Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Orientation to our Life: A Guide to Young Men and Women by John Daniel Kunnathu

Link to purchase An Orientation to our Life
Set in a pre-Christian setting, a group of young Jewish men and women gather around the Rabbi seeking answers for questions about creation, life, and death. The author takes the role of the Rabbi and gives enlightenment and thought-provoking answers using, and limited to, only the first three chapters of Genesis.

There are several insightful messages that stood out for me, including the importance of asking for forgiveness for restoration and our relationship to God in death.

I think the most valuable aspect of this book is in the lessons we can learn about how to engage our young people to read, study and interpret the scriptures. This question and answer method is going to have a more lasting impression than would a teacher or church leader who approaches subjects with lectures and rigidity. If we allow them to ask questions without condemnation or ridicule, and then give answers that will require reflection and more study about the subject, they will learn discernment.

This is a short book, easy to read, and beautifully written. My favorite two quotes from this book:

“We are the expression of God’s life within the limits of time and space.”

“When they (life and earth) separate, we die. Earth goes back to the ground and life goes back to join the creator. Thus our life and God's life are one, and so we have no death.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Operation Thriller

Five of today's most critically acclaimed thriller writers (left to right) Douglas Preston, Steve Berry, David Morrell, James Rollins, and Andy Harp posed for a group photo during a USO meet-and-greet in Kuwait on November 8, 2010. Part of a week-long USO tour entitled "Operation Thriller," the authors were in the Middle East extending America's heartfelt thanks to US troops.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mission Possible by D. L. McCarragher

Link to purchase Mission Possible at Alabaster Box Publishing

A brief outline of this book is best described by the author:
“This book will serve to encourage your heart, strengthen your soul, and stretch your faith.”

Mission Possible begins by describing the priestly role model that Jesus portrays for the husband in the household. Unfortunately, he will not follow this role if your spouse is not a believer. Becoming a believer while your spouse is not can cause stress, heartache, and discouragement.
Mission Possible is a detailed, scripturally based boot-camp for the believing spouse on a new Godly mission – to be a testimony and a representative of Jesus to your husband. D. L.McCarragher’s experience and energy presents the Word of God to edify and instruct on prayer, pitfalls and priorities.

The book is set up to use as a devotional or Bible study. It has a “Seek and Find” section with questions, discussion and addition Bible verses after each chapter. There are also short clever remarks inserted into the chapters that can only be described as Pure Encouragement!

I especially enjoyed “In the Meantime- Serve”. In this chapter she talks about serving the Lord, but doing so with respect to the husband and the problems that may arise. She explains how to make good decisions that will maintain love and peace in the home.

I highly recommend this book for individual or women’s group Bible studies. For those using an e-book, Mission Possible is very well formatted for the e-book format with easy chapter navigation.
D. L. McCarragher's website

Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen link for Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen

I have an earlier Iris Johansen Eve Duncan book on my to-be-read shelf, but I received this one for review so I decided to read this first. Although part of a series, it is certainly a stand-alone book.

Eve and Joe are both interesting characters, but as a couple the spark seems to be missing. There was nothing that would make me look forward to another book about them or run to a previous book to find out how they reached this point in their relationship. The other characters in the book are all over the top in whatever they do. There is some sarcastic attitude, which I can appreciate, but they are too much like comic book characters.

All in all I can say that it is not a bad action/adventure/thriller but I just couldn’t enjoy reading about the sadistic psychological torture, rape, and other physical abuse especially when a child is involved.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Place to Die An Inspector Gerg Buchner Mystery by Dorothy James link to purchase A Place to Die
About the Book: Eleanor and Franz Fabian arrive from New York to spend Christmas with Franz's mother in her sedate retirement home in the Vienna Woods. Their expectations are low: at best, boredom, at worst, run-of-the-mill family friction. But when the wealthy, charming Herr Graf is found dead in his apartment with an ugly head wound, the Fabians are thrust into a homicide investigation. Some residents and staff have surprising connections to the dead man, but who would have wanted to kill him? Inspector Büchner tracks down the murderer against a backdrop of Viennese history from the Nazi years to the present day..

My Review: A Place to Die is a well-written traditional mystery with mature characters in a unique setting. It is an interesting look into an assisted living facility divided between those who can still care for themselves and then the dreaded section where more assistance is needed. There are many characters living in this facility and their loves and friendships are portrayed in detail. It is the type of mystery that is well thought out, painstakingly described, and comes around full circle for the conclusion.

It was a little difficult for me to follow the characters at first until I got used to the terms Herr and Frau before the names. I thought two of the three main characters were rather unpleasant and their unhappy relationship grated on me. There were some unexpected sexual situations dropped into the story that were just too awkward to add to the story. Inspector Buchner, however, was wonderful, and I look forward to reading more with his character.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults are Leaving the Faith and How to Bring Them Back by Drew Dyck link for Generation Ex-Christian
Generation Ex-Christian is a look at why so many young people are leaving behind the faith they learned as a child. The author interviewed ex-Christians, and he breaks down the “leavers” into six types, postmodernist, recoiler, modernist, neopagen, rebel, and the drifter. He highlights several individuals and what caused them to change. What would cause a Christian to turn to Wicca, or lead them to commit to atheism? Imagine being a youth leader and an offhanded harsh comment would so hurt someone that they would turn their back on God.

In breaking down the categories, the author gives specific instruction on how to relate to the individuals with the hope of leading them back. This is an important read for youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and others in the ministry.

My only criticism of the book is the oversimplifying impression that those leaving the church are leaving God. Many youth leaders make our young adults feel as though they will never live up to what is expected of them. Spiritual abuse is a painful experience, and we should never minimize the saving grace of Christ or equate church attendance with salvation. 

Satan no longer has to destroy Christians; the church is doing that work for him.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pandora's Succession Virtual Book Tour Contest link for Pandora's Succession

Pandora's Succession Virtual Book Tour Contest:   Everyone that leaves a comment with their email address (in the body of your message) will win an autographed book cover. After the blog tour, 10 commentors from all of the blogs will be drawn to win free autographed ebook copies of Pandora's Succession.
You may go to Russell Brooks' website at if you want to follow the tour.

My Review:
Ridley Fox is a man with a past. Tormented by the murder of his fiancé by weapons dealers, he has never lost focus of justice for her death. The beginning of the book describes a terrifying scene with a rediscovered bio-weapon so deadly that it wiped out an entire civilization in ancient times. Fox gets in the middle of the control grab between the CDC and a Japanese Intelligence organization. The biggest question for Ridley Fox is “Who do I trust?”

Hang on, because this one is a roller coaster ride of action. The story has great contrasts in characters with the good guys, bad guys, CIA, Arms of Ares, Japanese Intel, and the CDC. The author has a good understanding of the technology and the ability to describe it to the average reader. There was a good blend of narration and dialog without getting bogged down in either.

Pandora’s Succession is a descriptive action adventure. I would have liked more included of the medical/lab atmosphere, but that is just my personal preference, not a criticism. This is a great new book and a great new author.

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