Monday, February 28, 2011

Balance of February

During February I read/watched and reviewed the following:

- "Flight Plan" by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady. Read my review.
- "The shelter of God's Promises" by Sheila Walsh. Read my review.
- "Nana - The Four Crystals" by Guillermo Romano. Read my review.
- "Dragons of the Valley" by Donita K.Paul. Read my review.
- "Journey to Riverbend" by Henry McLaughlin. Read my review.

Book "Journey to Riverbend" by Henry McLaughlin

About the Book: Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.
Soon after arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets and falls for the stunning Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel seems to be running from a past as dark as Michael’s.
When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stagecoach home, Michael offers to join the search party formed by the local sheriff. With a budding romance behind him and a dangerous rescue ahead of him, he sets out on the trail, determined to complete his journey no matter the cost.

About the Author: Henry is sixty-three years old. He celebrated with his wife, Linda, their forty-second wedding anniversary in November. He is the father of three boys and two girls. Their oldest son went home to be with the Lord in 1993. We have one grandchild.
Henry desires to write stories that communicate the Father's love and desire for a close, intimate and personal relationship with each of us.
He has a master's degree in social work. His background also includes writing policies and procedures for his employers as well as training curriculum and sketches. He has also written detailed and concise court reports and petitions. Prior to becoming a full time writer in September, 2010, he worked for Kenneth Copeland Ministries for ten years.
To improve his craft, he subscribe to writing magazines and belong to several Christian writer organizations. He attend writers' conferences, workshops and retreats and participate in online and local critique groups. He has completed the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman programs with the Christian Writers Guild. His novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel award sponsored by the Guild and Tyndale House.

My Review: This is not just nother western book. This is not just another romance novel. This is much more than that. This book is a superb story of redemption, of trust in God, of forgiveness and reconciliation. All those ingredients and much more in this wonderful book.
The plot is simple but keep the reader turning pages. Michael Archer is our hero, that sometimes work as a prison minister and he promises to Ben Carstairs he would deliver a message and his dead mother's cross to his father when he was executed for a crime he claim he did not commited. After the execution, as a man of his word, Michael goes to Riverbend searching for Sam Carstairs, Ben's father. He is out of town in a business trip. While waiting, Michael meet Rachel Stone and fall in love with her, but both of them have obscure pasts and they think they are not worth the other's love. Sam is a grumpy man that blames Ben for his wife's dead, as she died giving birth to Ben. He is bitter and he manipulates the whole town where he lives. While on this business trip he is kidnapped for something he did also in his past and a search team is formed by the sheriff to search and rescue him. Michael makes part of this team. The story develops and all characters start looking to God for help and guidance.
This is a wonderful book, very well written and full of detailed description of each character and scenary, that makes us participate in the story, cheering for our favorite characters. This book is a must have book in the permanent library of any serious reader and lover of western's and christian's book.

This book was written by Henry McLaughlin. It was published by Tyndale Publisher House in January of 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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book "Dragons of the Valley" by Donita K. Paul

About the book: War threatens the peaceful land of Chiril… can one painter-turned-reluctant-swordsman really help?
With an invasion of her country imminent, Tipper Schope is drawn into a mission to keep three important statues from falling into the enemy’s clutches. Her friend, the artist Bealomondore, helps her execute the plan, and along the way he learns to brandish a sword rather than a paintbrush.
As odd disappearances and a rash of volatile behavior sweep Chiril, no one is safe. A terrible danger has made his vicious presence known: The Grawl, a hunter unlike any creature encountered before.
To restore their country, Tipper, Bealomondore, and their party must hide the statues in the Valley of the Dragons and find a way to defeat the invading army. When it falls to the artistic Bealomondore to wield his sword as powerfully and naturally as a paintbrush, will he answer Wulder’s call for a champion?

About the author: Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.”
She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.
“God must have imprinted 'teacher' on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.”
Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh.

My review: This is a magnificent fantasy novel where the author uses her unlimited imagination to create a whole new world full of creatures in the best style of J.R.R.Tolkien with his middle earth from "The Lord of the Rings" or even C.S.Lewis with his "Chronicles of Narnia" series.
The plot is simple, but at the same time very rich. Chiril is a peaceful land that is invaded by enemies. Princess Tipper Schope must hide their most valuable treasure in order to avoid letting it be taken by the enemy. This treasure is composed of three statues that represents their link to "Wulder", bringing harmony and equilibrium that hold their world together. She choses an artist and a wizzard to help her on this quest of hidden the statues and bring them to safety at the valley of the dragons.
The good x evil theme is a constant presence in the whole book, evil represented by a creature named Grawl. During the development of the story the main characters learn to trust in Wulder, that is the representation of their God, or creator. There are many ties from this fantasy with the Christian Bible. We can clearly identify Wulder with God anf Grawl with Satan. Likewise in the Bible, the least expected characters are the chosen ones to go and face the dangers and count upon the strength of God instead of their own strengh to defeat the enemy. This is truly a wonderful book with a very beautiful cover and I would recommend this one to any fantasy fan. It is a must have in a permanet library of any serious reader of this genre.

This book was written by Donita K.Paul and was published in september 2010 by Multnomah Books and they were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program. Thanks, Mrs. Donita K.Paul, for such an inspirational book!

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

Go rank my review!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book "Nana - The Four Crystals" by Guillermo Romano

About the Book: Serge is a self made man with an intense curiosity and thriving ambition. Desperate for his own sense of meaning, he finds himself in a time of economic downturn, and overwhelming daily challenges. Burdened with the struggles of life he finds himself trapped behind his own questions, understanding that life changes in an instant. To him the answers may lie on an enigmatic woman he unexpectedly meets in the deep jungles of Belize. This woman, her ancient pendant, and most importantly her wisdom, will lead Serge on a string of self righteous series of events that could determine his future and the future of the ones around him. Four Crystals stand between him, and discovering who he is. The meaning of life, past and future, will take him through an unbelievable journey to another culture, and another time. Serge is forced to step up to the challenges presented and figure out who this woman is, what the Crystals mean, and more importantly - who he is.

About the Author: Guillermo Romano was born and raised in Mexico City. A designer by nature he grew up in the streets of Mexico City. An architect and urban designer since the mid 80s, he has an improvised spirit, open mind, and a brainstorming nature. His experience spans the private and public sector in the fields of design, construction, project management, public relations, writing and teaching. Guillermo lives in Redmond, WA.

My Review: This is a truly magnificent novel that get you involved from the beginning till the last page. The author has such a great sensibility in transforming his characters in almost real persons, that we cheer for them to succeed. His description of the environment is done in such a level of details that we feel like we are participating and living in the middle of the story.
The plot develops under the character named Serge. He just lost his beloved wife and is raising his son Max on his own. Struggling with the economy, although he is an architect, he lands in a job as a "house manager", and he soon realise that there is much more into this job than he initially thought. As an authentic man, provided with solid moral principles, Serge starts gaining the trust of his employers with his devoted work. In a business trip to Belize he finds this old lady called Nana and his life is shaken. His search for the meaning of life takes him to an incredible journey and you will not be able to put the book down until you finish the story.

I recommend this book to any reader willing to spend a couple of days reading an excellent novel that will make you want to be a better person.

This book was written by Mr. Guillermo Romano and he was kind enough to send me a copy of his book for reviewing. Thank you very much, Mr. Romano, for this wonderful masterpiece.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book "The Shelter of God's Promises" by Sheila Walsh

About the Book: Gifted Bible teacher and inspiring Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh offers powerful, heart-filled teaching on ten bedrock promises of God, providing the foundation for daily confidence, joy, and hope.
In The Shelter of God's Promises, Sheila searches Scripture for what God has promised us, what God's promises mean, and how encounters with Christ are the eternal fulfillment of His unrelenting commitment to us. In this riveting walk through some of the Bible's most compelling stories, Walsh unveils ten foundational promises of God that secure our lives during even the most difficult times. Sheila weaves her hallmark storytelling, inspiring personal experience, and Scripture to help readers gain a trust in God that will sustain them for a lifetime.

About the Author: Sheila Walsh is the creator of Children of Faith and the Gnoo Zoo, a ministry to children that communicates God's love for them. She is the author or coauthor of several books including "Honestly," "Gifts for Your Soul," "Living Fearlessly," and "The Best Devotions of Sheila Walsh". As an accomplished musician, Sheila has recently released the CD "Love Falls Down." Sheila, her husband, and their son, live in Frisco, Texas.
My Review: This is a wonderful book, very well written. The author has a very well developed sensibility to put in words what she is feeling, and at the same time involving the reader in her powerful words, through personal examples. The choice of the photo for the cover was simply perfect. The book itself is divided in ten chapters, trying to cover the most important promises made by God to His people.
She covers the promise of a promise (I need something to hold on to), of provision (I don't have enough), peace (I'm afraid and feel alone, confidence (I can't see God's plan in this pain), love (I don't believe that anyone could really love me), grace (I have failed), hope (I'm broken), strength (I feel things are crashing around me), more (I know there's something better) and home (I have a future).
In order for the reader to get really involved, there is a Bible Study at the end of the book, with questions for each Chapter, divided in sections like Discover, Believe, Live and finally a verse from the scriptures that you should memorize, all very well related to the Chapter in discussion. Definitely this is a wonderful piece of work by Mrs. Sheila Walsh.
This book was written by Sheila Walsh and it was 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.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book "Flight Plan" by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady

About the Book: A life of greater possibilities, potentials and passions awaits the emerging young man. Flight Plan is a resource and source of instruction and encouragement for boys, their parents, and other adults who work with boys. This book is written with the aim of offering boys a vision and definition of manhood before they get there, a framework for considering the challenges of adolescence, and tools and strategies for making healthy and appropriate choices during those years.

About the Authors:
Lee Burns - Lee Burns serves as headmaster of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school serving over 630 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis.
A Chattanooga, Tennessee, native, Burns graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, and he earned his master’s degree in educational administration at Harvard. He has also studied at the London School of Economics and worked at a law firm in New York City. Prior to being appointed PDS headmaster in 2000, he served as a teacher, coach and administrator at Christ School in North Carolina and as the Director of Day Student Admission at the McCallie School in Chattanooga. He currently serves on the Executive Committee and as Vice-President of the Elementary School Headmasters Association (a group of approximately 200 headmasters around the country), and he is a member of the Country Day School Headmasters Association and the Visionary Heads Group. He served as a task force member to help the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) develop Principles of Good Practice for Middle School Educators. He has been a presenter at annual conferences of the National Association of Independent Schools, the International Boys’ School Coalition, the Educational Records Bureau, and the Elementary School Headmaster Association.
Mr. Burns has been an avid tennis player, winning six state championships as a junior or adult and is a former All-American player. He still enjoys tennis, squash, and most any sport, as well as reading and writing. He has authored a book on a boy’s journey to manhood, Flight Plan: Your Mission To Become A Man.
He is married to Sarah, and they have three children. They are members of Second Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a deacon.
Braxton Brady - Braxton Brady serves as Chaplain of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school serving over 630 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis.
Brady, born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from Memphis University School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis. He is currently completing his master’s degree in theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. Before coming to PDS in 2004, he served as Bible teacher, athletic director, and assistant principal at Central Day School in Collierville.
Mr. Brady has served on the boards of various inner city ministries in Memphis. He is a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program, a program that helps disciple and develop spiritual leaders in the city of Memphis. He is the founder of Strategic Dads, a ministry that seeks to provide fathers with practical ways to disciple their sons and lead their families.
Braxton loves the city of Memphis and the University of Memphis. He enjoys spending time with his family, serving in the inner city, watching the Tigers football and basketball teams and playing golf when there is an opportunity. Braxton is married to Carrie and they have three children (Preston, Bennett and Emma Sanders). They are members of Fellowship Memphis Church.

My Review: This is a very well written book with general guidelines on how to pursue the life of a godly man.
The authors try to cover most of the common problems facing a teenager boy, the choices he must make to be "accepted" by his peers and they propose some situation and ask which would be the correct action for that situation. Those situations vary from peer pressure to myths we should not believe, the search of a true friend, virtues we should develop, problems with drinking, drugs and pornography, and also sex. Everything is discussed and  what the proper action should be taken is proposed.
After every chapter there is a set of "Questions for Reflection and Discussion". There is a total of eleven chapters in this book and the analogy with a real flight situation is very much appropriate.
Excellent reading for a young boy, but nevertheless good also for grown up readers, because it is never too late to change courses. It would have been wonderful if this book was available many years ago.
B&B Media Group were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program. Thanks to the authors for this excellent book!
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.