Book Review: Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

Darkness Follows

By Mike Dellosso

Charisma Media, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, Florida 32746, 9778-1616382742, $ 13.99, 2011, 290 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Downward Spiral of Darkness

“Darkness Follows” combines the elements of a psychological thriller, a supernatural suspense novel, and the intrigue of a sinister political conspiracy. Within the first few pages I became engaged in life of Mike Dellosso’s protagonist, Sam Travis.  Dellosso vividly describes the diagnosis of Sam’s auditory hallucinations, his depression, and the dark ominous psychosis Sam experiences as he relives the details of his brother’s death twenty- years earlier.

Sam Travis, a self-employed carpenter, fell 20 feet off a roof in an accident. He suffered a severe trauma injury to his head.  I felt like an outsider looking on, empathizing, as Sam deals with impending madness, a slave to the shadowy figures of darkness, the voice of Tom, his dead brother, and the sounds of battle all around him. Add to Sam’s confusion the journal of a Civil War Army Captain written in Sam’s own handwriting and you will understand why the madness has only begun.

A strong theme of family love and the importance of the importance of accepting God’s unconditional love is woven throughout the novel, a non-judgmental, non-preaching message.

A complex fast moving plot features a broad array of characters, haunted by their past, driven by forces good and evil beyond their control or understanding. Intense story telling – highly suspenseful.

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

Book Review: Comeback – Overcoming the Setbacks in Your Life

Comeback: Overcoming the Setbacks in Your Life

By: Rick McDaniel

WestBow Press, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana 47403, 978-1449741266, $ 11.95, 2012, 108 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

How to Comeback When Unexpected Circumstances Set You Back

Rick McDaniel’s motivational messages have inspired thousands of followers to change the direction of their lives as they have been given new hope and purpose.  “Comeback: Overcoming the Setbacks in Your Life” offers the reader the same opportunity to draw from Rick’s own experiences and from the real life stories of others who have comeback from personal setbacks.

Whether your personal setback is the result of:

  • A job loss, health issues
  •  A broken marriage or relationship
  •  Financial collapse
  •  Or, other unexpected circumstances

Rick provides guidelines and principles to help you discover the cause for your personal setback, the lessons to be learned, and the steps necessary to move change direction and move forward.

Applications are drawn from successful businessmen, sports figures, entertainers, and other leaders who have comeback after setbacks. These stories tell of changed hearts, changed direction, and taking advantage of new opportunities. Sports enthusiasts will especially enjoy Rick’s interview with Mr. Comeback – Frank Reich. Whatever your interests may include you will find inspiration from the chapter titled “The Ten Greatest Comebacks of All Time.”

McDaniel’s writing is clear, articulate, and fast-moving with easy to follow practical guidelines, suggested action steps, and principles for application and assimilation.

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






Book Review: Why Do We All Love Dr. Seuss? by Lois Einhorn, Ph.D.

Why Do We All Love Dr. Seuss? Discovering the Mystery and Magic of an Icon

By: Lois Einhorn, Ph.D.

Robert D. Reed Publishersm P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411, 978-1934759585, $ 11.95, 2012, 144 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A New Awareness – Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Dr. Einhorn introduces her observations and interpretations of the writing of Dr. Seuss by sharing her insights on some unique often overlooked subtleties. The Dr. Seuss books:

  • Encourage the building positive values and vision
  • Emphasize important character traits
  • Expand a child’s awareness, curiosity, and creative imagination
  • Entertain with humor, clever illustrations, and comical visuals
  • Embolden children to think for themselves
  • And offer the reader an opportunity to, experience the joy of reading aloud with an attentive, appreciative audience of children

Dr. Einhorn draws noteworthy parallels from the stories of Dr. Seuss and classic thinkers, spiritual leaders, writers, and others. The message is timeless, the teaching universal. She includes quotes from people like: Albert Einstein, Edwin Markham, Khalil Gibran, Howard Thurman, Eric Hoffer, and Cicero to re-enforce her observations.

I personally, begin reading Dr. Seuss stories to my own children, then to my grandchildren, and now to the great grand kids. Thanks to Dr. Einhorn’s keen insights, I now better understand why it is important for me to pass along this important source of core values, exemplifying: Trust, unity, courage, integrity, gratefulness, and so many more wonderful lessons.

“Why Do We All Love Dr. Seuss?” is entertaining, informational, giving the reader a new awareness enabling them to see through the eyes of Dr. Seuss’s characters the extraordinary in the ordinary. Highly recommended.

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

Book Review: Prepare yourself to Be Blessed by Kevin Boyd

Prepare Yourself to Be Blessed: How to Purposely Enter Into Abundant Living

By: Kevin Boyd

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310

978-076844105-5, $ 14.99, 2012, 201 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Motivation that Accelerates Action

Kevin Boyd has a fluent dynamic writing style that is well-paced and presented in a reader friendly format. “Prepare Yourself to Be Blessed” is Biblically based, uniquely creative and highly imaginative.

The book is filled with principles for impacting others, while fulfilling personal potential. Kevin is a gifted communicator, his writing provides:

  • Motivation that accelerates action
  • Inspires introspection
  • Opens the door of opportunity
  • Challenges a dynamic spiritual adventure with an imploding power from within

Kevin offers sage advice on key principles for success in spiritual living, leadership skills, marriage and family life, and personal development. He focuses on basic fundamentals participation, responsibility, forgiveness, decisiveness, gratitude, and a forward looking attitude.

The contemporary illustrations are relevant, pointed, memorable and entertaining. His Biblical examples are engaging, eye opening, and practical for personal application. The end notes are well documented and provide a wide range of resources for further study. Another excellent feature is the chapter review section at the end of the book which provides important summary statements of the contents of each of the eight chapters.

The title of the book offers the reader a chance to “Prepare Yourself to Be Blessed.” I was not disappointed.  Highly recommended by well-known Christian Leaders.

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 7% Solution: You can Afford a Comfortable Retirement by John H. Graves

The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement

By: John H. Graves, CLU, and ChFC

Safe Harbor International Publishing

10790 Encino Drive

Oak View, CA 93022

978-0983573128, $ 16.00, 2012, 269 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

An Investment Resource for Taking Charge of Your Investment and Retirement Goals

In his book “The 7% Solution” financial advisor John H. Graves, CLU, ChFC, provides the reader guidelines for determining their retirement needs, and for indenting the sources of income and retirement.

I was especially appreciative of:

  • The helpful work sheets
  • The suggested websites
  • The reading and resource suggestions
  • The reader friendly format
  • The logical progression of the material
  • The investment guidelines

The assignments and exercises suggest at the end of each chapter are filled with pointed questions to guide the reader in discovering their personal retirement and investment goals, and help in formulating action steps for the wise investment counsel in areas of stocks, bonds, annuities, real estate, and business buyouts.

The information packed fourteen chapters, are filled with guidelines, tips, authoritative principles, tax planning, and practical suggestions for selecting, maintaining, and monitoring your portfolio.

There will be those who find the Graves approach controversial – I found Graves’ writing articulate, convincing, and stimulating.  “The 7% Solution” provides the reader with an investment resource for taking charge of their investment and retirement Goals.”

This is a book I plan to keep available for ready reference in these times of economic uncertainty. I am going to recommend “The 7% Solution” to family and friends.

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

Book Review: Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones

Lady in Waiting

By: Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones

Destiny Image Publishing, Inc., P. O. Box 310< Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768441062, $ 16.99, 2012, 406 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Building Relationships and Finding Fulfillment through Abandonment to the Lordship of Christ

The unique feature of this newly revised edition of “Lady in Waiting” is the focus on finding fulfillment for the longing of the heart through a relationship with Jesus and developing the ten qualities of a godly woman found in the book of Ruth. Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones collaborate in an intricate balance of instruction, interactive study, devotional inspiration, and motivational story illustrations. The book is divided into four sections.

Part one is made up of ten chapters. Each chapter includes Biblical instruction, practical illustrations, and profound questions for reflection. The reader is directed to take action steps or guidelines for personal application and assimilation. Part two provides an interactive study guide for group or individual use, taking the reader to a deeper level of understanding and application. Part three contains daily devotional thoughts gleaned from the classical writings of well know women including: Madame Jeanne Guyon, Mother Teresa, Susanna Wesley, Hanna Whitall Smith, and many others. Part four includes a wonderful compilation of seventy-seven poignant, unforgettable short stories from real life. Each story is designed to stimulate reflection and personal application.

“Lady in Waiting” is relevant for women in all walks of life. It is a guide and a guard for the single woman, a marriage support for the married woman, and a comfort for the widowed or divorced woman. Encouraging, motivating, and inspirational – 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: The Ultimate Guide to understanding the Dreams You Dream by Ira Milligan

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Dreams You Dream: Biblical Keys for Hearing God’s Voice in the Night

By: Ira Milligan

Destiny Image Publisher, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768441079, $ 19.99, 2012, 289 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Guide to Understanding and Interpreting Dreams

“The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Dreams You Dream” is written to carefully guide the reader through the complex world of dreams.  Author Ira Milligan maintains that in these end times God uses dreams to:

  • Encourage and direct Christians in their walk with Him – Getting direction
  • Warn sinners to repent
  • Provide guidance to the Church
  • Reveal divine information and knowledge

The subtitle of the book “Biblical Keys for Hearing God’s Voice in the Night” suggests that the reader should consider the importance of recognizing the difference between a dream and a “night vision.” Milligan also suggests that reader began a dream journal as the first step in learning to interpret your dreams.

The book is divided into two parts:  Part One helps the reader understand the common use of the dream in God’s communication with His people. This includes insights into interpreting symbols, understanding Bible numerology, and finding answers through colors. Milligan also discusses how all the creatures of creation, modes of transportation, and metals play a part in dream interpretation. I found the chapters that included rules to follow, and answers to frequently asked questions especially interesting and helpful.

Part Two provides a comprehensive Key Word Dictionary of Dream Symbols with Scriptural Illustrations.  This section is a very practical tool for reference, research, and application.

“The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Dreams You Dream” is an authoritative guide book for individual Christians, those involved in Inner Healing and Spiritual Warfare ministries, as well as for clergy and lay ministers.

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: Romancing Death A True Story of Vampirisim, Death, the Occult and Deliverance by William Schnoebelen

Romancing Death: A True Story of Vampirism, Death, the Occult, and Deliverance

By: William Schnoebelen

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768441123, $ 16.99, 2012, 285 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

An Analysis of Pop Culture, the Occult, and Spiritual Bondage

William Schnoebelen introduces his book “Romancing Death” with a candid look at his experiences in the occult, witchcraft, and vampirism. He openly discusses how he was blinded by the dark and dangerous deceptions of satan, disguised as an angel of light. He details how he became involved in WICCA, witchcraft, and satanism.

Schnoebelen introduces the reader to the phenomenon of the vampire in religion, culture, and history.  He explores contemporary vampire cults, lore, and literature and the myth and reality of vampirism. He looks at how the vampire is portrayed in popular fiction, films, and television.

He goes on to warn how contemporary authors, in this genre of books, are targeting susceptible teens as their readers. He alerts parents, youth leaders, and educators of how over exposure can result in addictive behaviorism during these sensitive formative years.

Other features included in the book are: a synopsis of the “Twilight Saga,” Biblical admonitions, insight in to Mormon doctrine compared to Christian theology, and a guide to Biblical entertainment.  The extensive end-notes provide an excellent resource for further study.

The narrative is filled with examples of individuals delivered from demonic bondage. His testimony of victory over enslavement to the personal addictions to drinking blood and the use of cocaine give additional credibility to Schnoebelen’s conclusions. Readers will be divided in their acceptance of these conclusions. His writing is strong, authoritative, and disturbing.

“Romancing Death: A True Story of Vampirism, Death, the Occult, a guide to Biblical and Deliverance” is a wakeup call to Christians to the dangers of occult, the reality of spiritual and demonic, and the promise of deliverance of these powers.

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

Book Review: Relentless Love by Thom Gardner

Relentless Love: Unfolding God’s Passion, Presence, and Glory

By: Thom Gardner

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 078-0768441031, $ 15.99, 2012, 232 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Touched by the Heart of God’s Unmerited Love

“Relentless Love” encourages the reader to focus on three aspects of God’s mercy. Each chapter is filled with life-changing insights and instruction for reflection, prayer, and journaling. A series of spiritual growth exercises provide guidelines emphasizing:

  • God’s Mercy – Feel the Passion
  • God’s Mercy – Experience the Presence
  • God’s Mercy – See the Glory

Thom Gardner understands the ministry of equipping and healing members of the Body of Christ. His writing is filled with examples from the Scriptures, rich in practical illustration, and powerful in application. I found myself engaged in the truths of God’s compassion, forgiveness, and his abundant blessings toward me as contemplated the nature of unmerited love.

Whether describing the heart and character of God, His acts of mercy, or His understanding of our humanity, Gardner skillfully guides the reading into a new longing for the presence of God and a deep seated desire to see His glory. The contemporary stories illustrate the struggles and sinfulness of man and the power of God to meet us in our need, to provide redemption and renewal as His love and plan for each of us unfolds.

“Relentless Love: Unfolding God’s Passion, Presence, and Glory” is a refreshing reminder of God’s unmerited love and mercy.  Powerful, Christ centered writing!

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

Cursing the Church or Helping It? by Anna M. Aquino – Book Review

Cursing the Church of Helping It?

By Anna M. Aquino

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768440485, $ 14.99, 2012, 204 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

An in Depth Look at the Sin of Balaam

Anna M. Aquino calls the church and individual Christians to unite in a spirit of love and compassion in her book “Cursing the Church of Helping It?” a wakeup call to the dangers of pursuing the spirit of Balaam. Her writing is candid, articulate, and convincing.

My eyes were opened to the realization of the important lessons drawn from Balaam’s errors. His name is mentioned specifically in seven books of the Bible:

  • Numbers 22 – 24
  • Deuteronomy 23:4-5
  • Joshua 13:22
  • Nehemiah 13:2
  • 2 Peter 2:15
  • Jude 11
  • Revelation 2:24

There are dozens of other reference alluding to the nature of Balaam’s sins clearly indicating God’s displeasure. I was impressed with the Aquino’s broad scope of well documented research. These resources are an import tool for future study.

Anna shares stories from her experience to illustrate truths from the scriptures, sometime in heartbreaking stories, and at other times relates humorous incidents to bring home a lesson. The reader is challenged to self-examination and motivation to take action by intentionally extending compassion to others in an effort to unify the church and bring honor to the name of Christ.

“Cursing the Church of Helping It?” is an excellent Biblical study exposing the spirit of Balaam.

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