Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Razed - A Review

A Review

An intriguing introduction to a hurting family - that was difficult to put down.  My concern is that the story is not complete.  The book ends with one part of the family falling off a cliff with no resolution.  What I do not know is whether I am reading the first book of a trilogy or the first episode of a soap opera that has no resolution?  Either way it leaves me disappointed to be reading an $8 or $9 paperback or a $15 to $20 hardback and still needing to purchase another book..  

There have been some books that have accomplished this satisfactorily (think the Lord of the Rings), but the Foundation Series is not Lord of the Rings.  I would much rather have a complete story with an introduction, climax, and ending - than be forced to purchase the next book in the series with no warning of this fact until the conclusion of the last chapter.  

The story is believable - it even has parallels to the experience my wife and I have had to our own parents.  I do want to know whether Mark and Julie are able to resolve the difficulties they are experiencing with Doug and, to a lesser extent, Cass.  Difficulties with in-laws are among the most difficult issues faced by young families.  When compounded with the loss of a child and moving, the stress for a young family can be extreme.      

The book is well written, it does hold the reader’s interest, and helped this reader to want more.  If chosen knowing that at least one, and perhaps more, books will need to be purchased to reach the end of the story, then a reader might be satisfied.  This reader was not.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Star Trek - The Next Generation:Hive - A Review

A Review

Though only given 50% of the book in order to create my review, it has caught my interest.  Staring much of the ST:NG cast, the main focus, at least for the first half of the book is on Lucas Picard (aka Locutus of the Borg) and Data.  It appears that the Borg has finally devised a means to defeat the Federation - but even as they do, Picard and the Federation leaders are devising a means to fight back - though it may take centuries to finish the job.

One can only hope that they can finish the task in the last half of the book - an ending I will be waiting to read in the near future.  As the book moves forward and backward through time, the reader begins to see the nature of the plot - both its failures and its successes.  The Borg, as always, is deadly, and it will take a carefully laid trap to bring an end to their current attack on the Federation planets - a trap that will be 5 centuries in the making.  
This review is based on a free electronic sample of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Les Miserables (Focus on the Family) Radio Drama - A Review

A Review

It has been an exciting Winter with the musical version of the Les Miserables coming to theaters on Christmas Day and a re-release of the radio drama done several years ago by Focus on the Family.  

Though I had heard snippets of the radio drama in the past, I had never taken the opportunity to listen to the entire show.  I found the story, as presented by Focus on the Family, drawing me in.  Presented as about thirty 3 to 7 minute chapters on 3 CDs, the story moved along quite fast - with enough breaks to allow the listener to maintain his interest while moving through the three hour drama.  Occasionally, the breaks between chapters cut through a speakers last syllable, but not so the word was entirely lost.  

I began listening to this presentation on an Amtrak train between upstate New York and Atlanta, GA.  My wife and I used a splitter with dual earphones - both listening simultaneously.  She commented that it was hard for her to follow the story.  Later, when I returned to the presentation alone, I found no such problem - enjoying the transition from chapter to chapter.

As always, the story is one of transformation and grace.  These are lessons that are harder for some to learn than others - perhaps never learned by others.  May Les Miserables, whether on paper, in the theater, on the radio, or via a CD, teach each of us that God can use us regardless of how broken and bitter we have become.    
This review is based on a free CD copy of this radio play provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Action Bible Devotional - A Review

A Review

Aimed at the pre-teen or young teen crowd, this devotional Bible is readable and draws the reader into the stories that have become foundational to the faith of children in Sunday School.  Rather than telling the reader what the lessons are from the story, the devotionals begin to guide the reader to draw their own conclusions from scripture.

The book consists of 52 stories told in the form of a comic based on an event in scripture taken from the new edition of the Action Bible (2010).  

Each devotional page is divided into eight sections -

  1. A Key Verse from the Biblical source is provided
  2. A devotional that connects the story to the reader's life is provided
  3. Three suggestions for applying the scripture the readers life - with the suggestion that one or more of the suggestions be tried
  4. Three questions that force the reader to process the Bible story that he has read
  5. Space is provided for the reader to provide a personal response
  6. Ideas are provided to share the lessons learned with others
  7. Pages are provided for allowing those with a creative side to express themselves artistically

Though aimed at a teen audience, the questions raised are as valid for the adult reader as they are for the teen.  If they were to be repackaged into study pages alongside a well-done  modern translation, they could hold the attention of a new believer, at the very least, and some mature Christians looking for renewed insight into how the Scripture, as well.

It may be time to challenge your faith - or to give the opportunity to your teen to challenge his or her own faith.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.