Monday, November 20, 2017

The Barbour Bible Study Companion - A Review







A Review
The Barbour Bible Study Companion is a Study Bible with the text of the Bible, thus allowing it to be used with the reader’s preferred translation.  The book is a reprint of an earlier title, The Layman’s Concise Bible Commentary, originally published in 2013. No explanation is provided for the change in title, even though the book is being reprinted by the same publisher.

The notes include brief introductions to each book which discuss the book’s theme, its author, and the occasion of its writing. The notes themselves are similar in quality to that found in most one volume commentaries - not a great deal of depth, but aimed to help the general reader appreciate the Bible’s major history, teaching, and application.  At nearly 500 pages, there is plenty of content for the reader to mull over as he or she reads the Scriptures. The commentary is essentially evangelical in its interpretation, though estimated dates are omitted for significant events such as the Exodus.

Published with an imitation leather cover, the book has an attractive feel and appearance. It would make the perfect gift for someone needing a well-done Study Bible, but who already has a good translation. It would also make for an inexpensive addition to a student’s Study Bible or Commentary library.   
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Imperfect Justice








Imperfect Justice.jpg




A Review


What do you get when you mix spousal abuse, three murders, and an abused child, a stalker, a group of female lawyers, and a successful investment manager - you get Imperfect Justice.  The author did a great job of pulling together too many sub-stories into a very satisfying novel that left this reader wanting more.  


The case was closed when Emilie Wesley’s client did not show up for the Protective Order hearing. She knew it, her boss told her it was true, and the fact that the client had died made it very clear - the case was closed. It did not help that police were convinced that Kaylene Adams, her client, had killed her older daughter, seriously wounded her younger daughter, and then killed herself. The case was closed.


There were two reasons she could not let the case go. First, her own gut told her this young mother would not harm her children. And, then, there was Reid Billings. Reid was the client’s younger brother and, he, too, was convinced that something was amiss. But there was no proof - never was, never would be. Yet, if Emily did nothing, Kaylene’s younger daughter, Kinley, might be left living with a murderer.


Cara Putnam’s experience as a courtroom lawyer has allowed her to write a novel as intriguing as anything coming from the pen of John Grisham or Robert Whitlow. As in her previous book, Beyond Justice, the author weaves in just enough faith and romance with the law to make this book of interest to an assortment of readers. Though not a direct sequel to the earlier work, a number of characters do cross over and help flesh out this newest work. The connection between the two books does not detract from the current story.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie - A Review







HB & ND - The Big Lie.jpg


A Review

I grew up with the Hardy Boys - oh, I knew of Nancy Drew, but never read the books. I could not get my hands on a Hardy Boys book fast enough; it would be my first stop at the bookstore. Sadly, fifty years ago I outgrew them.

This past week Anthony Del Col renewed my interest. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, and Tom Swift, have all been recreated in the 21st century. This reincarnation is not for the book-loving fans of the past, but for the graphic novel loving generation.

The story is top-notch - easy to follow and involved enough to hold this sexagenarian’s attention for the entire 162 pages of graphic art. Though the stars are definitely The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are the starts, but we also get a glimpse of the Bobbsey Twins and Tom Swift. Beginning with the suicide (or was it murder) of Frank Hardy, the Boys’ father, the story quickly shifts to the Hardy Boys being each (or jointly) being involved in the events surrounding the death. The police are quick to identify them as the wanted parties and give little thought to other possible suspects. The biggest part of the book focuses on unraveling the events of the night when Frank Hardy died.

Not a great fan or critic of comic art, I did find the art more remanence of the 60’s or 70’s than the more explosive style prevalent in much of today’s comic art. That may have made this reader feel more at home, but it should not drive away those more often exposed to the current style. Because I was reading an e-book, I am not in a position to evaluate how effective the artwork is reproduced with modern inks and paper.  Having said that, let it be known the e-book is well done.

The book concludes with a number of special features - interviews with the author, the artist, the colorist, and the letterist. A number of close-ups are provided of the art found within the stories pages are also included. And finally, a hint - what is that about the Bobbsey Twins and a future mystery? We will just have to wait and see.

Read the book - whether you are current graphic art fan, a fan of the comic books of yore, or a fan of the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. The reader will not be disappointed - I wasn’t.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stay Calm and Collie On - A Review






Stay Calm and Collie On

Stay Calm and Collie On.jpg

by
Lane Stone


A Review


A pet spa, a British matron, and a collection of characters that are enamored with Elvis Presley all contribute to a great mystery and a fun story.


The story takes place in Lewes, DE, a small coastal town sitting at the lower reaches of the Delaware River. New to town is the proprietor of Buckingham Pet Palace - and it is her employee Henry that is found dead in the store’s delivery van. The case seems to focus on the dogs that Henry is transporting back to their owners - but there is more. The many references to other cozy mysteries and art history woven into the story may for a great setting for a murder mystery.


The police chief was not a lover of dogs, but he would need the help of Sue Patrick, Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, and the other members of the Buckingham Pet Palace staff if this murder was to be solved.


If you like dogs, if you like Elvis, if you like British slang, you will like this cozy mystery. I can only hope that Lane Stone will be creating more novels set in Lewes, Delaware.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.






Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Portrait of Vengeance - A Review






Portrait of Vengeance

Portrait of Vengeance.cover.jpg

by
Carrie Stuart Parks

A Review

It was a story that had its start 20+ years ago. And the fact that it was happening on the Nez Perce Reservation made it that more difficult to investigate the deaths - but it was the job Gwen Marcy, Forensic Artist and trained interviewer, had been given to do. Well, almost. She had volunteered for this case - after all, it was near where her own parents had been killed. And she raced to be on scene as fast as her legs and automobile could move her from Missoula, MT.

The double homicide and a missing four-year-old child would require all of her skills and some that she had yet to develop to solve.

What she did not know was that during the next few days this new case would also force her to look at the murder of her own parents and put her own life in jeopardy.

Portrait of Vengeance is a non-stop thriller. A bit more than the average cozy mystery, it was an exciting read. Though the author is a believer and there are a few hints of faith (see the discussion questions provided at the end of the book), but that is not the focus of the book. The story is well written and attention grabbing - the reader is not likely to be disappointed.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


NIV Color Code Bible (deluxe leathersoft version) - A Review






NIV Color Code Bible
(deluxe leathersoft version)

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A Review

This volume is a kids Bible that has much in common with the widely available Rainbow Bible. The major difference is that not every verse is marked with a highlight color, but only a limited number of verses focused on ten sub-topics:

Animals
Family
Love
God
Sin
Jesus
Praise/Prayer
Washed Clean
Growth
Heaven
A Scripture Index (located near the front of the book, allows the reader to locate each verse assigned to the various categories. The marked verses will make the make the Bible attractive to the young person.

A number of other essays/features will make this Bible increasingly valuable as a child uses it. Brief, but helpful, articles are included on a number of topics:

  • What Is the Bible?
  • Who Wrote The Bible?
  • Why Should You Read the Bible?
  • Why Did God Send Us the Bible?

Mixed in with the essays are several daily Bible reading plans, the Scripture Index mentioned above, and a summary of the meaning of the color code used to highlight scriptures. Note, the essays are aimed at the older elementary school or middle school child - do not expect to find complex, scholarly, responses to the questions asked. This leathersoft edition would make a great reward Bible for kids reaching some milestone in Sunday School, Awana, etc,

This would make a good first Study Bible for the fourth grade student through the first year of middle school. On the same note, it is too simplistic for the typical high school student. For the right student, it would make the perfect birthday or Christmas gift. I will be passing my copy onto a multicultural ministry associated with my church to be provided to a student as a gift or to be added to that ministry's library.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

NIV Color Code Bible - A Review





NIV Color Code Bible
NIV Color Code Bible.cover.jpg

A Review

This volume is a kids Bible that has much in common with the widely available Rainbow Bible. The major difference is that not every verse is marked with a highlight color, but only a limited number of verses focused on ten sub-topics:

Animals
Family
Love
God
Sin
Jesus
Praise/Prayer
Washed Clean
Growth
Heaven
A Scripture Index (located near the front of the book, allows the reader to locate each verse assigned to the various categories. The marked verses will make the make the Bible attractive to the young person.

A number of other essays/features will make this Bible increasingly valuable as a child uses it. Brief, but helpful, articles are included on a number of topics:

  • What Is the Bible?
  • Who Wrote The Bible?
  • Why Should You Read the Bible?
  • Why Did God Send Us the Bible?

Mixed in with the essays are several daily Bible reading plans, the Scripture Index mentioned above, and a summary of the meaning of the color code used to highlight scriptures. Note, the essays are aimed at the older elementary school or middle school child - do not expect to find complex, scholarly, responses to the questions asked.

This would make a good first Study Bible for the fourth grade student through the first year of middle school. On the same note, it is too simplistic for the typical high school student. For the right student, it would make the perfect birthday or Christmas gift. I will be passing my copy onto a multicultural ministry associated with my church to be provided to a student as a gift or to be added to that ministry's library.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.