Review of “The Wrong Unit” written and narrated by Rob Dircks

The Wrong Unit: A NovelThe Wrong Unit: A Novel by Rob Dircks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story! While it was not as funny as “Where the Hell is Tesla?” it was excellent for sci-fi.

Heyoo is a servile android that is programmed to serve humanity. When he/she/it is transported to a seemingly random point on earth his adventure begins. He finds a baby without any parents and, being a service android, takes the baby, names it Wah and takes it upon himself to raise the baby himself.

When Heyoo and Wah stumble upon a building that is thousands of kilometers from where they started, they meet Brick/Iceman and discover that they have a have a greater destiny; to save mankind and destroy Core, a computer program hundreds of years old that has controlled the lives of humanity for centuries.

This is an excellent book that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. Rob Dircks is one of the few authors who is also outstanding as a narrator. I can listen to him all day.

I took off one star for the story because of the use of profanity. While it is not used liberally, any use of profanity to me is unnecessary.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of “Dead for the Money” by Peg Herring and Narrated by JoBe Cerny

Dead for the Money (Dead Detective Mysteries, #2)Dead for the Money by Peg Herring
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was ever so close to a five-star book for me. The thing that knocked it down to a four star was that I was suspicious of the person who turned out to be the killer without being too suspicious of the other characters who could have been the killer. I guessed the killer before the end, and I like mysteries that keep guessing right up to the big reveal at the end.

Having said that, it is still a solid four star listen and I would recommend it to others who love mysteries. I love Peg Herring’s paranormal twist to it. I would imagine that if you have read or listened to the first book that you probably already know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t, I won’t give it away.

JoBe Cerny does a good job narrating the characters in the book, even if the voice of Brody is less than stellar. I thought it was a bit cartoonish for my tastes. Other characters sound like emphysema patients that are still smoking (with their gravelly voices). I couldn’t do any better so I will give him four stars as well.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review!

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Review of “The Prettiest Girl On Stage is a Man”

The Prettiest Girl on Stage Is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American VaudevilleThe Prettiest Girl on Stage Is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville by Kathleen B. Casey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book very much. It is published by The University of Tennessee Press, so that was a plus for me since my blood runs deep orange. Then it turned out to be even more interesting than I had hoped.

Casey covers Vaudeville from around 1912 through the early to mid 20’s. Specifically, the book covers how male and female impersonators and Vaudevillians of color were perceived. I learned quite a bit from the book.

Lee Ann Howlett is the narrator, and she does a wonderful job. Of course, since this is non-fiction history there are no voices to perform, but after listening to this book for over seven hours, I can honestly say that her voice just seems right for this book. I can see myself listening to more of her books in the future. Don’t know how she would with fiction, but her non-fiction is wonderful.

I received this book from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of “Pentecostalism: A Guide for the Perplexed”

Pentecostalism: A Guide for the PerplexedPentecostalism: A Guide for the Perplexed by Wolfgang Vondey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I generously gave this book three stars when I really felt like it deserved two. Then I started thinking about how I wasn’t really the target audience. It’s really geared towards more academically inclined people as is evident by the liberal use of fifty dollar plus words that I have never heard in my lifetime. A large number of them are not even in the dictionary, which I made heavy use of.

Despite this, there was quite a lot of information in this book that I was unaware of or was presented from a perspective that I had not considered before. Each chapter covers a different aspect of Pentecostalism and is relatively short being around 20 to 22 pages each ( approximately).

When reading about things that I was familiar with, I found the information to be very accurate so I have confidence that the new information was just as accurate. Still, I can’t give the book more than three stars because it was difficult for me to follow the narrative most of the time, and I found myself having to go back and reread passages several times which made it take that much longer to finish reading the book. Had I been more academically inclined, I may have gotten more out of the book and been able to give it a higher rating. Then again, maybe not. I got the book from Logos.com and found that the average rating was only 2 stars, Which as I said earlier is what I really felt it deserved.

The crux of this book can be summed up in this quote from the epilogue of the book. “At the end of this brief guide, we arrive at yet one more perplexing insight: To understand Pentecostalism, one has to look beyond Pentecostalism.”

In spite of the low ratings, I do think that this book is worth reading. Just keep a really good dictionary close at hand when you do.

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Review of “Introduction to Pentecostal Doctrine” By Zenas Bicket

Introduction to Pentecostal DoctrineIntroduction to Pentecostal Doctrine by Zenas Bicket
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, but I could only give it three stars because there was so much that I disagreed with. Much of the book is based on an individual interpretation of scripture that I found lacking in scholarship. Of course, I have no doubt that others would give this book very high marks because they agreed with most, if not all, of what Bicket says.

For me, the one thing that I had no quarrels with the discussion of salvation. I am in complete agreement with Zenas Bicket in this particular area. On the rest of the book, I found myself do massive highlights and making abundant notes discussing my own views of what Bicket had to say. I will admit, however, that there are large sections of the book that have neither highlights nor notes written about it. In these cases, I just read and absorbed and decided to make no judgments one way or the other until I had time to study the issue more.

Even though I only gave it three stars, I can recommend this book as a good primer on Pentecostal doctrine, especially within the Assemblies of God Church. Just because I found myself in disagreement with much of it does not mean that I am always right. During my study I did come across one issue where I was led to change my mind because of the presentation of irrefutable scripture on the subject. Admittedly, it was not from this book that I was led to the discovery of the error of my own views, but the topic was covered in the last chapter of the book.

Perhaps after more study on the issues raised in the reading of this book I will be compelled to come back and raise the rating to higher than three stars, but not right now.

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Review of “Destination Unknown”

Destination Unknown (Wings of Steele #1)Destination Unknown by Jeffrey Burger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed this book. If you have ever wondered what happened to all those people on ships and planes that disappeared inside the Bermuda Triangle, this story gives you one possibility.

When Jack Steele disappears inside the Bermuda Triangle with a vintage bomber that he supposed to be delivering for the CIA many Federal agencies become involved in looking for him.

Meanwhile, Steele and others who disappeared with him find themselves on a ship in space that is of alien origin. In the beginning, all he can think about is where is he and how is he going to get back home. However, as things play out he finds himself commanding a spaceship of his own.

There were not a lot of Star Wars’esque space battles in this book, but there was indeed plenty of action.

Love the characters. By the end of the book I found myself caring about them and wanting to know more. Thank goodness there are more books to be had.

The narrator of Destination Unknown, Kevin Clay, had a voice that kind of reminded me a newscaster. He would seem to have had some voice training as all of his characters were separate and distinct. One or two might have been a little cheesy, but the overall effect was very entertaining.

I highly recommend this book.

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

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Review of “Faith Facts: Answers to Catholic Questions vol. 1” by Leon J. Suprenant and Philip C. L. Gray

Faith Facts: Answers to Catholic QuestionsFaith Facts: Answers to Catholic Questions by Leon J. Suprenant Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book but could only give it three stars. CUF, Catholics United for the Faith, has a thing they call Faith Facts. People call or write to them and ask questions about the Catholic faith and they have a team of people who research the answers thoroughly and then answer them via these Faith Facts. There are presently two books covering several major topics; things like the Creed, Mary, Mortal Sin, the eucharist, etc.

I only gave the book three stars because I as a practicing catholic for 17 years understood their answers to the questions, but I felt that a person outside the church or even a new convert might have difficulty with them. They reference a lot of scripture, but they also reference a lot of church documents that someone outside of the church would most likely have never heard about. At times, they get into some Catholic theology that can be difficult to understand especially if you have not taken the time to do much outside reading on the subject, whatever the subject being discussed is.

Still, I would recommend the books to someone who maybe has done some reading on Catholic doctrine, and, perhaps, these books would take them a little deeper.

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