Book Review: Stone Writes About Angels Among Us

 

 

 

 

Jacket design by Bruce Gore/Gore Studios, Inc.

# Sponsored by FaithWords

 

Most people think of angels during the Christmas season, either in the gift shops or in holiday movies such as It’s A Wonderful Life, where Jimmy Stewart encounters the angel Clarence. Angels are seen hanging in the lobbies of churches and all throughout the television screens (usually on the Hallmark Channel) during this time.

Perry Stone’s book, This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season (FaithWords, 2018), takes a look at what angels are, their role, and their powers according to the Biblical texts.

The word season is defined as a “set moment in time” in the book, and uses this concept to take the reader through the different types of angels, what each purpose is for them, and also tries to answers the limitations of the power of angels. The back of the book features something that could be considered a “question and answer” segment in the Appendix section , where Perry tries to explain some of the myths about angels that may be construed throughout people’s lives. Perry also uses personal experiences, including stories from his father’s life, with their encounters of angels.

Stone writes how some of the angel’s roles are to bring warnings, use prophecy, and bring blessings to people, using stories from the Bible to show the roles , and the limitations that they have in spiritual realm.

The first part of the book started off confusing, where this reader seemed to be bombarded with information, wondering if the book was over my head (and I have spent many years in churches and reading the Bible), but once the first few chapters settle down, the book ends up explaining itself nicely, without tons of Bible verses that confuses people when some Christian writers release books. The writer explains his topic, while using the Bible and some Greek definitions to help the reader. Some Biblical books go overboard with the verses, along with in-depth Greek and Hebrew history, but Perry’s use of these definitions are just the right amount (there are parts where he writes that he will not bog down the reader with twenty more verses on the subject).

Overall, the book is an interesting read, and those that like the subject of angels will enjoy the book. The chapters are mostly short, and if you can get through the first chapter or so, the flow comes together (maybe it was just the day that I started reading it that made it confusing, which happens as well). The personal experiences from Perry through friends and family members add a nice touch to the reading, and is not just all Bible verses. Even if you are not a fan of Biblical preachers, this book is still a nice text to read for those that want to discover spiritual entities.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of FaithWords books, a division of the Hachette Book Group, INC.

 

            This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season by Perry Stone (2018, FaithWords) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3530-5 (Hardcover), 978-1-5460-3529-9 (ebook) can be ordered at http://www.faithwords.com.

 

For information about the author, go to: http://www.perrystone.org

 

The Overall:

Pages: 224

Language: None

Ages: 16 and up (depending on level of knowledge of the Bible)

Geared for: Christian Living, Spiritual, Supernatural, Religion

 

Book Review: Kiss Member’s Look at Club May Surprise Readers

 

I have not been shy about my respect for Gene Simmons. I grew up a Kiss fan (especially my love of the 1980s lineup with drummer Eric Carr), and have seen them live 3 times with the original members. Simmons has branded himself a successful businessman, writer, and musician. I compare him to the Tom Brady of the music world, where many criticize him for being a success, watch his every move, yet buy his products.

Gene’s new book, 27: The Legend & Mythology of the 27 Club (powerHouse/Simmons books, 2018), covers his take on some of the artists who died at the age of 27.

Simmons, along with help from his son Nick, take the reader through brief summaries of the artists covered, their successes, and how they died at the young age, putting them in a glamorized “club” among fans. Simmons then takes a look at why these artists died at the age that they did, whether it being alcohol and drugs, along with the mental aspect of the deaths, which may have been overlooked at the time (either due to lack of knowledge, or by ignoring signs).

Even non-Kiss fans know how outspoken Gene has been on topics like drugs, booze, and mental issues, including stating his opinions on the deaths of rockers like Kurt Cobain in the past. However, readers would be surprised by his take on these issues now. As stated in the Introduction section, Simmons states that although he believes these artists should not be glamorized for their drugs and deaths, which is considered a badge of honor among rock stars, he withholds judging the people. Gene still maintains his views on drugs and alcohol , and admits to having a more sensitive look once he studied their lives in more detail.

Each chapter deals with a separate musician or artist, such as Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Whinehouse. There is a brief history of each artist, along with some quotes by the artists or those that knew them, along with interview snippets thrown in.

Even though the topic is a serious one, there are some entertaining stories put in throughout the book, such as the time Gene thought he was talking on the phone to Kurt Cobain to get his band Nirvana to play on the Kiss tribute album, to an interesting interview at the end of the book by Nick, who discusses the topic with Dr. James Fallon, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

27 is an easy to read book, with short chapters, filled with some great information on what may have been going through the minds of these artists, including their childhood growing up. The two major things that intrigued me about the book was the interview with Dr. Fallon and his take on the so called “club,” and Gene’s discussion on the topics , which shows his maturity in showing the respect of the artist’s skills, and not just the tragic life they led.

An ironic part of the book is how Gene uses information from biographies and magazines to help his research. One of sources he uses several times are interviews from Rolling Stone Magazine. I found this take somewhat entertaining because Simmons has always bashed that magazine for their lack of acknowledging the success and talents of Kiss (personally, I side with Simmons’ past views on the magazine as a whole). Maybe I am reading too much into this part (maybe it’s the only interviews he could find by the artists on the subject), but it was just something that popped into my head when I read the footnote sources.

27 is an entertaining and thought-provoking book that may show why some of these artists ended up dying at the same age, but still shows the respect of the talents these musicians and artists. Do not let the past views of Gene Simmons prevent you from getting this book, because you may be surprised at what these pages hold. Simmons still does not condone the lifestyles of the artists, but does show he is wiser on the topic of mental issues and substance abuse.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of Powerhouse/Simmons books

 

27: The Legend & Mythology Of The 27 Club by Gene Simmons (powerHouse/Simmons books, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-57687-886-6) can be found at bookstores and at http://www.powerhouse.com.

For information about Gene Simmons, go to: http://www.genesimmons.com

 

The Overall

Pages: 261

Language: Moderate (Artists interviews uses some language)

Geared For: 13 and Up

For fans of: Music biographies, Music History, Psychology,  Gene Simmons

 

 

Book Review: Author Wants More Weirdos In The Church

                                                                                                                                                      #sponsored by Faith Words

 

C.J. Casciotta ‘s new book is full of weirdness.

This is not an insult, because his book Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference (Faithwords, 2018) encourages people to get in touch with the things that makes them considered weird in society and embrace it.

Casciotta describes how as a young child, the things that made people unique and “weird” define them until one day people suppressed these actions, and lose touch of what made them unique; things like coloring outside of the lines , and having structure throughout everyday life to the point that when someone was different, they were made fun of until they hid the things that made them different.

Get Weird has many humorous illustrations throughout, including the writer’s references to Willie Wonka, Charlie Brown, Jim Henson, and Walt Disney. Casciotta compares why he no longer likes the “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” TV show, and how Fred Rogers influenced him to accept the weirdness in himself.

The author discusses how being weird can start a movement, from communities and churches. He states by looking at Jesus Christ’s teachings to his disciples (all who were considered outcasts in society of the time), and the use of the Parable of The Lost Sheep, it shows how each person’s uniqueness can be used in society.

Casciotta’s humor throughout the book, along with the chapter titles, reminds me of the writing of musician David Crowder, where Crowder once wrote a chapter in a book about finding God in a Chick-fil-A sandwich (this was before Tim Hawkins’s famous song about the place). Casciotta tells stories of people he met in his life, such as a woodworker ex-sniper named Charlie, to his own train jumping experience, to drive home his points in the midst of the humor to tie his ideas together.

The book has three major parts: the first part of the book encourages people to embrace what makes them unique by not being ashamed of their “weirdness,” the second part discusses “What To Make of Your Weirdness,” and finally “How Your Weirdness Will Change Us.”

Although the overall theme is nice, where the writer encourages people to be different and embrace others who are not like them (one story involves a pastor struggling to decide if a woman is fit for church service due to her tattoos). The second half of the book encourages people to do things like speak up, step out of the norm, and challenge people and things to create a movement. While these are all creative in a way, there is also a time when order is needed (even in the church) and being a radical all the time leads to consequences in my opinion.

The author uses quotes and actions from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Henson, and Walt Disney to show how they paved their own paths when people thought they were weird. Jim Henson had to go to England to make his shows, because he was turned down in the United States by every television company. Using his life as comparison is different than, say a person challenging the local pastor on a dress code in the church or fighting the church leaders on things that go against Biblical principals. The writer does not encourage anarchy, but the Bible does talk about respecting and following church and local leaders and their rule. The book kind of gets lost in creating a movement that consequences are not discussed much.

This is a nice, easy to read book, with mainly short chapters. The author has a great sense of humor and nice Pop Culture references (his discussion on why albums are better than downloaded music and CDs is entertaining, which I agree with his logic). There are a few Bible verses in the book, but not much, and some references to Jesus, but it overall is not a normal religious book. The book entails more of embracing weirdness and using it to start a movement.

Just because my personal opinion at times varies with the book, the overall theme and entertainment of the writing makes it an pleasurable read. It has plenty of humor throughout , while stating the message the author is trying to achieve. Just because I don’t always agree with the writer does not mean that the book is not bringing out some nice, thoughtful ideas that need looked at. Maybe that is one of the things that makes me weird.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of Faith Words, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta (Faithwords, 2018) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3191-8 (paperback) , 978-1-54600-3190-1 (ebook) can be found at http://www.faithwords.com

 

For information about the author, go to https://www.cjcas.com .

 

The Overall

Pages: 217

Language: None

Ages: 13 and up.

For fans of: Christian Living, religion, humor.

Book Review: Drummer Recalls Time in The Jeff Healey Band

Cover Design: Troy Cunningham. Cover Photograph: Barrie Wentzell

 

The Best Seat In The House: My Life in The Jeff Healey Band by Tom Stephen, with Keith Greenberg (ECW Press, 2018), is an inside look at one of the best guitar players in rock music, told by his drummer and one time manager (If Greenberg’s name looks familiar, it is because he helped write wrestlers Ric Flair, Freddy Blassie, and Superstar Billy Graham’s books).

I first heard of the Jeff Healey Band, like many here in the U.S., when his single “Angel Eyes” hit the Top Ten Singles Chart in 1989. Later, while playing drums in a blues/rock band, we played Healey’s version of “Stuck in The Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel off of the band’s 1995 album “Cover to Cover” (It is still my favorite version of the song).

The book is told by Stephen, who starts off telling about his life, how he went to graduate school, only to end up playing drums and becoming the manager of the band led by the blind guitar player Healey. The book details what seemed to be a chip on the shoulder of Healey from the first day meeting Stephen and throughout their time in the Jeff Healey Band, along with this attitude when Healey would snub famous musicians like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Healey also takes his frustrations out on Stephen and the record companies throughout the years, which Stephen describes.

There are some great stories in the book, which at times is humorous as well as entertaining, like the time the band hung out with ZZTop when they were touring together, Healey driving various vehicles (like golf carts, tour buses, and cars), and how he fell asleep during a meeting with the legendary Clive Davis of Arista Records. There is also a story about the band’s interaction with wrestler Terry Funk during the shooting of the 1989 Patrick Swayze film “Roadhouse,” which the band was cast in the film. Stephen states that Funk could party harder than all the crew, but would ask Healey to answer to phone when a certain person called for Funk (No Spoilers here). There is another great story during the shooting that shows how Healey ended up getting more lines than originally intended, the first time the band met Swayze on set, and the time they almost quit the film.

There are tales about meeting Alice Cooper, Bill Clinton (as governor and when he became president), Tom Jones, and stories on the road with drugs, girls, and parties with drinking contests.

The Best Seat in The House also has an underlining theme of three men who were not only band members, but stuck up for each other as brothers, even though it cost them big tours and deals that could have made the band even bigger. As the manager at the time, Stephen’s honesty comes through, where he admits mistakes made as manager, and how his attitude caused friction with labels, management, and even the other band members. Stephen even lets others who were around the band at the time state their opinions, including their thoughts on Stephen himself, which makes the book an honest account, without the author and writer editing the fact that many that did not care for him or the way he managed the band.

Most drummers do not get a chance to write their story about the bands they were in, although it seems to be changing in music biographies in the past few years (the Bobby Rock book on Vinnie Vincent-which has been reviewed here in the archives is one example), but the fact that Stephen was also the manager of the band, there is another insight to his story, besides just showing up for the gigs.

The end of the book is touching, where Stephen writes about why the band broke up, Healey’s views towards him, and how Stephen reacted to Healey’s death in 2008. Stephen’s story is not all rainbows being in the spotlight touring around the world, which is one of the enjoyable aspects to the book. The honesty and ending to the band is what makes the book a wonderful read, especially for musicians to learn about the inside workings of the music industry.

Even if you are not too familiar with the Jeff Healey Band, this book is one that music lovers would still enjoy; filled with humorous road stories, management problems, and the admittance of mistakes and problems that ended the band’s run and friendship, all told in a grateful, and honest recollection.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of ECW Press, via their Shelf Monkey                       Giveaway.

 

The Best Seat In The House: My Life In The Jeff Healey Band by Tom Stephens with Keith Elliot Greenberg (ECW Press, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-77041-8) , along with other ECW Titles, are available at: http://www.ecwpress.com.

 

For information on Keith Elliot Greenberg , go to: http://www.facebook.com/keith.e.greenberg

 

The Overall:

Pages: 240

Language: Moderate

Geared For: 16 and Up

For fans of: Music, Biographies.