Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Readers Give ‘The Turning’ 10 Stars

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The Turning By Davis BunnThe Turning… A highly recommended read for even non-readers

By Pris Phillips

Wow. The story was incredible. (The word “awesome” comes to mind – but that word is far too overused to be appropriated here.)  I could hardly put it down.

Prepare yourself for a fast-paced read, with twists and turns in a plot that leads to an unexpected end.

Powerful… moving… believable. Though a work of fiction, I believe The Turning accurately represents a taste of what’s ahead for followers of Christ. The battles will be strong; the enemy powerful. In the natural, we should lose…

I found myself caught up emotionally with ALL the characters, both the “good” and the “bad” … caring what happened to each major player on both sides as they struggled with their personal demons; making choices that would impact others in powerful ways.

I think even a non-reader would be caught up with this one!

I give it five stars, but it really deserves a ten. I liked it that much!

Another page-turner from a master storyteller! 10 stars

By Mary Kay Moody, Jottings from the Journeys blog

In his new novel, The Turning, Davis Bunn presents a story which is paradoxically as familiar as age-old fairy tales yet as astonishing as tomorrow’s news.

He brings together an unlikely group of five ordinary people. Ordinary, but dissimilar. Ordinary, except that they’ve each heard God. When they converge in New York City and encounter each other, they recognize that God has put them together. But they don’t know why? They only know they’ve been summoned.

Bunn says that each task assigned them is demanding, though not particularly grand. And each act of obedience brings forth the next measure of guidance. They discover that their tasks are linked and challenge the cultural direction of the nation.

With control of power and money at stake, malicious forces align to oppose them. As the five encounter threats and try to remain steadfast in their faith, the public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on them, on knowing and doing God’s will, and on the movement some call The Turning.

The Bible relates occasions when God gathers a group of individuals who are to use their skills and gifts to accomplish God’s purpose:  Moses assembling ten spies; Gideon’s army of 300; Jesus’ twelve disciples. But it’s history. We read it—we don’t live it. Reading THE TURNING just might cause us to rethink that.

As always, Bunn delivers a story that coils tighter as it flows. This one has plenty of surprises that will keep you flipping pages at a brisk pace.

And he continues to astound me with his skill—not only of storytelling, but also crafting realistic, compelling characters. This cast is culturally dissimilar yet familiar, and whether Black, Caucasian, Jewish, Chinese, or Arab, they all ring true. To draw such diverse and distinctive characters—elderly widow, driven businessman, spinster choir director, young career woman, refugee surgeon, transportation manager, motorcycle thugs, or biker friends—with precise language and economy of detail is master craftsmanship.

In The Turning, Davis Bunn pulls back a veil and shows that God uses the common actions of ordinary people to accomplish great things. I highly recommend it—as does my husband. Between us we give it ten stars!

First-Time Reader Reviews ‘The Turning’

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Turning By Davis BunnToday’s reviews of The Turning include one from a first-time reader, and several from readers who liked the book’s antagonist!

You’ll hear from:

  1. Laura Noelle
  2. Cynde Suite
  3. Marie Sontag
  4. Lynn Riddick
  5. Gary Gilmore
  6. Margaret Nelson

I invite you to click the link next to each name to read their full reviews.

Compelling story, inspiring message

By Laura Noelle, Amazon

Having never read a Davis Bunn novel, I was unsure what to expect. I shouldn’t have worried because this story had my attention from the first paragraph. I’m always skeptical about Christian novels…will I be bored by pages of lengthy descriptions? Will the characters be images of perfection? But as I read “The Turning”, I found myself compelled by the characters who were real–full of flaws, doubts, dreams and glories.

This novel was so easy to read–the chapters are broken down, short and clips are shared from multiple characters’ perspectives. Truly a breath of fresh air from the many laborious books I’ve never been able to finish! I felt for these characters, needing to know what events would take place, and how the awful deeds of heartless people would be overcome by good. It’s not preachy, but it has a solid message of hope and shows God’s hand at work. Definitely worth a read!

Review Excerpts:

“The antagonist is brilliant because Bunn sets you up to like him (or at least pull for him) up until you read what he is about; then you are appalled!”

-Cynde Suite, Cyndecat’s Reading blog

“His flawed yet heroic protagonists and his almost empathetic, yet soul-darkened antagonists had me identifying with both, and turning pages long after the time I had allotted myself to read.”

-Marie Sontag, Sontag Writing Dreams blog

“I don’t know if it’s a good thing to admit but I actually quite liked Trent. I even found myself wanting to pray for him (if he’d been real) and was hoping very much for his redemption. I don’t know whether or not there will be a sequel, if so I would love to see hearts changed and converts made, not just a business that succeeds or fails but a true Turning from darkness to light in unlikely individuals.”

-Lynn Riddick, Goodreads

“Be prepared to question your own standing with the Lord in the matter of Lordship. Be prepared to hurt deeply with what you may see about yourself. And be prepared to renew your understanding about/and desire to be involved in true Lordship.”

 -Gary Gilmore, Gary’s Thoughts blog

“Davis does a great job of keeping up the reader’s interest while exploring themes of hope, choices, how God communicates with His followers, how God uses the least likely people to accomplish His will, and the wonderful fellowship and unity that can happen in the Body of Christ. If you don’t think that a few followers of Jesus can make a difference in our culture today, I challenge you to read The Turning! Reading thus book just may result in your life turning a new corner!”

-Margaret Nelson, Amazon

 

When You Feel Called to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The Turning By Davis BunnToday’s reader reviews of The Turning are by bloggers, Kathryn Eriksen and Lonzine Lee.

How Do You Make a Turning?

By Kathryn Eriksen, Walk With The Master blog

Have you ever been called to step out of your comfort zone…for no logical reason other than you felt a strong desire? If you followed that desire, what was the result? Did it benefit you and those around you?

What if that strong desire was actually God whispering for you to go…and take the turning? Puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it?

The message of The Turning is that you are not strong enough to go alone. Instead of asking God to solve the problem, turn to God so you can grow closer to him. It is a simple shift in perspective but a profound one. And that same shift is experienced by the characters, who also struggle to hear God’s response to their pleas.

The clash of good v. evil is portrayed vividly in the book. The power of the media is pitted against the power of God. Darkness seems to overtake everything, until one man’s soul lights up with God’s purpose. Nothing can stop him from doing God’s will. And in those moments of pure courage, he discovers his own will is the same as God’s.

And his life is never the same.

The Most Significant Davis Bunn Novel to Date!

By Lonzine Lee, I’m Just Asking blog

Here’s what I like about reading a Davis Bunn novel. It takes less than one minute to get pulled into the story. His characters are well-drawn. He really knows how to capture the voice of people (the gender, the ethnicity and the generation); and he provides more than one perspective.

The Turning, Davis Bunn’s latest book, is significant, gripping, heraldic, hopeful and intentional. I’ll just tell you point blank, you need to read it. There are so many directions I can go with this review, but I’m going to go the way of my heart. Imagine being inspired to perpetuate a viral mindset that revolves around the death of all hope. It is an invitation to entertain all that is dark, fearful, evil and devastating to the psyche and life of mankind. At heart, you are launching an attack against God, His Word and His people. Now imagine being invited by God Himself to be part of a team of individuals gathered to confront that viral message.

You are caught up in the fast pace of one man’s unsavory ambition to take down the church and then you are called to a front row seat to watch the Almighty’s strategy unfold. John, Alisha, Jenny, Ruth and Yussuf, the five men and women central to the story respond to God’s voice inviting them to “take the turning, and walk the unlikely road…and you will find Me there.” Each individual knew precisely what He wanted them to do, and they obeyed.

The scripture speaks of those without God being without hope. It also speaks to the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ. The story revolves around those two positions, with the adversarial camp seeking to capitalize on the hopelessness of this generation. It may seem like a small thing, but I believe it captures the essence of our current day societal mindset. Mr. Bunn heralds the message to those who choose to listen to get ready, for this same confrontation is being played out in social media today. Because that is so, I found it inescapable that I would also have to make a turning of my own before I finished the book. And I did.

Some may find this book “preachy.” It isn’t, it’s simply that it confronts the reader and challenges the comfort zone, even as it shows the love of God and the delineation between His Light and darkness. This is uncomfortable for some, outrageous and pushy for others. Why? It is because God is intentional and He wants His people to make His position clear to all. He desires that none should perish, so everyone gets a chance to accept or reject His love and His message of hope.

Even Trent, the ambitious young man in the story gets an invitation to turn toward hope. In this book, there is no happy ending, just a deep breath between one accomplished victory and the next onslaught. The adversary is not vanquished for good…yet. Hopefully this means a sequel.

What if God asked you, “Who will go for Me,” and you responded like the prophet Isaiah: “Here am I Lord, send me.” And then God said to you, “Take the turning, and walk the unlikely road. Take the turning, and you will find Me there.” Would you do it? Are you ready to take the turning?

Supernatural Power at Work in ‘The Turning’ (Review)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The Turning By Davis BunnBy Michelle Rayburn, Faith-Creativity-Life blog
Guest Reviewer

Have you ever had a sense you ought to do something, but didn’t know what it meant? Perhaps a pull to go somewhere or say something, but you weren’t sure if you should dismiss it, or listen to it. Was it the voice of God? Or another voice? How do you know?

In The Turning by Davis Bunn, five people from different place in the world come together when they sense a divine command. Once they “randomly” meet up, they realize they have a job to do. At the same time, one individual begins a media campaign to brainwash American young people into believing there is no hope. Together, the five individuals wage war against the forces of darkness to show America that there is still hope. As they obey God’s direction, they see the supernatural continuously at work as God proves that he prevails in their weakness.

I happened to read this book the same week I saw the movie “God’s Not Dead.” Both were powerful reminders that God is still at work.

This book is different from Davis Bunn’s last few books in that there is less thriller action and more supernatural power at work. I enjoyed the book very much. There is plenty of action, but instead of violent physical attacks, the main characters experience more spiritual attack. When they do experience a physical attack, God proves he’s at work.

There were so many themes underlying the story here, but one that I loved was seeing how obedience could lead to restoration. Obedience to God was the very thing that proved there was still hope. When the group listened to him, they saw miracles happen.

The other theme that I loved was a parallel to the story of Moses. God gave him a message, but he had no confidence in his speaking ability. In the book, a character named John is given a big message to share, but he has no confidence in his ability to deliver. Until he surrenders to God. Where naysayers point out his lack of seminary training or speaking experience, God empowers John to carry out the task to which he called him.

The only thing I didn’t like was that I felt like the book left me hanging at the end. Although there was some resolution to the plot, it left me wanting the rest of the story. I won’t spoil it, but something on the very last page tells me the author intended it this way, and I’ll have to wait and see.

Some aspects of the book remind me of the television show “24.” On the show, each episode is one hour of a day, and a whole season of the show is just 24 hours, one day. The whole book spans only 13 days. Chapters a grouped into sections that are subtitled for each day. The pacing of this intensifies the action, and I liked the technique.

All in all, I found the story captivating and relevant to today. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes some mystery and adventure without all the violence and gore of some other genres.

Reviews of ‘The Turning’ by Male Readers

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

The Turning By Davis BunnIt has been said that readers of Christian fiction — and fiction in general — are over 80 percent female. I feel blessed to have a large and vocal male readership, as well. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I am male, and many of my protagonists are male.

Whatever the reason, I enjoy hearing from my male readers. Today, I’m featuring reviews of The Turning from five of them:

  1. Steve Hilton
  2. Daniel Leonard
  3. Mike Eagle
  4. Russ Hanley
  5. Rick Estep

A contemporary allegory of an eternal story

By Steve Hilton, Doc’s Doin’s blog

“Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  - Matthew 26:38-39 (NKJV)

A relationship with the Lord God Almighty is not for the faint of heart. It is not so much a series of tasks as it is a lifelong commitment which demands ones best at every instance. Five individuals are about to discover the truth of these words.

Five unique people. Five very different walks of life. Yet they have two things in common; they believe that they have heard the voice of God, and they have responded in obedience.

As John, Ruth, Alisha, Jenny and Yusuuf simultaneously arrive in New York for very different reasons, they are inextricably drawn together to the same hotel lobby. Led by the Spirit, introductions are made and the purpose for their meeting is revealed in a flash mob:  Hope Is Dead.

Trent Cooper has his priorities in order. Me, myself . . . and I. He lives with the fury of one who sees, and has been denied, his hearts desires. Always striving, Trent is never going to be content with a brass ring. Visionary, and with a clear understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, Trent Cooper will not rest until he has it all. Trent lays it all on the line for the one roll of the dice that will either make him . . . or break him. He doesn’t realize that in so doing, he’s already lost.

The Turning is a contemporary allegory of an eternal story; a story of rebellion and reconciliation, of romance and redemption. A story of sin and salvation, and the eternal struggle between the god of this world and the King of Kings. And while the adversary may wish you to believe that there is a pitched battle raging throughout the ages, and the outcome is precariously balanced on the edge of a knife . . . nothing could be further from the truth. One little word shall fell him.

5 stars, for a story that reveals the impossible . . . and makes it possible.

Life-Altering Message of Hope

By Daniel Leonard, Goodreads

Can God use you to do great and mighty things if you are:

  • Over 30?
  • Haven’t gone to Bible college?
  • Not up-to-date on the latest Christian music?
  • An ex-convict?
  •  Not hip on fashion?
  • Feeling inadequate?

The Bible gives many examples why none of the things I mentioned above can keep you from doing great and mighty things for God if your life is surrendered to Him. Bunn’s new book also does a fine job of illustrating this very Biblical point.

I believe there is a message of hopelessness being SHOUTED in the face of the people of the world more than ever. This is a dark atmosphere that God can and will show His light and power in huge way. God wants to use you and me, no matter our past and lack of worldly titles, pedigrees and accomplishments, to shine His light in the darkness and save the perishing! Make no more excuses–surrender to God and watch mighty, mighty things happen!

Read this book and take it to heart. If you do, you will not only realize how much Satan has successfully propagated a message of hopelessness, but that God can use simple people to conquer that message and give hope and salvation to all who are hopeless! This world will be radically different when ALL God’s people realize they can do mighty things for the Kingdom of God!

I don’t usually give books five stars, but the message of this book and author are too important not to. Thank you, Davis, for this timely message!

Here am I, send me!

By Mike Eagle, Goodreads

The story centers around five ordinary people from altogether different backgrounds.   The story is very well written and besides being a good story has a deeper spiritual message of hope in the direst circumstances.  The characters are all drawn toward the service to listening and being led to act on their calling from God.  Although I did not read this entire book at one setting, it would have been very easy to if time allowed, it’s that kind of book.

I would recommend this book for everyone.If you haven’t read books by Davis Bunn, then you are in for a treat.   Soon after reading this book, you will be searching out his other books to also read.

Beware. He’s done it again.

By Russ Hanley, Facebook

Davis Bunn’s newest novel, The Turning, will challenge and convict you. One reviewer wrote, “The Turning is the most refreshing and inspired page turner in recent years. It captures your heart, mind, and spirit”.

I couldn’t agree more, I find myself listening for God’s call and wanting and waiting to answer. Once you start reading, you’d better have time set aside, because this will be very hard to put down.

I particularly enjoyed the way this story drew me in with characters that were flawed in a way that was relatable. The characters were hardly fictional, and were people I’d like to know. In fact, they were like people, I do know. Davis Bunn told the story from both sides and even the antagonist, Trent Cooper, was a sympathetic character in the beginning. In many ways he was the embodiment of the American Dream, going from humble beginnings to the top of the corporate ladder. As the story went on, we saw how each decision and commitment he made further exposed his role in a diabolical plan.

The story’s heroes are five people from very different backgrounds and locations who have nothing in common, except their faith and the fact that each is plagued by a difficult damaged relationships that must be dealt with. God has spoken to each one convicting each one to take the initiative, to begin the healing and restoration of those relationships in preparation for the task God has called them for. When they’ve responded to God’s call, then He brings them together for the real reason He called them.

Our enemy, Satan, would like nothing better than for believers to be complacent in the face of efforts to gradually water down the influence of Godly morality in our society and to effect growing compromise with evil. In The Turning, Bunn does a masterful job dealing with the age-old topic of good versus evil. He weaves a fresh, new, and compelling story that will challenge every believer to be more aware of the continuing spiritual battle going on around us.
The Turning is fictional but it is also very much a devotional. It is a must read.

From A Man’s Perspective

By Rick Estep, Reviews from a Man’s Perspective blog

When you read Brandilyn Collins, you expect suspense.

When you read Wanda Brunstetter, you expect sweet Amish stories.

The great thing about picking up a novel by Davis Bunn, is that you never know what you are going to get.

Are you ever still enough to “hear” God speak to you? The five people in this story sure didn’t have any problem making a distinction between any still small voice in their head and the thundering voice of the Almighty. But would they follow it?

By doing so, they have opened up a difference in their lives, they’ve taken a path that is leading them to something more than they could ever imagine. By following this voice, they are allowing themselves to travel down a road that will require them to take a higher road between the moral right and the moral wrong.

Can their small band really go up against the powerhouse media conglomeration? Are they putting all their lives in danger? Is there a way to stand for what you believe in in the face of the society that we have become today? Turn off your TV and go BUY THIS BOOK!

The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the fact that it kept giving me a reason to read it. I love to get close to the end of a chapter and get that nudge that “one more chapter will be enough for tonight.” By the time you get to that “one more chapter,” you’re seeing the beginning of a new day and you’re finishing the book. This book is that way.

Mr. Bunn takes you down this journey and continues to entice you to read more. You can never get enough, and even at the end of it, you are hoping that there is more to be shared about the book. It was fascinating to me how Mr. Bunn brought the characters together, almost in a way that said, “I need you to listen and help me, but before you do that, there’s some baggage in your life that we need to reconcile.” The characters were everyday people from every day walks of life with every day sin in their lives and He was still able to use them to further His kingdom.

Is this a “guy’s book”? Hang onto your hat. This is a simple read, but it is a read that keeps you going, always wanting to read just a little further and never giving you a rest until you’ve turned the final page.

‘The Turning’: Recommended for Book Clubs

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The Turning 300Two of today’s reader reviewers recommend The Turning for a book club discussion. You’ll hear from Sherry Bibb, Nadia Wiro, and Edward Arrington.

A Modern-Day David and Goliath Story

By Sherry Bibb, Tea and Poetry blog

What do you get when a money-driven corporate conglomerate is opposed by a small band of Christians united in their supernatural call and conviction to fully obey the prompting of God? This modern-day David and Goliath story is Davis Bunn’s newest thought-provoking novel.

A young ambitious advertising executive seizes his chance to play in the big leagues and impress his media mogul bosses with a stunningly comprehensive strategy to shape societal trends by exploiting hopelessness. But God is at work. Five individuals in different parts of the country hear God’s call to specific action. Their obedience to the first step leads them to an unexpected divine appointment where the five “accidentally” meet one another.

As the newest media barrage is made public these five lives merge and take a turn to stand against manufactured hopelessness with the message of true hope. The story builds slowly and becomes riveting as the conflict between good and evil escalates. I found the ending to be somewhat anticlimactic, but that too is more like real life.

The story has elements that are very relevant to society today and would make for wonderful family or book club discussion. For example, two questions that came to mind 1) With all of the outcry against “corporate greed” why are we unconcerned about entertainment corporations? It is a terrible thing when retirement funds are mismanaged and stolen, but do we care when the virtues and values of a generation are systematically stolen and replaced reaping terrible consequences in society? 2) How can I impact those around me by conscientious obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the clear message of Scripture?

The Turning is a compelling story and a worthwhile read.

I’ve recommended it for a summer book club discussion

By Nadia Wiro, Amazon

The Turning was my first Davis Bunn read. I’m not normally drawn to Christian fiction. But, Bunn’s characters are contemporary “real” people. Real, self-focused people who aren’t sure of their life’s purpose and who struggle both to hear God’s voice and then to respond to a call for action.

Is hope dead? That theme is what Trent Cooper, an advertising hot shot, wants society to subscribe to. His entire life’s dream and his livelihood are on the line for you to agree with his campaign against hope! But other major characters are thrown together to disprove that philosophy. Convinced otherwise, at first timidly, then full throttle, they are propelled to dissuade you from buying into Trent’s advertising ploy in support of his dead hope philosophy.

Bunn developed very distinct characters with their individual flaws and set of challenges, and each had his or her own specific incident that required a decision of “turning.” Then he threw the characters together for interaction within a joint mission. Once the characters were developed and I could keep them straight, I was drawn in to see how they would relate to each other and how the conflict of views with Trent’s campaign against hope would be resolved. Would there be a convincing argument for hope?

My first Bunn book, but I’ve already recommended it for a summer book club discussion.

If You Heard God Speak, Would You Take The Turning?

By Edward Arrington, Amazon

The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable. A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within. Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command. And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey. Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand. Only later would they see a pattern emerge – one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation. They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility. And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.

Even as they are being brought together, they have no idea evil forces are being set into motion that will seek to undermine their every effort to proclaim God’s message, forces that declare “hope is dead”. Worldly power and greed are at stake. Malicious elements align themselves to cast doubt on whether we can really believe that God speaks to people today. They work feverishly to dismiss all such superstitions and delusions. They attempt to cast them as misguided individuals who should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages.

The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God’s will. The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith. Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals? Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose? The movement may herald a profound renewal – one that some are calling The Turning…

Who were the five people to whom God spoke? They were people just like us: people who had made choices in the past that affected their daily lives. They were imperfect, flawed Christians living with the pain, struggles, and fears that were the consequences of their failures. Not a one of them felt worthy to be used of God in any special way. However, they were obedient to take the first step, The Turning. Others were willing to stand with them and see them through the difficulties that lay ahead as they sought to fulfill the mission set before them.

Davis Bunn weaves an amazing story of God using a small group of individuals to face off against the “Goliath” of worldly power and money to bring about His purposes. In a very believable plot, one that I could see unfolding in my mind’s eye, they face one difficult situation after another depending completely on God’s guidance. A real key message is that none of them has all the answers. One man is chosen as the spokesperson but God does not speak only to him. He works through them all in different ways using their unique abilities and talents. Were they tempted to give up? You bet. They quickly learned they could accomplish far more as they pulled together than they could do individually.

I highly recommend this book because it delivers a powerful message of God using His people to change lives for His glory. Davis Bunn helps the reader grapple with the question: What would I do if God spoke to me like this?

When God Calls the Unlikely

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The Turning 300Today’s reader reviews of The Turning are by Amanda Brogan, Crystal Kupper, and Mary Dushel.

Calling the Unlikely

By Amanda Brogan, Walking the Narrow Way blog

Perhaps you’ve heard the voice before. That inexplicable urging deep within your heart and soul, not audible but just as clear as if it had been shouted to you from a bullhorn. The voice of a Divine Storyteller, nudging you to follow a path you never would have expected.

It is this kind of Divine calling that Davis Bunn writes about in his new “devotional fiction” novel The Turning.

A brooding businessman from Cleveland. A snobby choir leader from Baltimore. A beautiful young oriental woman torn between two major life decisions, and an Arab learning the Christian faith. Each one hears the same message from God. Each must face a unique task. Each must take a monumental step toward forgiveness, reconciliation, compassion … spiritual obedience.

Feeling God call them to New York, these spiritual misfits band together under the leadership of a well-known Christian author to battle a rising cultural enemy.

I love the fact that each of the protagonists is introduced as someone who we normally would not look to for spiritual guidance. Each character has baggage, yet God does not wait till their baggage is gone to call them. He calls them with dirty lives, and offers them progressive steps of obedience to follow. Yet with each step, hearts are rearranged, maturity deepens, and the characters begin to take bigger and bolder steps of faith.

Davis shows us through these characters that we don’t have to be spiritual giants for Christ to call us. We simply need to be open to hearing His voice. He’ll meet us in that spot where calling and action collide.

Interesting, relevant read

By Crystal Kupper, on her blog

I had just slogged through two really awful books (coincidentally, both for my local book club) and I was very ready for a change. Thankfully, The Turning restored me to my normal love of turning pages gently instead of phwapping them shut in frustration.

Of Bunn’s recent works, this is definitely one of his best. I really enjoyed the character development, especially the insight into the antagonist, and was quite sad when the book ended. That’s the only reason I took off a star; I wanted more!

Hope is [Not] Dead

By Mary Dushel, Goodreads

“The fastest growing profit center within the entertainment industry is dystopia… The Generation Xers and the Millennials fundamentally disagree with the assumption that tomorrow is a better day. They reject the notion that the future holds greater promise.”

“Hope is dead.”

And, I promise, from there the book gets better.

These quotes are the beginnings of a marketing campaign that becomes the focus of Davis Bunn’s lastest novel, The Turning. The story begins with one of the country’s largest entertainment corporations planning this “hopeless” marketing strategy, including movies, books, music. But God has taken exception to this campaign and has decided to meet it head on. Five people are chosen and spoken to, directly, by God and sent to make the point that as long as God is alive and well and risen, hope cannot be dead.

This book is a well-written, fast-paced story. I found the characters to be nicely developed. I read books for their characters and I judge most books based on whether I would like to know the characters. These characters seemed real to me. They were multi-dimensional. The evil corporate types were not pure evil, but rather, though certainly ambitious, showed some level of humanity.

The characters who were doing God’s work were also multi-faceted. This task was not coming easily for any of them. They lamented what was given up for this task; they showed fear of being able to handle what was being asked of them. It felt like how I would react if something of this magnitude was asked of me.

The best part of this book is that it leaves you thinking.

Would I be able to drop everything and embark on such a mission, if asked?

Am I, as a consumer, contributing to this bleak outlook that is so prevalent today?

What can I do to help change things?

All worth thinking about.

One of Davis Bunn’s Best Novels… or Not.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The Turning 300One difficult thing all published writers must learn to accept graciously is criticism of our work.

Today’s reader reviews of The Turning serve as a point/counterpoint. One reader saw flaws in the character development and point of view, whereas another reader connected strongly with the characters.

I appreciate both reviews, which are so thoughtfully written.

Point

By Diana Savage, Heartlifters blog

When I received a complimentary copy of Davis Bunn’s The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review, I looked forward to reading the novel. The author has written many books, he has an excellent reputation, and he teaches creative writing at the University of Oxford.

Sure enough, I found Bunn’s sensory descriptions to be outstanding. I was awestruck by how deftly he described characters experiencing God’s intense presence. Many of the story’s events and references mirror contemporary headlines, making the book feel up to the minute. Suspense begins immediately on page 1, the conflict is compelling, and the tension ramps to fever pitch at frequent intervals. Sounds like a recipe for a topnotch thriller, doesn’t it?

Actually, I was disappointed. The author opens the book with a character who later becomes an antagonist, thus weakening the story’s impact by dividing readers’ emotions. He quickly introduces too many viewpoint characters to keep track of without flipping back to previous passages. And sometimes viewpoint characters “talk around” key elements to keep them hidden from us while we’re still in their heads.

In spite of these problems, the book has much to recommend it. I especially appreciate the story’s powerful takeaway message. Readers who prefer a plot-driven novel with a good takeaway and who don’t mind viewpoint difficulties will enjoy The Turning.

Counterpoint

By Jasmine Augustine, Montana Made blog

I think this book just might be Davis Bunn’s most powerful novel yet. You will be shaken out of your complacency and convicted to take that step forward to your own turning, and into the next thing God has planned for you. The impossible will seem possible.

Powerful, thought provoking, exciting, with a diverse and wonderful cast of characters. The five people chosen by God to bring the Church, the U.S., and even the world, a message of hope and God’s love, couldn’t be any different from each other if they had come from different countries. Each of them has a role to play, each must step out of their comfort zone, each must take a step of faith and give up things that they hold dear, and each of them must listen to the voice and promptings of the One who called them.

I think my favorite line from the book is when Ruth, the wife of a late-evangelist, says that God does not call the equipped, He equips those He calls. What a powerful piece of truth! Those words really hit me when I read them, and it made me wonder how God is using each of my experiences to shape and equip me to follow His plan.

The Turning is one of those books where you read a chapter or two and then you walk away to think about it, digest it, and maybe let it even change you. When Davis Bunn called this devotional fiction I think he used/coined the correct term. The way you read it does remind me much of reading a devotional, each section must be pondered before you can return for more.

But before you think this book is dry and boring, it’s not. The Turning IS a novel and it DOES tell a story, a good story. There is action, betrayal, danger, angels in disguise, a little romance, politics, and all the things we have come to expect in a typical Davis Bunn novel.

Readers Call ‘The Turning’ Life-Challenging

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The Turning 300I’ve received hundreds of reader reviews for The Turning since it was released April 1. Today, I’d like to share short snippets from 10 powerful reviews. I urge you to click the link and read each person’s full review.

The story challenges us to realize that as Christians we must not sit back in silence when evil is afoot. God may call us to stand strong against a specific evil in our community or nation. We need to be ready with prayer, and obedience to our Lord. God works through the hands and feet, and words of his people. He becomes their strength giving them direction as they obey Him and peace in the midst of trouble.
-Donna Morse, The Colorful Life Day By Day blog

I found The Turning to be profoundly impactful on my life at his time. It helped me understand that sometimes God asks us to take a turn. And when we listen and respond, miracles happen.
-Gigi Murfitt, Amazon

Bunn’s characters prove very interesting, even the antagonist who is easy to identify with. He is the kind of bad guy you want to see changed instead of simply defeated.
-Terri Picone, Amazon

Even the “villain” of the story is likable in spite of the fact I wanted his scheme to fail.
-Marjorie Vawter, The Writer’s Tool blog

Davis has created a cast of varied characters that inspire you to look within yourself to imagine how you might respond to hearing from God. I was able to relate to several of the challenges that they faced and look into my own life. I guess in this case, I was getting some hints about His plan through the pages of this novel.
-Dennis Brooke, Amazon

This book has taken me on a journey from “what the heck is happening” to “holy toledo; it’s awesome how all these people can come together and work together and pull off the impossible.”
-Russ Briney, Amazon

This book will leave you anxiously waiting to hear God’s voice in a way that will turn your life down an unlikely road.
-Jacqueline Rae-Hendrickson, Amazon

Not only does The Turning make for good fiction reading, it can also serve as a call to listen and then act.
-Judith Barnes, Facebook

Bunn did a great job capturing the vibe of the settings and the cultures of the characters. I was also compelled by supernatural thread that connected them.
-Susan Rampson, Amazon

Davis Bunn always seems to have a finger on the pulse of the times; he senses the zeitgeist and clearly shows how the gospel message relates to this moment.
-Laura Lee Groves, Outnumbered Mom blog

Reader Reviews for ‘The Turning’: Outside My Comfort Zone

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The Turning 300Today’s reader reviews for The Turning are from:

  • Shirley McDonald
  • Geni White
  • Greg Parrott
  • Beth Underwood

Please click the link next to their bylines to read their full review.

Another Winner by Davis Bunn

By Shirley McDonald, Amazon (full review)

Hope Is Dead.

This slogan becomes the central focus of an idea that Trent Cooper plans to use to prove to the owner of media giant Mundrose Group that he can be a major player in the media world. What Trent does not plan on is that God would call and bring together five unlikely people to spearhead a grassroots campaign with a groundswell of support of Christians who are determined to get out the message that Hope is definitely NOT dead.

Somewhat different from Bunn’s previous books, The Turning inspires readers to respond to God’s call even when they feel totally unqualified to do what He asks. They who have been called to take the “turning” first must be willing to work out an obstacle in their lives that have kept them from being their best. Meeting through divine plan, they wait to see what God would have them do. They do not have long to wait before they are caught up in the fight against Mundrose Group’s campaign to instill the idea into society that Hope Is Dead.

Full of page-turning action that takes place over thirteen days, The Turning is a story of good vs evil with believable, not perfect, characters who both hear and listen to God’s voice. What a message of hope that is for those of us who have been somewhat afraid to pursue our own “turning.”

A major corporation vs. the church

By Geni White, Amazon (excerpt)

I believe this is one of Davis Bunn’s best written books, because of the main characters’ dependence on God for clear direction on how to fight evil.

Inspiring

By Greg Parrott, 2 Book Lovers Reviews

The Turning is an inspirational story of how God can influence the lives of “ordinary” people, to create selfless heroes who can stand up to the corporate greed that is so prevalent in our times and “preaches” to the lowest common denominator. Through the strength of God, these five people step out of their “comfort zones” to challenge a power far greater than each one individually.

I have to say that The Turning was outside of my own “comfort zone.” Having read the Lion of Babylon, I was intrigued by Davis Bunn’s writing and I jumped at the opportunity to read The Turning. Most of the Christian fiction that I have read in the past has been on the “darker” side, challenging my beliefs. It was fresh and exhilarating to read something so different, approaching faith from a far more positive point of view.

Davis Bunn creates characters who are real, these people are our friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Through their faith in God, they become heroes. This is something that I have always loved about his writing, there is no Hollywood hero; Davis Bunn leaves the reader with the feeling, “Yes, that could be me…” although at the same time I would have to push myself beyond. But really, isn’t that what faith and God are there to help us with? God does not give us a challenge that he knows we cannot fulfill.

All in all I enjoyed The Turning; it pushed me and made me think about myself and God’s influence in my life. It is a book that strangely made me feel “peaceful” as I read it. I was left wondering where John’s next “Turning” would lead.

Best Davis Bunn book!

By Beth Underwood, Amazon (full review)

Out of the 30+ Davis Bunn books which I’ve read over the past 20 years, The Turning is the best, imho. A David and Goliath story which deals with a contemporary issue (how to respond to the continued media focus on dystopia), the book asks the question, “What if Christians listen to God and respond to His call to bring hope to a generation being bombarded by a message of hopelessness?”

In the book, a group of people unknown to each other are each called by God to (1) make peace with any broken relationships and (2) to join together in prayer and action to confront a media giant seeking to exploit the lack of hope in youth. Yes it is fiction but there are many biblical truths throughout the story that show how God works on behalf of those who faithfully follow and obey.

Well done, Davis!