Christian, inspiration, music

Songs of Mary

Sung by: Various Artists
Producer: Sounds True
Genre: Christian inspiration

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Mary has been revered and adored for centuries as the mother of Jesus Christ. Songs of her worship and praise date back to the early Catholic church. In this collection, various artists join in honoring the Blessed Mother.

Many of these songs are reminiscent of a medieval Catholic church, with plain chant and a minimum of instrumental accompaniment. But there are also Celtic and Spanish influences, reminding us of how much Mary is honored all over the world. A songbook is included with this CD, giving us the words as they are actually sung, in addition to the English translations.

Listen to this music reverently, in anticipation of receiving Mary’s blessings, healing, and guidance.  These beautiful and powerful vocals will inspire all who hear them.

Reviewer:  Alice Berger


The Little Hope Book

Authors: Josh Hunter and Leah Alagna
Illustrator: Josh Hunter
Publisher: Ecliptic Visions
Genre: Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-578-03930-5
Pages: 44
Price: $20.00

Author’s website

Josh has always dreamed of becoming an artist. His best friend, a calico cat named Hope, keeps him company as he draws. He relies on her support, since the adults in his life don’t understand his passion. But one tragic day he loses Hope, and almost loses his dream.

Despite losing Hope, Josh keeps trying, and one day he finally succeeds. And just as he thinks he’s created his greatest masterpiece, he realizes Hope never really left him, and she will be with him forever.

Anyone who has ever loved and lost a special pet will relate to Josh’s feelings at losing Hope. And any child or adult with a dream for the future understands how easy it is to let setbacks and criticism deter us from succeeding. In this oversize book with vivid and dramatic illustrations, the authors immerse us in Josh’s world and give us the opportunity to share in his dreams and accomplishments.

The Little Hope Book reminds kids that it’s important to dream big, and to believe in their dreams. If they believe, they can achieve wonderful things.

Dream ~ Believe ~ Hope. You can do it!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

inspiration, non-fiction

On Admiration

Author: W.D. Wetherell
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction / inspiration
ISBN: 978-1-61608-071-6
Pages: 208
Price $14.95

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Today’s media sensations dazzle us with their talent, but do their lives bear emulating? While we can appreciate what they do in front of the camera, it may be hard to admire what they do in private. W.D. Wetherell has spent a lifetime watching others and formulating his opinions on why he admires certain people, and he shares them in this book.

Beginning in his youth, Wetherell has been making determinations about folks in the limelight. On Admiration takes us on a journey through his own life story, looking at some of these people. Writers, singers, athletes, cartoonists, and others have been influential, and he shares a little about each and the impact they had on him.

Rather than biographical sketches, we’re given only the information that was important to Wetherell. What he saw may not have been what the camera picked up, or what the critics pointed out, but these people demonstrated something that touched him in a deep way. And in writing this book, he shares about himself and his own hopes and dreams in learning from them.

On Admiration isn’t about today’s pop culture icons, but goes deeper than TV and movie talent. Instead it touches the heart and soul of art, as it used to be. If you’re looking for folks to emulate, you can’t help but be inspired by the list Wetherell has given us in this book, and maybe you’ll find some of your own heroes along the way.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

inspiration, self improvement

Giving You the Wow and the How

Author: Sharmen Lane
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Genre:  Self-help / Personal growth
ISBN: 978-1-60037-676-4
Pages: 172
Price $14.95

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Having the life of our dreams feels out of reach for many people. We may be stuck in ruts of our own making or feel as if we have little choice about making changes. But Sharmen Lane believes we can improve our lives, and if she could do it, so can we.

Lane dropped out of high school to become a manicurist. Although at the time, she thought she had no other options, she quickly realized this had not been a smart choice, and she set about changing her life. Getting her high school degree then led to a college degree, and eventually to a job paying more than a million dollars a year. And since she knew how she achieved her goals, she also wants to show us how.

Although Lane presents what she considers a simple plan, she acknowledges that putting this plan into action isn’t always easy. It requires us to change the way we think along with changing our actions. But if we have a solid plan and take action to move us towards our goals, we have a much better chance of success.

Lane’s style is upbeat, friendly and casual, but her words carry a strong message. We get what we put into life. She wants to show us how to make it the best it can be. Giving You the Wow and the How may not present a lot of new information, but what Lane does share is simple, direct, and most importantly, very do-able. If you want to make changes in your life, this book would be a great inspiration in getting you moving towards your own goals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian, inspiration, Saints, spirituality

A Saint For All Reasons

Author: Tim Muldoon
Publisher: Ivy Press
Genre: Spiritual / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0843-713817
Pages: 128
Price: $13.99

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Sometimes we reach the end of our rope and we need special assistance to keep on going. When that happens, it’s easier if we can rely on someone who’s been there before us as a guide. For centuries, Christians have turned to the saints for help in times of crisis.

A Saint For All Reasons is a handy guidebook of 100 saints we can call on when we’re in need. Organized by category, this book provides a summary of who the saint was, and why he or she is associated with our particular situation. A ritual and prayer help us connect more fully with the saint and grow closer to God. The images of these saints can also be downloaded from the website, and a calendar of feast days and an alphabetical index of the saints is included for easy reference.

It’s easy to lose our focus when things aren’t going well for us, and we forget that others have also faced dire situations and calamities. Remembering the saints and the trials and tribulations they faced can help put our problems in their true perspective. And in asking for their assistance, we can invoke Divine intervention.

If you’ve wanted to know more about the saints, or wanted to begin to connect with them on a deeper level, A Saint For All Reasons is a great place to begin. You’re sure to find someone who’s been through something similar to you who can help. This handy little book, along with your Bible and your own relationship with God, will provide comfort and guidance.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

inspiration, self improvement

Three Feet From Gold

Author: Sharon L. Lechter & Greg S. Reid
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Genre: Self-help
ISBN: 978-1-4027-6764-7
Pages: 256
Price: $22.95

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In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote the classic Think and Grow Rich after spending twenty years interviewing the wealthiest and most successful men of his time. Although this book is still as applicable today as it was when it was written, Greg S. Reid felt the need to update some of this wisdom, accounting for changes that have happened since Napoleon Hill’s day.

In Three Feet From Gold Reid and his co-author Sharon Lechter share the success secrets of some of today’s business leaders. Don Green, CEO of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, assisted and supported this venture in carrying on its founder’s tradition.

Although it’s told as a story, with several fictional characters added to give it some depth, the wisdom Reid and Lechter impart in this book are profound. Nuggets like “A dream is just a dream until it is written down — then it becomes a goal” and “Never make a major decision in a valley” are scattered throughout the text, as the main character learns from his new mentors.

Nothing can ever take the place of Hill’s classic work, but Three Feet From Gold is an inspiring book that picks up where Think and Grow Rich leaves off. This new classic belongs in every positive thinker’s library.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, inspiration

Gloria’s Miracle

Author: Jerry Brewer
Publisher: San Juan Publishing
Genre: Faith / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-9707399-7-1
Pages: 256
Price: $21.95

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When a seven year-old is diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer called neuroblastoma, it’s easy for a family to lose faith. But when Gloria Strauss is the little girl involved, faith is rejuvenated and strengthened. In Gloria’s Miracle, Seattle Times sports reporter Jerry Brewer shares the incredible story of a little girl’s belief in miracles and the family who rallies around her.

The author originally chose to report this story for the newspaper because of Gloria’s father, Doug’s, sports connection as high school coach. But before long, Brewer was no longer a spectator writing about this family. Instead, he was a friend they turned to in times of grief and celebration.

Early on in Gloria’s struggle with this insidious form of cancer, her mother, Kristen, received what she believed was a message from God. Your daughter will have an incurable disease. When I heal her, I will change the lives of many. The Strauss family believed God had a miracle in store for Gloria, and they lived to glorify God and pray for His miracle.

This faith of this devout Catholic family reached the whole community, as all those who met Gloria were moved to pray with her and for her to be healed of her illness. Even the author’s shaky faith was restored, as he witnessed the many miracles God provided for Gloria and her family.

If your faith has faltered, or even if it’s solidly intact, you are sure to be touched by this moving tribute to a beautiful and inspiring girl. God is truly changing the lives of many through Gloria and her family.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

health, inspiration

faith, hope & healing

Author: Bernie Siegel, M.D.
Publisher: Wiley
Genre: Inspiration / Health
ISBN: 978-0-470-28901-3
Pages: 240
Price: $24.95

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The thought of cancer strikes fear into the hearts of most people. Yet many who have gone through the process of healing have found that the cancer taught them something important about themselves that they needed to discover. Dr. Bernie Siegel has compiled some of these inspiring stories of survivors and caregivers of cancer patients in faith, hope & healing.

Broken down into three sections — faith, hope and healing — people who have gone through the process of dealing with cancer in themselves or loved ones share their stories. After each, Dr. Siegel shares his thoughts on how they may have helped or hindered their journey through recovery.

Dr. Siegel is one of the pioneers in using words and thoughts to facilitate healing, and knows how powerful an inspiring message can be for someone who’s still in the midst of recovery. In reading these wonderfully uplifting true stories, you’ll find some of the faith and hope that others discovered, which may help in your own healing process.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, inspiration, self improvement

I AM Says, “You Are…”

Author: CJ Rapp
Publisher: Infusion Publishing
Genre: Christian / Inspiration / Devotional
ISBN: 978-0-9824790-0-1
Pages: 180
Price: $12.95

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Women often struggle with self-esteem issues. This general feeling of unworthiness is a message from the world, and does not come from God. If we study the Bible closely, we can see just how much God really treasures us.

In I AM Says, “You Are…”, author CJ Rapp has provided a 30-day devotional study designed to show women their true value as God’s children. Each day’s study touches on one message God has for us, such as “You are significant,” “You are beautiful,” and “You are royalty.”

These messages are accompanied by relevant Bible verses which back up the statements and provide positive reinforcement. Questions that guide us to “take out the trash” help remove our negative thinking about ourselves.

God truly loves us, even though the world often sends us messages that cause us to doubt our worthiness. This wonderful devotional reminds us that we are princesses of His kingdom, and God cares about us more than we can ever know. I highly recommend this study.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

inspiration, self improvement

The Secret to Life Transformation

Author: Julie Chrystyn
Publisher: Dove Books
Genre: Self-help
ISBN: 978-1-59777-581-6
Pages: 252
Price: $25.95

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You may be living a good life, but feel that something is still missing. You’re not as successful as you believe you can be, and you need to make some changes.  But how? Who will guide you?

Julie Chrystyn is the hidden voice behind several famous autobiographies. As she listened to those people share their stories, she developed the desire to share some of the words of wisdom she picked up. In The Secret to Life Transformation she compiles these for us, along with thoughts from some other successful people.

This books alternates chapters between her own thoughts and those of twelve brilliant and talented people. These include Justice Clarence Thomas, David Foster, John Paul DeJoria, Robert Evans, Jacqueline Jakes, Dr. Patch Adams, Judge Sol Wachtler, Paula White, Jose Eber, Dr. Steven M. Hoefflin, Paul Anka, and Bernie Brillstein. Each presents their own story, sharing their own ideas on how they became successful.

Topics like independent thinking and using your thoughts wisely, love, forgiveness, wisdom, vision, and hope are interspersed between these mini-autobiographies.

If you’re looking for an inspiring read that will help set you on the path towards your own success, you’ll find that in The Secret to Life Transformation.

Reviewer: Alice Berger