Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) by George R.R. Martin

5 of 5 Stars  *****

Book Four: A Feast for Crows takes the reader on an incredible adventure in many parts of the Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire world. The book differs in that all of the characters who die in the TV series do not die in this book. The HBO series, on Netflix DVD, exaggerates the relationships between characters in the book making one's demise more dramatic for the television audience. Whether it is the book or the series, the epic tale is fabulous and keeps this fan anticipating every twist and turn in the dynamic plots ongoing in incredible realms. New characters come while beloved characters die. Magic creates an incredible pool of imagination from which to draw. It is not overused. Instead, the deaths of key characters alarm in resolving some issues but expand other adventures for those who are left playing the Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Explore the Bible: Personal Study Guide: Acts 1-12: Spring 2016 by Vance H. Pitman (Editor), Dean Register

5 of 5 stars  *****

Reading the Bible is profound.  Studying sections of its contents with a group of Christians is eye-opening.  A deeper, fuller understanding of events during a time approximately 1500 years ago shed light on today's issues.

Acts is written, most likely, by the physician Luke, author of the third Gospel.  Acts is also evidently written as a sequel to the third Gospel.  The Gospels tell the story of Jesus's life and death.  Acts picks up where Christ ascends on the third day and includes the 40 days He spends with many people, most significantly, the apostles.  This time period also includes His ascension to heaven while leaving the Holy Spirit in His disciples and for all men and women who accept Jesus as Christ.

The purpose of Acts is to inform mankind about the beginning of God's mission, to spread His word to all corners of the world.  This starts with the Holy Spirit in the apostles who form the foundation of His church spreading far and wide - the church being the congregation, not the building.  Paul's story resides in Acts as well.  As a matter of fact, Luke writes in the first person plural when he joins Paul on his mission trips; I becomes we.

The story of the church is not relegated to that era of time.  The story of the people, places, persecutions, and persistence is being written today as it was then.  The Book of Acts: 1-12, ends with the two year imprisonment of the apostle Peter in Rome and his release by an angel right under the noses of the guards stationed there to assure his imprisonment.  Peter responds to the call from God and is guided to safety to influence many more before he meets his eventual earthly demise.  Peter's faith and obedience to God demonstrates a common thread that others show in this New Testament book, Acts.

A Call to Christian Patriotism: A Weekly Devotional Essay Series by Howard A. Eyrich

5 of 5 stars  *****

I finish this year-long project a better person, a true Christian, Conservative Patriot.  The format of this devotional series is weekly readings of patriotic, scriptural, and conservative text with an added task.  Every week, I apply myself to the lesson so that my involvement impresses me in a more visceral way.  The book offers suggestions on what to do for my personal tasks.  Many take me out of my comfort zone but I find that necessary for personal growth.  Several times I read the prayer that Dr. Howard A. Eyrich has at the end of his short chapters.  In the beginning, I talk to my state's Representative about the theme of this book, preparing individuals to be educated, involved, citizens of the government and devout, humble followers of Jesus Christ.  This book also teaches the importance of connectedness.  I share this devotional with a 9/12 group that meets monthly and a Christian Men's Ministry that meets weekly. 

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

5 of 5 stars  *****

The Game of Thrones continues on several storylines with a relentless pulse and vigor rarely maintained in an epic that reads so well. The vast scale of events occurring simultaneously in various parts of this fictional world keep this reader busy checking the appendix for the characters and their loyalties. Suspense builds momentum toward some destined clash of families and doom from an undead legend. 

The clashes are not all military. Most of the devious plots occur in the royal courts of kingdoms while surviving members of the honorable Starks are scattered throughout the land. Much of the adventure stems from simple encounters with people. Revealing too much information about oneself too early can mean death, so stealth and resilience encourage the persistent to pursue an eventual reunion with family. This far into the tale, the protagonists seem to be losing the battles as they fall prey to shrewd betrayals which diminish their number. 

A Storm of Swords keeps the reader riveted from one scenario to another. Martin's mastery of character development affects those who gaze upon his prose by involving them in the story, hoping that beloved characters fair well in the dark times of his third book. Shock can occur at any time from any place with any number of players. The intensity in previous chapters continue to create apprehension with every turn of the page. These books never disappoint and leave one hungry to delve into the next thrilling adventure.