Stay

Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and GraceTitle: Stay
Author: Dave Burchett
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9793-1

“As I prepared for the inevitable loss of Hannah, I learned an eye-opening truth: preparing for death is preparing for life. God has revealed so much to me through this unique canine friendship,” Dave Burchett writes in the introduction to his book, Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace.

This two hundred and fifty-six page hardbound targets those who enjoy stories about pets, especially dogs, and how they relate to God. With no profanity or violence, it is geared toward adults, yet mature teens might glean ideas and suggestions regarding life. Using the New International Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV, KNJ, ESV, TLB, NET and The Message are also referenced.

After a foreword by Bart Millard and an introduction, twenty-three chapters explain different characteristics of Burchett’s dogs, complete with black and white photographs, quoted sayings, and written out Bible verses. The ending includes an afterword, acknowledgments, in memory, notes, and the author’s biography.

When Dave and his wife adopted Hannah, a Labrador puppy, he was not prepared for the education regarding the Almighty he received through his beloved furry friend. Having his dear companion for eleven years, he was disheartened when he learned she had an incurable tumor. After the dog’s demise, it took time to allow another dog named Maggie to fill the void in his heart.

While reflecting on being a sports writer for the Texas Rangers, dealing with his wife’s breast cancer, accepting his only daughter dying of a birth defect, understanding his mother’s passing, and watching his grandson grow, he ponders lessons learned from the two special dogs.

Learning how these domesticated creatures live in the moment, run freely in joyful abandonment, lean on others for support when afraid, follow in trust, and have gratitude, forgiveness, and affirmation, the writer correlates how we should approach God as our Master with the same unabashed vigor and adoration.

Like our lovable pets with their attitudes that shake off rejection and disappointment without bitterness, we need sit, stay, abide, and keep our eyes on Jesus as we live our daily lives.

Although the story includes some examples of unrelated events in the author’s life, the concept that we humans should notice are those actions of man’s “best friend” that resemble the need for a closer relationship with our Creator.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Animals / Pets, Biography, Christian

* CONTEST * If You Find This Letter ~ 1 Free Book Giveaway!

WIN HANNAH BRENCHER’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY,
IF YOU FIND THIS LETTER
ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

One winner will be randomly selected to win FREE from Howard Books
this soon-to-be-released book!

BOOK TEASER: “It took loneliness to make the first couple of love letters come out of me, to realize something so much bigger than what I thought was just my own loneliness: we’ve never really been alone. Maybe lonely, but never alone,” Hannah Brencher writes in her memoir, If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Simon and Schuster sites on Facebook or Twitter:

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This is a FAST CONTEST ending FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, 2015, @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win a free copy that is mailed from Simon and Schuster directly to you! Winner’s shipping address must be in the U.S.A.

This is a 4.5 star book!

Review link: https://connywithay.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/if-you-find-this-letter/

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If You Find This Letter

Title: If You Find This Letter
Author: Hannah Brencher
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-7360-5

“It took loneliness to make the first couple of love letters come out of me, to realize something so much bigger than what I thought was just my own loneliness: we’ve never really been alone. Maybe lonely, but never alone,” Hannah Brencher writes in her memoir, If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers.

This two hundred and seventy-two page hardbound targets those interested in reading an autobiography of an unpretentious woman who reached out to others to find her true self. Beginning with a note from the author, the book ends with a call to promote or join her website outreach (www.moreloveletters.com). With no profanity, the topics of suicide, death, and loneliness may not be appropriate for immature readers. The focus of the book is for twenty-something-year-olds but may be appreciated by those seasoned with life’s hard knocks and relatable past experiences.

Writer, national speaker, and founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, author Brencher graduated from Assumption College and is named as one of the White House’s “Women Working to Do Good.”

In this account written in first person, twenty-six-year-old author Brencher is dedicated to showing others how much she cares by having written over four hundred personal love letters of encouragement, mostly to complete strangers.

After graduating college, she decided to do a year of volunteer work. Living in New York, loneliness and depression grasped hold of her, making her desperate to belong; she felt inadequate and awkward, wanting more out of life while having an ongoing battle with God. One day on a train ride, “the girl just trying to find her way” wrote a love letter to an unknown commuter, yet never had the opportunity to deliver it.

Her addiction to letter-writing to the heartbreak and lonely people accelerated when she realized life was not all about her, but about God and His grace, while losing the fixation to control and desire to be important. As letters were left wherever she traveled, her mailbox and email exploded with requests from six continents. With the ultimate task of writing to the Almighty, Brencher found her path to happiness by loving others through handwritten notes.

With the book being the story of her letter-writing journey with quirky, emotional, and sometimes self-absorbing rants and raves, it challenges not only millennialists to concentrate on helping others, emotionally-weathered individuals will wonder how they can aid in her cause.

The Bible (KJV) states in Romans 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is everlasting hope that no matter where we are in life, we are always loved by God.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography

Lift the Flap Bible

Lift the Flap Bible (Candle Tiny Tots)Title: Lift the Flap Bible
Text by: Karen Williamson
Illustrator: Louise Angelicas
Publisher: Candle Books
ISBN: 978-1-78128-130-7

“Eight best-loved Bible stories – all with peek-a-boo flaps. Lots to look out for in this busy interactive board book,” the back jacket prompts in Karen Williamson’s children’s book, Lift the Flap Bible.

Part of the Candle Tiny Tots series, this square hardbound of sixteen pages targets children two to four years old who enjoy board books with hidden flaps. Having minor scary scenes containing skulls, bones, and roaring lions, it contains eight stories from the Holy Bible.

Illustrator Louise Angelicas’s expressive and charming designs fill both sides of the opened pages, leaving solid backgrounds for black wording in an easy-to-read font. With almost thirty inserted flaps to lift, the drawings are engaging and entertaining.

As readers view four stories from the Old Testament of Noah’s ark, Moses in the basket, Daniel in the lion’s den, and Jonah and the big fish. The four New Testament stories are Jesus’s birth, His feeding the five thousand, the Shepherd finding His lost sheep, and Jesus healing the sick. When the flaps are opened, children can visualize the joy and happiness that God gives to the scene.

One example would be when Jonah is inside a great fish. The wording states “A huge fish has swallowed Jonah. Lift the flaps to find out what happens to the boat – and to poor Jonah.” A large flap shows a boat being tossed in the sea with its occupants alarmed, but once opened, the crew is happy, and the waters are calm. The other large flap has a picture of Jonah inside the belly of the fish, and when lifted, the fish is spewing out the man on a beach. The two small flaps are of a bird who flies and a camel looking up at Jonah on the beach.

With plenty of animals such as cats, dogs, birds, fish, and camels, the facial expressions of the people sometimes turn sadness into joy and sorrow into happiness. Although there is no plan of eternal salvation or Jesus’s dying on the cross for our sins, the book is a good start for young ones to see the Bible’s importance through several retold stories.

Thanks to Kregel Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Childrens, Christian, GENRE - THEMES

F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation

F.I.T.: Faith Inspired TransformationTitle: F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation
Author: Kim Dolan Leto
Publisher: Fedd Books
ISBN: 978-0-9907044-0-9

“Love yourself enough to break free from dieting. Rely on God’s power, not will power, and trade temporary fixes for a healthy and permanent Faith Inspired Transformation,” Kim Dolan Leto writes in her book, F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation – Healthy, Happy & Fit God’s Way.

At one hundred and thirty-four pages, this paperback targets those wanting to lose weight and eat healthily by focusing on God and their relationship to Him. Mainly for women, the book could be used by men also. Using the New International Version of the Bible, the ESV, NASB, and NLT are also referenced.

Fitness expert, writer, and speaker, author Leto promotes relying on God as she challenges women to experience a spiritual and physical transformation in their lives. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

After an introduction, there are ten chapters devoted to relying on the Almighty for strength and support while getting healthy both physically and spiritually. The end of the book includes notes and an advertisement for her DVD series.

From ten to twenty-four pages, each chapter discusses a topic related to healthy living. Teal colored insert boxes of reminders and suggestions as well as written out Bible verses are spread throughout the glossy pages. The chapters end with a fill-in-the-blank reflection questions and strategies gleaned.

Promoting to think about what you can eat and not what you should not, Leto recommends to stop dieting, renew your mind, make a daily commitment to reading the Bible, exercise, set goals, eat God-made foods, choose self-control, find joy in every situation, overcome setbacks, and celebrate every victory in Christ.

By trading bad habits of fear, guilt, shame, worry, stress, comparison, and confusion, one can get strong with “Godfidence,” eliminate the “Buts,” become accountable, and be content in any state.

The book offers a weekly Power Hour, lists of healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fat choices, hand quantity measurements, a what to eat and not eat chart, and suggested breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sack meals. Very few food recipes are given with no photographs of completed dishes.

By pausing, praying, being mindful of portion, practicing eating slowly, and planning ahead, one can not only become fit, she can develop a closer relationship with God.

Often mentioning her personal experiences and commitment to getting fit at age thirty, the writer offers sound solutions to trusting God for help, support, and guidance to readers on their journey to improved health.

Thanks to Shelton Interactive for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Health

The Healthy Mind Cookbook

The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental ClarityTitle: The Healthy Mind Cookbook
Author: Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson
Photographer: Maren Caruso
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 978-1-60774-297-5

“It’s a delight to find out that foods you always thought were delicious also turn out to be power-packed with brain-healthy nutrients,” Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson write in her book, The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity.

At two hundred and fifty-six pages, this hardbound targets those looking for food recipes geared toward maintaining better brain function. After acknowledgments and an introduction, there are ten chapters, ending with resources, a bibliography, and index. Full-color, full-page photographs of roughly a third of the finished concoctions grace the pages.

Chef, speaker, and author Katz has written several food-related books promoting wellness and lives in California. This is the fourth book Katz has co-authored with Edelson, an award winning science, health, and sports writer currently living in Maryland.

The first three chapters concentrate on brain science and its relationship with food, the culinary pharmacy, and harboring four flavors for tasteful results. The following seven chapters contain over one hundred and twenty recipes involving soups, vegetables, meat and seafood, anytime foods, dollops, tonics and elixirs, and sweet bites.

By focusing on olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and maple syrup, chefs can produce brain-enhancing meal combinations. Promoting over eighty ingredients such as allspice, cardamom, chickpeas, eggs, green tea, mushrooms, parsley, saffron, and pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, memory and brain function can improve.

Covering one to two pages, each completed dish begins with serving size, preparation and cook time, and a descriptive paragraph. With instructions in sentence format written closest to the book’s binding, ingredients are listed on the pages’ outer areas. Caloric intake and storage guidelines are also included at the bottom.

Recipes range from Provencal Seafood Stew, Technicolor Slaw, Turkish Lamb Sliders, and Triple Greens Frittata to Minted Chimichurri, Jeanne’s Brain Tea, and Fall Pear Crisp. Readers’ mouths may water looking at photographs of Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados 2.0, Grilled Chicken with Za’atar, or Triple Triple Brittle to name a few.

Although there are not photographs of all completed dishes, this beautiful, informative book offers flavorful recipes as well as healthy suggestions to maintain better moods, memory, and mentality.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars since not all recipes had photographs of completed dishes.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Blogging for Books, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Home / Garden / Food

Bunny’s First Spring

Bunny's First SpringTitle: Bunny’s First Spring
Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrator: David McPhail
Publisher: ZonderKidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-73386-7

“And the days went on …
Until one morning.
When the bunny woke up
And sniffed the air
And something was different …
Below the snow
Hidden in every root,
Inside every bud,
In every seed,
A secret was stirring …”
Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in her children’s book, Bunny’s First Spring.

This thirty-two-page hardbound targets four to eight-year-old children who enjoy stories about bunnies and animals along with the seasons. With no questionable scenes except the concept of the earth dying, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Published by a Christian organization, the book contains only one mention of God within a quote at the end of the book.

Best-selling author Lloyd-Jones has written many children’s books, one receiving a New York Times Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year. Having illustrated over fifty children’s books, McPhail’s cute and colorful drawings are easy to understand, covering the full pages. A black font of words overlaps the designs.

After a quote by Philip Larkin, this tale is about a bunny born in springtime when the earth is new and green. When the rabbit tells his mother and father the world is beautiful and strong, they reply it is just like him. As time passes, the little critter notices the trees losing their leaves and the birds flying away. He is told to wait and see what happens next.

Afraid that the world is dying, the sad bunny entreats to his burrow with his parents, hibernating for the long winter. When spring returns, he notices everything coming to life again and is happy. The story ends with a paraphrased short quote from Martin Luther about God’s promises of new life.

Although some readers may perceive the book to be depressing by focusing on winter’s appearance to be the earth’s demise, the hope of spring around the corner should be reiterated to young ones as well as the fact that God created the seasons along with the animals.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on BookLook Bloggers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Kregel, Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Childrens, Fiction

Earth’s Landscape

Earth's Landscape: An Encyclopedia of the World's Geographic Features [2 volumes]Title: Earth’s Landscape: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Geographical Features
Authors: Joyce A. Quinn and Susan L. Woodward
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 978-1-61069-445-2

Earth’s Landscape presents descriptions of each continent and ocean, as well as many of the major physiographic regions of the landmasses and gulfs, seas, and straits of the oceans,” Joyce A. Quinn and Susan L. Woodward write in the introduction of their book.

This two-volume collection of eight hundred and seventy-seven page hardbounds targets individuals searching for information, history, content, and descriptions of the earth’s geography in encyclopedia format. With only a few sporadic black and white photographs, the book is a not a visual artwork of the compilation of earth’s beauty, oddities, and natural amazements depicted on its jacket cover.

Retired physical geography and mapping professor emerita author Quinn earned her MA from the University of Colorado and PhD from Arizona State University and has traveled the world extensively. Biogeographer Woodward is professor emerita of geography in Virginia, visiting South America and Africa in search of natural landscapes.

After an alphabetized table of contents, list of entries by geographical location, preface, introduction, and abbreviations used, the two books cover A to L and M to Z respectively. The second book ends with three appendices, a glossary, recommended resources, index, and the authors’ biographies.

With no maps offered, the majority of the book is the compilation of places on earth in alphabetical order. Each location includes a geological overview with subsections of geographic coordinates, description, geographic history, and protected areas within one to four pages. Often added are paragraphs on biota, environmental issues, other suggested book sources, and further readings along with table inserts, sidebar tidbits, and photographs.

Readers can research the Aconcagua, Cascade Mountains, English Channel, Indus River, Mojave Desert, Okavango Delta, Puget Sound, Strait of Gibraltar, Tierra del Fuego, and Wadden Sea to name a few.

One example would be the Hardangervidda, the largest mountain plateau in Europe that is located in south-central Norway. Containing many rivers, streams, and lakes, it has cirques and glaciers on its highest peaks. With a foundation of peneplained Precambrian granite and gneiss, over three hundred and sixty flowering plant species grow there. Wild reindeer, fox, and birds reside on the land, especially in its protected area.

The last hundred-plus pages contain appendices concentrating on the highest, lowest, and deepest places, six opposing viewpoints, and ten activities and discussion questions regarding volcanos, river flow, global climate change, shrinking polar ice, knowing the land, mapping, time travel, field trips, and the power of writing.

Best for students of earth sciences, the volumes are a resourceful tool for quick reference and information of the planet we call home.

Thanks to ABC-CLIO and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book set in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Business / Money / Education

The Christmas Cat

The Christmas CatTitle: The Christmas Cat
Author: Melody Carson
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1966-1

“He wished he could explain the will dilemma again – to somehow make her understand – but really, what more could he say? Perhaps it was best to let sleeping dogs lie … or should he say sleeping cats?” Melody Carson writes in her novel, The Christmas Cat.

This one hundred and seventy-seven page hardbound targets those who enjoy a Christmas romance with a Christian influence. The book ends with the author’s biography and advertisements for other books by the author and publisher. With no profanity, sexual content, or violence, the minor topic of an elderly loved one dying would be appropriate for preteens to adults.

Living in Central Oregon, author Carson has written over two hundred books. Recently she won a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market.

In this current-day holiday tale set mainly in Vancouver, Washington, thirty-four-year-old Garrison Brown has returned from serving in Uganda as a missionary after contracting malaria. When he learns his grandmother who raised him from age twelve has passed away, he is requested in her will to find proper homes for her six beloved felines.

Supposedly allergic to the animals, the single, somewhat lonely man reluctantly returns to the house he lived in as a youth to handle six adult cats, all with different needs, personalities, and pet peeves. Given challenging and peculiar restrictions of who can adopt the pets, the task at hand is harder than Garrison initially believed.

With a next door neighbor immediately taking the first cat, Garrison’s match-making to new owners progresses even though he has to turn down Cara Wilson’s request for a Main Coon as she is not qualified for the adoption. When she is the link to finding homes for more than one of the creatures, the young man wishes but wonders if the two of them can become more than friends.

Although predictable with an abrupt ending, this story that focuses on an elderly woman’s quirky devotion to her cats and affection for her grandson shows how unconditional love can grow.

Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on The Book Club Network, Baker Publishing, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Animals / Pets, Christian, Fiction

It’s a God Thing

Title: It’s a God Thing
Writer: Craig Borlase with Creators: Don Jacobson and K-Love
Publisher: W Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-0-529-10551-6

“For readers who don’t have a relationship with God through Jesus, we pray that these stories have persuaded you of His love and His power in the lives of His children and that you will come to know and love Him as we do,” Don Jacobson and K-Love write in the afterword of their book, It’s a God Thing: When Miracles Happen to Everyday People.

Second volume in the series, this two hundred and thirty-one page paperback targets those seeking comfort and courage during the hard times facing life’s challenges. Using the NIV, KJV, ESV, NJKV, and NLT versions of the Holy Bible, it is Christian based, promoting current-day miracles that show Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Topics of accidents, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

Writer Borlase has coauthored twenty-one books and written five books; he lives in the United Kingdom. Creator Jacobson has been in the publishing industry for over thirty years as he leads an author management company. K-Love radio’s network has five hundred signals in forty-seven states with fourteen million weekly listeners.

Starting with six pages of accolades regarding the book, it contains fifty-eight stories, each two to six pages long. Compiled by a myriad of writers, personal stories are told of witnessing miracles in their loved ones or their lives.

Written in first person, stories tell of incredible survival through drownings, vehicle accidents, and tornadoes to deciding not to leave a spouse, protecting a baby in the womb, overcoming excruciating pain, and fleeing Vietnam by boat as a young child.

While many offer Bible verses that have touched lives, others show how God has been there, with them daily, throughout their trials or tribulations. Although their loved ones may have died in some instances, they give God the glory in knowing He knows our hurts and pains.

With a plethora of writing styles, miraculous events, and changes of the heart as they grasp Jesus’s hand for comfort and strength, the book offers something special for each reader. It would make a lovely, thoughtful gift for someone suffering, unable to understand the “whys” in life.

Thanks to Shelton Interactive and the authors for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Non-Fiction