Posted by: irenesroth | February 4, 2016

Churchless: A Review for Tyndale

41CZBbdhgXL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_[1]This is a wonderfully reflective and inspiring book about the growing number of churchless people in North America. It is a book that will open the mind of those who are churched and will encourage them to actually live in such a way that will inspire others to come back to church.

What causes people to stay away from church? What makes them feel welcomed and willing to engage? Our world is changing and so are the answers to these questions. Until we understand these reasons, how can we help the unchurched return to the church?

The churchless have always felt estranged from the churched individuals. They feel like they are lost and like outsiders by the churched. But why is this? Well the authors have done a lot of research through the Barna Group into this question and they have written a book that will help the churched realize how the churchless feel.

In my work as a minister of Hospitality at my local church, I see first-hand what some of the reasons may be that the churchless don’t want to go to church. There is so much lack of connection between the parishioners and there is a hypocriticalness that is hard to ignore. Many of the churched come to church simply to fulfill an obligation. Many of them don’t have a relationship with God.

Also, what is really absent in the church today is a sense of God. It seems like he is absent somehow, yet that is precisely why the churched want to go to church. This got me thinking long and hard about the authenticity of Christians. What are our motives in church, and why do we insist on going to church if our reasons for going are more out of obligation and meeting our friends in the pews that it is to connect with God and develop a closer relationship with him?

But what is more, how can we bring the churchless into the church if we lack authenticity ourselves? It would seem that we would have to fix our reasons for going to church first, and then reach out to the churchless and bring them into a place that will help them flourish and be the best that they can be. But until we really connect with God and become authentic Christians, we have no hope of inspiring anyone else either.

This book has made me rethink why people go to church and why I do if even praying in church becomes hard because of all the noise that is in church before, after and during mass.

Thank you David Kinnaman and George Barna for making me think through some of these difficult issues. I will be writing about the authenticity of Christians very soon and will be in touch.

I received this book compliments of Tyndale Publishers Ltd.

Rating: 5+ Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

 

Posted by: irenesroth | January 29, 2016

The Madonna Vigilante

The Madonna Vigilante
By Aabra and Russ Heitz

This is a fast-paced novel that will keep you guessing what will happen until the end. The theme of the novel is quite unique and unlike any murder mystery of this kind that I have ever read.

The story is about Sara Marshall. She is the daughter of many generations of Philadelphia cops. But despite her lineage of pride and good works through her family, she makes a big mistake while trying to save another cop. She kills a young black female. This creates a huge uproar between the Philadelphia Police Department and the city’s very large black population. But while all of this is happening to Sara, her career crashes as well as her love life and her relationship with her family. It seems that everything that can go wrong has indeed gone wrong. As a reader, I felt truly sorry for her.

Prior to her dismissal, Sara was investigating several murders that she thought were committed by the same individual. Yet the people who were dead didn’t seem to be connected in any way. Each victim was a man, and each person was executed with one bullet to the head. Each person who was killed had a Bible quote pinned to his body. If this wasn’t bad enough, the media realizes that all the notes were written in lipstick. So, they assume that all the murders were committed by a woman who they quickly labelled the Madonna Vigilante.

So, who is the Madonna Vigilante? How can she hate men so much that she would murder two religious men in addition to her other suspects? The final answer to this question comes in the form of a confrontation on a major highway in Philadelphia. The highway has a nickname called the Sure-Kill Speedway. Can it live up to its nickname?

I loved this novel, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in crime stories. It is a story that will keep the reader reading until the end.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | January 29, 2016

A GREAT Children’s Book About God

51T77hxZc5L[1]OMG! How Children See God
By Monica Parker

This is a great book for kids about a very important topic: God! It is a book that can be read by kids of all ages and young tweens as well.

It is a book that will capture the attention of kids who have always thought about God but never could put into words what and who God was. With so many different religions and beliefs, it is interesting to see how kids think and feel about God. After reading the book, parents will definitely be able to start a conversation about God with their kids.

Given our distracted culture, it is easy for kids to be brought up without God. But this book will show kids and parents how to foster this love for God—someone who is beyond the busyness of our daily lives and who can give us meaning to our lives.

By writing this book, Monica Parker hopes that these conversations about God throughout the book will help kids to answer some difficult questions about God, faith, heaven and that other place. The kid’s responses in the book are absolutely refreshing and extraordinary. Monica has done an incredible job of showcasing their points of view in this interactive and colourful book.

Thank you Monica Parker for such a wonderfully thoughtful and reflective book about a topic that kids are curious about but never have the courage to ask too many people about. It is an important book that every child should read.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | January 28, 2016

A Wonderful Novel

51ZuPs5SB5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_[1]An Invincible Summer
By: Betta Ferrendelli

I usually don’t like to read legal dramas as a rule. However, this book surprised me in that it was well-written, about a very important topic, and about someone who I really started caring about: a teenaged girl who has a severe mental disability. Who knows! I may start reading in this genre as well.

I am quite partial to teenage girls. And this is especially the case for teenage girls who are severely mentally disabled in any way. It seems that life for a girl with severe mental disabilities is very brutal. This is especially the case if the mother and legal guardian of the girl are seeking to have her forcibly sterilized! There is something about the whole sterilization thing which is really wrong on so many levels. Can Jaime, a promising young lawyer with the Denver District Attorney’s office help her?

As Jamie is covering this case, it starts to affect her personal life. She even over steps ethical boundaries by befriending Leigh Roberts, a reporter for a Denver daily newspaper who is covering the trial. The lines continued to blur as the lawyer looks not only to help the young woman but to clear her own conscience over a childhood death she could have prevented. Will Jaime decide to turn her back on her promising career to fight for a few worthwhile and highly sensitive issues?

Readers will wonder what will happen until the last page. This is a great legal drama, one that can’t be read slowly but quickly and in one or two sittings.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | December 21, 2015

Bane and Blessing Book Review

71gDw-Wg0QL[1]Bane and Blessing
By James Chinery

This is a unique novel with a great storyline. It is a novel like no other that I have ever read.

As a philosopher, I find the concepts in this story very interesting. It is a book that will expand our view of what religion is and what our role in the world is as well. Father Merrick’s character in this novel is profound and soul-searching. Father Merrick was no ordinary priest. He knew suffering and unfairness very intimately being born with a birth defect that caused a lot of physical deformities of his face and head as well as other parts of his body. He looked strange to the world yet he did so much great work of mercy and compassion towards the most vulnerable.

As the story unfolds, it shows how newly consecrated magician, Anselm Van Helflyn, is sent out on a mission to investigate reports of dark magic that were practised in Askani. What the magician finds out will challenge everyone including the ordinary person and theologian. It will threaten the peace between man and elf too. It would seem that dark magic has returned to Superion.

I also find the title of the book very intriguing. The story line shows how we are both saints and sinners, and how human beings are capable of both. It seems that the world as a whole exudes both good and evil elements too. There is so much that is wonderful in the world. But there is also so much that is downright evil. That is perhaps how we find balance in the world. This is a book that will keep the reader reading and rereading the book for more depth and detail.

There is also a glossary of terms in Appendix 1 as well as a Glossary Theologica of Father Merrick’s journals in Appendix II in case the reader has any questions about any of the concepts or terms.

Thank you James Chinery for such a GREAT book! I will be talking about it for a long time with my friends, encouraging them to read it.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 17, 2015

Talasi: A GREAT Picture Book for Kids

61kBhJMjldL._SS300_[1]Talasi: A Story of Tenderness and Love
By: Ellen S. Cromwell
Illustrations by: Desiree Sterbini

This is a wonderful story for children about love, loss and new beginnings. It is a book that children will be able to relate to and understand as they journey through life.

Children get so close to their grandparents. Talasi was no exception. She spent a lot of time with her grandmother on a mesa in Arizona. She loved the peace and quiet of her home and she loved her grandmother. One day her life changed forever and she had to move to the city. Not only did she lose her grandmother who she loved with all her heart but she also had to adapt to a new school and start a life in a large city.

Talasi was very resilient and she did make a new life for herself. Talasi does this by remembering the stories and songs that her grandmother shared with her. She carries her grandmother in her heart every day and that gets her through the tough times.

The illustrations in this book are absolutely awesome and inspiring. I have never seen a children’s book with quite so much detail and splendid color which brings the story to life. The art work is also very expressive.

What a GREAT book for children! It is a picture book that will be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages for many years.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | October 27, 2015

Bode the Beach Dog – GREAT Picture Book For Kids

61oHWQzpS0L._SS300_[1]This is a wonderful picture book for kids with an important message about building self-confidence. And this is a very important topic for kids today.

This is a story about a dog named Bode. You see, he lives on the beach. But he will not go into the water. He is afraid of it, and he avoids it like the plague until one day he has to rescue a dog that is about to drown. Once he plunges in to save the dog, he realizes that it is not so bad to be in the water. Finally, he overcomes his fear.

This book will show kids how to overcome their fears. We all have fears, and when we face them we will feel much more in control and self-confident. And we can all especially be able to get control over our fears if we just stretch ourselves to help someone else in need.

This is an adorable picture book for kids. The illustrator also does a splendid job bringing the story to life for kids. The book also ends with a note to parents on how to overcome fears and anxiety. This page has tidbits of wisdom that parents need to remember if they have a child who is anxious and fearful.

Thank you Tara and Geoffrey Moser for such a wonderful book! I will be talking about your book to all the parents that I know who have young children.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | October 13, 2015

Bella Eve Book Review

61KZjjPGlUL._SS300_[1]This is a wonderfully inspiring picture book about a rescue dog and how she graced everyone’s life by her resiliency and unceasing love, including her daddy’s life in the final stages of cancer.

This is a story about Bella Eve. She was born on August 21st, 2013 along with her three siblings. Her first home was in a dangerous neighborhood and her mommy and daddy didn’t properly care for her and her siblings. So, the police took them away and they were brought into a shelter.

They stayed at the rescue for six weeks. They all hoped that they would be adopted by a loving family who would give them a forever home. One day, Bella Eve got her wish and a kind loving family came to pick her up. However, she was sad to leave her siblings. But somehow she thought it would be okay.

She found out later that she was a birthday gift for her daddy who was dying of cancer. Bella Eve believed that all would go well. But as her daddy got sicker and sicker, she continued loving him and wishing that he would get well soon. But sadly things only got worse, and one day, her daddy didn’t come back. She was very sad. But she still tried to be hopeful and carry on, despite some sad days.

This book will be enjoyed by younger and older children alike. It is a book that shows the value of resiliency and how one little puppy showed everyone that life is really what you make it. Thank you Kasey for such a wonderful picture book!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | September 23, 2015

Hope and Oxygen-Book Review

41VZ642hJ7L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Hope and Oxygen
By Katie Kelley Detmer

Hope and Oxygen is a very inspiring and moving book about one single mother’s attempt at creating a good and fulfilling life for herself and her kids. It is a story that will capture the reader’s attention and hold it as she goes through all the ups and downs that she faced over the years.

Katie’s first marriage sadly ended in divorce. Katie like many women who had difficult upbringings found it difficult to choose a proper partner. But she did learn what true love was over time and was able to give her kids a good upbringing that was filled with sports and many activities that taught them many important lessons. Katie makes sure that they ended up being very successful.

Katie learned a lot of important lessons along the way on her journey through life. She learned that the perfect guy doesn’t make life better. Nor does the perfect hair or perfect car. You are the one who can make things better and not repeat past mistakes. You must learn to overcome one moment at a time, one obstacle at a time, and one dream at a time.

Katie believes that life is not a destination; it is about the journey. Life is also about the people we meet and the friends that we cultivate. We have a choice to create happiness and experience life to the fullest. We will encounter disappointment along the way, but how we handle hardships will reveal our character. We all have stories, and some of us have painful stories. But Katie believes that we should never give up but we should find the will to go on. What a hopeful message for women!

Thank you, Katie for such a wonderfully hopeful and inspiring book. I truly admire your journey and I will pass your book on to all the women that I know who are currently struggling with difficulties of different kinds.

Rating: 5 stars

Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | August 28, 2015

Don’t Stop Believing

711bIKU7EKL[1]Don’t Stop Believing: Our Journey With Cancer
By: Kasey Crawford Kellem

This is an important memoir for anyone who is caring for a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. This book is inspiring and courageous in the face of a disease that is very often relentless.

It is hard to live with someone who has incurable cancer much less take care of them with all of the ups and downs that cancer typically throws. It takes courage and perseverance as well as an incredible belief that this too shall pass. This kind of upbeat attitude and faith can make living with cancer much more bearable. And it makes it far easier for the family to face the impending death of the person who is fighting this journey with cancer.

Cancer can steal anyone’s joy. Let’s face it there is nothing good about the disease itself and how it robs an individual of vitality and well-being. However, if we could grow as a result of seeing someone endure the battle of this disease, we are truly blessed. And this is precisely what Kasey has done with honours.

The main purpose of this memoir has been to show individuals who are unfortunately afflicted with cancer along with their caregivers that despite the diagnosis, and the possible incurable nature of the disease, we still have the choice to either moan and complain all the time and curse the gods or embrace and celebrate the remaining days of our lives and treat them as a true gift. Kasey and her husband Craig chose to celebrate and believe to the bitter end.

Thank you for such a wonderfully inspiring book. I will pass the book along to all my friends who have cancer and are currently struggling because they are bitter. You are such an example of how to mourn with grace.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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