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.