Saturday, October 25, 2014

Charlie and Felicity Go Wild by David Driscoll

Charlie and Felicity Go Wild, by David Driscoll , is a uniquely original story about the bazaar adventures of two eccentric fishcakes.  Written for children, this story's synopsis on the back cover explains that the young reader will be introduced to Charlie, "a male fishcake who wants to meet a female fishcake", and after he meets Felicity, "everything goes wild".  The book delivers that promise as the reader joins the fishy middle-aged  couple on the inexplicable, action packed adventures of two eccentric and fun loving fishcakes.

The poignant and expressive illustrations depict Charlie and Felicity fishcake in unforgettable detail.  These middle aged fishcakes are a blend of human and fish in their physical appearance. Charlie's  masculine features, exaggerated cleft chin with subtle unshaven stubble is the perfect partner for the middle aged, full figured blonde haired Felicity.  Her face, adorned with just a hint of scaled texture, gives her a wizened middle aged, fishy appearance. The original impressionistic illustrations are quite unexpected in their graphic detail and distortion.

Their day is packed with more adventure than one could imagine.  In the first paragraphs of the story, not only does  Charlie's bathing suit slip off as he takes a swim, he also meets Felicity and their long day together begins on a "funny shaped boat". They watch hippos together, and then they chase a snake. It isn't long before Charlie decides to catch the snake, and gives it to Felicity to hold. An illustration depicts a grinning Charlie as Felicity holds on to a big snake.  Nevertheless, rather than finding it to be fun, Felicity stealthily releases the snake back into the water when Charlie turns to paddle.  In the next scene, their boat becomes stuck in big, shiny bulbous rocks and twigs.  Charlie fishcake, with his sagging pants and exposed  buttocks, is still able to come to the rescue. Not long after, they escape from a crocodile attack .  And without a break "a gray snake- thing" that "reared up from underneath them", turns out to be a playful mischievous elephant. Charlie becomes jealous, feeling left out of the fun, as Felicity rides the elephant's trunk and seeks revenge when he tricks the elephants into entwining their trunks together. And if that wasn't enough, they drift off into a magical woods with gigantic red and white mushrooms. Felicity has fun bouncing on the mushrooms until Charlie finds her and bounces with her.  Then pulled back into reality, Charlie finds that he must explain to Felicity that their boat has a hole in it, which would leave them stranded.  They come up with an idea using teamwork to find a "big mushroom to plug the hole". It is so large that Charlie hesitates, but with some encouragement from Felicity, he pushes and heaves it out of the ground and with effort they "squeeze the mushroom"  and "plugged the hole".  The boat repair is short lived when they become hungry and engorge themselves on a giant mushroom binge.  With the demise of their boat, their day at sea comes to an abrupt end as an illustration of depicts them walking hand in hand into the bright orange sunset.  In the end of the incredible saga of these two fishcakes, the reader most likely will feel as if he was on a big adventure himself! So many events are packed into this story. Yet in the end, there is a lesson about teamwork, and that even with  poor choices, things can still work out in the end. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the New and Enhanced edition released for 2014, is a hefty, full color, 1232 page volume. The full color photographs, maps and charts which appear on almost every page make this reference book educational and interesting to read. Bible lands, places, events people and facts are brought to life.  Unlike other minimalist dictionaries or encyclopedias that contain text only entries- this unique hybrid volume is reminiscent of a text, yet the entries are organized in alphabetical order.  Some entries are short and to the point, basically definitions, suchh as the informative, yet brief definition of "threshing floor", an expression a reader will find in bible reading. Other entries are extensive articles spanning several pages with illustrations and photos.  For example, the "Roman Empire" is a major topic and treated as an article with its own sub topics, photos, diagrams and maps.  This book is so much more than a dictionary, but also a comprehensive text. There is even an informative entry or article, a few pages in length, dedicated to "Bible Versions".  Basically, many of these entries are topics in of themselves, springboards for the reader to learn more about a particular topic.  While this book isn't intended to read cover to cover, I feel that readers will miss so much valuable information if they simply limit this book to only occasional use as a dictionary.

This book is bound with a sturdy hardcover and binding.  It will stand up to years of use and enjoyment.  This book is perfect for bible students, history enthusiasts and those interested in the bible in general.  The font is easy to read and won't cause eye strain.  The pages are thick and not onion skin thin.  If you are looking for a good reference volume about the bible and bible culture, this is the only book you will need.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doctor Who- The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker

The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker is the newest edition the Doctor Who series of books. Each book is like an episode and this book in particular centers around  mysterious mutant insects.  Doctor Who is a popular TV series originally produced in1963 and has since earned a place in pop culture. Who hasn't heard of the infamous traveling "Tardis"? Anyone familiar with popular media would recognize the "Public call box" as it  travels in space.  There have been many "Dr Whos" and this fiction novel is based on the adventures of the 12th doctor. 

This fast paced story jumps right into the action- with an enlarged spider.  Fans of the popular TV series will enjoy the common themes of the television show, within this book.  Readers who enjoy  mystery and science fiction fans alike, will also enjoy this book. There is enough authentic graphic scientific description to hold the attention of true Sci fi fans.  The authentic historic elements of traveling back into time will be appreciated by history enthusiasts.  This is a well rounded story with a variety of elements. While the tv series is equally enjoyed by adults as well as teens and children alike, this 250 page novel is written at the middle school age level.  It is an appropriate book choice for teens or  young adults.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Broadway books an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review.

Bugs Big & Small God Made Them All by Will Zinke

Bugs Big & Small God Made Them All by Will Zinke is a new full color book about books.  Filled with sharp, full color glossy photos with vivid images of bugs that appear to jump out at the reader, this is one of the best books on bugs that I have read.

Written in a graphically appealing style- sharp state of the art, up close photography, bold fonts, and colorful graphics, this informative book is perfect for kids of all ages, even up to high school. This book is not only an authority on all types of bugs, but it is entertaining to read as well.

This book is divided into chapters or sections based on insect categories.  For example there is a section on "Bugs In Camo", "Bizarre and Beautiful" and "Jumbo Giants". These amazing creatures are very diverse.  The beauty and diversity portrayed in this typical book differs in the usual bug themes of books normally in this genre which often concentrate on the gross and disgusting aspects of bugs.  Many scholastic reader books, and popular bug books on the secular market draw in the reader by calling attention to the more loathsome elements of the insect world such as creepy white maggots, or dirty cockroaches.  In striking contrast, the author focuses on the beauty and uniqueness of these amazing diverse creatures.  For example, theer is a beautiful, shiny golden beetle, known as the Gold Jewel beetle.  It looks like solid gold.  Who knew such a beautiful beetle existed.  there is also a mirrored rainbow bug called the Chrysina beetle.  Some of these bugs look like rare gems.  Who would ever consider to use the word beautiful and beetle in the same sentence- yet the author shows bugs that are beautiful beyond one's imagintation.    The bugs that are adorned in camo are not simply grey are brown.  They mimic the beautiful ornate colors of autumn leaves, and beautiful shades of flowers.  The author, Will Zinke, dispels the old stereotypes of the insect world, and packages them in a whole new way.  This unexpected way of looking at ordinary common bugs has changed my outlook on bugs and is sure to leave impressionable young minds with a lasting taste of God's magnificent wonder.

Included in the back are perforated bug cards that can be torn out of the book.  As a blogger for Moms of Master Books I received a copy of this for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Power of Unstoppable Faith by Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujucic is not a side show curiosity, but rather a spiritual and powerful sympol of inspiration and the glory of God.  The newly published booklet The Power of Unstoppable Faith by Nick Vujicic is based on his book "Unstoppable".  This small 55 page outreach booklet provides more moticational and inspirational messages for those readers who may not be familiar with the author or his books ehich also include: "Life Without Limits".  Many curious people have probably viewed the popular You Tube videos online or watched a Discovery health documentary about Nick Vujicic, known as the man born without arms and legs. Yet there is much more to Nick than his severe disability. What many probably do not know about Nick, is that he is perhaps among the most inspirational motivational speakers there is. Gifted with inisght and empathy, his trials with his disability have been turned around and used as a gift to motivate and help others. He explains that he found happiness when he learned that despite his imperfections and disability, that he is perfect in God's eyes and that he is part of God's creation "designed according to His plan". 

People of all ages and back grounds can  relate to Nick's message and  words. This little easy to read booklet  addresses spiritual issues that Nick has battled which can apply to each and everyone alive.  His handicap has not stopped him from doing whatever he wants- not even surfing or getting married.   He percieves himself as enabled instead of disabled, counting himself blessed admist a world where many experience all kinds of pain and suffering. His books,  harnesses Nick's gift of empowerment to motivate the reader no matter what challanges he may face in life. He does not spend time feeling sorry for himself.  These booklets get his message out to more people.  Even though as a young boy he contemplated suicide, with the power of his faith in God he was able to overcome.  He does not feel sorry for himself.  Quite the contrary, he actually counts himself as blessed and emmpowered, feeling thankful for his life. In his book, Nick speaks to the reader personally in his books and his public speeches, as if addressing the reader one to one: "I can't know exactly what your burden is, nor do I pretend that I've ever been through a similar crisis....You may not be able to see a bright light at the end of your own dark tunnel right now, but know that my parents could not have envisioned what a wonderful life I would have one day." He acknowledges the validity of those who suffer and does not minimize the pain others may be going through- knowing that there are those who suffer from a host of many issues: personal, physical, emotional and financial. There is no life that is insignificant, when Nick claims that God uses his impediments for God's glory and that God intentionally led him to help another familiy whose little boy was also born without arms and legs. Its about time an inexpensive  booklet was made and it is sure to give the reader an inspirational boost no matter what his or her circumstances may be. It is ironic that a man without arms and legs, is perhaps among the most dignified, well adjusted individuals, with the God given gift of empathy and inspiration. This booklet is a good outreach method for all readers, disabled, young, depressed- anyone who seeks to find greater meaning and purpose.  As a blogger for Water Book publishers I recieved a packet of these booklets for the purposes of review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NKJV study bible- full color edition

I have found my new second place favorite bible! This is the bible that I have been waiting for. I know in a previous review, I said that Zondervan's  NIV First Century bible takes first place.  Now, the only reason this new NKJV bible takes 2nd place and not the first, is because of the particular translation isn't my favorite for personal reading.
This is the newly released NKJV study bible-  published in full color!  The simple, minimalist, modern book jacket gives little clue to the visual goodies contained within. The quality, durable hard cover will last with heavy use. The pages are perfect in their thickness and durability.
As far as the content: This bible is an update to the already existing NKJV study bible for those who may be familiar.  I find it is also similar to the out of print NIV Archeological study bible, and the newly published NIV Essentials study bible and NIV First Century bibles. The biggest difference is that this is a New King James translation- more literal and traditional in style and language than the NIV.  If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as beautifully designed and illustrated, the full color NKJV Study Bible is the only bible you will need.  This bible has every study feature you could ever ask for in a bible- including historical, theological and life application information.  This bible is full of full color photos, maps, charts, illustrations as well as the tiny footnotes- traditional study notes on the bottom of the page.  It is like a history book and bible rolled into one volume.  This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers.
As far as everyday study, the font is big enough so as not to require the reader to squint.  Unlike most study bibles where the bible text is extremely tiny, I found the bible text to be readable. I am most impressed with the full color interior and photos of this bible.  I have been waiting for another full color bible.  It is nice to see that the publishers recognised the need for a full color bible- with an abundance of study resources and photos from the historical point of view. I do not feel any bible reader would ever need to buy another study bible.  Perhaps teachers, sociologists,  history enthusiasts and tourist travelers will be drawn to this bible as well. If you are wondering why to choose this bible over the most recently published full color bibles- I'd choose this particular bible if you prefer the NKJV. There is some similar content such as illustrations, maps and charts that you will find in the First Century and Essentials bible.  Therefore its redundant to own all three in my opinion unless you collect  bibles. Personally, I feel the Essentials bible is already dated and obsolete because its mainly in black and white with blue spot color.

For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, the NKJV study   bible is among the top choices in my opinion. I think any bible reader will be impressed.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Thomas Nelson.  Personally I'd like to see a NLT or NIV translation of this bible published too as I prefer these translations for home study.

Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.