Monday, June 29, 2015

Tattered and Mended by Cynthia Ruchti

From the very first page, Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the wounded soul by Cynthia Ruchti, reaches out to the reader as a modern day parable. The tightly knit theme of textile repair: the arts, home decor, fashion, quilting and recycling are analogies that will reach every reader far and wide.  This highly readable book is just what a hurting, offended or grieving soul needs. As the author mentions in her introduction- this down to earth book is not for the theologian or seminary student- its easy to digest message is for the overworked and overburdened, in order to give hope. "People are tattered. Some say, 'Then let's make tattered fashionable.' But god invites us to mend". (Ruchti, 2015 p. 1)

Cynthia Ruchti brings scripture to life relating it to the modern day reader.  Her vivid writing reaches out to the reader without, allowing the reader to relate to biblical truths.  She invites the reader behind the scenes of the gospel stories that are used to relate how God heals those who are in pain and broken-hearted. She is a gifted writer offering inspiration to those in need.  And readers in need will not be disappointed. Ruchti delivers hope, purpose and empowerment with her words.   The Holy Spirit has used this woman, through her book, to reach out to those who are burdened and hurting as "The tattered and wounded line roadways, courtrooms. break rooms at work, family rooms, churches, hospital corridors. You may be one of them." (Ruchti, 2015 p. 7).  Her entire book as if it was written personally for the reader- in a conversational tone- simple, yet vibrant and real.  Her gift of writing is reminiscent of one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.  I beliebve anyone who enjoys Lucado's works will enjoy Ruchti.  This is a book worthy of the bedside, to be read and re-read and to be passed to a grieving friend or family member.  I hope more readers will discover Cynthia Ruchti and benefit from her inspiration.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This book is published by Abingdon Press.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a newly published fiction novel about a bookshop owner who not only sells books, but prescribes books which he feels are "the only remedy for countless, undefined afflictions of the soul." (George, 2015 p. 23).  Owned by a quaint middle aged man named "Monsieur Perdu", who calls himself a "literary apothecary", almost analogous to a pharmacist that dispenses medications for illness , a psychologist that diagnoses medical conditions or a doctor that treats a disease. This book is translated from the original German Das Lavenddelzimmer by Knar Verlag, and was considered a  bestseller in Germany.  The idea behind this book- its storyline- is unique and original.  It is intriguing to consider the possibility that books might be like medication to the emotions, or the spirit.  While it is true, many read for pure enjoyment and entertainment, not too many readers stop to think about the emotional connection that the right book may give- and that words do have power.  It is part of the human condition to want to relate to others- and just as music draws in many as it tugs at the emotion- books have that potential as well.  This book is unexpected, and will draw in readers who simply read for the love of reading.  But this book is more than just entertainment- it is a springboard to engage the reader to think about deeper issues and to reflect on the fact that books themselves are more than words, but rather they reflect experiences and emotions that we, the reader may be able to relate to when there is no one around to share.  As the book mentions- that book may in fact provide healing for those seemingly inconsequential feelings and emotions that are often beyond the scope of the medical profession.  Books reflect the idiosyncrasies of emotion and thought as well as universal emotions as well.  It leaves a lasting impression that there may exist the right book that does indeed touch our soul- and that instead of a soul mate or a counselor, our needs can be fulfilled in a book.  As a blogger I recieved a copy of this book published by Crown publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Biblical Guidebook to Deliverance by Randy Clark, Dim

The Biblical Guidebook to Deliverance by Randy Clark, Dim is a newly published handbook introducing the reader to the deliverance ministry and the concept of demonization.  Contrary to the popular media’s depiction of possession accounts, this guide dispels commonly held myths and superstitions about the idea of demonization from a biblical point of view.  This pocket sized book is a basic introduction- a simplified guide about the spirit world and how evil spirits and demons influence our lives.  Not only that, this guidebook addresses what to do about evil spirits from a biblical point of view.  This is not a superstitious text on possession promoting Latin rituals and artifacts- which are Catholic and superstitious concepts that many hold to be true. 

The cover of this book is dramatic with its antiqued image of an aged, dusty religious volume. This image is what many would expect to see when seeking out a book on “possession” and exorcism.  Ironically, once the reader opens the pages, there is nothing to resemble the theatrical, Latin based exorcism traditions known to be performed by priests.  This book contains simple, biblical based scripture and basic 101 level information about the spirit world.  In contrast to handbooks on the deliverance ministry, this book was very simple and did not include as many prayers or scripture excerpts.  This book was broad in scope and very basic- the author did not go into any extensive details.  This is perfect for beginners who may be overwhelmed but may leave those readers who are familiar with the deliverance ministry wanting more information.  For those looking for just a rudimentary introduction to deliverance and demonization, this is perfect.  For those readers already involved in deliverance ministry or who have read other books, the material in this book may be too rudimentary.  As a blogger for the Booketeria I received a copy of this book published by Charisma House for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

NIV Dad's Devotional Bible

NIV Dad's Devotional Bible  Notes by Robert Wolgemuth is a new bible published by Zondervan just for Fathers. There are many devotional books and devotional bibles for women, and even for mothers.  Yet, there are few, if any devotional bibles written specifically for Fathers.  The two tone interior, text and graphics make this an easy to read choice.  The interior is modern, yet simple- uncluttered, just like the cover.  This peaceful, serene bible promotes just that- peace and serenity though God's word. The title which uses the word "Dad" gives this bible a less formal, and less intimidating look.  There are devotional for the days the week, and a few articles to aid in building up the father child relationship.  There is a section in the back- like a mini book- dedicated to commonly asked questions by kids to aid a parent in answering their child's questions about God and the bible.  What child does not ask questions? This resource in of itself makes this bible worthwhile.  No longer will Dad find himself under the spotlight to come up with an answer.  This question section is a wonderful inclusion to this bible. It can also serve as a springboard for many bible related discussions.   

This bible would make a great Father's day gift or birthday gift.  I suggest this as a great bible for any dad.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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

If You Were Me and Lived In... China is the newest volume in  Carole P. Roman's "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World"  series . The art contained in this newest edition about China is the most
impressive yet. The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful scenic photos bring new life to the country of China for young children.  These books take only minutes to read cover to cover but they will give any child a comprehensive view of the geography and culture of a particular country.  This volume about China follows a similar format as the other  books in the series including  Mexico, Hungary, Peru, South Korea,  and France as well as many others. Yet in each successive  edition, the art is more impressive as the author makes an even greater use of a variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations.

When reading about China, the photograph of the ancient yet majestic Great Wall jumps out at the reader, as it serves as the backdrop against a clear, pale blue sky with the two traditionally dressed tour guide children.  The  sky  and the emerald colored grass makes for a beautifully realistic and unexpected layout as the family prepares for the upcoming festivals.  The night sky and glowing fireworks and colorful new Year's dragon jump out at the reader.  The beautiful grassy textures, stone tiles and other authentic  details and textures add 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. This sets her books apart from cartoon only illustrations.

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.

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. Roman continues to add titles to this series.  It would be great to see this series used as part of a grade school geography or social studies curriculum.  It is clear that each book, though simple in design, presents a wealth of information and research.   This book as well as the series is available on Amazon and B&N. As a blogger I received these books for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Defeating the Strongholds of the Mind by Rebecca Greenwood

Defeating the Strongholds of the Mind by Rebecca Greenwood is worth reading and rereading in order to empower the reader to identify, confront and destroy destructive thoughts and beliefs.  Not many believers understand the concept of the power of mental strongholds, or the Holy Spirit and that we are all called to fight against the devil, our Enemy. Nevertheless, strongholds are the driving force between the failures and the tragedies in countless lives, even Christians.

The author present 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's mental strongholds with the power of the Holy Spirit.  This book is a 101 course in identifying sin and the corresponding lies of Satan that keep us enslaved.  Rich in scripture, Greenwood leaves no doubt that she indeed has a special calling to deliver a life saving message through this book.

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 mental stronghold 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. This book is written for everyone, as "none of us are excused from the need to overcome wrong beliefs", (Greenwood, 2015 p. 1) Proverbs 23:7 further testifies to the power of words and thoughts as well as the power of lies from Satan to leave us astray. This is a book worthy of leaving by one's bedside- a companion resource to turn to.  It is no overestimation to say this is a life changing book.  As a blogger for the Booketeria I received this book published by Charisma House for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bedtime Devotions with Jesus

Bedtime Devotions with JesusMy Daily Devotional for Kids

This hardcover book, with its kid- friendly size and bright bold colors is the perfect accompaniment to go along with bedtime for any young child.  Unlike a storybook, this book has devotionals, based on biblical themes and passages - one for each night.  Instead of telling stories, this book introduces young preschool children to concepts such as faith, the Holy Spirit, sacrifice and honesty. With the depiction of a sleepy teddy on a cloud with a moonlit, starry sky, this book would be at home in  any nursery, or to compliment any children's home décor or book shelf.

 Pastel, and softly colored pages and bright teddy bear graphics add visual appeal to this book for young children to follow as an adult reads.  Each day's devotion is quick, and to the point as well as easy to understand for young minds.  The simplicity of this book is its strong point as the text is short enough to allow even the youngest of children to grasp the meaning.  The problem with many children's devotional books is that they can sometimes be too lengthy, losing the interest of the child for which they are intended. While a wordy devotional passage may capture the approval of the parent, it is often not a good fit for younger readers and what winds up happening is that the parent has to sum up and interpret the passage for the child.

Each week's of devotions are from a variety of contributors, not one single author.  I feel this is important as it is not based on one individual's interpretations or view point. Contributers include Dr. Johnny Hunt, Ann Chenault, April Mack and many more.  The contributing authors represent a variety of Baptist churches and some non denominational bible churches.

Overall the colorful friendly teddy bear graphics will keep the young child's eyes on the page long enough for the adult to share the quick message.  What is ambiguous is that the cute little graphics are not specifically Christian or biblical.  Other than the word "Devotional" and "Jesus" on the cover gives clues as to the nature of this book.  Nevertheless the illustrations are general and not religious or spiritual in  nature. This is not a problem, in fact many bible families will appreciate this as many illustrations in religious books are not handled in an appropriate style, such as a blonde haired Jesus, or an illustration of an Judas that looks like a villain from the 1990s Power Puff Girls cartoon-  often causing offense to at least some one some where. Since cute teddies have nothing to do with faith or the bible, no one will become offended if their likeness does not accurately depict what they imagine.

The choices of bible verses are perfectly suited for young listeners.  They are relevant and applicable.  Not only do I feel this book is a perfect introduction to the bible for young children, it is the perfect parent aid to teaching a child about the bible.  The Teddy bear theme may seem cliché and often overused, but it is popular nonetheless. This book would make a good choice when introducing a young child to the bible and God.  I look forward to sharing this with my toddler- who picked it right up and started turning to the pages. As a blogger for BooklookI received this book published by Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson publishers,  for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash

Witches Protection Program is the newest thriller by Michael Phillip Cash.  This recently published novel features the 232 year old top secret Witches Protection Program of the United States federal government. The reader is introduced to the newest hero, an agent named Wes, as he comes face to face with modern day witches and an unexpected conspiracy. It is evident that Cash has done much research into secret agencies to create an authentic tale of intrigue and drama.  It is written as if from an insider's point of view- convincing and real.  It might even make some readers wonder what if it were true.  The integration of historical details creates just enough plausibility to capture the attention of any reader who is into secret societies, conspiracy theories and mysteries.

This book would make a great story line for a supernatural detective series.  I think this book is too good to be just one story, and would make a great transition to become a prime time television series. I would like to see Cash explore the possibility of creating a made for television series.   For anyone who enjoys detective stories with a supernatural test- this is the book for you.

Michael Phillip Cash, the author of many bestselling novels including The Flip and The After House, delivers another complex, well written novel proving his talent in a variety of genres including science fiction, horror and mystery,  As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Luxor: Book of Past Lives by Julie Bettendorf

Luxor: Book of Past Lives by Julie Bettendorf is a new work of historical fiction that transports the reader into Egyptian past.  The simple, understated cover gives little hint of the fast paced action and dialogue contained.  The author inserts enough authentic details to satisfy the scrutiny of any ancient scholar, yet delivers enough action packed detail to keep the reader glued to the page.

With the opening scene, I felt as if I was transported back into time, witnessing the sacred rite of embalming.  Unlike a text on Egypt filled with detail and historical analysis- the scene came to life with lively dialog and three dimensional characters- just as real as any great work of fiction.  As Bettendorf states in her author's note, the purpose of this book is to allow the reader a " 'window' into the past", (Bittendorf, 2015).  She succeeds in this, making this not only a realistic work of historical fiction, but an entertaining work of fiction as well.  It is not a dry documentary of ancient Eygpt.  This novel represents years of painstaking research, and it shows in her ability to deliver this true to history story.  Having had earned my BS in history almost 20 years ago, sometimes the only opportunity to get behind the scenes of a particular time period is to do your own research. Egypt is a fascinating time period- with more to it than popular media would let you believe.   It is more than mummies and pyramids.  Not too many writers have the patience and the skill to put together an authentic story such as this.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Outskirts press, for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Young Earth by John Morris

The Young Earth: The Real History of the Earth- Past, Present, Future by John Morris

Anyone who has sat through a science course in public school, whether elementary school to college, has heard the theory of Evolution.  In fact, it is likely this is the only side you will learn about if you are in a secular school.  There is no escape as it is assumed in science textbooks that this theory is fully fact.  In fact, I am currently taking a college microbiology course for nursing school.  In fact, the very first chapter of my microbiology course discusses evolution as if it is a fact.  In fact the text goes so far as to redefine the word "theory" as if it is analogous to fact when it is used in the context of science.  But where is the other evidence that is ignored or concealed? In fact, my curious eighth grader, an A student asked me why schools didn't at least present the arguments for creation alongside the theory of evolution.  She wanted to know why evolution is always presented as an undeniable fact.

Finally there is a book that professionally presents creation with scientific legitimacy.  With academic scholarship, John Morris uses scientific facts and fossil evidence to present the concept of creation.  This full color text rivals the quality of science textbooks used in schools.  This book makes a perfect and essential companion to any science course. The biblical view of creation is often dismissed as superstitious and antiquated.

This book is written for older students at the middle school to high school level.  I also believe college level students would also benefit from this text to accompany their secular evolution biased based books as well.   Photographs and charts accompany the text.  This book covers the topic of Earth's history with dignity and professionalism that will stand to the scrutiny of any student, professor or professional in the science.  This is a much needed book.  I wish this was available in every public library.  As a blogger for Master Books, I received a copy of this book printed by Master Books, an imprint of New Leaf press.  Included is a power point CD which can be integrated into the classroom as part of the curriculum.
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