Friday, December 31, 2010

"Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders" by Gregory Lanz PhD with Ann McMurray

I thought I've seen it all from Christian self-help books. There were the fitness ones, the relationship ones, the emotional ones, and more. However, this is the first book focusing on eating disorders that has Christian undertones. Well, judging from the cover--and even the back cover--readers don't really know this. Only those familiar with the WaterBrook name will have an inkling. Still, the bulk of the book has to deal with clinical advice from professionals. Only small parts at the end of chapters involve the Bible, Jesus, and prayer. The book doesn't shove religion in one's face, but readers may come to know God as He is integrate into their healing process. There is a "whole person" approach that incorporates the physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and other aspects of one's persona into recovery. There are some stories that readers may relate to. There are also questions and prompts designed for a superfluous journal not included with this book. Much focus is on diving deep into one's own person and realizing how one was hurt as a child. Forgiveness is discussed. Men are mentioned, too, so this is not just a book for women. Some of the writing may seem a bit "shrinky," but, in the introduction, the authors warn the readers that the book may not be easy but it will help. My only criticism is when the authors mention learning to love one's body and open up again to physical intimacy. I can only hope they mean confined to marriage, but this was equivocal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"The Snowglobe" by Sheila Roberts

This is a nice little book for the holiday season. Its main downfall, though, is all the rave reviews that are included on the first few pages. People say how fantastic this book is, and I get my hopes up. Granted, there were identifiable characters that readers can relate to and the story is well crafted, I wouldn't call this book fantastic or the best Christmas book. The first few chapters are a bit slow, and just when readers get attached to one character, a new character's story shoves its foot in the door of the novel. All in all, the main part of the story is that a snow globe predicts the future differently for each person who shakes it. There is an undertone assumed that characters celebrate Christmas and are by default Christian. However, this book is not really religious. There are a few swear words and one implication of pre-marital relations (no details or scene but unmarried characters saying a line or two of dialog that implies the notion).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Bridges on the Journey" by Busa, Fobes, Miller & Sanders

Some people are fans of devotionals that are as thick as the Bibles they cite. However, for those with less spacious schedules, smaller ones are sought. This book is split into 6 sections that deal with growing closer to God. Concise Bible quotations and leading questions condense loads of lessons into a small book. Diagrams and charts are alongside page art that makes the book seem fun. Also, its spiral binding and smooth clay-like cover make it seem like more of a personal journal than just a devotional. In the back, there are a few Bible verse note cards that can be detached for memorization; I like this. What's also great is that many parts of the book make the reader think of and relate to their friends. What do I like best about this book? It makes the devotionals personal without watering down the Gospel.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Flight of Shadows" by Sigmund Brouwer

As a book reviewer, I tend to get books for free. Very rarely do I read a book that I like so much that I am actually tempted to buy other books by the author. This is one of those cases. Set in the future, this is a story of a genetically-engineered young woman fleeing for her life. Narrations change as readers are taken in the shoes of the hunters and the hunted. Enough thoughts are conveyed for readers to grasp characters, but not enough is given to make any of them predictable or unlikely to make drastic changes like betrayal or redemption. Angels and demons are conveyed metaphorically as a good versus evil plot goes on. With skill, Brouwer gets this across without merely spelling it out for the reader. This book is actually a sequel to another book, but readers can still read this and get the gist of what is going on. After becoming engrossed in the story and characters, readers will simply want to read the prequel. There are some religious undertones, which are thought-provoking. This book is not suitable for young readers because it has blood, violence, murder, and suggestive scenes (when evil character tries to attack a woman, it backfires on him). Also, each little chapter was never more than a few pages long, which makes this book great since it can be interrupted often with people's busy lives. Stellar.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Double Shot" by Erynn Mangum

This book is unusual in many senses of the word. From the cover, readers can be right in assuming the book is all about marriage. The protagonist Maya experiences weddings and births from friends and families. The book starts of with Maya being already engaged. Most of the book follows her relationships with friends and family, some interactions with her fiance, and planning her own wedding. The book is not graphic and ends right at the wedding of Maya and her groom. The only risque part is when it is mentioned how Maya's girlfriends buy her lingerie; I just think that's weird. Maya tries to discern God's will when it comes to moving. In the end, her decision is expected but not necessarily backed up fully. I wasn't too fond of the overly stereotypical woman who gets married and has to many hormones, but, the pages flew by. Also, there are some positive Christian undertones. I didn't even know this book was a third in a series until I finished and looked back at the first few inner pages.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Churched" by Matthew Paul Turner

I requested this book because I had read Turner's work before and was entertained. He writes with a sincere style that shows his childhood innocence. Nothing is held back. The book deals with Turner being brought up in the fundamentalist baptist church and being exposed to various rules and fire-and-brimstone preachers. He doesn't come right out and say that he felt his church rules more than Jesus' love, but Turner has a way of conveying ideas without always just putting them down plainly. The writing is humorous. At times, he does poke fun at other denominations, but he does not seem hateful. He talks of Catholics as not knowing Jesus and worthy of hell (obviously ingrained into him as a child) but later says he almost converted to Catholicism as an adult (except he didn't care for the sitting, standing, kneeling, and cross-gesturing). I'd recommend this book, as well as his "Hear No Evil," which I have reviewed before.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"On This Day in Christian History" by Robert J. Morgan

While this book is set up like a devotional, it is unique. Instead of just a Bible verse for each day of the year with an explanation, there is a historical moment captured on the page. Yes, there are Bible verses for each day at the end of the page, but they complement the stories more than just teach readers. Each reading is a page or less and is designated for a day of the year. It starts from January first and ends on the last day of December. What's really cool is that each historical reading actually took place on the day that is prescribed for the reader. To read history of Christians is one thing, but to have a significant date to read it is awesome.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

God Loves Single Moms by Teresa Whitehurst

This book was surprisingly good. Not being a [single] mother, there was much I learned. Whitehurst uses quizzes, psychological advice, self-esteem building, stories, and more to convey her various points. Bible verses and prayers are included, as well. There is much emphasis on the single mother bettering herself not only for her own well-being but also for the well-being of her child. Quotations from advocates are boxed, and Whitehurst even cross-references some help from her book that deals with how Jesus would raise / handle children. Relationships with others--including the child's father--are expounded upon, too. For single mothers or anyone with a heart, this book should be read.
Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Granular Patterns" by Igor S. Aranson and Lev S. Tsimring

This book starts of with--surprise, surprise--defining and explaining what granular patterns are. However, the authors get straight to the point and introduce proper vocabulary and theories. The reader is treated as competent enough to follow along, but they never feel as if the book is too slow; the pace is proper. The authors use easy-to-visualize examples to explain concepts. One such is the Brazilian nut effect that the authors explain with--you guessed it--a picture of nuts in a jar alongside glass beads in a jar.

Many applications are discussed. Some are avalanche, bacteria patterns, cell movement under certain conditions, extraterrestrial craters, sand dunes / piles, and more. After the interest is piqued, the math is introduced. It seems as though many of the equations are meant to be fed into a computer, but the authors still introduce what the equations mean for general understanding.

Some other topics discussed include different types of materials for substrates. Periodicity and frequency comes into play, too. Gravity-driven flow is inserted, and the authors admit where there is a theory that is still not quite understood by the scientific granular community. Boundary layers, complex interactions, and movement is touched upon, as well. Some statistics come into play with probability, but readers need not have a background in in to follow along. Experimental and simulated results are compared side-by-side when appropriate.

The appearance of this book is rather nice. The hardcover is not too heavy, being under 500 pages. Also, the green and tan cover with an example of granular patterns conveys precocity without an air of literary arrogance. The pages have a nice glossy feel to them, and the content is black-and-white. Pictures are plentiful, and all diagrams / charts / graphs are explained with proper paragraphs and captions.

The audience for this book struck me as for readers at the research level. This could be undergraduate research programs, graduate school projects, or just research professors are working on. The information given is presented in such a manner that any technical reader will enjoy it for a leisurely read. However, there is enough technical data in this book to be used as a primary source is research. While notations and symbols are explained, not all of the math is. Readers are expected to have a good grasp of vector calculus, differential calculus, and multivariable equations.

While this book can be considered a classical textbook, I feel it is better than that. While it is meant to teach readers about granular patterns, it has a one-up on other textbooks because it is so well presented. Pages fly by and are actually fun--a term not many working scientists and engineers see in texts. Additionally, there is a CD-rom included in the back of the book. It has a plethora (not using the word lightly) of movies. Some are molecular dynamics simulations, whilst others are from experimentalists physically setting up scenarios (evidence is from the black-and-white hands entering the foreground every now and then).

Overall, I have nothing but positive things to say about this book. I've always considered granular patterns to be simply under the scope of materials science. However, I've learned that this topic is very interdisciplinary. It covers computer science, mathematics, environmental science, physics, and--my favorite as an aeronautical engineer--fluid dynamics.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"A Rush of Wings" by Kristen Heitzmann

The back cover's brief synopsis does not do this book justice. There is so much in the plot and characters that readers are immediately sucked into Heitzmann's world. The book starts off with a rich girl running away with a dream of a hawk that haunts her copiously. The narration moves between characters, and readers wonder why the protagonist fled. As she arrives at her new destination, new characters emerge as Noelle catches the admiration of two brothers. Country life is juxtaposed with city life, and horses enter the story, along with painting. Both seek her love and are vastly different. Noelle's ex-fiance also purses her in an effort to find her and get her back. As mysteries unfold with the book's progression, Noelle interacts with the brothers. There is some romance, but nothing is graphic. Female readers are a bit annoyed with Noelle's venerability as a female character, but, after they learn her story, they see her persona fits into the story and is not overtly saying otherwise. Also, albeit a bit cheesy at moments, the twists are unexpected, and there is never a dull or predictable moment. Even if readers skip to the end of the book to read the last line, they'll have the ending wrong if they guessed it. Faith is tied into the book in such a profound way that I will not spoil it. My favorite quote from the book? "She had feared the sky, but it was the ground that broke her" (Heitzmann 174).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas at Harrington’s by Melody Carlson

This book did not dazzle me with its cover, as many Christmas books I have come by me tend to be tiredly predictable and dramatic. However, seeing Carlson's name, I figured I'd give the book a try since I've known some of her better works. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the book. The protagonist is actually an ex-con, and the reader is pulled into the mystery and intrigue of her sentence. The reader also ponders the whole "wolf in sheep's clothing" reference. The woman is out of prison when the book starts, and readers follow her on her journey of starting a new life. She ends up working as a Mrs. Santa and makes some new friends. I don't want to spoil more, but I will say this book is a nice Christmas gift that flows well and isn't too long to read.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

"More Glimpses of Heaven" by Trudy Harris, RN

When I picked up this book, I expected to be blown away by an array of near-death-experiences and literal "glimpses-of-heaven." That's not exactly what I got. After reading the introduction, I realized the author was speaking of heaven as the kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit here on Earth. So, there were more stories of kindness, love, forgiveness, and compassion than all out NDEs. There are a few stories about little children seeing / hearing Jesus and people seeing angels, but most others are just about people dying contently knowing that God loves them. Readers may not like or agree with everything in the book, but the author probably had good intentions. My main criticism is for when the author puts the first story in her book. It is about a dying young wife. Her husband wants her to feel beautiful one last time, so he gives her a bath (cleaned up version I am writing here). The author goes on to say that that is how Jesus loves us. While I know she probably meant that God loves us and wants us to feel beautiful even when we feel ugly, I do not think the analogy was the best. Love is love, but the love of God is not romantic. Again, I am sure she did not mean for it to come out that way, but it just did.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Angry" by Larua L. Smith

Smith has done it again. I have reviewed one of her other books before and greatly enjoyed it; this one is no different. There is a teenage girl with a crisis that is not too extreme that no one has heard of it. The girl's parents get divorced. Even if readers do not have divorced parents, chances are they know friends that do. The protagonist faces much animosity towards her parents and towards God in her situation. She also dives into her school play to be someone else and escape for a while. I won't ruin the book, but I will say the girl comes to God at the end. Really, what else can be expected from "TH1NK" publishing, anyway? Not everything in the book is Christian, but non-Chrisitan girls reading he book will slowly ease into the character and not feel like she is judged. The cover did not strike me at first, but the book was easy and enjoyable to read.

"The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges

As an avid lover sheep and book awards, this book immediately caught my eye. Going through it, I was pleasantly surprised. The Bible verses included were very inspirational and pertinent to the point the author was trying to make. Many overarching themes are in the book that growing Christians will find amazing and mature Christians will be reviewing. Either way, they are great for thinking of and encourage thought in all types of Christians. Many quotes are from Protestants, but the author never seems to put down more conservative Catholics. Most of the content of the book is accurate with the Bible and well-versed (no pun intended). Readers may not agree with everything said in context, but the overall theme of the book and tone has a very good set of intentions. Want to read about how grace works, how you can flee temptation, and what becoming holy means? Like books with sheep and book medals on the cover? Pick this book up.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Real-life Discipleship" by Jim Putnam

I'm not going to lie--when I first saw this book, I figured I'd gotten myself a pretty cover with some fluff and more of reading what I already knew. Boy was I wrong! This book was very enjoyable and taught me much. Instead of other books that focus on the "stages" that people go through to become Christian (essentially arduous evangelism handbooks), this book focuses on something different. It puts people into groups. There are the spiritually dead and then Christans. Within the Christan group, there are infants, children, young adults, and then parents / adults. The book focuses on how to help each level so they can reach the parent / adult level and disciple others. While other books on evangelism are great, this does not focus on recruiting, because--well--that doesn't always work. Putnam acknowledges the fact that Christians can not control others or sway opinions. As I like to put it, only Jesus can lead others to Jesus. For the nonbelievers, we can lead by example / love and be ready with graceful answers and invitations. If we are asked something we don't know, we should just admit it and promise to get back to the person in a week. For those that already believe but are naive, self-centered, ill-informed, or otherwise lacking, there are ways we can help; this book outlines them. Instead of throwing pamphlets in atheists' faces and shouting turn-or-burn phrases, we should be building up what Christians there are more Christians that really strive to live like Jesus and grow the Church. I could go on and on, but, please, just read this book.

"Don't Waste the Pain" by David Lyons and Linda Lyons Richardson

Like the cover implies, this is a book on suffering. It has a Christian twist, though. In all of the sufferings and hardships written about by the brother and sister, God is intertwined. The Word of God is quoted quite often and in very relevant fashions. Even though the passages are great and the overarching theme has to do with growing through suffering, this book is definitely not for the faint of heart. Cancer, depression, death, and other tragedies are described. Since they relate to family and friends that are real and not made up, the stories hit closer to home. Also, there are pictures included of both good times and bad that can pull at readers' heartstrings. Overall, this book has some great messages but definitely is not a book to read on a summer beach.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Amy Inspired" by Bethany Pierce

When I started reading this book, I was immediately sucked in. The characters are real and the tone is purposeful. Essentially, readers are taken into the mind of a thirty-year-old English professor (minus the tenure). She lives with quite a character that is her roommate in an apartment. Love is tied into the story but not in a graphic fashion. There is tension over relationships, but the book is not cheesy because it does not dwell on that. Whether this is a metaphor for how women should not dwell on men is another story. Regardless, the men in the book are always there but do not take up the whole story. Also, Pierce is careful to keep the book real while not making it shameful. In a sense, nothing is sugarcoated, but, at the same time, readers do not feel like the book should be on a Christian d0-not-read-list. Christianity is woven into the story in an honest way through the characters' eyes. There is grief in the story but not in a cliched manner. Women may like this book more than men, but, for the male readers, it will give them a glimpse into the female psyche that is surprisingly accurate. What's great about this book is that the story starts and ends after a while, but you realize that not many physical events happened; yet, you kept turning the pages. This is not easy for all writers to pull off, but Pierce does it. Also, there is a set of discussion questions at the end. As a book reviewer, I could have sped-read this book and still have gotten the gist of what happened. But I didn't and did not want to.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Then Sings My Soul" by Robert Morgan

This special edition book has 150 hymns in it. They are mostly Christmas and Easter songs, with some Thanksgiving and miscellaneous ones thrown in. The actual music is on the left page, and the description and history of the song is one the right page. This includes a Bible verse, which is nice for reflection. While the songs are not necessarily alphabetical, there is an organization to the book and many ways to look up songs both from the front and back of the book. Seeing as how the book is paperback and isn't huge, one needs extra books or some sort of clip to hold the pages down. The music is by no means a drawn out solo, but there is enough to hear the song. Notes for the left and right hand of piano are given. Lyrics are included, too. To test out this book, I went to a piano and played. The songs sound nice. Depending on one's denomination, some readers may only recognize a good portion of the Christmas songs and a few others. Still, the other songs have nice melodies and sincere words. Overall, I recommend this book to musicians--especially pianists--and hope Thomas Nelson offers more music books for review.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Devotions for the God Girl" by Hayley DiMarco

This devotional book is a rather nice one. 365 devotions are given for each day of the year. The purple pages and print, along with flower designs, make the book extra girly and fun. What I particularly like about this specific devotion is that it spans from Genesis to Revelation. Sure, it doesn't go over every single verse (that'd make the book more of a brick!), but it does focus on verses that span the entire Bible. Bible stories that girls may have forgotten are recounted. Lastly, everything is related back to the reader with how she can correlate it to her own life. I definitely recommend this book to any girl looking for time with God. A page a day is not hard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In His Image Devotional Bible NLT

As always, whenever I get a Bible in the mail, my soul leaps and does a little jig. This case was no different. When I actually started reading this Bible after skimming past the jargon on how this translation is different from other ones and oh-so great (what almost EVERY other translation boasts), I started digging in. At the beginning of each book, there is a page on the central theme and aspects of God's character in the chapters. On the bottom of some pages, there are paragraphs on seeking to be more godly. On some pages, specific verses are emphasized in color; the main colors in the book are black and blue. On the right of some pages, there are reflections and a specific array prayers made by the editors that are repeated. This hardcover book does not include the extra Catholic books of the Bible.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"A First Christmas; Friends and Festivity" by Sean Noonan

Full of princesses, trolls, wizards, and--um, er, Santa--this book is a Christmas fairy tale. Essentially, there is a hideous troll with no friends and no record ever celebrating Christmas. So, two children set out to have a huge Christmas party for the troll to show he is loved and for him to know how great Christmas is. There are various adventure scenes that I will not spoil. The reading level is easy enough for little ones to understand but complex enough to evoke imagination. Pictures included are very rudimentary and are drawn by the author's young daughter. I would have liked there to be more of an emphasis on the real meaning of Christmas. In terms of other criticisms, I did not like when the author wrote that Santa drinks sherry (something not appropriate for very young children to read--let alone know the word). Other than those two aspects, the book was fine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado

As another one of Lucado's books, this one does not disappoint. It has his real-world voice and hard-core theology that makes it suitable for Christians of all walks of life to enjoy. This particular book focuses on the Book of Acts and how it relates to our lives. Not every single story or chapter is recounted, but select actions are. Other Bible verses from other parts of the Bible are also tied in when relevant. Stories from contemporary times that reflect the Book of Acts and the points Lucado is trying to make are inserted, as well. What's great about this book is that it will inspire readers to make a difference like the apostles in the Book of Acts. However, it offers practical advice on how to do so. There is even a discussion guide included with tips on what to do next. This book doesn't just tell people to outlive their life; it shows them why they should do so, what examples to follow, and how to get started.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Topical Memory System by The Navigators

This Bible memory system is a doozy! Inside the box, one will find two books and a little card holder. One book is full of exercises, quizzes, fill-ins, drills, and such that span thirty weeks. Instructions are given for what to do and what to think of as one tries to memorize verses. The other book is full of oodles of Bible verse cards. It is a tad tedious to tear out all the cards, and it is irritating when some rip in the process. However, once the reader is done with that task, they are geared to go. The verses are given in different translations. The card holder does not hold many cards. However, doing with the weekly plan, one would not have to hold / study all the cards at once. Overall, this system is nice for those that want to memorize verses. The cards are useful, and the instructional book is fun yet full of discipline. Best of all, the system encourages that readers think and pray over the verses they read. After all, one is more likely to actually memorize verses if they understand them and attribute special meaning to them.

"Water in Mining 2009"

Seeing as how this collection of papers is from a specific conference, the way it reads assumes that readers already know about water and mining. However, by the fourth or fifth paper, even novices in this field understand what is going on. The scope of all the papers is on improving water processes (manmade and natural) and mining. Some papers even combine the two topics in an attempt to start a revolution. Some papers seem rudimentary and other highly detailed. When it comes to water, scientists can stay basic in their explanations or go all out. This CD includes both of those extremes.

The 200+ pages of the Water in Mining 2009 conference that took place from September 15 to 17 in Perth, Western Australia is all compacted into a tiny CD-Rom. Since it was in that part of the world, some spellings are unusual, such as placing s’s where z’s would normally be and having ou’s where o’s would have sufficed. However, that is only mildly annoying. After a dense foreword and list of sponsors, there are some company profiles. As for the bulk of the research papers, they are divided into the following categories: mine water treatment, mineral processing, groundwater, perspectives, water efficiency, and water quality. An extensive list of publications follows. This is either a shameless plug for the writers or simply a way for experts in the field to broaden their knowledge. Included on the disk is a movie from an environmental consulting firm that explains what it does. It is really more of a slideshow set to music, though.

As for the papers themselves, they tend to be more theory based. Ideas and improvements on water treatment as pertaining to mining are given. Not much empirical data is provided. Where one would like to see graphs, there are diagrams. In some cases, full papers aren’t even given; there are only abstracts. However, some papers stand out. Bourke’s paper was full of chemical tests that laid out exactly what he did. One of his discoveries was that his trademarked AMDRO is cost effective when it comes to treating acidic water and waste. Other papers that are not as precocious raise red flags when as little as two references are given. Conversely, Cocks’ paper on water management was highly intriguing as it specialized the water processing strategy in such a precise fashion that cycles within cycles were implemented. Some papers like Nyquest’s were intriguing in the sense that they integrated geology into their reports and specifically worked in certain regions of Australia only. Vink’s paper was well researched and delved deep into rainwater properties.

As compared to other literature in the field of water in mining, this CD is not so bad. Once one weeds through the mediocre papers and single abstracts, there is a handful of excellent research and writing. Seeing as how all the proceedings of the conference are on a CD, it is a bit tedious to try and find certain topics since one cannot flip through pages. However, there is an advantage when readers can type in a designated topic in the “find” part of Adobe Acrobat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Always: A Teen Devotional" by Melody Carlson

This devotional is unique in that it focuses on the actual words that came from Jesus' mouth. Each of the 90 devotionals start with Bible excerpts from Jesus and end with other Bible verses for reflection. In between, there are explanations and excellent analogies, as well as short prayers and an adage dubbed "stone for the journey." While the book is geared towards teenage girls, the messages are for all and can be read by any audience. [Male readers beware--there are printed flowers on the pages.] I felt compelled to read big chunks of devotionals instead of taking them one-day-at-a-time. As a reviewer, this is always the case, but even if I were just reading the book of my own volition, I still would have not taken the full 90 days as designated. Some may see that as a positive because the book is riveting; others may see that as a negative because they won't have a day-to-day devotional habit that lasts long. The call is up to the reader.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Microdrops and Digital Microfluidics" by Jean Berthier

After a brief introduction to the development of microfluids, the author dives right into the subject matter. Microfluids are distinguished from microdrops, and many laws are given. Many aspects of chemistry, physics, and biology are interspersed as nano-bubbles, tension, adhesion, cohesion, motion, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mixing, and acoustics are delved into. While each chapter is interesting on its own, the most intriguing parts have to do with examples such as bugs that walk on water, flow in capillaries of the human body, water drops in suspension, and flows that can only be described with topology.

This blue hardcover book leaves much to the imagination with no cover picture whatsoever. The weight of the book is light for conventional textbooks, and the size is fairly small. There are ten chapters, as well as reference lists and an index. Inside chapters, there are subchapters and sub-subchapters. Each chapter has a summary and conclusions. These wrap up the main ideas but do not reiterate primary vocabulary or equations. There are many pictures in the book, but only some of them are in color. This may either annoy the reader or make them perk up every so often when a splash of color punches their retina. Charts and graphs are included with captions. They are not explained in terms of how to interpret them, but they are pretty straightforward, so there should not be any trouble there.

This book reads like a collection of research papers. While ideas and conclusions are spelled out for the reader, not everything is crystal clear. This book would be best for graduate students and research professors. Higher level undergraduates will understand the material in the book, but they may have to look up terms. As for the mathematics, all pertinent equations are given, along with select theorems and such. However, there are not many derivations given. Readers just have to take the math at face value and trust that it is right. For those that like to see every little detail for the creation of equations, this book may perturb them. Also, while ideas are explained, there are no side notes or vocabulary terms in bold with definitions. The author assumes readers know at least the vernacular of the subject matter in this book.

While it is an excellent resource, this book does not entirely stand on its own. The developments given are praiseworthy—sure—but the reader is assumed to be well versed in microfluids. There are many real-world applications included. Additionally, with equations, charts, graphs, and diagrams, this book will probably used to glean pictures from when writing research papers on microfluids. What’s also unique is that the book goes into digital microfluids. While there are not huge lists of programming codes, the main differences, advantages, and disadvantages of regular fluids versus digital microfluids are given. Also, many experimental results are given both in terms of actual experiments and simulation-based ones. The good thing about this resource is that each chapter is not too drawn out. In an almost curt fashion, readers who are researching a particular microfluid topic get the information they need without any fluff.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"City on Our Knees" by Toby Mac

As an avid Toby Mac fan, myself, I find this book a tad bit hard to review. The song "City on our Knees" is definitely catchy and inspiring. When I saw this book with the same title, I was immediately intrigued; the fun cover helped, too. However, once I started reading the book, I was a bit disappointed. There are numerous collections of stories about people who have done great things. Missionaries, historical figures, fundraisers, volunteers, and accomplished people are all there as citizens of the "City on our Knees." Every now and then, there are some pages from Toby Mac that give his opinion and a prayer. Interspersed throughout the book, there are famous quotations, Bible verses, and Toby Mac pictures. What I really would have liked would be if Mac himself wrote more. While reading about others is great, I wanted to hear more from Toby and hear what he thought. For me, even if Mac was trying to come off as humble, I think he did himself a disservice. If I were not so confident in Toby Mac's honesty as a Christian and his literary aptitude as an artist, I would have thought that large portions of the book were ghostwritten because on fragments of the book seem to directly voice Mac's opinions.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Good Morning Lord" by Shiela Walsh

The front cover boasts "I don't know where You're going today, but I'm going with You," and that is oh-so true. With over 100 "days" to read, this book is ideal for those that want to find time for the Lord who are most alert in the early hours. Each reading for the day has a paragraph that explains something about God and Jesus or the Holy Ghost. Then, there are two questions that prompt journaling. Lines are given to write in. At the end, there is a little prayer to be either read or recited. Then, there is a Bible verse to reflect on for the day. What's great about this book is that the readings are not numbered. So, if the reader forgets a day or messes up, (s)he does not feel bad or get stressed out that they have to make up two the next day. With this book, readers can reconnect with the Lord one step at a time--one morning at a time. Why not share breakfast with God?

"The Reluctant Entertainer" by Sandy Coughlin

Written by the wife of the author of the "No More Christian Nice Guy / Girl" books, Coughlin makes a name for herself in the book industry. Originally a blogger that deals with hospitality, she has taken her advice and put it into a cute hardcover book. The chapters deal with entertaining in the real world, engaging the five senses, conversation, parties, decorating, and more. Interspersed are easy yet decadent recipes, as well as other tidbits. The photos included are of the utmost quality and engage readers. The book isn't overtly religious, but there are some Christian undertones. The best thing about this book is that it claims entertaining at its best is making others feel comfortable.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"How to Stay Christian in College"

Many books on Christian living in college have the same attributes--Bible verses, advice that any strong Christian would view as common sense, and the like. However, what I really like about this book is that it has dialog between the Christian and the non-Christian. This allows students to think about situations and know what they should say to non-believers when certain conversations arise. What's also interesting is that the author has a background in ethics. So, the topics covered are highly elucidated in technical terms of social science, but there are many bullet points and dividers as to not overwhelm the reader with large chunks of text. From love to studying to friendships to fellowship, this book has it all. Lastly, the soft hardcover is pretty nice. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Rock and Roll Supernova" by Joe A. Crawford

As one would imagine, this book fulfills the classic rock and roll stereotypes. There is talk of love, parties, drugs, and anything else you can imagine. While the rock and roller himself is written as having good intentions and a sincere love of music, not everyone will enjoy this book. It is definitely suited best for die hard rockers, so to speak. Again, while the musician is not played as the "bad guy," the book still includes mature topics and takes the Lord's name in vain (things to know). There are excerpts in the back that detail songwriting. Some are profound, others are mediocre.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"My Princess Bible" by Andy Holmes and Illustrated by Sergey Eliseev

With pink glitter on the front, this book definitely is girly. The pages are square and hard--reminiscent of cardboard children's books but of finer quality. Several key women of the Bible are introduced. Short Bible verses are given, as well as quick synopses of what the women did and why they are "special." There is also space in the book for a girl's name to be inserted into blanks to correlate them to the princesses. This book is great for girls of all ages. Also, the pictures are fun and drawn with excellent talent. In the beginning, there are even drawings of little girls in princess costumes from several different races. Overall, this is a cute book that is quick to read. It will make readers feel like princesses themselves!

Friday, September 10, 2010

"The Heavens Proclaim His Glory"

This book is phenomenal beyond belief. As an avid astronomy geek, I loved the photos. I have previously bought books on space-time, nebulae, supernovae, and the like. However, in my experience, even the most scientific books I have don't measure up to this one in terms of the majesty of the photos. The quality is superb, and the Bible verses alongside them are very well matched. Quotes from famous Christian writers are included, too. Even a governor puts in his two cents. I have nothing but good words to say about this book and think everyone should have it. Sure, it doesn't go into astrophysics, but it will give readers a new sense of wonder when they think of God. Not included in the book but worth looking up is the cross-like gaseous formation inside a famous nebulae...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"The Butterfly Effect" by Andy Andrews

I'm sure everyone's heard of the butterfly effect. Well, this book really puts it on the forefront and makes readers realize that their lives matter. Whether they give a command that will have historical significance, simply encourage someone, or stand up for a helpless person, all people can make a difference. Some stories in the book revolve around Civil War battles, politicians, science, and history in general. The shiny cover and overall optimistic message towards readers is copacetic. However, I'd like this book more if God and Jesus were part of "The Butterfly Effect." After all, if One Man's action's can be said to have had the most impact of the world, it would not be a soldier or politician--it'd be Jesus.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Everything Hurts" by Bill Scheft

This book involves fraud, comedy, ex-wives, self-help, and so much more. A lame (in every sense of the word) man writes a self-help book that is flimsy at best in an effort to get some alimony funds. When he actually meets a real self-help guru, the jokes start rolling. There are several jokes and innuendos about Jews, which the protagonist allies himself with. There is cursing, too. Sexual implications are alluded to, as well. Most of the jokes are crude and embarrassing. For those that don't like blue material or punchlines that make one feel a tinge of chagrin, this book is not for them. The plot is okay, but nothing special. The characters that are introduced do have depth, but they are not all the type that should be looked up to, unfortunately.

"Fixing Freddie" by Paula Munier

This book is for dog lovers, and the audience that will most enjoy it is the middle aged female group of readers. The protagonist gets a dog that turns out to be a mess of trouble. The descriptions of the dog's actions are humorous yet not too detailed to cause boredom. There are scenes where the protagonist's ex husbands enter the picture, and some love rekindles. The woman also has an adolescent son whom she bickers with every so often; they both seem to love each other, though. Little quotes, definitions, and Freddie (dog's name) facts make this book unique. The ending is a tad predictable, but the rising and falling actions are entertaining in and of themselves.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"About You" by Dick Staub

The term "fully human, fully alive" comes up quite a lot in this book, and it seems to be at the core of what the author is trying to convey. Perhaps it has to do with semantics, but I kept going back and forth with myself over whether or not this book was good in a Christian sense. At first, I got the idea that the book would puff people up too much and be one of those self-help books that puts God on the back cover but not in the actual pages. However, God and Jesus are actually mentioned a lot. They are in there, along with mentions of the Trinity and the Creator. Bible verses are quoted every so often, as well. A good thing was when Staub said that men are god-like but not God. If this book said otherwise or alluded to Mormonism, I would have had to burn it. Alas, it did not, and Staub earned some brownie points from this reviewer. Another point was when the author claims Jesus didn't come to make people Christian but to make them fully alive. Then, it is stated that the glory of God is man being fully human. (When I say man or men, I mean in the general sense as to include women.) Afterwards, I read about how Staub sees sin as something that separates man from being fully human. So, back to semantics, I think Staub has the right idea but just frames it in a way that may make readers have to re-read passages and find good aspects of the book where they see the mark of a Christian. Overall, the book is intriguing and puts some perspective on how humans are made in the image of God. But, for crying out loud, the author should have just boldly said that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father and that everyone's purpose in life is to glorify Him. The messages in the book are wishy-washy, but aspects of it make readers know Staub is a Christian. Staub, next time you write a book, be more BOLD like the apostles in Acts!


"What Good is God?" by Philip Yancey

This interesting book is written by a Christian journalist. Readers are taken inside the most bizarre and frightening aspects of the world that make many think the world is going down the drain. From the Virginia Tech massacre to prostitution rings to communism to alcoholism to unfocused youth, Yancey covers it all. Not much Scripture is covered, and religion isn't forced upon the reader, but an underlying theme of grace prevails. Due to the graphic nature of some topics, this book should be for more mature readers. There are not explicit scenes or gory details, exactly, but just the idea of the many injustices in the book may make some turn away. Written with the objectivity of a journalist and the subtle subjectivity of a Christian, this book bridges the gap between old-school redemption and the contemporary world we live in.

"Exercising Your Soul" by Gary Jansen

This book is tiny and will be a quick read. However, considering its depth, it packs a mighty punch. There are close to 30 chapters, as well as the old and new stations of the cross. Bible verses are also included, as are several parables of Jesus. With these parables, the author does not impose some meaning on the reader. Rather, the reader is left with a set of questions so they can interpret it on their own and learn how it relates to them. Additionally, many anecdotes are given that are quite facetious. The purpose of this book is to revitalize prayer, meditation, and the overall state of one's soul. It is fun to read. I knew I'd like the book from the moment I read: "This strange little book you have in your hands is essentially a book on prayer. Not the namby-pamby...kind of prayer" (Jansen xiii).

"Raising the Dead" by Chauncey W. Crandall IV, MD

This book starts off with a story of the doctor / author / narrator raising a patient from the dead. Then, it goes into the doctor's story of one of his son's battle with leukemia. Readers are taken into the journey of how the doctor began to obtain his gift of healing. They feel the emotions of the doctor and live the tension in the family. As a Catholic, I wasn't so sure if I'd like this book about revivals, speaking in tongues, prophesies, seeing God, and--oh, yeah--raising the dead. However, the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. I saw the doctor's transformation from trying to tell God what His will is to just obeying whatever God has in store. The most moving part of the book was when, after the boy died, the doctor merely gave His life wholly to God and accepted what had happened. Also, while some televangelists that are known as not being "real" Christians are mentioned, I gleaned that the author had good intentions. After all, several times, the book mentions the power of God and how saving souls for His kingdom is key. If even a conservative Catholic like myself can enjoy this book and not find ways to trash it, it must be something worth reading!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Amish Proverbs" by Suzanne Woods Fisher + FREE GIVEAWAY

This is a small gift book for those interested in the Amish lifestyle or just like adages that have religious roots. Over 200 pages, there are descriptions of Amish perspectives on aspects of life, full color pictures of the Plain lifestyle, and--you guessed it--proverbs to boot. The topics covered are time, money, faith, children / family, word / deed, work ethic, struggles, education, community, character, and comical sayings. The proverbs are two or three to a page, and the font is quite large. The smaller print comes with the intro to each topic, which is only a couple of pages each. The book is a quick read and a nice treasure for any nightstand.
Want a free copy? Revell gave me an extra giveaway copy. To enter to win it, comment with your favorite saying and why you like it. God bless.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Colors of God" by Peters, Phillips, and Steen

This book intrigued me, but after a while, my brow was furrowed. I mean sure, in some twisted way, I believe the authors may actually have right intentions. They want an inclusive evangelical church that reaffirms grace. However, what gets me is how they go about it. First and foremost, the book is about neXus--the authors' church they started. They say that works are not necessary (I disagree as a--here comes the C bomb--Catholic). They also say that, in the story of the Good Samaritan, that the dying man was Jesus. Scripture is not quoted, and the dialog between Jesus and the inquirer seems to be framed to the authors' liking so the true message is cloaked. Also, the authors claim that Jesus' parables 'suck' as life lessons and are meant for spiritual insight only (their word, not mine). At one point in the book, an author says he likes discussing spiritual matters over beer. Another author downplays abstinence before marriage as a lesser sin when compared to hate. Another author says that pastors cursing is not a big deal because they should not have an air of righteousness about them. The book is told with three authors speaking separately throughout and reads like someone is eavesdropping on their conversations. What really ticked me off the most--and I think even Protestants will agree with me on this--is when the authors' put up a diagram with "me" in the center. Upwards with an arrow is "God" and to the right with an arrow is "the world." The authors claim that Christians should not waste time on the "me"-"God" relationship because Jesus already perfected that (they even venture to say that thinking one should strengthen their relationship with God through prayer and devotionals are evil tricks that should be dismissed). They say to work on the relationship with "the world" and work on being inclusive and being nice to others without judging. Somewhere, the authors may have had a good intention, but, theologically, I just don't see eye to eye with them.


Monday, August 9, 2010

"Forgotten" by Melody Carlson

In terms of suspense and voice, this book is one of Carlson’s better books. However, the strong religious part is lacking. The story is about a seventeen year old girl that ends up being homeless. What’s interesting is that Carlson does not just dive into the homelessness. Instead, she tells the girl’s story from the beginning—from riches to rags, if you may. Teenage love is discussed a bit, but there is nothing graphic. Friendships are included, as are young rivalries among said members. While there is no description, things such as drunkenness, prostitution, and sexual abuse are mentioned. What this broken girl experiences while on her own really will make readers reevaluate how they view the homeless and how they don’t know what their friends are really like when they leave the school building and go to whatever place they call home. As with all of Carlson’s books, there is a religious tone. Conversely, it is pushed towards the end and speaks of God, not really Jesus. The one time Jesus’ name is mentioned, it’s when the girl readers a sign for a homeless shelter. Having a relationship with God [and learning about peace, grace, and the fact that bad things happen to good people] is covered. Still, there is no big push for Jesus or that He is the only way. Perhaps, this book will be best for young girls that are not super strong Christians. It will force them to reevaluate their lives and realize that, no matter their circumstance, life can be worse. It’s great that the girl finds a home in the end and develops a friendship with God (yeah, surprise surprise for a Christian publisher), this reviewer would like a book that has more Jesus in it. ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Everything You Need To Know Before College" by Matthew Paul Turner

Knowing firsthand what the experience of college is like, this book was interesting to read. While it is said to be for students in general, the language / tone may be more geared towards male students. Relationships, money, learning, getting involved in extracurriculars, and more, are included. There are quotations and Bible verses interspersed, as well as many quips from the author himself. The manner in which the book is written makes it seem like the author is actually talking to the reader. There are many contemporary references made. Published with “TH1NK,” one would think the book is geared towards Christian students. While Jesus and God are in the book, the words do not scream Christian values and theology. For instance, the author says that students should not drink when underage yet does not say that one should not drink at all (drunkenness not being holy is alluded to a bit, though). Also, while abstinence is discussed lightly as being the better option, the book does include a part about being “safe” even if that sin befalls them. Is Turner not extremely judgmental and theological because he wants to keep students reading the book? Maybe. Either way, there is a subtle religious tone that does come out more towards the end. After all, with the “Message” quotes, Biblical tones and feelings are not conveyed that hard in the beginning. For hard-core Christian students, this book will be interesting but not perfect. For those raised with Christianity but not on-fire for Christ, or even atheists / agnostics, this book will get through to them, make them keep turning the pages, and maybe even think about God in college. Overall, not bad, but Turner’s “Hear No Evil” is much better (

"His Princess Girl Talk With God" by Sheri Rose Shepherd

This 40-day devotional is all pretty in pink. Each topic is introduced with advice and an anecdote here and there. This covers two pages. Then, Shepherd includes a letter addressed to "My beautiful girl" and signed "Your Daddy in heaven" full of heartfelt messages. Then, there is a relevant Bible verse. The pages have flower prints, with white mixed with pale pink. The actual Bible verses are white on top of deep pink backgrounds with flowers. Topics relate to female self-esteem and can relate to older women--not just girls. Shepherd is candid about her own life, even discussing bulimia and abortion. She tries to make female readers learn from her mistakes. Greatest of all, at the end of the devotional, there is a special surprise for non-believers. This book will make readers smile from ear to ear.

Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Flight to Heaven" by Capt. Dale Black

With the words "A Plane Crash--A Lone Survivor...A Journey To Heaven--And Back" sprawled across the cover, readers expect a lot from this "Pilot's True Story." Black, along with the help of Ken Gire, accounts his story. He tells of what made him want to fly, how he obtained a pilot's licence, his crash, his time in heaven, and his life after the ephemeral journey. I've read other books on NDEs (Near Death Experiences) that are mostly slow with exception to the chapter or two that actually details heaven. Well, this book also denotes just a small portion to writing about heaven. However, readers keep turning the pages to read about Black. This isn't something any NDE author can do--although, who knows how much of this should be attributed to Gire's writing skills. Black writes about how and why he kept his vision secret for so long. He also writes of how he was spiritually changed. I won't ruin this for the reader, but I will say they will be touched. Scripture isn't quoted often, but, when it does, it is dead on. Also, the aeronautical detail is accurate, explanatory, and satisfactory. As an aeronautical engineer that is on fire for Christ, I loved this book.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"No More Christian Nice Girl" by Paul Coughlin & Jennifer D. Degler, PhD

With such a captivating title and facetious cover image, Christan women like myself dive into this book, expecting to see what all the commotion is all about. The authors go on to discuss how Christian women are often more nice than good. They also claim that CNGs (Christian Nice Girls, as they call them) are trying to earn points with God when they act nice and are not doing so solely out of the goodness of their hearts. Quizzes, comical side notes, fictitious scenarios, and more are profuse. Escritoire is quoted every so often, and the pronouns relative to God are not capitalized, sadly. Topics covered include avoiding abuse in relationships, not attracting Mr. Wrong, speaking up, not being a pushover, and other situations. Personally, most Christian women will be taken aback by the chapter on--um, er--relations. While it is discussed as being only biblical when in marriage, the way it is discussed raises eyebrows. Giving tips on how to spice up marriage and that God wants couples to be--ahem--"happy" together is not exactly prime theological work. Also, it is noted that Song of Solomon is quoted much with regard to intimacy between spouses--and thus downplayed as an allegory between the Messiah and the Church. All in all, this controversial book has its good moments and even has a fun appendix in the back that cites where in the Bible Jesus turned heads with His outlandish and often surprising behavior that stumped those who were against Him.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told" by Bradley RE Wright, PhD

Stock full of statistics, charts, and graphs, Wright aims to disprove statistics that are profuse in the media. Sound like an oxymoron? Yes. However, Wright does his job and does it well. With all the lies being tossed around—some of which come from the mouth of so called Christians—some people don’t know what to believe anymore. Is Christianity dying out? Are all the youths leaving the church? Wright’s data classifies evangelists, Protestants, Catholics, other religions, and the non-affiliated. He also compounds data with respect to how often Christians go to mass. Topics like crime and love are covered, too. While much of the prose targets evangelists, the book as a whole stands for all readers. Wright tries his best to sound objective, and, as a university professor, I suppose he’s used to it. Christian readers are left wanting more of Jesus in the book. The feel of this book is that it doesn’t make others want to convert; it just makes us Christians feel less like we’re caving in on ourselves. This book leaves much to be desired, but it is still entertaining. My favorite line: “Evangelical Christianity in particular, and Christianity as a whole, is doing a pretty good job of being the church…Celebrate…Give a high-five to the person sitting next to you in church next Sunday” (Wright 213).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"The Lord's Prayer" by RT Kendall

Don't think anyone could write over 200 pages on the simple "Our Father who art in heaven" prayer? Think again. In Kendall's book, each line of the prayer is dissected in great detail. Even the history behind it, when it was said, and who Jesus said it to is expounded upon. An additional chapter even discusses what Jesus said to the crowd after He recited the prayer. The book has five parts and twelve chapters, so it is very reader friendly. The arguments are very dense and Protestant, though. As a Catholic, I don't necessarily agree with all that Kendall says and assumes / proclaims as fact. However, I still learned a lot about the Lord's prayer and the importance of prayer. I like how Kendall capitalizes pronouns when speaking about God. What I don't understand, though, is why he didn't capitalize them when quoting scripture. Also, while some Bible verses are quoted, others are just mentioned with the book title, chapter, and verse. I think, if he wanted to relate a topic to a Bible verse, no matter how small, he should have quoted it. All in all, Christan readers will not agree with everything Kendall says, but they'll appreciate digging into the "Our Father who art in heaven" for a change of pace.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"A Crime to be Rich" by David Snowdon

I started this book with optimism. Seeing as how there is "This Book Is Dedicated To The Lord God Almighty, My Heavenly Father" on page five, I figured I'd finally gotten something good and wholesome to read. Right? Eh, that's tricky.

First, there are swear words. I dismissed that as just dialog. Then, women were described as having curves in right places and dresses like second skins. This was the narrator's opinion, and, granted there weren't graphic descriptions beyond that, I didn't like how women were described in that way. I'm all for wearing dresses, but I think the quality of the print and design should be noticed, not private parts (which, if they are popping out, means the woman needs to buy a size up).

Then, after murdering his own wife, the protagonist finds a new woman he wants to marry. While with her, he cheats on her with a married woman. No scene is expounded--thank God--but it is noted that the woman undresses. She is later dead. There is much killing and coveting of money.

The narrator quotes scripture every so often, and that takes the reader for surprise. As the book concludes, readers don't know if the protagonist will really turn his life to God. He alludes to it, but, alas, they don't know because the book just ends. The nice thing, though, is that, even with all the atrocities the protagonist / narrator did, I know that God would forgive him anyway if he repented.

This book would be best suited for a male atheist / agnostic reader with a sinful lifestyle. The book will hold his attention and make him see that living a life like that will lead to hell. Women probably won't like this book very much. As for strong Christians, the womanizing and murder in the book won't sit well with them.