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.

The Pajama Frame - A Review

The Pajama Frame

Diane Vallere
A Review

Diane Vallere has another winner with The Pajama Frame. The book opens with the death of an old friend. Along with the death of Alice Sweet, Madison Night, the owner of the Mod for You decorating studio gets a couple of nice gifts. First comes the unsurprising fact that  would inherit the contents of Alice’s house. What was a surprise was that the Madison would also be inheriting the locked and sealed pajama factory that had been a major source of income for the women of Dallas, TX, during WWII and in the years immediately following the war.
The first person story continues to move - keeping the reader involved and guessing. Madison Night, entrepreneur, amateur sleuth and the inheritor of the aforementioned gifts, working with newly promoted Captain Tex Allen (her boyfriend) will spend days finding bodies, tracking suspects, and messing with typical crime investigation procedures. The author brings together the elements to make a great cozy mystery - mystery, humor, and a touch of romance - and she does it successfully.
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, February 7, 2018

Murder on the Rocks - A Review

Murder on the Rocks

Shawn Reilly Simmons

A Review

A cozy mystery that does not make the cut for this reviewer.  The underlying plot has potential, but the author fails to carry it out well. Though I regularly review books from this publisher, this is the first book from this series that has crossed my path; thus, I was not sure what to expect.

What I found was a story that focused on a caterer that, from my experience, was understaffed. Many of my college days were spent working on the catering crew for large trail rides in the mountains surrounding California's Central Valley. We were equipped to feed 40-60 men for a week. It required a staff of 12 or so (the owner, the chef, two cooks, and a support staff to feed and clean up after each meal). There is no way a crew of four could have completed the job. This made the story less believable from the very beginning.  

But, besides being unbelievable, the story seemed slow as it developed. Some chapters appeared to offer little to the ongoing plot, other than adding pages to the book. A broken family, a newly hired chef/cook, and a difficult and mobile setting provided a familiar backdrop - but the story just did not want to hold together. I wanted to finish the book so I could move onto the next book in my to be read list. The story was not so poorly composed I wanted to put it down (I have read some like that), but it was sometimes easier to leave the book on the bed stand and hit the hay rather than pick it up to finish the current chapter.

The bottom line:  I will want to read another book by this author. The series has potential, but this book missed the target for this reader. I give it 3½ stars.
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.