Saturday, February 28, 2015

The After House by Michael Phillip Cash

There aren't too many modern day writers who are as articulate and thorough as author Michael Phillip Cash.  From the first page of Cash's newest novel, The After House, the reader is transported back into time into the 1800s on a whaling ship .  Written in an authentic style, every piece of vivid detail brings the story to life.  His style is reminiscent of the classics of fiction. Even before the reference to Melville's Moby Dick, while reading the opening scene, that is the first thought that came to mind: a modern- day Moby Dick.

Even for those readers with little to no nautical background, the concept of the "After House" is mysterious and alluring and makes for a fascinating concept by which to build a supernatural horror novel. As the whaler sinks with the ship, in the end of the first scene, his last thoughts before he drowns is that he should have sought the safety of the after house. Throughout the novel, the story switches scenes, transporting the reader from the present back to the past.  Not only does the author have a talent for telling a believable piece of fiction, providing authentic historical details based on painstaking research, his complex characters have lives of their own as well.  Remy, the heroine of the After House, is portrayed as a needy, newly divorced, co dependent mother of a young girl. Her parents are dominant and at times overbearing.  The dyfunctional family context adds an authentic element. The incorporation of psychology and accurate cultural details makes this a three dimensional paranormal story.

For those readers who want more than the newspaper-esque, elementary narration often seen in contemporary fiction, Cash's supernatural suspense novels  will not disappoint.  Three dimensional characters, and story that digs deep into history, will leave the reader engaged until the end. With Cash's talent for storytelling, it probably only a matter of time before his books will be available side by side the great horror story greats such as King and Straub. As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This book is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The NIV Proclamation Bible

The NIV Proclamation Bible  is yet another themed bible published by Zondervan.  With the durable, textured matte jacket, quality hard cover, embossed on the spine- this sturdy  bible is made to be durable . The modern yet minimalist design looks luxurious.  The quality cover contrasts with the glossy pew-like covers of many of Zondervan's other themed  bibles.  The binding is sturdy- much more so than many of the other bibles. The market for this bible is for leaders: pastors, ministry leaders, theology students and scholars.  The minimalist, quality binding looks like a pastor bible. The interior has easy to read font.

As far as the articles and content- this is a great reference bible for anyone who wants to go deeper into theology. As the title suggests, it is based on theology  and the articles contained focus on deeper biblical theology and concepts than the average study bible.  As far as a study bible- there are not too many study features other than the articles contained in front and chapter introductions. Furthermore, not each book opens with an introduction. It almost seems like an oversight or error because most of the bible books have chapter introductions except for a few.  For anyone who is motivated to read through the essays in the beginning of this bible as well as the chapter introduction- much biblical insight will be gained.  Rather than paying for a formal education in theology, pick up this bible instead.  I truly believe there isn't anything you can learn by paying for a seminary course that you can't learn from the articles in this study bible.  I advocate self study especially when it comes to theology and anything remotely connected to the bible.  I truly believe the Holy Spirit guides those who are willing to learn.  I feel it is divisive that many Christian denominations and so called bible churches depend on formal education programs that require a great monetary cost.  Basically anyone who does not have the money to pay for bible or seminary classes or conventions are left out.  And this is among one of the reasons I do not attend certain churches.  Yet this bible provides a wonderful opportunity to bring quality theological scholarship to the average person who does not have the funds or the time to pay to attend elitist "Christian" conventions.

For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and reference, this  bible is a top choice for leaders or theology students especially. Yet I find after reading the full color NIV First Century study bible, also published by Zondervan, I have been spoiled- and I feel that no bible will ever come close in quality and substance. This is a standard black and white text minimalist bible.  Admittedly I prefer full color study bibles.  Yet as far as content and deep, complex theological insight, this is a bible that is worth reading.  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.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

If You Were Me and Lived In... Hungary by Carole P. Roman

 If You Were Me and Lived In... Hungary in one of the newest editions to the "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World"  series By Carole P. Roman. Of all the places features in Roman's books, this edition holds a special place for me, as it is where my grandfather was born before he came to this country when he was only a young boy.  Ironically, the cartoon of the young boy on the cover reminds me of old photographs of my dad as a young boy. Its funny how a cartoon can capture a likeness.

The art contained in this  new addition on Hungary is among  the most impressive yet. The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful scenic photos bring new life to the subject of geography and the land of Hungary.  While this  book takes only minutes to read cover to cover it is packed with information and visual appeal.  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 Hungary, the photograph of the Parliament serves as the backdrop for the two sight seeing children who appear to have taken a selfie in front of the well known monument. No doubt, this is a realistic depiction of what any tourister would do! The clear blue  sky  makes for a beautifully realistic and unexpected presentation.  The beautiful cave, the city bus scene,  and the quaint traditional house with its authentic  textures adds an authentic appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes.  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.

I never had much of an opportunity to learn about  my heritage.  My grandfather never shared too many stories about Hungary- other than leaving his entire family behind when he was very young with only a note pinned to his jacket.  I could not find anything out, as I suspected the story of how he left Hungary and left behind his mom, was so traumatic that brought tears to his eye years later.  I no longer have my grandparents, or even my father for that matter.  No one remains in my family that could possibly know anything about my heritage.  Ironically, my acquaintance or re-acquaintance  with my heritage is through Roman's children's book on Hungary; and for that I am thankful. Who would have thought that of all places, at the ripe old age of 41, that if I were to learn about my heritage- that it would be from Carole Roman.   If you check the collection out on Amazon or Barnes & Noble online, you may find a book about your ancestry too. Take the time to rediscover your heritage! These books are not only for kids. And if you don't see your national heritage or country represented yet, at Roman's rate of writing about the countries in the world, it won't be long before she gets to yours too. As a blogger I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

Max Lucado, author of countless inspirational Christian books has now written a new fiction novel, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe.  Anyone who has enjoyed Lucado's empowering works such as You'll Get Through This and Great Day Every Day, will be familiar with the bible based encouragement that will motivate and strengthen the faith of even the most apathetic and depressed readers.  This fiction novel is entirely different, in contrast to Lucado's deeply inspirational messages which reach out to grief stricken readers going through difficult trials- this is a light hearted fairy tale for grownups, with a happy ending.  It is as if Max Lucado wanted to take a break from his serious writing and ministry, and came up with this piece.  Lucado has tackled some pretty heavy topics in his books, so one can not be surprised that he may need a mini break. The presentation of this book, with its textured pastel cover featuring an illustration of a large cup of coffee with angel wings shaped steam is certain to draw in the reader.

From the start, this book is easy to read and easy to follow. Since this is a Lucado book, the reader will note that Max Lucado does insert brief biblical messages where he can. The plot is simple and not offensive.  There are no disturbing elements or issues raised. Even secular readers won't find anything to dislike about a clumsy, ethnic, kind hearted guardian angel who is sent down from heaven to help the heroine, Chelsea Chambers.  In the midst of a trial separation from her famous football player husband, Chelsea uproots her two kids to run a quaint cafe that she inherited after her mother passed away.  Although there are unexpected trials like finding out that her husband's millions have been squandered away, Chelsea is fortunate to be able to have the independence and the finances needed to relocate the kids for a hiatus, to a new home, new school and new town for a trial separation. While she finds she must worry about IRS debt and a payment plan for the cafe, she is never in a completely dire situation.  In otherwords, her kids with their iphones and cafe breakfasts never have to worry about being hungry and homeless, as Chelsea is able to provide for their needs and dedicate her energies full time to running the  cafe without having to find a  second job. While her ex made poor financial choices and cheated- which is bad enough in of itself, he is not depicted as abusive, manipulative or crazy.  In other-words there or no threats of custody disputes or social service visits, lingering over Chelsea's head.  She does not have to lie awake in bed at night and worry about having her kids taken from her. Not only that she has  full  autonomy  and freedom to move out of town to relocate the kids.  Her ex was depicted  as a harmless, remorseful puppy simply waiting for her to come home.   One could not find a better arrangement with an ex. Even in her separation she had security.  Perhaps these elements of financial security, independence and mobility will make this book more appealing to the upper socio-economic class of readers who are more likely to relate to Chelsea's background and lifestyle. But I believe this drama- free plot, as unlikely as it may seem, reduces the  distraction from the main focus of the book which is not Chelsea's marital situation but primarily the cafe and the miracles which take place.

Unexpectedly, her cafe becomes a conduit for communication with the divine.  In the mix are supernatural elements involving guardian angels. Its a nice story to read. Although this book is clearly meant for lighthearted reading, and is fiction and not theology, first and foremost, I found it insightful when the guardian angel was eager to act on Chelsea's behalf but was told that he specifically had to wait until asked.  In other words, he could not intervene unless Chelsea prayed.  I felt that was an important point for all readers, and it was refreshing to read at least a small bit of accurate, albeit, subtle, biblical theology found its way into this book. Nevertheless, I believe many gullible readers will take this book at face value and may even believe that this book is portraying an account of a visitation.  In light of all the new books published on heavenly visits, messages and apparitions, I believe there are large numbers of confused readers who have no idea of what to believe as they confuse reality, with fiction and theology with false, counterfeit ideas.

For anyone who wants a spiritual fiction story, light hearted reading with a happy ending,  incorporating the best of popular culture: blogs, angels, and coffee- this is the book for you.  It would also make a good gift idea placed in a gift basket with a bag of coffee and a mug or with a coffee shop gift card for a good friend. Sometimes a reader needs a mental break, and this wholesome work of fiction is a better choice than the morally devoid and offensive novels that  saturate the market today.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I received a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy "Bee-lated" Valentine's Day!!!!!
Lemon Bee

All the Places to Go by John Ortberg

"All the Places to Go
How Will You Know?
God has placed before you
an open door.
What will you do?" (Ortberg, 2015)

Does this passage sound almost familiar? It will for many fans of the beloved Dr. Seuss, well known children's writer.  If you still not familiar with the reference, then no doubt, with one look at the cover of John Ortberg's new book,  All the Places to Go: How Will you Know, its likeness to the Dr. Seuss book is unmistakable. Drawing on the popularity of Dr. Seuss', "Oh The Places You Will Go", often used to apply to one's life choices and career choices after graduation, Ortberg has applied the idea to one's spiritual calling in life. The title, as well as the book cover will be certain to draw in many readers- those dedicated to their faith, yet find themselves to be hesitant when faced with difficult life choices.  Using examples of scripture- the author shows how God can use the weak, the timid and those who lack faith, to accomplish great purposes and goals in life.  The empowering message is certain to give renewed purpose and life to even the most apathetic or timid readers.  From the first chapter, the author illustrates the concept that you need not be strong or wise to have an important God directed purpose in life.  Using the scripture from Revelation, written to the church in Philadelphia, the author explains that despite having "little strength", that God has placed an "open door that no one can shut". (Ortberg, 2015 p. 4) He continues on to say that something that might be interpreted as an insult- the reference to having "little strength" is actually an empowering example for all of us to illustrate that we are not expected to have extra special qualities to be have access to "open doors".  Secondly, the author continues on to explain that God rarely presents an open door simply for us to remain in the safety net of our current status quo. Knowing our limitations, God still expects us to take a chance and to step out of our comfort zone.

Anyone who has ever read a Dr. Seuss book is  familiar with his beloved and unique writing style, reminiscent of the schizophrenic alterations observed in the speech patterns of those diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Ironically the pen name includes reference to a medical professional, when patient would have been more accurate (but that topic in of itself would take up it's own blog post). Seuss' books: The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who and Hop on Pop are filled with peculiar speech patterns: flight of ideas, neologisms (made up words), echolalia (word repetition), clang association (meaningless rhyme) and word salad.  Anyone else who would dare to writing in his style would probably be asking for a psychiatric diagnosis. One may never know if indeed, this beloved and gifted children's write had schizophrenia. Ironically, Ortberg chooses the Dr. Seuss platform to deliver a spiritually significant message to a new generation of readers.  In contrast to Dr. Seuss, Ortberg's writing is systematic and orderly.  He presents the reader with a background of biblical heroes from varied imperfect backgrounds who had open doors to choose from.  He uses these stories to illustrate how the reader may very well have their own open doors to choose; difficult, gut wrenching, soul searching, life choices.  The author discusses personality traits and spiritual suggestions to empower the reader to become attuned to God's purposes and to follow after the open doors. 

This book is like a spiritual self help book, empowering any reader who find himself at the cross roads in life, faced with a difficult decision or possibly stagnant. This book is easy to read and easy to follow; and best of all motivating.  I think this makes a good choice for any one young or old; it is for anyone who is looking for something greater out of life.  It may give timid personalities that extra little push they need to pursue their dreams.  As a blogger I received this book published by Tyndale for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Then Like The Blind Man by Freddie Owens

Then Like The Blind Man- Orbie's Story by Freddie Owens, is an authentic, richly detailed retro- themed work of fiction.  The setting of this tale takes the reader back to the days of the South and segregation of the 1950s.  This thematic book contains enough authentic cultural and social details that it is almost as if the reader is transported back in time.

From the cover, with its ominous gray sky looming above a lonely abandoned barn, and a run down, rusted, retro red gas station, typical 50s era fixture, as a wandering boy glances ahead at a weather beaten trail, the reader will be drawn into the past. The characters, with all of their faults and flaws,  are well developed and so lifelike that reader will almost feel like he has actually met them. The dysfunctional interactions between Orbie and his mother and step father are painful to read and not at all entertaining. All the inhuman disturbing traits of humanity are represented by characters in this story.   Despite the fact that this story is told in the first person point of view, narrated in the voice of the young hero, Orbie, this book contains some graphic, and at times, disturbing elements.  It is ironic to read the story told in a voice of a southern dialect of a young boy. It is unsettling at times to read some intense scenes from the point of view of a child.   Some readers may find the writing too intense, with its adult content and disturbing scenes detracting from the overall story.  I can imagine more modest readers might not want to read some of the more graphic scenes and adult language. The sub sections of the chapters are identified with dates as if it were a journal.  It is another attention to detail that the author uses  to create an authentic retro aura. A few selected illustrations and images are included in the beginning of selected chapters which set an ominous, shadowy world.  This story touches on many topical areas: eccentric religion, dysfunctional family relationships, crime and racial tension.  Readers of varied backgrounds, even historical enthusiasts will be drawn to Owens' eccentric fictional world.  One thing is for certain; whether you like this book or not, you will certainly form a strong opinion.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Blind Sight Publications.  This book is available for purchase at Amazon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sketch! The non-artist's guide to inspiration, technique, and drawing daily life by France- Belleville - Van Stone

Sketch! The non-artist's guide to inspiration, technique, and drawing daily life by France- Belleville - Van Stone is a newly published guide for all ages.  This manual styled guide book is written for those who are not artists.  It is written for those readers who are completely new to the world of art and illustration- with no prior experience whatsoever.  Even those readers who have never ever doodled will find inspiration from this book.  In otherwords, this is for the layman, with no artistic talent or background.  This informal, casually written book is something you would not learn from a formal art class, but the guidance you might get from an art mentor.

This mixed media book contains full color illustrations.  There is a variety of reproduced art from simple cartoons and line drawings, to sketches, to realistic still life depictions.  There is something for everyone- and readers of varied interests and backgrounds will find inspiration.  Unlike other art instruction books which focus on a specific or stylized genre- this book allows the reader to find his or own style.  There is not one style promoted over another- just simply instruction and a variety of techniques.

There is a lot of introductory information contained- including some info on selecting supplies such as paper and pencil.  I like this book because it does not assume the reader has unlimited financial resources for expensive supplies.  The author uses simple paper, pencils and erasers- items that just about everyone has easy access to, or can purchase without going into debt.  The author even goes into further detail for those who wish to experiment with different types of supplies- this book appeals to the beginner and grows to a more moderate level as well.  Unlike other art instruction books, this one is not intimidating.  It is presented in a less formal format- the pages themselves are reminiscent of a beloved sketch book or well used composition book. The style and presentation of this book, in general, is retro and friendly.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Watson-Guptill publications for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A collection of haunting short stories featuring elements of wondrous fantasy and gothic horror, redeemed by messages of hope. Patricia Lynn Dompieri's tales capture the surreal logic of dreams. Featuring keen perceptions shaped by fears and desires, these richly written narratives mix eerie imagery with insightful commentary. Poetic and descriptive, charged with deep symbolism and nightmarish elements, the stories make you think as well as
shudder. The characters described reach revelations that put a new perspective on life. The intensely imaginative and unpredictable storytelling is enhanced by mysterious illustrations by Michele Bledsoe.

Available today only $10.76 on Amazon- Free Shipping with Amazon Prime

The Mineral Book by David McQueen

The Mineral Book by David McQueen is a full color book that tells the reader everything one may want to know about rocks and minerals.  This complete reference  not only is a good introductory reference for anyone who is fascinated with the study of rocks or mineralogy, it is a good book for the young hobbyist who enjoys collecting rocks.  Paired with a small draw string bag filled with a few collectors rocks or crystals, this book would make a perfect book for any child or science enthusiast.  This is an amazing reference for anyone who has an interest rocks and gems.  Having read other books on rocks and gems, available in the mainstream secular market, this full color book, with its thick glossy pages and sharp, vibrant photographs, rivals the quality of any book on gems and rocks that one may find in a book store. 

Not only is this book entertaining, it is also educational, and can be incorporated into any science curriculum, either in a classroom setting or at home. A unique feature is that this book has been developed for multi-level teaching, with special color-coding on three skill levels. Therefore this book can be used for children of a variety of reading levels and grades. The end of the book features a great reference guide on identifying different stones and minerals.  This makes this a great field guide for any collector or hobbyist.  There is also a glossary of terms and even a periodic table of elements.  For those interested in gemstones and jewelry, there is information about the cuts of stones used for rings and other jewelry.  If that wasn't enough- there is also a full color pull out poster in this book too! The author has not left anything out, covering everything in a single Wonders of Creation Series! As a blogger for Moms of Master Books I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.
volume.  One great thing about this book is that a vast world of career options and interests are opened up for the young reader in the context of the subject of minerals.  This text incorporates history, science, culture and faith for a well rounded experience.  The irony is that the cover depicts a humble pile of salt- muted and plain in color.  Yet within the pages the reader can see a vast array of vibrant gems in rich rainbow hues of purple, green and blue. As with the other titles available from Master Books, this book is written in the context of a bible based world view in which God created the world.  The author reconciles science with faith showing to the reader that there are no inconsistencies. This book is one of many in the Master books best-selling

Available from New Leaf Press, order your copy today!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers By Max Lucado and Denalyn Lucado

The new Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers Prayers for bedtime and every time of day! By Max Lucado and Denalyn Lucado, illustrated by Lisa Alderson is a beautiful compendium for children.  Filled with Alderson's beautifully illustrated full color art, and biblical poetry- this book is reminiscent of a poetry book for children.  Unlike many modern illustrations you will find in childrens bibles and story books, these are not careless cartoon drawings.  The artwork is beautifully created- giving dignity to the poetry and passages in the book.  The reader will find both traditional poetry as well as original poetry by Max and Denalyn.  This is the perfect prayer book, yet it is presented as a fun to read bedtime story book. There is a lot of flexibility in this compendium..  Basically you can pick up from any spot and start reading, or you can choose to read each poem from cover to cover.  This padded hardcover book would make the perfect gift for any young child.  These poems and prayers are intended to be read by an adult to a child.  The peaceful, soft artwork will draw the attention of young readers as well as parents. The best part of the book is the fact that there are contributions from a number of writers as well as some brief excepts of scripture too.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek

It is shocking to see how few adults out there actually understand the basics of elementary grammar.  Take a scroll through any Facebook news feed and you will see adults who confuse the words they're, there and their.  It is quite shocking to see how many people incorrectly use the words to and too or your and you're.  There are countless adults out there who absolutely need Marsha Sramek's, The Great Grammar book, and they don't even know it.  This easy to read grammar book differs from the traditional college grammar text in that this book gets right to the point and includes the basics of grammar without any extraneous information about APA research formats or overly technical information.  Sramek's book includes the essentials of grammar that every  adult needs to know. The chapters are organized by topics and easy to read.  Also included are exercises to apply what was learned. There is even a "Diagnostic Test" in the beginning of the book to aid the reader in finding his strengths and weaknesses prior to reading through the guidebook.   This guide is like a refresher course on grammar that anyone can find the time to read and understand.  Furthermore, the reader will find culturally relevant sentences and passages which incorporate pop culture and trivia in order to illustrate concepts of grammar. For example, the reader will see references to the infamous iphone, and Harry Potter.  This will hold the attention of any reader in contrast to traditional texts on grammar which tend to be dry and monotonous. Sramek has done a lot of foot work and research to insert random clips of trivia, tid-bits of pop culture and facts.

The additional helps in the back of the book on writing are relevant to everyday life.  While most people won't be writing research papers or submitting articles in APA format to medical journals, most readers will find that they do have to write an occasional business letter, email, cover letter or a letter to ask for a job reference.  For once, there is a down to earth, common book of grammar that will actually be useful for just about every adult.   I wish that everyone had access to this book.  It is not just for students, but rather the everyday layman- the adult who is finished with school but somehow slept through fourth and fifth grade language classes on spelling and grammar.  This remedial level book might be a good introductory guide for any adult who is preparing for a standardized exam or returning to college or trying to get a GED. The Great Grammar book incorporates and element of entertainment in what may be considered a dry, yet essential subject area. With Sramek's book, there is no adult who has a valid excuse for poor communication  and writing skills. 

One minor detail I would change is the cover image which depicts the dark silhouettes of a handful adults against an ocean sunset and black border.  I believe a more effective cover would be a basic primary shade to give a more scholarly appearance.   Or, the author could consider a design with a more abstract cover to depict a more contemporary, pop culture impression.  It is a fact that people will make decisions about purchasing the book based on the cover.  The cover needs a make-over; as it stands does not seem to jump out to the target readership. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Arch Press for the purpose of writing this review. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

To You; Love, God: A Year of Daily Guidance and Inspiration Straight from the Source by Will Bowen

 Will Bowen's newly published devotional- To You; Love, God: A Year of Daily Guidance and Inspiration Straight from the Source is a unique book.  Based on the title, many readers will automatically assume this is a Christian devotional book- one of many in the saturated daily devotional genre.  Not only that, there are many Christian devotionals on the market written in the first person- as if God is personally writing letters to the reader using first person pronouns.  Other than the usage of the word "God" in this devotional book, there is nothing to explicitly identify this book a Christian.  There are no specific references to "Jesus" or any other biblical figures or leaders for that matter.  A Christian may in fact read this devotional and not even notice the lack of specific references to biblical concepts such as Jesus, sin, salvation or Satan.  Many will read the pages of this devotional and interject their own ideas of faith and may be oblivious to the fact this book really does not concretely align with any major religion, much less denomination.  This book refers to broad spirituality and a deity, referred to as God.  There is the integration of new age concepts such as relativism, and the idea that there are multiple ways to truth and salvation. Yet in this entire book there is nothing that is overtly about Jesus or the bible or Christianity, just benign concepts of prayer and faith.

 Because of this lack of religious alignment, this book will have broad appeal.  Whether Jewish, Catholic, Wiccan or New Age spiritualist, regardless of one's denomination or religion, I don't think any reader will find offense at this book.  This book may even be encouraging to agnostics and general spiritualists.  This book may be a good outreach method to draw in non religious readers and general spiritual readers into positive concepts of faith, well being, kindness, empowerment and self help. I believe readers of all ages with find encouragement in these pages. Bowen is an "Ordained Minister" but as a reader, I am unclear of what he is ordained as.  His book is benign, non offensive, yet positive and uplifting. It would make a good inspirational, self help book. In its pages are down to earth analogies or modern day "parables" which end with good advice for anyone seeking direction or motivation.  Nevertheless it not specifically "Christian" or biblically based, unless the reader chooses to read its pages in light of their own theological or bible based beliefs.

 For those looking for in-depth theology in the faith of an extreme crisis, CS Lewis or Max Lucado books would be more appropriate.   This book would be a good gateway to religion in general or perhaps Christianity.  This generic, embryonic faith expressed  by Bowen's writing style has the potential to become whatever faith, or religion the reader wants it to be.    As a blogger I received a copy of this book  published by Convergent books.