Friday, December 26, 2014

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, Ivan Terestchenko (Photographer)

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, Ivan Terestchenko (Photographer) is more than just a book on interior decorating.  This attractive hard cover book is a design element suitable for inclusion in any fashionable room- in of itself.  The cloth spine and its oversized full color pages are a perfect touch for any coffee table or bookshelf. 

At first glance one may think this is just another book on interior design or home decorating in an already saturated genre. Once you open the book and take the time to read it, it becomes obvious this is a one of a kind decorating book.  This book offers a lot more than just decorating ideas.  This book pulls in elements of literature into the book itself- there are quotes and excerpts from well known works.  The photographs of the selected interiors are integrated into a commentary about the works from which they are inspired.  Any reader that loves classics will enjoy seeing how a love of literature would inspire an everyday home decorating from the bedroom, to the kitchen and the dining room.  Furthermore, one needs not to be wealthy to integrate the unique, original and classic details featured in this book. This is a decorating book that makes home decorating possible for the masses.  Many of the design elements can be customized or even made from household materials and older worn furniture.  The ecclectic mix of designs will appeal to readers of any financial means and of any background- from those on a strict budget to those who have larger purses at their disposal.  Whatever you want to integrate into home design- your hobbies, your collections, antiques as well as modern art and even your refurbished trash- you can find an idea to make it work.  Home decorating incorporates everything and anything in this innovative book.

The photographs are peaceful.  This book is perfect for browsing.  This book would make the perfect gift for any reader that loves the classics of literature.  This would make a great housewarming gift for anyone with a new house or apartment as well. As a blogger I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing group for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Silence Satan by Kyle Winkler

If you need to be inspired in a time of trial, then Kyle Winkler's new book is perfect for you.  Silence Satan by Kyle Winkler is worth reading multiple times in order to empower the reader when confronting personal crisis and trials.  Not many believers understand the concept of a literal Satan and the Holy Spirit and that we are all called to fight against the devil, our Enemy. The author presents scriptural background and bible passages from the old and new testaments to share with the reader that each of us is called to resist and fight against the devil with the power of the Holy Spirit.  The authors explains this is one of the privileges all believers have at their disposal.

Winkler shares with the reader personal and intimate stories of his own experiences.  His honesty gives the reader support and adds credibility to his words.  It is as if the reader is speaking one on one with the author.  Winkler is uniquely gifted in reaching out to distressed and alienated readers. The reader can relate to the author's painful experiences with guilt and shame.   Kyle Winkler does not hold back- he is forthcoming and brutally honest.  Who would not trust him? How many readers will relate to the devil's torments and lies to "shut it down" and give up. 

The main focus on the book is to show the reader more information- about  Satan in general as well as to expose the works and deceptions of the devil as well.  The author talks about the devil's tactics and playbook in attacking believers and throwing them off course in life. I can not convey into words, the significance this book had for me during a difficult time in my life.  This book is like a lifeline- easy to understand words of wisdom and insight.  You will put this book down feeeling refreshed.


Much of the book is an invaluable resource where the authors have taken scriptural truths and promises- and relate them to the modern day believer to use and apply when facing any trial or work from the enemy.  The scriptural references  will empower any reader with a quick resource of how to respond in faith to any difficulty- large and small.  It is a spiritual self help book in the fact that it will allow the reader the tools to look within himself and identify any areas or issues where Satan has his foothold.  Not only that it tells the reader how to face and address these issues! For those who are at a loss of how to begin to approach their spiritual problems there are a number of sample prayers applicable to any number of situations. As a blogger for the Booketeria I received this book published by Passio for the purpose of writing this review.

Plush Bible Collection, NIrV

The pink fur bible, is the newest edition of the Plush Bible Collection, NIrV.  The plushy pink fur of the cover is similar to a furry blanket or retro pink rug.  The soft feel of the cover will appeal to any young girl.  Nevertheless, other than the plushy pink cover, the bible is minimal.  The standard text does not include chapter summaries, nor any additional bible helps- this bible is as bland a bible as you can get.  The plain interior is in stark contrast to the bright furry cover.  Beyond the cover I do not see any appeal that would draw any young readers t actually read the bible.  If you are looking for a cute gift bible- this is an okay choice. But its only the surface- the unique cover that is really made for young girls.

The slim, compact bible makes it easy to travel with and take to a bible study or college dorm.  The cushion like feel make this the perfect bible to hold in your hands.  The bible comes in a hard gift books which make it perfect for use as a gift.  As a blogger for  BookLook I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Five Master Book Titles of 2014

My Top Master Book Titles of 2014
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As a blogger for Moms of Master Books, I have had the opportunity to review a number great educational as well as home school titles.  The following books are my top choices for 2014.


#1 The Flood of Noah is a multimedia master piece in a book.  Filled with popups, charts and hidden treasures, this book brings the flood to life.  This would make the perfect gift for anyone interested in the bible or history. ______________________________________________________________
 

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#2 This is one of the most thorough children's bibles on the market.  It is  like a children's equivalent to a study bible.  There are many extra study features, charts and cultural information.  It is like a bible and history book combined into one volume.  I believe that adults as well as children will enjoy this bible.  Choosing a Bible Version Just Right For You
 
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#3 Bugs  by Will Zinke is a new full color book filled with sharp, full color glossy photos with vivid images of bugs that appear to jump out at the reader, this is one of the best books on bugs that I have read.

Written in a graphically appealing style- sharp state of the art, up close photography, bold fonts, and colorful graphics, this informative book is perfect for kids of all ages, even up to high school. This book is not only an authority on all types of bugs, but it is entertaining to read as well.

This book is divided into chapters or sections based on insect categories.  For example there is a section on "Bugs In Camo", "Bizarre and Beautiful" and "Jumbo Giants". These amazing creatures are very diverse.  The beauty and diversity portrayed in this typical book differs in the usual bug themes of books normally in this genre which often concentrate on the gross and disgusting aspects of bugs.  Many scholastic reader books, and popular bug books on the secular market draw in the reader by calling attention to the more loathsome elements of the insect world such as creepy white maggots, or dirty cockroaches.  In striking contrast, the author focuses on the beauty and uniqueness of these amazing diverse creatures.  For example, theer is a beautiful, shiny golden beetle, known as the Gold Jewel beetle.  It looks like solid gold.  Who knew such a beautiful beetle existed.  there is also a mirrored rainbow bug called the Chrysina beetle.  Some of these bugs look like rare gems.  Who would ever consider to use the word beautiful and beetle in the same sentence- yet the author shows bugs that are beautiful beyond one's imagintation.    The bugs that are adorned in camo are not simply grey are brown.  They mimic the beautiful ornate colors of autumn leaves, and beautiful shades of flowers.  The author, Will Zinke, dispels the old stereotypes of the insect world, and packages them in a whole new way.  This unexpected way of looking at ordinary common bugs has changed my outlook on bugs and is sure to leave impressionable young minds with a lasting taste of God's magnificent wonder.

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And finally, #4 Astronomy and  #5, 24 Animals of the bible make great additions to any educational library: Great for young readers as well as any reader for that matter- interested in reconciling science with biblical faith.

If You Were Me and Lived In... Peru and If You Were Me and Lived In... Greece By Carole P. Roman.

If You Were Me and Lived In... Greece... and If You Were Me and Lived In... Peru  are two new editions to the "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World"  series By Carole P. Roman. The art contained in these two new additions are the most impressive yet. The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful scenic photos bring new life to the subject of geography.  These books take only minutes to read cover to cover but they will give a child a good picture of a particular country.  These books follows a similar format as the first books in the series about Mexico, South Korea,  and France. Yet in this newer editions, the author makes an even greater use of a variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations.

When reading about Greece, the photograph of the ancient ruins serves as the backdrop for the two sight seeing children.  The pale blue  sky  makes for a beautifully realistic and unexpected presentation.  The beautiful sunsets, stone tiles and other authentic  textures adds an authentic appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes.  The colorful panoramic spread of the Machu Picchu surrounded by soft airy clouds, in the book on Peru is beautifully made.  The cartoon tour guides will certainly capture the attention of all young readers as well as parents and educators. I believe the "Carlesque" styled mixed media illustrations with the simple line cartoons in her   books are  an unexpected treat.  Mixed media illustrations are very popular and appealing for young readers as evidenced by the popularity of Eric Carle's kids' books.  By combining geography with mixed media- I believe that Roman will generate even greater interest and attention for her educational series.

These stories would also be a good choice for a family that is interested in their ancestry, a family vacation or even appropriate for  children as part of a social studies lesson. The consistency of these geography books makes this series perfect for the school setting. An educator can count on the fact that young children will be introduced to the basics.  The predictability of the book's format will also appeal to younger readers who are familiar with the series.  In each  addition to the series,  the  child will learn about the geography  and will be  introduced to its climate, tourist attractions local foods,  sports and other social norms. Full color, simply drawn cartoon drawings with the unique  texture accents compliment the text.   The pronunciations at the end of the book introduces the child to the native language but it would be better to have the equivalent English words listed as well and definitions to reinforce the material learned in the story.

At  some point in the future, I would like to see Roman combine all the editions of this series into one larger encyclopedia type of volume in order to create one single comprehensive text.   This would also make the book more accessible and convenient to educators and schools in the  public and  private sectors as well as  home schoolers.   As a blogger I received these books for the purpose of writing this review.

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis- A Captain No Beard by Carole P Roman

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis- A Captain No Beard by Carole P Roman is the newest edition to an emerging  new, vibrantly illustrated children's book based on the popular pirate theme.  Watercolor styled art perfectly accompanies the nautical pirate action. The detailed cartoon art is fast paced like the untamed adventurous seas where the stories take place. This newest story includes Captain No Beard and the other familiar heroes introduced in the series, including Mongo the monkey, and Cayla as well as Hallie.   This is volume seven in the series. The climactic scene depicted with the glimpse of the ship against a rainbow bright evening sky is magical, and surreal. As with the other books,   centers around essential  messages about kindness and compassion.  Ironically, these pirates with their pirate ship have more morals and ethics than the traditional pirate in children's literature. In fact, Hallie states in the story,  "I love treasure and all, but only if it doesn't belong to someone else."  Roman has mastered the plot twist adding an element of surprise that even parents will appreciate as they read this story to their children.

      This inviting new book series introduces  children to the friendly pirate named Captain No Beard, and his frigate as well as the host of friendly talking animals.   This is the  perfect introduction to pirate literature - like pirate literature 101 complete with the typical pirate talk and pirate cliches.  There is a pirate reference on every page of these books such as the Jolly Roger, crossbones flag, pirate slang and nautical terminology . The consistency of this series will appeal to young children.  The surprise ending will capture the readers attention and encourage their imaginations. This book encourages role playing- where one's bedroom can become a new world, and blankets can become an ocean.   Parents and children alike will be entertained by the  pirate slang, vibrant pirate themed illustrations as well as the inviting bold text.  The books of this series belong on the bookshelf of every pirate enthusiast.  As a blogger I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing this review.  I'd like to see all these stories into one larger, hardcover  pirate treasury.

Monstrously Funny Cartoons Christopher Hart

Monstrously Funny Cartoons Christopher Hart is more than an instructional book to learn to draw monster cartoon characters step-by- step.  This book is also a commentary on the story behind each cartoon and monster.  Unlike many other cartoon tutorial books that simply stop at the step by step process of drawing a figure- Hart actually provides some historical and cultural background on the subject as well.  For example, not only is there an alien depicted as a cartoon= there is also a retro alien.  There is a brief background provided on the origin and meaning behind the retro alien.  For example- the retro alien has an ominous trench coat like cape with a high collar.  Also the retro themed alien has one large omnipotent eye that can view everything.  This contrasts with the traditional or modern alien.  I found Hart's explanations and commentary just as much fun as the cartoons.

The sketchy cartoons of monsters and creatures might not be fine art- but anyone into pop culture and media as well as young artists, may appreciate this unique cartoon book.  The commentary contained is just as animated and lively as the cartoons.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Ten Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook is a small sized gift book that would make the perfect gift for anyone in need of a laugh.  Not only funny, each page has a well known saying or proverb- adapted with a satirical twist.  This book makes light of the real emotions we all experience: tiredness, anger, gossip- and turns it into a little humorous proverb.  The beautiful artwork of a variety of animals is also contained within the pages of this book.  Each spread features a brightly drawn piece of art of an animal and its corresponding proverb.  The true to life illustrations are pieces of art in of themselves.

By looking at the cover, one might feel that this book is intended for cat owners and cat lovers.  I feel many readers may pass up this book simply because the drawing of the cat may imply that the theme centers around cats.  It is only when you actually sit down to read the book that you will find a variety of animals: birds, reptiles, a meer cat, a lopsided owl and even a hippo! I feel this book should feature another animal on its cover to accurately portray the diversity of animals and that this is not just another book for cat fans and cat owners.  As a blogger I recieved this book published by Ten Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible

 NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible -Explore the King's Love for His People on a Cover-to-Cover Journey Through the Bible, is the newest themed bible published by Zondervan.  The book is modern yet minimalist with traditional graphic touches in its cover design.  The cover of this bible is reminiscent of a dark dungeon with a small keyhole through witch one can view a beautiful serene landscape. This bible is very attractive and would make a nice gift as well as a good personal choice for daily reading.  The two tone rustic color tones and font is easy to read.  Yet even the "standard print" is still somewhat small in my opinion.

As far as the articles and content- this is a great devotional bible.   This is not a study bible- there are no book introductions or study notes.  Within the book are truly motivational and inspirational articles- full of substance. In contrast to many devotionals that seem superficial or fake- these powerful bits of inspiration will empower the reader in any need. One can say this is a pretty bland bible if you compare it to the full color study bibles on the market.  Yet the devotionals this bible contains fit a real need- and one can say without all the "extra" features, one can focus on scripture.

As far as content, this bible is a great choice. This is an original an unexpected bible on the market.  It is wonderful- all the niche bibles out in the market- there is truly a bible for every taste.    As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this bible published  by zondervan for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

940 Saturdays by Harley A. Rotbart, MD

940 Saturdays by Harley A. Rotbart, MD is a newly published gift book- journal.  It is hard to decide what genre this thick volume of blank pages fits. Is it a scrapbook to be used to tape movie ticket stubs and photos? Or is it a journal to jot down a few notes for each Saturday? There is no room for lengthy accounts for example if you celebrated a special birthday or holiday or took a vacation or trip.  This is too restrictive no flexibility to account for special days on any other days of the week.  And what if you have multiple kids- can this be adapted to an 18 year family journal or does it center around the activities of one particular child?  Also there is no space to include basic family info.  As far as fill in child journals go- this is pretty Spartan.

Firstly, this is a quality bound hard cover book, adorned with simplistic cartoon art on the cover- reminiscent of doodle art.  When you open the book it is simple and basic- white lined journal entries for you, the journalist to fit in.  Each page is divided to allow for two days worth of entries.  Each entry is labeled by a big, boldfaced number and a space to fill in the particular date.  There is enough space to jot down a few lines of text.  The decorated teal patterned end papers and the pocket is attractive.  Inside the pocket is a booklet that can be removed, about ideas for family activities.

In my opinion the $24.99 retail price could be better spent elsewhere if you are simply looking for a journal.  This journal is simply too expensive and too much for a niche market.  Its bold date headings are too rigid and take up too much space in proportion to the blank writing space. A plain bank journal offers more flexibility with an option to add personal touches.  A baby book styled scrap book provides better structure and opportunity to catalog important "firsts" and important little mementos.  This particular book has a vary narrow use- jotting a few notes down once every saturday for 18 years.  It is an interesting concept, but its just not practical. As a blogger I received this book published by Potter Style of crown publishing fot the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doctor Who The Blood Cell By James Goss

Doctor Who The Blood Cell By James Goss is the newest edition the Doctor Who series of books. Each book is like an episode and this book in particular centers around  mysterious mutant insects.  Doctor Who is a popular TV series originally produced in1963 and has since earned a place in pop culture. Who hasn't heard of the infamous traveling "Tardis"? Anyone familiar with popular media would recognize the "Public call box" as it  travels in space.  There have been many "Dr Whos" and this fiction novel is based on the adventures of the 12th doctor.  The different books in this series are written by different authors- each with their own unique style and twist.


Goss's fast paced narrative jumps right into the action.  His action packed dialogue will keep the attention of all readers.  Fans of the popular TV series will enjoy the common themes of the television show, within this book.  Readers who enjoy  mystery and science fiction fans alike, will also enjoy this book. There is enough authentic graphic scientific description to hold the attention of true Sci fi fans.  The authentic historic elements of traveling back into time will be appreciated by history enthusiasts.  This is a well rounded story with a variety of elements. While the tv series is equally enjoyed by adults as well as teens and children alike, this novel is written at the middle school age level.  It is an appropriate book choice for teens or  young adults.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Broadway books an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

44 Animals of the Bible by Nancy Pelander Johnson

What does an eclectic mix of animals that include the frog, heron, whale, quail, weasel, ibex and mole have in common? They are all animals mentioned in the bible.  These and many other animals are included in the new children's book, 44 Animals of the Bible by Nancy Pelander Johnson, illustrated by Lloyd R. Hight.  The brushed, water color styled animal illustrations give this small hardcover picture book, a vintage look.  The quality illustrations will appeal to children as well as adult readers.  Each animal featured includes an illustration as well as a short paragraph of text which provides some information about the animal and about its appearance in the bible.  There is also a relevant scripture on the bottom of the page that mentions the particular animal.  Surprisingly there is an entry for a "unicorn".  The Unicorn is actually a horned wild ox.  The reasoning behind this is that the "unicorn" mentioned in the bible most likely was another name for the wild ox. 

This quick little book can be read in one sitting.  It is not intended to be an encyclopedia- each entry is pretty short basic as its purpose is to tie the particular animal to its mention in the bible.  This storybook will appeal to children of all ages and also to animal enthusiasts who just happen to love reading the bible as well.  Some secular readers may find themselves offended at the idea that there may be some stereotypical discrimination of certain animals such as the weasel that will "steal food", the moles that "ruin crops" or the fox, referred to as a "tricky animal". Yet the author uses these common stereotypes in the sense that these negative traits seen in some animals are a consequence of the fall and that there are many ungodly people who exhibit these same ungodly traits as these animals.  As a blogger for Moms of Master Books I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.   This book is available from New Leaf Press Publishers online as well as from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible

Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, edited by Phil & Al Robertson, of the TV series, Duck Dynasty, is the newest themed bible published by Thomas Nelson.  For those who are unfamiliar with the TV series, this bible is easy to enjoy nonetheless.  With the textured matte finished book jacket, and its low key out door nature  themed graphics, this sturdy hardcover bible is made to be durable. Under the dust jacket is a textured, wood grain simulation cover with an etched bird in flight.  The book is modern yet minimalist in design.  This bible is very attractive and would make a nice gift as well as a good choice for daily reading,

As far as the articles and content- this is a great devotional bible.   This is not a study bible- there are no book introductions or study notes.  Within the book are truly motivational and inspirational articles- full of substance. In contrast to many devotionals that seem superficial or fake- these powerful bits of inspiration will empower the reader in any need. There are "Set Your Sites" articles based on relevant topics encountered in life such as temptation and healing.  And also "On the hunt" scripture verses that dig deep into the bible to support the topical content of the articles.  This version is the NKJV,  I would have like to see this bible also published with the easy to read more modern translation, the NLT. 

As far as content, this bible is a great choice. This is an original an unexpected bible on the market.  It is wonderful- all the niche bibles out in the market- there is truly a bible for every taste.  I  As a blogger for Booklook I recieved a copy of this bible published  by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

 
 
 


Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.
http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-versions-communicating-gods-word.html


Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

In the new science fiction novel, the reader follows astronaut Mark Watney's personal log during his failed mission to Mars where he was left behind, stranded when an unexpected storm hits.  The new docu-drama format is becoming a popular genre in media in culture- originating with the subject of the paranormal, in films and TV.  Recently, this first person styled narrative has branched into the sphere of science fiction to provide the reader an authentic, realistic experience.  As the reader follows along each entry written in real time, identified by the headings  "LOG ENTRY: SOL...", it is easy to follow along as if reading an authentic journal account. 

From the first page of the first chapter, this fast paced novel draws in the reader, without too much extraneous details, to obscure the story.  This is one novel without the usual extraneous side plots or tedious romance  filler. The author keeps to the raw details, emotion and events without censorship.  There are enough authentic, science related details about the space mission to keep science fiction and science enthusiasts entertained and engaged. The details about the food supply, and cultivating viable Martian soil to grow potatoes is narrated in detail.  All the various repairs are narrated with detail as if in real time for an authentic touch.

  The first lines grab the reader's attention as are reminiscent of real, unedited footage of one facing a crisis, as the protagonist writes "I'm pretty much f......ed!" True, there is a lot of adult language and even potty humor, but there are no offensive explicit adult scenes to spoil the book.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Charlie and Felicity Go Wild by David Driscoll

Charlie and Felicity Go Wild, by David Driscoll , is a uniquely original story about the bazaar adventures of two eccentric fishcakes.  Written for children, this story's synopsis on the back cover explains that the young reader will be introduced to Charlie, "a male fishcake who wants to meet a female fishcake", and after he meets Felicity, "everything goes wild".  The book delivers that promise as the reader joins the fishy middle-aged  couple on the inexplicable, action packed adventures of two eccentric and fun loving fishcakes.

The poignant and expressive illustrations depict Charlie and Felicity fishcake in unforgettable detail.  These middle aged fishcakes are a blend of human and fish in their physical appearance. Charlie's  masculine features, exaggerated cleft chin with subtle unshaven stubble is the perfect partner for the middle aged, full figured blonde haired Felicity.  Her face, adorned with just a hint of scaled texture, gives her a wizened middle aged, fishy appearance. The original impressionistic illustrations are quite unexpected in their graphic detail and distortion.

Their day is packed with more adventure than one could imagine.  In the first paragraphs of the story, not only does  Charlie's bathing suit slip off as he takes a swim, he also meets Felicity and their long day together begins on a "funny shaped boat". They watch hippos together, and then they chase a snake. It isn't long before Charlie decides to catch the snake, and gives it to Felicity to hold. An illustration depicts a grinning Charlie as Felicity holds on to a big snake.  Nevertheless, rather than finding it to be fun, Felicity stealthily releases the snake back into the water when Charlie turns to paddle.  In the next scene, their boat becomes stuck in big, shiny bulbous rocks and twigs.  Charlie fishcake, with his sagging pants and exposed  buttocks, is still able to come to the rescue. Not long after, they escape from a crocodile attack .  And without a break "a gray snake- thing" that "reared up from underneath them", turns out to be a playful mischievous elephant. Charlie becomes jealous, feeling left out of the fun, as Felicity rides the elephant's trunk and seeks revenge when he tricks the elephants into entwining their trunks together. And if that wasn't enough, they drift off into a magical woods with gigantic red and white mushrooms. Felicity has fun bouncing on the mushrooms until Charlie finds her and bounces with her.  Then pulled back into reality, Charlie finds that he must explain to Felicity that their boat has a hole in it, which would leave them stranded.  They come up with an idea using teamwork to find a "big mushroom to plug the hole". It is so large that Charlie hesitates, but with some encouragement from Felicity, he pushes and heaves it out of the ground and with effort they "squeeze the mushroom"  and "plugged the hole".  The boat repair is short lived when they become hungry and engorge themselves on a giant mushroom binge.  With the demise of their boat, their day at sea comes to an abrupt end as an illustration of depicts them walking hand in hand into the bright orange sunset.  In the end of the incredible saga of these two fishcakes, the reader most likely will feel as if he was on a big adventure himself! So many events are packed into this story. Yet in the end, there is a lesson about teamwork, and that even with  poor choices, things can still work out in the end. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the New and Enhanced edition released for 2014, is a hefty, full color, 1232 page volume. The full color photographs, maps and charts which appear on almost every page make this reference book educational and interesting to read. Bible lands, places, events people and facts are brought to life.  Unlike other minimalist dictionaries or encyclopedias that contain text only entries- this unique hybrid volume is reminiscent of a text, yet the entries are organized in alphabetical order.  Some entries are short and to the point, basically definitions, suchh as the informative, yet brief definition of "threshing floor", an expression a reader will find in bible reading. Other entries are extensive articles spanning several pages with illustrations and photos.  For example, the "Roman Empire" is a major topic and treated as an article with its own sub topics, photos, diagrams and maps.  This book is so much more than a dictionary, but also a comprehensive text. There is even an informative entry or article, a few pages in length, dedicated to "Bible Versions".  Basically, many of these entries are topics in of themselves, springboards for the reader to learn more about a particular topic.  While this book isn't intended to read cover to cover, I feel that readers will miss so much valuable information if they simply limit this book to only occasional use as a dictionary.

This book is bound with a sturdy hardcover and binding.  It will stand up to years of use and enjoyment.  This book is perfect for bible students, history enthusiasts and those interested in the bible in general.  The font is easy to read and won't cause eye strain.  The pages are thick and not onion skin thin.  If you are looking for a good reference volume about the bible and bible culture, this is the only book you will need.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doctor Who- The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker

The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker is the newest edition the Doctor Who series of books. Each book is like an episode and this book in particular centers around  mysterious mutant insects.  Doctor Who is a popular TV series originally produced in1963 and has since earned a place in pop culture. Who hasn't heard of the infamous traveling "Tardis"? Anyone familiar with popular media would recognize the "Public call box" as it  travels in space.  There have been many "Dr Whos" and this fiction novel is based on the adventures of the 12th doctor. 

This fast paced story jumps right into the action- with an enlarged spider.  Fans of the popular TV series will enjoy the common themes of the television show, within this book.  Readers who enjoy  mystery and science fiction fans alike, will also enjoy this book. There is enough authentic graphic scientific description to hold the attention of true Sci fi fans.  The authentic historic elements of traveling back into time will be appreciated by history enthusiasts.  This is a well rounded story with a variety of elements. While the tv series is equally enjoyed by adults as well as teens and children alike, this 250 page novel is written at the middle school age level.  It is an appropriate book choice for teens or  young adults.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Broadway books an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review.

Bugs Big & Small God Made Them All by Will Zinke

Bugs Big & Small God Made Them All by Will Zinke is a new full color book about books.  Filled with sharp, full color glossy photos with vivid images of bugs that appear to jump out at the reader, this is one of the best books on bugs that I have read.

Written in a graphically appealing style- sharp state of the art, up close photography, bold fonts, and colorful graphics, this informative book is perfect for kids of all ages, even up to high school. This book is not only an authority on all types of bugs, but it is entertaining to read as well.

This book is divided into chapters or sections based on insect categories.  For example there is a section on "Bugs In Camo", "Bizarre and Beautiful" and "Jumbo Giants". These amazing creatures are very diverse.  The beauty and diversity portrayed in this typical book differs in the usual bug themes of books normally in this genre which often concentrate on the gross and disgusting aspects of bugs.  Many scholastic reader books, and popular bug books on the secular market draw in the reader by calling attention to the more loathsome elements of the insect world such as creepy white maggots, or dirty cockroaches.  In striking contrast, the author focuses on the beauty and uniqueness of these amazing diverse creatures.  For example, theer is a beautiful, shiny golden beetle, known as the Gold Jewel beetle.  It looks like solid gold.  Who knew such a beautiful beetle existed.  there is also a mirrored rainbow bug called the Chrysina beetle.  Some of these bugs look like rare gems.  Who would ever consider to use the word beautiful and beetle in the same sentence- yet the author shows bugs that are beautiful beyond one's imagintation.    The bugs that are adorned in camo are not simply grey are brown.  They mimic the beautiful ornate colors of autumn leaves, and beautiful shades of flowers.  The author, Will Zinke, dispels the old stereotypes of the insect world, and packages them in a whole new way.  This unexpected way of looking at ordinary common bugs has changed my outlook on bugs and is sure to leave impressionable young minds with a lasting taste of God's magnificent wonder.

Included in the back are perforated bug cards that can be torn out of the book.  As a blogger for Moms of Master Books I received a copy of this for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Power of Unstoppable Faith by Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujucic is not a side show curiosity, but rather a spiritual and powerful sympol of inspiration and the glory of God.  The newly published booklet The Power of Unstoppable Faith by Nick Vujicic is based on his book "Unstoppable".  This small 55 page outreach booklet provides more moticational and inspirational messages for those readers who may not be familiar with the author or his books ehich also include: "Life Without Limits".  Many curious people have probably viewed the popular You Tube videos online or watched a Discovery health documentary about Nick Vujicic, known as the man born without arms and legs. Yet there is much more to Nick than his severe disability. What many probably do not know about Nick, is that he is perhaps among the most inspirational motivational speakers there is. Gifted with inisght and empathy, his trials with his disability have been turned around and used as a gift to motivate and help others. He explains that he found happiness when he learned that despite his imperfections and disability, that he is perfect in God's eyes and that he is part of God's creation "designed according to His plan". 

People of all ages and back grounds can  relate to Nick's message and  words. This little easy to read booklet  addresses spiritual issues that Nick has battled which can apply to each and everyone alive.  His handicap has not stopped him from doing whatever he wants- not even surfing or getting married.   He percieves himself as enabled instead of disabled, counting himself blessed admist a world where many experience all kinds of pain and suffering. His books,  harnesses Nick's gift of empowerment to motivate the reader no matter what challanges he may face in life. He does not spend time feeling sorry for himself.  These booklets get his message out to more people.  Even though as a young boy he contemplated suicide, with the power of his faith in God he was able to overcome.  He does not feel sorry for himself.  Quite the contrary, he actually counts himself as blessed and emmpowered, feeling thankful for his life. In his book, Nick speaks to the reader personally in his books and his public speeches, as if addressing the reader one to one: "I can't know exactly what your burden is, nor do I pretend that I've ever been through a similar crisis....You may not be able to see a bright light at the end of your own dark tunnel right now, but know that my parents could not have envisioned what a wonderful life I would have one day." He acknowledges the validity of those who suffer and does not minimize the pain others may be going through- knowing that there are those who suffer from a host of many issues: personal, physical, emotional and financial. There is no life that is insignificant, when Nick claims that God uses his impediments for God's glory and that God intentionally led him to help another familiy whose little boy was also born without arms and legs. Its about time an inexpensive  booklet was made and it is sure to give the reader an inspirational boost no matter what his or her circumstances may be. It is ironic that a man without arms and legs, is perhaps among the most dignified, well adjusted individuals, with the God given gift of empathy and inspiration. This booklet is a good outreach method for all readers, disabled, young, depressed- anyone who seeks to find greater meaning and purpose.  As a blogger for Water Book publishers I recieved a packet of these booklets for the purposes of review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NKJV study bible- full color edition

I have found my new second place favorite bible! This is the bible that I have been waiting for. I know in a previous review, I said that Zondervan's  NIV First Century bible takes first place.  Now, the only reason this new NKJV bible takes 2nd place and not the first, is because of the particular translation isn't my favorite for personal reading.
This is the newly released NKJV study bible-  published in full color!  The simple, minimalist, modern book jacket gives little clue to the visual goodies contained within. The quality, durable hard cover will last with heavy use. The pages are perfect in their thickness and durability.
 
As far as the content: This bible is an update to the already existing NKJV study bible for those who may be familiar.  I find it is also similar to the out of print NIV Archeological study bible, and the newly published NIV Essentials study bible and NIV First Century bibles. The biggest difference is that this is a New King James translation- more literal and traditional in style and language than the NIV.  If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as beautifully designed and illustrated, the full color NKJV Study Bible is the only bible you will need.  This bible has every study feature you could ever ask for in a bible- including historical, theological and life application information.  This bible is full of full color photos, maps, charts, illustrations as well as the tiny footnotes- traditional study notes on the bottom of the page.  It is like a history book and bible rolled into one volume.  This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers.
 
As far as everyday study, the font is big enough so as not to require the reader to squint.  Unlike most study bibles where the bible text is extremely tiny, I found the bible text to be readable. I am most impressed with the full color interior and photos of this bible.  I have been waiting for another full color bible.  It is nice to see that the publishers recognised the need for a full color bible- with an abundance of study resources and photos from the historical point of view. I do not feel any bible reader would ever need to buy another study bible.  Perhaps teachers, sociologists,  history enthusiasts and tourist travelers will be drawn to this bible as well. If you are wondering why to choose this bible over the most recently published full color bibles- I'd choose this particular bible if you prefer the NKJV. There is some similar content such as illustrations, maps and charts that you will find in the First Century and Essentials bible.  Therefore its redundant to own all three in my opinion unless you collect  bibles. Personally, I feel the Essentials bible is already dated and obsolete because its mainly in black and white with blue spot color.


For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, the NKJV study   bible is among the top choices in my opinion. I think any bible reader will be impressed.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Thomas Nelson.  Personally I'd like to see a NLT or NIV translation of this bible published too as I prefer these translations for home study.

Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.
http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-versions-communicating-gods-word.html

Monday, September 29, 2014

NIV The Maxwell Leadership Bible

The NIV Maxwell Leadership is yet another themed bible published by Zondervan.  With the durable, textured mat finished hard cover, embossed on the spine- this sturdy  bible is made to be durable . The quality cover contrasts with the glossy  pew-like covers of their other bibles.  The market for this bible is for leaders: pastors, ministry leaders and others in leadership roles.  The minimalist, quality binding looks like a pastor bible. The interior has easy to read font and spot color in a green shade.

As far as the articles and content- this is a great study bible and 'devotional bible' rolled into one volume. As the title suggests, its based on leadership and the articles contained center around biblical values concerning leadership.  It is no surprise that this bible has a wealth of content considering all the leaders in the bible- including Moses and David and Paul,  Topics such as effective communication are covered- and anything else that may pertain to anyone in a leadership role.  There is a wealth of study features:  each book opens up with a study page including a book introduction and leadership lessons from the particular book.  Within the book are truly motivational and inspirational articles- full of substance. In contrast to many devotionals or simple themes, that seem superficial or fake- these powerful bits of inspiration will empower the reader in any role. One  thing that is absent are small study notes on the bottom of the page.  This is ironic since John C. Maxwell is known foe=r his authority in explaining scripture.  I guess the assumption is that pastors and other leaders probably have their own library of bible commentaries and references and don't need these features in their own bible.

For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, this  bible is a top choice for leaders especially. Yet I find after reading the full color NIV First Century study bible, published by Zondervan, I have been spoiled- and I feel that no bible will ever come close in quality and substance.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Thomas Nelson.

Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.
http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-versions-communicating-gods-word.html

The Battle For Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash- Book 3, Risen

The third book, Risen,  of the Michael Philip Cash's new series, The Battle for Darracia, has been released for all the Darracian fans out there.  Once again readers have the opportunity to enter into a surreal, richly developed futuristic world complete with its own religion, social norms and castes as well as  political intrigue.  This final book leaves the reader with a moral lesson that will stick for years to come.

Beginning with the first word of the first novel in the Battle for Darracia series, Cash captures the hungry reader's attention with an explicit description of a surreal alien planet whose shores "were fine black sand dotted with purple sea glass.... a shooting cosmic spray spread across the inky darkness..." (page 2), as well as its mysterious indigenous "silver crabs".   It is clear that the author put a great deal of thought and research in creating an entirely  new fantasy world right from scratch. Rivaling the depth and imagination of Tolkein's and C.S. Lewis' beloved fantasy worlds, Cash creates a futuristic, sci-fi reality with the same level of imaginative development as Tolkien's middle earth world.  This series transports the reader into a new futuristic fantasy world. No detail is too insignificant for Cash in his visual description of a surreal and futuristic world with its futuristic landscape. The significance of its ancient religion in society and political upheaval and class wars transcends time and space- representing common elements of society that all readers will relate to.  This richly developed world will appeal to history and political enthusiasts as well as fantasy and science fiction fans. The title itself is symbolic -with its dual meaning, referring not only to a cosmic event, but a socio-political event as well.

From the first page to the last, the reader gets the unexpected.  The unique ending of Collision, leaves the reader impatient to find out what happens to V'Sair in the third book, Risen. Cash does not disappoint the reader,

This epic story's backdrop is original.  This is a new world the reader will become immersed in like adapting to a new culture.  Yet the themes are universal- coming of age and the quest for identity themes and the pursuit of purpose present a story line that readers of all ages can relate to.  The eerie unfamiliar setting is set side by side with ordinary and  universal ideas. Cash creates a series  that sociologists, historians, scientists as well as fantasy enthusiasts will enjoy dissecting and analyzing.
Fans of the ever popular  StarWars, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek series will enjoy the well developed characters as well as appreciate the intergalactic quest for peace and purpose and royal intrigue.  Parallel elements found  in this series are reminiscent of a combination of elements drawn from popular science fiction so that readers will feel right at home with Cash's story.  It is ironic that a horror and mystery writer can cross into the fantasy genre  with such ease. The same talent used in developing three dimensional characters and their personal struggles as well as interpersonal relationships found in Cash's  earlier works is evident in this fantasy novel as well.
At first glance this may seem like a quick read but from the very first chapter it becomes clear that the reader has entered a new world. As a reader I found myself immersed with Cash's lively description and vivid writing style.  I recommend this as a good series  for any young adult or science fiction fan. 
 

As a blogger I received this series of books published by Red Feather publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Deliverance and SPiritual Warfare Manual by John Eckhardt

The Deliverance and SPiritual Warfare Manual by John Eckhardt is worth reading and re-reading more than once, in order to empower the reader when confronting personal crisis and trials. John Eckhardt has written many practical, spiritual books bringing light to the evil that exists.  He brings the deliverance ministry to the forefront, explaining how each and every believer can counteract evil and the devil.   Not many believers understand the concept of the Holy Spirit and that we are all called to fight against the devil, our Enemy. The author presenst scriptural background and bible passages from the old and new testaments, as well as prayers to share with the reader that each of us is called to resist and fight against the devil with the power of the Holy Spirit.  The author refers to this as the deliverance ministry and explains this is one of the privileges all believers have at their disposal. This background scripture material is necessary as many readers may be unfamiliar with these spiritual concepts.

The main focus on the book is to be a "manual" or one stop guide to show the reader what  the bible has to say about deliverance as well as to expose the works and deceptions of the devil as well.  The cover itself might seem like a satire in that is "mimics" an actual handbook- yet this book is truly a manual for deliverance.

This exhaustive book contains too much information to be digested in a single, quick reading.  The words contained are life changing. While some traditional readers and those in organized religion may find this book difficult to believe and a bit theatrical, a close minded attitude is exactly what the devil wants in order to operate.   In it important to keep in mind the charismatic background of the authors is based on the belief of the real workings of the Holy Spirit and the literal belief in modern day spiritual gifts such as tongues and healings. 

Much of the book is an invaluable resource where the author have taken scriptural truths and prayers and relate them to the modern day believer to use and apply when facing any trial or work from the enemy.  The scriptural references  will empower any reader with a quick resource of how to respond in faith to any difficulty- large and small.  It is a spiritual self help book in the fact that it will allow the reader the tools to look within himself and identify any areas or issues where Satan has his foothold.  Not only that it tells the reader how to face and address these issues! For those who are at a loss of how to begin to approach their spiritual problems there are a number of sample prayers applicable to any number of situations. Eckhardt's animated and enthusiastic writing style will reach out to all readers.  The reader will get the impression as if the author really wrote this book for his or her own situation.  This is a book to meditate on and use- and is not intended to collect dust on a book shelf. As a blogger for the Booketeria I received this book published by Charisma House for the purpose of writing this review.

Fiddler on the Roof - Crown Publishers

The new release of Fiddler on the Roof, by Crown publishers, is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of its Broadway Premiere.  This 124 page book, contains the full screen play of the well known movie based on Sholem Aleichem's stories, and created by Stein, Bock and Harnick,  I had expected a larger sized glossy gift type of book with photographs along side the movie's screen play. This book is a jacketed hardcover with the complete screen play in plain text.  This book is marketed as a souvenir, but it looks more like a regular book or manuscript. 

The simple, understated movie themed graphic of the infamous fiddler, and the simple matte finish book cover gives this older movie, a modern appeal.  Yet I feel this book is too minimalist to justify the $18.00 retail price.  I'd expect more- at least some full color photos- at that price.  To pay that inflated price seems more as if one is making a donation, rather than purchasing a book.  I don't think fans will want to pay that much for this book- unless it was adorned with an autograph. 

As far as the content, the book contains the full text of Fiddler on the Roof.  Fans of the movie can read and re-read the manuscript and relive the movie or theater production- all in their heads, and relying on their memories- because there are no photos to accompany the words whatsoever. 

This book may also be useful for a group of drama students who wanted to re enact their own production of Fiddler on the Roof.  This is a sturdy, well made, hard cover volume that will stand up to years of use and reading.  But other than the quality binding, and clean - cut, modern cover, I really cannot suggest this book for anyone unless they absolutely could not live without the manuscript of Fiddler on the Roof.  Perhaps there is a niche market for this book .As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Crown Publishers. 

Agents of the Apocalypse by Dr. David Jeremiah

 Dr. David Jeremiah, well known speaker and author of bible based prophetic books has a new release: Agents of the Apocalypse.  One might wonder how yet another book on Revelation and the apocalypse can be written.  Nevertheless, this new book is written from an entirely new perspective.  Part dramatic fictional account and part biblical commentary, this hybrid genre uses fiction to portray the biblical events predicted in the bible book of revelation.  Through the use of short stories, Dr. David Jeremiah animates abstract bible prophecy to make it more real and relevant for today's modern reader.

In today's culture, apocalyptic books, fiction and movies are gaining popularity.  This trend shows an ever growing interest in this spiritual area.  While many consumers simply find end of the world fiction entertaining- Jeremiah's book provides a unique outreach attempt in combining an entertaining and relevant fiction story with a biblical commentary.  Many readers may find a biblical analysis dry, but this book will hold the reader's attention with fictional, yet realistic accounts of revelation related events.  I this book there are ten revelation related topics covered.  Each chapter, covers one aspect of Revelation and a specific prophetic event.  Each chapter begins starts out with an independent short story- a fictional account, complete with characters and dialog.   The stories  in of themselves are interesting but they also paint a picture of prophetic events of the end times as well.  This is a unique perspective that gives practical insight to prophecy and biblical events. The cover of this book does not convey to the reader- the unique perspective contained.  On the surface, this book seems like a commentary alone; I believe readers will have a special surprise.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Tyndale for the purpose of writing this review. 

Be Your own Duck Commander Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson

Be Your Own Duck Commander Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson is a new book experience for elementary aged readers.  For anyone who remembers the popular "choose your own adventure series"- this book is written in the same style.  With this interactive book, there are multiple endings based on your responses within the body of the story. The reader will get a different ending which depends on the options chosen when presented with different choices.  This is the perfect book for hesitant school aged readers to read on their own.

One thing I would have liked to see changed is the fact that this story is written from the first person point of view of Willie Jess Robertson, the middle aged father of the Robertson family.  I would have preferred to see this story written from John Luke's point of view as I feel kids will be able to identify more with a young boy  than a middle aged man with a wife and five kids.   Especially in this first person point of view, I feel the choices would have been more "real" or meaningful if they were from the perspective of a kid.  A ten year old boy reading this book won't have the same parental instinct to follow a child across time.  A young boy would feel more ties to a story where he was looking for his dad or a best friend. Nor will he care at all about his "wife's" birthday and finding a gift- which is backdrop for the beginning of the story. 

I think adults may appreciate the 1980s and 1980s musical references as well- more than children.  Young readers- the intended audience, will most likely skip over the cultural 80s and 90s references and cliches.  As far as the title, using the expression "Redneck" is too dated and too cliche. Its just my opinion, but the title does not seem to be a good fit for a book.  This book is highly tied to popular culture and media, and readers who aren't fluent in popular media, movies and music will probably not be able to really get into this book.  The time travel concept as well as the outhouse portal is an interesting concept.  There are thematic parallels with the re-introduced science fiction series, "Dr. Who"'  There are even references to Dr. Who and other popular television programs within the book.  Overall, this book doesn't qualify as "literature".  If you are looking for a Newberry award winning medal title, look elsewhere.  If you want a quick read for a reluctant  independent reader, this book is a good choice for some entertainment.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Give- away alert-  please check out the BOOKS: In Ocean County fb page for an opportunity to grab a free copy of this book!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The New Astronomy Book By Danny R. Faulkner

The New Astronomy Book By Danny R. Faulkner , is a unique astronomy textbook for students and astronomy enthusiasts alike in a "multi-age format".  This guidebook is well adapted as an astronomy review  text for younger elementary aged readers as well as  middle and high school aged students.  The quality presentation of this book rivals that of many popular science themed books for children and adults.  From the cover to the full color photos, graphics, professional astronomy photos and professional scholarship- this book is sure to capture the attention of any  reader interested in astronomy and science. The information represents the latest scientific research.  Even social and historical background information is covered for a well rounded experience, integrating concepts from additional academic disciplines. The photos and illustrations in of themselves are thorough and represent the latest of scientific discovery.   It is a hybrid of a manual, technical guide and an educational text.  It is useful for learning as well as expanding on one's hobby of astronomy and stargazing.  This is a multi-function - multi purpose thorough book. This book isn't only educational for kids, but adult readers- parents, educators and enthusiasts will also enjoy this book.  And, most of all, the author ties this information with a biblical based view of creation.

This astronomy book provides a well rounded background for the science student or hobbyist; technical enough to capture the interest of an astronomy enthusiast, yet simple and broad to serve as an introduction to the study of astronomy.  Presenting science in such an appealing format makes learning more obtainable for students and the public in general.  Once again, Master Books has published a text that meets the high standards of scholarship. Exploring the World of Astronomy: From the Center of the Sun to the Edge of the Universe by John Hudson Tiner is also published by Master books, yet the limitations of the black and white printing make Tiner's volume appear "dated".  I feel this new volume on Astronomy has integrated the best of astronomy research while implementing advanced astronomical photography.  I could spend quite a bit of time, studying and meditating on the beautiful celestial photos. The sharp high quality photos are the best feature- as well as the wealth of information. There is even a pull out poster in full color as well.  As a blogger for Moms of Master books,  I received this book, published by Master Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishers,  for the purpose of writing this review.



New Leaf Press

Friday, September 19, 2014

Love Letters From God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist

Love Letters From God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sophie Allsopp is a new picture book for young children.  What makes this book unique among choices of the overly saturated bible story book  genre, is in the hidden and unexpected details.  First an foremost are interactive flaps that children can lift up on each page.  These flaps are actually "letters" written from God's point of view to your child.  The salutation,  "Dear _______" has a blank space for a parent to write in the child's name for further personalization.  This makes the story real and personal for the child.  The letters are not arbitrary but rather they expand on the bible story featured.

Just as one may expect from a bible storybook, this has a few of the most beloved and well known stories from the old and new testaments.  "The Sneaky Snake" describes the account in Genesis. "Bethlehem's Baby Boy" tells the story of the birth of Jesus.  Bold bright cartoon styled illustrations accompany the stories.   There is color throughout the book- no white space but actually full page scenes. Finally in the end, there is an "invitation" as well as a space for a child to write their own letter- making this book a keepsake as well.  This large sized story book would make a great gift for any child. The story style is animated and will hold a child's interest in contrast to dry, traditional writing.  As a blogger for BookLook I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This book is published by Zonderkidz.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Summer BBQ

The weather is warm, oppressive as the relentless sun, brightly beats down on the pavement.  White smoke billows from an outdoor tent; the mist stings my eyes. I squint in the blinding light, my eyes focused on the grills, filled with charred burgers and hot dogs.  The scent of smoke and meat wafts through the air.  I am dangerously close; the blast of heat from the billowing smoke blasts on my skin and my face. Attuned by an inner drive, by instinct, just as the animal in its habitat, awaiting its next meal, I keep a watchful eye, nonetheless.

I'm a volunteer, stationed at the volunteer table, imprisoned; shackled by a sense of duty, stamping people's hands as they approach the bright red welcome tent.  They come in droves for food- long lines, like the bread lines of the depression, awaiting a free meal. The only cost of admission; a small donation to the local food bank; a small can of tuna, a dented can of tomato soup, a dollar; even a quarter; a small token.... anything, even the lint in your pocket.  Next to the tent, an older, plump middle aged woman in a print dress pulls out her cell phone- to call her brood to come down for the cheap meal, "you can eat all you want for a can of ravioli or bring a dollar", she bellows in a loud, animated voice, as she brags into the earpiece. One could imagine her full grown, able- bodied son as he packs up his wife, and brood of kids, and cousins to come out for all you can eat burgers, hot dogs, chips and soda. A cheap, quick and easy meal thanks to reliable, old grand mom- the same old frizzy, white haired lady with bright coral colored lips, who is always seen at garage sales every weekend and clearance racks.

There was no question, no hesitation whatsoever, as I accepted the volunteer assignment..... in exchange for a free meal. But of course I did not tell a soul that I was doing it for the free meal.  I continuously glance out of the corner of my eye, watchful, waiting. Ironically, my need is the same, if not greater, as those who this event is purportedly to serve.  I look at the cans of food, carelessly tossed into the bin. I look at the discarded cans of beef stew, vegetable medley, and corned beef hash and consider the feast, the food would represent.  I imagine myself eating a can of that stew for dinner or cooking up a sizzling pan of hash.  My pantry is bare, save for a stray can of tuna and a faded can of cranberry sauce left intact from Thanksgiving. With mounting shame I glance away from the cans of food, lest my eyes betray my need. It was only three weeks ago I went to the pawn shop with some gold jewelry, a watch and my computer and came out with enough money for two hundred dollars worth of groceries.  It was a feast! It's amazing how quickly a family can go through two hundred dollars worth of groceries.  Its a shame, in fact.

This will be my only warm meal I will eat for the next week or so. It will be my only chance to get some meat.   Meat is something I rarely eat.  It's just too expensive. All I can think of is eating my fill, of getting a burger or two.  I glance casually, lest my eyes betray my want.

And then in a blur and a rush, from out of nowhere, blackened charred burgers in soft white buns appear.  My adrenalin mobilizes as my sole existence focuses on those burgers and hot dogs which suddenly appear from the white billows of smoke.  Sweaty men in aprons and caps work feverishly to feed the greedy sandal clad crowds. A self - important middle aged woman in full cafeteria attire- with her hair tied up in a net, apron and clear plastic gloves on her hands,  the gatekeeper of the food, quickly sorts the buns and the burgers.  Piles of hot dogs dangerously teeter atop flimsy paper plates.  Greedy men, women and children stack burger upon burger, onto a plate as they snatch handfuls of small bags of chips.  All the while I silently plot and I plan for a way to inconspicuously get myself a single plate of food. I haven't eaten breakfast, as my stomach  relentlessly growls to remind me.  The hot sun beats down and I feel my lips and mouth dry and parched.  All I can think about is a burger and a soda as nameless faces approach the welcome table, without end. A woman, with two burgers and a hot dog atop her plate, wanders to the tent in an attempt get some shade and to assuage her conscious, explaining in a half hearted attempt to convince me of her selfless sacrifice of donating two dollars "so that the poor families can use the money buy fresh bread and fruit. Her anecdote drones on and on.  Meanwhile from the corner of my  eye, I'm focused like a lazar beam, with mounting concern. Mounting anger and humiliation grew as I watched others stuff there faces, as I remain imprisoned in this volunteer table, unable to eat. I begin to wonder what makes these people better than I am.  What makes them more deserving, more entitled to a meal, than I. I feel like a second class servant, a second class human being.  I wonder why I don't deserve a meal.  Am I an indentured servant? Am I enslaved in servitude? I could feel the tears stinging my eyes as I silently watched and glanced downward. I should have stayed home, and been satisfied with my usual fare of white bread, peanut butter and rice.  It was a mistake to venture out; I let my want for a meal get the best of me by volunteering my time. And I did not even get anything to eat, yet I had to watch everyone else eat.  Not knowing why I subjected myself to this, I feel foolish and empty; it was a waste of a precious day and a crushing blow to my self worth. 

The irony? The BBQ event cost more to prepare than the food or donations it generated. Each of the  attendees stuffed down more burgers, hot dogs and chips, and drank more cans of soda and bottled water than a needy family would consume in a week. And there was probably nothing more than a token's worth of awareness for the plight of the hungry and the poor, as people stuffed their faces on all you can eat burgers, hot dogs, chips and soda. This event wasn't fun, nor did it really contribute to any good cause.  The BBQ  was a mockery.  The day is done, the soot covered grills cool down as the sun sets.  The last of the smoke wafts into the distance as I stoop to collect crumpled, empty bags of chips, and empty cans of soda from the blacktop in servile fashion. Trash cans filled to the brim with discarded refuse, as the crumpled paper plates and napkins stir in the wind, only serve to mock me in my lack.   My stomach still grumbles- no different from any other day. I return home empty and hungry, filled with only a dose of shame and humiliation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Girl Talk by Christine Young

Girl Talk- Unsolicited Advice For Modern Ladies An Illustrated Guide by Christine Young is a new coffee table book that would make the perfect gift for a college roommate or best friend on her birthday.  This attractively packaged, sturdy, hardcover book, embossed with a pattern golden foil doodles and drawings, will capture the attention of any young, modern reading who is seeking out the perfect, yet casual gift for a friend.  This book would be especially suitable on the shelves in the gift sections of college book stores and greeting card stores.

The thick white card stock pages, and the doodle like illustrations and handwriting styled font, give this book an authentic scrapbook or journal type of feel.  Written as if it taken from the diary of a young woman in her early twenties, this book is a satirical compendium of modern, politically correct advice for other young women.

The explicit nature of some of the topics covered make this not a suitable choice for teenaged or younger readers.  I can imagine with the cheerful cover and friendly flower print end pages in aqua and white, many misinformed consumers may  choose this title for a gift for a younger girl such as a niece, or grand daughter. Unless you want your grand daughter, niece or other beloved girl in your life to read about adult topics on courtship, dating and other x rated unmentionables, this is not an appropriate book.   While the cover and interior may seem to draw in young girls, readers and consumers should be aware that this book is not intended for high school or junior high aged girls.  The "Modern Ladies" on the subtitle serves as a subtle hint that this book is for adults only. 

This book offers humor while touching on culturally relevant topics for hip, young people such as clothing, dining, dating friends and family.  Other issues and topics such as health, self esteem, money,job hunting and house hunting are addressed as well through the use of simple cartoon, illustrations and even diagrams. One especially funny diagram was based on the topic of determining the need for a roommate. After following a "flow chart" based on a few responses- the reader could determine if a roommate was an appropriate option.  For example if you answered that you were "over 30 years old" or "prefer nudity", then you, the reader are advised to "fly solo".  In other words, the suggestion is that you are better off living without a roommate.

Needless to say, this book is intended for a female who is single, and in her twenties- and into popular media, and consumerism.  Anyone who is overly literal, older, or who lives a spartan or humble lifestyle will not get anything out of this book.

In my opinion, the publishers should take the idea for this book and create a second volume with the same  high quality binding, cover, and cardstock interior- leave the pages blank and make a blank journal/ sketch book to allow the reader to fill in her own journal entries, photos and illustrations.  That would make this book more appealing to more than the niche readership that this book is marketed for.  As a blogger, I received a copy of this book published Potter Style, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

Irishmen Don't Cry- A Medical and Emotional Journey with ALS by Richard P. Flynn

Richard P. Flynn shares his experience with the insidious terminal disease ALS,  known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," in his newly published memoir, Irishmen Don't Cry- A Medical and Emotional Journey with ALS. Before the "Ice Bucket Challenge", which became wide spread through social media and television- not many people knew about progressive terminal disease which in the course of a few years transforms healthy individuals to become immobile and dependent on respirators. If you know what ALS is whether as a healthcare professional or someone personally touched by the disease, then you will know that ALS is perhaps the worst diagnosis one can receive. "My whole body is becoming gaunt and deformed. My arms... just skin and bones...toes curling under....My voice has very little left. " (excerpt page 100) It is a disease which affects the body but not the mind, so that the victim is painfully aware of all the awaits, from progressive loss of muscle control of the hands, feet, legs and body, and eventually swallowing and breathing. And in Flynn's own words- "It has been quite a journey to get to this god- awful point". Flynn's timely book is one of the countless voices of ALS, that needs to be heard.

This honest book depicts the raw, and un-unedited emotion of a man stricken with ALS, facing the terminal prognosis of a horrible, unrelenting disease which has no cure nor treatment. His book reads like a personal journal, written chronologically and with each entry dated. This book may not be a literary masterpiece but it is inspirational.  His writing is not stylish, but realistic and simple- which makes this account all the more poignant and real.  The reader gets a glimpse into a real man with a wife, and interests and how he faces his progressive disease.  Ironically, in the face of ALS, he maintains a positive attitude of strength and courage despite facing debilitation and death. In otherwords, with tenacity, he maintains that "Irishmen Don't Cry", as he exhorts the reader to never give up. He also proclaims proudly, "I will continue with the same endless faith and hope I started with. I have met adversity and challenged it". (page 101) In fact, Flynn later goes on to say that "To die slowly is a gift. It allows one to reexamine everything overtime, including the good and the bad'" (page 106).

At the end of the book- his account of ALS ends on page 110, seven years into his ALS diagnosis, Richard Flynn is alive- mind still intact as he maintains his awareness that every day brings him closer to his death. The memoir ends, but he is still alive.  That leaves me as the reader wanting to know more about his journey.  I would urge Flynn to maintain a blog in the style and format of his book, but continue the entries for readers to follow. This book would be a good account for a nursing student to read, or for anyone who has a loved one facing an ALS prognosis.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Outskirts press, for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley

Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley- Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times is a new storybook  that brings the bible to life for young children.  Filled with bold bright cartoons, the illustrations will appeal to young children.  The expressive,  wide eyed animals and people will capture the attention of all readers.  The artist's unique style is highly animated- as the bug eyed creatures and humans with magnified expressions speak to the young reader so that by simply following the pictures, a young child can follow the story. The large, poignant google eyes communicate emotions and feelings in the stories. 

Together, the unique cartoons and the poetry, will draw in the youngest of listeners and hold their attention.  Rhyming words are an effective way to communicate to young children and hold their attention. Children learn with rhymes and  poems.  To tell these stories in rhyme will make these stories memorable as well as entertaining.

A selected number of bible stories are featured in this book.  Each story is several pages of rhyme and full color artwork. Stories from the old and new testaments are selected, including Noah's ark, Jonah and the fish and Jesus walking on the water are included.  The poetry is just as animated as the illustrations. Parents can pick up this book and jump right into the stories at any point.  These stories would be perfect for a parent to read to a child at bedtime.  They would also be suitable for a children's bible class.  Many traditional bible story books are too dry for younger readers.  These rhymes will stick with children long after the book is closed.  This book stands apart from the rest of the bible storybook genre.  Pulley has created a great way to reach out to parents and children to reinforce their faith in the bible.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I received a copy of this book published by David C. Cook.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NIV First Century Study Bible- a bible like no other

I have found my new favorite bible! This is the bible that I have been waiting for.  It is a cross between the out of print NIV Archeological study bible, and the newly published NIV Essentials study bible. If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as beautifully designed and illustrated, the full color NIV First Century Study Bible is the only bible you will need.  This bible has every study feature you could ever ask for in a bible- including historical, theological and life application information.  This bible is full of full color photos, maps, charts, illustrations as well as the tiny footnotes- traditional study notes on the bottom of the page.  It is like a history book and bible rolled into one volume.  This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers.

As far as everyday study, the font is big enough so as not to require the reader to squint.  Unlike most study bibles where the bible text is extremely tiny, I found the bible text to be readable.  I believe this is the successor to the older full color 1984 NIV translation Archeological study bible.  Having had the Archeological study bible for many years, I am most impressed with the full color interior and photos of this bible.  I have been waiting for another full color bible.  It is nice to see that the publishers recognised the need for a full color bible- with an abundance of study resources and photos from the historical point of view. I do not feel any bible reader would ever need to buy another study bible.  Perhaps teachers, sociologists,  history enthusiasts and tourist travelers will be drawn to this bible as well. Fundamentalist or Charismatic readers, may not be impressed with the tiny notes on the bottom as these notes focus more on historical details and explanations.

Some of the material may be redundant for those who already own the Archeological study bible or Essentials bible.  For example, many of the diagrams, maps and illustrations such as the temple which appears in Matthew, are in both the Essentials bible and First Century bible.  The only difference is that the First Century bible depicts them in full color.  I feel that the full color makes a world of difference in contrast to the black and white which gives the Essentials bible a dated appearance. If you own the Archeological study bible, the only reason to purchase the First Century bible would be if you want the new revised 2011 NIV version with gender inclusive language. If you actually prefer the original NIV translation, then you might not want to "upgrade" to the First Century bible.   If you own the Essentials study bible, then the only reason to "upgrade" to the First Century bible would be if you prefer full color to black and white.

Although there appear to be quite a bit of study notes included, they are more like foot notes.  The study notes add some historical detail but really do not clarify any spiritual concepts.  If you are looking for a bible wth extensive study notes for spiritual clarification- this study bible is not the best choice.  The one downside if I had to choose would be the study notes which seem to be "filler" material.

For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, the NIV First Century  bible is the top choices in my opinion. I think any bible reader will be impressed.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Zondervan.

Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.
http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-versions-communicating-gods-word.html