Friday, September 28, 2012

A Courageous Book Written by Two Brave Women

Hitz, Shelley and S’ambrosia Curtis. A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.  Body and Soul Publishing:, 2012. ISBN-10: 061569389X ISBN-13: 978-0615693897 List price, $12.95

This guide looks at pornography from sociological, neurological, and personal perspectives. The authors wrote this book to provide assurance to women, especially Christian women, who struggle with the power of pornography in their lives. Hitz and Curtis believe that freedom from pornography is possible. A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography is based on a premise that, while images do not disappear, they can be controlled by redirection of thought, Christian counseling, accountability, and relationship with God.

Dr. Judith Reisman indicates pornography “could be more addictive than crack cocaine because cocaine can be excreted from the body, whereas pornographic images … remain, structurally and neurochemically with a person forever.”  With this information, the authors show that pornography is deeply rooted in America, and holds certainly emotional if not physical consequences for those who become addicted.

Hitz and Curtis wrote this book “to open the door to confession and conversation among women in the Body of Christ who feel as though they are alone in this struggle.” They share their own journeys, “true stories of struggle and freedom,” and practical steps women can take “to break free” from their cycle of addiction to images or the written word. Throughout the eBook version, are links to other information and support available from or through the authors and other sources.

Two brave women have written a courageous book about a topic not often discussed from the pulpit, in small groups, or between accountability partners, which are the primary means of dissemination of support for Christians struggling with personal addictions. Hitz regularly speaks to teens and adults to share God’s truth, and the freedom in Christ she has found, with others. On her website,  she shares her own story of hope and healing to inspire and encourage teens. Curtis is an English and sociology teacher at Salina Christian Academy. Each approached this project from her own battle with addiction to and freedom from pornography.

The tone of this book is objective and spiritual. The authors’ approach to this issue is straightforward but comfortable. Their use of personal stories, supported statistics, and information constitute a level of convincingness and urgency to their topic. The synthesis of information, shared guilt and practical steps provide a cohesive whole that is never vulgar or shocking. The Christian women that make up part of the 33% of the 40 million Americans who regularly visit porn sites; and struggle alone with their addiction and shame will find light, hope, and effective ways to approach their problem.

I was given an eBook of this title by the publisher for my unbiased review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Time for Love

Zia, Mian Moshin. O N C E : Ask me anything, not Love.
CreateSpace ISBN-10: 1451500548 ISBN-13: 978-1451500547
Smashwords: ISBN: 9781452309­­224 
‘M---, No Time for Love’ is an author who writes English novels. He sees no need to include women in his novels, and certainly no need for a female protagonist. With no future projects in mind, he flies to Kiev, Ukraine, for a holiday. Here, where no one knows him, he can be an ordinary person. M attends a funeral, then a wedding where he knows no one.
A beautiful woman stops him to remind him to tie his shoes. He rushes out to catch her, to find out more about this woman with the lustrous face and emerald eyes. She is amazed at the compassion and virtue she finds in his rare moment of truthfulness. They meet, again by accident, at the Globus market. He is touched by the “God Bless You” that once again precedes her goodbye. “It is her style, the Maya style. She has a charismatic personality, and her aura is impeccable.”
She, raised by Catholic nuns, finds in the ordinary Morkel, the love she has never known, except the love of God. M--- finds her innocence, and the peace and comfort he finds in her presence, captivating. Here, he discovers the female protagonist for which his publisher and his readers have been clamoring. However, he says, “if we could foresee the future, then many of our problems could be resolved; I could have saved myself from the mistake of a lifetime.”
Words are to the literary novelist and poet, what color is to a master painter, or notes to a gifted composer. Zia packs a lifetime of love, loss, melancholy, and forgiveness in 142 pages of masterful prose written in first person.  He includes three poems to earmark and reread for themselves. I have only felt the undercurrents of such powerful depths in today’s words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Khalid Hosseini.
Zia’s  novel portends much for his honor of Allah and his country, Pakistan. I believe that the combination of the power of faith and the uncertainty of a homeland in the currents of change may be the gristmill that produces such true and profound works. This is a book or E-book to place where it can be read over and over and over again, for each time there will be something new to discover and savor,whether you read it in English or in Russian.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Can Biblical Plagues Be Stopped?

Griffiths, W. G. Methuselah's Pillar. Headline Books, 2012

Samantha Conway, a real-life Indiana Jones, searches in the Valley of the Kings for jewels hidden by Senenmut for his alleged lover, the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut.  Her search, based on directions she found in hieroglyphs found many years ago by other archaeologists, sent her well-diving in the desert sands of Egypt.   She continues deeper chasing the Metropolitan Museum’s expensive camera. Sam finds a man-made opening and begins to follow shafts running parallel to the well. She moves from one opening to the next until she is above the water level of the well. She finds herself in a chamber, surrounded by skeletons, and Senenmut’s treasure.

"She is the real deal alright, not just some beautiful Hollywood impersonation designed for big ratings on the History or Discovery Channel.  She is a modern day Lewis and Clark embodied in a raw scientist.”

Hakeem Salim, a twenty-two-year-old Afghani sheep-herder hiding from missiles, bombs, and trucks climbs into empty darkness. He discovers a secret chamber that appears to be a place of worship. In the chamber, Salim finds a flat smooth stone and a tall stone pillar covered with ancient writing. As the pillar falls and the chamber begins to crumble, he escapes with two broken pieces of the pillar. Hakeem finds himself pinned up to armpits in falling earth. He struggles trying to get free. Suddenly the Lions of Justice move into his ravine. They try to release him but when they discover the pieces of the pillar they shoot him and leave with the treasure.

Ramses al Tarik, hiding in an Afghani cave, worshiping at the altar of Anubis, is the current leader of the Lions of Justice, Asad al Adala. He is also the current leader on both the DIA and CIA’s list of most wanted terrorists on the planet. The pieces of the pillar led to a legend. Methuselah who, in this way, might have given his grandson Moses the Knowledge of Good and Evil that allowed him to crush a nation to its knees and lead a nation out of bondage.

Agent John Decker, an American James Bond, traced Tarik to his hideout. Little did he expect to encounter first-hand biblical plagues. And the chase begins. Somewhere among legend, myth, Bible story, and reality, lies a world in peril and a pillar to be found. Decker and Conway become an unlikely team searching for answers and a wanted man.
This is a story rich in descriptions and filled with suspense. Every move from changes of location or point of view leaves the well-fleshed characters in cliff-hanger situations. The story is well-conceived and well-told. The twists and turns of the plot will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. W. G. Griffiths has created larger-than-life characters the reader will love or love to hate. The book ends with the reader waiting impatiently for the next one to start.

One can only hope this first-place winner of the Hollywood Book Festival will be followed by more than another book in a series. Michelle Rapkin, whom Griffiths acknowledges, told him to drop what he was doing and write this novel. His readers will hope Griffiths will once again discard all the projects he is working on, and write the screenplay, and the sequel that is waiting to be told.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dan Walsh. The Reunion. PG-Violence

Walsh, Dan. The Reunion. Grand Rapids: Revell, 9/1/2012

“Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.” Luke 13:20
Everything lost can be found.

Aaron Miller is a veteran of the Viet Nam War. Like many, he returned broken in body and soul. He got off the pain drugs and drink and made Jesus his Savior and Lord, but by then, he lost jobs, self-respect, and his family.

Now he lives in the shed along with his tools and workbench. He is a handyman at a trailer park. The only things holding value are a box he had not opened in years and framed Polaroid picture of his children he had received the Christmas before he came home from Nam.

Quietly he cares for the trailers and hearts of other broken people. There was Heather in Lot 31, a seventeen-year-old runaway pregnant by her abusive boyfriend. Moe’s elderly widow, who does not want to leave the last place they lived together. Billy the wheelchair bound Viet Nam vet who hid his pistol before he answered Aaron’s knocking at his door.

What he does not know is three vets have hired David Russo to find him. Russo is a newspaper reporter who is writing a book about heroes of the Viet Nam. He leaves Texas knowing only Aaron’s name.

Once again Dan Walsh weaves stories within stories, rich with characters his readers will not soon forget. There is romance, intrigue, tension, mystery, and God, who believes everyone deserves a second chance.

Another heartwarming book by a stellar writer, this book will linger in your mind and continue to warm your heart long after you give it to a friend.

Dan Walsh honors all unsung heroes and all veterans, especially those of the Viet Nam War, who keep on giving because it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Roman Legions, Followers of the Christos, The Destruction of the Temple

Hanegraaff, Hank and Sigmund Brouwer. The Last Temple (The Last Disciple Book 3). Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 7/20/2012. (PG13-V)

Gallus Sergius Vitas was a renowned general of the Roman army; a former member of the inner circle of Nero, the Roman Emperor. Vitas finds himself in Caesarea posing as his brother Damian’s slave and daily mourning the death of his wife Sophia. Damian convinces Vitas there is no harm in carrying the scheme a step further. Vitas  is sold into the household of the fiscal procurator of Judea where he can spy on the domestic situation in Helva’s home. He should have known better. Damian leaves for Jerusalem to find his friend and former gladiator, Maglorius.

Vitas, assigned to protect Helva’s wife Dolabella with three other slaves, is vigilant as they pass through the market place to see the governor. A trumpet sounds three times. Dolabella stops. Vitas, now Novella, finds himself drawn into a dispute over dishes, becomes distracted. Suddenly, burning camels appear lumbering through the marketplace followed by assassins focused on Helva.

Vitas is once again rescued, this time from crucifixion as he is dying. He has in his hands a piece of a letter written by the last living disciple of the Christos. Many of the prophesies John has cryptically written in Hebrew, have already come to pass. Jerusalem will fall to Rome?  Jerusalem totally destroyed by fire? Not one stone of the Temple left upon another?

Hank  Hanegraaff

Hank  Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, and now president of the  Christian Research Institute the conservative Protestant counter-cult and apologetic ministry,* and Sigmund Brouwer, bestselling author of more than forty novels, join together to use the Disciple John’s Book of Revelation to describe the last days of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Sigmund Brouwer
Although The Last Temple is the third in The Last Disciple Trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Hanegraaff and Brouwer have tied the events of the first two novels like mystery writers salt their books with clues. There are no long reviews of previous plots. They only provide enough of a hint of the characters’ positions and  past events through short flashbacks or dialogue that this story makes sense.

The deft use of sights, sounds, and smells places the readers in Caesarea and Jerusalem between the years A.D. 67 to the fall of the Temple in August of A.D. 70. They take the time to share the motivations, inner flaws, and revealing traits of the characters, credibly revealed through descriptions and dialogues. The authors are careful not to overload the book with the obstacles and complications of the earlier novels except as they apply to the tensions, conflicts and development of the plot of this novel.

While Vitas seems to lead a charmed life, his story creates a platform for the historical events to play themselves out. Current novels and non-fiction similarly focus on the end of the world, the Mayan apocalypse of December 12, 2012.  The end time prophecies of the Bible seem to support this approaching date. 
Instead, the authors have chosen to provide the prophecies of the end times to explain the years leading up to the Roman Army’s crushing defeat of the Jews and the Roman General’s move into the political theater of Rome. The book is well-researched and deftly written.

*Hank Hanegraaff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (accessed September 5, 2012).