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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Balance of January


During the month of January, I reviewed the following:

Books:
- "100 Puzzle Quizzes" by Grabarchuk Puzzles. Read my review.
- "Department Thirteen" by James Houston Turner. Read my review.
- "Angels All Around Us" by Anthony DeStefano. Read my review.
- "Just Like Jesus Devotional" by Max Lucado. Read my review.

Other Products:
- "Fusion 5 for MAC OS X" by VMware. Read my review.
- "Media Suite v10 Ultra" by Cyberlink. Read my review.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book "Just Like Jesus Devotional" by Max Lucado

About the Book: God wants to give you a heart just like Jesus.
Jesus felt no guilt; God wants you to feel no guilt.
Jesus had no bad habits; God wants to do away with yours.
Jesus had no fears; God wants the same for you.
Jesus had no anxiety about death; you needn't either.
God's desire, his plan, his ultimate goal is to make you into the image of Christ.
This is your invitation to spend thirty intimate days with the Savior learning how to become more like Jesus. Can you think of a better offer?

About the Author: Lucado was born on January 11, 1955 in San Angelo, Texas, the youngest of four children to Jack and Thelma Lucado. He was raised in Andrews, Texas. His father was an oil field worker, while his mother served as a nurse. Lucado attended Abilene Christian University. Initially he had set himself to become a lawyer, but has said that a required Bible course at the university and a mission trip made him change his mind, deciding instead to become a missionary. However, this required that Lucado get a graduate degree in Bible and have at least two years experience ministering to a church. After graduation Lucado moved to Miami, Florida, to minister to a church. His responsibilities were to minister to a singles' group and write a column for the church's newsletter. Later these short columns were compiled to form his first book, On the Anvil. After two years in Miami, the newly wed Lucado and his wife, Denalyn, moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to become full-time missionaries. In 1987, Lucado's father died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease.) After five years in Brazil, he brought his family back to the United States to be closer to his mother. In 1988 he was hired as minister to the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio; the congregation has been known simply as Oak Hills Church since 2003. He is father of Jenna, Andrea, and Sara. In a good week he reads a good book, has a few dinners with his wife, and breaks 90 on the golf course. He usually settles for the first two.

My review: I have read many books from Mr. Max Lucado and I consider himself a great author, although after a while you might start thinking that his books are kind of  repetitive, always going around the main theme of "You can be everything God wants you to be" (by the way, this is the title of one of his excellent books). But this particular book is different. It is organized in 30  small Chapters, and you are supposed to ready one per day, like a devotional. Each day starts with a verse from the Scriptures, a commented text around the theme of that verse, followed by a "Thinking" block with provoking questions, a "Hearing" block with a verse from the Scriptures, a "Reflecting" block with some more questions and finally a "Speaking" block with questions and final considerations. Here Mr. Lucado shows why he is considered to be a great author. It will not take you more than 10 to 15 minutes to go through the Chapter of the Day, and you will be filled with the Word of God, and something to think about during the whole day.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that want to improve their relationship with God and have a guideline on how to become more like Jesus.

This book was written by Mr. Max Lucado and published by Thomas Nelson in January 2013.  The publishers were kind enough to send me an electronic copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book "Angels All Around Us" by Anthony DeStefano

About the Book: Everybody has one. It’s called a "haunt detector." It’s the little alarm that goes off in our heads whenever we detect that something mysterious or supernatural has occurred. You could be sitting around relaxing one day at home, and for no special reason you start thinking about someone. Maybe you haven’t thought about this person in years. Then the phone rings; you pick it up, and amazingly, it’s that person! Many of us have experienced this phenomenon. What is it? Anthony DeStefano answers this compelling question in his fascinating new book, Angels All Around Us. No matter how little we may understand or how fleeting such moments can be, he explains the reality of the spiritual dimension that surrounds us and shows how it is immediately accessible to everyone. All aspects of the spiritual realm are discussed, including the existence of angels and demons, the whereabouts of loved ones who have passed, and even the presence and activity of God in our lives. Written to be completely consistent with traditional Christian teaching, Angels All Around Us will help readers embrace a certitude that makes it easier to act according to their moral beliefs, give them a greater sense of the richness of life, and show them that no amount of suffering in their life — physical, mental, or emotional — will ever be able to destroy the profound sense of inner peace that can be experienced on a daily basis. For those seeking reassurance about meaning in their life, nothing is more significant than to be reminded that no one is alone. In Angel All Around Us, Anthony DeStefano shows the truth of this in a captivating and inspiring way.

About the Author: Anthony DeStefano is the bestselling author of "A Travel Guide to Heaven," "Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To," "Angels All Around Us," and the children's books, "This Little Prayer of Mine," "Little Star," "The Donkey that No One Could Ride," and gift book, "I Just Can't Take it Anymore." He has received many prestigious awards from religious organizations worldwide for his efforts to advance Christian beliefs in modern culture. In 2013, two new children's books by DeStefano will be published: "A Travel Guide to Heaven- For Kids!" and "The Sheep that No One Could Find."

My Review: This is a wonderful well-written book by Anthony Destefano. He explains in all details the realm of the spiritual world, using a simple and direct language that even those who never have any contact with the supernatural will start thinking twice on his propositions on how things are organized and how they work. This is exactly my case. I have never heard nor seen spiritual entities of any kind, so for me their existence is just a matter of faith, and Mr. Destefano gave me a boost on my faith on their existence.
He divided his book in ten chapters, covering in progression the following topics: The Haunter Detector, The Invisible God, Invisible Helpers, Invisible Evil, Invisible Soul, Invisible Warfare, Invisible Grace, Invisible Power of Suffering, Invisible Destiny and Seeing the Invisible.
His explanation on why demons attack human souls for not been able to attack directly God convinced me that he is a serious writer and took an excellent care of covering every assumption with basis in the Word of the Scriptures.
I recommend this book for people of little or no faith  or even for people of more faith, but skeptical or with scientific minds like myself, with difficulty on believing on the supernatural world.

This book was written by Mr. Anthony Destefano and published by Image in October 2012.  The publishers were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program. I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Product "Media Suite v10 Ultra" by Cyberlink

About the Product: CyberLink Media Suite 10 Ultra is the ultimate all-in-one creativity and entertainment software solution, delivering everything you need to enrich your digital life, including end to end 3D video editing, super smooth Blu-ray playback, upscaling DVDs to HD, media management tools, and ultra-fast file conversions. With major upgrades, new Media Suite 10 includes CyberLink's leading range of multimedia products, providing everything you need to organize, playback, create, convert, burn and share your media.

My Review: This is a very complete and useful product if you work with video files. It contains 11 software that cover most of your needs. If you need to play files, you can use PowerDVD12. To organize photos and videos, you can use MediaShow6. To create home videos from your recorded images from your camcorder, you can use PowerDirector10 or PowerProducer5.5. In order to convert videos, photos and music onto the format acceptable by most of the portable devices, use MediaEspresso 6.5. For creating audio tracks or ring tones, use WaveEditor 2. To burn any media to any disk, use Power2Go 8. For backup purposes, you have the PowerBackup 2.6. To copy DVDs, the program is PowerDVD Copy 1.5 (of course it will not copy commercial DVDs that have CSS protection). For printing disk labels, you have LabelPrint 2.5. Finally, if you need to burn Blue-ray disks, you can use InstantBurn 5. So, in one single package you have most of the utilities that you will ever need if you work in this area. Great deal!

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book "Department Thirteen" by James Houston Turner

About the Book: Department Thirteen - the assassination and sabotage unit of the KGB - never officially existed, but retired KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov knows that it did. It's but one of the many secrets he's worked hard to forget. Now living in Australia, Talanov and dozens of dinner guests are suddenly the target of assassins. Talanov and his wife are mistakenly spared, but soon find themselves running for their lives, hunted by the killers, blamed by the police, increasingly pivotal to an invisible network of death about which they know nothing. But someone thinks they know. For in 1983, a second Department Thirteen was created, and Talanov discovers they have but one purpose: to kill him, whatever the cost. Department Thirteen has been honored as a Winner in the "Fiction: Thriller/Adventure" category of the USA Best Books 2011 Awards and a Gold Medal from the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards for best Suspense/Thriller of the year!

About the Author: A native of Kansas, James turned to writing fiction as a result of his years as a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. He has been on a KGB watchlist, organized secret midnight meetings with informants, located hidden mountain bunkers, and investigated legends of forgotten tunnels buried beneath the cobblestones and bricks of some of Central Europe's most venerated cathedrals. A former journalist in Los Angeles, he holds a Bachelor's Degree from Baker University and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. He and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Adelaide, South Australia. You may visit him at www.jameshoustonturner.com.

My Review: This is simply a masterpiece on espionage, a very intense thriller, like the good ones from the old days, when John le CarrĂ©, Ian Fleming and Frederick Forsyth were the master writers of espionage. Now the world has a new master! The story is superb and the characters very well develop. The plot is simple: an ex-KGB agent (Aleksandr Talanov) lives in Australia with his wife Andrea. During a farewell reception at his home in Sydney (they are planning moving to USA) for friends (ex-KGB agents and more), their guests are murder and he escape with his wife (by accident) and a wild persecution starts. The interesting part is that he has no clue what is going on, until he start linking some pieces together from his past with the help of trusted friends. Is there a second Department Thirteen?

Brilliantly written, this novel is a page turner that you read at the edge of your seat. You get so involved that you easily start cheering for our hero. And the end is superb. Really a masterpiece like I have not read in a long time. And things only get better with the sequel of this book, another masterpiece named "The Greco's Game", even better than this one, if that is possible! Read my review on "The Greco's Game".

This book was written by Mr. James Houston Turner and was published on September 2011. I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that loves thriller, espionage and a very well written novel that will keep you entertained for some hours. It took me around 11 hours to read this book.

The author was kind enough to provide me a book for reviewing in electronic format. I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own. Thank you James for the opportunity you gave me to review this wonderful book!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a message.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Product "Fusion 5 for MAC OS X" by VMware

About the Product: 
  • Easily switch from a PC to a Mac 
  • Run your favorite Windows programs on your Mac 
  • Designed for OS X Mountain Lion and the latest Macs 
  • English Only Version


My Review: I never used any product from VMware before. This one had a major appealing of claiming that I could run a virtual machine on my iMac. On this virtual machine I could install Windows Operating System and run any Windows based application on my machine. So I've got it and it took me 20 minutes total to install and register this product. Very straight forward, I still did not run into any major problems of system instabilities, but I do not run any major application that is process killer. So far, it is doing what it advertised it would do. So, I am still a happy customer.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book "100 Puzzle Quizzes"" by Grabarchuk Puzzles

About the Book: Discover the 1st volume of the Top Rated Puzzlebook: Puzzle Quizzes series, HD versions for tablets. In this brand-new puzzle collection you will find 100 pictorial, hand-crafted puzzle quizzes in different themes: logic, visual, spatial, counting, geometry, matchstick, coins, searching, and much more.
Hot News - Over 700 000 downloads for the Puzzlebook series! Discover why thousands of Kindle users are addicted to Puzzlebooks.
Novelty - All puzzle quizzes are original creations by the Grabarchuk Family and delivered exclusively for Kindle.
Interactivity - You can interactively answer and check a puzzle quiz by clicking the respective answer. Only the correct answer leads to the solution page. Learn more how to play Puzzlebook on different devices.
HD Quality - For the first time Kindle Puzzlebook contains color high-definition images - four times bigger images compared to the previous version. Now each puzzle looks perfectly sharp and detailed with richer colors. Enjoy entire new colorful experience playing Puzzlebook on Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, or other devices using a free Kindle app.
Discover Version for E-readers - Do you have e-reader? Get 100 Puzzle Quizzes made specially for e-ink devices. Images are black-and-white and thus Puzzlebook works fast on e-readers, graphic is sharp and simple.
Play Anywhere! - Puzzlebook is specially designed for playing on any Kindle e-reader or tablet, as well on any other devices using a free Kindle app. Be sure to play it on different devices for more fun and comfort. 
Ranking - The collection is specially created for all kinds of solvers - beginners, skillful, and experts alike. The puzzles are arranged so that you start with the easiest (*) puzzles and progress to the hardest (*****) puzzles.

About the Author: The Grabarchuk Family - During many decades the Grabarchuk family is working in the Puzzle World. They create various puzzles; make their designs and carefully test them; bring them to the market; compile and publish their puzzle creations in different books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web; produce interactive puzzles; solve hundreds of puzzles a year; make puzzle researches and historical studies; and are involved into many other puzzle activities all over the World.

My Review: This is a very entertaining book, well produced with a balance of easy and not so easy puzzles, sorted in increasing difficulty order. If you are familiar with the idea of solving those type of puzzles, the first 75 to 80 goes smoothly and the last 20 to 25 are more challenging. Overall I would say that you should allocated around 3 hours to be able to solve all 100. I just could not figure out the logic for the "ring" puzzles (there are 2 or 3 of those kind...), but that was just me. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to have fun exercising your brains while waiting for someone or in any spare time you might have when you are doing nothing.

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