Monday, June 18, 2018

100 Bible Stories for Children - A Review

100 Bible Stories for Children

A Review

An interesting collection of mostly well-known Bible stories – 53 from the Old Testament and 47 from the New Testament. Biblical references are given for each story. The stories are well written and easily understood by the older preschool or elementary child. Younger children will, of course, need to have the stories read to them; whereas, older children will be able to read the stories for themselves. The brightly colored images will attract children's interest as well.

I would like to see additional helps included with the stories. These might include questions aimed at the child, questions aimed at the adult, and a set of family or Sunday School activities that would help the child and his or her family or Sunday School class to internalize the lessons. Almost all the stories have enough white space that it would be easy to add this material to the book. An accompanying website would be another way to deliver this type of material. Without this additional material, the book is a collection of stories that many (most?) children will not be able to connect to their 21st-century lives.

The book could easily find a place in the home of Christian parents or grandparents. Similarly, it would easily fit into the local church or public library. Even the new believer of any age would find these stories a helpful step in providing a foundation of Biblical history if they missed gaining this information in their youth.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Story of Computing - A Review

The Story of Computing

Dermot Turing

A Review

Alan Turing’s nephew has compiled a history of computing. The book is an interesting read for this reader who lived through much of it beginning in 1968. Lots of trivia bring the story alive.

Two flaws make the book less than perfect. First, the book reads as it were a compilation of magazine or journal articles compiled into a book, rather than a book written as a complete whole. This is most notable when the reader finds the same individuals reintroduced as if they were new characters in different parts of the book. One gets the impression that the author has forgotten that he had previously introduced the character in a previous context.

The other flaw is the occasional historical gaffe introduced by the author. For example, while discussing the problem of calculating taxes during the time of Caesar Augustus, the author says, “and as our informant is St Luke, who was a tax man, we can assume he is reliable.” But as most students of scripture know, St Luke was not a tax man, but a physician. St. Matthew was the tax collector. A small error, but it makes this reader question the other bits of trivia throughout the book. The scholar who may choose to use this book as a source would be wise to verify any details borrowed from the book.

The book does provide details that this reader has not seen elsewhere – making it an interesting read. It would be a valuable addition to the library of anybody interest in computer history. It also has the potential for serving as an ancillary text for the computer science service course or in the first course as part of a computer science degree.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Formula of Deception - A Review

Formula of Deception

Carrie Stuart Parks

A Review

Ms. Parks presents a roller coaster of a story – where determining the good, the evil, and the crazy, becomes almost as important as determining who-done-it. This reader could not put the book down.

Murphy Andersen had a mission to complete, but truth was not part of it. Her sister had disappeared, her friends were dying, and she needed to put the pieces together. Determining who to trust was as difficult for her as it was for this reader, but slowly and surely, the clouds of uncertainty begin to lift. And when they do, she must fight for her own life and the life of those she had learned to trust.

The book had it roots in Alaska’s part in WWII and the United States involvement in chemical and biological weapons in the late 1940’s through the late 1950’s. Sadly, the US government is not as innocent as our history books would have it’s citizens believe. The author has done an excellent job of weaving history and fiction together into a readable tale.

Formula of Deception is a summer or fall thriller that easily earns the reader’s attention. Some church libraries will appreciate it (though the faith component is not as strong as it is for some faith-based books), but the public library could easily find a place for this book in their collection. This book is perfect for the reader looking for a thrill ride along Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy - A Review

A Review

Joel Rosenberg has put together another thrilling espionage thriller. The new President of Russia has the singular goal of making Russia great again. The new US President is a bit of whimp that has a similar goal for the United States of America. Together they are pushing the world toward a thermonuclear meltdown.

It will take Markus Ryker, former US Marine and Secret Service agent, and Oleg Kraskin, senior aide and son-in-law to the Russian President, working together to find a way to pull these two superpowers away from the brink of cultural annihilation.

I could not put the book down. I had to - but did not want to. I stayed up nights to get more reading done. If I woke up at night,m I would pick up the book to get another chapter under my belt. The author has done a wonderful job of blending life, faith, and a political thriller that tracks with current events.

My hope is that Markus, Oleg, and Jenny (an unwitting CIA operator), are brought together again for more adventures.
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.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Justice Betrayed - A Review

Justice Betrayed

Patricia Bradley

A Review

It is Elvis week in Memphis, but the serial murderer’s victims date back 17 years. But the police have not yet connected the dots. And, if Shirley is lucky, they still will not be doing so any time soon.

Rachel Sloan was on loan to the Homicide division from Burglary and had met the victim the night before at her office. Now she had to investigate his death. Lieutenant Boone Callahan was her supervising officer – and he wanted to be involved. That shouldn’t be a problem, except they had dated before her move to homicide; and superior officers could not date those in their charge. It might create problems.

This killer was smart – different modus operandi, seemingly disconnected victims, over a period of 17 years. It would take the combined efforts of Rachel, Boone, and other law enforcement personnel to put the pieces of the puzzle together before more murders would occur.

The plot is intriguing – and should hold the reader’s interest for the book’s 350 pages. It missed a beat somewhere – at least until the last 20% or so of the book. At that point I could not put it down. Others may find more satisfaction in the book.
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, May 22, 2018

NKJV Deluxe Reader's Bible, Cloth over Board - A Review

Deluxe Reader's Bible,
Cloth over Board

A Review

Thomas Nelson Publishers has made available a nicely formatted Bible designed for reading. Beginning with a cardboard slipcase to hold the Bible when not being read, the Bible itself is bound with a handsome gold and tan cloth over board cover. The text is printed in small margin single column text. My only concern is that the small margins include little room for the reader to add personal notes - though the text can be highlighted easily (NOTE: I prefer to use Crayola Twistable Crayons, rather than liquid highlighters).

This is truly a reader’s Bible. The beginning of each chapter is noted with a small number red number in the margin. Verse numbers are only given for major breaks in the text (i.e. most verses are not marked). There are no book introductions (save for a single sentence quote from a well-known author such as C. S. Lewis or John Piper), no textual notes, no maps - it is a reader’s Bible.

Some may not enjoy the minimalist approach taken by this edition; but for the person who is ready to READ the Bible, rather than studying it, it may be an appropriate tool for the task. There are plenty of Study Bibles out there, having an edition which focuses on the reading of the text may help some to better understand what the authors are saying.  
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Conan Doyle For The Defense - A Review

A Review

Most readers know of Sherlock Holmes and the author who made him famous — Arthur Conan Doyle. But Doyle was far more than an author — he was a trained Physician with a practice of ophthalmology and he was a consulting detective (ala Holmes) in his own right.

This book describes the work Doyle completed for Oscar Slator over nearly 20 years in order that justice would be done. But the book is far more –
  • it is a biographical snippet of both Doyle’s and Slater’s lives
  • a glance at the Scottish system of jurisprudence at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century
  • it is also a survey of criminology as practiced at the end of the 19th century
  • and it gives us a glimpse at the English penal systems during that same time
Margalit Fox has woven these various stories into a very readable tale that will enthrall both Sherlock’s fans, the reader of more traditional legal dramas, and the historian’s desire for more.

The book is fully documented (the last 30% of the book consists of references and notes). Though missing from my electronic ARC, the final book is said to be accompanied by maps helping the reader follow the character’s and the murderer’s path through Scotland and England. It is these added features, along with easy access to the Internet, which bring the book to life.

Though non-fiction, the book reads like a modern-day thriller. And that is what will make the book an inviting read to many 21st century readers.
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.