Book Recommendation ~ Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol by Creston Mapes

Book Description:

Can Fame, Wealth, and Power Buy Happiness?

Everett Lester and his band, DeathStroke, ride the crest of a wave to superstardom. But the deeper they become immersed in fame, wealth, and power, the more likely they are to be swallowed alive by the drugs, alcohol, and discontentment that have become their only friends. Everett is headed down a perilous road of no apparent return when he’s charged with the murder of his personal psychic. The only hope he can cling to comes from Topeka , Kansas , and the letters written by a prayerful young lady who lives there. Consistent and persistent, the notes cut straight to Everett ’s empty heart, offering a fulfillment he’s never grasped before. But what if he’s found guilty of murder? Will he recognize the spiritual battle that’s raging for his soul?

Endora Crystal was my rock…

As I staggered through the chaos of rock ’n’ roll fame—the drugs and alcohol, the selfishness and turmoil—Endora was the gentle voice in my ear telling me I was special. Telling me I was adored. She was my personal psychic, and she said I had a unique purpose, a calling to give my fans happiness. To be their god.

My band, DeathStroke, dominated the world of rock. Yet strife ruled our inner circle. My family didn’t know me. I loved no one but myself.

And yet Karen Bayliss was praying for me, that I would come to know the love of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ. She was not a fan. Didn’t care for my music. Karen just wanted me to know peace.

Now Endora is dead, and I’ve been charged with first-degree murder.

Everett Lester is headed down a perilous road of no apparent return. Will he recognize the spiritual battle that’s raging for his soul?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I was initially unsure if I’d like reading this book. The author presented a realistic picture of Everett’s celebrity rock star lifestyle, including drug use, and the story included flashbacks to earlier events in Everett’s life leading up to his arrest. After the first few chapters I was hooked, and I read this book very quickly. The powerful story stayed in my mind and I gained an empathy for Everett’s character as the story progressed.

I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks, but the parallel story line that blended past and present events worked really well and heightened the tension and suspense in the story. The spiritual warfare theme was an integral part of the plot and revealed the dangers for those dabbling in the occult. I loved Karen’s character and her unwavering faith in the power of prayer. I highly recommend this book to those interested in reading a thought provoking and compelling spiritual warfare story.

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Book Recommendation: I Always Cry At Weddings by Sara Goff

I Always Cry At Weddings

Book Description:

Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite’s son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn’t what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable–she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she’ll save sex for marriage.

She’s convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance…and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren’t the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live…and what in the world love really means.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I Always Cry at Weddings is Sara Goff’s delightful debut novel set in New York City. The story is a contemporary romantic comedy that’s different to many other books in the Christian fiction genre. Ava comes across as a little shallow at the start of the story. She has spoiled princess moments, and she takes for granted the privileges that accompany her glamourous New York City lifestyle.  We see Ava evolve and grow as the story progresses and her life circumstances become more challenging.

Ava has everything she could want from a financial perspective, and a bright future with a fiance who can provide a life of luxury and comfort.  Her future mother-in-law adores her, and she is forced to deal with a very personal crisis as her wedding day draws closer.

We journey with Ava as she calls off the wedding and deals with the aftermath. Her life is no longer mapped out for her, and she struggles to regain her feet and find purpose. The urban setting is brought alive in the story, and the sensory detail draws the reader into the vibrant New York City setting. Ava’s dating escapades have a realistic edge. We see the city through her eyes, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

Ava’s faith journey is not really apparent until later in the story. The spiritual content is subtle, and Christian themes of social justice are infused in the story. The large majority of the characters don’t hold Christian values and beliefs. As a result, the story includes situations that we don’t often see in Christian fiction stories that are populated with Christian characters.  Conservative readers may be offended by some of these situations. The characters make mistakes and have to live with the consequences of their poor judgment. Ava is at times naive, and she’s also determined to take some big risks to achieve her goals.

The characterisation is excellent and the story contains strong romantic elements.  The minor characters add additional layers to the story. I was intrigued by Chris, a homeless man who slept outside Ava’s apartment complex on a flat cardboard box with his dog for company. The story has humorous moments and twists and turns that kept me guessing and led to a satisfying ending.  I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for realistic and entertaining contemporary Christian fiction in an urban setting that tackles social issues.

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