Category Archives: Tyndale House Publishers

My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

My Imaginary Jesus cover artTitle: My Imaginary Jesus

Author: Matt Mikalatos

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Matt Mikalatos liked Jesus a lot. In fact, he couldn’t believe how much they had in common. They shared the same likes, dislikes, beliefs, and opinions. (Though Jesus did have better hair.) So imagine Matt’s astonishment when he finds out that the guy he knows as Jesus . . . isn’t. He’s an Imaginary Jesus: a comfortable, convenient imitation Matt has created in his own image. The real Jesus is still out there somewhere . . . and Matt is determined to find him.

In this hilarious, fast-paced, sort-of-true story hailed as “Monty Python meets C. S. Lewis,” Matt embarks on an incredible chase to find the real Jesus and ask him the one question that his Imaginary Jesus has never been able to answer. It’s a wild spiritual adventure like nothing you’ve ever read before . . . and it might bring you face-to-face with an imposter in your own life. This new edition now contains a discussion guide, an interview with the author, and other bonus features! (Previously published as Imaginary Jesus.)

Review:

My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos takes the reader on a journey of discovery as the narrator, Matt, searches for the real Jesus. This hilarious story sometimes borders on the absurd as it introduces a whole cast of imaginary Jesuses that attempt to fool people into believing they are the real Jesus. As Matt chases these imaginary Jesuses through the streets of Portland, Oregon, with the help of the Apostle Peter, a talking donkey named Daisy, and a few others, he uncovers truths about the real Jesus that make it easier to identify the imaginary ones.

While filled with humor and seemingly ridiculous assumptions about Jesus, the book provides a sad but true glimpse into American culture and society as we read about the various imaginary Jesuses so many people follow. The Magic 8 Ball Jesus is a good example of this. Although the scenes where we see him are hysterical, unfortunately there are some people who think Jesus is like a Magic 8 Ball, giving answers that may or may not make sense and leave us guessing more often than not. When exposed to the light and compared to what the Bible tells us of Jesus, however, it becomes painfully obvious that the real Jesus would never behave the way Magic 8 Ball Jesus does. This is true of all the imaginary Jesuses presented in this book and any others that people make have created in their own lives.

An entertaining read, My Imaginary Jesus also hits on some difficult topics, such as why God allows terrible things to happen. Matt Mikalatos offers answers to some tough questions with amazing insight and presents the information in a way that enables readers to easily identify with the story. If you’re searching for the real Jesus or just looking for some answers, this book may be the one you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an entertaining read that will have you laughing out loud, this is definitely the book for you. Just remember that you may be forced to reevaluate whether you’re following the real Jesus or your own imaginary version.

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Accused by Janice Cantore

Accused cover artTitle: Accused

Author: Janice Cantore

Publisher: Tyndale House

Book Description:

Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she’s eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.

Carly’s ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He’s determined to show Carly that he’s a changed man and win her back, but she isn’t convinced he won’t betray her again.

As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.

Review:

Detective Carly Edwards is stuck in “juvenile exile” and wishes she was back in her patrol car, on the front lines of protecting Las Playas, California. When a juvenile she knows is accused in a high-profile murder case, Carly is sure it will lead to her release from working in juvenile investigations and return her to patrol. Instead, it leads her into the investigation of her life and forces her to figure out who she can trust. Unfortunately, one of the few people she is sure she can trust is her ex-husband, a man she wants to continue to avoid. Carly and her ex must work together with the help of a few others to figure out who the real killer is and untangle the web of corruption and deceit surrounding them before someone else ends up dead.

Accused is a Christian suspense novel with romantic elements. The plot takes unexpected twists and turns, which quickly grabs the reader’s attention and holds it tightly until the end. The Christian themes could be woven in a little more smoothly in the first half of the book, but the second half mixes Christianity into the story seamlessly. The biggest issue I had with the elements of faith in the first half of the book was Carly’s somewhat repetitive negative reactions to any mention of God, prayer, or church. While it was good to see a main character in a Christian novel struggling with doubts and anger toward God, the repeated references to “Bible-thumpers” and disproportionate anger whenever anyone mentioned church or prayer to Carly felt a bit overdone.

Despite the occasionally clunky inclusion of Christian themes in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the story a great deal and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense or complex mysteries. The characters are realistic with flaws as well as good qualities, and the author did a marvelous job of weaving a plot so complex that the reader is left wondering who can be trusted right along with Carly. I would read more books by Janice Cantore.

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Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Almost Heaven cover artTitle: Almost Heaven

Author: Chris Fabry

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.
However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

Review:

This is the story of Billy Allman, a simple man born and raised in the hills of West Virginia. All of his life, he’s had a strong faith in God, a love of bluegrass music, and a dream for a radio station. Everything in his life seems to go wrong, but through it all he remains steadfast in his love of the Lord. In fact, the worse the situation, the stronger his faith seems to grow.

Malachi is an angel given the task of protecting Billy. Through the angel’s eyes, readers are given a deeper look at human nature and how those in the heavenlies might view life here on earth. Malachi suffers from a few moments of doubt, making him easy to connect with, but his faith in God’s goodness and his allegiance to the Creator never waver.

Throughout the story, we see event after event in Billy’s life that has a deep impact on him. Many are enough to make some people decide God has abandoned them. But as Billy remains strong in his faith, it inspires readers to do the same. A common theme in the book is that no matter how bad life gets here on earth, God is still very much in control and He’s right there with us through it all, even when it feels like we’re stumbling along on our own.

Almost Heaven is filled with poignant emotion and amazing descriptions that draw the reader in. The emotions and events are portrayed in such a way that readers can easily empathize with the characters and experience the story right along with them. The many reminders of God’s love and healing are uplifting without being overwhelming. It’s the kind of book that will speak to a wide audience.

I recommend this book for any reader who doubts God’s goodness, or doesn’t feel worthy of His mercy, or is going through a difficult time, or has an experience in their past that still haunts them. Basically, any reader who enjoys Christian fiction will likely enjoy Almost Heaven.

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Blackout by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn

Blackout cover artTitle: Blackout

Author: Jason Elam and Steve Yohn

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Riley Covington is still reeling from his father’s brutal murder when he learns he’s been traded. Meanwhile, the counterterrorism division has detected a plot to detonate electromagnetic pulse bombs that could leave the U.S. without power, communications, and transportation—right down to dropping planes out of the sky. CTD scrambles to stop the attacks, but they run out of time. Amid the fallout, Riley, Scott, Skeeter, and CTD must regroup to make sure the second bomb doesn’t reach its destination.

Review:

I have mixed feelings on Blackout. The first half of the story didn’t feel like a thriller at all. Riley Covington, the title character of the series, didn’t play as big a role as expected and his main purpose appeared to be remembering the past and playing football. In my opinion as a reader, the first half of the book could have been condensed into just a few chapters and kept the tension of the story high, rather than taking over a hundred and fifty pages and making me wonder if the “thriller” part of this Riley Covington Thriller would ever start.

The second half of the book, however, was an amazing ride of suspense. It was everything I hope for in a thriller and had an awesome storyline. Electromagnetic pulse bombs aren’t something I’ve seen done to death in fiction, and the glimpse of the devastation an EMP bomb would cause was both fascinating and frightening. Once the story picked up, I couldn’t put the book down. I was drawn into the story and found myself rooting for the good guys and rejoicing when the bad guys took a blow. I came away fully satisfied with the second half of the book.

If you don’t mind a slow start to an exciting story, you might enjoy Blackout. But if you’re like me and prefer a thriller that’s suspenseful from beginning to end, this may not be the book for you.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Tyndale House Publishers

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book by Chuck Norris

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book cover artTitle: The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book

Author: Chuck Norris

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Hundreds of thousands of humorous Chuck Norris facts have been published, traveled around the globe via the Internet, and gained an international audience of millions. Chuck Norris facts are a quirky, extremely popular Internet phenomenon that has entertained fans from all over the globe. In the last several years, Chuck Norris has been asked repeatedly from the heartland of America to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, “Which facts are your favorites?” For the first time ever, in The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, Chuck gives readers not only his favorite “facts,” roundhouse-kicked by the man himself, but also the stories behind the facts and the code by which Chuck lives his life. Fans from every corner of the globe will enjoy both the fanciful and inspirational from one of the world’s great action heroes. This book makes a perfect gift.

Review:

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book is a fun book, but it also gives a great deal of insight into the man behind the fact phenomenon. Each of the 101 Chuck Norris Facts in the book is supplemented by a true story from Chuck Norris himself. After that bit of trivia is a quote pertaining to the story, and the end of each entry gives the corresponding core value from Chuck’s Code–Norris’ five core values he lives by: Freedom, Family, Fitness, Faith, and Fight–and a sentence or two that goes with it.

Throughout the book, Norris offers opinions and trivia on everything from his movie career to his family to nutrition. The reader comes away with a greater understanding of Norris’ deep-seated Christianity, his patriotism, his support of the military, and his belief that people must work not only to improve themselves but the world around them as well.

The humor in this book had me laughing many times, but Norris also touched on some topics that hit home and made me see things I could improve in my own life. I was particularly impressed with his openness about his failures as well as his successes. His belief that everyone has the opportunity to change their corner of the world is inspiring, especially since the stories in this book show how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of countless people. The many reminders that God sees each of us as His own special creation and has a plan for each and every one of us are uplifting. I highly recommend The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book for anyone looking for a book that leaves the reader with hope for a better world and a better relationship with God and family.

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The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

The Secret of Indigo Moon cover artTitle: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, Book II: The Secret of Indigo Moon

Author: G.P. Taylor

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

From best-selling author G.P. Taylor comes the highly anticipated second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, a series that combines art and traditional text to help “reluctant readers” discover the wonder of books.

Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.
In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust.

Review:

I admit I’m not a big fan of graphic novels…usually. But it didn’t take long for me to get drawn into the world of Erik Morissey Ganger and the Dopple twins, Sadie and Saskia. The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, Book II: The Secret of Indigo Moon is packed with action right from the start. The mystery involving a secret tunnel, a reporter, and an old enemy is well-written and even managed to surprise me a little—something that doesn’t happen often with children’s mysteries.

While the repetition of Erik’s full name did get a little tedious at times, this was still a wonderful book that I had trouble putting down. The Christian message is woven in with such subtlety that it wasn’t even noticeable in much of the story. And when it did appear, it was written in an allegorical fashion that was both enjoyable and uplifting. G.P. Taylor is definitely going on my list of authors I can count on for a good story.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Series, Tyndale House Publishers, Young Adult