Sunday, 28 June 2015

Make No Bones About It!

I must admit that I had a little difficulty in trying to decide how I would introduce this review today. The story is based on bones and not chicken or fish bones but human bones.

The book has its genesis in the Bible. The scripture that it covers is located in Ezekiel Chapter 37:1-14.  It is entitled Secrets of the Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37:1-14 -The Mystery of a Prophet's Vision.

 This christian book is written by Susan Rohrer. It is a book that can be used for devotions/study.
This novel is interspersed with Bible guides to assist you in the interpretation of the text itself.  

It doesn't contain any clinical messages about death or dying.  It is not a book that would make you scared or anything of the sort.  It conveys a spiritual perspective to the "valley of dry bones".  I actually makes you think more critically about life in general.  It also encourages you to take a different look at your experiences or difficulties that you encounter each day.  I completed this review on 19 March 2014. Here it is:-


Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

Secrets of the Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37:1-14 - The Mystery of a Prophet’s Vision by Susan Rohrer is an in-depth explanation of the passage of scripture about the valley of dry bones. On a spiritual level, Miss Rohrer is suggesting that each person must dig deeper and avoid looking at life’s events at face value. Her analysis of the hymn writer William Cowper is linked to the passage as well. 

In essence, Miss Rohrer is saying that even a published and renowned hymnologist had low or 'dry bone' moments in his life. This sojourn in the valley of dry bones should make us realize that we need to rely on God. The habitual practice of depending on God would help us in the trials of life. We would therefore avoid being in valleys of dry bones and would remain spiritually renewed.

Miss Rohrer’s analysis of Ezekiel 37:1-14 is presented in the format of a criminal case. This is an ingenious method and it really compels the reader to dig deeper and read on. On an intellectual level, you don’t even realize that you are reading about a scripture passage! I like the way that Miss Rohrer injects probing questions into the chapters. This allows the reader to relate to the book in a personal way. It also encourages accountability. Each person has to answer to God. 

According to Miss Rohrer, we should not allow our innermost desires to lead us astray. We must use the Word of God as a rudder to steer us in the right direction. Secrets of the Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37:1-14 - The Mystery of a Prophet’s Vision is an uplifting and interesting book. It really grips you and I recommend it to anyone who needs spiritual refreshment.


Saturday, 27 June 2015

True Love

You guessed it!  Love is the theme of my next book review. Who doesn't remember the thrill of being in love, wishing and hoping for that special phone call from that special person? Praying that for once this new relationship would exceed all others with its intensity?

Author Melissa A. Hanson wrote this novel "A Healing Heart".  It is her first book.  It is based on a love story between two teenagers.  When things seem to be going well for the couple, a drama queen steps in the midst to upset the proverbial apple cart.

I completed this review on 8 March 2014.  I gave it 4 stars and Ms. Hanson gave me 5 stars for my review. Her comment was "I appreciate the acknowledgement of having something a bit different than the very common vampire and violence topics within the YA genre these days."

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Here is my review :-

A Healing Heart chronicles the love affair between Bailey and her high school sweetheart Collin. The meeting of the two lovebirds in the park sparked an attraction which came as a welcome distraction for Bailey.  She was still haunted by the memories of the fatal car crash which took the lives of her beloved parents and her siblings.  Bailey flourished under Collin's avid attention.  They instantly became an item.  This new romance was threatened when the conniving Savannah visited town. Savannah, an old time school friend of Collin, had intentions of her own.  She develops an evil plan to disrupt the budding romance between Collin and Bailey, in hope of claiming Collin herself.  Who will win in the end?

Ms. Hanson's story is a very touching one.  I love the way that she relays the plot using the viewpoints of the main characters Collin and Bailey.  This creates a more realistic feel.  The story comes alive in front of the reader.  A Healing Heart is a true love story.  It allows the reader to believe in love again and the fact that love has no boundaries.  According to Ms. Hanson's story, love conquers all!  Ms. Hanson's use of simple language allows the reader to understand her work as well as identify with the characters.  A Healing Heart is an emotionally gripping tale.  It is a refreshing read amidst all the stories perpetuating violence, vampires, and the like that are so prevalent nowadays.  This gem of a book stands out as a representation of the age-old values of love and loyalty between lovers or friends.  I recommend this book to everyone because it is a lovely story about finding true love.

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers' Favorite
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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Terrified of Teens?!

When your bouncing babies reach the teen years, parents have to regroup mentally and gear themselves to deal with lots of changes.  Parents have to dodge mood swings, bouts of laughter; tolerate approve sleep overs, chaperone fetes and night club outings and the like.  The teen years are chock full of uncertainties.

Author Andy Kerckhoff's book is geared for all parents especially those who might throw their hands up in the air.  These adults might be saying to themselves "what should I do if my son is always on his Samsung 6 and doesn't take out the trash when I tell him to?" Personally, I can identify with these parents because I also have a teenager. However, my problem is not the phone itself, but the headphones! (having to repeat myself "nuff" times to be heard).

Mr. Kerckhoff's book entitled Critical Connection - A Practical guide to Parenting Young Teens is filled with excellent advice for adults who have the responsibility of raising teenagers to be responsible citizens. Critical Connection is actually a bestseller on Amazon.  I reviewed this non-fiction novel on 3rd March 2014.  here is my take on this insightful book:-

Critical Connection - A Practical Guide to Parenting Young Teens is a practical handbook designed to educate parents about good parenting. It is filled with examples of guidelines for daily living that are useful for navigating this confusing period in the lives of most teenagers. As a result of the onset of technology, mobile phones, video games and media on the whole seem to be taking over the lives of youngsters nowadays. Mr. Kerckhoff has suggested that parents must take a more active, supervisory role in their children’s lives and prevent a sedentary lifestyle from creeping in. Addiction to social gadgets can be preempted by creating a balanced lifestyle. For example, parents can encourage teens to go outdoors more often – involve them in activities like swimming, hiking or basketball. Their social, mental and psychological health must be maintained. In total, Mr. Kerckhoff revealed that parents should encourage their kids in all their endeavors. Teach them long-term skills like saving money and doing chores to prepare them for adulthood.

Mr. Kerckhoff’s work is an essential handbook for today’s world. I appreciate the fact that he divided it into two distinct components –connections and guidance. This is so important because as parents we sometimes believe that our children will heed our instructions without us forming that emotional bond with them. This connection is vital if we are trying to impart knowledge and useful tips to our children to help them navigate the storms of life unscathed. Mr. Kerckhoff has skillfully devoted chapters to basic areas of life like the importance of athletics, work ethic and so on. I also like his inclusion of certain Bible verses to elucidate his points. He uses simple language which most readers can understand. In addition, his down to earth approach makes Critical Connection – A Practical Guide to Parenting Young Teens an enjoyable and informative read for both parents and teenagers. It will surely educate those parents who are overwhelmed by the rapid mood swings and behavior that their teenagers exhibit.

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

No Masks Allowed!


Have you ever thought about how many of us are walking around doing our daily chores, etc but feel numb inside?  Hiding our true feelings as a result of hidden trauma or hurts that we have never resolved emotionally? Just opting to wear masks to hide our true selves?

Georgie, the main character in The Beadmaker was doing just that. Raped as a teenager, she grew up to be a responsible adult but was haunted by her past. Her son was able to track her down and forge a relationship with her.  This book is written by Jessica Hemingway.  It is a fiction novel for women.  I completed the review on 28 February 2014. Here is my review:-

The Beadmaker is generally a fast paced novel cataloging the effect of incest in Georgie’s life. Georgie, or Georgina, returns to the UK after many years. She is reunited with her dysfunctional family when she attends her grandfather’s funeral. According to Ms. Hemingway, she is confronted with the fact that her illegitimate son has tracked her down under the guise of a job proposal. Georgie is overcome with the remembrance of painful memories of the incessant sexual assault by her late grandfather, the willy-nilly beatings she suffered at the hands of her father, and also the lack of emotional support in her childhood years from her mother and siblings. Through the encouragement of her long-lost son, they both reveal the news of his true heritage and the circumstances that caused her to run away from the family home in her younger days.

The pace of The Beadmaker is a bit slow at first, but as the dynamics of the family interaction step up, I did not want to put down this book! Ms. Hemingway’s book is very enthralling. I got caught up in the emotion of what the main character was experiencing. The issues of incest and illegitimacy are tastefully developed. The story is not overly dramatic but simply presented in a pleasant descriptive manner. I felt thoroughly enveloped in the episodes as though I was Georgie. The marriage of the past and present lives of the personae is very effective in representing the humanity of the characters, especially Georgie. This juxtaposition in essence gives The Beadmaker a realistic quality. The Beadmaker is an enjoyable work with a serious message. It should open your eyes especially in relation to how we raise our children as well as the environments they are exposed to.

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Drum Roll Please!

Blogging is becoming a new habit for me. Unfortunately drumming will not be come a habit in the near future as I don't own a drum set.  Incidentally, it has been proven that drumming has a positive effect on a person's psyche.  It actually helps to reduce stress as well as alleviate depression. Maybe we should all invest in a few drum pieces!

This subject is the focus of my next book review.  This review was done on 20 February 2014.  The name of the book is The Drummer's Manifesto - Empowering Your Musical Brain for Optimal Health.  It is written by Pamela Lynn-Seraphine. I gave the book 4 stars.  Keep reading:-

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

The Drummer's Manifesto is a practical book outlining the overall benefits of drumming. Ms Lynn-Seraphine goes into a detailed account of the spiritual, social, and psychological effects of drumming on the human psyche. Interspersed in her knowledgeable synopsis are actual interviews and excerpts from websites and literature to support her hypothesis. Ms. Lynn-Seraphine clearly emphasizes that drumming is proven to defeat the ravages of stress on the human body. As indicated, stress can create a myriad of health problems. On the other hand, drumming is a viable option in terms of alleviating stress. This presentation of drumming shows that this activity instills joy and other positive emotions in participants. Music therapy via drumming is especially beneficial to persons who, for example, suffer from depression.

Ms Lynn-Seraphine has created an interesting piece of literature. The Drummer's Manifesto is a quick read. It is very informative and inspiring. Her research is very precise and each chapter is well supported by the necessary evidence to support her argument. This is the first time that I have read about drumming in such a positive and restorative light. I believe that having chapters devoted to the social, psychological and other benefits is useful in getting the point across to the reader. This lends to the credibility of the book. The Drummer's Manifesto is a unique book because it indicates that there is a clear advantage to being involved in musical activity. The positives as outlined by Ms. Lynn-Seraphine are quite phenomenal! I enjoyed reading The Drummer's Manifesto because the information is very relevant to today’s society.

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Monday, 22 June 2015

93 and Counting In a nutshell, I have actually completed 93 reviews so far.  I had promised myself that I would publish my blog to celebrate the 100th review.  Well, I was a bit early! What might surprise readers is that I was never in the habit of counting the reviews after completing them.  I just used to get in the groove of reading the book and writing my analysis.

Two years ago, I had made the first attempt to create the blog but I couldn't get it done.  I was saying to myself that this thing was too hard - you know looking for excuses and such.  I didn't know how to format the template and such like and I gave up. In 2015, I just went and tried again and it was so easy like squeezy.

  Writing my third review was quite easy too.  It was completed in February 2014.  It was based on another christian book by Daphne Tarango entitled Dragonflies, Ketchup, and Late-Night Phone Calls.  It is a 31 day journal revealing God's blessings.  Here is my review:-

Dragonflies, Ketchup and Late-Night Phone Calls: 31 Days of Journaling God’s Blessings is a delightful collection of innermost prayers to God. These prayers are chock-full of praises to God for all situations, occurrences, and material possessions in life. These prayers are dedicated to each day of the month and are preceded by Biblical passages. This daily journal is constructed with a section for readers to habitually jot down their “thank yous” to God for each portion of the day - morning, mid-day, evening, and bedtime. Ms. Tarango encourages her readers to have an attitude of thankfulness to the Creator at all times. In essence, this book is a reminder that each person is dependent on God for his or her existence. Even the little things like ketchup and phone calls that are taken for granted can be important to someone.

Ms. Tarango has a knack of grabbing your attention, beginning with the title of her book! It immediately draws you in and makes you wonder what she is referring to. This entices the reader to go on reading. I like the fact that the style of the book resembles a personal ode to God. This rich outpouring of gratitude to God satisfies the soul. This is the first prayer book I have read that gently persuades the reader to do as the Bible says - pray without ceasing. It is very engaging and I was compelled to read a few chapters at one go instead of one prayer a day. It inspires you and keeps your spirits in a buoyant mood, regardless of your personal situation. Dragonflies, Ketchup and Late-Night Phone Calls: 31 Days of Journaling God’s Blessings is a brilliant, uplifting piece of literature.

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite 


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Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Long Break

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You may be wondering what a long break signifies.  When I did my first book review for Readers Favorite in 2013, I didn't do the second one until 26 Jan 2014.  First of all, I wasn't as serious about writing at that time.  One day the proverbial light bulb came on in my head.  Why not pursue this review writing and see how far it would go?

This second review is based on the book Choices Are For the Living by Michele Davenport. It is a christian book giving pointers on living a life for God. Here is my review:-

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

Choices are for the Living is a practical book outlining how to live a Christian life. Ms Davenport gives a down to earth account of lessons her personal life has taught her. The book explains parts of the Bible that you would normally read and overlook. It forces you to be called to account as a soldier in Christ’s army. Her consistent comparison of Bible passages with real-life examples makes this an ideal handbook for life. It also contains useful exercises at the end of each chapter, which encourages deeper reflection and inspires us to take action as well. This book dictates that every person should take their walk with God more seriously. Being physically present at church is no longer acceptable; we are reminded that God sees our true intentions.

Choices are for the Living is fast paced; it challenges you. The tone is personal but not judgmental. The author's style of interjecting her narration with hard-hitting questions strips you naked just as you would imagine God sees you. Her no-holds-barred review of her personal life details envelops you, yet makes you really pause and think. This book is an exceptional reader’s item. Choices are for the Living really speaks to your soul and forces you to analyze your daily interactions with others, and ask yourself whether you have accomplished any positive outcomes recently. You even wonder what you can do to make life easier or more enjoyable for your family members, neighbors, or co-workers. It promotes inner reflection and it should be a fixture in every church pew worldwide.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Blogging 'Bout Books

Hello there.  My name is Valerie. This blog is going to outline my journey with reviewing books.  I have been a book reviewer with Readers Favorite since 2013. I have always had a passion for reading.  My mother once told me that as a little girl I never picked up a book upside down! I was delighted when I was able to grasp the opportunity to read books plus earn a little something extra at the same time!

I do remember that the first book I ever reviewed was entitled The Condor Song.  This review was completed on 4 June 2013. The name of the author is Darryl Nyznyk. It is basically a novel showcasing the condor bird, a type of vulture and the backdrop is set in California.  An environmentalist by the name of Buck Anderson stumbled upon this endangered species of birds. Unfortunately, a company headed by a shrewd and greedy businessman wanted to develop the area where the birds were located and the tug of war began over the ethical thing to do in this scenario.

Who doesn't want to read books?  They stimulate the imagination!

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