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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Balance of May

During May I read/watched and reviewed the following:

- "Galileo" by Mitch Stokes. Read my review.
- "Spain" a Travel Guide by Lonely Planet - Anthony Ham et al. Read my review.
- "The Trigger" by Hon S. Hoh. Read my review.
- "Venice & the Best of Northern Italy" a Travel Guide by Fodor's - Peter Blackman et al. Read my review.
- "The Great Mogul Diamond" by G.P.Taylor. Read my review.

Book "The Great Mogul Diamond" by G.P.Taylor

In the process of transferring our  blog to a brand new domain, this archived post has been adapted to BooksCrier.comAbout the Book: Everything was going so well for a change. Sadie and Saskia Dopple, those troublesome twins, had been adopted by the wealthy writer and recluse Muzz Elliott. And their friend Erik Morrissey Ganger was finally on his way to becoming a full-fledged private detective. But when an anonymous note threatens someone they love, the twins are off on an express train to danger. Suddenly they find themselves awhirl in a series of crimes—stolen right off the pages of Muzz Elliott’s own mystery novels. The twins need to figure out who’s behind this twisted plot soon, or Muzz Elliott will be framed for her own greatest literary invention . . . the theft of the Great Mogul Diamond. Meanwhile, Erik speeds through the countryside in an unbelievably cool car with private eye Dorcas Potts, racing the clock and attempting to outwit a gang of robbers. At the end of the road (if he ever gets there), he and the twins will have to get their hands on the diamond first in order to save Muzz Elliott. But not even this car is fast enough to escape the nagging doubts in Erik’s mind . . . What do you do when you aren’t sure what’s right? Sadie, Saskia, and Erik face this question head-on in the third installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, by New York Times bestselling author G. P. Taylor.

About the Author: A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include Wormwood (another New York Times best seller which was nominated for a Quill Book Award), The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias the Oracle, and Mariah Mundi. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.

My Review: This is a very entertaining book, easy reading, very well illustrated, directed to kids up to 12 years old. The plot is simple and easy to follow. Twin girls (Sadie and Saskia) that were adopted by a writer (Muzz Elliott),  and their friend (Erik) try to help to solve a mystery case that starts when Muzz Elliot receives a anonymous note. The twins and Muzz Elliott leave London and are headed to Cannes by train when mysterious crimes start to happen in a way that follows the plot of a mystery novel written by Muzz Elliott. Erik and Dorcas Potts (a private detective) follow their path by car, trying to reach Cannes before them, in order to protect them, but things are not easy for our heroes. But their faith in God proves to be important to overcome situations beyond their control. Spiritual entities are represented by Madame Raphael and The Companion.
This is the third book in a series called "The Dopple Ganger Chronicles", but it can stand by itself, if you did not read the previous two books of the series.
The format of the book being a mix of text, illustration and cartoon style provides a new format for a graphic novel that captivates the attention of the readers and helps them to connect with the heroes of the book. Very clever, very beautiful cover for the book and overall a very pleasant experience reading this author. It took me about 3 hour to read the whole book.
This book was written by G.P.Taylor and it was published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program.
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book "Venice & the Best of Northern Italy" a Fodor's Travel Guide by Peter Blackman et al.

About the Book: Full-color guide • Make your trip to Northern Italy unforgettable with illustrated features, 40 maps, and 200 color photos.
Customize your trip with simple planning tools • Top experiences & attractions • Practical advice for getting around • Easy-to-read color regional maps.
Explore Venice, the Lake District, the Riviera, and beyond • Discerning Fodor’s Choice picks for hotels, restaurants, sights, and more • “Word of Mouth” tips from fellow Fodor’s travelers • Illustrated features on Venice's St. Mark's Basilica, wine in the Piedmont, and shopping in Milan • Best Alpine adventures, world-class museums, and out-of-the-way villages.
Opinions from destination experts • Fodor’s Italy-based writers reveal their favorite local haunts • Frequently updated to provide the latest information.

About the Writers: After completing his master's degree in art history, Peter Blackman, updater of the Piedmont chapter, settled permanently in Italy in 1986. Since then he's worked as a biking and walking tour guide. When he's not leading a trip, you'll find Peter at home in Florence.
Other writers are Bruce Leimsidor, Megan McCaffrey-Guerrera, Nan McElroy and Sara Rosso.

My Review: Fodor's Travel Guides never disappoint and this one in particular is no exception. The writers and the editor did a superb job putting together this wonderful guide, with full description of places, that should be able to fulfill all your needs for information on what to do, how to do, where to go, etc... when you are in Northern Italy.
I visited that region some years ago and looking at this guide made me want to come back and revisit many places. This guide is fully illustrated with beautiful photos and maps and they go deep in details on every attraction that you can find in that area. Among many remembrances I had from my trip, one most treasured was when I visited Murano and the glass factories over there, and those memories were revived through photos and precise description of places.
They propose an itinerary for a 10-day trip that cover the most important places in that whole region, besides giving you a high level picture of the history of each place. Suggested attractions to visit have a reference price and hours of operation.
Finally the "Where to Eat", "Where to Stay" and "Nightlife" sections of the guide are a tremendous help when you are planning your trip.
This is an outstanding result for a combined effort from five different writers and it was published by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House Inc. in April 2011. I recommend this book for those who are serious about planing their trips and also for those who want to remember details on previous travels, while wishing they can return to Northern Italy some day in the future. was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book "The Trigger" by Hon S. Hoh

About the Book: “You must not fail.”
Three individuals from three continents find their lives merged in a single divine purpose: to win the last unreached people group on earth and usher in the Second Coming of Christ. They must succeed in order to fulfil the trigger for the return of the Lamb as declared in Matthew 24:14.
In their way stands the legion of demonic principalities intent on destroying the plan. Against the backdrop of unprecedented persecution and the onslaught of cataclysmic events, Pastor Josh must remain steadfast to carry out the priority revealed to him by God. He now realizes that no believer will escape the greatest tribulation in human history and that only the matchless return of the King can deliver mankind from evil’s reign.
The climactic battle between Good and Evil unfolds as Lucifer executes his definitive act of defiance: the global genocide of all Christians. With the sound of the trumpets reverberating throughout the heavens, what has been set in motion must now complete its course. Eternity and the fate of the earth are at stake.
There is no Plan B.
Far more than just another End Times novel and theologically distinct from the Left Behind series, the author of Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy offers a riveting story with an intriguing new perspective on the global events to come.
Prepare for your future.

About the Author: Hon S. Hoh is a gifted teacher of the Word. He is a minister committed to the calling that God has placed on his life. He began studying the Book of Revelation in Bible college, and he is passionate about reaching people with the truth and love of Christ. Hoh’s mission for writing The Trigger is fourfold:
• To help others understand the Book of Revelation
• To inform others regarding an important End-Times theological view other than the one with which they’re comfortable
• To provide motivation to engage the Great Commission as expressed in Matthew 28:18-20
• To prepare for the very near unfolding future, so that we are not caught off-guard
Hoh has been a pastor in Australia for over ten years and is gifted in preaching, teaching, and visionary leadership. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (Psychology), the Swinburne Institute of Technology, the Bible College of Victoria, and the Harvest Bible College (M.A. Ministry). Hoh worked in the field of social welfare prior to entering pastoral ministries.
Hoh is the author of Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy (Maryland: McDougal Publishing, 2002). His latest book, The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation, is based closely on the theology expressed in his first book.
According to Hoh, “A novel has the potential to help people understand the Book of Revelation in ways that a non-fiction can’t. Some will read a novel on the End Times, but they won’t touch a non-fiction on the same subject. As we progress further into the 21st century it is vital that Christians understand the last book of the New Testament so that we can adequately prepare for the future that is already present in some ways, and ready ourselves for the return of the Lamb should that occur in our lifetime.”
Hoh is the founder and executive director of Living Impact Inc, a non-denominational Christian ministry with an emphasis on global missions. He founded the ministry to help fulfil the Great Commission in reaching some of the poorest and most unevangelized peoples of the world. Living Impact started at the turn of the century, in 1999.
Hoh is married to Ling, and they have three wonderful children. He lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.

My Review: I always thought the Book of Revelation to be one of the most intriguing books in the Bible. After reading Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins "Left Behind" series my common sense said that having the rapture before the tribulation was an easy escape for Christians and not likely to happen. But that was just my feeling. Although my will was for that interpretation to be true, I believe that the theological line of Mr. Hoh is more likely to happen.
In this wonderful novel, Mr. Hoh describes the "behind the scenes" action in heaven (and hell) while our heroes play their part spreading the Word of God till the last regions on Earth, so the prophecy of the second coming of Jesus could be fulfilled. After preaching in Shanghai, Pastor Josh McGuire is arrested by security forces in the airport when he was leaving and he is conducted to the Ministry of State Security. Over there he meets Mr. Yang, the chief, and inspired by the Holy Spirit he removes the demon from the chief's body. The chief sincerely converts to Christianity and helps Josh to leave the country. While this happens on Earth, an intense activity is also happening in the spiritual world. After arriving in Australia, Josh talks to his missionary friend and touched by Jesus and Gabriel he leaves to preach in the last part of the world where Christianity was not introduced yet. With the participation of Michael, Gabriel, Apollyon and lots of other characters, you have a very intense novel that will keep you glued to the book until the last page is turned and the last word is read.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that enjoy a very well written novel.
This book was written by Mr. Hon S. Hoh and it was published by Living Impact in May, 2011 and B&B Media Group were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program. If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book "Spain" a Travel Guide by Lonely Planet - Anthony Ham et al.

About the Book: “Windswept Roman ruins, cathedrals of rare power and incomparable jewels of Islamic architecture speak of a country where the great civilizations have risen, fallen and left behind their indelible mark.” – Anthony Ham, Lonely Planet Author

About the Authors: Anthony Ham is a Madrid-based freelance writer and photographer with a special interest in the Sahara and Sahel.
Other authors are Stuart Butler, John Noble, Zora O'Neill, Josephine Quintero, Miles Roddis, Brendan Sainsbury and Damien Simonis.
My Review: This is a travel guide that should be able to fulfill all your needs for information on what to do, how to do, where to go, etc... when you are in Spain. The authors did a magnificent job putting together this magnificent travel guide.

I lived one year in Madrid and had an opportunity to travel all over Spain during that year and I can tell you that the descriptions and itineraries suggested by these authors are simple the best. The book starts with 28 top experiences followed by a Welcome to Spain section with very important information on currency, information sites, beaches, cathedrals, art galleries, nightlife, food, wine, hiking and a "month by month" top events. Then you are presented with some suggested itineraries that varies from a month trip to a two to three weeks trip. So far, they presented a high level perspective on what you need to plan your trip. After that they start entering into deep details on every place, like what to do, where to go and they even give you an idea on how much it should cost you to do the proposed attraction. The presentation is split into big cities and regions. Color photos are beautiful and at the end of the book there is a full map of the city of Barcelona, including full subway station map.

This is an outstanding result for a combined effort from eight different authors and it was published by Lonely Planet in April 2011. I recommend this book for those who are serious about planing their trips and also for those who want to remember details on previous travels, while wishing they can return to Spain some day in the future. was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book "Galileo" by Mitch Stokes

About the Book: From physics to religion, Galileo's life changed the world and how we perceive it.
Despite a debilitating life-long illness, Galileo changed physics from a purely philosophical subject into one involving mathematics and careful observation. But his innovations didn't stop there. He also challenged beliefs about the very structure of the universe, arguing that the earth moves around the sun at dizzying speeds. And, using the telescope, Galileo showed philosophers that the sun, moon, and stars aren't made of an ethereal and unchangeable "fifth element" but are composed of the same stuff that ordinary terrestrial objects are.
But suggesting such dramatic changes made philosophers uncomfortable. And because philosophers were unable to refute Galileo on their own playing field, they sought help from theologians, sending Galileo head long into a conflict with church officials. Galileo appealed to church fathers like St. Augustine to prevent the theologians from making what he saw as a tragic mistake. But intrigues, personality clashes, and misunderstandings led to Galileo's famous trial and condemnation, events misinterpreted as showing a fundamental conflict between science and religion.

About the Author: Mitch Stokes is a Fellow of Philosophy at New St. Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame under the direction of Alvin Plantinga and Peter van Inwagen. At Yale, he earned an M.A. in religion under the direction of Nicholas Wolterstorff. He also holds an M.S. in mechanical engineering and, prior to his philosophy career, worked for an international engineering firm where he earned five patents in aeroderivative gas turbine technology. He and his wife, Christine, have four children.

My Review: This book is a biography of Galileo Galilei, a true genius that lived in Italy during the 16th/17th century. Born in Pisa, his father wanted him to be a doctor in medicine, but his love for mathematics were stronger. Throughout this book we learned from the author that Galileo used his mathematics and science to prove the occurrences on the observable world. Notable is his observation of the chandelier movement on the Pisa cathedral, that inspired him to write the law of pendulum, which states that the period of oscilation is independent of the weight and length of the pendulum. For him, the language of nature was mathematics. His conclusion that the scriptures cannot conflict with the observation of nature is a powerful one but caused him more trouble than joy. His respect for the authorities of the church is well stated.
The author did a magnificent job making us feeling that he was the best friend of Galileo, narrating all events on his life in a level of details and interest that only a close friend would know how to do.
Clearly the amount of research behind the scenes done to compose this book was amazing. The author did a careful job of documenting everything that supported his work.
The front cover of the book is very well chosen and high quality one.
This book should be part of a permanent library of any serious reader that loves biographies and science.
This is a part of Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters Series. It was written by Mitch Stokes and published by Thomas Nelson in 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.