Thursday, June 30, 2016

Balance of June, 2016

During the month of June, 2016, I reviewed the following:

- "Resthaven" by Erik Therme. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 43-45" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Listening to the Language of the Bible" by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema. Read my review.
- "Talon, On the Wing" by Gigi Sedlmayer. Read my review.
- "Any Means Necessary" by Jack Mars. Read my review.
- "Once Gone" by Blake Pierce. Read my review.
- "Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches" B&N Production (2004). Read my review.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book "Once Gone" by Blake Pierce

About the Book: Women are turning up dead in the rural outskirts of Virginia, killed in grotesque ways, and when the FBI is called in, they are stumped. A serial killer is out there, his frequency increasing, and they know there is only one agent good enough to crack this case: Special Agent Riley Paige.
Riley is on paid leave herself, recovering from her encounter with her last serial killer, and, fragile as she is, the FBI is reluctant to tap her brilliant mind. Yet Riley, needing to battle her own demons, comes on board, and her hunt leads her through the disturbing subculture of doll collectors, into the homes of broken families, and into the darkest canals of the killer’s mind. As Riley peels back the layers, she realizes she is up against a killer more twisted than she could have imagined. In a frantic race against time, she finds herself pushed to her limit, her job on the line, her own family in danger, and her fragile psyche collapsing.
Yet once Riley Paige takes on a case, she will not quit. It obsesses her, leading her to the darkest corners of her own mind, blurring the lines between hunter and hunted. After a series of unexpected twists, her instincts lead her to a shocking climax that even Riley could not have imagined.
A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, ONCE GONE marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

About the Author: Blake Pierce is author of the #1 bestselling RILEY PAGE mystery series, which include the mystery suspense thrillers ONCE GONE (book #1), ONCE TAKEN (book #2) and ONCE CRAVED (#3).
ONCE GONE is a free download on Amazon, with over 350 five star reviews.
Blake is also author of the MACKENZIE WHITE mystery series, which debuts with BEFORE HE KILLS (book #1).
An avid reader and lifelong fan of the mystery and thriller genres, Blake loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit to learn more and stay in touch.

My Review: This is a masterpiece on thriller and mystery! The author did a magnificent job on developing characters with a psychological side that is so well described that we really feel inside their minds, following their fears and cheering for their success. Plot is very intelligent and will keep you entertained throughout this book. Riley is an FBI agent recovering from a close encounter with a serial killer and she is requested to take care of another case, involving another twisted mind serial killer. And she is very talented, being able to transport herself to the mind of the killer, imagining the steps he is taking and foreseeing what is motivating him. And while her whole life is in turmoil, the relationship with her daughter and with her partner in jeopardy, she tries to concentrate and solve this case. Full of twists, this book will keep you awake until the turn of the last page. I can hardly wait to start reading the second book of this series, "Once Taken".
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who enjoy a well written thriller. You will not be disappointed.

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book "Any Means Necessary" by Jack Mars

About the Book:When nuclear waste is stolen by jihadists in the middle of the night from an unguarded New York City hospital, the police, in a frantic race against time, call in the FBI. Luke Stone, head of an elite, secretive, department within the FBI, is the only man they can turn to. Luke realizes right away that the terrorists’ aim is to create a dirty bomb, that they seek a high-value target, and that they will hit it within 48 hours.
A cat and mouse chase follows, pitting the world’s most savvy government agents versus its most sophisticated terrorists. As Agent Stone peels back layer after layer, he soon realizes he is up against a vast conspiracy, and that the target is even more high value than he could have imagined—leading all the way to the President of the United States.
With Luke framed for the crime, his team threatened and his own family in danger, the stakes could not be higher. But as a former special forces commando, Luke has been in tough positions before, and he will not give up until he finds a way to stop them—using any means necessary.
Twist follows twist as one man finds himself up against an army of obstacles and conspiracies, pushing even the limits of what he can handle, and culminating in a shocking climax.
A political thriller with heart-pounding action, dramatic international settings, and non-stop suspense, ANY MEANS NECESSARY marks the debut of an explosive new series that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

About the Author: Jack Mars is author of the bestselling Luke Stone thriller series, which include the suspense thrillers ANY MEANS NECESSARY (book #1), OATH OF OFFICE (book #2) and SITUATION ROOM (book #3). Jack loves to hear from you, so please visit to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!

My Review: This is one of the best thrillers I have read this year. In a Conspiracy Theory style, the plot is intelligent and will keep you hooked from the beginning. Our hero (Luke Stone) is an special agent from a department of the FBI and although he is trying to slow down, he is called once again to action, to investigate the disappearance of nuclear waste from a New York hospital. And the story develops from there in a fast pace. A lot of twists and many adventures later, he finally uncovers the naked truth and he no longers know whom to trust. The author did a superb job creating a set of characters that are fully developed and very much enjoyable. We cheer for our hero in every turn of the pages. The description of the action scenes transport us into a reality that is almost like sitting in a movie theater with surround sound and 3D presentation. Overall excellent plot, I can hardly wait to start reading the sequel of this book, named "Oath of Office". 
I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that enjoy a well written thriller novel. You will not be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book "Talon, On The Wing" by Gigi Sedlmayer

About the Book: What Matica has dreamed ever since she first befriended the condors is actually happening.
And now the adventures begin.
Finally accepting Matica into their community because of an incredible event, the people from the village love seeing her with Talon and demand she tell them about her adventures with the condors.
Matica is now happy to be small because she can do what she has always dreamed of – fly. She is accepted and loved, and because she is so small can have incredible adventures with her beloved Talon. In the meantime, her friendship with Amos continues to grow...
In this book, she has scores of adventures and near disasters with Talon.

About the Author: Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, 'Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life'.
She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing.
Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life.
She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves traveling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD's or going to the movies.

My Review: The author did an incredible job bringing to life lovely characters and scene descriptions that will stimulate your imagination and will make you cheer for our little heroine of this story. From the first book of this series, "Talon, Come Fly with Me", we learnt that Matica is a young child that is small in size for her age and because of that she is not well accepted in her community. The only friends she can make are two condors. With the help of her father, she manages to save the condors' egg that was being searched by poachers and bring it to her care until it hatches (and there you have Talon!). The bound between Matica and the condors is very special and with that she starts being accepted in the community, as they respect her care for the birds. In this second book, the author describes many adventures lived by Matica and Talon, as well as the development of her friendship with Amos and the rest of the tribe. There are plans for a short travel in the near future and a long travel to Australia later. New characters are introduced in the story and the topic about acceptance is reinforced. The author is a superb storyteller and I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that appreciate a well written story that will keep you entertained for hours.
I received a copy of his book from the author for reviewing, and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

If you read this reveiw, feel free to write a comment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Book "Listening to the Language of the Bible" by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema

About the Book: Listening to the Language of the Bible is a guide for discovering the richness of the Scriptures in their Hebraic setting.
The book contains more than 60 brief, illustrated devotional articles that unpack the meaning of biblical words and phrases for life today. By examining the Hebrew and Jewish cultural context of some of the Bible’s seemingly odd phrases, it shares insights that clarify reading and deepen Bible study.
Listening looks at many topics from the perspective of the ancient writers, including prayer, family and the promised Messiah. It also looks at the words of Jesus in light of first-century Jewish culture. The book can be read by itself for a brief overview, or with the Companion Bible Study as a guide to explore the Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective.

About the Authors:
Lois Tverberg - Lois Tverberg has been teaching and writing about the Jewish background of Christianity for the past fifteen years. She has always enjoyed discovering the answers to head-scratching questions and sharing the "ah-hah" moments with others. For years she did this as a professor of Biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, USA, after receiving her Ph.D. in Physiology. Her career as a professor took a turn, however, when she discovered the importance of the Bible's Jewish setting, and began learning Hebrew and Greek and studying in the land of Israel.
With Ann Spangler she authored the best-seller, "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" (Zondervan, 2009). The book explores the first-century world of rabbis and disciples, festivals, prayers and the Torah, and how restoring Jesus to his Jewish reality sheds light on his life and ministry.
In 2012 Lois released "Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus" (Zondervan). There she asks, what are the implications of Jesus' Jewish context for how we live today? She contemplates Jewish ideas that deepen our understanding of Jesus' words and yield fresh, practical insights for following him in our modern world.
Her most recent work (2014) is "5 Hebrew Words that Every Christian Should Know," a bite-sized Bible study of five flavorful Hebrew words. Readers explore the breadth of each word by examining it in various passages and by comparing Bible versions.
Lois is the co-founder of the En-Gedi Resource Center (, an educational ministry that seeks to teach Christians about the Bible's ancient cultural and Jewish context. She headed that ministry until 2007, and since has been writing independently. In 2004, En-Gedi published her first book, "Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus' Ears." This is a devotional guide to Hebrew words and cultural ideas that unlock the Scriptures.
Lois currently lives in Holland, Michigan, USA. For more information, visit her website, Our Rabbi Jesus: His Jewish Life and Teaching (
Bruce Okkema - One of the founders of the En-Gedi Resource Centre and former Executive Director. He has held leadership roles on several non-profit boards and assisted ministries in the U.S., Dominican Republic, Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, Honduras and Israel. He has participated in several Israel tours, most recently in 2006. He and his wife Mary have four daughters and two sons-in-law. Bruce wants to help people study Jesus through the eyes of His culture to better understand His teachings and expectations with the goal of applying His words to our lives as disciples. He is passionate about serving with his head, heart, hands and feet.

My Review: This is a must have book to any Christian that wants to understand better the Word of God. With an amazing simplicity the authors explain the significance of some key Hebrew words used in the scriptures, that at the end have a deeper cultural meaning than the simple translation to a single English word. After reading their explanation for many different verses, things get so clear that the next time you read the Bible, it will not be in black and white, but you will be reading in colors!
I really recommend this book to the permanent library of all Christian readers that are willing to improve their knowledge on the Scriptures.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Book "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 43-45" by Werner Stejskal

About the Book: Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value. Love you all! Meow!

About the Author: Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna. His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally got married to. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children's stories, had them illustrated through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the ebooks on most platforms. Werner's dream is to see "Oliver and Jumpy" animated as a TV series.
There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia he watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance. Some very capable illustrators have helped to create this picture book series.

My Review: This book is part of a series called Oliver and Jumpy. This particular volume has stories 43 - Flying Carpet, 44 - Birthday Party, and 45 - Magic Berries. It is an excellent gift for parents with children under 8 as suggested by the author. The book is beautifully illustrated by Mario Tereso (Stories 43), Vikas Upadhyay (Story 44) and Maycee Ann Reyes (story 45) and that is a very important plus, as its main audience will rely on the images to follow the stories, as many will not have reached the age to start reading by themselves. In "Flying Carpet", Oliver goes to Africa to save another princess, but he does not go alone. He takes with him his friend Jumpy! and the adventure starts when they reach Egypt and they receive a flying carpet!. In the "Birthday Party", Oliver is greeted when arriving home with a surprising birthday party organized by his friends. Finally in "Magic Berries", Oliver, Jumpy and Joey are back into Ghost Castle and Joey find some berries and eat them. That causes some side effects. Trying to correct that, he eats another variate of berries and something different happen! Finally they find wood-fairy that takes care of everything and makes things go back to normal! All stories are very sweet and even touching and the characters are always showing good behavior. No violence, nothing too scary or too exciting, it will keep your toddler entertained (but not excited) during that critical bedtime period. They will love the stories and soon enough Oliver and Jumpy will be in their hearts forever.

In my kindle fire the story was presented in landscape orientation. No option to have it in portrait orientation, but this is far away from being a problem. I just thought it was worth mentioning.

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

Monday, June 6, 2016

Book "Resthaven" by Erik Therme

About the Book: The last thing Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge of town. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doors are now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee is about to learn that not everything that goes 'bump in the night' is imaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.

About the Author: Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he's not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his oldest daughter's volleyball team, or chilling on the PlayStation 3 with his twelve-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa, one of only seven places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

My Review: What a book! Full of suspense and mystery, the author did a superb job creating believable characters, a very rich environment and a simple plot that will keep you reading on the edge of your sit. Resthaven is a recently closed home for elderly people. Kaylee is a typical teenager that does not like when her mother forces her to attend a birthday party of a girl she does not like, even with the presence of her best friend also as a guest. The other guests are girls with different types of teenager conflicts and characteristics. And the major event on that birthday party is a scavenger hunt inside this abandoned house. And things does not go according to plan. The house was not completely abandoned... Suspense only increases on every turn of pages. 
Excellent novel, I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that appreciate a well written mystery novel. Definitely I will look for more books from this author!

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

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Movie "Apostle Paul and The Earliest Churches" (2004)

About the Movie: Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches is a brilliant and illuminating video production. Beginning with his conversion, it reenacts the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys on Anatolian soil (modern Turkey). This brief, 48-minute film contains an archaeological treasury: mosaics, frescoes, statues, amphitheaters, agoras, temples, and more. Yet Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches is more than a historical survey; this production's reenactment of the miracles Paul performed, the difficulties Paul encountered, and the persecution Paul faced beckons the viewer to experience with the Apostle himself the birth of the Christian Church.
The film's archaeological emphasis is enhanced by 3D animated maps and footage of Antioch on the Orontes, Pisidian Antioch, Ephesus, Tarsus and other cities important to the Apostle Paul's ministry. Significant artifacts from a variety of Turkish museums are also discussed.

This film is produced by B&N Production, a Christian film production company located in Istanbul, Turkey, operated by Turkish Christians. Pastor Behnan Konutgan, M. Div., of Bible House Church of Istanbul is the executive director, writer and one of the producers of this film. He is a very distinguished Bible translator and one of the executives of the Turkish Branch of the International Bible Society. He is a dedicated Bible teacher, and has been serving the Lord as a pastor for over 25 years in Turkey.
Mr. Nurettin Bulbul and his wife Ozlem Bulbul have a lot of experience in filming and TV network market. They have served in major TV networks in Turkey for years; currently they reside in Istanbul. They joined Pastor Behnan for this project. Mr. Bulbul is director of the film and the film was edited by his wife. Mr. Bulbul is also one of the producers.
Mark Wilson, D. Litt. et Phil., is a distinguished Biblical scholar. He is founder and president of the Seven Churches network. He is a seminary professor, author, and speaker, as well as a frequent researcher and traveler in Turkey. A noted authority on Turkey's biblical history, Dr. Wilson served as the academic consultant for this project.

My Review: This is a very well produced Apostle Paul DVD documentary. Initially you can select to play the movie, go directly to a particular Chapter (the documentary is divided into 5 Chapters: Paul's Calling, 1st Missionary Journey, 2nd Missionary Journey, 3rd Missionary Journey, A Lasting Legacy), or select the languages among English, Turkish and Arabic. You also have access to a Study guide named ApostlePaulGuide.pdf, that is a beautifully illustrated document with 16 pages in pdf format.
The documentary is narrated by Kris Chandler, and the tone is just perfect, not boring nor exasperated. He has a nice pitch and keep the information flowing naturally.
There are just a few scenes with actors, but they do not speak at all. Always the narrator is speaking in the background, telling the story that is developing. 

This is a very informative documentary and I recommend it to the permanent library of any Christian. It is a boost to our faith, seeing and being inspired by the life and work of the Apostle Paul.

I received this DVD from FishFlix, a company that produces Christian DVDs (to inspire and entertain) for reviewing, and I was not requested to post a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.
As an extra bonus, FishFlix gives you a US$ 5.00 coupon to buy their products if you decide to join their e-mail list.