Tag Archives: death

The Midnight Saint

The Midnight SaintTitle: The Midnight Saint
Author: Mitchel Whitington
Publisher: 23 House Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-9393060-9-8

“I just – well, I mean if it’s possible – could we find some way where I don’t have to die right now? Maybe even give me another few years?” Adam begs God in Mitchel Whitington’s novel, The Midnight Saint.

This one hundred and seventy-four page paperback targets those interested in stories about dying and heaven. With profanity and using God’s name in vain, the topic of death may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reader wishes there was consistency capitalizing all pronouns of God for reverence.

What would you do if you were given twelve days left to live? In this short twelve-chapter novella that includes an epilogue, the story begins with Adam performing an innocuous act of kindness on his way home from work late one evening. Afterward, he crosses paths with the glowing but deceased Saint Lucia, who tells him he is going to die.

Believing he has twelve days to live, he takes a two-week vacation from work to spend time with his wife and young daughter. When he visits his doctor, he is reported in good health and told to relax with a six-pack of beer and watch football.

Every night at midnight for the next eleven days, Adam and his beloved dog go into the backyard where the man in his late thirties is allowed to ask Lucia one question about death. In turn, the saint explains what Heaven is like and if marriage is there. Recalling verses from the Bible, they discuss God’s divine presence, praying without ceasing, having faith and free-will, and embracing the “magic” of life. Negativity, apologizing, and preplanning for a funeral are mentioned as well as the concept that “every religion is completely right … and completely, totally wrong.”

As Adam deals with his relationship with God, there is no mention of eternal salvation through Jesus dying on the cross, forgiving sin, or being resurrected. Beliefs are given regarding angels, saints, and spirits.

Although there is some sound Biblical doctrine interspersed with both Catholic and Christian overtones, the story focuses on how to remember each day is a gift and God truly loves us unconditionally.

With no biographical information in the book, the author has over thirty years of writing experience and is a paranormal researcher with a passion for history. Living in Texas with his wife and two dogs, he resides in “the most haunted home in the entire state” per Wikipedia.

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

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

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Christian, Fiction

360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope

Title: 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope
Managing Editor: Kyla Fioravanti
Publisher: Selah Press
ISBN: 978-0-615987613

“Lean into God as you walk through your grief. There is no rescue or instant remedy that will offer relief from grief – only daily walking, talking, reading, writing and crying our way through grief on the lap of our Father. Grieving in the arms of the Lord is the most intimate exposure you will ever experience with Him,” managing editor Kayla Fioravanti writes in the introduction of 360 Days of Grief: Reflections of Hope.

This over-sized three-hundred and twenty page paperback targets individuals dealing with grief. As a collection of poems, stories, journal entries, letters, and Bible verses, it contains works from over one hundred authors. The ending has an epilogue, seventeen pages of the contributors’ biographies with small thumbnail photographs, acknowledgements, references, and index by author.

Divided into sixteen chapters separated by black and white photographs, authors’ viewpoints regarding grief are one to five pages long. The beginning themes deal with the death of a parent, child, spouse, sibling, grandparent, extended family, and friend. Grief is also mentioned in regard to being observed and finding future hope. The remaining sections are devoted to the hardships of marriage, divorce, empty nest, brokenness, and moving onward.

With ten or more inserts on parents dying, those who have fallen through the cracks, and finding a way out of the pain and suffering, there may only be two or three writings in the categories of a spouse, sibling, or family member passing and observing grief.

Having multiple inputs from Beverly Brainard, Kay Fioravanti, Gary Forsythe, Lona Renee Fraser, Mary Humphrey, Cathy and Kyle Koch, Shirley Logan, Lynn McLeod, Linda Reinhardt, Debbie Richards, Lisa Rogers, and Carol Wilson, also are one to two entries from T. G Barnes, Erin Criswell, Charles Garrett, Bethany Learn, Rex Paul Schnelle, and Mark Whitmore to name a few.

Written usually in first person of watching a loved one die, learning a daughter has been murdered, dealing with the repercussions of a drug-addicted son, or facing a terminal disease, the stories are raw, focusing how a close relationship with God pulled the individual through deep, dark depression into acceptance and realizing His merciful grace and purpose, even during trials and tribulations.

Strictly from the writers’ perspectives, this tender book of albeit sad reflections by those who have dealt and overcome grief is written to those who are in the midst of tragedy, heartbreak, and loss while looking for confirmation that, in time, things will get better as the Lord is in control.

Thanks to McCain & Company for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange of a review based on 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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Sharing Christ with the Dying

Title: Sharing Christ with the Dying
Author: Melody Rossi
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1165-2

“Someone whom you love is on the most difficult journey that can ever be taken. This person is lost, but you know the Way. For a little while you have the opportunity to walk along together,” Melody Rossi writes in the introduction of her book, Sharing Christ with the Dying: Bringing Hope to Those Near the End of Life.

This one hundred and ninety-two page paperback targets those interested in helping others who are dying, especially solidifying their relationship with Jesus Christ. Mainly the New American Standard Version of the Bible is used, along with the NIV, NKJV, TEV, NLT, and ESV. Due to its subject of dying and death, it would not be appropriate for immature readers.

Watching a loved one die is heart-wrenching, humbling, and sad. Confidently knowing if the person will be in Heaven with the Lord is peaceful, joyous, and gives hope. In Rossi’s book, comfort and encouragement are blended with information and tips to assist dealing with the end of life on this earth.

After acknowledgements and an introduction, there are four divisions of eighteen chapters along with an appendix. With bullet point lists, Bible verses for support, and tips, the book also contains the writer’s own experiences having dealt with four loved ones’ passing in a twenty-eight month period.

Explaining how she was available when her mother, stepmom, and father accepted Christ’s gift of eternal salvation on their death beds, the first part of the book is about being called by God on the who, what, why, when, where, and how in regard to serving at one’s side during their last days. Questionnaires are included for the caregiver and loved one.

Part two offers tools such as helping loved ones know their eternal destination and getting personal and professional support, along with obtaining documentation for medical, end-of-life wishes, et cetera.

The third section discusses the caregiver’s role more in depth and involves spiritual warfare, having endurance, and leaning on God’s love while making one’s final arrangements.

In the final five chapters, not only are loose ends tied up regarding one’s demise, physical changes, the finality of death, and how to grieve are evaluated with Bible verses and spiritual hymns.

Knowing all of us will one day die (unless the Rapture occurs first), Rossi encourages caregivers to understand God is in control regarding their loved ones’ souls when they are ushered into eternity.

Thanks to Bethany House for furnishing this complimentary book  in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinion.

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

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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

The Sinners’ Garden

Title: The Sinners’ Garden
Author: William Sirls
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8738-0

“And I’ve never heard anything through your iPod, but there’s no denying the way I feel when I look at that garden. And what’s even crazier than me being healed and me jumping that canal on a motorcycle is what that little voice is telling me about this leap of faith,” Andy is told in William Sirls’s novel, The Sinner’s Garden.

At four hundred and eight pages, this paperback tome is targeted toward readers who enjoy mystery, redemption, resolution, and acceptance. Based as a Christian-themed book, there is some use of slang, mild violence, and no overtly sexual scenes so it would be enjoyed by mature young adults and older. There are author’s notes and a fourteen question discussion guide at the end.

Andy has been scarred, both physically and mentally in a small town in Michigan. Burned as a young child, the teenager is awkward, angry, and apprehensive, trying to deal with his overly-protective mother, Judi, who has her own self-doubts and insecurities.

His only source of love and companionship is Uncle Rip who “found God” in prison and still fights his own demons correcting his past. When Andy hears songs and is told admonitions to give to others from his iPod, Rip believes the Almighty is speaking through his nephew.

As one of the town’s police officers, Heather still has feelings for the ex-con but is preoccupied by a “Summer Santa” who repeatedly sneaks into neighbors’ homes, leaving needed and timely gifts.

When the four find a manicured sectioned-off garden with beautiful wildflowers bordered by deep rich soil in the middle of nowhere, each must deal with their past to understand their future as their worries vanish whenever viewing the natural flora.

As the garden goes through changes, each individual tries to figure out how the sections correspond to people’s lives and why. With Andy’s determination for another sign from God, not only Rip, Judi, Heather, and Andy seek His answers, but those in the town learn forgiveness and love.

With deeply rooted characters, mystical surroundings of God’s miracles, and an unusual portal of hearing the Creator, the book keeps readers engaged through the twists and turns in human life that are never expected, never seen, and make no sense until one looks back at the past.

This book was furnished by Booksneeze in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

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

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Gadly Plain

Title: Gadly Plain
Author: J. Michael Dew
Publisher: Cladach Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-98-189299-3

“Have you not listened to a word I said? Everything is brief but God. Even decay. Even as far as you can possibly look into the future. God is certainly bigger than the here and now. What I’ve been sharing with you is not meant to be understood. It is meant to be accepted.” The donkey explains in J. Michael Dew’s novel, Gadly Plain.

At two hundred and twenty-four  pages, this paperback book is literary fiction targeted to young adults and older who may be dealing with losing a loved one, death, or abandonment. With no profanity, overtly sexual scenes or violence, the story is based on the Bible and God’s eternal love. Each chapter starts with a simple drawing by Ross Boone. At the end of the book are acknowledgements, a conversation with the author, fourteen discussion questions and a short author’s biography.

Twelve year old Spring-baby Westbay is at a loss. While living in Pennsylvania with her father, mother, and baby brother, her father’s chronic illness leads him to death at the early age of thirty three. To be buried in his Kentucky hometown, her mother leaves the youngest child with relatives and takes Spring-baby down South for the funeral.

Not fully understanding the finality of death, inquisitive Spring-baby observes those around her: her mother looking for a glimmer of hope, her grandmother reminiscing the child she lost, a grandfather trying to be stoic as he ages, and an uncle who has turned from God to the bottle.

When her mother leaves her abruptly at her grandparents’ home without even a goodbye, the coming-of-age girl is confused, shattered, and heartbroken. The only solace she finds is talking to Chirp, a mentally handicap man who takes care of animals at the nearby barn and tells her about a special donkey that has been around since creation and has never met death.

Through the use of an allegory, the writer tells the story of how Jesus has conquered death as Chirp relates the donkey’s travels throughout time. Starting with Adam and Eve and Noah to Abraham, Moses, Balaam, David, and Jesus’s birth, burial, and resurrection, Spring-baby comes to terms with her mortality and those she loves.

Reminding us that death is only the body changing and not our souls, the donkey’s wisdom explains instinct and intuition in processing growing old and dying. Dew’s literary fiction makes us realize although we will be “way away,” we can be with Christ forever.

This book was furnished by Cladach Publishing in lieu of an unbiased review.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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Hating Heidi Foster

Title: Hating Heidi Foster
Author: Jeffrey Blount
Publisher: Alluvion Press
ISBN: 978-0-9857627-0-4

“I still hated her and so I could not tolerate anyone who could muster one iota of sympathy for her, I felt the sympathy should have been all mine. So I had to put the old me away to survive. I had to shut them all out, because they were all now in the enemy camp. It was Heidi Foster or Mae McBride. No sitting on the fence allowed.” Mae convinces herself in Jeffrey Blount’s novel, Hating Heidi Foster.

This one hundred and five page paperback tome is a short yet powerful story targeted toward late middle school age through high school young adults. With the theme of death and loss of a loved one, it deals with the emotional anger and angst of a teenager. Having only minor profanity, it would be rated PG-13 if a movie.

Written in first person by Mae, she and Heidi have been best friends since the age of six years old. One evening there is a knock at the door and Mae’s life is forever altered when her mother is told there has been a horrible accident: her husband and Mae’s father has died in a house fire trying to rescue Heidi.

With vengeance, hatred and bitterness, Mae vehemently blames Heidi for her father’s death. When she returns to school, she sees Heidi surrounded compassionately with their friends and feels abandoned and hurt. The hatred becomes deep-seeded to the unbearable point neither can tolerate each girl’s presence.

Calling herself “The Tragic One,” Mae throws herself into her schoolwork and excelling on the volleyball team while Heidi internalizes her guilt of surviving the accident, resulting in depression and physical and emotional turmoil. Mae befriends a Wiccan school friend who recognizes her hatred and tries to get her to vent it to an object such as a volley ball.

Through reviewing family videos and reenacting the scene of her father’s accident with the officer, firemen and witnesses along with sharing her feelings with her grandparents, Mae comes to terms with how her father was loved and loved others.

This short story is a tender yet heart-wrenching tribute to help any young person who has lost a parent, sibling or close friend as it shows how one can deal with the angst and anger by learning to accept there are reasons beyond our control why things happen. It is an excellent read for any classroom setting where those reading can glean from the emotional barriers and processes someone’s untimely death presents.

This book was furnished by the publicist for review purposes and this review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on LinkedIn and Pinterest..

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Saying Goodbye – Facing the Loss of a Loved One

Title: Saying Goodbye – Facing the Loss of a Loved One
Author: Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe
Paintings by: Michal Sparks
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5059-6

“You may be facing the loss of someone you love. Whether you’ve gotten along well or argued often, as long as the other one lives, you have hope for a healthy relationship. But death puts an end to possibilities and dreams,” Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe write in their book, Saying Goodbye – Facing the Loss of a Loved One.

This small six-by-six inch hardcover book contains sixty-four pages that are dedicated to those we have loved and are now losing or have lost in our lives. With painted serene scenes depicting flowers, flora and landscapes on almost every page by artist Michal Sparks, the muted backgrounds give comfort and calmness to those grieving for the passing of our cherished ones. Targeted toward those dealing with death, its hope in God and Christianity are spread among the pages in a loving, non-judgmental way.

Written from both a man and woman’s perspective, there are ten short four to six page stories about relationships where someone has died at various stages of the end of their lives. Each story has a title along with the author’s name. At the end of the book are four chapters on additional helpful information about dying, death and grieving.

Trying to ease the fear and anxiety during such an emotional period, story topics include preparing oneself for death, making sure there are no regrets, verifying God’s love of both the loved one and reader, taking care of yourself, affirming the loved one, receiving a blessing, completing unfinished business, letting go and finally confirming it is all right to die.

Besides gently encouraging the reader to remember God is ultimately in control, one learns that speaking to a loved one at the end of life is important as hearing is the last sense to go. In addition, we should apologize for our past mistakes and move on as it would be dishonoring to God remember them.  By affirming and appreciating the loved one, the giver and recipient show deep expressions of love.

The final section has suggested ways of preparing for a loved one’s death along with notes to comfort your family and self, including letting others comfort you, and lists several resources for grieving.

Since we all will face the inevitable in life, this book is a true inspiration of how Jesus loves us no matter what and He is there, even during our loved ones or our final moments here on earth as we enter into eternity.

This book was furnished by Harvest House Publishers in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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Death for Beginners: Your No-Nonsense, Money-Saving Guide to Planning for the Inevitable

Death for Beginners: Your No-Nonsense, Money-Saving Guide to Planning for the Inevitable

Title: Death for Beginners
Author: Karen Jones
Publisher: Quill Driver Books
ISBN: 978-1-884995-61-3

Karen Jones states in her book, Death for Beginners – Your No-Nonsense, Money-Saving Guide to Planning for the Inevitable, “…the average cost of an adult funeral will soon be $7323 … And that does not include costs for the plot, marker, flowers or obituary.”

With two hundred and forty-three pages, this paperback book is a complete resource for every human being that acknowledges their own mortality and wants to prepare in advance for their demise. Written especially for the control freak that wants to know every aspect of his or her deceased body handling and discard, financial costs and disbursement of inheritance or social etiquette on the internet, here are not only the answers, but so much more.

Insightful and informative, author Jones writes humorously and sometimes irreverently from the pre-death decisions to grieving months or years later. The textbook has eight chapters that cover what to do with your body, ground burial verses cremation options, coffin and urn choices, funeral and memorial service tidbits, informing others of your passing, leaving a clear paper trail and closure. The appendix includes almost sixty pages of worksheets in fill-in-the-blank format, resources, bibliography, glossary and index.

You not only learn the low-end costs of basic cremation ($1,000), burial ($6,000), mummification ($67,000) or cryogenics ($150,000) but how to do each, pros and cons and websites to research. Entombment is cheaper as less labor than digging a hole, there are rules to a green ecological burial, and one can even prepare the body and do it at home. Knowing the Funeral Rules, you can call companies with knowledge and confidence about prices and services rendered. Or choose to have a casket-building party, a cardboard box for under $200 or a simple $50 cremation urn that can get past TSA security.

The book has a myriad of information, pricing, tips and downright funny ideas and stories that will make you smirk as you plan your final exit. Write your own glowing and professional obituary in advance but remind those left behind to be careful of identity theft with the death certificate. Know ways to inform social media of your good-bye party or leave postmortem notes online for future viewing. Don’t forget to pre-order that solar powered memorial marker, complete with a lamb symbolizing innocence or have a pre-inheritance auction with your loving family members so they do not fight over your prized possessions.

With all seriousness, this book should be in all baby boomer’s hands and filled out lovingly with their aging parent’s wishes or their own. It is a great source of information about a taboo topic that is concise, to-the-point yet written in a fun way.

This review will be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com

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Daddy’s Not Coming Home

Daddy's Not Coming Home

Title: Daddy’s Not Coming Home
Author: Jeremy LeBon
Illustrator: Morgan Griffin
Publisher: Diamond DMT Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9837638-2-6

The Bible states in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” When a loved one is killed at war, it is very hard to explain it to a young child but in Jeremy LeBon’s children’s book, Daddy’s Not Coming Home, it may help lessen the blow in a young person’s confused and insecure life.

This unnumbered but around forty pages, hardbound book has a painting of a boy in front of a glowing fireplace in a living room with a portrait of his father in uniform on the mantel. Dedicated to military families who have lost a parent or loved one, the story is heartbreaking, tender and compassionate, trying to help a pre-school age or younger realize death’s finality on earth, that his or her father will not be coming home from war and the hope that they will see them again in Heaven. The story is written in rhyme format with paintings illustrated by Morgan Griffin that are easily understood as they adapt to each part of the story. An audible CD is inserted that has D. Pittman’s voice telling the story with applicable background sounds including “Taps.” The two songs, “America the Beautiful” and “We’ll Never Say Goodbye Again,” are also included.

Written by LeBon with the support of his Army veteran brother, this humble, tragic story is about young Christian who sees his mother’s reaction when a man dressed in a uniform knocks on the door, informing them that his father has died in the war. The tale moves tenderly through his mother explaining that his daddy will not be coming back and they witness the graveside funeral with military honors given. Afterwards, a letter comes in the mail to Christian from his daddy, reminding him that he loves him deeply and is now in Heaven. He comforts him by telling Christian he will see him again.

This touching, poignant and sad tale reminds each of us the ultimate sacrifice our military personnel along with their families give daily for our freedom, especially when there is a death or an injury that alters the family structure significantly. This book may truly help a young child cope with the hurt, loss and tragedy of losing a parent and bring him or her hope that sometime in the future they will be with them again.

This review will also be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com.

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Twelve Months

Title: Twelve Months
Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
ISBN: 978-1-61188053-3

In the Bible, Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment …” Steve Manchester has written a book about a middle aged man’s impending death and how he accepts it in Twelve Months.

This three hundred and twenty three page paperback book has a photograph of a beautiful old tree against a scenic green background with an old chair nearby on the front cover.  Inside the first three pages are book reviews.  With only a couple of profanities, the subject matters of dying, death, war memories and even bowel movements make the book geared toward young adult or older, perhaps especially for the baby boomer generation.

This tome is not a preachy, self-help, listing of what to do if one is facing death but an actual novel of fifty-seven year old Don DiMarco’s hearing he has colon cancer and coming to terms with his sentence over more than a twelve month period.  Except for the final pages, it is fictionally written in first person as he hears, adjusts, makes amends, accepts and understands his impending doom.

After been given a twelve month medical prognosis, Don writes a list of five “no regrets” that he wants to accomplish be for he dies: drive a race car on a race track, herd cattle as a cowboy, get paid as a newspaper reporter, tour the United States in a RV and hook a forty pound bass.  With the help of his understanding and sympathetic wife, his concerned daughter, thoughtful son-in-law and two growing grandchildren, he accomplishes each goal as his physical strength dissipates.  Within the year period, he not only resolves his unfinished military emotions visiting Vietnam, takes a cooking class so he can make dinner for his wife, visits his old neighborhood and Martha’s Vineyard, reconnects with a childhood best friend, tries stand-up comedy, but he also remarries his wife and takes her to Barbados for a second honeymoon, establishes lasting memories with his grandchildren and volunteers at a children’s hospital.

At times, one would think in the short twelve plus month time period, the dying man accomplishes far too many activities while in writhing, growing pain and popping more and more pain killers.  Throughout the story, there is the undercurrent of Don wanting to complete one more jigsaw puzzle – like life, each piece has to perfectly fit together to make it work.

In the end Don understands “there ain’t nothing to see that you can’t catch at home” and finally realizes that “God is the sum of ALL things and there is nowhere and in nothing that His love cannot be found.”  It is one’s wandering, meandering path of life that goes straight to God when one finally sees his or her entire reason for being when facing death.

 

This review will also be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com.

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