C.D. Baker’s 40 Loaves & 101 Cps of Water

I was kindly given these books for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

I’ve never really read a devotional before; though I know some of those who enjoy them. Personally, I’d go to Proverbs (for wisdom) and Psalms (for hope) myself, but to each their own. Mr. Baker has put out these two devotionals seeking two slightly different audiences. “101 Cups of Water” seems to be a micro-devotional for those who don’t have much time to spend reading a pick-me-up. “40 Loaves” is better for the longer time frames spent reading.

Devotionals, as I understand it, are designed to help encourage your walk with our Lord. I can accept the need for them with the young Christians, or those who aren’t very strong. That’s who I believe these books would benefit the most.

Herb Sennett’s The Reluctant General

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Sennett for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: This should be simple. Here we have a retelling of the story of Deborah the Judge and Barak, as is laid down in Judges 4-5.

Story Telling: There weren’t many inconsistencies with the grammar and punctuation. While I will admit to seeing a few typos, that’s something you can find in any book–including those of the Big Six. At least Mr. Sennett kept to his timeline.

Likes: Mr. Sennett had an interesting idea. And then, he encourages you to read the original story.

Dislikes: Historical books have a bit of a dangerous road to take. You can too easily sully the reputations of those who lived during the times. It is more difficult to keep these people in character. This is one of the reasons that I had a hard time reading “Miracles and Massacres.” Another thing, and this is aimed more at the blurb on the back cover, not all Israelites are Jews. Calling all of the house of Israel Jews, after the house of Judah, is similar to calling all Americans Texans; or calling all rectangles squares.

Conclusion: This book was okay to read up to the halfway point, at least from my point of view. But, it started downhill fast, and went faster at the point where Deborah cursed the city of one of the Tribes of Israel. My personal opinion: stop reading after Sisera’s death. I’d be happier with people reading the book of Judges. At least read them in tandem.

I understand that the Bible is hard for people to understand. If his will help you get an idea of what you’ll be reading, then go for it. Just don’t forget to go to Judges 4-5 in order to read the Biblical story. It’s more accurate and it’s just a couple of chapters.

Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas-Odd Thomas 1

Overview: Odd Thomas has a simple plan. Start as a fry cook, move up to tire sales, and marry the love of his life: Stormy Llewellyn. Want to know the really weird thing? He’s haunted by the dead, and something more terrifying–bodachs. Why are so many bodachs arriving in Pico Mundo? And who is the man they seem to be following? By the way, just what is a bodach?

Story Telling: Mr. Koontz wrote a pretty neat character. Odd tries to tell the story as a pseudo-memoir. Half the time you aren’t sure if who Odd sees is alive or is just waiting to cross over.

Likes: Odd held a desperation to his words. Many phrases were repeated, and it lent a frantic note at the climax. Odd and Stormy’s relationship was sprinkled with humor. Oh, and one name: Elvis.

Dislikes: The only thing that bothered me was that not all of the good guys won this time.

Favorite Scene: My favorite parts here were most of the conversations between Odd and Stormy. Chief Porter’s bar-b-cue party was cool. And let’s not forget Little Ozzie’s exploded cow. That was worth the time it took to read the book.

Conclusion: This was a great story. Odd’s skills with the dead wasn’t allowed to bring the story into a depressing tone. I’m looking forward to what happens next in Odd’s life. Good thing I’ve got the next two books ready to go. Just got to find the time.

George Langelett’s How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?

I received this book courtesy of Dr. Langelett for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Dr. Langelett has had enough of the status quo of management. Enough of the people being treated like cogs in the machine. It’s about time someone has. This book is to help change that status quo.

Story Telling: Dr. Langelett definitely wanted to have all his notes in order. The bibliography was well ordered, and located right after the appendices. We also have a workbook. As well, he took time to ensure that the professional lingo was easily understood by the layman.

Likes: The lingo was well understood. It’s nice to find someone else that’s saying you should treat people like people. That they aren’t machines designed to accomplish just one job.

Dislikes: The only bad thing is how dry the reading was. Such is the lot with books of this type however. Dr. Langelett kept it from being too technical.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part of this book is the fact that Dr. Langelett is willing to offer any extra help for the managers who want, or needs, extra help gaining empathy.

Conclusion: It’s a great and helpful book. It will also work in the family. The parents are managers of the household; this will just help them make the home a sanctuary. We all need to remember to treat each other as human. It was one of the reasons God laid the laws down for our benefit. Now we see just how important it is to do so.

Colin Stuckert’s The Gym Life Cooking Technique Book

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Stuckert for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Stuckert believes we should cook for ourselves. And he has one technique that anyone can learn and use.

Story Telling: There weren’t any real inconsistencies in this book. (Grammar inconsistencies anyway.) And the recipes were written with the beginner in mind.

Likes: I like the fact the book is trying to get people to enjoy the art of cooking. It’s a great way to feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Dislikes: This book leaves many recipes unattainable, if the reader thinks that this book is all that they need. There is more to cooking than one technique. Oh. Cooking your own food won’t be making you skinny. I don’t like how there was such an emphasis on the website here. It made the book seem more like a commercial and not a serious cookbook.

Favorite Scene (Recipe in this case): I’m a girl. It’s the chocolate mousse.

Conclusion: Mr. Stuckert is giving people a start in cooking. It’s up to the reader to expand their knowledge. It’s good for the beginner, and then only if the beginner doesn’t want to get bored will they learn more. Or they will find more advanced cooking books.

Michael Whitworth’s Bethlehem Road: A Guide to Ruth

I received this book or a fair and honest review.

Overview: In this commentary on the book of Ruth, Pastor Whitworth seeks to show us how Ruth’s story has applicable wisdom for today’s age.

Story Telling: The book’s grammar and style were consistent. There is an abbreviations’ list and footnotes to aid in your studies.

Likes: I appreciate the fact Pastor Whitworth was willing to go to the Old Testament. Even more admirable is the fact that he looked into the Books of Moses.

Dislikes: Here’re my problems. First, I believe the abbreviations’ list was placed in the wrong spot. It’s located at the end of the book. Secondly, I don’t see the Book of Ruth as a love story. It’s more of a story of the second redeemer. God asks for two to three witnesses, He/Jesus is one, and Boaz was the other. If you look at the story in this light, the so-called provocative scenes lose a lot of water, and it makes more sense. Also it would have made more sense if Pastor Whitworth stuck with one version of the Bible. I understand not everyone likes the King James, but that’s no reason to not go for uniformity.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part of the commentary is the fact that the Old Testament was strongly referenced.

Conclusion: This commentary can get you looking into the Old Testament. Just use the Old and New Testaments to get full understanding of the books of the Bible, and not what any man believes. After all, so far only one has come back to Earth after death.

Roy A. Teel Jr.’s Rise of the Iron Eagle: The Iron Eagle 1

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Teel for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Special Agent Steve Hoffman and Homicide Detective Jim O’Brian have an interesting problem. Their current task force case regards “The Iron Eagle” a serial killer with a different MO than expected. He kills other serials, be they killers or otherwise. The only question is: as good as the Eagle is at finding the killers, could he be a cop?

Story Telling: Mr. Teel wrote a terrific thriller here. The story was fluid. The characters were believable. And the Eagle is nicely ambiguous.

Likes: The speed of this story was a big plus. But it wasn’t all action, there were a few spots that just seemed to be rest stops, so to speak.

Dislikes: The story was gorier than it needed to be. And Steve Hoffman had a serious problem in the morality department. There’s just some things a man shouldn’t do, even if he has been given permission. Morals should come in to play at some point.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part of the novel was when John Swensen went to the gravesite of his wife. It explained a lot. (Meeting Valente in Santiago’s was great as well.)

Conclusions: Mr. Teel wrote a story where you are left wondering what will happen in the next books. It’s a pretty interesting read. I found myself–at first–thinking that vengeance killing is wrong, only to get to where I was wondering when the Eagle was going to get the sucker.

Dean Koontz’s From the Corner of His Eye

Overview: On one momentous day in 1965, three endings and three beginnings conspire to bring two families and two individuals to a small town in California. What’s to happen in that small town, is anyone’s guess.

Story Telling: Mr. Koontz wrote a different kind of bad guy this time around. He has great monstrous creatures, and his psychopaths are usually creepy. This is the first time I’ve dealt with a cry baby. I held no sympathy for him.

Likes: My favorite characters here were Paul Damascus, and Detective Thomas Vanadium. (A very interesting name.) Paul was a strong man. It takes a special type of person to marry a disabled woman. Even at that point, it takes an even more special man to stay loyal to her even when temptation had to be knocking.

Tom Vanadium(living up to the meaning of his name) was just a fun character to follow. His interactions with children, as well as the innocent seemed like a trusted mentor at the farthest point, and a rock to lean on at the worst of times.

Dislikes: We spent just too much time with Junior for my tastes. Like I said, he was a whiner, and he got on my nerves.

Favorite scenes: My favorite parts to this was Tom’s…um…psychological warfare. I can’t say too much here. It will ruin your enjoyment. Agnes’s visit with Obadiah was a charming scene as well. Celestina’s decision over Angel was both brave and honorable.

Conclusion: This is why Mr. Koontz is known for his hopeful stories. Some of the science might intrigue you, and it was written in a way as not to ruin the story of confusing the reader. I enjoyed it (except for Junior).

Lee Child’s Killing Floor – Jack Reacher 1

What do you get when you cross a military vagrant with a dirty town? You get, not another Rambo, but the first Jack Reacher novel.

Reacher is an interesting guy. He just wants to live with a sense of freedom that is denied by most of society. I guess you would call him more of a chronic traveler, than a vagrant.

The story itself was something, be forewarned, there is a lot of violence in this story. That’s not to say that the violence is unnecessary. It works with the story being told. The book is a good action thriller. There wasn’t a whole lot of down time.

My favorite scene was when Reacher found someone who knew Blind Blake. Anyone who’ll have a nice conversation with the elderly, can’t be all bad in my book.

I did enjoy the story. I’m just not sure of how far I want to travel with Mr. Reacher.

D.B. Martin’s Patchwork Man

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Martin for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Lawrence Juste is having a hard time. His wife, albeit a marriage of convenience, has been brutally run down. But why did she have a list of the worst days in his life? And who is this child she wants him to defend, and why was it so important?

Story-Telling skills: Mrs. Martin told a powerful tale. The characters were well-fleshed out. There weren’t any real inconsistencies with either the editing, or with the story chronology itself.

Likes: Margaret, Lawrence’s wife, seemed like she was trying to rise above her own past. Lawrence, at least, had the right idea about the law being a way to make wrongs rights. Sarah and Mary were some of the best characters in my opinion.

Dislikes: I didn’t care much for the attitude of much of Lawrence’s siblings. They blamed him for not being there or offering any money, but they forgot one thing: the road runs both ways. If any of them had tried to talk to him sooner, then perhaps he could’ve healed sooner. Some of his thoughts about Kat, as well as some situations, were a bit much as well.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part was when Danny came to visit Lawrence at his home.

Conclusion: This was a good story, great even. Be prepared. It deals with a lot of British law, and British traditions. This will be a bit confusing at first. But the story had been written in a way to be self-contained. A most excellent read.