Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unleashed - by Erwin McManus

My Thoughts:
Unleashed was a great, real, open and honest book. I loved it! It is a short book and a quick read, unless you stop to let it really sink in. In that case this book can take a long time to read and can completely change your life and how you see things. Be prepared to be search down to the lowest lows and ascend the highest heights, and be called so far outside your comfort zones you can't even see them any more.


Book Description

Unleashed gives a call to escape a tame Christianity and become original, powerful, untamed Christians—just as Christ intended.
Author Erwin McManus wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so when he came to Christ as a college student, he didn’t know the rules of the "religious club." He didn’t do well in Shakespeare courses, so he didn’t really understand the KJV Bible he was given either. But he did understand that prayer was a conversation, and he learned to talk to God and wait for answers. Erwin’s way was passionate and rough around the edges—a sincere, barbaric journey to Christ.
Barbaric Christians see Jesus differently than civilized Christians. They see disciples differently, and they see Christ’s mission differently. Unleashed is a call to escape "civilized" Christianity and become original, powerful, untamed Christians—just as Christ intended.


Unleashed

UnleashedRelease the Untamed Faith Within

By Erwin McManus
Published by Thomas Nelson



Book provided for review by booksneeze.com 

The Deepest Waters -by Dan Walsh

My Thoughts:
Dan Walsh is a brilliant writer! I fall in love with his books so easily and thoroughly that it makes them hard to put down. The Deepest Waters was tragic and beautiful, gut wrenchingly sad and joyous and all-round spectacular. 
I never would have guessed that parts of this story were true and the note afterwards was so fascinating to read it made the book all the more wonderful. 
Thank you Dan for writing such a wonderful story and brining it to life for your readers to partake of.


Deepest Waters, The, Dan Walsh, 978-0-8007-1980-7



For John and Laura Foster, what began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 aboard the steamship SS Vandervere soon becomes a nightmare. A terrible hurricane strikes and the grand ship is lost in the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself rescued with the other women and children, but how can she feel anything but despondent without her groom? Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone.
Talented author Dan Walsh skillfully tells an epic story of hope, faith, and love through an intimate lens. Inspired by real events, this emotional and honest story will capture your heart as you sail through its pages.
Endorsements
"The Deepest Waters is a story that's been waiting to be told for 150 years. What a blessing Dan Walsh is the one to tell it. It is inspirational, spiritual, and miraculous--a hopeful message when the world needs it most."--Jason F. Wright, New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Letters
"A delightful story that took me back to an era when men were gallant and women were virtuous. Dan Walsh fully immersed me in a fascinating world and left me longing for the movie."--James L. Rubart, bestselling author, Rooms and Book of Days

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author ofThe Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, andThe Deepest Waters. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

The Invisible World - by Anthony DeStefano

My Thoughts:
This is a strangely compelling book. Growing up in the church I have always "believed" that angels and demons exists because the Bible says they do. However you never really talk about that sort of thing in polite Christian circles because... well I don't know why. This book was interesting, witty and I love that he includes the human soul  and God's grace in his line-up of topics to touch on! I look forward to recommending this book to others.

Spiritual Existence Revealed in Anthony DeStefano’s
Newest Book, The Invisible World

The Invisible World cover[1].JPGThe mystery of a spiritual world has intrigued us for ages. Is there a reality that exists beyond the senses? And can an invisible spiritual world actually become visible? Best-selling author Anthony DeStefano answers yes with certainty. The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us explores the existence and meaning of this unseen, yet very real world.

Though the pages of The Invisible World are rich in poignant stories and tangible applications, DeStefano eschews anecdotal evidence and offers instead a depth of theological and biblical evidence as he takes readers on a journey to an unseen world inhabited by God, angels, demons, Satan, Heaven, and Hell. Bravely, DeStefano traverses into the dark night of the soul and the potentially liberating power of Grace with much honesty and candor. The author both asks and answers prickly questions like, “What are the incomprehensible qualities of God?” “Why have angels captivated our imaginations and interest?” “What is the purpose of a soul?” and “Why does it seem that, despite Grace, Satan seems to win?”


Through all the twists and turns of this eerie yet uplifting book, the author’s mission is clear. “I want to make the invisible realities that surround us more visible,” says DeStefano. “My hope is that, by doing this, these realities won’t seem so unfamiliar in the future. And the more familiar they are, the easier it will be to understand them and to have absolute faith in their existence. Once you’re armed with that kind of certitude, three things will naturally happen:

(1) It will be easier for you to act in sync with your moral beliefs.
(2) Your life will be much fuller, richer, and more exciting than you ever imagined possible.
(3) No amount of suffering—physical, mental, or emotional—will ever be able to destroy the profound inner sense of peace that you’ll experience on a daily basis.”

Anthony DeStefano is a businessman and the best-selling author of A Travel Guide to Heaven and Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To (Doubleday), as well as two highly acclaimed children’s books, This Little Prayer of Mine and Little Star (WaterBrook Multnomah). DeStefano has received numerous awards and honors from respected communities throughout the world. In 2002, he was given an honorary doctorate from the Joint Academic Commission of the National Clergy Council and the Methodist Episcopal Church for “the advancement of Christian beliefs in modern culture.” In 2003, he received a medal from the Jerusalem Center for Peace Studies. He lives in New York.

The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us
by Anthony DeStefano
Doubleday Religion ~ March 15, 2011
Hardcover/208 pages/ISBN 978-0-385-52223-6/$19.99

Angel Sister - by Ann H. Gabhart

My Thoughts: 
This was a fantastic book! Learning about life in Rosey Corner was a wonderful trip back in time. The life of the Merritt family was not an easy one. However, their love for each other and their dedication to following God was a great reassurance that even when we loose faith in God and sometimes turn our backs on Him, He never looses faith in us. 
I also really liked the author's end note about the origins of the story. I thought that was a really cool addition. 


Angel Sister, Ann H. Gabhart, 978-0-8007-3381-0



It is 1936 and Kate Merritt is trying hard to keep her family together. Her father has slipped into alcoholism, her mother tries to come to grips with their dire financial situation, and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to all of it. Kate could never have imagined that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what her family needs.
In this richly textured novel, award-winning author Ann H. Gabhart reveals the power of true love, the freedom of forgiveness, and the strength to persevere through troubled times, all against the backdrop of a sultry Kentucky summer.
Endorsements
"What a jewel of a story. Reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. Like a Kentucky summer, Angel Sister starts slow and easy but by the end, roars along, leaving the reader breathless and wanting more."--Lauraine Snelling, author of the Red River series, Daughters of Blessing, and One Perfect Day



Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Gabhart is the author of several bestselling novels, including The OutsiderThe Believer,The Seeker, and Angel Sister.



"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy - by Siri Mitchell

My Thoughts: 
This book was great. I liked the fact that it had several different storylines and that Mitchell could jump back and forth from one to another and still have the reader follow along. She got you so tied up in the story that you felt like you knew the charters. How many of us can forget the goings on of our close friends or family, that was how I saw these characters. I felt like I was transported into their lives. It is a great book and one that I would gladly recommend! 




Heart Most Worthy, A, Siri Mitchell, 978-0-7642-0795-2



Romance Abounds in this Engaging Novel

The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?


Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoesand The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit www.sirimitchell.com

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

The Grandfathers produced by EGM

My thoughts:
This film was absolutely spectacular! I had heard of the missionaries that died in Ecuador growing up in the church, but it never really hit me the far reaching effects that could come from that one event so many years ago. This riveting film allows you to follow the journey of Jesse Saint and how he came to terms with the people that killed his grandfather. 
Apart from the story itself I thought the film was well done, the angles were cool, the music was amazing and it even had a bunch of extras. I really like the four video journals from the director each covering a different aspect or undercurrent of the story. These would be super helpful if you wanted to use the film as a small group study or something like that. 
Bottom line I can not say enough good stuff about this film and will be recommending it to all my friends!!! 

From Sacrifice to Reconciliation, a Young Man Discovers His Heritage in The Grandfathers

TGFThe Grandfathers showcases both the burden and benefit of the Saint family’s legacy. Jesse Saint, Steve’s oldest son and Nate’s grandson, was not raised among the tribe like his father. He struggles to find his place under the weight of the memory of a famous grandfather he never knew and a heroic father he does not fully understand. This will all change after Jesse travels to the jungles of Ecuador with his family and gradually forms a special bond with Mincaye, one of the tribesmen who took part in his grandfather’s murder. Only then will he confront his family’s past and come to terms with his own destiny. And there he will find his place in this story.

The Grandfathers chronicles the personal quest for greater connectedness and significance. It is also a moving tribute to ordinary people living extraordinary lives in extreme situations. Jim Hanon, the film’s director, states, “Forgiveness is an awe-inspiring virtue that seems to have been passed on by the Saint family and is shared by many among the Waodani tribe—both demonstrate a profound capacity for forgiveness and healthy self-healing.”

Steve Saint consulted with Jim Hanon and Mart Green, EGM’s producer,  to help bring the story of his father, Nate, to screen through the feature film End of the Spear and the companion documentary film Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These films trace events leading up to and including the deaths of these men. More than that, they show the impact these events played on the lives of both their survivors and their killers. When the widows and their children went to live among the Waodani—a tribe regarded as the most violent on earth—they became an integral part of an incredible redemptive journey.

The Grandfathers, completes a trilogy produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) that includes End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These first two films, also from award-winning director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green, tell the unforgettable and inspiring story of the killing of five missionaries by a stone-age tribe deep in the Amazon jungle. The impact of this tragic event lives on today in families of these slain men as well as among those responsible for their deaths.

FamilyApproved
This inspirational film has been awarded
The Dove Foundation seal of approval.


EGM is an educational nonprofit organization exploring the critical issues of our time through film and new media. It is a community of visionary writers, artists, and filmmakers that seeks to capture true stories of compelling virtue that speak to the human condition. Visit www.EGMfilms.org.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

My Thoughts:
I adored this book. It may be because I see a lot of myself in the main character or it may just be because the main character is so real and believable that I find myself wishing we were best friends. I think it is a great testament to Kristin Billerbeck that I have fallen so in love with her characters, only a great writer can draw you into the story so thoroughly that you feel like you really know these people. This was certainly the case with A Billion Reasons Why. I would highly recommend this to any woman looking for an engaging book to read! 

Practically Perfect
Can God’s best include passion and security?

Book CoverKatie McKenna had resolved to live a quiet life, marry a practical Christian man, and leave all her “worldly” desires behind.  Since moving to California, she’d made it her goal to live life logically and for the Lord.  She has the perfect life—a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiancĂ©, Dexter. 

But then in walks Luc DeForges, the handsome ex-boyfriend who’d broken her heart.  After graduating college and rejecting Katie, Luc cornered the organic food market and became one of the most eligible multi-millionaire bachelors.  But now he’s back and asking her to go home to New Orleans to sing at his brother’s wedding.  She hasn’t fallen victim to her emotions since leaving New Orleans, and she’s invested too much to give into them now. 

When Luc was in his element, there was nothing like it.  His excitement was contagious and spread like a classroom virus, infecting those around him with a false sense of security.  Katie inhales deeply and reminds herself that the man sold inspiration by the pound.  His power over her was universal.  It did not make her special. 

Katie’s boyfriend, Dexter, is a practical man.  As Katie’s roommate Eileen offers, “Katie, no matter how many entries you put in that book, Dexter is not going to be a romantic.  I mean, fine, you’re going to marry him.  He’s a good man.  I just don’t want you to be disappointed.  No matter how many junior high school hearts you draw next to his name, Dexter is going to order you what the Internet says is the proper gift for each anniversary.  He’ll probably have a program created that does it for him.”  But Dexter is safe.  He’ll be a good dad.  He’s very intellectual.  He’s punctual.  He’s everything she needs in a husband.

And Dexter will propose as soon as she gets her grandmother’s ring from her mom.  And Luc will provide her with a free trip home for just that purpose.  Plus, she needs to go home to New Orleans.  It’s her last chance to find out why Luc tossed her from his life like a banana peel off the back of her father’s pickup.  Love is a decision.  A choice.  All the leading experts said so, and she’d decided she would love Dexter in a way that honored and respected him.  The way she’d loved Luc left her worn out and depleted, like an empty air mattress.  Then what use was she?  She’d get her ring and closure as well.  Then nothing would stand in the way of her life with Dexter.

But what if God has more in store for her?  What if God’s desire for her is a heart full of life?  Can the passions she had as a young woman, which led to many of her past mistakes, still have a place in her life? 

Kristin Billerbeck is a successful novelist from northern California.  She has authored more than 30 novels, including the Ashley Stockingdale series and the Spa Girls series.  She is a leader in the Chick Lit movement, a Christy Award finalist, and a two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award.  She has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck
Thomas Nelson/February 2011/ISBN: 978-1-59554-791-0/320 pages/softcover/$14.99


Audra Jennings
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Steels


This band has partnered with International China Concern and filmed their latest video there at the children's homes that I visited to in October '10. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Voices of the Faithful - Beth Moore


My Thoughts:

This a wonderful devotional style book with an entry for every day of the year, written by a different missionary from all over the world. I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is interesting and engages the reader in a purposeful devotion that has been created and compiled to draw our focus toward God’s bigger purpose throughout the year. Beth Moore did a wonderful job of putting this all together and included a short prayer for each day written by her. I would definitely recommend this book for a daily devotional book for personal use or as a group devotional. It could spark some good conversation for sure!
I think to do this book justice it needs to be read day by day and savoured and allowed to sink in to your soul. That being said even reading it through in a regular fashion it is both inspiring and uplifting.
  

Voices of the Faithful

Voices of the FaithfulInspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World

By Beth Moore, International Mission Board
Published by Thomas Nelson





Book Description

A 366-day devotional with inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.
"A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore, speaking of her friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom she collaborated to create this book. This brilliant, 366-day devotional features incredible stories of God's faithfulness in the face of uncertainty and danger, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.
With a foreword by International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin and an introduction by Beth, this volume also includes advice on how to hear God's voice, pray for missionaries, and understand the church's and individual's role in missions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Interview with Missy Buchanan

I have not read her books but I liked what she had to say in her interview  below so I am posting it hoping that it may speak to others who are going through this and point you in the direction of further understanding and help. 

Q&A with Missy Buchanan

596 Buchanan photo - reduced.jpgEven when age creeps up on the body and mind, and life changes from what it once was, is it still possible to have a purpose in life?  When it is no longer possible to venture out and do the things you once loved, can you still find a reason to look forward to each day?  Missy Buchanan, a leading expert and advocate for senior adults, believes that you can.  Buchanan wants to encourage older adults to find their purpose, share their stories, and make an impact on those around them.

Q: What made you decide to start ministering to and writing books for older adults?

Well, as a middle-aged adult, I never had any intention of becoming an author of books for older adults.  But because of the journey that my own aging parents were on, I realized how they had become disconnected from their church as their lives changed.  They started off as active older adults and then that circle got smaller as they had more needs and physical limitations.  As I would visit them at their retirement community, I would also see so many others that were just like them.  They needed spiritual encouragement.  And so that’s why I got started.  The first book began as a project just for my own parents.  I wrote devotions and kept them in a loose-leaf notebook.   But others started asking for them and things just spiraled from there.

Q: What do you think children need to know about their aging parents?

What I realized personally was that I had been so caught up in my parents’ physical needs that I had neglected their spiritual needs.  They were no longer connected to their church, at least in regular worship attendance, and that had been such a huge part of their lives.  I almost made that mistake of just totally missing that, and that was the point where I began to write.  I looked and there were other books written about older adults but not very many that were written to them and for them.  So the first thing I would tell their children is to pay attention not only to their physical needs but also to their spiritual needs.

Q: What is your opinion about role reversal with children and their aging parents?

I hear the whole idea of role reversal where the older parent becomes a child and the grown children become the parent, and I understand what they are talking about because my own parents became more dependent on me.  But I think that when we refer to it as a role reversal, and we begin to think of our aging parents as children, we strip away their dignity.  We rob them of respect and we overlook the fact that they are not children.  They have had a lifetime of experiences that a child has not had.  And I think that is an important difference that grown children need to think about and pay attention to.  It’s more of a role shift in responsibilities and not a role reversal.  I know how much it hurts an aging parent to feel like they are being treated like a baby or like a child. 

Q: Other than aging adults, who else has benefited from your writing?

A friend of mine in an assisted living facility asked me to bring some books for one of her tablemates.  Her tablemate explained that these books were for her adult children.  “They don’t understand what it feels like to grow old, and I can’t seem to make them understand, but your books say it better than I ever could.”  My books are all written in the first person as if an older adult is speaking directly to God.  There are a lot of adult children that are buying them for themselves and older adults buying them for their grown children. 

And I’ve heard of different youth groups that have been reading my books in order to better understand what it’s like to grow old.  Instead of just mocking their older peers, they are learning that they share a lot of the same feelings—feelings of insecurity, feelings of fear.  As a result of reading the books, one youth group in Tennessee has even adopted the residents of the senior living center across from their church. 

Q: How can faith change our idea of growing older?

So many see aging as a punishment, and they dread it so much.  But even though it is difficult to be limited by an aging body, they need to look at it as a gift that God has given them.  They still have so much to give.  They have great wisdom to share and stories to share.  I always tell my older friends that their story is not yet over.

Missy Buchanan is the author of Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms and
Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room Books).

Click here to watch Missy Buchanan’s recent interview with
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Roberts’ 86-year-old mother.

Visit Missy Buchanan’s website, www.missybuchanan.com, and blog,http://missybu.wordpress.com/.
Become a friend on Facebook (Aging and Faith) and follow on Twitter (MissyBuchanan).


https://secure.palmcoastd.com/ows-img/UpperRoom/images/large/UR_1016_TalkingWithGod.jpg Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms

In Talking with God in Old Age, Missy Buchanan sensitively address the worries, fears, and frustrations of older adults and extends hope, encouraging them to maintain an open dialogue with God. Each reading features:
·         A candid conversation with God
·         A related passage from Psalms
·         Easy-to-read print

Seniors grappling with the aging process will readily identify with these reflections and will find reassurance of God’s Presence. Caregivers, family members, and others seeking to understand aging loved ones will gain insight into the thoughts and emotions of the elderly frail.

https://secure.palmcoastd.com/ows-img/UpperRoom/images/large/BK_9942livingpurposewornout.jpgLiving with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults

Birthed out of real-life experience, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body is a big does of authentic spiritual encouragement for frail elderly who struggle to find purpose a the end of their lives. These devotionals addressed to God raise in prayer the many concerns of the frail elderly and provide opportunities to reminisce and reflect on their blessings.

Each devotional offers the following:
·         Easy-to-read print
·         Reader-friendly format
·         Comfortable, nonacademic language
·         A first-person address to God
·         Brief supporting scriptures from the New and Old Testaments

The Girl In The Gatehouse - by Julie Klassen

My Thoughts: Have you ever read a book that consumes you... you can't seem to put it down and when you absolutely have to, then it's all you can think about? The Girl in the Gatehouse was that kind of book for me! 
The characters were well developed and the story was so believable that it drew me in and kept me fully engaged. It was not only the main characters that were so cleverly sculpted and interesting but all of the supporting characters were just as plausible. Well it seems I can not say enough good stuff about this book but I will say one more thing. I was so very impressed that Klassen chose to confront big topics that fit brilliantly into the time period of the book but still are relevant in lives of women today. This will be a book that I will highly recommend for a long time to come and to a wide variety of people 



Girl in the Gatehouse, The, Julie Klassen, 978-0-7642-0708-2
Mariah Aubrey lives in seclusion with her secrets. 
Will an ambitious captain uncover her identity... and her hidden past?


Banished from the only home she's ever known, Mariah Aubrey hides herself away in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative's estate. There she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how—by writing novels in secret.

When Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate, he is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse. But there are many things he doesn't know about this beguiling outcast. Will he risk his plans—and his heart—for a woman shadowed by scandal?

Intriguing, mysterious, and romantic, The Girl in the Gatehousetakes readers inside the life of a secret authoress at a time when novel-writing was considered improper for ladies and the smallest hint of impropriety could change a woman's life forever.
Endorsements
"Klassen expertly infuses her Regency-set inspirational tale with a gothic atmosphere, resulting in a sweetly intriguing romance worthy of Victoria Holt."
—Booklist, about The Silent Governess

"The author takes the reader back in time effortlessly. If you enjoy Jane Austen or the Regency period, you will love this book."
—Romantic Times, about The Silent Governess
Reviews
"Christy and RITA nominee Klassen creates a wonderful cast of engaging characters while neatly stirring in a generous dash of mystery and danger into the plot of her latest, charmingly romantic inspirational romance." --John Charles, Booklist

Julie Klassen is a fiction editor with a background in advertising. She has worked in Christian publishing for more than twelve years, in both marketing and editorial capacities. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She enjoys travel, research, books, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
"