ORIGINAL BOOK REVIEW: “God and Country” by Joseph Bylinski (Religion, Politics & State)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION*:

The Bible and politics unite in a new non-fiction book which discovers that finding the answers to the Biblical mysteries leads to understanding that politics and the Bible must come together for our country of freedom to survive.

Hidden within the Bible are many creatively written and cleverly placed phrases which specifically point to these times. And when these extraordinary phrases are rearranged, they clearly explain our current world and answer one of the Bible’s biggest mysteries. They identify the Beast of the book of Revelation, the being commonly known as 666. And to obtain this elusive answer the Biblical phrases will take the reader on an incredible journey back to the birth of America to discover why we have our freedom and they’ll make it known that the true meaning of Jesus is what binds our nation together.

In God and Country the Biblical phrases unlock the secret to understanding how our freedom is earned, and more importantly, the Biblical phrases warn us that our country and our freedoms will not last unless we do indeed become “One Nation under God and Indivisible”. All of our countrymen shall live by God’s words or we will fail. And this becomes evident when the Beast is revealed.

The rearranged Biblical phrases expose our nation’s problems but in doing so they also reveal the secret to discovering the solution …..that politics and the Bible must become partners in a free democracy.

Our country was founded upon the Bible. Our laws are based on the Bible. And unfortunately, we are currently throwing the Bible out the window. Our country has wandered away from its founding ideals as we have pushed aside, ignored and thrown out God’s laws without realizing that they are here to discipline us and keep us in control.

Let it be known that freedom comes with the restriction of living by faith, that freedom has responsibilities with our mutual duty to be kind and considerate to one another, and that freedom must be constrained by discipline, and that this discipline is the Bible.

It’s time to change America’s politics, values and direction.

REVIEW:

I’m not particularly shy about my religious background, which in this case is probably a good thing, since Joseph Bylinski’s God and Country: ….United We Stand! ….Divided We Fall! is itself not even remotely shy about its stance and content. In my case, I come from a conservative Evangelical Christian household with supremely specific and controversial interpretations of the scriptures. I’m much more of a seeker and questioner now as an adult, but none of my more recent struggles and doubts have erased the practically perfect recall of the passages Bylinski refers to that I acquired in my childhood.

I absolutely refuse to spoil the main points of a book that is entirely built upon the principle of unveiling hidden truths! You’ll just have to buy a copy if you want to unlock them all. Without spoiling anything, I will simply say that the book leans heavily on the notion of freedom, stating in its early pages that “by understanding the concept of freedom that [the founding fathers] created back in the 1700’s […] helps us realize that we all have a greater obligation to fulfill in being a citizen beyond just taking an oath or being born on this soil.” Bylinski’s book is deeply political in that many of the passages he analyzes are, he argues, built entirely to communicate political truths and citizenship ideals.

For someone who lives within a community like mine, Bylinski’s claims make perfect sense once grasped. This particular book draws upon a long legacy of biblical interpretations that lean on numerology or cypher cracking in order to better understand the meanings and prophetic declarations within red letter passages. Bylinski’s approach is not quite either of those things (numerology or cypher based, that is) but it will likely appeal to those readers who have found something to value in them. And yes, it goes without saying that those who don’t already buy into the sanctity and inerrancy of these same passages will likely not walk away with the same degree of sympathy and agreement as those who do. But that, too, is perfectly in keeping with a long tradition; even within the bible itself one can find the acknowledgement that “the message of the cross is foolishness” to those who are not a part of the community of believers (1 Cor 1:18, NIV).

This is certainly one book that asks, repeatedly: Are you a believer?

IN SUMMARY:

Decisive in voice and unafraid to stick to its unique approach to the sacred texts of Christianity, God and Country: ….United We Stand! ….Divided We Fall! by Joseph Bylinski is a bold book in these unprecedented times. For those who fall within its ideal audience, it is likely to be an absolute hit.

WHERE TO BUY?

You can find God and Country wherever good books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also find out more about Joseph Bylinski’s work on the book’s Outskirts Press author page.

WHAT NEXT?

It’s been quite the busy e.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

* Courtesy of Barnes & Noble book listing.


SONY DSC

ABOUT KENDRA M.: With nine years in library service, six years of working within the self-publishing world, as well as extensive experience in creative writing, freelance online content creation, and podcast editing, Kendra seeks to amplify the voices of those who need and deserve most to be heard.

ORIGINAL BOOK REVIEW: “Religion 531 – The Master’s Course: 2000 Years of History Can’t Be Wrong, Can It?”

Religion 531 cover art

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION*:

You Are Much More Powerful Than You Think You Are—And, Unfortunately, Are Totally Responsible For What Happens In Your Life.

You are NOT a physical being with a Spiritual nature. You are a Spiritual being that happens to be in a physical body at the moment. It is almost certain you have lived many physical lives. Your mission (and everyone else’s) is to return to God as an eternal companion to him. You do this by learning what brings you closer to God and what moves you farther away. In this book, you will learn:

  • God judges no one—You are your own moral agent—You will reap everything you sow
  • Whether you are religious or not, you are on your ‘correct’ path, for all paths lead to God
  • In 325 CE, a schism split ‘Christianity’ into those who believed in the ‘Mystical’ Jesus and those who believed in the ‘Mythical’ Jesus—the ‘Mythical’ believers won
  • Long lost, and recently rediscovered, writings indicate the ‘Mystical’ Jesus is a better choice
  • The ‘Mystical’ Jesus taught reincarnation, Karma, The Law of Return and other long-suppressed truths
  • Jesus did not start the Christian religion you practice

REVIEW:

Many books on religion are a minefield of biases, whether the author is conscious or unconscious of that fact. Refreshingly, Josephus the Scribe is extremely up-front about his goals from the very beginning of Religion 531 – The Master’s Course: 2000 Years of History Can’t Be Wrong, Can It? (I’ll shorten the title to Religion 531 from here on in this review). I always read introductions, without fail, because they are critical to my trust and faith in a book’s content, in that I can’t quite relax into a book until I know I grasp the author’s intent and baseline character. In his introduction, Josephus lays out his relationship to the facts (discoverer, not proprietor) and the analyses within the book. He both acknowledges his credentials and admits that credentials do very little to persuade those who disagree with the facts as written. So, by the time he gets around to saying:

Forty years of work experience, particularly those with the federal government, coupled with an extensive informal study of many religions, reinforced what I learned in college and illustrated repeatedly how ‘good intentions’ get derailed by bureaucracy and dissent.

… I believe him. I believe that he is not setting out to (as I’ve heard often during my childhood about those outside of Christianity) “undermine the Church.” (Capitalized to represent the entirety of orthodox believers, according to whatever the speaker took to be orthodox.) Even on my first read-through of his introduction, I understood that Josephus’ goal was to lay out the commonalities and shared beliefs between groups that have been divided from each other in public debate for eons, and to provide perhaps some talking points for those wishing to build bridges between various faith-based groups. In fact, later in his “About This Book” section, Josephus writes that “You do not have to deny your faith (whatever it is) to learn from this book. […] This book attempts to identify some of the common threads that are woven through all.”

In my mind, that’s an admirable goal.

As a reviewer’s job, my question is to ask if he achieved that goal so that you can feel equally as confident as I do in reading that introduction.

Let’s talk about the book in terms of clarity first. I appreciated Josephus’ warning (in “How to Read This Book”) that “The concepts in this book are difficult to follow. They are also difficult to explain.” A part of me, the sassy teenage daughter part, wants to roll my eyes (just a little bit) at his need to defend the book’s existence as-is, but mostly I’m grateful for the warning. He might as well have posted a big warning sign: IT GETS COMPLICATED. Which, well, that fits with the way life is working out, doesn’t it? “It is also likely that you will need to go back to previous pages of the book to understand fully concepts that you are reading in later pages,” Josephus writes: “This is expected, as absorbing a new way of thinking is tough.”

What is this new way of thinking? It’s not “scholarly,” as the author points out, but it is primary-text-driven. As he also notes that he’s primarily anticipating that his readers will mostly be Christians (presumably, protestant ones), it’s also not an attempt to “validate or refute” existing understandings. Josephus is clearly attempting to slow down the tendency to leap for an Apologetics-driven reading when his stated goal is to simply get people thinking and to a place of connection.

In some ways, the book’s structure is a hybrid between something like a traditional devotional book and a philosophy textbook for those looking for something more digestible than Plato or Kant. Each chapter is short, between roughly 5 and 15 pages long, excepting only the chapter on “What Does This All Mean?” which is broken out in 1 to 2-page bite-sized chunks. The opening Table of Contents and the closing Index are your friends, since some chapters are indeed worth revisiting as Josephus’ thoughts circle back later on. (I suggest sticking a post-it note there to make them easy to find. I don’t dog-ear books, but if you’re okay with me gasping in horror, go ahead and you do you! JOKING.) The book is fantastically easy to navigate.

Religion 531 is extremely accessible when it comes to voice as well as structure. Sentences are short and to the point, as well as what my writer friends like to call “voicy.” That is, there’s a lot of personality on the page, with humor and emphasis writ large on the page using punctuation, asides, and metaphors. Not all of the paragraphs are short, but they are all way shorter than you will find in typical textbooks and philosophy books. (Thank you, Josephus!) I love a good and to-the-point paragraph. The only stylistic choice that gives me pause is Josephus’ regular use of quotation marks (“”) to set apart words or expressions tied to common religious principles or beliefs. It can make him come off as skeptical, even though it would overall appear that he is nothing of the sort.

I reserve the right not to step into the minefield of attempting to review this book on the merit of its religious or religion-adjacent points. As a child of Christian missionaries, I know exactly how fraught that can be, no matter who I’m’ in conversation with. I am growing increasingly immune to taking offense when someone disagrees with me on arguments (I’m not naturally good at it) pertaining to the Deep Things (my umbrella term for faith, mental health, relationships, human nature, natural history, and science)–but in large part I can thank my brother-in-law’s family for making it clear to me that many people in this world just naturally love debate, love pushing thought to the outer edge of the envelope, and arguing over topics without taking them personally. I think Josephus would love having dinner with that side of the family. (You’re welcome to sub in for me at the next reunion, Josephus!)

If you’re more like me and prone to care very deeply about these things and feel utterly wrecked when the ground shifts underfoot, I still think it’s worth going on the adventure (or roller-coaster ride, depending) that is Religion 531. You just might want to take it slow and remember, always, that Josephus’ goal is to expand both your mental and emotional vocabulary for thinking about and connecting over items of faith. That’s an admirable goal, but he leaves the success in your hands!

That’s pretty brave, I think.

IN SUMMARY:

Josephus the Scribe tackles the core tenets of world religions, with an emphasis on modern protestant Christianity, in an attempt to broaden readers’ understandings and possibilities for connection over matters of faith in an easy-to-read, voicy book that isn’t afraid to ask big questions.

WHERE TO BUY?

You can find Religion 531 – The Master’s Course: 2000 Years of History Can’t Be Wrong, Can It?  wherever good books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also find out more about Josephus the Scribe’s work on the book’s Outskirts Press author page.

WHAT NEXT?

I’ll be wrapping up A Sense of Urgency for my next review! It has been a process working through these two books side-by-side, but a very enriching one. Watch this space!

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

* Courtesy of Outskirts Press book listing.


SONY DSC

ABOUT KENDRA M.: With nine years in library service, six years of working within the self-publishing world, as well as extensive experience in creative writing, freelance online content creation, and podcast editing, Kendra seeks to amplify the voices of those who need and deserve most to be heard.

Self-Published Book Review: “My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this month’s featured book review:
71qZ5h653aL

My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am

by Maureen Scanlon

ISBN: 9781977210531

 

AWARDS and HONORS
* Spirited Woman Top 12 Pick List
* 2019 Author Shout Recommended Read

Synopsis*:

Follow the ways of our furry friends and learn to focus on positive thoughts and change habits!

Maureen Scanlon is a certified life and spiritual coach and relationship expert with training in cognitive behavioral therapy and NLP techniques. In her book My Dog Is More Enlightened Than I Am, Scanlon offers tips on how to take inspiration from animals to make the most of your life and nurture your relationships. Take time for yourself and find peace. Understand others’ beliefs and perspectives to learn compassion. Find the joy and happiness we all seek. All with the help of the animals in your life.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Reviews

My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am by Maureen Scanlon is a self-help book which, as the title suggests, takes its inspiration from man’s best friend. Relax Whenever You Can, Be Spontaneous, Appreciate Our Differences, Take Care of Each Other, Self Care, No Regrets, and Be Curious are especially true and, I presume, all dog owners and lovers will be reminded of their canine friends and can easily relate to these first six chapters. The rest of the topics take their cue from the law of attraction with the writer sharing some of her experiences, both painful and joyous.

Maureen Scanlon is a certified life and spiritual coach and her book exhorts readers to emulate these loyal and carefree creatures that have been important parts of many people’s lives in more ways than one. One of the things that make this book intriguing is that we don’t only get to know her dogs Jade and Brodie but the feeling that they are hugely instrumental in the production of this inspirational work, thus they are co-authors of this book. All of us would like to make the most out of our lives and may look everywhere for inspiration, not realizing that the animals around us can help us find the peace and happiness we seek. My Dog is More Enlightened than I Am opens our eyes to the fact that there are a lot of things we can learn from animals, especially from these loyal furry creatures that will always be there for us.

Author Interview:

 

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Published Book Review: Sally and the Singing Whale

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

sally and the singing whale berinna hansen

BHBAfinalist72

Sally and the Singing Whale

by Betinna Hansen

ISBN: 9781478786412

 

Synopsis*:

“Whales are monsters,” Papa warns Sally. “They will eat you up!” This is the beginning of the story, a beautiful adventure that is sure to charm both children and parents. Sally is always in a good mood and sure to come out on top, but when she sneaks onto her father’s ship, something unexpected happens –Sally is thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale! This heartwarming book is as exciting as it is layered. It is about a little girl’s love for her father, her growing independence, and the beauty of the natural world. But it also touches on the fear of the unknown –a fear that, Sally learns, has nothing to do with reality. PRAISE: Author Betinna Hansen was accepted to the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, where Sally and the Singing Whale was described as “Magical” and likened to the classic children’s story Pinocchio and the biblical story of Jonah. “Sally and the Singing Whale is a book that you will want to read and re-read for its depth and timelessness.” –Denise Dowling Mortensen; Children’s book author of Bug Patrol and Good Night Engines/Wake Up Engines.

“Betinna Hansen is a gifted storyteller whose words create beautiful pictures in my head!” –Peter Catalanotto; Author/Illustrator of Emily’s Art and Monkey & Robot. To learn more go to www.singingwhale.online

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Reviews

Sally and the Singing Whale is a children’s picture book written by Betinna Hansen and illustrated by Tata Bobokhidze. Sally wants to go to sea with her dad, who’s a fisherman, but he’s just not willing to let her come along with him. When she asks why, he tells her that whales are monsters with sharp teeth. Sally has had many exciting adventures and loves seeing new things, but she’s both scared and skeptical of her father’s description of the whales. Her dad wants her to stay safely at home in her little treehouse that’s perched in a sunny clearing among hills and mountains. But Sally has other ideas, and while she looks sleepy as he sings her their lullaby, she’s ready to adventure once again as soon as he leaves. Sally gets dressed and follows him to the harbor where his ship is waiting. She stows away in what seems a perfectly safe place, but suddenly finds herself in the belly of a very large whale.

Betinna Hansen’s children’s picture book, Sally and the Singing Whale, is a lush and lovely fantasy about a girl’s interaction with a whale. I loved the feeling I got when reading this tale, that it was set when men like Sally’s father went whaling in ships often much smaller than their targets, and admired how Hansen is able to interject a sensibility into the fishermen’s mindsets after Sally and her father’s lullaby is sung by a pod of whales. Tata Bobokhidze’s illustrations are a masterful blend of rich colors, striking watercolor washes and marvelous little touches that bring each of these panels to life. Each and every page is suitable for framing and would make a grand themed wall in a child’s room. I found myself pausing and getting lost in each frame as I read of Sally’s adventures. The details are wonderful — check out the little eyelashes on the whale, follow Sally’s path as she enters the whale’s baleen-fringed mouth and take a moment to find where Sally is hiding on the ship. There’s so much to enjoy about this book, both for children and those fortunate adults who happen upon this book when it’s story time. Sally and the Singing Whale is most highly recommended.

 

Book Trailer

 

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Published Book Review: Unwelcome Opportunity

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

unwelcome opportunity richard battle

Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges

by Richard V. Battle

ISBN: 9781977201645

 

Synopsis*:

All of us will face challenges in life–we have control over how we respond to them. Author Richard V. Battle knows all about this. Over one ten-month period, he experienced divorce, two heart procedures, and a cancer diagnosis. He could have chosen any number of negative paths through that time. Instead, he chose humor, peace, and the Word of God, which led him out of fear and into what he later named his book on the experience: Unwelcome Opportunity. Full of entertaining anecdotes as well as forty-seven passages from Scripture, Battle’s Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges will help others also see the possibility, hope, and light in any situation.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Richard Battle, the author of four other books, has dealt with severe hardships during his life. He wrote, “Surviving Grief by God’s Grace,” to deal with the loss of his son. In his most recent book, “Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges,” Battle had recently gone through a divorce and was now being faced with health issues. In less than a year, he was tested with prostate cancer and needed to have two serious heart procedures. It didn’t seem fair that he was being handed these trials because he took care of himself and was fitter then most men his age. Rather than dwelling on the negative or thinking, “Why me?” He proactively took charge of his health by following his doctor’s advice and using his faith to carry him through. As his challenges would arise, he would sink further down into his faith rather than darkness. This allowed him to not only survive, but also thrive.

As I read “Unwelcome Opportunity,” I was very impressed with the author’s unwillingness to allow himself to be consumed by darkness. He had already faced the loss of his son and his marriage and was now having to deal with health issues that didn’t seem fair for someone who was active. I really admired him for relying on his faith and using prayer to overcome everything that was placed in his path to test him.

“Unwelcome Opportunity” begins each chapter with a meaningful bible quote.  I would read each one and reflect on it before reading the chapter. This allowed me to obtain a better frame of mind for the material that was to follow. He also offers scriptures and inspirational quotes to place further emphasis on his writings. I can’t imagine being able to hold on to my faith as strongly as he did while he went through his challenges. My faith in God has always helped me overcome personal and health crises, yet I don’t remember being able to stay as steady as he did. Battle’s faith did not let him down as he pushed through his trials.

“Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges,” by Richard V. Battle would make an excellent gift for someone who is faced with challenges. Readers suffering from personal or health related issues will find comfort in Battle’s words.

– reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Other Reviews

What do you do when you experience a divorce, two separate heart procedures and a cancer diagnosis all within a ten-month period? If you or yours are facing one of life’s demanding tests, Unwelcome Opportunity – Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges is an essential read. Richard Battle faced multiple tests in a short period of time and shares how he, with God’s daily provision, overcame them. You’ll be glad you read his pilgrimage drawn from a period when the world caved in on him! – Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas, Two time U. S. presidential candidate, Author and commentator

Unwelcome Opportunity is a poignant, moving, and inspirational memoir/Christian living book that will take readers on a thought-provoking journey while entertaining them at the same time. Unwelcome Opportunity is written by author Richard V. Battle, and Richard throughout Unwelcome Opportunity Richard will take his readers on the journey of his life and the many significant moments in it. The journey the reader will encounter is at times heartbreaking because of what Richard went through and the events that significantly impacted his life however it is also an uplifting book in which Richard will make you smile thanks to his positive outlook and inspiring passages. If you are a reader who is looking to read a memoir that is unlike anything you have read before and a memoir that is the perfect combination of inspiration, fact, and poignancy then Unwelcome Opportunity is the book for you and should not be missed.

Unwelcome Opportunity is written by the incredible Richard V. Battle, and in his book, he shares his story and the many pivotal moments in his life. The reader will follow Richard as he explains that he had two heart procedures in a ten month period as well as go through a divorce and receive a cancer diagnosis. However, despite all of this, Richard shares many inspiring passages about how he overcomes this and especially thanks to God and his help, and this book lovers is the premise of the incredible Unwelcome Opportunity!

Unwelcome Opportunity is a poignant, moving, and compelling piece of nonfiction that will help, inspire, and captivate its readers from the very start until the very end. Unwelcome Opportunity is an influential, powerful book because it deals with many poignant topics and God.

Unwelcome Opportunity is an exceptional book not only for the author’s candor but also the information he has so expertly laced throughout the book. The information will help readers overcome hardships with his passages and wisdom as well as his discussion of God and how God helps.

Richard V. Battle is a remarkable person for two reasons; the first is because he is honest and brave to write his story, and the second is because he is an exceptionally talented author. Richard’s impeccable writing is a joy to read and flows beautifully throughout so that the reader will feel compelled to read non-stop. Richard is a pure literary talent, and so I applaud him for being so brilliant!

Overall Unwelcome Opportunity is an insightful, informative, inspiring book and I would say if you are a reader who is interested in the topics explored and coming out the other side, then this book is for you and so Unwelcome Opportunity gets five stars from me!

Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much, I love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please comment below and let me know your thoughts. Do you see yourself reading this book? Do you love the genre? Please let me know your brilliant thoughts below and I will be sure to comment back. Thank you so much again for reading!

– reviewed by Aimee Ann on Red Headed Book Lover

This book is for everyone. Those that have everything going for them and have never experienced disappointment or failure because it will prepare them for that moment in time when they may need the truths in this book has to offer and it is for that person feeling defeated and need to know they are not along both physically and spiritually.

– reviewed by uhoo on Amazon

Book Trailer

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1