Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book "The Power of the Blue Medallion" by Les Berman

About the Book: This Captivating novel follows the wild adventures of three charismatic young aliens from the distant planet Hebutar, and their companion on Earth. Zytor, the son of the ruler of Hebutar, is determined to stop a group of terrorists from causing chaos in the United States. Against his father’s wishes, Zytor travels to Earth and meets a young girl, Tandy, whose father was killed by terrorists. Zytor’s sister Phelena, a Captain in the Hebutarian Military and a fellow soldier, are dispatched by her father to bring Zytor back to Hebutar before he mingles into the affairs of Planet Earth. While tracking down the terrorist, Zytor gets his medallion stolen (a powerful weapon), forcing him to team up with his sister and devise plans to retrieve the medallion, and help authorities stop the evil terrorists from executing a terrible attack in Washington D.C.

About the Author: Raised in Southern California, Les Berman earned his bachelor degree in Sociology with a minor in Math from Long Beach State University, and a Masters in Education from Pepperdine University. Currently retired from the ABC Unified School District, Les also volunteers his time coaching young track and field athletes for a private club in Long Beach California. Les has coached many International and Olympic Athletes over the past forty years, and has been selected as a United States International Coach four times throughout his career. The Power of the Blue Medallion , is the first book for this author.

You can find Les at 

My Review: I love science-fiction. I really do. And this book did not disappoint me at all. The author did a magnificent job describing the characters that compose this page turner story. We can feel Tandy's pain for losing her father in a terrorist attack, we cheer for our trio of heroes, Zytor, Phelena (I love her) and Raygor, aliens from planet Hebutar, and we really enjoy when the dark forces are defeated. 
The plot runs like that: Zytor is the son of the ruler of planet Hebutar. He loves traveling to Earth and he decided to be pro-active trying to stop a group of terrorists from causing a massive damage in the United States. Against his father's wishes, he travels to Earth and meets a girl named Tandy, who lost her father in a terrorist attack. Zytor's father send Phelena, Zytor's sister and Captain in the military of planet Hebutar and her fellow soldier Raygor, with the mission of bring Zytor back to Hebutar, before he gets involved into the affairs of Earth. But Zytor loses his blue medallion, a very powerful weapon and his sister and her companion decided to cooperate with Zytor's plan so they can try to retrieve the medallion and help Earth's authorities stop the terrorists. Overall this is a fascinating piece of work that should hold the attention of any teenager till the last page. I am not sure if I liked the book cover. I think the picture might be misleading... The end "scene" is fabulous. I would place it as one of the best ending sequences I've read this year.

The author also had a brilliant idea of supplying mathematical problems at middle school/high school level at the end of each chapter. If you are not into math, just skip that part and proceed with the reading. The solutions are presented after the Epilogue.  
This book was written by Les Berman and it was self-published in 2007. Pump Up Your Book was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Virtual Book Tour Program. The book was kindly sent directly to me by the author. Thanks, Mr. Les Berman! I am anxiously waiting for your next book!
If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!

Other Tour Sites:

The Power of the Blue Medallion Virtual Book Tour Schedule
September 20
Contest at Cleverly Inked
Guest Post at The Book Vixen
September 21
Book Reviewed at Cleverly Inked
September 22
Book Reviewed at Star Shadow
Book Reviewed at Books and Movie Reviews
September 23
Interview at Long Beach Examiner
September 24
Guest Post at Life in The First Draft
Interview at The Crypto Capers
September 27
Inerview at Paperback Writer
Interview at One Writer’s Journey
September 28
Book Reviewed at Paperback Writer
September 29
Book Reviewed at One Book Bum
September 30
Guest post at Writing Daze

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book "The One Year Book of Encouragement" by Harold Myra

About the Book: The One Year Book of Encouragement is a collection of insights from assorted Christian authors, past and present—from Oswald Chambers and Philip Yancey to John Calvin and John Wesley. Draw encouragement every day from the wisdom of the ages with this One Year book—it’s bound to be a classic!

About the Author: Harold Myra served as the CEO of Christianity Today International for 32 years. Under his leadership, the organization grew from one magazine to a communications company with a dozen magazines, copublished books, and a major Internet ministry.
Myra started his journalistic career with Youth for Christ magazine, which under his leadership became Campus Life magazine.
Author of five novels, numerous children's and nonfiction books, and hundreds of magazine articles, Myra has taught writing and publishing at the Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. He holds honorary doctorates from several colleges, including Biola University in California and Gordon College in Massachusetts.
Myra has received various awards, among them the prestigious Magazine Publisher's Award and the James Deforest Murch Award from the National Association of Evangelicals. The Evangelical Press Association presented him with its highest honor, the Joseph T. Bayly Award, for his triple career as an editor, author, and publishing executive.
Harold and his wife, Jeanette, are the parents of six children and grandparents of five. They reside in Wheaton, Illinois.

My Review: This is not just another daily prayer book or devotional book. It is much more than that. This is an amazing book that inspires you and feeds you with courage for living a better day. The author uses citations, thoughts and hopes from famous or not so famous Christians and develops on top of that his own view for the "topic of the day". After that, there is a prayer related to what was discussed and a verse from the Scriptures that nails the whole reading down to what the bible says! Very inspirational and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start his/her day in the right foot. My favorite reading was one named "A Warm Hand" featuring Mother Theresa. Very touching...
This book was written by Harold Myra in 2010. It was published by Tyndale Publisher House also in 2010 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.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book "OutLive Your Life" by Max Lucado

About the Book: These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did.

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 read a few books from Mr. Max Lucado. After some books you start feeling that you know his style, you know his message. But this particular one touched me deeply in the sense that it shows that you should not waste your life in a meaningless way. You should make a difference, even if small, in the life of someone, showing that you care. Max manages through 16 chapters to stress the importance of making the difference. Illustrating each chapter with examples taken from the Bible and from his personal experience makes the reading very enjoyable. After each chapter there is a prayer that is related to what was discussed in that chapter. At the end of the book there is a Discussion and Action Guide carefully prepared by David Drury, with questions for discussion and ideas for actions related to each chapter of the book. Overall, another masterpiece from Mr. Max Lucado.
This book was written by Max Lucado in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson 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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book "You Changed My Life" by Max Lucado

In the process of remaking our blog to a brand new domain, this archived post has been transferred to

About the Book: If someone has changed your life for the good, now is the time to celebrate by letting them know how much they matter.
Oftentimes true heroes of faith don't stand out in the world, but they have made a lasting difference in someone's life - they're a hero to someone. This gift book celebrates their story by first providing a dedication beginning with "You changed my life by___" to be written in detail by the giver to the recipient. To follow are stories told by Max about others who have answered the call of their convictions and took steps of faith (both big and small) resulting in lasting change in the lives around them. It's a message that honors the person who receives the book, and inspires us all to see that real people with remarkable hearts can change lives.

My Review: Max Lucado did it again. In this very beautiful gift book he presents in eight chapters a total of fifty seven very touching stories of love, kindness, commitment, compassion, hope, courage, wisdom and friendship. If you are the hard type, this book is for you, because it will soften you till you melt completely. If you are the soft type, this book is also for you, because it will make you strong on your faith and purposes in life.
All the stories that are part of this book were published before as part of other books from the author. This is a magnificent collection of the most touching ones in a single volume.
The author is giving one hundred percent of his royalties from this book to benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion.
This book was written by Max Lucado in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson 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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book "The Butterfly Effect" by Andy Andrews

About the Book: The decisions you make and the way you treat others have more impact than you may ever realize. Speaker and New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews shares a compelling and powerful story about a decision one man made over a hundred years ago, and the ripple effect it's had on us individually, and nationwide, today. It's a story that will inspire courage and wisdom in the decisions we make, as well as affect the way we treat others through our lifetime. Andrews speaks over 100 times a year, and The Butterfly Effect is his #1 most requested story.

About the Author: Andy Andrews is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose combined works have sold millions of copies worldwide.
Andrews' best-selling book, The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success, is an international sensation, remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for four and a half months and being translated into nearly twenty languages.
Andrews lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died, his mother from cancer, his father in an automobile accident. 'I took a bad situation and made it much worse,' Andrews says with a rueful smile, referring to choices he made during this tragic period of his life. Within a span of several years, the young man found himself literally homeless (before that was even a word!' he says), sleeping occasionally under a pier on the gulf coast or in someone's garage.
It was at that time when Andrews asked the question that would focus his search for what would ultimately affect millions of people. The question? 'Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?' To find the answer, he first went to the library. There, over time, he read more than two hundred biographies of great men and women. How did they become the people they were? he wondered. Were they simply born this way? Or were there decisions made at critical junctures in their lives that led to such success? The young Andrews finally determined that there were seven characteristics that each person had in common. 'What will happen,' he mused, 'if I study these seven common denominators and harness them in my own life? The rest is history. 'The Seven Decisions,' as he calls them, were the engines used to carry Andrews' life in a different direction. And twenty-plus years later, these same Seven Decisions became the outline around which he built the story of The Traveler's Gift and the basis of his PBS Special.
Since the success of The Traveler's Gift and Mastering the Seven Decisions, Andrews has released an array of well-received literature, including the New York Times bestseller The Noticer. Offering a fresh and insightful perspective on how people can change their view of the world, and their place within it, The Noticer has succeeded tremendously in furthering Andrews' prevailing message of finding hope in the face of adversity. Based on the remarkable true story of Andrews' own life, the book teaches its readers that, "Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective."
Released in the same year, Return to Sawyerton Springs features Andrews' trademark wit and humor as he weaves tales around an enchanting town that can be found in the hearts of those who long to take a deep breath, relax, and find time for the humor and meaning in everyday life. "I dare you to read the first chapter aloud to a friend and not fall on the floor laughing," said Mark Victor Hansen, creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. By reflecting on the seemingly ordinary aspects of everyday life, Andrews reveals them for what they truly are--extraordinary aspects of something much greater.
Andrews' newest book, The Heart Mender, has created a stir in literary circles. Elegantly blending a riveting story, extensive research, and a powerful message of hope, the novel is a true adventure set against the warm waters and white sand of the America's Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Lieutenant Josef Landermann is a German U-Boat officer betrayed and left for dead. When he washes ashore in a sleepy coastal town, he looks to a young war widow for survival. Robert Silvers, executive publisher of The Saturday Evening Post calls The Heart Mender an "unforgettable experience."
Fall of 2010 will bring the release of two new works, The Butterfly Effect , a book exploring a scientific theory based on physics within the context of our own lives, and The Boy Who Changed the World, Andrews' first children's book. The Butterfly Effect shows readers that every action, however big or small, matters. Andrews accomplishes this by introducing historical examples that illustrate how one person can set off a spark that, in turn, ignites the lives of unforeseen others. The Boy Who Changed the World illustrates this same principle to children, enabling them to see how they can have a meaningful impact on the world around them.
Driven by his own personal moving story, Andy Andrews communicates to his audience through the heart--an uncommon style in today's media-driven world. Arguably, there is no single person on the planet better at weaving subtle yet life-changing lessons into riveting tales of adventure and intrigue--both on paper and on stage.

My Review: This is another wonderful piece of work by Mr. Andy Andrews. In this very inspirational book, he uses the idea of a scientist name Edward Lorenz, who in 1963 exposed his theory that "a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air - eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet". More than thirty years later this theory was accepted with the status of a "law" known as The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions. The author adapts the idea to show that the first movement of any form of matter - including people, matters. And he elegantly gives the example of Mr. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who was a schoolteacher, a professor of rethoric from Bowdwin College and a Colonel in the Union Army. The actions he took in the Gettysburg battle had consequences that are reflected in our life nowadays. Besides this story, the author also picture the stories and lives of Norman Borlaug, Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, Moses Carver and his wife Susan Carver, and all the inter-relationship on those lives and the actions that affected non only their lives, but our lives as well.
Although it is an 112 pages book, you can read it in less than half hour, but the message it transmits remains for a lifetime.
This book was written by Andy Andrews and it was published by Thomas Nelson in 2010 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.

Book "The Boy who Changed The World" by Andy Andrews

About the Book: The Boy Who Changed the World opens with a young Norman Borlaug playing in his family's cornfields with his sisters. One day, Norman would grow up and use his knowledge of agriculture to save the lives of two billion people. Two billion! Norman changed the world! Or was it Henry Wallace who changed the world? Or maybe it was George Washington Carver?
This engaging story reveals the incredible truth that everything we do matters! Based on The Butterfly Effect, Andy's timeless tale shows children that even the smallest of our actions can affect all of humanity. The book is beautifully illustrated and shares the stories of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, Vice President Henry Wallace, Inventor George Washington Carver, and Farmer Moses Carver. Through the stories of each, a different butterfly will appear. The book will end with a flourish of butterflies and a charge to the child that they, too, can be the boy or girl who changes the world.
My Review: Andy Andrews showed all his sensibility in this children's book. He starts talking about a boy playing hide and seek with his sisters in his father's cornfields. He took care not to knock down any cornstalks. His father reminded him that they were blessed to have all that corn while many people in the world do not have enough to eat. That triggered a reaction from Norman. He started thinking on different ways of making corn feed hungry people. He decided to change the world! An the story goes on, showing Norman growing and studying and finding people in his life giving him ideas on how to use everything he had studied and he created those special seeds that grew into super plants that fed the hungry people.
The author proceeds describing another three inter-related stories and he shows through example how a decision that we make can and will affect the life of others.
This is a very well written book, with superb illustration and it is an excellent gift to a young kid. The message is powerful and it deserves to be in any permanent library to be read to children and grand-children.
"It's odd, isn't it? Every time something happens, something else happens. That's called the butterfly effect." (Andy Andrews).
This book was written by Andy Andrews and it was published by Thomas Nelson in 2010 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.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Book "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" by Madeleine L'Engle

About the Book: Meg Murry O'Keefe and her family are just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner when her father gets a phone call from the White House about a madman's threat of nuclear war. Only an old Irish rune seems to hold a clue to averting worldwide disaster, and when Meg's brother Charles Wallace, now fifteen, recites it, a radiant white beast - the unicorn Gaudior - appears to join him on his quest. But there are only twenty-four hours in which to stop tragedy from occurring. Can Charles Wallace, with the help of Gaudior and Meg, possibly succeed?

About the Author: Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007) was born in New York City and attended Smith College. She wrote more than 60 books, the most famous of which is A Wrinkle In Time (1962), winner of the Newbery Award in 1963. L’Engle continued the story of the Murry family from A Wrinkle In Time with seven other novels (five of which are available as A Wrinkle In Time Quintent from Square Fish). She also wrote the famous series featuring the Austin family, beginning with the novel Meet The Austins (1960). L’Engle revisited the Austins four more times over the next three decades, concluding with Troubling a Star in 1994. The story of the Austins had some autobiographical elements, mirroring Madeleine’s life and the life of her family. Madeleine L’Engle’s last book, The Joys of Love, is a romantic, coming-of-age story she wrote back in the 1940s, and is being published by FSG.

My Review: This is a fascinating science-fiction story that in many aspects brought back to my mind the idea of a scientist name Edward Lorenz, who in 1963 exposed his theory that "a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air - eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet". More than thirty years later this theory was accepted with the status of a "law" known as The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions.
In this book, our hero Charles Wallace travels in time with the help of an unicorn (Gaudior) in order to try to avoid a major disaster on earth. Going within four other people in different times he is able to change a "Might-Have-Been" situation with the help of his sister Meg and an old Irish rune. This is a fast reading book and a page turner that took me around nine hours to finish. Very enjoyable!
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Balance of August

During August I read and reviewed the following:

- "The Kon-Tiki Expedition" by Thor Heyerdahl. Read my review.
- "The Afghan" by Frederick Forsyth. Read my review.
- "Saint Francis" by Robert West. Read my review.
- "Great Parents, Lousy Lovers" by Dr. Gary Smalley & Ted Cunningham. Read my review.
- "Lee" by John Perry. Read my review.