Sunday, September 17, 2017

Review: He Said, She Said: Marriage, Divorce & Restoration by Ernest Dave Bennerman, Roseline Roz Bennerman

He Said, She Said: Marriage, Divorce & Restoration

Marriage is a sacred union. 
Divorce stinks! 
Restoration happens when we allow God to make a NEW Marriage. 

In words that are profound, often humorous, but always biblical, Dave and Roz draw from over 2 decades of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. They openly share their struggles through their marriage and divorce experiences to challenge soon to be and married couples to ask this question: 
“What is it like being married to me?” 
In ‘He Said, She Said,’ you will discover practical strategies and exercises for creating and sustaining a fulfilling marriage. Although the struggles and challenges are real in a marriage, they share sound principles that, if applied, will create an environment of peace, love, understanding and respect. 
Know that God wants your marriage to be incredible, to be represented as a Kingdom Marriage. But that can only happen when unselfish love is at the center of it all. 
Dave and Roz Bennerman are passionate about encouraging and strengthening marriages. They have mentored numerous couples. Now, they focus their efforts on creating fun and engaging marriage bootcamps and workshops to help keep the Sizzle Alive and Smoking. 

My Take:
This book is a chronicle of Roz and Dave Bennerman, who went through a rocky eight year marriage ending in a divorce. As Providence would have it, they both came to Christ individually years later, and remarried. They have enjoyed a solid, bible-based covenant marriage for eight years since then, and have devoted their lives to helping singles, divorcees, and couples either approaching or in the midst of marriage, to find hope and guidance from their experiences.

Filled with anecdotal wisdom, liberally soaked in scriptural references, and stuffed with good advice, this book is a clear warning to adults in all stages of life to consider carefully before putting on the rings. Advice on dealing with your past baggage, getting right with God, understanding unrealistic expectations, and the principals of regular, steady communication, being committed for the long haul, dealing with differences and enjoying them, sex and its place inside and not outside marriage, and the importance of God in the marriage, this short book is a must-read for anyone considering marriage.

Even though this is non-fiction, figured I'd better put a bit about the content in here. This book has no profanity, as one would expect, and the subject of sex is only obliquely referred to, though the importance of it in marriage is underlined, and supported by scripture.

Packed with nuggets of wisdom and solid advice, this is a quick read that all couples considering marriage would benefit from. If you are in marriage and considering divorce, there's help in here for you as well. Well written, biblically based, informative and helpful, Five Stars!

About the Authors:

An image posted by the author.Coach Dave captivates his audience from all walks of life, developing needed skills that will bring transformation to his listeners for generations to come through humor and visuals. He’s well-received and loved by his students (mentees) and colleagues. As a Certified Personal Life Coach, author and speaker, Dave focuses on transforming the lives of people through goal setting, life planning skills, and accountability measures. He grew up in Northern New Jersey, surrounded by violence and poverty, with a loving sister and a mother, who instilled hard work and perseverance into their lives. After finishing high school, he joined the United States Army and later met his wife, Roseline ‘Roz’ during his college years; they are blessed with one son, Terrell. Dave took a wrong turn in life and discovered problems, heartache, and disappointment do not discriminate. He lost everything that was dear to him and made a decision to seek God for healing and restoration.

Now, he empowers countless individuals in his surrounding community and shares his faith and love for God with many individuals from diverse cultures. He has also committed himself to empower, encourage, and bring hope to our youth who have made mistakes and who've found themselves detained within local juvenile detention centers. In 2012, he was ordained as an Evangelist, and he travels around the world encouraging people to live on PURPOSE.

Roz has teamed up with her husband, Dave, to encourage and empower marriages. They've found, through their own challenges, first being married for 8 years to each other, then 10 years of divorce, and now as they write this book, 8 years remarried, when each spouse puts the other first...No One is Left Out. After being asked to plan married couples' fun and engaging events, which they felt unqualified to do, they eventually realized that through these activities, marriages became more passionate, and everyone had lots of fun. Their passion is to encourage and empower marriages through fun and engaging workshops.
Along with her passion for seeing marriages strengthened and having fun, Roz has mentored numerous young adults through the Development School for Youth. She mentors married women, and she's an author, publisher, and fitness enthusiast, who's passionate about inspiring and helping women create and sustain a Fit Lifestyle. She has found, because women are natural nurturers, they put everyone else before themselves, causing them to put their fitness on the back-burner.

Now she and her husband, Coach Dave, have teamed up to structure fun and engaging marriage workshops and bootcamps that will connect couples on another level. The workshops and bootcamps are designed for interaction...they've moved away from the typical marriage conferences, where couples gather, sit, and listen. These bootcamps and workshops are for married couples to INTERACT and have FUN! Their marriage bootcamps and workshops are based on Biblical principles.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: Elimination (The Mind Breaker #1) by Marina Epley

Elimination (The Mind Breaker #1)

30839740For fans of The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and X-Men. Immerse yourself in a gritty YA dystopian adventure with telepathy, hypnosis and mind reading.

Eighteen-year-old Rex is trying to survive in a dangerous world where the government hunts down, imprisons and even kills those with psychic abilities. He’s a mind breaker, considered not only a deviation from the norm but the biggest threat to society.

Once he reveals his abilities for hypnosis, the deadly hunt begins…

Rex has to flee across the devastated countryside while an entire army of resistant soldiers searches for him. Worse yet, by going on the run, he’s endangering his one and only friend Kitty.

Rex soon realizes that together they make a vulnerable target. And the only way to save Kitty is to allow himself to be captured, thus diverting attention while his friend escapes. But nothing goes as planned, and his actions only serve to push Kitty into an even worse situation than a life sentence in prison. With his world falling apart, Rex must figure out how to fix his accumulating mistakes and regain their freedom before it’s too late.

What Rex doesn’t yet understand, is that he may soon play a major role in preventing all-out war between ordinary humans and mind breakers, a war which could lead to total extinction of the entire human race.

My Take:
Rex is an eighteen-year-old with a terrible secret. He is part of a subset of a post-apocalyptic population that have special mental abilities - hypnosis, telekinesis, mind-reading, and more. He's a mind-breaker, and that amounts to life in prison or worse, just because of who he is.

Lies permeate the media that society watches, tagging mind-breakers as nothing but deadly threats bent on raping, murdering or using their powers to take other advantage of the population at large. Their top-rated show involves watching mind-breakers being hunted down and exterminated by Elimination, a jack-booted black-ops group of specially trained commandos who gather mind-breakers and gather them into research facilities and death camps.

Rex tries to eke out an existence as a 'normal', but the lie he is living crashes around him as the bank he works at is robbed, and he has to use his powers of hypnosis in order to escape. Now, on the run for his life, he has to separate from his sister, Kitty, in order to save her, even if it means capture and death.

As society continues to pursue the annihilation of this enhanced race of beings, aided by the lying media and the merciless Elimination, there's going to be a reckoning - one that just might spell the end of everyone.


Drug Content:
PG-13 - Several characters do a significant amount of drinking or drugs to ease guilt or pain. Drugs are administered to control or subjugate.

R+ - This is extremely bloody. Genocide is a good term. This dark, dystopian novel has torture, bullying, slaughter of innocents, torching of schools and hospitals. Threats and murders of loved ones for leverage or revenge. Street fighting and skull crushing abound. Noses and arms, legs and ribs are broken throughout for the joy of inflicting pain or dominance, for some of the psychotic villains.

PG - The D-word is used a bit, but nothing else.

Adult Content:
PG - There's not much, but there are some suggestions of rape and such. One of the bad guys intimates considering having his way with a girl who is not yet an adult.   

Christian content:
None. There's not much talk about an afterlife, and there's not any concept of hope beyond surviving the next 30 minutes or just escaping from one bad situation into another. There are some points in the book where characters consider the concept of good and evil, or bad and worse, or who is deserving of death more than someone else. Family and loved ones appear to be the main motivating force, and on the antagonist side, apparently there is no level too low to stoop, no line too bad to cross, in a sadistic pursuit of the destruction of a new race. There are a few characters who learn about forgiveness and reconciliation, and there are some that ardently argue for peace and coexistence. 

Final analysis:
Wow. Where to begin. There are some editing issues, and this book is far darker than my usual fare. As described above, there is a lot of sadism in between the covers of this novel, but the book is a fast-paced thriller that had me glued to it from the shocking and depressing start to the action-packed end. The world-building was stark and realistic. The main character spent far too much time soul searching and pondering his path, waffling in decisions until he focused on a destiny. The antagonists, and there were quite a few, were very dark and very bad. They seemed somewhat one-dimensional, unredeemable, and completely unlikeable.

I would have liked to have known more about the backstory of Wheeler and some of the evil villains like him, to get a better understanding of their motivation for hatred and sadism. A good 'bad' guy has reason and stakes or history that motivates him to be like he is.

The novel was realistic, if disturbing, gripping, a real page-turner. It sets up for a nice dystopian world war, and the world building was solid, but the character building and there were a few pacing issues that kept me from awarding the story the five stars that the plot deserved. Four Stars!

About the Author:
Marina EpleyI’m a former journalist turned full-time author who began writing at an early age. Growing up on science fiction, horror and action movies more than cartoons, where the stuff of my dreams (or nightmares) quickly evolved into the short stories I shared with classmates. Well, nothing much has really changed since, except nowadays I write for your enjoyment and reading pleasure.

I published my first YA dystopian trilogy The Mind Breaker in 2016, and I’m currently working on a new series. I mostly write science fiction with plenty of action and adventure, but appreciate any good stories with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

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Review: Lady Hornet: Genesis of a Superheroine (Metamorphosis Book 1) by Bruce Graw

Lady Hornet: Genesis of a Superheroine (Metamorphosis Book 1)

25385865Elizabeth Fontaine is a lonely, ordinary young woman in a world where superheroes struggle daily against the world's evil. To fill the empty void within her soul, she becomes a hero fangirl, following every supers event, subscribing to multiple fanzines, and never missing the daily superhero talk shows...until one day, fate grants her the opportunity to leave behind her boring, dreary life and become what she's always dreamed of...a superheroine! 

Elizabeth learns the hard way the meaning of the phrase “Caveat Emptor!”

My Take:
When Elizabeth Fontaine happens by an alley where one of her favorite superheros lies dying, her quick thinking saves his life. In gratitude, he gives her the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to become a super herself. A closely guarded secret in the ranks of superheros is that you can 'buy yourself in' if you have enough money, and are lucky enough to be asked.

Elizabeth jumps at the chance, little realizing the radical life-altering changes her decision will make. As she and the many superheros she now rubs shoulders with face the most deadly enemy of all time, she also must deal with the loss of everything and everyone she used to know.


Drug Content:
PG - There is some mention of social drinking, and some characters have some serious drinking issues, though it's off-screen.

PG-13 - There's a lot of violence, but it's on a level with TMNT, for the most part. There are a few scenes that made me push this to PG-13, including one where a person is burned into a skeleton and ash.

PG - The D-word is used fairly liberally throughout, but harder language doesn't make an appearance. Unless I missed it.

Adult Content:
PG-13 - As stated earlier some characters play pretty loose in the club scene, but it's mostly offscreen. The main character does in fact have some onscreen action but it's not really described in any detail. There is however a main plot point in this area, which, although hinted around multiple times, is never described graphically. I can't say more or it would be spoilers.  

Christian content:
If the church exists in this book it's pretty much a setting for a battle. Faith is not bashed or promoted, so from that perspective, it's not on the menu pro or con. Faith based topics, however, are certainly in this book, like self-sacrifice, sacrificing one's life for another, standing up for what is right, doing one's duty no matter the cost, personal redemption, and a liberal dose of forgiveness. One character whose life is ebbing away asks for prayer. 

Final analysis:
I love a good romp with superheroes through the skies, facing killer robots and dastardly villains. This book had it all - a solid plot, great characters, cool gadgets, some interesting world-building, and a fast pace. The stakes were high, the plot was gripping, a real page-turner! Five Stars!