Book Review: Igniting Furious Love: Teaching from the Furious Love Event

Igniting Furious Love

By: Darren Wilson

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768440690, $ 16.99, 2012, 188 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Compilation of the Teachings on God’s Supernatural Love

“Igniting Furious Love” is filled with stories of the amazing things that God does through us when we relinquish our fear to Him and step out in faith. Darren Wilson has compiled the articles by the nine speakers participating in the Furious Love Event which took place in Monroe, Michigan during April of 2011.

The reader is challenged to respond to the:

  • Call to being Jesus’ disciple
  • Call to see and use the power God makes available
  • Call to focus on Jesus
  • Call to a worldview that includes spiritual warfare

Darren’s message is bold.  Each contributor included in this compilation presents a powerful model or concept that goes beyond the teaching and trends established by traditional theological norms, but always with openness, documented with scripture, promoting a relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord, and committing to love and acceptance of the individual.

The candor revealed in the prayers at the end of each chapter are awesome, intimate, and open recognizing the magnitude of God’s greatness. As with Darren’s earlier book, this openness resonates with me.

“Igniting Furious Love” goes beyond a life of reason to discovering one’s destiny by stepping out in faith committed to being centered on God’s will. A powerful presentation of spiritual potential.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own. As reviewed for Midwest Book Review


Book Review: The Lamb and the Seven Sealed Scroll

The Lamb and the Seven – Sealed Scroll

By: Dr. Richard Booker

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 9780768440751, $ 16.99, 2012, 230 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

An Inside Look at End Times from the book of Revelation – Chapters 4 – 12

“The Lamb and the Seven – Sealed Scroll” is the second in Dr. Richard Booker’s series “Understanding the Book of Revelation. In this verse by verse study Dr. Booker looks at the context of the book of Revelation of the Bible from the Hebraic roots. He draws from his extensive Hebraic-Christian studies to help the reader understand the background, culture, and the literary style of the Jewish people at the time of John’s apocalyptic writing.

Dr. Booker introduces the reader to the meaning of John’s revelations of the lamb and the seven-sealed scroll and their meaning to the seven churches. He boldly acknowledges that his view challenges some traditional teaching prevalent today. He carefully documents support for his conclusions. The review questions accompanying each chapter stimulate independent thinking, personal application, and group discussion. This feature gives serves to provide a dual person. The book can be used as an individual study guide or as a curriculum resource for group study and interaction. The end-notes provide a comprehensive source of books and resources for future study and reading.

“The Lamb and the Seven – Sealed Scroll” is thought provoking basic “end times” teaching for truth seeking laymen and theological alike. Dr. Booker’s writes with clarity, conviction, and authority.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.  As reviewed for Midwest Book Review.


Book Review: Living Isaiah 54

Living Isaiah 54

By: Mary Elliott

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768440522, $ 15.99, 2012, 235 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Discovering the Many Faceted Expressions Describing Our Relationship with God

Mary Elliott explores the unrelenting love of God for his people as described by Isaiah in the 54th chapter of his writing. Elliott draws a parallel of the weary, defeated, children of Israel who felt they had been forgotten with individuals today who may feel those same thoughts of being passed over by God.


In a beautiful way Elliott helps the reader grasp the concept that the heavenly Father is looking for a passionate, loving, relationship with his children. She offers hope to those who fell abandoned, the frail, and the disheartened. She leads the reader to an understanding of God unfailing love, forgiveness, and faithfulness.

I found the “Prayer Nuggets” to be powerful examples of worship and intimacy with the father. The format of the book includes a page for notes or journal entries at the end of each chapter. These personal entries can become important reminders of an important phase of your spiritual journey. An interactive study guide is included for adaptation in small group learning sessions or for individual study.

“Living Isaiah 54” presents a verse by verse study of an often overlooked Biblical principal. The book is filled with insight from the heart of one who has experienced the feeling of abandonment of which she writes. The personal lessons Mary  speaks of  have been assimilated with life changing results in her life, providing her with the opportunity to counsel with others who are looking for this same passionate, loving relationship, between God and his sons and daughters. “Living Isaiah 54” introduces an important concept for anyone wanting to discover the many faceted expressions of an intimate relationship with God.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own. As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review.

Book Review: Dollars Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money

Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money

By: Steve Repak, CFP, RFS Publishing, Savannah, Georgia 31406, 978-093901105, $ 14.95, 2012, 166 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A New Look at Practical Principles for Taking Control of Your Money

“Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money” is written the goal of helping the reader think and do differently in relation to handling their money, enabling them to “grow in their wealth.” Steve Repak begins by introducing the reader to six key traits of wealth builders. He goes on to present practical principles, priorities, and plans for building a personal financial foundation that leads to financial freedom and wealth building.

Steve candidly shares his own personal experiences of “digging his way out of debt.” This straightforward approach helps identify him with his reader as a fellow traveler while inspiring them to retrain their thinking patterns. I found the listing of “useful websites” an excellent resource for keeping briefed on the current status and trends in areas specifically pertinent to my financial planning and strategy. Another helpful feature Steve provides are the easy to understand and implement worksheets for tracking, summarizing and planning your personal spending. Repak’s writing is informative, practical, and empowering. I found the sidebars, charts, graphs, and illustrations helpful for clarification and reinforcing visually the material in text adding an additional dimension to understanding and retention of the important principles being introduced. Each chapter ends with a series of “Take Home” pointers. The helpful keys aid in application and assimilation of the chapter contents.

Steve Repak’s credentials and successful career as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP),  consultant, and motivational speaker, qualify him to author this potentially life changing book, “Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money.” Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.  As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review

Book Review: Characters and Viewpoint

Characters and Viewpoint

By: Orson Scott Card

Writer’s Digest Books

Tools for Creating Vibrant Memorable Characters

In “Characters and Viewpoints” Orson Scott Card provides the writer with the tools for constructing colorful credible characters. Card grabbed my attention as I scanned the table of contents. I immediately followed this by perusing the bold headings within the chapters. The book is divided into three parts.  Card begins with pointers on inventing characters, where they come from, potential audience, and choosing names. He moves on to help the reader/writer construct characters, including the protagonist, supporting, and minor characters. I particularly needed help in the area of voice, presentation, and person. Card included illustrations from well-known authors to reinforce the writing principles presented throughout the book.

“The Elements of Fiction Writing – Characters and Viewpoint” is an important tool for new writers. The book is filled with definitive techniques for creating vibrant memorable characters.

Book Review: Writing the Memoir

Writing the Memoir

By: Judith Barrington

The Eighth Mountain Press, 624 Southeast Twenty-Ninth Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97214, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Steps to Move from Memory to Memoir

I was pleased to find the second edition of Judith Barrington’s “Writing the Memoir” in our public library. This edition was updated and published in 2002. Since then the publishing industry has been in a constant state of fluidity. However, there are certain basic elements of writing that never change.

Barrington’s suggestions for writing the memoir are invaluable. She provides the reader with guidelines for getting started, finding form, with suggestions for what to include.

Some features I found especially helpful include:

  • The highlighted guidelines for specific topics: Voice, tone, verb tenses
  • Guidelines for writing about living people
  • Tips on inner dialog
  • Suggestions for connecting with the world
  • Handling rejection letters

The “Suggestions for Writing” included at the end of each chapter offer material for stimulating exercises as well as provide excellent ideas for inclusion in your manuscript.

Judith Barrington writes with clarity. Her work is well researched and documented. I found the suggestions for critique groups, the article “memoirs and the law” and the comprehensive index to be an added bonus. The claim on the front cover of “Writing the Memoir” is understated. It simply says: “A practical guide to the craft, the personal challenges, and ethical dilemmas of writing your true stories.” I found this to be true along with lots more – highly recommended. This is a must read for anyone seriously considering writing a memoir.

Book Review: Ten: How Would You Rate Your Life?

TEN: How Would You Rate Your Life?

By: Terry A. Smith

Higher Life Development Services, Inc., 400 Fontana Circle, Building 1, Suite 105, Oviedo, FL32765, 978-1935245506, $ 24.95, 2012, 249 pages, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

The Key to Living a Fulfilled Life

Praiseworthy endorsements by a cross section of noted Ministers, humanitarians, leaders in business, education, community services, and faith based ministries assure the reader of the potential of the principles introduced by Terry A. Smith in his book “TEN: How Would You Rate Your Life?” Terry takes a fresh look at answering the question, “What Does it Take to Live a Fulfilled Life?”

The book is made up of seven parts guiding the reader through a progression of steps that will awaken hope for the future and help the reader discover life’s individual role in fulfilling God’s planned destiny.  Smith introduces keys to discovery, creative imagination and the spiritual implications of leadership that will move your dreams from possibilities to actualities.

I found several significant concepts for additional refection and personal implementation especially intriguing:

  • The concept of giving birth to ideas that can exponentially impact thousands of others
  • Partnering with God in my own destiny fulfillment
  • Being a co-worker with God in accomplishing His plans
  • Recognizing and operating within my life’s boundaries
  • The evolutionary and determinative elements in the development of my personal worldview
  • The circles of change concept of fulfilling my destiny
  • The transcendent steps: Choose-Respond-Change
  • The power within me for change and the positive influence I can have on the lives of others

Terry Smith’s writing is fresh and articulate. He uses a balance of choice scriptures with personal, contemporary, and classic real life illustrations to reinforce his message. He is well read. His writing is thoroughly documented. Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: Hope Underground: The 34 Chilean Miners – A Story of Faith and Miracles

Hope Underground: The 34 Chilean Miners – A story of Faith and Miracles

By: Carlos Parra Diaz, Mario Veloso, and Jeanette Windle

Image Dei Books (Anchor Distributors),  1030 Hunt Valley Circle, New Kensington, PA 15068, 978-0986979958, $ 14.99, 2011, 191 Pages, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Story of Modern Day Heroism

The afternoon of August 10, 2010 a “massive chunk of granite mountainside” smashed through the walls and ceiling of the San Jose Mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapo, Chile trapping 33 Chilean miners 700 meters below the surface of the earth. “Hope Underground: The 34 Chilean Miners – A story of Faith and Miracles” is the personal account of Pastor Carlos Parra Diaz relative to his work as chaplain  at Camp Hope throughout the rescue operation. He tells of his daily interaction with the miners and their families, emphasizing how God manifested His presence and answers to prayer throughout the entire ordeal.

The authors have captured an amazing sense of  the feelings experienced by the participants in this real life drama.

  • The anguish of the Camp Hope residents
  • The frustration and distress of the management and government officials, their “horror and dismay” through the  setbacks and  failed rescue attempts
  • The disastrous silence felt throughout the camp
  • The fear by the families of the miners that there might be an abandonment of the rescue project, their shared pain, and mutual support
  • The defiant determination of will power of the people and the miracle power of prayer
  • The valiant leadership of Maria Segovia the established “Camp Mayor”
  • The renewed hope, rejoicing, and celebration on the day contact was made with the miners with the news that all 33 were alive and well

I became personally engaged as I read of the day by day details of the entire operation.   A unique story within the story told of a group of Christian Gypsies and of their prayer, music, and food ministry among the families of the miners.

This is an amazing tribute to the perseverance of a people united together in support throughout an extraordinary crisis and the “Hand of God” at work in their behalf. The story is well written, compelling, heartwarming, and memorable. A collection of color photos provide an important reinforcement to understanding of environment of the site and the events reported within the written narrative.

“Hope Underground” will challenge the reader to a deeper realization of the power of prayer, the importance of the bonding together with a body of believers in times of crisis, desperation, and personal encouragement.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: Fodor’s England 2012

Fodor’s England 2012

Limitless Planning Tool

Fodor’s Travel Guides are comprehensive in scope, beautifully illustrated, and discerning in their recommendations.  “England 2012” is no exception. The feature “Best of Wales” is an added bonus.

After a quick perusal of the book I went directly to the table of contents to determine a strategy for determining priorities in preplanning for our actual travel experience. The scope of the book at first seems a bit overwhelming. Suggested itineraries call for 11 and 12 day visits. The suggestions include only two days in London. Depending on your personal interests you may want to consider also looking into Fodor’s London 2012 as an alternative.

The sheer weight and volume of the featured multiple maps and color photos make this an ideal guide for planning your itinerary but impractical for including in your onsite backpack. My plan is to remove the on the go map of London and do some on line research for downloadable local maps and literature for my primary points of interest.

The price of this guide is well worth the investment in the memories it will enable you to create as you travel.  An important planning tool, reliable writers, and invaluable information.

As Reviewed for Amazon’s Vine Program. A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.


Book Review: The Official Book of Mob Humor

The Official Book of Mob Humor

By: Malcolm Kushner

Robert D. Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411. 978-1934759516, $ 9.95, 2012, 189 pages. Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Decidedly Entertaining

Award winning author Malcolm Kushner, often recognized as “America’s Favorite Humor Consultant,” adds a new title to his repertoire of published collections of quips, quotes, jokes, and anecdotes. “The Official Book of Mob Humor” is packed with wit, wisdom, and headlines featuring quirks, oddities, and idiosyncrasies, of the mob. Kushner’s humor is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone every law abiding citizen, officer of the law, as well as the families and associates of Mafia members from every ethnic group.

I especially enjoyed the creative message and imagination in the cartoon illustrations drawn by Kenny Durkins.  Another of the featured that kept me laughing was the chapter “Headline Hits” made up of humor found in actual newspaper headlines.  “The Interrogation Room” contains Mob Q & A, featuring hilarious one line riddle like questions with funny quip answers from “downright corny” to “brilliantly clever.”

For movie fans Kushner includes a comprehensive list of “mob related comedies” with wild hilarious plots involving mobsters, racketeers, and criminals from every imaginable diversity.  He also includes memorable quotes from these movies.

In a day when the experts are touting “laughing” as a way for finding health and happiness, and doctors are prescribing “laughter” as a stress reliever, Malcolm Kushner’s humor  is destined to establish this book as “The Official Book of Mob Humor.”  Decidedly entertaining.  Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.