Lisa Grace’s Angel Series

Megan has been given the ability to see angels and demons. This has changed her  life, causing her to enter a battle to the death for her family and friends.

As a Christian, I am always looking for books that portray the Christian  faith in ways that entertain and are of high quality. As a writer myself, I am  annoyed when I see poor storylines and ‘all over the place’ sentence structuring  that leads to no rising plot and has no conflict. This was not the case at all  with Lisa Grace’s Angel in the Shadows.

The message here is about the power of standing to do what is right even if  you have to stand alone. The message and plan of salvation is brilliantly  embedded in the story without sounding preachy; the novel’s tone embodies the  idea that you must choose to do what is right or live with the shame of bad  choices.

Angel in the Shadows, the first book in Lisa Grace’s Angel Series,  has been on AOL’s Top Ten Most Challenged Book List. It is also considered the  Christian Alternative to the famed Twilight Series. In most recent  news, the Angel Series Book 1, Angel in the Shadows, and Book 2, Angel in the Storm, have been optioned by Motion Picture Pro Studios  and are being fast-tracked into pre-production.

Angel in the Shadows was released May 23, 2011. Lisa Grace has done  more than an exceptional job in bringing the world of the supernatural to the  visible eye. The heroine in the story operates in the world of the supernatural  without the use of supernatural powers. The story is phenomenal and the plot is  genius.

Angel in the Shadows starts out by introducing Megan, a  fifteen-year-old girl, who discovers she can see angels and demons. Megan  encounters this discovery while off at a Christian youth camp. The last thing on  Megan’s mind is the ability to see angels and demons. She has her heart set on  spending time with her boyfriend Seth. Megan and Seth live three hours away so  they take every opportunity they have to spend time with each other. Megan and  Seth’s plans become difficult when Megan realizes her ability.

Megan first realizes that she can see into the world of the supernatural when  she is the only one to see Mr. Z., a counselor at the camp, glowing. He  confronts her about what she sees and reveals to her that he is an angel. Mr. Z.  informs Megan that she also has the ability to see demons as well. Megan is in  shock and not in the least prepared for this type of life. Mr. Z. informs her  that because she can see demons, she and her family and friends will be targets.  Megan’s mind is torn between enjoying her time with Seth and stopping the work  of the demons. The reality of what Megan can see pushes her towards preventing  the damage the demons are out to do.

After leaving the camp, Megan goes home only to find a demon wreaking havoc  in her school. Judas is the most handsome, charming boy at school. Megan knows  that Judas is not what he appears to be, but a demon set on destruction. Judas,  realizing that she can see him for who he is, plants himself in nearly all of  her classes. Judas begins his destruction of Megan right away by targeting her  friends as well as causing havoc in her life.

Megan also encounters Johnny, an angel who has been following Judas and working  to prevent his destructive plans. Megan’s ability to see both Johnny and Judas  has brought more challenges and responsibility into her life than what she  planned. All of a sudden, Megan, with the help of Johnny and several of her  friends, is in a fight to the death to save the lives of her friends and family.

The World

The world created in Angel in the Shadows is one that is so  phenomenal you will find yourself hoping, praying and squinting for the  characters’ survival. Lisa Grace has genially mixed together the beings of the  supernatural world and the human world, drawing the reader in with the  possibility of ‘what if’ or ‘maybe’. The world of angels and demons is given a  new meaning through the idea that they are right next to you every day. The  choice becomes yours which to allow into your daily world. Angels are sent to  help restore and save. Demons are sent and set on destruction. Humans are caught  in a world of chaos, not understanding their plights of temptation, riding the  wave of ‘whatever may come.’

The reality of this world created by Lisa Grace explains the reason behind  suffering, pain, and hard decisions, as well as peace, unexpected favors and  blessings. Mixing and molding the two worlds into one is the same as uncovering  one side of a two-sided mirror. The eye is faced with a reality that cannot be  denied or falsified, the reality of a world that was created for peace and  pleasure and now battles for a prize: the human soul.

The Characters

The characters of this story were very well developed. Lisa Grace took the  time to develop each of the characters, giving them their own unique voices.  Lisa Grace made the characters so that young teens could easily put themselves  in the roles. The characters are not far from the truth. The issues addressed in  the book are the very issues many teens deal with today.

Megan, the main character, is a normal girl. She has normal fifteen-year-old  aspirations and desires. She feels as though she loves her boyfriend Seth and is  eager to see him at any chance she gets. Megan has a best friend, Mandy, with  whom she shares her dreams and secrets. Megan’s only elevation is that she has  the ability to see into the world of the supernatural. Megan’s ability does not  take away from her personality. When she learns she can see angels and demons,  she does not become some super heroine. She remains true to her character,  trying to figure out how to prevent the destructive work of Judas and his  demons.

Seth is a normal teen boy. He truly loves Megan and does everything he can to  show her is commitment is real. Seth encourages Megan in all that she desires to  do. There is nothing he would not do for Megan and everyone knows this. Seth’s  character is not blown out of proportion to the point of unbelievability.

Mandy is Megan’s best friend. The two have been friends for many years. Mandy  is not a girl who bases her success on her appearance, as this is what she  perceived from her mother. Mandy enters a struggle many young girls in their  teens face. I like the character of Mandy because not all girls live with the  impression that who they are on the inside matters. Robbie is Seth’s best friend  and the guy all teens have had in their class. He is the jokester. He is loyal  and unyielding in his friendship. Carrie is Megan’s friend and Robbie’s  girlfriend. She is a carefree girl who is enjoying her teen years. Vania is a  teen girl who is into the Gothic look. Her life is changed when she has a close  encounter with Judas, causing her to develop a sincere friendship with Megan.  Sam is a young teen who becomes the victim of Judas’ destruction, but with the  help of Megan and her friends his life is saved.

Johnny, an angel, is a character whose purpose is so clearly defined. He has  a mission and a goal to stop the destruction of Judas the demon. Johnny is  careful to not only keep a watch on Judas but to also offer valuable advice to  Megan and her friends. Johnny, although he is an angel, can in no way force  Megan to do the right thing. The choice is hers to make alone. Judas the demon  is a horrible deceiver. He preys on the lusts and desires of humans. Judas is in  no way afraid of Johnny and is challenged by Megan’s ability and strength to  make the right decisions. Judas enters a game of cat and mouse with Megan,  trying to get her to be on his team.

The characters overall drove the story from beginning to end. There was no  need to fill up empty space with characters of no foundation. Each character was  clearly defined and held their own role and played their part with  perfection.

The Plot

The story starts off immediately with the introduction of Megan. Megan is  introduced as a normal girl who is given the ability to see the supernatural.  Amazingly enough, Megan’s chance encounter of this ability is at a youth camp. I  enjoyed this entire beginning because it detailed the normality of her life  amongst her friends. She was not surrounded by anyone or anything that would  provide her with a supernatural inheritance. The beginning of the story  validates the reality of her ability.

The plot of the story is not repetitive in any way. Each element stands on  its own, building a road to the conflict. The story is excellent reading,  keeping the reader on the edge wanting more. The story ends at the right moment  for book 2. Angel in the Shadows, the first book in the Angel Series,  is well worth the read. You will not be disappointed. It has action and  adventure but is also a clean read. The issues touched on in Angel in the  Shadows are premarital sex, drugs, self-esteem, trust, and faith.

Please join me on Monday March 26, 2012  for an interview with author Lisa Grace. She will be talking about her Angel Series. I will also be hosting a giveaway of her book “Angel in the Storm” book 2 in the Angel Series.

 

Author Interview with Zari Banks

Zari Banks

Hello Zari and welcome to Inspirational Impactful Reading. I am so excited to feature your book “O Lord Hear My Cry: A Psalm Devotional.

Hi! It’s an honor. Thank you.

You know Zari there are so many people who love devotionals, tell me how a simple devotional can change or impact someone’s very day?

Focus is so important to God. That’s why He provided reminders for us throughout His word. Devotionals help us to focus our prayer time even if only for 7 minutes a day … and that focus in prayer and on God gives us power.

In prayer not many write down their prayers. It is a cry or praise we lay before God and that’s usually it. What was the reason for writing down your prayers?

I’ve written my prayers for several years. I probably began writing my prayers because I write down everything. Seriously everything. I write out my day including 7:45 (or whatever time) wake up, get dressed. And, I’ve always journaled. Even now when I’m not writing books, I have a list of 10 prayer requests that I take to the Lord every day.

What was the inspiration/testimony behind O Lord Hear My Cry: A Psalm Devotional?

O Lord, Hear My Cry was an answer to prayer itself. In the fall of 2010 I planned to relocate my son and myself to my hometown in Washington State. I was laid off from my school district in May 2009 and I was beginning to worry about our future in Arizona. I had been supporting us on savings and a part-time job at my church for a while but I knew that wasn’t going to work for long term. So going home to get back on feet made sense to me. I was thinking it would be a temporary solution because my family owns a businesses and I could work multiple jobs with fewer expenses and flexibility of schedule. Well, my ex took me to court to stop me from relocating with our son and requested temporary custody and the judge awarded it to him. He’d only spent roughly 4 days a month with our son since he was 18 months old, and he was nine at the time. I was devastated.

On March 2, 2011 I had to drop my son at his dad’s and he was crying and I was crying. Then I drove away and got as far as a library parking lot. I sat in my car screaming at God from the top of my lungs and asking Him to either kill me or rescue me because I couldn’t handle it. Just a few days before one of my mentors had emailed me Jeremiah 33:3 [AMP Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).] and said he was praying for me. So, I was yelling – probably appearing insane to passersby – you promised to answer if I call out to you so answer now.

God said, “Read the Psalms.” Nothing else.

That may not seem like rescue to some, but as I read through the Psalms with a new focus – with the intent of finding the message God was giving me – I was changed. I was ushered into a real and raw relationship with Christ. And, what I discovered in the Psalms is that my struggle wasn’t new to God and neither was my restoration. He was prophesying my victory.

What scripture speaks to your heart the most?

My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 (my remix): Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He’ll make your path so straight you couldn’t possibly miss it. 

A Spiritual Powerhouse is what many Christians seek to be, what advice can you give to prepare one for a journey such as this?

Oh, my, God bless you. If you ask for that He’ll faithfully make it happen. But, be ready for the pit of a lifetime. Being a Spiritual Powerhouse is dying to self to the point that you no longer consider breathing without asking God if it’s OK with Him. It’s not that final perfection, but it’s trusting God above and beyond anything our finite minds can construct, and that’s frightening and exciting at the same time. 

I know myself for one am very impacted by not only the word of God, devotionals and the such but also through music; what worship song just puts you in that place which voids out everything else around you and focuses you in on our Creator.

I don’t know that I have one favorite worship song. I love music and almost always have it on. Lately I’ve found myself just repeatedly singing, “I love you, Lord,” to no particular tune and probably in the most hideous tone an ear ever heard, but my heart is filled with gratitude for everything He’s doing in my life.

What do you want people to take most from reading O Lord Hear My Cry: A Psalm Devotional?

I want people to earnestly seek God and believe Him. Every heartache, triumph, disappointment and hope I’ve ever experienced is recorded right in the Psalms … years before I was even thought of on this earth. That amazes me. What I went through and am going through isn’t new to God. But, I couldn’t believe it mind, heart, body, soul, spirit until I was broken beyond human repair. You know how people either believe or deny God in crisis? Well, my prayer is that they so cling to Him that they enter into spiritual synchronicity with Him and live in faith-driven victory.

Signed copies are available on my hub: http://zwriteswords.weebly.com/

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Hear-My-Cry-Devotional/dp/0615524265/

BN.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/o-lord-hear-my-cry-by-zari-banks?keyword=o+lord+hear+my+cry+by+zari+banks&store=allproducts

I love connecting with people on a more personal level, so tell me what you really enjoy doing in your spare time and why you enjoy it so much?

I love to read, and my love language is quality time so I love being with friends and family. And, regardless of what anyone may tell you, eating really is pastime.

If you could I would love for you to pray for all those right now on the battlefield in the midst of spiritual warfare.

Holy Spirit, I love you and I praise you for allowing me to come into your presence. Draw near to me as I draw to near you. I praise you because you promise that I can come boldly before the throne of grace and lift up those who are being attacked by the enemy. Fall fresh on them and give them supernatural wisdom and understanding for this time. Give them a vision of the battlefield and give them the courage and knowledge to take authority in Jesus’ name. Your word says that anything I bind on earth is already bound in heaven and anything I loose on earth is already loosed in heaven. I praise you because every word of God proves true. I bind every enemy that’s coming against these readers in the Name of Jesus and I loose deliverance, health, restoration and divine wisdom into their lives right now. Prepare their hearts to receive and expect the miraculous from you, Lord. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer in Jesus’ Name. Amen

“O Lord Hear My Cry: A Psalm Devotional”

I thought this book was encouraging and full of guidance. Sometimes in the midst of trying times we tend to not necessarily address the exact problem but dance around it. Zari Banks unfolds her heart, her suffering and her triumph through this wonderful devotion full of prayer and scriptures. I appreciated the value of Zari’s prayers because it showed me that we are all in this together going through trying times crying out to our God.
This is a great devotional for anyone in the midst
…more

Tortured For Christ

TORTURED FOR CHRIST is written by Richard Wurmbrand the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit interdenominational Christian organization dedicated to assisting the persecuted church worldwide.
TORTURED FOR CHRIST is an account of Richard Wurmbrand a christian living in the midst of a communist environment. TORTURED FOR CHRIST is not a spectacle of curiosity but an account of the true horrors many Christian’s still face in countries of opposition to the faith. Richard Wurmbrand suffered much at the hands of the communist for refusing to denounce his profession of faith in Christ Jesus. He was made to suffer through beatings, brainwashing and tortures of all kinds. He was faced with betrayal and humiliation. Through it all he grew stronger instead of weaker in his faith towards Christ.
Richard Wurmbrand was no extraordinary man with supernatural abilities. He was however a man who believed in the supernatural ability of God to save. Richard Wurmbrand remained in communist prison for a total of fourteen years before being ransomed. This is not a story but a true life account of a man led by the Holy Spirit and pushed to love in order that those very beings who stood laughing, torturing and ridiculing him would come to know Christ.
Richard Wurmbrand’s TORTURED FOR CHRIST has become a voice alerting millions to the opposition many Christian’s face.
You can obtain a copy of Richard Wurmbrand’s TORTURED FOR CHRIST for free at https://etools.ncol.com/a/tfc/bg_vomtfc_persecutioncom-vitals-tfc-flash_346.html
To learn more about The Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com/public/aboutVOM.aspx?clickfrom=bWFpbl9tZW51