Monday, September 29, 2014

My Review of "The Perfect Score Project"

As a college professor, I care deeply about the preparation students make for college.  So I am often asked to provide advice to upcoming high school students about what they should do to prepare for college.  One of the big concerns, nearly without exception, is how to score big on the college entrance exams like the SAT. 

Here's a book for parents and students that offer that advice.  

Debbie Stier had two teenagers heading to college.  So she did all she could to help them prepare.  Including taking the SAT herself, seven times in one year!

In this upbeat, amusing and highly informative book, we learn from the author's mistakes and applaud her triumphs.  She discovered that nothing beats the daily grind -- forget the cramming and flash studying.  Instead, begin and the foundational levels in math and grammar and vocabulary, and work at it regularly.  Also, she offers particular advice for how to learn to write quality essays for the SAT writing section. 

What I most enjoyed was Stier's advice on honing the ability to tackle issues related to test taking anxieties in various forms.  

All the study dos and don'ts are clustered in shaded text boxes throughout the book, making the reader's study plan that much simpler.  What Stier discovered in her test year about preparing for the SAT can be of great benefit to any teen, or parent of a teen, heading to college.  

This is a great book that belongs on every parent, every teacher, every guidance counselor's shelves. 

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Review of "Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror"

Doctor Who:  The Crawling Terror 
by Mike Turner reminds me of the classic days of Doctor Who adventures.  In ways quite like the Third Doctor, this novel is a homage to classic sci-fi stories in which the town is besieged by a horrific threat. 

The story is set in the peaceful town of Ringstone somewhere in Wiltshire and he uses the sleepy location well.  The Doctor and Clara materialize in the town for vague reasons involving ley lines and instantly they discover trouble is afoot.  Humungous insects stalk the tranquil meadows and plague the residents of Ringstone but there's much more to it than first meets the eye.

The characterization has been the key in the novels about the Twelfth Doctor.  While Tucker does a masterful job in capturing the Doctor's voice -- I couldn't read lines from the Doctor without hearing his Glaswegian accent and cadence -- I fear he made the Doctor too nice in Crawling Terror.  We've seen the Doctor enough now to know his brisqueness; none of that here. 

Tucker nails Clara's character here, though.  I particularly loved the added lines about Danny Pink and Coal Hill School.  This novel clearly understands Clara. 

In all, I think this is an excellent Doctor Who story, with enough twists and turns to keep you turning pages.  In fact, it was so exciting I read The Crawling Terror in one sitting.  

For Whovians, this one is a masterpiece. 

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Review of "Worthy of Her Trust"

Worthy of Her Trust:  What You Need to Do to Rebuild Sexual Integrity and Win Her Back is a book for every man in our culture who struggles with sexual sin in the middle of his marriage. Whether it's porn or adultery, Stephen Arterburn and Jason Martinkus rightly diagnose not only the problem, but offer real-world, faithfully-grounded advice for how to develop integrity, responsibility, accountability and other holy habits. 

Both of which -- the diagnosis and the prognosis -- becomes words of grace and hope.  

I can't count the number of men I personally know who would benefit from their "Amends Matrix."  That alone makes this the most important book I know for men and for their Christian sexual integrity. 

The way they name and deconstruct the "myths" (Chapters 1-6) helps wives and husbands become honest in their broken marriages.  And the "nonnegotiables for trust building" (Chapters 7-15) pave the way for the solid pastoral advice that concludes this book. 

I love this book, and plan on sharing it widely and recommending it often. 

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.