Sunday, May 20, 2012

Romeo and Juliet, Westside Story, Beloved Enemy...

"Beloved Enemy" is a novel set in the Civil War.  We follow the story of Jenny.  She is faithful to her home country, the southern half of the United States.  But she is in love with a northerner, from the other half of the country.  What to do!?  Oh, the suspense!!

Essentially, this is a great book with a similar theme as Westside Story and Romeo & Juliet.  There is also a Christian theme in the novel which I find to be great!! 

If you like American history, war stories, romance,  and books that reinforce strong Christian values, I highly recommend this book!!

This is definitely a good read!!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

God's Extraordinary Calling to Ordinary Men

Troy Meeder writes this exciting book, Average Joe: God's Extraordinary Calling to Ordinary Men.  It discusses how ordinary people add up to make a big difference in serving God.  Personally, I thought this book can have parallels in real life, where each person doing something small can lead to a huge impact in the society we live in.

The first section is about two stories: The Island and The Hole, both documenting about life as youth and growing up.

The second section describes several personas.  We meet everyday people: the gardener, the mark, the soldier, the cowboy and the mentor.  Everyday Average Joes end up become extraordinary people by doing their part.  We see resemblance in all large organizations, where each person's work adds up to a bigger picture.

Later, we hear stories about the friend, the test, the deep, the boy, the round pen and the rock.  Each of these chapters provide an exciting account of different stories.

The end of the book has a wonderful study guide which makes this a perfect read for fellowship groups and  mid-week discussions.  I would recommend it for male groups especially, since this book does have that focus.

I would also encourage you to look at the sneak peek provided by the publisher:


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do you live in God's YES?

Do you live in God's YES?  That is the question of the day.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him/"
-John 3:17

I was fortunate enough to get a review copy from the publisher and read this book before it's available to the public!

"The Gospel of Yes" by Mike Glenn is a book about your life and how you interact with God.  The book's objective is to enable you to find your true value, identity and unique purpose of life.  It reminds you to think of the positive things in life.

The author Mike Glenn is truly a talented writer.  This book is divided into 15 chapters of short readings, on your pathway to discovering your YES relationship with God.  In a positive manner, it is important to first understand the problems of living with "No."  Then, we see "Yes" = positive described in many ways.  In a convenient format, the book also includes a discussion section perfect for fellowship and small groups.  It also relates it's teachings to valuable quotes in the Bible to support the key points.

I would say that this is more of an advanced read.  Its short chapters provide for deep discussion.  It was for a deep dive discovery of the unique purpose of life with respect to God.  Not for the faint at heart.

Here is a video to the interview with the author:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who will be next?

The Next Christians written by Gabe Lyons is a book about seven ways one can live the gospel to restore the world.  He has a very optimistic outlook for the future.  He states that Christianity's best days in 2012 years are yet to come. However, to begin, one must feel that there exists a negative perception of Christianity.  Do you currently agree with that?

If so, I think this book is great as it addresses those negative perceptions through 12 chapters in 3 main sections about how the world is changing, the restorers (which talk about 7 types of people and ways to drive this effort) and it ends with a discussion about the new era.

The seven categories he explains are as follows:

Provoke, not offended
Creators, not critics
Called, not employed
Grounded, not distracted
In community, not alone
Civil, not divisive
Countercultural, not "relevant"

These seven ways are a story of its own and make good weekly or monthly book group discussions.  In addition, the book also includes questions for discussion at the back, so this is perfect for fellowships or small groups.

For those of you who are visual, here is a link of a video about the book:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Viral.. Social Media for the Church

Web 2.0. Social Media. Crowdsourcing. Viral Marketing. All big buzzwords in this time and age. "The gospel is nothing without relationship. And no one gets it like the Google Generation." Do you agree or disagree? I believe that this is very true. New technology and digital media helps extend the reach of the gospel by providing another medium and another demographic. Music is one way to reach out to people, kind actions are another, but the newest trend is to combine everything together with the help of Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms to bring together people. From the Bible on the smart phone or tablet to groups on Facebook, viral marketing has been proven a success. But now, the big question is, can one maintain a relationship with God through the use of all these technologies?

Today, many schools are extending their reach by offering classes online and later MIT pioneered the OpenCourseWare method where people can peruse content from its classes. Most recently, the new trend from UC Berkeley and Stanford is to deliver actual classes to hundreds of thousands of people at once for free. Learning has become crowd-based and free. Likewise, could traditional brick-and-mortar churches do the same? That is a question for you to answer. "Viral" is separated into six different parts. First, there is a discussion about where we stand today, then it is all about Twitter, Google, the iPhone and Facebook. Last but not least, the author discusses the culture of this new revival.

I'd like to invite you to read an excerpt of the book here:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do you want to go to graduate school in the United States?

Every year, there are thousands of students from different countries in the world that flock to universities in the United States for graduate studies, whether in business, law, engineering, social sciences, humanities, sciences and other fields. Yet, it can definitely be a terrifying experience for many. In this essential guide, Dr. Alexander Mamishev offers comprehensive advice on all aspects of graduate life and admissions. Dr. Mamishev graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) with a minor in Technology Management from Harvard Business School. With a combination of wit and candor, Dr. Mamishev gives students a rare insider’s perspective on the American education process. Inside, you’ll find valuable advice to help you make sense of the American education system, craft an irresistible application package, survive the transition to your new environment, live and work while studying, work with your adviser to get the most out of your education, and more! Whether you are coming to grad school from somewhere else in the United States or from the other side of the world, let this book be your guide to success in grad school and in your academic career beyond. This is definitely a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to those who are interested in applying to graduate schools.

 I am currently applying to several graduate programs in the US: MIT, Stanford, USC. Since MIT is the author's alma mater, the book provides some tips and secrets that pertain to MIT. Although this book was designed for international students, I feel a lot of the information can be used for domestic/local US students as well. It gave me good direction on what to and not do in grad school applications. This book also has good sense of humor and witty illustrations!

This book is sold in print and also as an e-book.

In my opinion, the e-book is a great value for under $6, but for under $20, one can get a printed version here.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Amazing Thriller!!

No, this is not about the Canary Islands.  Sigmund Brouwer's The Canary List is a suspense novel.  It is a tale about a twelve-year old girl that has been bumped around numerous different foster homes and sent to different classrooms for kids with behaviorial issues and/or low test scores.  Yet, she has a special ability to sense evil.  I would say that this novel pertains to elementary/middle school teachers and their interactions with students.  Even though, it is a fictional story, it does resemble real life in ways.  It is also supposed to vaguely touch Christian values.

The beginning of the book has a lot of various stories that don't seem to be cohesive.  However, from my point of view, it simply adds to the mystery.  The book starts out by the beach in beautiful Santa Monica.  But as you read on, different things happen.  Who knew Santa Monica could be so horrifying?  Evil filled the streets and she had to look for help.  I don't want to spoil the book but I will briefly mention the two main characters: Mr. G, a teacher mourning the death of his daughter over alcohol and a mysterious female student who makes Mr. G think of his daughter.  Then the CIA and the Vatican get involved...

This book is classified as Christian fiction; it does have some religious themes, but for the most part I found the book not totally about Christian values and such.  I would consider it a thriller and I can definitely envision this to be a potential Hollywood blockbuster.  The chapters are relatively short; average few pages, which add to the excitement of the novel.
So I would suggest that you read this novel assuming that you are a thrill seeker.

Here is a link from Google with an excerpt from the book:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.