Profile for dark_phoenix > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by dark_phoenix
Top Reviewer Ranking: 102,393
Helpful Votes: 11

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
dark_phoenix "dark_phoenix" (Brantford, Ontario Canada)

Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Kaleidoscope: Seeing Gods Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light
Kaleidoscope: Seeing Gods Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light
by Patsy Clairmont
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 13.86
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Reminder, April 28 2010
Clairmont's newest book is a devotional-style offering, presenting short chapters (ideal for busy women) that reflect on specific passages in Proverbs. The chapters address everything from fear to friendship to anxiety, using Clairmont's trademark lighthearted approach to subjects that might normally bog down a book like this.

It's certainly an easy read, and the kind of book that I would recommend as a gift to a female Christian friend or relative -- particularly someone who's having difficulty seeing the lighter side of life and needs some reassurance that God is in control. However, be forewarned that it doesn't contain the same amount of humor that many of us have some to expect from Clairmont -- but then, the book isn't really meant to be funny, so from that angle it makes sense.

Above all, it's an easy read and Clairmont's anecdotes give the book a friendly, earthy tone -- like you're meeting a girlfriend for coffee and chatting about life and how God fits into it.

No, it's not the best book available on the topic, but it does what it sets out to do, and it does it well. Like I said, it would make an excellent gift -- but buy it early so you have a chance to read it first. :)

(I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

The Gospel According to Lost
The Gospel According to Lost
by Chris Seay
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.67
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit too simplistic, but a good starting point for discussion, Feb. 20 2010
Ultimately, this book offers just what the back cover copy suggests: examples of Biblical truths using observations taken from the television show LOST. On more than one occasion, Seay takes things a bit far, but he admits on a few occasions "this may seem far-fetched, but..." and I commend him for that.

But I suppose the main fault I see with the book is its simplicity. I'm not entirely sure who the target audience is for this book -- Christians? Seekers? -- because the simplistic presentation of the gospel will likely bore the believer, while being too watered-down for a seeker to truly get the point of Jesus' message.

Seay methodically looks at each main character in the TV show, drawing examples from the episodes and relating their experiences to Scripture. The main point he tends to draw out is that we're all broken people, especially the figures on LOST, but we're not actually lost forever. Jesus' truth can save us, in the same way that the island seems to be the redemptive point for many of the characters on the show.

This isn't a book for someone who's never seen the show. In fact, if you haven't seen the show, I'm not sure why you'd bother with this book at all, since it already assumes a level of familiarity with the characters. I appreciate what Seay is trying to do, but without a clear target, I'm afraid that the reaction he's aiming for falls badly off course... much like Oceanic 815.

At the very least, for a believer, it might provide a good starting point for discussions with friends of all backgrounds - and I suppose that's something.

Silent Governess, The
Silent Governess, The
by Julie Klassen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.26
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.50

3.0 out of 5 stars The Weeping Governess, You Mean?, Jan. 28 2010
This review is from: Silent Governess, The (Paperback)
At first glance, The Silent Governess is an intriguing tale of relationships in nineteenth-century England: familiar characters, social mores, elegant costuming, and people who never quite say what they mean. It's fairly typical of this style of historical fiction, and fans of Julie Klassen's previous work will find much to appreciate here.

The characters are well-drawn, and sub-plots arise at every turn -- and not only that, but Klassen manages to weave them all together at the end with skill, leading to a relatively satisfying conclusion. However...

My primary issue with the book was the amount of crying/weeping/tears from the main character throughout the first half of the novel. Every ten pages or so, Miss. Keene either cries, holds back tears, or feels teardrops rolling down her cheeks. Yes, admittedly, she goes through quite a bit at the beginning of the book, but do we really need to join her at every moment of her tears? It gets rather tedious, and at one point I actually shouted at the novel, "Listen, just suck it up and deal with it!"

At the end of the book, the resolution with Miss. Keene's father also seemed somewhat contrived. It felt as through Klassen was desperate to tie up all the threads into a neat little bow, and that subplot in particular was resolved far too conveniently and neatly to be believable. It's eye-roll worthy, to say the least.

That aside, the book held my interest at length -- I read the entire thing in one evening. I suspect that, despite its flaws, people who are a fan of this genre and of Klassen's work will enjoy The Silent Governess. On the whole, I much preferred Klassen's Lady of Milkweed Manor -- but, it's worth giving this one a try.

I'd also recommend it for church libraries, as I think it would find quite a large readership there.

50 Ways to Feel Great Today: Keys to Beating Stress, Worry, and the Blues
50 Ways to Feel Great Today: Keys to Beating Stress, Worry, and the Blues
by David B. D.Min Biebel
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.94
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars 50 Ways to Frustrate Your Readers, Jan. 28 2010
First, the good:

The book contained 50 simple, easy-to-accomplish, low or no cost ideas for getting yourself out of a difficult psychological state and back into enjoying life. Simplicity really is the name of the game in the book - for example, some of the ideas are "lift weights" or "go fly a kite".

For someone who doesn't normally do much more than go to work, come home to eat & watch TV, then go to bed and repeat the next day, some of these ideas might challenge & encourage that individual to break out of such a monotonous routine (which is likely the cause of "the blues" or stress in the first place).

Now, the not-so-great:

Wow. "Go to the Y"? "Pamper Yourself"? "Work on Your Scrapbook"? "Go fishing"?

Do you see the problem here? While there are 50 simple suggestions in this book, the issue is that the book itself doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. The suggestions target men, women, younger individuals, older individuals... but not together. It feels as though each chapter is targeted at a different group, making it very difficult to really glean a sense of coherency in the list of suggestions.

Because of this, I found the book to be too simplistic. I'd go so far as to say "complete and utter tripe", at least for someone with half a brain. Anyone with a lick of common sense would know that having a massage is a great way to beat stress, so does anyone really need a book to suggest it alongside "use the internet creatively"?

Admittedly, there were a few good suggestions scattered amongst the ridiculous ones, but on the whole, I didn't take away anything of value. And before you accuse me of not being in the target market for the book, let me assure you that I struggle with stress, anxiety, drastic mood swings bordering on depression, and high tension on a daily basis. Based on my own medical history and daily life, I'm 99.9% certain I'm the target market, and I found nothing in this book but frustration, sighs, and annoyance.

My apologies to the authors, but I think the book would have been much more successful if they'd decided on a target group first (ie. men or women), and then wrote the book directed to them - or, even better, broke the book up into two separate books, one targeted at women and another at men. That way, all the suggestions might be applicable/realistic to each particular group who read the book. Because let me tell you... I have my serious doubts that men are going to appreciate the suggestion to "work on your scrapbook" to help beat stress.

I'm just saying.

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
by Emerson Eggerichs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.86
76 used & new from CDN$ 2.94

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love & Respect Indeed, Dec 7 2009
Two years ago, before I was married, I read this same book by Dr. Eggerich. At the time, I thought 'well, this sounds reasonable', and continued along my merry way after closing the front cover. I remember now that, at the time I'd picked the book up at the store, a woman mentioned to me 'this book saved my marriage, honestly... pay attention and you won't regret it'. Reading it through for a second time, after being married for a year and a half? Dr. Eggerich has it right.

Women need love, and men need respect. Both are mutually inclusive, because when a woman receives love she feels respected, and when a man is respected, it's a sign of love to him. Eliminate either love or respect, and couples start on what he terms 'the Crazy Cycle'. How do you stop the crazy cycle? It's all based on love and respect. Dr. Eggerich outlines what this means for both husbands and wives, what they can do to increase love and respect (and maintain it!), and how to prevent getting back on the Crazy Cycle in the future.

Whether you're dating, engaged, or married for any length of time, the Dr. speaks the truth... and it's worth a listen!

Rick and Bubbas Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfec
Rick and Bubbas Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfec
by Rick Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.86
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, and most importantly, Balanced!, Aug. 6 2009
Put away those mushy-gushy marriage guides... the real stuff's right here! Alright, maybe not all of it, but Rick & Bubba have a few things to say about getting married, being married, and staying married. And it won't put you to sleep! Rick & Bubba approach the subject with honesty, humor, and personal anecdotes that will make you either laugh or groan (depending on how much you identify with said anecdote...!)

What I appreciated most about this book was the different approach to the subject, which I realize is something that a number of other reviewers found frustrating. Let me put it this way: the authors don't shy away from taking shots at their wives. Not in a cruel or mean way, but in the sense that the anecdotes don't always make their wives into the "good guy" of the situation.

They show their faults, their bad habits, all those things that... well... that husbands are always pinned for in other marriage books! That's not to say Rick & Bubba make themselves out to be perfect, model husbands - not in the least! But the tongue-in-cheek, BALANCED approach to showing both good/bad sides of husbands and wives, in a humorous way, was incredibly refreshing. It's about time we wives had some stories told about us!

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
by Brandon Sanderson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, Fast-Paced, Tongue-in-Cheek Witty Adventure!, Jan. 12 2009
This one is geared, I think, toward the 9-12 crowd, though YAs will appreciate it... oh, and anyone else who likes witty, fun, entertaining books by authors who don't take themselves too seriously. A blurb on the back of the book called it 'a cross between Lemony Snicket's series and Artemis Fowl', but I'd hesitate to give it a comparison - I think it stands on its own!

It was very funny, absolutely ridiculous, and kept me reading from the first page to the last. And I was THRILLED to come to the end and find out there's a sequel in the works. I thought I liked Sanderson's adult fantasy - but I think he has a real gift in writing for the younger crowd. I'd recommend this to younger male readers looking for something to try (or older males... my husband read the description on the back and has added it to his TBR pile!). Really, my words here can't do it justice. Go read it instead. :)

The Song of Troy
The Song of Troy
by Colleen McCullough
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entrancing Song, Jan. 7 2005
This review is from: The Song of Troy (Paperback)
As a student of Archaeology and Classical Studies, I am frequently hard-pressed to find accurate and intelligent variations and interpretations of ancient works by modern authors. McCullough's 'Song of Troy', while it admittedly takes several liberties with character personalities, follows the original 'Illiad' with startling accuracy of actions, but also gives insight as to different reasons WHY the characters may have taken these actions.
It must be remembered that the Illiad, while it will always be the authoritative voice, does not provide extensive insight into character development. For example, Achilles in the Iliad actually leaves the action quite early on and does not return until the later books near the end... McCullough has taken this and other events and tried to fill in the gaps, making the characters and their actions more human, and therefore better understood in the context of the original poem.
I can see how a purist might not appreciate this, but the reality is that there is no 'pure' version of the original either -- this was a poem that was handed down orally for generations before being written down, and for all we know we could have a substantially different version than was, say, being recited in Sparta or Pylos at the time. We know certain segments were altered for the audience, and it just so happens that someone somewhere finally decided to write their version down. Is it so wrong now, that a modern-day storyteller would tell the story again, altering it slightly for their audience? It doesn't break the purity of the original, it merely shows the continuation of this ancient tradition, following in the footsteps of Homer himself.
McCullough's 'Song of Troy' is entrancing and captivating, and will bring the famed story to life as you read. It will be a welcome addition to anyone's collection who understands that 'tampering' with a story such as this is not really tampering at all, but a continuation of a tradition unbroken through the ages -- "this is how things are, and Zeus himself, The thunder lord, could not make them otherwise." (Book 14, lines 50-51)

The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt: Revised Edition
The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt: Revised Edition
by W. Stevenson Smith
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 63.32

3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart... grammatically, that is..., Dec 29 2004
First things first: beautiful pictures. Leave this one on your coffee table for guests to peruse though...
However, there is one major problem: the author's incredible penchant for run-on sentences. A seven-line paragraph without any commas, colons, or periods does not generally constitute an acceptable paragraph by anyone's standards... was the editor asleep? You decide....
That said, the information is interesting, albeit hard to read. The author tends to diverge from his topic with astounding frequency, then jumps back to the original topic without reason or warning, let alone a connective thought... or should I say, "connexion"... apparently the letters 'c+t' in the word 'connection' were offensive to the author's eye? I don't quite understand it either...
But it is a lovely book to look at, valuable from the artistic point of view. Buy it if you are interested in the topic, borrow it if you just think Egyptian art is pretty.

Can You Keep a Secret?
Can You Keep a Secret?
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.00
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Almost but not quite..., April 19 2004
This review is from: Can You Keep a Secret? (Hardcover)
In the fashion of the Shopaholic books, this one was addictive, easy and quick to read, and had a number of moments where I found myself laughing out loud... and recieving strange looks from people around me... oh well! My greatest qualm with this one however, was the amount of language. There was an excessive amount of swearing, which was fortunately not seen as much in the Shopaholic books. It often distracted from the story and was rather unnecessary in most cases. For this reason, I am hestitant to recommend it to a number of my friends.
So if you are put-off by foul language, stick to the Shopaholic books. If you can get past it, the story is quite humorous, albeit not quite as up to par as her previous works. I would give it 3 and a half stars, if the choice was available.

Page: 1 | 2