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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Balance of February

During the month of February, I read/watched and/or reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Touchstone" by Melanie Rawn. Read my review.
- "Cyberlife" by W.H.Buxton. Read my review.
- "The Fourth Fisherman" by Joe Kissack. Read my review.
- "The Cloudy Corners of Creation" by Mark Tate. Read my review.

Other Products:
- "Case Logic Sleeve for 9-10.1-Inch Tablet/iPad". Read my review.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book "The Cloudy Corners of Creation" by Mark Tate

About the Book: From the Author: "The Cloudy Corners of Creation is an introduction for many who are unaware of the paranormal subculture in the world. Because I have been a pastor for over twenty years, it is especially pertinent to followers of Jesus who are not very aware of this subculture, but it is not too religious for anyone who may also seek to be aware of this paranormal subculture. These kinds of things have fascinated me my entire life and I am not a young man. As a follower of Jesus, I thought most of what was in the world could be stretched to merge into the Bible somehow, with a few details that don't fit, knowing that of course the Bible does not mention so many things in the world. I have not been able to do that. Christendom has taught a closed system-there is God, Satan, the Bible, and everything one might experience can be explained from these and, if not, they do not need to know about it anyway. But if we as followers of Jesus believe that all truth is God's truth, whether we find it in the Bible, or in creation, or even in human experience, then we should note these experiences and try to relate to them and explain them the best we can. This book is my attempt to explain what I do not understand. I am not attempting to judge any of the people, places, or phenomena that I list here. I have left that task of discernment to the reader. I have divided the material into four sections and each section has several chapters. Part I is entitled "Just Beyond the Veil." Here, it is my goal to show two things. The first thing that I would like to show in this category is the difference between what I generally designate ghosts and what I call spirits. Part II deals with nature and is entitled, "The Para-Natural." In this section, I have placed nature religion, paganism, known formally in some of its appearances as Wicca, in others as Voodoo. Next is a chapter on human-animals with short sections on were-animals (changelings), such as werewolves, vampires, and Native American shape-shifters. I also include sections on crypto-zoological animals such as the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot. Lastly, I deal with the unknown in nature, a really creepy experience by a Utah family and later by an investigation team. Part III, "Aliens Among Us," contains information about UFOs, aliens, and ancient architecture. All sorts of people have seen UFOs, from citizens to pilots to military personnel. What are they? There is only speculation so far, but the accounts of their appearances are incredible. The section on aliens is disturbing; are they real; where do they come from; who are they; what do they want? Part IV, entitled "The Fluid Boundary," presents different belief systems, spiritualties, or religions from across the globe as they pertain to prophets, prophecy, and the spirit world, the "Fluid Boundary" between the present and the future, the physical and spirit worlds as spoken and seen through those who are not followers of Jesus. Many times Christians act as though they have a corner on predicting the future and ignore any others that might provide information about the future, whether they turn out to be wholly true or not. I conclude with some thoughts about my analysis of these people, places, and phenomena. I have found that I don't know much more than before. The universe (multi-verse) is a strange and sometimes scary place. There is much in it that we cannot explain; much in it that is exceedingly mysterious."

About the Author: Mark Tate has pastored churches in Oklahoma and Utah and has taught at a number of schools, colleges and universities in these same areas. He now lives in Tulsa with his wife Laura and where his grown, married children live. Dr. Tate has five grandchildren.

My Review: Paranormal is a subject that always attracted me since I was young. I attended seminars at the Latin America Center of Parapsychology, from Father Oscar Quevedo, a known authority in the field of parapsychology. Father Quevedo is always willing to prove that any paranormal phenomena is misconception or fraud. Mr. Mark Tate tries in his book to explain the paranormal, instead of denying its existence or trying to prove that it is not real or has not a reasonable and scientific explanation. His approach is based on what he can find on the Scriptures and his own interpretation of facts based on his experience. This is not the typical approach I would expect from a Pastor, and that makes this book much more valuable, as the author has a deep knowledge on the Word of God. He does not avoid any subject. We can notice a lot of research on his work, even on Islamism, Hinduism and Buddhism and their prophecies. Excellent compilation on paranormal topic!

This is a very interesting and entertaining reading that I would recommend to the permanent library of all readers that are interested in the paranormal/parapsychology field. It is very easy reading and well written and took me about 6 hours to read the entire book.

This book was written by Mark Tate and published by Outskirts Press in January 2012 and the author was kind enough to send me this book for reviewing.

If you read this post, feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book "The Fourth Fisherman" by Joe Kissack

About the Book: We each came to a moment of brokenness; what we found there was God. And he was enough.
It was the subject of headlines around the world: Three Mexican fishermen in a small open boat without any supplies, drifting for more than nine months and 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Through blistering sun and threatening storms, they battle starvation, dehydration, hopelessness, and death. Their lifelines? An unwavering faith and a tattered Bible.
Thousands of miles away, Joe Kissack, a successful Hollywood executive, personified the American dream. He enjoyed the trappings of the good life: a mini mansion, sports cars, and more. He had it made. Yet the intense pressure of his driven and high-powered career sends him into a downward spiral, driving him deep into suicidal depression, insidious addictions, and alienation from his family. His lifelines? A friend and a Bible on the table between them.
Thoughtfully told with candor and humor, Kissack weaves together the incredible true voyage of fishermen adrift in the sea and his own life’s journey as a man lost in the world. It is a story that will buoy your spirit and renew your hope and faith.

About the Author: Joe Kissack is a pretty regular guy. He is also a speaker, author, screenwriter, publisher, film and television producer, executive,and an entrepreneur. He has worked on a farm, cleaned out refrigerated swinging beef trucks, pushing cow hearts, kidneys, and lungs into a drain, been a senior executive at Sony Pictures, and served as CEO of major internet content company now owned by a cable network. He has lived out many of his dreams and lived through some of his worst nightmares.
Kissack wrote The Fourth Fisherman based on his own life's journey, and his interactions with the Tres Pescadores during hundreds of hours spent with them. He researched the circumstances surrounding this story, sat in on every major interview involving Tres Pescadores, and recorded dozens of hours of video material. He didn't want to write this book himself, but soon realized no one else really could write it, but him.
He wrote a screenplay based on this story before he wrote this book. The film is titled ALPHAOMEGA, and Cannes Film Festival award winning director, Spiros Stathoulopoulos has signed on to direct.
As a 20+-year veteran of the television, entertainment, publishing, and multimedia worlds, Joe has a diversified wealth of knowledge and experience. Known for his creativity, knowledge of sales and marketing, relationship building, and family values, he has founded and entertainment company, Ezekiel 22 Productions, partnered in the publishing world with the award winning storytelling company, August House Publishers, overseen a multi media company, HowStuffWorks, managed domestic sales and marketing efforts of dozens of nationally syndicated television shows and feature films, including the multibillion dollar assets of "Seinfeld" and hundreds of motion pictures.
Currently, Joe divides his time between family, speaking and writing his next book, and working with North Point Community Church. He lives in Atlanta Georgia with his wife of 26 years, Carmen and their two daughters.

My Review: This is a very inspirational book, where the author describes in parallel his own story and the incredible story of three Mexican fishermen who were lost at sea for almost 10 months before being rescued. The parallel he describes is strong and can be applied to many lives, probably including mine. While the fishermen were lost at sea, they had their faith supporting them every moment of their ordeal. While the author was safe in his home and with his job, his lack of faith make him feel completely lost and delusional in his own world. He goes from a red carpet reception on an important event, to suicidal depression and addiction to prescription drugs.
And after his experience with God, the author had an unique opportunity of interacting with the three fisherman and that experience changes his life forever.

This is a very well written and touching story that deserves to be in the permanent library of any Christian person. The author divides the story in 40 short chapters and an epilogue, making the reading very easy and enjoyable. It took me approximately 7 hours to read this book.

This book was written by Joe Kissack and was published in March of 2012 by WaterBrook Multnomah Books. The publishers were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and give a feedback about this review using the link below.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book "Cyberlife" by W.H.Buxton

About the Book: The year is 2069 and Jim Murphy thinks he has the world pretty much figured out, as a Knowledge Management Consultant (whatever that is!) muddling through various technology consulting jobs. That is, until his company, SciPop Inc., assigns him to work a particularly unusual project involving the acquisition of a small backpacking and hiking services business owned by techno-hater Laura Meyers. Jim, however, never works alone. He, like everyone else in the world, is armed with the ultimate technology super-support tool: a personalized, artificially intelligent, holographic Virtual Life form, more commonly known as a Vertal, named Jasper. Just as Jim lives, works and socializes in the physical world; Jasper lives, works, and socializes in the Cybersphere, coexisting and coordinating on behalf of Jim with other Vertals as both navigate the world of the Cybersphere; a 24/7 on-line computer world connecting everyone to everything. Everyone uses it, but in order to use it, you need a Vertal. Somehow, Laura Meyers has learned to exist in the Cybersphere without a Vertal, unfathomable to Jim, Jasper or anyone else at SciPop. But as Jim works the project, he soon discovers there is much more going on in the Cybersphere than SciPop's acquisition of this small, unassuming business when Jasper suddenly goes missing. Jim discovers SciPop has a much bigger and darker plan for "Laura's Hikes" than just a simple acquisition of one of the few non-technical companies left in existence. Much more. Welcome to CyberLife: A weeklong initiation into the cybercentric universe of techno-biologic symbiosis which is considered by all to be perfectly organized, functional, efficient, and effective. As long as Jim, Laura and Jasper follow the rules and regulations of SciPop. Which, so far, they have tended not to do very well.

Read the Excerpt!

Introduction
I must be dreaming. At least I think I’m dreaming.
Nope. I’m aware of myself lying in bed, so I must be somewhat awake. I glance
over at Clock—0247. I guess that’s good news since I have enough time left to actually
go back to sleep before my usual 0600 go time.
Drifting in and out of sleep can be aggravating. But drifting in and out of real and
dreamlike virtual experiences seems normal to me. Over the past twenty-one years
I’ve become comfortable with my mental and virtual wanderings, and if Clock is
right I have plenty of time to transition back and forth this morning before I activate
my internal motivation gene that will enable me to get up and earn my paycheck.
This little bit of personalized power is enough to keep me satisfied for the moment.
I don’t know if it’s normal, but I can, at least to some degree, orchestrate my
dreams when I’m in this twilight state of mind. I can’t control what my dreams are
about when I’m fully and completely asleep; no one can. But as I lie here in a quasi-
comatose meditative state enjoying a temporary unplugging, I take advantage of my
awesome talent and force the direction that my future dream may take when I do
eventually fall back asleep. Call it a gift .
Thinking of gifts: Lying here in my technology-saturated apartment, I begin to
think of something simple and happy—before I acquired all this character-building
life experience. I guess that’s a gift unto itself, but not something I want to think
about now while looking fuzzily at my darkened ceiling through half-opened eyelids.
I want to think of something better. As I have done many times before, I think
back to my eighteenth birthday, before I was hardwired in to the full-time 24-7-365
business world. Just before I got the gift of all gift s.
Engaging dream control. Disengage fact checking. Memory systems nominal.
Proceed.
Happy birthday, Jimmy.

About the Author: Winslow Buxton is a retired Navy Commander and helicopter pilot who received his Masters of Science in Information Technology and Management from the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. After retiring from the Navy, he worked as a Knowledge Systems Architect Consultant, helping multiple Navy and Air Force Commands initiate and develop their Knowledge Management Programs. He currently resides in Gulf Breeze, Florida with his wife, Bonnie. CyberLife is his first novel.

My review: I love science fiction. I really do. This book did not disappoint me at all. It is a great book, brilliantly written. The story develops on 2069, when we find a world controlled by what is called Cybersphere, a virtual layer of information that everyone is connected into it through an entity called Vertal, or Virtual version of yourself. In this world all appliances have their own different personalities and interact with their owners.
Our hero is a guy named Jim Murphy that works for a company named SciPop. His mission is to convince a small business owner named Laura to sell her business to SciPop. But she is not just an ordinary person in this world. She does not have a Vertal and she does not want to be connected to Cybersphere. The author was very competent creating all the environment for a great humorous story. Jim's co-workers are very well described and the appliances interfering on the selection of the menu for Jim's meals is hilarious. His dialog with Mirror, Toilet,  Clock, Boozemaster and Jasper (his Vertal) are hysterically funny. In some moments this story reminded me of 1984 from George Orwell in the sense that the author describes a world where everything is controlled (by the Cybersphere) and you cannot make any movement without being observed. This book is well worth reading. It is an easy reading an took me about 9 hours to finish it. It is one of the best books I have read in the last 12 months! There is a promised sequel to this book and it will be called CyberSapien, that I will definitely read as soon as it becomes available.

I recommend this book to any science fiction lover. This book has all ingredients to become a classic in the science fiction genre.

This book was written by W.H.Buxton and it was published in October 2011 by Bennett & Hastings Publishing. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book "Touchstone" by Melanie Rawn

About the Book: Cayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good — very, very good. With his company, he’ll enter the highest reaches of society and power, as an honored artist — or die trying. Cade combines the talents of Merlin, Shakespeare, and John Lennon: a wholly charming character in a remarkably original fantasy world created by a mistress of the art.

About the Author: Melanie Rawn (born 1954) is an author of fantasy literature. She received a BA in history from Scripps College and worked as a teacher and editor before becoming a writer.
She has been nominated for a Locus award on three separate occasions: in 1989 for Dragon Prince in the first novel category, in 1994 for Skybowl in the fantasy novel category, and again in 1995 for Ruins of Ambrai in the fantasy novel category. The third novel in the "Exiles" trilogy has been "forthcoming" for over a decade due to the author suffering from clinical depression and moving on to other projects to facilitate her recovery.

My Review: This is a very interesting book, although not very easy to read. The author was brilliant in the creation of the environment where the story develops. Her fantasy world has characters from mixed races like giants, elves, trolls etc. Our main character is Cayden and his wish is to assemble a theater troupe. In his land, those groups are composed of four members. He has two other old friends (Rafcadion and Jeschenar) that want to join him. The fourth one is Mieka. Magic is performed to create illusion on each play. They start to being recognized as good and they are invited to participate in a contest to see which troupe is the best in the land.
The author uses a lot of terms defined later at the end of the book in a long  glossary, and that is why I mentioned earlier that this is not an easy reading at all. But it is entertaining. If you have the patience to dig into the glossary and find the meaning of the term, you will definitely enjoy the book.

This book was written by Melanie Rawn and was Published by Tor Books on February of 2012. Amazon.com 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, February 1, 2012

Product "Case Logic Sleeve for 9-10.1-Inch Tablet/iPad"

About the Product: Fits 9 to 10.1 inch tablets and iPad 1 & 2.
Slimline design protects your tablet without adding bulk.
Unique striped jersey fabric gives the sleeve stylish appeal and dimension.
Asymmetrical zipper provides easy access to your tablet and allows in-case charging.
With hand-drawn graphics printed over variegated stripes, each has a one-of-a-kind look.

My Review: This is a very well produced item with nice finishing, that has enough padding to safely protect your iPad or e-reader or any other electronic device that can fit there. My daughters even asked to use it to store their DS games as you could place the DS plus some of their favorite game cartridges inside, as well as the power adapter. The stripes provide a nice grip and zipper seams to work fine. I would recommend this item to those who feel like they need extra layer of protection to their tablets. Definitely this case will do the job.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product 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!