Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Isaac Newton" by Mitch Stokes

"Isaac Newton" by Mitch Stokes is part of the Christian Encounters series. It aims to explore the lives of grandiosely brilliant and influential Christians. Written in prose form, this book reads like a mix between a novel and a biography; it feel like historical fiction but is far too accurate to be categorized as such. Stokes writes of Newton's life, his mathematics, his disputes with other great minds, and his eccentricism. While it is mentioned every here and there that Newton saw knowledge as a form of worship and believed that more in God with every discovery he made, religion is not as dominant in this book as the title of this series would imply. It is noted that Newton did not fully accept the Anglican view of Trinitarianism, but he was an avid theologian and believed in Jesus as God. Many times, it is stated that Newton put the majority of his time into Biblical study, but the particulars of these are omitted. Also, for those familiar with mathematical physics, some parts of this book will feel slow and not as mathematically described as they could be. Despite these facts, readers will enjoy this book and, in the end, realize that if someone as ingenious as Newton chose Jesus as his Savior, they should do likewise.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Quick and Easy Tips to Lose Weight" by Georgina Salgado Chavez, ND, LAc, Ht

"Quick and Easy Tips to Lose Weight" by Georgina Salgado Chavez, ND, LAc, Ht is exactly what it claims to be--quick. Under sixty pages, this book is as brief as it gets. It starts out by introducing some terrifying facts about diseases correlated to obesity. It then briefly talks about some food additive and types to avoid for good reason. After listing some sources of weight gain, the author lists off forty-nine "tips" for weight loss. These are general and not specific to specific medical needs / body shapes / ages. They are very broad and relate to overall nutrition and taking care of oneself. Most are common sense, and some are even risque that make this book not suitable for younger readers (promoting relations as a calorie burner--yuck!). This book is ideal for the uneducated populus who know nothing of the basics of healthy living, but this book alone will most likely not lead one towards a weight loss plan that is unique to them.

"Make That a Table For Seven" by Angie and Storm Davis

"Make That a Table For Seven: A Grizzly Family Story (Ferbie and Peppie Find a Home)" by Angie and Storm Davis is a cute children's book. It is about two grizzly bears who are homeless. The older brother tries to find a better life for his sister, which involves him asking a well-off family if she can stay with them. The family agrees and even invites the brother to stay. He declines but takes up the offer later in the book. In the end--as predicted--there is one big happy family with the biological and adopted children. The pictures in this book are quite cartoonish and carefully made. This book is great for children that want to learn about adoption.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Out with the In Crowd" by Stephanie Morrill"Out with the In Crowd" by Stephanie Morrill

"Out with the In Crowd" by Stephanie Morrill is a girly teen Christian book. It follows Skylar, a high school senior, as she is faced with incredible decisions in life. Her sister is pregnant with a baby whose father wants nothing to do with her. Her boyfriend is flirting with his ex-girlfriend. Her parents are going through a separation. The list of problems goes on. Also, Skylar has some questions of identity as she leaves behind her partying ways to become a woman of Christian morals. The book is in a series, but readers do not feel lost. After the first couple of chapters, readers feel they know the characters and what they did in previous books. At times, Skylar seems to be whining, but who can blame her? The book consists of mostly dialog and some personal thoughts (as well as dreams) from Skylar. Teen girls may not necessarily identify with all of Skylar's situations, but they will feel compelled to learn what happens to this "real" Christian student.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Ponga Boy" by Phil Lebherz and Philip Reed

"Ponga Boy" by Phil Lebherz and Philip Reed boasts of being "The Greatest Soccer Story Ever Told!" on the cover. It is far from perfect, but the story is quite riveting. It is about a boy from Mexico that is recruited to play at a California University on full scholarship. Full of acrobatics and perfect balance, the boy is known across his small town for his feats that seem to defy gravity. Supplementary characters have a real feel and seem to have real personality, too. The story begins when the boy is ten and progresses quickly to his first college experience. The culture of Mexico is vivid and rustic, while the culture of America is described as luxurious yet sinful. The boy plays soccer and is faced with some opposition from his new teammates. He learns about himself and eventually earns respect. There is also some internal conflict as the son of a fisherman grapples with what his future may hold away from Mexico. When he comes to America, he leaves behind his sweetheart from Mexico to be seduced by a Californian vixen. The romance in the book is not graphic but still not appropriate for young readers. What is interesting is this book sets forth the idea that men--not only women--can be subject to having drugs slipped into their drinks and be taken advantage of sexually. A moving part in the book is when the boy returns home to find his Mexican sweetheart clad in makeup and tight "American" clothes in an effort to keep the boy's heart. He then tells her to go back to her original look and that he likes her just as she is. He ends up back with his Mexican sweetheart, but readers are a bit judgemental when he does not confront her about his previous deeds of infidelity. This book reads like a movie and the sparse typos are like watching a film and seeing a stagehand every so often in the background--it is a bit irritating but people keep watching anyway. The morals of this book are sincere as the boy makes up his mind in the end and does what he knows is right.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God" by Sheila Walsh

"Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God" by Sheila Walsh is a painstakingly beautiful book. It starts out with Walsh's personal problems with trusting God. With brutal honesty, she reveals how she went in a psychiatric ward when her seemingly perfect life came crashing down around her. There aren't as many details of the ward and what went on inside, so readers are left wanting more. Also, as the book progresses, Walsh's life is talked about less and less and the Bible is talked about more and more. Walsh uses men and women of the Bible to illustrate how trusting God is necessary and what happens when they choose to do so or turn their back on God. What's great about this book is that it focuses on the Old Testament greatly. Many devotional books don't do this. So, it is nice to remember some "old school" stories and remember how important they are in daily life. This book is riddled with some grammar errors and typos, but the overall message will touch readers and keep them turning the pages.

"Hear No Evil" by Matthew Paul Turner

"Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost" by Matthew Paul Turner is unique in every sense of the word. Growing up as a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist, Turner lives very strictly. His family's interpretation of God revolves around being ashamed of sin and ignoring popular culture. However, most of the book focuses on the constraints on music. Besides thinking that most secular music is evil, it is interesting to know that Turner's congregation also frowned upon Christian musicians that did not fit their cookie-cutter mold. Musicians that did not mention Jesus enough in their songs or used rock-based beats were seen as malevolent. The humor with which Turner tells his story keeps the reader entertained. Turner leads readers through his life, his career, his journey with God, and his reconciliation with music. Readers are hooked on Turner's curt speech in the beginning of the book. "At my church whenever someone capable of emotional honesty became a member, it created a situation similar to my father's lectures about a new puppy: 'As long as it never poops on the carpet, I'll let it be an 'inside dog.' Anyone was welcome to join us for worship on Sundays, as long as they never emotionally pooped on the carpet" (Turner, 8).

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Surviving Your Doctors" by Richard S. Klein, M.D.

"Surviving Your Doctors: Why the Medical System is Dangerous to Your Health and How to Get Through it Alive" by Richard S. Klein, M.D. is a scarily candid book. Written by a doctor himself, Klein tells it like it is. Everything from taking control of one's one health, asking questions, researching, and just taking over the steering wheel in the car that is medical care. Klein discusses both mental and physical health, small infirmities and diseases, cancers, and prescription drugs. Best of all, Klein uses easy to understand language and does into great depth to explain concepts and terms that the reader may not be familiar with. Also, the way this book is written, a reader does not feel like they have to be a senior citizen. The health issues related--as well as the overall tone of the book--will make readers of all ages feel comfortable. Readers will learn much from this book and take charge in their life as a side effect (pun intended). Also, there is an extensive set of bibliographic notes in the back, along with an index for easy reference. There is even a list of resources with helpful websites included. Overall, this book is well written and does its job of informing all readers of the medical system and flaws therein.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Anything But Normal" by Melody Carlson

"Anything But Normal" by Melody Carlson is a controversial read. It follows the story of Sophie, a senior in high school. She is on the honor roll, has risen to prestigious ranks in her school newspaper, contributes to yearbook, is Christian, and--I almost forgot--pregnant. Confused and not sure what to do, Sophie tries to deny her situation. Readers follow her journey as her tummy continues to get bigger and bigger. They are taken into her soul, as she makes decisions and faces life as a pregnant teen. One would think this book would be tiredly predictable. After all, a Christian prima donna is pregnant; she'll probably just give the kid up for adoption, say some penance, and be done with it. However, Carlson takes us on a wild ride as Sophie makes decisions most unexpectedly, even facing some situations that leave readers befuddled. Additionally, the drama between Sophie, her friends, her parents, her pastor, and her child's father add to the drama. At one point in the book, Sophie does the unthinkable and learns what being a true Christian is all about--undeserved grace. This book does not go into sexually explicit detail, but abortion, date rape, unplanned parenthood, and high school pregnancy centers are touched upon. This book is mentally, spiritually, and emotionally gripping.

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

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Deadlock" by Al and Jo Lacy

"Deadlock" by Al and Jo Lacy is the second installment of the "Return of the Stranger" series. It follows a famous cowboy lawman known for his quick gun skills. This man is called The Stranger and synonymously converts his criminals to Christianity. In the book, The Stranger (John) works with his partner Whip (in book one, John captured Whip, converted him, and turned him into a lawman after he was released from prison). Together, John, Whip, and Whip's trained wolf chase after bandits. John and Whip are married, and John has children. The book progresses with western mannerisms of the nineteenth century and pleasantries that will make readers smile. The true suspense that is described on the back cover (John's daughter being kidnapped) does not happen until the last forty pages or so. Prior to that, the reader is caught up in the setting and characters so they will be informed of events if they did not read book one. Still, they will not be bored if they have read book one. The interactions between the husbands and wives in this book are sweet and not at all graphic. The Christian aspect is Baptist and nice with Biblical quotations. Readers who appreciate Christian westerns will fall in love with this book and eagerly await book three.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Revolve 2010"

"Revolve 2010: The Complete New Testament" is a great Biblezine for girls. Basically what that is a the Bible in the form of a magazine. The text is translated into easy to understand terms, and there are ever modern day colloquialisms inserted. There are parts on the top of the page where Biblical adages are written in "texting" format. Additionally, there are quizzes, advice columns, advice from guys, fashion tips, ecological tips, and more. The pages themselves are glossy, colorful, and quite pretty. There are even are few famous Christian interviews and free downloads. This book is a great way to make the Bible appear more to girls. It is an overall great book. The words of the Lord are inscribed and there are plenty of asides and footnotes to make the reader understand and contemplate said Words. Every girl should own one of these. It will make spreading the Gospel to other non-Christian girls easier and "cooler." Hands down, this book is fantastic!

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Angels" by Dr. David Jeremiah

"Angels: Who They Are and How They Help...What the Bible Reveals" by Dr. David Jeremiah is a delightfully candid look at angels from a sincerely Biblical perspective. In the book, the author goes into depth to address several questions about angels, some of which readers would never even have thought to pose. He covers the hierarchy and terminology of angels from the Bible, as well as what it means when the “angel of the Lord” is written of. The famous angels Gabriel and Michael are covered, as well as many anonymous angels throughout the Bible. Angels’ temperament, physique, appearance, and purpose are elucidated. What’s wonderful about this book is that it is brutally honest. It condones the notion of Valentine’s Day angels and guardian angels as merely civilization’s fancy. Rather, the author explains how angels are created by God--not at all equal with God any more than a caterpillar is (example used in the book)--and that they exist to serve God. So, it makes no sense [and is even a bit heretical] for people to pray to angels or seek them out over God. Additionally, the book touches upon fallen angels, noting how God is more powerful then them and is in control always. Much relevant Scripture is quoted, and none of it seems to be twisted. Also, many famous theologians are quoted, along with Calvin (still, the book is very Biblical and can be enjoyed by all [denominations]). Professionally, notes are included, along with an index and list of where angels appear in relation to the Bible. Amusingly, the author also occasionally employs an imaginary / literary angel guide in his book to take readers throughout both Old and New Testament history to account for angels in the Bible.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.