Book Review: Almost Gone

Almost Gone

Twenty-Five Days and One Chance to Save Our Daughter

by John Baldwin; Mackenzie Baldwin
Howard Books

Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 14 Nov 2017

I am reviewing a copy of Almost Gone through Howard Books and Netgalley:

The Baldwin family came within days of loosing there seventeen year old daughter Mackenzie forever.  A very strong mind, and intelligent young lady she was nevertheless seduced by a man half a world away in Kosovo.  Thankfully her parents caught wind of what was happening so she did not leave on that June day in 2014.  The FBI was in her living room one day so instead of headed to the airport she was headed back to her parents house.

A year before that day in the living room Mackenzie asked her Dad John if it was okay if she brought a Koran.  A question that took him aback explaining that she wanted to compare it to the Bible.  Reluctantly her Father agreed seeing it as an opportunity to understand her Faith better.

Despite the fact that her parents warned her about the danger of chat rooms, and monitored her social media accounts, one day Mackenzie and her friend decided to try a site called Omegle out, this was where she would meet Aadam, soon they would connect on Facebook as well.  Mackenzie believing he was from New York. She would later learn that was a lie he was infact from Kosovo!  They would soon begin video chatting through Skype as well.

By August of 2013 the start of her senior year Mackenzie was no longer hanging out with her old friends.  And her discussions with her Father began shifting towards the Islamic point of view. Ultimately she outright rejected Christianity.  Both her Mother Stephanie and her Father John tried to talk to her but to no avail.  She just pulled farther and farther away from her family.

The more she talked to Aadam, the farther she withdrew from the people she loved.  Before long she was committed to worshipping at a Mosque despite the fact that she felt uncomfortable.  It made Aadam Happy so she did it.

It was a family friend named Scot who made John aware that Mackenzie was planning to go to Kosovo to marry Aadam. The FBI learns about her fraudulently get another passport, and warns her of the dangers that she could have met.

It was not that John and Stephanie feared their daughter would become Muslim, they feared worse that she could be trafficked even killed.  

Thankfully Mackenzie Baldwin did not make that trip, and completely cut off ties with Aadam , she is a college student with a double major now, Psycholgy and Child Development And works at Petsmart.  

Five out of five stars.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Backbone


Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One

by Karen Duffy
Skyhorse Publishing

Arcade Publishing

Biographies & Memoirs , Health, Mind & Body
Pub Date 07 Nov 2017

I am reviewing a copy of Backbone through Skyhorse Publishing/Arcade Publishing and Netgalley:

In this Karen Duffy a former MTV VJ, Revlon Model and actress lives a fulfilling and active life despite dealing with Chronic pain for the past twenty years.  

In this book Karen Duffy talks about the pain that hurts you and the pain that changes you.  Acute pain is generally caused by tissue damage, and the pain will usually go away in a three month period.  When the pain progresses from acute to Chronic the pain becomes permanent. She goes on to describe physical pain as isolating

Karen Duffy likens living with a degenerative disease to living next door to the bully, because you never know when he might come over to hurt you.  She goes on too to talk about the stages of grief after learning our pain is Chronic.  She goes on too to talk about the difference between therapy animals and helper animals.  

With humor and heart Karen Duffy talks of life living with Chronic Pain.

She goes on to remind those with Chronic Illness, or Chronic Pain that you should dress in a way that is comfortable, but not always dress down.  She reminds readers that making an effort to look your best on the days you feel the worst is well worth it.

In this book she goes on to remind us that what works for one person dealing with Chronic Illness may not for the other so respect their choices.

I give Backbone five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Among the Early Evangelicals

Among the Early Evangelicals
The Transatlantic Origins of the Stone-Campbell Movement

by James Gorman
Abilene Christian University Press

Christian , History
Pub Date 08 Aug 2017

I am reviewing a copy of Among the Early Evangelicals through Abilene Christian University Press and Netgalley:

Alexander Cambell became the first president of the American Christian Missionary society in 1849.  Twenty five years before that Cambell had rejected the legitimacy of missionary and other Para-Church Societies.  Though many of its early leaders who were immigrants, most  histories of the unique, American Only message of the movement.

Among the founding meetings of the London Missionary Society In 1795 were both supporters and skeptics.  Amongst the skeptics was a curious skeptic who recorded his experiences under the name Iota.  In the 1790’s the rise of the voluntarily societies in the 1790’s.

At the age of 35 in October of 1798 (The first year of his ministry) Thomas Cambell’s voice rang out in prayer to open the first interdenominational gather of the Evangelical society of Ulster.  Cambell was among a dozen ministers and lay people who gathered in an attempt to do what the London Missionary Society was doing in England, in Ireland.

From 1790-1840 both the religious and political situations changed in Ireland and throughout Western Europe.

In 1808 Alexander Cambell and the rest of the family embarked on a journey to join Thomas Cambell in the United States but nearly turned fatal when their boat ran across rocks on the Coast Of Scotland causing an unexpected detour.

Thomas Cambell arrived in the United States in 1807 transatlantic Evangelical missions still captivated many in the new nation.  In 1809 Alexander Cambell and the rest of the family arrived in the United States, where Thomas arranged for Alexander to spend at least six months of intensive study of the New Testament.  In July of 1810 Alexander preached his first sermon at a preaching stand in a grove.

I give Among the Evangelicals five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: I Like You Like This

I Like You Like This

A Novel

by Heather Cumiskey
She Writes Press

Teens & YA

Pub Date 07 Nov 2017

I am reviewing a copy of I Like You Like This through She Writes Press and Netgalley:

It’s 1984 Connecticut and sixteen year old Hannah Zandana feels cursed.  Her hair is wild and controllable, her complexion is bad, and she constantly picks at her face.  Her parents do not help, they are constantly belittling her, and shaming her.

In an attempt to impress the popular girls and perhaps change her life Hannah takes LSD.  She does not impress the girls but gets the attention of Deacon, a mysterious young boy who happens to be the schools drug dealer.  Hannah soon founds her life taking a turn into Deacon’s dangerous world of drugs, druggies and dealers.  Soon though her relationship with her family comes farther apart and she finds herself having to re-examine what she believes about herself and her family.

Will Hannah be able to save her family, and herself, find out in I Like You Like This.

I give this book five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: World Enough

World Enough

A Boston-based noir mystery
by Clea Simon

Severn House

Severn House Publishers
Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 01 Nov 2017

I am reviewing a copy of World Enough through Severn House and Netgalley:

The Boston club scene is a place for outcasts and misfits.  Tara Winston’s belongs in this world and has been a part of it for twenty years.  But now one of the old gang is dead, it looks as if he fell down the basement stairs at his home.

Tara’s journalistic instincts tells her there is something more to Frank’s death.  She does not believe he just fell down the stairs, she thinks he was murdered.  When she begins asking questions she begins uncovering some dark things about the club scene in its heyday.  Beneath the heady, sexually charged atmosphere lurked something even darker.  Another death occurred twenty years prior.  Is Tara the next victim?  Find out in World Enough.

Four out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Baking For Dave

Baking for Dave
Iris, a 15-year-old girl travels cross states to enter a baking contest, but ends up winning a bigger prize

by Melissa Palmer
Future Horizons

Sensory World
Children’s Fiction , Teens & YA

Pub Date 11 Nov 2016

I am reviewing a copy of Baking for Dave through Future Horizons: sensory World and Netgalley:

Fifteen year old Iris Heller has a sensory processing disorder, but that does not stop her from running away in her Mom’s car to compete in a National Bake Off.  She travels through several states and despite her disorder and the most terrifying part for her is she interacts with actual people.  Iris has never been like other girls her age, but she refuses to let that stop her from going for her dreams.  When she gets nervous or overwhelmed Iris has a habit of chewing on her fingers until they bleed.  

Iris has a profound fascination with musician Dave Matthews and feels compelled to compete in the bake off for him.  In order to deal with her nervousness she either chews her fingers, hums or beat boxing or makes musical instruments out of items on hand.  This talent gets her noticed several stops along the way, and soon she finds that her talents have gone viral.  At a donut shop she sings like an angel, at a coffee shop she plays a symphony using cups and a soda fountain.  At a restaraunt she makes a magnificicent musical instrument out of dishes and pans.  Iris has the kind of spirit that brings the good in people out Houghton she does not realize it.

After realizing her daughter ran off to take part in the completion Maisy and her best friend Eric go looking for Iris.  Finally they all meet at Happy World the Disney Like Place the bake off takes place.  It is here that Iris finds out how much she is loved and how far those who care about her to make sure she is okay, even if it means letting her stand on her own.

I give Baking for Dave five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Written World

The Written World

The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

by Martin Puchner
Random House Publishing Group – Random House

Random House


Pub Date 24 Oct 2017

I am reviewing a copy of The Written World through Random House and Netgalley:

In this book we learn of how stories, and the written world help shape the world, history and civilizations.  Men Like Alexander of Macedonia in 336 B.C.E we’re impacted by literature.  Alexander carried a copy of his favorite text the Iliad with him.

The Iliad did not start out as Litterature but as an oral story.  The story is set around 1200 B.C.E. From stories written on Clay Tablets to Papyrus, and ancient libraries with texts sadly many lost to history The Written Word shows the place they all had and how they impact us even today.  

There is no denying that litterature has had its place throughought history and across cultures. Stories help to shape people.  Stories have a place in all Religions. 

The first great novel in the world The Tale Of The Genji was written by a lady in waiting in the Japanese court around the year 1000 C.E.  Sadly we do not know the name of the author.

The invention of Gutenberg’s printing pressbin the fifteenth centurynwoyld allow literature to be more widely spread, and not only available to the wealthiest.

This book takes us on a journey throughout the ages of litterature.  If you are looking for a book that takes us on a journey through the history of the Written World thenThe Written World is just the ticket.

Five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Words Of Thanksgiving

Words of Thanksgiving
Prayers, Poems and Meditations

by Nancy Streza

Xist Publishing

Christian , Nonfiction (Adult)
Pub Date 01 Oct 2017

I am reviewing a copy of Words Of Thanksgiving Through Xist Publishing and Netgalley:

In this book we find a collection of prayers, poems and meditations all pertaining to Thanksgiving.  This book includes poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Adrianus Valirus.  As well as Folliot S. Pierpoint and Henry Alford.

This small book includes Psalm 95, and the poem of Count Your Blessings, as well as We Give You Thanks from the Book Of Common Prayer.  Authors like George Macdonald and Matthias Claudia’s.  We read poems by Alice William Brotherton, and George Herbert.  As well as Emily Dickinson and Alexander Pope, as well as Martin Rinkart.  A Prayer by St.Augustine of Hippo is included in this book as well.

I give Words Of Thanksgiving five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Hitler in Los Angeles

Hitler in Los Angeles

How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America
by Steven J. Ross

Bloomsbury USA

History , Nonfiction (Adult)

Pub Date 24 Oct 2017

I am reviewing a copy of Hitler in Los Angeles through Bloomsbury USA, and Netgalley:

This book shows us that many American Jews did rise greatly oppose Hitler, but they could not agree on the best path of resistance.  Many saw New York as the Jewish capital of America but. Joeseph Goebells though no citywas more dangerous to the twisted views of Nazi Propoganda.  Because in his eyes Jews ruled the motion picture industry.

No city was more important to the Nazi’s than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood the greatest propoganda machine in the world.  The Nazi’s had plotted to kill the city’s Jews, a plot that was foiled in part by Captain John.H.Schmidt, a fellow German, and a Christian.  Leon Lewis had asked Captain John H.Schmidt to help spy on the Nazi’s.  The Nazi’s had plans for Hanging twenty prominent figures including Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson and Samuel Goldwyn.  They had plans drawn up to drive through Boyle Heights and taking out as many Jews as possible by Machine guns, as well as for seizing munitions and blowing up National Guard Armories across the Pacific Coast.

At the time US law enforcement agencies were not paying close attention, they preferred to monitor Reds rather than Nazi’s.  It was only Leon Lewis and his ring of spies that stood in the way of Nazi’s.  From 1933 to the end of World War Two Leon Lewis ran a spy operation of military veterans and their wives.  This group infiltrated every Nazi and fascist group in Los-Angeles.  The spies often moving up to leadership position, uncovering and stopping the Nazi’s from attacking.

In this book we learn of how one man helped to lead a group of spies into stopping the Nazi’s from killing thousands if not millions in Los Angeles.

This book was well written and thoroughly researched.

I give Hitler in Los Angeles five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Most Important Women Of the Bible

The Most Important Women of the Bible
Remarkable Stories of God’s Love and Redemption
by Aaron and Elaina Sharp

Bethany House

Bethany House Publishers

Pub Date 17 Oct 2017

I am reviewing a copy of The Most Important Women Of the Bible through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:

In this book we learn about women in the Bible and the role they played in God’s redemption of humanity.

We learn Of Eve the first women, and the first sinner, and of Sarah, as Abraham’s wife God included Sarah in his promises intending that she be the mother of his descendants.

We learn too of Tamar the jilted daughter in law.  As a Canaanite she seems to be an unlikely tool.  And we learn of Jochebed the disobedient slave.  She was the mother of Moses

Zipphorah was the wife who saved her family. Zipphorah was one of seven daughters called Jethro who was also called Reuel.  Jethro was a shepherd and a priest of Miriam as well as a Cushite.  He was a spiritual leader of the branch of the Midianites.

We learn to of Rahab, a prostitute in the city of Jericho. Instead of turning the spies that were staying at her inn over to the king she helped them. Despite the fact that Rahab was a prostitute and a Caanite, God used her. 

Deborah was a strong and faithful women, who wore many different hats, she was a prophetess, a judge, a poet, a military leader, a judge and a historian. We learn to Of Ruth, a faithful foreigner.  She was known for her loyalty and kindness.  After the death of her husband she stuck by her Mother in law.  Naomi was looked at as the bitter mother in law. Despite the hardships and bitterness God blessed Naomi.

Hannah was an infertile woman.  But after praying to God she conceived and bore a son named Samuel.  We learn to Of Bathsheba the adulteress.  Bathsheba was torn between her husband and her king.  

The Widow Of Zarepath, The widow announces to Elijah of her belief in the living God.  We learn to of The Women Of Shunem.  She lived during the time of Jehoram King of Israel which was around 850 B.C.  

We learn to of Queen Esther, she was a beautiful and desirable woman.  Esther had been raised by her cousin Mordecai.  She found favor with the king despite being a Jew and married him, allowing her to help save her people.  Gomer was a Harlot, the wife of a prophet had become an adulteress.

Mary the Mother Of Jesus, of course was used by the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus in the world. Elizabeth was the Mother Of John the Baptist, Jesus cousin, and forerunner to Christ.  Elizabeth was the wife of a righteous man but was righteous as herself as well.

Anna was a prophetess.  The daughter of phanuel of the tribe of Asher.  Anna was an older women and a widow.  

Mary Magdalene is mentioned several times in the Bible, but not much is known about her.  Magdalene most likely refers to her home town of Magdala, located on the west side of the Sea of Galilee.  Mary was known to travel with Jesus.

Mary and Martha were sisters.  While Martha did all the serving, Mary spent the time with Jesus which made Martha mad, but Jesus tells that Mary is doing the right thing by listening to Jesus.

We learn to of the women at the well.  We learn that the woman had an immoral lifestyle but she took the time to offer Jesus water from the well. We learn too of the bleeding women who was healed by simply touching the edge of Jesus robes.  It was her faith that allowed healing.

We learn too of The Syrophoenician woman, she is not one of the most popular women in the Bible, so not much is known about her accept that she was a beggar.  We are reminded too of the poor widow who gave all she had two mites.

The Widow Of Nain who lost her husband as well as her son.  We learn too of the woman sinner, a woman forgiven of many sins.  And we learn too of Tabitha the resurrected women.  When Tabitha died her family washed her body and laid it in an upper room and Jesus was able to come and resurrect her.  Phoebe was a generous servant, she was the servant of a church in Corinth.

Lois and Eunice were women of sincere faith.  We learn about them in a roundabout way through the Apostle Paul.  We learn to Of Lydia the women who planted churches.  And of Priscilla the apologist, she along with her husband Aquila are mentioned six times in the New Testament, in four Different books. 

I give The Most Important Woman Of the Bible, five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!