Category Archives: Books

PAINMAN ISSUE #2 – Reciprocity Review

PAINMAN is a “superhero” in Los Angeles who takes the pain that has been caused to the victim of a crime, and transfers it onto the villain. He is in pain all the time, due to his Fibromyalgia, but he uses this pain to make him stronger.

In this issue, PAINMAN comes to the rescue of some women being abducted for human trafficking. He must push through his own pain in order to scale the building and defeat the bad guys. Only then can he inflict the pain of the victims onto the villains. Not all pain is physical either.

PAINMAN is a great concept. There are some deep themes that I’m sure could be explored through a series of issues. Our hero makes judgment calls just like any superhero about what punishment the villain deserves. He also has the ability to take away others’ pain and keep it as his own. He must show mercy and also justice, but there has to be a balance.

The artwork is really amazing! I enjoyed always being able to see the scarring on PAINMAN’s face. He’s never just a faceless character like in some books. The illustrations are very detailed, and I’d love to have a couple of the shots as posters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good superhero comic story, and I look forward to continuing to read this series myself.

To learn more about PAINMAN visit the official site at PAINMAN.com where you can read issue #2 and buy issue #1 (plus other merchandise) or on their Facebook page.

Review of “Out of a Far Country”

When I was in undergrad at Moody Bible Institute I met Christopher Yuan. I was pretty active on campus and worked in the library, so there were very few people I didn’t see on a daily basis. He was a couple years behind me, but always well-dressed, excited, and bursting with excitement. It wasn’t until the school paper gave me an assignment to interview Christopher that I really began to know him and he changed my world from that moment on.

So I was very excited to see that he had written a memoir, “Out of a Far Country,” which was released today. Written by Christopher and his mother, Angela, it is brash, bold, and intimately revealing. If you want that same world-changing experience that I had when I met Christopher this book is the way to get it.

“Out of a Far Country” is best described in it’s included study guide when it says “The story that is told in ‘Out of a Far Country’ is a true account of God’s seeking and saving two people who were lost (seek Lucke 19:10): a mother who was so distraught she had decided to kill herself, and a son whose pursuit of pleasure, money, and success led to arrest, prison, and a life-threatening illness. Both mother and son hit bottom, and at different times they both turned to God. The changes in their lives are nothing short of miraculous.”

The story that Christopher and Angela shared kept me turning the pages, I did not want to put it down. The similarities in their struggles even though they were at two very different places in their lives was compelling. Ultimately it’s a story of hope. Hope that there is something bigger than our problems, hope that we can change who we are (down to our very core) and be better people, hope that all of this is possible not in our own strength, but God’s.

I’d highly recommend this book to Christians, small groups, and those struggling with their depression, anxiety, struggling with their sexuality, or feeling like they are in a hope-less situation. Brutally honest, but ultimately healing this book is not to be missed.

Chat LIVE with NFL Running Back, Shaun Alexander – Win a Signed Football

Chat LIVE with NFL running back Shaun Alexander
Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 6pm eastern time

Shaun will be discussing his new book The Walk: Clear Direction and Spiritual Power for Your Life and answering YOUR questions.

WIN an autographed football or a signed copy of The Walk!
Help us promote the Shaun Alexander Livestream broadcast and you could win a signed copy of The Walk and an autographed football signed by Shaun! Details

Livestream Broadcast to be held at…
www.Livestream.com/WaterBrookMultnomah

About Shaun
Shaun Alexander was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks after a standout football career at the University of Alabama. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, in 2005 he set an NFL record by scoring twenty-eight touchdowns. In the same season, he set a team record by gaining 1,880 rushing yards and leading his team to the Super Bowl. Today, Shaun travels the country speaking to business and military audiences, at sports camps, and at churches and Christian conferences–appearing in front of thousands of people. He is a gifted communicator and Bible teacher who points listeners toward exceptional achievement by aligning their lives with God’s perfect will.

Download Chapter One of The Walk

Shaun’s Web Site

Follow Shaun on Twitter

Comic Review: Stranger Comics’ –The Untamed #1, A Sinner’s Prayer

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Stranger ComicsIf you were given the opportunity to leave hell for seven days, what would you do?

For one man, locked in hell after the death of his wife and daughter, killed when he was, the answer is simple: Vengeance.

As we are taken on this man’s journey, his return to his hometown, it is clear that he is no ordinary man. He once ran the town, Oasis, and was cruel to its people. However, he was not the only one to pay the price.

When first asked to watch/read this comic, I was interested, but I’ve never been a huge comic fan. There are some I have read (Buffy, Fray, X-Men, and others), but I wasn’t as ‘into’ them as some of my friends. However, from the beginning of this animated comic, I was hooked. The art is beautiful, the music heart-wrenching. The story itself opens up with an image reminiscent of various underworld myths. The first one that springs to mind is the ferryman of the Greek river Styx and the dead he would take to Hades. The familiar image of the Reaper is ferrying the protagonist of the story out of the underworld and back to shore. He states that he was only ‘given’ seven days to send seven souls to hell, and that he doesn’t remember what he came back for. Death’s watchers, in the form of crows, follows him on his past.

I use the word protagonist loosely, because such a word can not fully describe this man, this ‘sinner’. He doesn’t react the way the normal ‘good guy’ might; for example, he ignores a woman who begs him for help, instead moving on to visit a blacksmith who reveals more of the man’s story, yet is unable to reap his reward.

After watching this comic, I surprisingly want to know more. What will happen in the next six days? Will he find his vengeance? Will he fulfill his duty to the underworld? Will a girl’s eyes dissuade him? The Untamed is an amazing comic, whether watched or read, and I, for one, will be on the lookout for more. However, I strongly recommend watching the animated version for best results. The music and the artwork, coupled with light animation (bringing to mind favorite cartoons from the early 90s), adds an incredible depth and richness to the story.

The Untamed, A Sinner’s Prayer is written, produced, and directed by Sebastian A. Jones, with art by Peter Bergting. The comic can be found online at this site: http://www.strangercomics.com/asunda/untamed1/ where it is available in both written and animated forms. There is also an amazing gallery of artwork from the comic, as well as an alternate cover. I sincerely recommend this amazing tale to comic readers everywhere.

Quadruple Z Episode #001: Interview with Author J.C. Hutchins (Part 1)

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Buy 7th Son: Descent on Amazon.com

QuadZ_JCQuadruple Z talks with podcasting and publish phenomenon J.C. Hutchins about his new novel – 7th Son: Descent. The interview covers how J.C. Hutchins podcasted and then published his first novel and their singing (yes, singing).

Hosted by Crystal
Intro by Kimi from Tale Chasing
Quadruple Z’s Theme – “What We Need is Some Interns in Here” – Beatnik Turtle
Credits Read by Naomi Starsiak

About J.C. Hutchins
J.C. Hutchins is an award-winning novelist best known for his 7th Son technothriller trilogy, which he released as free serialized audiobooks from 2006-07. With approximately 100,000 downloads of his episodic fiction still occurring each month, 7th Son is the most popular “podcast novel” series in history.

The trilogy — and its 2008 groundbreaking spinoff anthology OBSIDIAN — are available for free download at 7thSonNovel.com. The series’ first novel, Descent, will be published this fall by St. Martin’s Press. Personal Effects: Dark Art, J.C.’s debut in a new supernatural thriller series, will also be published in June. Learn more here.

J.C. has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME.com, OMMA and Blogger & Podcaster magazines, Asimov’s Science Fiction, on the BBC and Italian national radio, and in more than 100 podcast interviews.

J.C. lives in South Florida with his girlfriend, and their cat, Chester.

About 7th Son
The president of the United States is dead. He was murdered in the morning sunlight by a four-year-old boy…

So begins 7th Son: Descent, the technothriller novel by J.C. Hutchins. Originally released as a free audiobook podcast, 7th Son has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time.com, Wired.com UK, and on the cover of Blogger & Podcaster magazine. See what critics and bestselling novelists are saying about the book.

As America reels from the bizarre presidential assassination committed by a child, seven men are abducted from their normal lives and delivered to a secret government facility. Each man has his own career, his own specialty. All are identical in appearance. The seven strangers were not born, but grown — unwitting human clones — as part of a project called 7th Son.

The government now wants something from these “John Michael Smiths.” They share the flesh as well as the implanted memories of the psychopath responsible for the president’s murder. The killer has bigger plans, and only these seven have the unique qualifications to track and stop him. But when their progenitor makes the battle personal, it becomes clear John Alpha may know the seven better than they know themselves…

Book Review- “Interview with the Vampire”

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Buy Interview with the Vampire on Amazon.com

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice is the story of Louis in the series, The Vampire Chronicles. Louis is a wealthy aristocrat in New Orleans. He is bitten by the vampire, Lestat. Lestat makes him into his only companion. Louis struggles with being a vampire. He questions things like good and evil. He only feeds on animals for many years. Lestat will not answer any of Louis’ questions about being a vampire or if there are others. Lestat does not want to lose his companion.

Lestat finally convinces Louis that he must feed on humans. Louis does this, but only on the worst of them, until one night. Louis finds a young girl next to her dead mother one night during his hunt. The girl is close to death. He feeds on the girl, and then Lestat turns her into a vampire. By doing this, he is able to keep Louis from leaving him. Louis has become increasingly repulsed by Lestat, but is now tied to him by their new “vampire daughter.” They name her Claudia.

Claudia’s body remains that of a young girl, but her brain matures. She takes to killing very easily. Louis dotes on her and is happy for a time. After many years of living as a “family,” Claudia decides they should kill Lestat. She’s no fonder of him than Louis has been. She also wants to seek out the “old world” vampires in Europe, and Lestat is dead set against that.

I won’t go any further, so as not to spoil the main plot of the book. The story is told by Louis to a reporter, so sometimes it jumps out of the narrative. It’s a very effective story telling technique. It’s nice to have the reporter there to react or ask questions.

I’ve only seen the movie version of Interview with the Vampire once, but from what I remember, the movie did a great job of depicting the book. One thing that can’t come across in the movie as well is Louis’ inner struggle. He is very torn by his vampire nature against his morality. He still thinks as a human, as the vampire Armand puts it late in the book.

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you like vampires. I plan to continue on with the whole Vampire Chronicles series.

Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Brings Books to Kids

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When I was a kid, there was a fun local restaurant that would give a Golden book with the kid’s meals. Long after my McDonalds toys had broken and/or disappeared I had those books. So I really loved the fact that my all-time favorite cereal (yes, I started when I was 2 and I still eat Cheerios) was going to be giving away six million children’s books free inside Cheerios boxes (Starting in October 2009). Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will offer 5 different books (in English and Spanish) published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. One of offered books is a new book in the popular “Trucktown” series, available only inside Cheerios boxes.

Of course, a big bummer with prizes inside the box is not knowing which prize you’re getting. But Cheerios has made it easy with a a special cut-out window on the front of the box, so you can select the specific book you want, or you can collect all five.

In addition to the books, Cheerios is also making a financial donation to First Book, an award-winning children’s nonprofit organization that gets new books to children from low-income families. Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories kicks off during Give a Child a Book Week, October 12 – 19. With the help of Cheerios’ financial support, First Book will give a year’s worth of books to every child participating in 50 selected reading programs, one in each state across the country.

For more info check out: www.spoonfulsofstories.com.

(Photo: PRNewsFoto/Cheerios)

Book Review: Babysitting SugarPaw

Buy Babysitting SugarPaw on Amazon.com

61OAktqSB+L._SL500_AA240_A little bear named SugarPaw hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskes, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As the story unfolds SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship, in this fun loving story.

I love kid books, I’m not ashamed to admit it. From If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or The Little Engine that Could there’s nothing like a touching story to spark the imagination.

Recently I was given “Babysitting SugarPaw” to review and I was happily surprised with he cute and fun story. As someone who has had to babysit I could relate to poor Bonnie Whiskes’ plight as she deals with a very mischievous SugarPaw. A fun and easy read, Babysitting SugarPaw is a great introduction to the world of baby sitters. I also loved the lesson that your actions have consequences on others (not just yourself).

Author VS Grenier shows her understanding of a child’s mind and the bright, playful illustrations by Kevin Collier make this book enjoyable. I would have liked a bit of a longer ending, which seemed a bit abrupt, but other than that, the book is fantastic! Parents will love the subtle lessons about dealing with babysitters and kids will love the mischievous antics of SugarPaw. Check out Babysitting SugarPaw for yourself!

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

_140_245_Book.72.coverBuy Fearless by Max Lucado on Amazon.com

With the economy the way it is and the future not looking so bright it’s understandable folks are a bit fearful. Just in time is world-famous author Max Lucado’s Fearless, an inspiring look into a Christian’s life without fear. We are a people who have a great God who is bigger than the obstacles we may face.

I devoured the book in the course of a couple days. While I’ve always enjoyed Max Lucado’s books, Fearless is his best to date. It’s not often a writer is so deeply expressive of his own soul that you ache along with him as he describes his own personal struggles with fear.  This is a book about learning how to live without fear, but Lucado’s stories (and the stories of others he tells) teach us that living a fearless life isn’t just theoretical – it’s possible. Too many times Christian books stay within the truths of the Bible without really digging into the application of those truths. Sure, we all know that God is in control, but can we live it? Lucado acknowledges the issues and problems normal people face with faced with abnormal circumstances. Fearless isn’t about preachy, flashy exposition – it’s about the journey to changing how we feel about our fears.

This is a book of stories.  Make no mistake there is a lot of insights and teaching, but the book is extremely easy to read and understand because Lucado’s writing feels like he’s sitting at your kitchen table talking about everything. My favorite chapter is even set up with a very Dr. Seussian poem that adds to the enjoyability of this book.

There’s very few books I can point to as books I would encourage every Christian to read and Fearless is one of them. It’s a tall, cold glass of water in a very dry and thirsty time. If you find yourself struggling with worry and doubt this is just the book you need to read.

Help Stardance Co-Author Battle Cancer

206bf0cdd7a084c0e03a6110.L._SL500_AA240_Jeanne Robinson, co-author of the Hugo and Nebula award-winning “Stardance” books (and wife of Spider Robinson) is fighting a rare form of cancer and a group of people are helping raise funds to help her with costs not covered by Canada’s health service.

As someone who has gone through cancer bouts with friends and relatives, I can relate to the amount of cost and care that’s associated with it.

To find out how you can help please visit – http://wedreamforjeanne.blogspot.com/