatens to shatter those who love him. Can an imperfect pastor shepherd a church? Can the grace of God prevail in brokenness?

My review:

This story is CRAZY!!! It follows a number of people who either attend or are led to a  church led by Pastor Carl, who seems to have been in a funk for quite some time now. His dedication to his faith, his church, his marriage, and even himself is put to the test.
Brendan is a member of the church who used to be a homeless drug addict. After getting saved, he married his ex and now raises their child together. Brendan’s faith seems strong, until he’s really tested…
Benjamin is an atheist married to a woman who prays privately, multiple times a day, in her prayer room. She hasn’t been to church since being driven away after her previous marriage fell apart. Her faith is strong, but she’s been trying to do it all on her own and her new husband doesn’t even talk to her about her beliefs… until they’re both tested to the point of worrying Benjamin may be crazy…
There are many stories and lives woven together in A Home for the Redeemed. Real issues are dealt with and just when it seems everything is going to e okay… BAM! The church and all it’s members are suddenly thrown back into chaos.
I really enjoyed this story, but I got a little confused at the beginning. There are so many characters thrown at you and Brendan and Benjamin’s names are a little too similar for me… I got them mixed up more than once!
Definitely recommend picking this one up!

I received a free review copy of this book through Harper Collins Christian Publishing’s BookLook Bloggers Program. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of A Home for the Redeemed? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
Are you planning on purchasing A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository