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review 2020-06-10 16:23
Short stories about working class males in Queens
Slapboxing with Jesus - Victor LaValle

At last! A book I've read that's listed on Booklikes. I was wondering whether I'd have to manually add all my recent reads, but I have to admit I just didn't bother adding the others.

 

This collection of short stories was powerful and sometimes upsetting. They seemed in many ways autobiographical and give us snippets (almost but not quite anecdotal in nature) of the lives of boys and men living in Queens. It's a hard life and the ties between the characters seem easily breakable, as if their own and each others lives are cheap. But there's an honesty about the warts and all revelations that gripped me as a reader. I've read three of LaValle's novels and I enjoyed those more than this debut, but enjoy this collection I did.

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review 2019-10-23 19:05
What Would It Be Like to Witness Jesus' Miracles?
Imagine: The Miracles of Jesus - Koceich, Matt

Having read the previous books in the Imagine series, I was very much anticipating this one because Matt Koceich was stepping up the game by focusing on Jesus’ earthly ministry. I was very interested to see how he would handle placing a 12-year-old boy into the scenes of some of Jesus’ works. In the earliest installments in this series, I felt that the author did well overall in making famous Bible stories understandable and relevant to early adolescent readers, providing applicable Biblical lessons in each. However, I didn’t think that “The Giant’s Fall” focused enough on the Biblical part of the story. It is a very delicate balance, and even more so in a children’s short novel, and I applaud Koceich for undertaking this challenge because we need more children’s literature with a godly, inspirational focal point.

With “The Miracles of Jesus”, I was hoping for a compelling book that would give readers a glimpse at what it might have been like to see and listen to Jesus in person two thousand years ago. Did this book live up to my expectations? Yes and no. Chapters one and two are very powerful, and John’s first encounter with Jesus brought tears to my eyes. However, a somewhat disjointed narrative follows. There is a scene that seems to be representative of the book of Revelation, and this one was out of place in my opinion. Other good versus evil scenes that followed made more sense in connection with the storyline. Although I understand what the author is trying to convey, I would have liked more details about Jesus Himself. The main character John Le’s experiences with Jesus are brief, and overall this book did not seem as cohesive as Koceich’s earlier stories. Nevertheless, I did get a strong sense of the theme of faith over fear and appreciated this story. The target audience of 8-12-year-olds will most likely have fewer, if any, issues with it than I did, and I would recommend this to kids within that age range and perhaps even a year or two older.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2019-07-31 17:18
GL at the edge of the galaxy
Green Lantern Corps: Lost Army Vol. 1 - Cullen Bunn,Jesus Saiz

I've never been much of Green Lantern fan. I don't know why. I didn't really like GL until I watched the Justice League cartoons that had John Steward as GL, and then I liked them. Maybe because John seemed so much more human and relatable. I don't know. I picked this up because I read the free sample or sneak preview that was for the kindle and really enjoyed it.

The story is about the Lanterns being sent somewhere, they don't know where, and we start the story with John and his group struggling on an unknown planet. The story is pretty much fish out water for a bit and then it starts to raises issues and questions. There are in fact two stories- the Green Lantern story and the one about John in the army. The story is entirely from John's pov.

One of the things I liked about the preview was the male/female ratio and while this changes a bit as the story goes on (sadly), I did enjoy the fact that the women are not displayed as sexy big boobed appendages. Nice artwork.

The story could be a bit tighter. The plotting at times seems a bit - predictable, too much one high, than one low type of thing. But I did enjoy it. John's struggle, while dark, does make him relatable, and the plot raises interesting moral questions that seem to actually to be considered by the characters.

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text 2019-03-02 19:31
Hear Me Lord, Finding Intimacy Again with God - Greg Gordon

 

“Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” – Psalm 86:1


As days go by in our life here on earth so many times our focus gets fixed on something transient and passing. Daily cares of life, all the needs and desires of others in our lives, even our own ambitions, and goals sometimes cloud the vision for what really matters. Remember when you started to know the Lord, the day you bowed your knee and spoke with your Lord who redeemed you? Remember the awe in your heart for Him who died for you? How sitting at his feet for hours was easy? We all can drift from this intimate focus on the Lord, where our hearts desire was for Him to just hear us and answer. Where we had a poor and needy attitude of being poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). If you have drifted from this goal, you can still put your main aim to know Jesus more intimately, He is waiting for you.

 

There is a wonderful contemporary song that captures some of the heart of being a friend with Jesus but still having great fear and awe in what He did for us, here are some of the lyrics:

 

Wonderful, merciful Saviour
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would’ve thought that a Lamb could
Rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

 

Today, set your heart back to the place where you first found Him. Not in just Bible reading, or in ministry endeavours or other Christian things, but in that place where you sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39) for Him alone. One day we will bow at His feet in heaven in adoration. Let us also now be found at His feet in intimate worship and relationship.

 

Lord, I bow today before Your feet, I look to Your face and just long to hear words from Your mouth. Forgive me for being so distracted with other things. Precious Lord let me know You more intimately day after day until I see you soon. Amen.

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text 2019-02-09 23:12
Stay with me, Lord (a prayer by Padre Pio)

 

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

 

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
and I need Your strength,
that I may not fall so often.

 

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
and without You, I am without fervor.

 

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
and without You, I am in darkness.

 

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
and follow You.

 

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.

 

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

 

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes;
death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength,
so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.

 

It is getting late and death approaches,
I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.
O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

 

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all it’s dangers. I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

 

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You,
if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it,
but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

 

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

 

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth
and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen

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