Friday, January 20, 2017

Jim Baton and A Violent Light

A Violent Light (Peace Trilogy #3)

A Violent Light, Peace Trilogy, Book #3
Jim Baton


Buy on Amazon US CA AU
Buy on Barnes and Noble US

About the Book
The Youth For Peace Fresh Start Initiative gathers ten Muslim and ten Christian youth from ten nations around the world to learn new paths to peace. But the camp staff have some highly unorthodox teaching techniques. And when one by one the youth start disappearing, some of them wonder if the staff might not have an entirely different agenda. Those left behind must work together to solve the mystery before they also disappear. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, the entire world is watching... 

Lisa's Review
It’s an international peace conference gone horribly wrong. Young adults who have shown initiatives in peace ventures in their communities, who are actively involved in promoting peace, reconciliation, and acceptance of Christian and Muslim cultures living side by side have been invited to the United States to share with each other and learn new methods of reaching out. Most of them don’t realize how far they have to go until they are forced to unite in order to survive.

A Violent Light is the third book in a series, however each of the books is capable of standing on its own. I read the second book before the first, and while the author follows the story of Sari, a young Indonesian Christian, it’s not crucial to know what goes on before. While the characters are well planned, as in most thrillers the story is plot-driven with events that propel the reader to turn pages, cringe, and cheer. And pray. A lot. This story is unfortunately too real, told by someone who has experienced these issues. On one hand, I can’t believe humanity can overcome our differences; on the other, Baton’s dream of rising above our sinful natures is mine, too. I can hurt for those who are stuck in mental illness because I know being earthbound is only temporary and I long for the better country.

I read fiction mostly for entertainment. I’m not honestly certain that I would have picked up this book on a whim, but the author’s background as a missionary in Indonesia makes the first and second stories pop. While it’s necessary for the evil in this third book set in the US to be somewhat cliché, the author has also shown an understanding of the difference between shock value and those who truly believe they are on the right hand of God and will murder to prove it. I still call such skewed devotion mental illness. Stellar writing is important to me, and this author has done another excellent work.

Those who love controversy, action, gruesome realities, and a good mystery thrill ride with action jumping between scenes will like Baton’s books. They are a true torn from the headlines look at the world today, and with A Violent Light, at America and its rotten layer of racism and biblical misinterpretation that must be overcome by the true power of dignity and self-sacrifice and love.

About the Author
JIM BATON has spent the last 20 years in the world’s largest Muslim nation, building bridges between Muslims and Christians who both desire peace. His speaking and writing call people out of fear and into authentic friendships that can change the world.

Read other Reviews in the John 316 Network

A Way Out of Hell  Lorilyn  Lisa
Somebody Has to Die  Lisa  Lorilyn

Friday, January 6, 2017

Time Travel series by Deborah Heal

Once Again by Deborah Heal

Rewinding Time series, book 1

Deborah Heal

Paperback: $9.99
Ebook: 2.99

Others in the series:

About the Book:
Professor Merrideth Randall has a tool that other historians can only dream of—computer software that virtually rewinds time!

It comes in handy for historical research and for her sideline genealogy business. When her colleague physics professor Brett Garrison asks for help with his family tree she can’t resist, even though he’s far too attractive for her peace of mind. And amazingly, he seems to be pursuing her, despite the fact that everyone knows dating a co-worker is career suicide.

Using her software, Merrideth gets a first-hand look at Brett’s ancestors, the courageous pioneers of the Illinois Country who withstood Indian attacks, hardship, and loneliness to settle there in the 1780s. One of the settlers is James Garretson, who risked his life to take the Gospel to the very tribe that wreaked havoc on his family. Merrideth is amazed that he could forgive a crime so huge.

She would love to tell Brett that he is descended from heroes, and that he inherited his black hair and green eyes from James Garretson. But she is determined to safeguard her program, and discretion is not Brett’s strong suit. She also has secrets about herself that she’d just as soon he didn’t find out either.

One virtue Brett does have is patience, and he’s quite willing to wait for Merrideth to figure things out.

Lisa's Review:
Little Merri Randall is all grown up in this new series from inspirational time master Deborah Heal. She’s followed her dream of becoming a young PhD history professor at a southern Illinois college. It’s been years since her childhood encounters with a dangerous and mysterious software program called Beautiful Houses. When she accidentally? rediscovers the program not only still exists and is just as active as ever, curiosity overcomes her good sense and she is once again drawn back to explore time.

Merredith uses the program to help her in both her work and private side business, researching family history. She has grown up reluctant to share herself with others, a definite lack of trust in others and even to a certain extent her own abilities and gifts. When the physics professor sets his sights on her, Merri has a lot to overcome, especially her teaching mentor, to believe anyone might be personally interested in her.

Told from Merredith’s viewpoint throughout, this story and series is a history lover’s dream. Because the character is a professor, her lectures that include blocks of rote history are a natural part of the story, as are the fascinating dialog sharing dates and people. Merri’s trips through time provide a virtual visit to experience life in the late eighteenth century literally through those people’s heads.

Just a fascinating series with excellent research. While science is not discounted, the details of the software’s ability to provide virtual time travel experience for the user doesn’t hinder the reader. The books are part of a series, and while a reader can pick up any story and read it with enough information from the past books to make sense of the particular story arc, you’ll want to read the whole series. I know I will. Recommended for those who love plucky wounded females with a side of romance while reading their history.

Note: Time and Again, the first book in the History Mystery trilogy sert before this series, is available free from Amazon Kindle

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Excerpt from "Killswitch," New Release from Victoria Buck

Excerpt from the new book release by Victoria Buck.

Life underground mystified the man who used to own the world. Chase leaned against a white partition in the bunker constructed under an abandoned museum. Getting here had consumed his thoughts. Even his dreams.

He scanned the sixty-foot-wide room that used to be nothing more than a cavernous hole. Computers and holographic displays filled the space now, along with a group of people all intent on giving God credit for this techno-cave. Odd.

Maybe there was a higher power behind it. Something had pressed Chase, caused him to give up everything. Urged him to seek refuge in this strange world.

Or maybe it was just his coding, since he’d gotten blown apart and reassembled—turned into a transhuman.

Whether Providence or programming, he’d made it. Now he’d do what he came to do: connect these people with others like them around the world. Protect them. Keep them a step ahead of government forces bearing down on them. But somebody had better tell him what all this was about. Why the believers held to their faith. His other reason for coming—to find the truth.

But here? Was every branch of the Underground Church literally underground?

The middle of the busy command center housed ten computer stations, three to four feet apart. Old-fashioned bulbs hung from the white drop ceiling. In the thirty-eight hours since his arrival, he’d become acquainted with the massive network of information and communication programs. The exoself—the computer built into his very being—now seemed at one with the systems Mel had constructed. No wonder, she’d designed him too. At least in part.

She lifted her deep brown eyes and gave him a reassuring smile, then she motioned toward the door to his right. He returned the smile and nodded. Almost time for the meeting.

Melody Reese—the third reason he didn’t stop looking until he found this place. He watched her move across the room. Maybe seeing her again had been at the forefront of his reasoning.


Victoria Buck is a Central Florida native. Wake the Dead is her debut novel. Killswitch is the follow-up to book one. Transfusion releases soon to finish the trilogy about the world's first transhuman. Victoria clings to the gospel, serves in the local church, relishes time spent writing, and curiously contemplates the future.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

For to Us a Child is Born, to Us a Son is Given

Monday, December 19, 2016

"A Way Out of Hell," by Jim Baton - Book Review by Lorilyn Roberts

A Way Out of Hell by Jim Baton is the second book in the Peace Trilogy Series and picks up where Someone Has to Die left off.

As an American attempting to understand Islam, the series has helped me to understand a side of Islam that is often overlooked: Muslims are people just like me, trying to raise their families, pay their bills, and worship according to their beliefs. A Way Out of Hell shows that radical Islamic groups like ISIS are as much a threat to Muslim society as they are to Christians and Jews.

Can Christians and Muslims live side by side, respect each others' beliefs, share each others' hopes, and even pray together? Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

In a world where there is so little love, so little hope, and so little tolerance, maybe this series offers a glimpse of what is possible. I have many personal questions after reading the first two books. For example, can I love that much? 

In my heart, I want to show Muslims the love of Christ. Jesus Christ died for them too, but before we can expect Muslims to listen to us, or to me, we must love them first. Earn their friendship. I remind myself, Jesus loves Muslims more than I ever could because He loves perfectly. 

Our best ability to love will never be like Jesus Christ, but if we commit our minds and hearts to trying, will that not please our heavenly Father? John 13:35 says: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

The Peace Trilogy Series has shown me some things that aren't always obvious at first. Perhaps one reason why Jesus Christ taught using parables is because stories teach us things we can't learn any other way. When we read stories, we develop an intimacy with the characters. We feel their emotions. 

The scholarship of a nonfiction book remains in the intellect. Stories reach the heart. Love, hate, hopelessness, and redemption, I felt all those emotions in the Peace Trilogy Series. I even felt pity for the antagonists who had become radicalizedThey were misled, perhaps demonically possessed in one instance, but they still had souls. They weren't beyond redemption.  

It only takes one person to make a difference, to bring peace to a village, a community, a school, or a country, and the Peace Trilogy Series provides an example of how reconciliation is possible. I look forward to reading the third and final book in the series, A Violent Light.


Product Details

About the Author

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Shawshank Rebellion - Can Movies Help Us To Write Better

The Shawshank Rebellion is one of those movies I still think about even though it's been a few years since I watched it. I recently found some notes I wrote after viewing it. and as I start on book five in the Seventh Dimension Series, I am reminded about what made this movie so memorable to me.

Here are my thoughts after viewing it as part of my Masters in Creative Writing.

The most powerful scene was the last scene, when the two characters, Andy Dufresne and Bogs Diamond, reunite in Zihuatanejo, after serving their prison sentences. Of course, without the powerful scenes before and the setup, it wouldn’t have had the punch or the afterglow for the take-away. Plus I have been to Zihuatanejo – and so I know how beautiful it is.

The most powerful scenes before the last scene included:

When Andy Dufresne arrived at the prison initially and he and the others were looked upon as jail meat by the inmates. 

The long corridors of the jail where the inmate population were housed. 

The opera music that was piped loudly through the jail as the inmates stood frozen in the courtyard listening. 

The newly finished library; the completed tunnel that was discovered behind the picture of the movie star; the emptying of the dirt through the pants leg of Andy Dufresne from his tunneling. 

The scene where Bogs uncovers the note from Andy toward the end; the scene where the old man after being released from jail is almost run over by a car. 

The voiceover says the outside world moves too fast. He had only seen a couple of cars before he was put in prison and now there are so many. 

The little bird that the man was hiding in his jacket, he gave him a worm from Andy Dufresne’s food; and the powerful scene when the crow was released. The first bird symbolized the prisoners, but yet being taken care of; the second bird symbolized the old man being set free.

The Shawshank Rebellion spoke to my heart; we are all prisoners on some level, in some aspect of our life, but we can be set free and not lose hope.  And may I not become like the warden, who carried a Bible and quoted Scripture, yet was a crook and a cheat.

The best movies are those that strike a nerve and cause us to question the status quo; what we feel, think, and believe at our core. Few movies do that—at least for me—and to bring it back to writing stories, do not the best books do the same in our hearts? Redemption is paramount, and The Shawshank Rebellion gives the reader what we all want: To be redeemed. To feel valued. 

Now that I've been challenged with a reminder from the past of what I want in movies, books, and life in general, hopefully I can deliver to my readers that kind of redemption in the fifth and final book in the Seventh Dimension Series.

Now off to outlining and writing!