“The Power of the Cross Unveiled and Revealed in Jesus” by Jim Taylor


Jim Taylor
Crosslink Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781633571365
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/18)

In the beginning, Adam only had one law that he could break. That was to take fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.  According to Genesis 1:29-30 Adam and Eve were created in a perfect world. There was no sin, suffering, violence nor death. Adam’s sin against humanity brought all these things into this world. Romans 5:12-21, “God’s grace is greater than all sin.” God sacrificed his only son to remove original sin which was brought into the world by Adam. Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross did away with original sin. Jesus’s sacrifice brought us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The second coming of Christ will end death and allow for the resurrection of the dead.

The author, Jim Taylor, is a minister in the Church of Christ. He wrote “The Power of the Cross Unveiled and Revealed in Jesus” to share the story of Jesus Christ and explain how his great sacrifice on the cross allowed Adam’s transgression to be forgiven, which in turn removed the stain of original sin from all people.

The author provides us with a literal translation of the bible so that we gain a better understanding of the events that happened in the bible that eventually led to Christ’s death. He provides a great deal of discussion about what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve. Other great historical events, such as Noah and the flood are also discussed.

Moving on to the New Testament, we learn about Joseph and Mary before Christ was born. Taylor also takes us through what that led to the crucifixion, what happened when Christ was in the tomb and what happened after his resurrection. Throughout all of this, we are reminded that Christ did this so that we could be freed from our sins and be granted eternal life.

“The Power of the Cross Unveiled and Revealed in Jesus” is beautifully written. Taylor not only takes us through what happened in both the Old and New Testament, but he also feeds a desire for the reader to want to learn more about the bible and encourages readers to study the Bible carefully.

“The Power of the Cross Unveiled and Revealed in Jesus” by Jim Taylor would be a great gift for someone who is newly exploring the bible because the author explains everything really well. He also discusses how carefully the bible was translated so that the reader will feel more confident about selecting a particular translation to read.  Readers who would like to get back into studying the Bible will also appreciate Taylor’s writing. I feel like it rekindled a spark of interest in me to continue to explore more. I think most readers will relate to this.

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“Treating the Traumatized Child” by Scott Sells and Ellen Souder


Scott SellsEllen Souder
Springer Publishing Company (2018)
ISBN 9780826171870
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (8/18)

In “Treating the Traumatized Child” by Scott Sells and Ellen Souder, therapists will find critical information for enhancing therapy effectiveness in diverse populations, from foster children to military families.

Children are often referred to a therapist for issues such as behavioral problems, depression, anti-social problems utilizing individual therapy and changing behavior with consequences. Therapists have now finally realized that this approach does not help the remainder of the family that might have been impacted by the child/adolescent trauma, and failure is sure to repeat over and over. All family members are directly affected by traumatic events such as natural disaster, death, divorce or abuse, and it is important to provide support and validation to all.

The authors have provided very detailed, step-by-step guidance along with case examples, however, it is very tedious reading and not for families in general. One would have to have basic training in Family Systems Trauma Model, to be able to master Part I, which connects the theory to practice and techniques and strategies. The goal of the authors is to provide specific areas of treatment then focus on the specific trauma which is causing issues.

Chapter 2 includes a description of the type of client who will best be served by using this model and Chapter 3 provides diagrams of the model and the five phases of the Family Systems Trauma model. I particularly liked Chapter 2 which defines who traumatized children are, as well as discusses various types of traumatic events and, most importantly to me, is the discussion of ideal point of entry which is the reason for the referral.

There is no set time limit for therapy; it depends on the treatment the therapist uses, the ultimate goal, progress made and setbacks. However, if the therapist is well trained, connects with family members and there is a willingness to work on issues, progress can be made.

Overall, “Treating the Traumatized Child” by Scott Sells and Ellen Souder is a well-written, researched approach to treating trauma that impacts children. Again, I believe this read is better utilized by mental health counselors, school psychologists and counselors. I highly recommend it for those in the field.

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“Fascinating New Yorkers” by Clifford Browder


Clifford Browder
Black Rose Writing (2018)
ISBN 9781684330607
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (07/18)

“Fascinating New Yorkers” is a collection of Clifford Browder’s posts from his blog: No Place for Normal: New York. He organizes his stories into six sections. These include: Dark Desires, Men of Power, Remarkable Women, Creators, Celebrities and Bohemia.  Within some of these chapters are subchapters that discuss more eccentric characters including John Gotti. There are also other notable eccentrics whose names are mentioned, such as Donald Trump.

Browder does an excellent job of vividly describing the characters and the settings. He even piqued my interest with the ones that were new to me. I found myself going to the internet to get more information or even look up the addresses that he named. One of the addresses was even on Zillow.com with beautiful photographs and a price of $21,000,000!

Having grown up in New Jersey, I remembered David Berkowitz, a/k/a Son of Sam, terrorizing the young residents of New York. I also remember the relief that everyone felt when he was caught. Browder provided a lot more information than I knew at the time and it was interesting to be updated. Other notable names that I had already heard of were JP Morgan, Al Sharpton, Helena Rubenstein, Ayn Rand, Anais Nin and Andy Warhol. The list goes on, but it was really fun to hear the juicier details about their lives!

Browder also provides a community service by educating his readers about historical events that happened during the lives of these characters. He even got to meet several of them in person. I also appreciate that he provides some references about where he derived his information or notes when something is a common rumor but hasn’t yet been backed up by fact.

Readers will enjoy Clifford Browder’s lively, descriptive writing. Fans of non-fiction and more recent history will really appreciate the research that he put into these pages. His writing will definitely captivate your interest as it did mine. “Fascinating New Yorkers” is a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading more works by this author.

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“An Essential Song” by Amy R. Saltz


Amy R. Saltz
CreateSpace (2018)
ISBN 9781976419058
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (08/18)

“An Essential Song” by Amy R. Saltz is a poignant story of finding love and enduring loss, persisting through the journey of growth and finding one’s self along the way.

The story begins as two people meet, each on their own personal journey. For a time, all is well and the two cherish each other, but soon tragedy comes to pass, and the one left behind cannot fathom how to stop the pain and begin again. I don’t want to give any more specifics about the actual story but will say this – you don’t want to miss this one, it’s a rare gift.

I couldn’t help but get chills while I was reading this haunting story. The overall tone for me was a bit forlorn, while at the same time creating a mood of appreciation, and I was reminded of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Inspired by personal tragedy and the loss of two loving partners, Amy Saltz pours her heart and soul into a modest and transcendental story that readers will not soon forget. The characters, especially the protagonist, are mesmerizing, enchanting the reader without ever saying a word as they journey through a whirling cycle of transformation, from grief to acceptance to love, then back again through loss, finally emerging on the other side. The writing is simple, elegant and will awaken and inspire deep thought and self-reflection.

The illustrations by Mike T. Cherry, while complementing the written word, also reflect their own story as the reader travels through the light of the forest, succumbs to the ferocity of the raging sea and angry sky, floats through the calmness after the storm and makes the final journey back to the forest.  Superb illustrations.

“An Essential Song,” was produced in a picture book design, and somehow, I cannot imagine the story set in a different format. It just works.  Make no mistake though, this is not a book for kids.  “An Essential Song” by Amy R. Saltz is a treasure and a book I highly recommend to anyone who has loved and lost.

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“Kuwaiti Seeker” by Jim Carroll


Jim Carroll
Crosslink Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781633571266
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (7/18)

Through his extensive knowledge of living in the Middle East, author Jim Carroll provides an intriguing journey of Yacoub, a young Kuwaiti, as he pursues truth in “Kuwaiti Seeker.”  Yacoub confronts the Sunni hadiths, the words and deeds of the prophet Mohammed. He is frustrated by his discoveries, though he continues as a Muslim, but one no longer grounded in his beliefs.

I enjoyed the overall perspective on the history, changes, political corruption and Islamic religion the author provided. I found it quite interesting that often, as we see here as well, there is a favorite child who is willing to follow in the father’s footsteps, and the one who goes a different route is ignored.

The protagonist Yacoub is an excellent storyteller and uses those skills to develop the white camel who can see the future, who follows him until the end of the book. However, in 1956 Yacoub leaves for the King’s College in London. It was here he learned that life outside of Kuwait opened up new adventures, romances and lifestyle. After King’s College Yacoub travels to New York to study Sharia law under Dr. Saturnalia Allison, an expert in Islamic Law and a self-declared agnostic. Interestingly enough although an expert in the field, she had little knowledge or desire to utilize the proper customs when encountering Islamic students and felt the need to be aggressive and controlling in all situations.

After returning to Kuwait, Yacoub discovers that his position as a professor at the new university is on hold until he agrees to promote Sharia law being installed into the government. He was to become a scapegoat in other devious plans as well. His brother, an important imam, did not support this, but greed for money can be quite persuasive. The author continues to develop the storyline with how Yacoub skims money from his family’s business while continuing to be blackmailed by the professor and the government.

Overall “Kuwaiti Seeker” by Jim Carroll is a captivating, informative, and easy to read story. Readers will find the historical information revealing and the protagonist to be down-to-earth in his search for the truth.

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“Hard Truths: 18 Rock Solid Lessons for Leaders” by Michael Tomlin


Michael Tomlin
Elevate (2017)
ISBN 9781945449420
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (07/18)

“Hard Truths: 18 Rock Solid Lessons for Leaders” by Michael Tomlin was written for people in leadership positions, however, I feel that it offers a lot of great advice for all audiences. The author uses his life experiences, from a variety of careers in leadership, including the military, plus the school of hard knocks, to provide valuable information to readers.

Divided into 18 chapters, each with their own topic, I found them all to be of great value. I especially liked the chapter that addresses image, because I think that it is critical for leaders to realize that their subordinates are watching them to either judge them or learn from them. The more polished the presentation, the better the employees will be able to perceive them as a leader. This also applies to those of us who work in education. Students need leaders to learn from and to emulate.

My second favorite area was on discipline. The author offers wise words that made me take a look at how much time I waste when I am not focused and disciplined. When I am undisciplined, I sacrifice time off my life because I am engaging in wasteful, unproductive activities. This also applies to my personal life! I could keep going on about what I learned, but it would cover lessons from every chapter!

“Hard Truths: 18 Rock Solid Lessons for Leaders” by Michael Tomlin is written in an engaging manner so that it is both enjoyable and educational. As mentioned previously, it is of great value to readers in leadership positions, but I would also recommend it to new college graduates, and those who just want to improve their lives in general. People who work in all aspects of life including military, education, and business will benefit from the information presented. I would also recommend journaling your thoughts as you read. Normally, I suggest fictional books for reader’s groups, but in this case, I make an exception – “Hard Truths” would certainly make for interesting discussions. It will make a great gift as well. I am going to give a copy to the new dean at my college!

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“Make a Zine” by Joe Biel


Joe Biel with Bill Brent
Microcosm Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9781621067337
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (7/18)

This DIY guide includes everything a beginner needs to start making their own zines. “Make a Zine” also covers more advanced topics, like legality and distribution methods.

Author Joe Biel consults with several fellow zine creators and artists throughout this guide, giving readers insight into a variety of different zines. Both his and his contributors’ enthusiasm for their craft is infectious. It can make anybody want to pick up a pencil or sit down at their computer to start brainstorming ideas.

Creating an entire publication, regardless of the size, can seem like a daunting task. This book breaks it down into eight easy steps, and then goes on to discuss different ways to complete those steps and available tools and techniques in detail. With this guidance, what used to seem like an insurmountable amount of work becomes a fun and easily managed project. With tips on everything from which paper to use, printing the final product, and book binding to keeping mailing lists and handling postage, new zinesters have plenty of wisdom to draw on.

One of the reasons “Make a Zine” stand out is its focus on sales and marketing. A lot of guidebooks on creative pursuits neglect this area. Reading practical advice from people directly involved in the zine community is both encouraging and inspiring. It’s nice being given some ideas of what to do with a finished piece of work. I also enjoyed learning about the different distribution methods available to self-publishers, in particular. A lot of these tips can also be applied to larger projects.

The authors also include resource lists for anyone interested in going more in-depth. Digital zine libraries, other recommended readings, and even a list of excellent offset printers are provided for readers.

“Make a Zine” is an entertaining and informative introduction to a wonderfully diverse and passionate community. Anyone can start one of their own on any topic, but this book’s guidance can make the entire process easier. Anyone interested in learning a little more about how their favorite zines are created should check it out. For creators and readers alike, “Make a Zine” by Joe Biel offers insight into an entire underground community.

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