Posted by: irenesroth | January 5, 2018

The Boy Who Couldn’t be Seen! Book Review

The Boy Who Couldn’t be Seen!
By Michael Joffroy

This is an inspiring and yet profoundly sad book about a boy who is neglected through separation from his family.

The boy felt very unloved. The important people in his life were mean to him. He felt rejected and alone. He grew up in fear of everything and everyone. It was a sad and lonely place to be.

When he grew up, he turned to destructive behaviours to mask how terrible he felt. He just couldn’t move past the anger that festered deep in his heart. It was always there and ultimately he had to deal with it.

The process from fear and destructive behavior to one of emancipation was a difficult one. He couldn’t do it alone. So, he went into a recovery program that brought him to God. He realized that God knew his pain all along and He was there with him helping him every step of the way.

By coming back to God and relying on God, the young man was able to move past his fears to a place of comfort and love, the love that God had for him. This is where try recovery lied for the young man. The illustrations stunningly portray the sadness experienced by the young boy and man.

I loved this book from start to finish. I will certainly be encouraging other youngsters to read it, especially those who are separated from their parents because of divorce or the inability to care for their child.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | December 20, 2017

Li Bai’s Shadow-Book Review

Li Bai’s Shadow
By Lee J. Marvin

This was an amazing read! Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and pondering it. It is a book that I will read and probably re-read in time.

The book is about a young girl, Caitlin Wang. The heart-warming tale follows the child of this young girl with OCD. She has an imaginary friend, Li Bai. He only exists in her mind now. But she clearly sees him in her dollhouse.

Li Bai is not a complete imaginary figure though. He did exist in 700 AD. So, despite the fact that Li Bai is not really in her dollhouse now, it is not a completely unrealistic tale.

Caitlin is a lonely child, and trusts Li Bai with all of her secrets, longings, hopes and dreams. She communicates with him and shares things that no one else knows. Her mother was dead and her father didn’t take her seriously. He doubted her and she was always second-guessed by her father.

Once she reaches the age of 18, Caitlin runs away to Shanghai, China. The details of this are wonderful and are captured vividly by the author as he describes Caitlin to be exploring a new place. It is almost a magical description.

Marvin writes this book in a poetic manner. It is a book that is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is a book that can be read by adolescents who have lost a parent and who have always have the urge to run away from all that is familiar and painful.

The storyline with Caitlin switches between her fantasy and the real-world, but in the end, it comes together with a respect for new newfound independence.

I loved the book from beginning to end! I will recommend it to all adolescent girls that I come into contact with in my community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | December 14, 2017

Escape From Solomon’s Church – Book Review

Escape From Solomon’s Church:
An Epic Love Story Into the Heart of God
By Brad Kuechler, M.A.

Tagline: This is a life changing epic love story that will transform our lives

This is a life changing epic love story that will capture our hearts and transform our lives. It is a story that will move each reader to action and show him/her a better way to find happiness, peace and a fulfilled life.

The Song of Solomon is in many ways a book that has been forgotten or misunderstood by much of the church. Yet it is a book that is crucially important for our times. Our culture is obsessed with materialism and prestige. The more we have the more we want. This culture has also influenced much of the church and has caused many to strive for the wrong fruit.

In the Song of Solomon, we will discover that we can find rest in the arms and presence of God and find all we need for life. According to Kuechler, this is what Jesus desires from us. He wants us to take His “yoke” of learning His ways upon us. It is when we take God’s yoke upon us, He will bring us rest and help us overcome the heavy burdens we carry. We don’t have to pull life’s burdens ourselves.

A wonderful aspect of this book is that all of these lessons from the Song of Solomon are told through an epic love story. It is a story about a beautiful, poor shepherd girl who was about to marry a man she really loved. However, her dream was crushed when King Solomon stole her away to make her his wife instead. What we quickly learn is that her beloved loves her so much that he will not let her go. In fact, he tries to rescue her and restore their love.

However, there is a problem. King Solomon tried to convince her to stay with him by offering her a culture that was filled with prestige, power and wealth. This was very appealing and tempting to the poor, shepherd girl. Why? She would love to be comfortable and have all that Solomon offered. However, she would have to compromise and let go of the love of her life in order to settle for the love of King Solomon who had many wives. She would be just another wife in the house of Solomon’s palace.

It is under this backdrop that Kuechler retells the story of the Song of Solomon and presents many insights as well as deep revelation from the Song of Solomon to help us recapture our love for God. Kuechler also helps us clearly understand how Solomon’s intoxicating culture still influences the church of today and how to avoid its many pitfalls.

Escape From Solomon’s Church is the first volume and covers Chapters 1 and 2 of the Song of Solomon. The remaining volumes in the series will cover Chapters 3 through 8 of Song of Solomon. This entire series will help us develop a deeper revelation of God and captivate our hearts to love Him more. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 6, 2017

Jilo: A Witching Savannah Novel

It was a great prequel for the series! I can see myself being totally enthralled into this series as time goes on.

Savannah is a beautiful woman with a dirty face. Its elegance is faded by neglect and its soul is withering from racial injustice and political corruption.

The dark secrets of Savannah are intertwined with the story of young Jilo Wills. He rises to become a legendary part of the most powerful family of witches. The origins of Taylor’s witch family finds its roots with Jilo’s great-grandmother, Mary Wills. They both used their sorcery to influence the city’s powerbrokers. In a desperate attempt to make money quickly, Jilo takes advantage of the family’s reputation and her scant magical knowledge to create a Mother Jilo persona. But soon Jilo is forced to accept full responsibility for her legacy. She seems to be the one who the mystical world has been world for. Jilo becomes the unbreakable link between the past and future witches of Savannah.

There is great detail to the characters and you definitely get a feel for why Jilo is the way she is. It makes her more human than she is portrayed in the other books.

I loved the story from beginning to end. It is a story that could be read by young and old.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 6, 2017

Last Dance at the Savoy by Kathryn Leigh Scottt

This is a book about life, love and caring for someone with progressive supranuclear palsy.

It can be tremendously hard living with someone with a progressive neurological terminal condition. The day-to-day issues are as exhausting as they are debilitating for both individuals. Yet little is known about this disease and the cause of it as well as its treatment. This illness affects some 20,000 Americans. And yet, so few people know anything about the condition.

The result is that people have to live with the progressive nature of an illness that has all the controls and the patient has none sadly. Geoff Miller wanted someone to hold his wife’s hand while she went through this terrible time with her husband. Until this book, that wasn’t possible. It is Kathryn Leigh Scott’s sincere hope that this book can reach out to those who are going through a similar ordeal to offer encouragement and practical advice.

The book also includes a resource guide that provides facts about prime-of-life diseases as well as contact information for support organizations, research studies and clinical trials.  You will also discover where to find handicap products and equipment as well as recommended care-giving publications and family conferences.

This book is invaluable for anyone going through a similar situation with a spouse or significant other.  It is a book that will make you laugh and cry and hope for a cure. You will also want to hold the hand of people who are going through hard times because after reading this book you will know precisely how hard it is to live through such times.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 4, 2017

Black Sails, White Rabbits by Kevin A. Hall

This is a wonderful book about surviving cancer and realizing that cancer was the easy part. But what could possibly be worse?  Well stay tuned and read on.

Hall is an award-winning Olympic and American’s Cup sailor. He has had many negative things that happened to him including surviving cancer twice. But then came something even worse.

In 1989, Hall was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  He experienced episodes of severe mania, with corresponding depressions, for more than a quarter of a century. Throughout that time, he faced imposter syndrome, hospitalizations, and a number of other setbacks. But he still tried to make his dreams a reality.

In this sad and humorous book, Hall reflects on his journey up until this point, and the influence of one woman he couldn’t have done it without.

This is a story that is inspirational and a message of hope with a surprising love story woven into the tale.

This is a book for anyone who has had a lot of mishaps in life and who is struggling. The message of this book is that we can all rise above all the bad experiences to a place of redemption, hope, and love.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth



Posted by: irenesroth | November 4, 2017

Love, Bill by Jan Krulick-Belin

This is a wonderful memoir-type story about the enduring power of determination, love, family, and the unbreakable bond between fathers and daughters. I loved the book from beginning to end!

Jan Krulick-Berlin inherited 100 of her father’s precious letters to her mother during World War II. The letters were wonderful and tender accounts of the love two people could have for each other, despite the fact that they were separated by war.

Since Jan lost her dad from an early age, she didn’t know her father. She was only six years old when her Mom got the awful news that would shatter their world forever.

Using her skills as an art historian, she compiled this wonderful and precious book which uncovers all the details of her parents’ great love story.  The letters made me cry and wonder why we need war in the first place. But that takes me from the main themes of this wonderful memoir.

To write this book, Jan embarks on a pilgrimage to Paris, Morocco, and New York. She talks to strangers and people who gave her more tidbits on her Dad’s ordeal at that time of his life.

Along the way, she learns about the war in North Africa and the horrific fate of the Jews there as well as bringing her closer to her own cultural roots. The trip comes full circle when Jan finds the Jewish-Moroccan family who provided her father a feeling of home. She is then able to bring about one of her father’s expressed wishes in the letter which he could not fulfill because he didn’t long enough.

It is wonderful to see how love can carry and the heart can go on even after death by knowing how much the person was loved.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Finding the Beautiful You
By Lisa Cassman

This is an important book for people who lack self-confidence and self-control. It is an inspiring and transforming exploration of how we can feel good about ourselves because we are all beautiful in our own unique ways.

In this book, Cassman uses her experience as a Christian counsellor to explore how we can move forward and become the person we were meant to be, self-confident and knowing how wonderful we truly are.

Undervaluing ourselves can lead to many difficulties such as making wrong decisions, getting into relationships which are harmful and don’t serve us nor celebrate who we truly are. Also, undervaluing ourselves can leave us empty and not fulfilled in our lives.

In this book, Cassman explores how we can move forward from the place which we are at now to a more positive and self-confident one. She does this through reflective sections, which are combined with scriptural passages and thoughtful questions. It is book that the reader can follow along step-by-step to a place of emancipation and liberation from the negativity about themselves.

For Cassman, a strong, self-confident person does not allow anyone or anything to control her life, wakes up each day with a positive attitude, appreciates the success of others, appreciates the little things of life and is thankful for what she has, walks with her head held up high, and knows that inner beauty is more important that outer beauty.

I loved this book from beginning to end. I will be recommending it to the young women and teenagers that I work with at my parish. This book is truly transforming and inspiring.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Journey of North Denver Johnnie:
Using Street Smarts to Add Value to Your Career
By John Santone

This is a powerfully inspiring book about how to avoid the bullies in our midst. This world is filled with people who make us feel small and unvalued. Santone shows the reader how not only to overcome this overwhelming negative feeling but to thrive by gathering our own inner resources and changing our attitudes.

Johnnie Dane was a wimp who didn’t believe that he could stand up to people in his life. At the age of thirteen, he was abused and humiliated by one of his students at a parochial school, Peter Schavinski. He accused Johnnie of calling him a Nazi, and one of the sisters at the school believed the student’s story without even asking Johnnie for an explanation or his side of the story.

When Sister Mary heard Peter Schavinski’s story, she further humiliated Johnnie in front of his classmates. Johnnie felt awful. But instead of turning away from the situation and succumbing again to wrongful accusations and terrible treatment, he decided to stand up to her and leave. This was the beginning of his transformation into the person who he is today.

He got transferred into another school, however, this school was dangerous and he had to develop a lot of street smarts. He had to learn a lot about himself to cope in this school. But Santone turned adversity into a platform of life lessons. This book is full of his life lessons.

The first is to never give up. Because when we give up, we give the bullies in our midst the upper hand on how to keep manipulating us into believing that we are less than they are.

Further, you should continuously assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you could develop goals to accomplish your objectives. To obtain most goals, you need a plan, initiative, confidence, and perseverance. Thus, if you want to change, you have to change things.

Lastly, it is impossible to predict the future. All we can do is to have a plan for the future. But we should not hold onto our plan too tight since things can change quickly and then we have to revise our plan.

These insights and much more are part of this powerful book. I recommend this book to anyone who has been hurt, put down and humiliated and didn’t know who to turn to. This book provides insights into career management and workplace advancement from a person who had successful sought-after position in successful companies.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon
By Kevin M. O’Dell
Illustrated by Megan Phillips

This is a wonderful and enchanting story for kids that will reacquaint them with the earth and reignite their fascination for all that is in it. We tend to not be aware of all the life that is around us. There is so much to see and take in, if only we stop and listen.

This story teaches kids many important lessons such as, family love, how to love and appreciate nature, and make sure that we don’t destroy it for future generations.

The story also teaches kids to stop and look around because the earth is very beautiful indeed. Each creature on earth and all the lakes and waters can offer so much nourishment and replenishment to us. All we have to do is to become aware of them. It seems that we always want to be doing something but not noticing and listening.

This book is especially relevant for our times. We live in a culture of being constantly connected and going. Many times, we are teaching our kids how to be distracted too through our own distracted mindsets. O’Dell’s book will show the reader, both parents and kids, how to stop and just be in nature, even if it is for a short time.

The illustrations are also stunning and bring the story home for kids and parents.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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