Saturday, March 10, 2018

Superman: The Oz Effect - A Review

Superman - Action Comics:
The Oz Effect
Deluxe Edition

Dan Jurgens

A Review

Superman is back!

Take that from a sexagenarian who grew up with Superman during the Silver Age of Comics. He has matured, he has married Lois Lane, they have a son named Jon – but it was good to see some of the old, familiar characteristics of one of my favorite superheroes of that era.

In the current story, Superman (aka Kal-el on Krypton) meets a man claiming to be his father, Jor-el. The truth of that claim is never quite resolved, but it is the conflict between Ka-el and Jor-el that takes up most of this book. With the exception of missing the departure of Supergirl from Krypton (was she dropped from the modern age stories?), the story fits well with the traditions with which I was raised.

The colors are bright and attention-getting. I would not expect a 21st-century artist to imitate the work of those who lived through the 50’s and 60’s; such is the case, As the attached clipping may show, occasionally I was caught a bit off guard.

It was fun for this old man to catch up with a story that he followed as closely as possible as a child and a young teen.
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, March 6, 2018

Faith and the Future Force - A Review

Faith and the Future Force

Jody Houser

A Review

A disappointing comic from Diamond Book Publishers. The story seems inconsistent, the artwork seems more like something from Casper the Friendly Ghost. The comic was disappointing to this sexagenarian.

A group of superheroes “adopts” Faith to fight super evil beings. They work together to fight an enemy across time and space that looks more like a three-prong power outlet than like any kind of super-villain. The story did not hold my attention – Twice I put it down and took up more traditional books before again being disappointed in the story.

The comic consists of a four-part story that was originally published six months earlier – but coming six months later, did not improve the story. I normally enjoy comics; I did not enjoy this one.
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.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Paul: An Apostle's Journey - A Review


A Review

Dr. Campbell presents an interesting biography of Paul the Apostle. Rather than focusing on preparing a physical history of Paul (i.e. his travels, the places he visits, the people he meets), he focuses on preparing a spiritual biography of Paul - where focuses on Paul’s spiritual growth and the development of his theology over time.

Though the physical travels of Paul are discussed, the emphasis is on the development of his spiritual life and theology. For example, the first chapter spends considerable space examining Paul’s growing understanding of God - as Christ, as God who reveals himself, and as a triune God.

Though a theological biography, the book is readable and would be appreciated by both laymen and pastors. Others who may find the book of interest are Bible School or Seminary students. It probably is a bit of an overreach to suggest that this book belongs in a local church library - it is a bit more scholarly than the books found in a church library.

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, March 1, 2018

High Treason - A Review

High Treason

DiAnn Mills

A Review

Most of Houston TX was concerned about the rain and the resulting flooding that was inundating the city. The CIA and the FBI were more concerned about the threat to Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal and his family.

The Prince and his sisters had arrived with their mother to receive treatment for the cancer that was ravishing her body at MD Anderson Cancer Center. There were also hopes of building bridges with the oil industries that made their home in Houston.  But none of that could take place if the assassins could find a way to kill members of the family.

The FBI (represented by Special Agent Kord Davidson) and the CIA (represented by Operative Monica Alden) had the responsibility for protecting the Prince and his family. They both had teams of agents working in the background, both in the US and overseas, but they, along with the Prince’s own security detail, would have the job of riding shotgun with the Royal Family.

Attacks would continue to come - bombs, poison, guns, kidnapping, and fraud - nothing was beyond the realm of possibility. And a resolution would only come with the Prince’s life literally dangling in mid-air. 

The book is a thriller - with twists and turns. Unsure who to trust, the characters and the reader will be on their toes until the very end. Both of the two protagonists would have their faith challenged and changed during the time they are forced to work together - coming to the case with unresolved issues in their past.

At times, the stories pace was a bit slower than I would have liked, but well worth the time spent reading it. Whether the reader is looking for an international thriller, a faith-based novel, or an early Spring read, High Treason may fill the need.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

NKJV Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible - A Review

NKJV Faithlife
Study Bible

A Review

Zondervan and Faithlife are offering a new edition of their Faithlife Study Bible - this one with lots of illustrations - most in color or using colored shading on text:

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The study notes are edited from the previous version - some added, some deleted, some edited. Along with the extensive textual notes are 30 essays written by a variety of well-known scholars and educators. Examples include the following:

Douglas Stuart - How to Study the Bible
Randy Alcorn - Why a Good God Allows Suffering
Lee Strobel - Contending for the Faith - Apologetics

Other essays focus on issues related to Bible introduction.  Individual book introductions are included within the normal Bible notes.

The earlier version of this Study Bible was based on the NIV, this newest edition is rooted in the NKJV. Both are well-respected translations - I will let others comment on the pros and cons of using each translation for personal study. Though Greek and Hebrew were a part of my seminary studies, it has been 40+ years since I originally studied it. Most of my career was spent learning computer languages - I know more about COBOL, C++, and Java, than the Biblical languages at this point. I appreciate the variety of translations and their collective contribution to my understanding of the Biblical text.

This Study Bible is well suited for students, pastors, church libraries, and others wanting a deeper understanding of the scriptures.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Uneasy Prey - A Review

Uneasy Prey

Annette Dashofy

A Review

Someone is robbing the senior citizens of southwestern Pennsylvania. And for Zoe, it is starting too hit close to home - to close to home. It begins with a visit from the water company, followed by a visit by thieves taking most of what is of value from the homes of the communities senior citizens. It would take the combined work of EMT Zoe Chambers and her close friend, the Police Chief, Pete Adams, to narrow the pool of suspects and find the guilty party.

Things went from bad to worse when one of the senior citizens died after falling down a flight of stairs.

If the reader has ever lived in a small rural community, the people, homes, and places will already be known. If the reader has never lived in a small town, he or she will want to after reading Uneasy Prey.  The book is just right for a cold February day - where everyone is just waiting for spring to start popping out; and until it does, solving this week’s crime will hit the perfect spot.
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, February 13, 2018

Hope For Each Day - A Review

Hope For Each Day 

Billy Graham

A Review

Hope for Each Day provides daily devotions by the most well-known evangelist of the 20th Century. Each entry consists of brief portion of scripture (normally a part of a single verse, a brief devotion, and “takeaway” providing a short item to do in response the day’s devotion.

Though written by a near-centenarian, the devotionals are current and applicable. The particular edition I received was “large” print – but in actuality, the print is only slightly larger than that found in normal paperback books. The cover is a “deluxe”, leather-like, material. I can find no statement as to whether it is truly leather or imitation leather; regardless, it has a nice feel and looks smart.

This book would fit well on a coffee table, a bedside table, or in a pastor’s study. It would make a great gift for a believer of any age – though someone 50+ years of age would have a greater appreciation for the author’s contribution to the church.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.