Review: The Archbishop 




Synopsis:

The Archbishop by Monk Tihon is a famous book in Russia. Written before the Bolshevik revolution, it came under the steamroller of the communist censorship along with other extraordinary books of Orthodoxy.

The Archbishop is a book that provokes, a literary work, o novella, not a treaty of ecclesiology, continuing to be a cry against the ecclesiastical conformity. At the beginning of the 20th century, the author, Hieromonk Tihon, is unsatisfied with the lukewarm general atmosphere that rules inside the Church. He devises an ideal shepherd in the person of the main character of the book – the Archbishop – who tries to bring the apostolic spirit among priests and believers. 

Although the book is somehow meant to be a spiritual deployment program, it is read as an interesting, realistic, maybe too honest sometimes, chronicle of the ecclesial life. The characters are vivid, honest, uninvented. Nothing stops us from believing that this ‘Archbishop’ existed for real and that, maybe, he himself wrote this book.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Archbishop by Monk Tohin is a great read. I highly recommend it to all. Inside, reader will find a journey full of emotions that we all go through in our lives. The characters play an important part that show readers what is really happening and what we can do. A priest finds himself with nothing but trouble when he takes pity on a young couple. His burdens keep adding to the point that he loses his way…until he meets another priest. One that by looks would seem to act much above the poorer priest. Yet, Monk Tihon surprises me when the exact opposite happened. I was just as surprised as the  poorer priest. Sympathy was instantly felt for the priest with all the troubles. His heart laced with fear, anger, and sadness. The Archbishop is engaging, compelling, and brilliantly written. A spiritual guidance that was raw, honest, interesting. I found it captivating. Readers can easily relate to the charcaters and their troubles. Overall, I highly recommend this literary title to all. 

Review: Mary Poser


Synopsis:

The recipe for a warm and humorous story…

In a modest bowl of Nashville, gently place a girl who is Country music, Bible belt, and a steakhouse foodie.

Then add a surprise portion of exotic and handsome Anglo Indian to the container who is a passionate Bollywood director, vegetarian and Hindu.

Stir vigorously on a bed of intense attraction. 

At first, the ingredients will seem to clash and separate.

Keep stirring…

Include a dollop of jealous boyfriend and a meddling mother.

Splash in a serving of fun and mischievous friends.

Keep stirring…

Add a dash of crazy aunt and a minister father to keep the flavors working together.

Sprinkle in even more complicated family members to taste.

Cook on high emotions.

The secret ingredient that cuts through the sweetness is a final layer of shocking revelation that adds a surprising depth of flavor.
Finish with a twist of ‘Oh My God! Is she really going to do that?’.

Serve as tasty bite-size chapters in a novel dish of mayhem and madness with a side of 

Country music and Bollywood dancing.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Mary Poser by Angel A was the most interesting novel I have read in awhile. The culture and religious content Mad me even more curious. The entire story was entertaining. The main character, is in a sticky situation. Her parents want her to do what they want yet she’s not happy…and what makes her happy is something they wouldn’t want for her. However, she has to,learn for herself whether she wants to break free and be happy or live forever within the hold of her parents. Life is messy, complicated, and a major struggle after struggle. Here, Mary Poser has what I call the real life syndrome. Struggles are just a part of life. Mary is at a crossroads…and when she finally finds the courage to make a decision it will be beautiful. The tale lagged a bit at times but then picked up speed. Angel A created a realistic plot that readers can easily relate to…and feel connected to the characters. Overall, this story was a great read. 

Review: Some Thoughts on God and Other Things 


Synopsis:

Our cities, states, countries, and seemingly the whole world, seem to be coming apart at the seams.

While many of us live in relative comfort, the wars, killing, economic strife, lack of morals, decency, and just common sense, take a heavy toll on our spirits and psyches.
But how do we as individuals overcome the enormity of hate, prejudice, selfishness, greed, corruption, and all the other bad things going on in our world?

It starts with getting our moral imperatives back and it is no coincidence that our slide into unprincipledness is accompanied by less interest in religion and belief in God in our world.

However, understand that this is not a book about religion or bringing you back to religion.

Religion, like our governments, corporations, organizations, schools, institutions and even our science, are corruptible, fallible, misguided, and possibly worse.

The fact is that us and everything in our world, our universe is imperfect, flawed, and finite.

This book is about trying to understand and accept that there is a different, perfect, infinite plain of existence, and that there is a perfect being that dwells there.

And that can lead us into becoming more moral people and change our world.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Some Thoughts on God and Other Things by Jerome Gleich is a great read for all. It’s not convincing readers to believe in anything but to address the real issues of life. It shows us what’s really happening and how fast our world has changed. We have gone from a world with the “trust in God” to dismissing God completely. Our behaviors as a moral group of people has dramatically declined. When we turned our backs on God as a whole, we all have become more violent, angry, and full of hatred. Flaws are everywhere including in each one of us. But by accepting that God is there…or that there is a God who is good…it changes how we behave as a person, as a group and as a nation. Jerome Gleich’s book is a must read. I was already a believer in God, but the fact that someone else has noticed that the more we turn against God, the more we have fallen…

Some Thoughts on God and Other Things is a deep, thought provoking read. It engages reader to read, listen, and re-read it again. Our world is changing. Yes, some change is good; however, not all change has made us better. Instead it led to where we are now…sad, but real.  I liked how Jerome Gleich doesn’t push readers into believing in God but at the same time, leaves them with enough to re-think about it. Overall, I think this writer’s points were well-written, and I would recommend this to readers everywhere. 

Review: The Lions’ Den


Synopsis:

In the waning years of the seventh century BC, one of history’s most notable and terrifying warriors succeeded to the throne of Babylon, a fledgling kingdom barely twenty-one years old. This is the story of Nebuchadnezzar growing into manhood and racing to claim the crown of his dead forgather from the hands of his manipulative younger brother. It is a story of wars as consumed by hatred he sought to kill a boyhood friend that had become his lifelong nemesis. An invincible warrior…a shrewd politician…and an artist. Babylon was his masterpiece featuring the massive artificial mountain he built for his wife-the hanging gardens, fifty-four gold gilt temples, and three-hundred-foot high pyramid piercing the sky to be seen for miles in the distance. 

This is also the story of Daniel, a Jewish captive removed from Judah and placed in the royal palace of Babylon. Imbued with an intense faith in God, Daniel was a man of extraordinary abilities in governance and leadership. Two men as different as could possibly be. A man of boiling passions and volatile temperament, Nebuchadnezzar would never have survived without his most trusted aide, Daniel. Daniel’s closeness to almighty Jehovah was so compelling that even the arrogant and menacing Nebuchadnezzar was forced to come face to face with this creator. No matter who reigns or what is, God is in control.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Lions’ Den by Wes Brustad is an incredible tale. One that drags readers back in time to the Egypt. Phonecians and even the important figure, Daniel are alive. I was immediately fascinated. This historical book, brought to life amazing characters. Battles, wars, and a friendship unlike any other. Wes Brustad’s writing is superb. I felt like I was taken from my seat and brought straight into the book. The scenes were animated, engaging, and remarkably realistic. Traveling through the story was another highlight. I got to travel, live, and feel the cultures and peoples around me. The ending was great. A man left in turnmoil wondering if Daniel’s God is indeed the God of all Gods. Then, it ended with him wanting to build a temple for an unlikely friend. The friendship is strange but not impossible. Daniel is a man that is good. It is no wonder that the other main character accepts him. Despite different beliefs these two made it through. I liked how that was portrayed. The writer gained my interest and respect. Showing how to sides can fight and also become friends. Truly a phenomenal read. Overall, I recommend this novel, to readers everywhere. 

Review: Mary’s Prayer


Synopsis

Mary Beiler is not ready for change. She wants to hold onto the past as tightly as she can. But new roles and relationships test Mary’s boundaries as she learns that she must trust God’s plan for her life. 
Eli Glick used to be a school-yard crush, but she hasn’t let herself dream of a future with him. When their paths begin weaving together, she starts to wonder if the feeling she notices towards him might be more than the memories of her childhood. 

From Mary’s Prayer: 

Not so bad! How was that for a compliment! she thought angrily as she stood and stepped towards the ladder. She turned to move down it, but as she placed her boot on the first rung it slid sideways several inches, and she took her foot off. 
“Hang on, I’ll hold it,” he said. 

He stood and walked towards her, and knelt near the top of the ladder. He held it in place as she turned again and put her foot on the top rung. This time, with his help, it was perfectly solid. 

“See what happens when we work together?” he asked, and she felt a smile peek onto her lips despite her upset. 
How does he do that to me? she wondered. She’d just been feeling upset and sorry for herself, and now a crack of lightheartedness found it’s way into her heart. It was as if he was bringing out her smiles –smiles that had been buried such a long time that they almost felt strange on her lips.

As she climbed down, she once again found herself uncomfortably close to the handsome man. Eli grinned at her. He was looking right into her eyes, and this made her blush. She was glad, at least, that he was no longer staring at her scars. 
“You sure that we can spend this time together, and you won’t fall in love with me?”he asked in his deep voice. 

Mary knew he was teasing her, but she felt her heart skip a beat at the flirtatious sound in his voice. Oh don’t flatter yourself, she thought. He’s only teasing you, just like he acts with all the girls. Besides, he likes Abby Trovey. With his face so close, and his blonde hair and good looks only inches away from her, she swallowed hard. 

Will Eli Glick see past Mary’s scars and into her heart?

Will Mary learn to trust again? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Mary’s Prayer by Faye P. Baker is an Amish romance that will tug at readers’ hearts. I definitely felt a pull on mine. The story is both sad and sweet. Many obstacles to overcome like math and fear. Faye P. Baker has created the perfect atmosphere with just enough intrigue and and suspense to keep me reading all night long. I loved it. Mary is a young Amish woman moves to a new place. She lost her mom due to a fire. Mary has scars that make her feel self-conscious and the fact that her math isn’t well enough to work the cash register in her dad’s bakery…this puts her in a situation that makes her feel lost. Then, there’s good looking Eli who friends her. But she as she falls hard for him, she realizes that he likes another girl. Mary then feels completely lost and angry. Feels like God isn’t listening to her. Mary’s Prayer is a realistic telling of life and hardships that fall onto our paths and show us how we can move forward. Inspiring, well-written, and heart melting. I highly recommend this novel, to all. 

Review: Deborah Rising

Deborah Rising: A Novel Inspired by the Bible by [Azrieli, Avraham]

 

Synopsis:

Set in ancient Israel, Deborah Rising (HarperCollins, 2016) portrays the dramatic (and unlikely) rise of the first woman to lead a nation in recorded human history. In the tradition of The Red Tent, The Fifth Mountain, and The Mists of Avalon, this absorbing novel delivers an inspiring story of suspense and adventure in pursuit of freedom and self-determination, starring a courageous 14-year-old girl who would become the most powerful woman in biblical lore.
Before he was murdered, Deborah’s father had dreamt that his daughter would one day become the leader of the Israelites. But the social and religious mores of her time dictated that a girl must marry–even against her will–and obey her husband in all matters. When Deborah is forced to marry the violent son of the local judge, she rebels, determined to forge a path of her own.

Captivated by the notion of escaping the arranged marriage and fulfilling her late father’s dream, Deborah embarks upon an epic journey to find a mysterious elixirist, one rumored to be blessed with the ability to turn women into men. It is a journey that proves increasingly perilous–filled with wild beasts, lustful men, unscrupulous priests, and warring tribesmen. Yet Deborah manages to attract unlikely allies, including lepers, slaves, Moabite traders, and even a dead tiger, while she persists in the face of seemingly insurmountable setbacks and continues to pursue her daring quest.
Part historical novel, part adventure story, part visionary fiction, Deborah Rising is a captivating tale about a girl on the cusp of womanhood, whose unrelenting struggle to overcome discrimination, sexism, and paternalism spoke to the lives of girls and women today.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Deborah Rising by Avraham Azrieli is a stunning historical fantasy. One that has an epic journey that no reader could guess. It’s nothing like anything I have read. This novel brings about some historical people and their customs as well as what kind of lives they lived back then. I was constantly intrigued by the story. Each page sent me on another journey. the main journey was one that a father passed down to his youngest. After losing her parents and her older sister, the young girl sets off to fulfill her destiny. However, trouble comes her way each time. The men from her land are worshiping idols and killing innocents due to lies and greed. The lives of women are similar to those of the Indian customs. Many women are controlled by men. A paternal ruling that still survives, today. I was frightened by what the women went through constantly. Even if they followed rules by their society there was always a man or men who abused them. Sadly, many are stuck in this threatening lifestyle. Like Deborah’s older sister. One false accusation and she like many other women were stoned to death over a lie. Women were not permitted to speak on their defense. I almost wished Deborah’s sister retaliated. Imagine letting your own people stone for no reason at all. Why should the innocent be slaughtered so easily? Realistically told and captured the time period perfectly. Avraham Azrieli is indeed a talented new author. His work can be read by teens and adults. The issues presented in this novel were strong yet the material was done in a clean manner. After reading this book, I felt like I traveled back in history. The young woman’s journey was quite fascinating to follow. An adventure that is both intriguing and entertaining. Deborah Rising is a YA religious tale, that I highly recommend to readers worldwide. I believe that the issues shown in this title are ones that need to be read by all.

Review: The Secret Book of Kings

The Secret Book of Kings: A Novel by [Brandes, Yochi]

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Red Tent from internationally bestselling author Yochi Brandes comes the stories of the struggles of King David and King Saul in the early days of the Kingdom of Israel, seen through the eyes of Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s abandoned queen.

Stories are deadlier than swords. Swords kill only those who stand before them, stories decide who will live and die in generations to come.

Shelomoam, a young man from the tribe of Ephraim, has grown up in the shadow of dark secrets. He wonders why his father is deathly afraid of the King’s soldiers and why his mother has lied about the identities of those closest to him. Shelomoam is determined to unearth his mysterious past, never imagining where his quest will ultimately lead him.

The Secret Book of Kings upends conventions of biblical novels, engaging with the canonized stories of the founding of the Kingdom of Israel and turning them on their heads. Presented for the first time are the heretofore unknown stories of the House of Saul and of the northern Kingdom of Israel, stories that were artfully concealed by the House of David and the scribes of the southern Kingdom of Judah.

Yochi Brandes, one of Israel’s all-time bestselling novelists, enlists her unique background in both academic Jewish scholarship and traditional religious commentaries to read the Bible in an utterly new way. In this book, a major publishing phenomenon in Israel and one of the bestselling novels in the history of the country, she uncovers vibrant characters, especially women, buried deep within the scriptures, and asks the loaded question: to what extent can we really know our past when history is written by the victors?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandes is truly an entertaining read about Jews and their Biblical background. The tale captures the stories of the Jewish tribes and turns it into a fascinating world of fiction for all to enjoy. I also felt like it was an educational journey as well as to entertain me. Inside, readers will meet a family who is Jewish yet fear the soldiers. An explanation of war and bloodshed soon follows. A young boy wants to talk more about his tribe(s) yet his father seems far away and angered.  Secrets have been kept and it only makes the boy even more curious. The tale of a princess and the king is an interesting journey to behold. Not only does it peak the interest of the young boy but also of mine. I was intrigued from the beginning. The pages soon flew by so fast. The story leads readers into a series of deep thoughts. I truly enjoyed following the boy’s adventures as he seeks out the answers to all of his questions.  The Secret Book of Kings is a stunning piece of fiction that all will come to love. Overall, I highly recommend to readers everywhere.

Review: How the Catholic Church Became Naughty…

 

Synopsis:

The cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church have been naughty for centuries. Why can’t they practice what they preach?

At Christmastime 2014 Pope Francis scolded them for their vanity, hypocrisy, back-biting, gossiping, boasting, lusting for power and control, and acting like Lords of the Manor. This book is an expansion on Pope Francis’s admonition to his inner governing circle, the Vatican Curia, tracing this naughtiness from the time of Emperor Constantine who converted to Christianity in the early 4th century and gave the Church palaces, basilicas, riches, and a noble lifestyle. It is a short journey throughout the lascivious and corruption-filled history of these church leaders—their torture of non-believers, selling of indulgences and church offices, concubinage, partnering with evil kings and rulers—ending with the 20th century Vatican Bank frauds, the money-laundering for Mafia and Mason crimes, the betrayal of the Church, and the sexual abuse of children scandal.

These popes, cardinals, and bishops of the Catholic Church are and have been the Real Hindrance to Reform with their peculiar Vatican mindset of clericalism, arrogance, and exaggerated self-estimation of their superiority over everyone and everything. It has been evolving for 1700 years. This short book is not a denunciation of the Catholic Church, but a ray of hope that the Vatican will make the deep changes that are necessary for the survival of Catholicism.

Only a priesthood that includes married, celibate, male and female priests with a non-clerical mindset will bring about the needed reform of the Catholic Church—not the Pope alone, nor the regressive Vatican mindset of clericalism ingrained in present-day church leaders.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

How the Catholic Church Became Naughty by Jack Doherty is an insight into the Catholic Church’s dark past and current struggles with reform. What the Church needs to do to fix all these issues is, in my opinion, to come out and punish the ones who committed the crimes against the Chruch. By not coming out and punishing those who have committed horrendous crimes against the Catholic teaching and to its members, the Church has only spun an endless anger and hatred from those it has hurt. It also has brought on it own sour taste in a vast majority of its own members. The cost of their not going after the bad apples has cost them faithful servants or members of the Catholic faith. There is indeed nothing wrong with the Catholic faith as stated by the author, otherwise, he probably would never have been a priest within the church. The Catholic Church has come a long way from selling indulgences and has in a way improved itself. However, when people in the Church’s top circles commit such crimes the Church somehow believes that if they hide it from the public that it will end all the bad things or bad publicity for the Church as a whole. They think they are saving the Church’s reputation but, in reality, they are only making it worse each time. I agree with Jack Doherty that the Catholic Church needs a reform but in the way it handles the bad things that happen within the Church. The Catholic Church isn’t the only religion with bad history…they are many others who have committed same horrendous crimes that top officials from the Catholic Church have committed yet people only pay attention to what the Catholic church does wrong and not what it has done well. I don’t think that just because the Church didn’t listen to the writer, that he should give up being a priest. He should have kept going on with his duty and would have been an example, to all priest and those around him of what a priest and the Catholic Church should be. Instead, I feel that because they going got tough or that just because one way doesn’t work that the writer felt hopeless and gave up too easy. Look at Peter. His faith, at first, was strong but when tested he failed…and with that he soon changed and his faith grew with patience. Like Peter, we all shouldn’t give up on the Catholic Church. Just like with the rest of life the roads will be bumpy and difficult but that doesn’t mean we  refuse to listen to God or give up our faith or vows just because many won’t listen. Many have not listened to God, yet God spared Noah and his family…Overall, I recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: 144 Thousand & Speaking in Tongues

 

Synopsis:

This book is my translation of the Bible’s prophecy as well as how it ties into today’s events. It breaks down a couple of books within the Bible. It talks more about the 144 thousand. It gives the reader a clearer picture of who the 144 thousand are and it explains where they come from. This book is an attempt to help people to become more comfortable in reading the bible. You can read this book and follow along with your Bible. Follow along, read, and prepare for what’s coming in the future.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

144 Thousand and Speaking in Tongues by Melvin Winfrey is a unique book that is inspirational and a tricky way to get readers more familiar with their Bibles. I loved the goal that this writer had in mind to persuade his readers to read, analyze, and interpret the Bible. Following along this easy, to read book, readers will find the answers to questions like how the Bible mentions about today’s events, how we can prepare for the future, and what does it all mean for us. Inside 144 Thousand and Speaking in Tongues, readers will hear a lot about the 144 thousand.  Readers’ interest, into who the 144 thousand are and why the book focuses so much on them is answered by reading further.

Melvin Winfrey has brilliantly written a book that serves a guide that educates, informs, and inspires readers everywhere. There are many of us who have a Bible but hardly crack it open. I wasn’t aware of just how much I really didn’t know, about what’s inside my Bible until I have read 144 Thousand Speaking in Tongues. What’s wonderful about this book is how well researched the Bible quotes are and how Melvin Winfrey then explains each one to readers. The whole set-up of the book is easy to read,  follow and understand. Readers can follow the quotes and readings and use their Bibles to read the full passages from where all the quotes are taken from…This was my first religious book that I have read and I foud it quite intriguing. I definitely look forward to reading more books by Melvin Winfrey in the future. Overall, I highly recommend 144 Thousand Speaking in Tongues to readers worldwide. This is one religious book that readers will find fascinating and enjoyable to read along with their own Bibles…I don’t know of any other religious book that allows you to read along like this one does. Truly a remarkable nonfiction book to help readers read their Bibles more often.