A GREAT Story which is Endearing and Intriguing

Li Bai’s Shadow
By Lee J. Marvin

This was an amazing read! Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and pondering it. It is a book that I will read and probably re-read in time.

The book is about a young girl, Caitlin Wang. The heart-warming tale follows the child of this young girl with OCD. She has an imaginary friend, Li Bai. He only exists in her mind now. But she clearly sees him in her dollhouse.

Li Bai is not a complete imaginary figure though. He did exist in 700 AD. So, despite the fact that Li Bai is not really in her dollhouse now, it is not a completely unrealistic tale.

Caitlin is a lonely child, and trusts Li Bai with all of her secrets, longings, hopes and dreams. She communicates with him and shares things that no one else knows. Her mother was dead and her father didn’t take her seriously. He doubted her and she was always second-guessed by her father.

Once she reaches the age of 18, Caitlin runs away to Shanghai, China. The details of this are wonderful and are captured vividly by the author as he describes Caitlin to be exploring a new place. It is almost a magical description.

Marvin writes this book in a poetic manner. It is a book that is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is a book that can be read by adolescents who have lost a parent and who have always have the urge to run away from all that is familiar and painful.

The storyline with Caitlin switches between her fantasy and the real-world, but in the end, it comes together with a respect for new newfound independence.

I loved the book from beginning to end! I will recommend it to all adolescent girls that I come into contact with in my community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Brad Kuechler, MA. – A GREAT Writer For Our Times

Escape From Solomon’s Church:
An Epic Love Story Into the Heart of God
By Brad Kuechler, M.A.

Tagline: This is a life changing epic love story that will transform our lives

This is a life changing epic love story that will capture our hearts and transform our lives. It is a story that will move each reader to action and show him/her a better way to find happiness, peace and a fulfilled life.

The Song of Solomon is in many ways a book that has been forgotten or misunderstood by much of the church. Yet it is a book that is crucially important for our times. Our culture is obsessed with materialism and prestige. The more we have the more we want. This culture has also influenced much of the church and has caused many to strive for the wrong fruit.

In the Song of Solomon, we will discover that we can find rest in the arms and presence of God and find all we need for life. According to Kuechler, this is what Jesus desires from us. He wants us to take His “yoke” of learning His ways upon us. It is when we take God’s yoke upon us, He will bring us rest and help us overcome the heavy burdens we carry. We don’t have to pull life’s burdens ourselves.

A wonderful aspect of this book is that all of these lessons from the Song of Solomon are told through an epic love story. It is a story about a beautiful, poor shepherd girl who was about to marry a man she really loved. However, her dream was crushed when King Solomon stole her away to make her his wife instead. What we quickly learn is that her beloved loves her so much that he will not let her go. In fact, he tries to rescue her and restore their love.

However, there is a problem. King Solomon tried to convince her to stay with him by offering her a culture that was filled with prestige, power and wealth. This was very appealing and tempting to the poor, shepherd girl. Why? She would love to be comfortable and have all that Solomon offered. However, she would have to compromise and let go of the love of her life in order to settle for the love of King Solomon who had many wives. She would be just another wife in the house of Solomon’s palace.

It is under this backdrop that Kuechler retells the story of the Song of Solomon and presents many insights as well as deep revelation from the Song of Solomon to help us recapture our love for God. Kuechler also helps us clearly understand how Solomon’s intoxicating culture still influences the church of today and how to avoid its many pitfalls.

Escape From Solomon’s Church is the first volume and covers Chapters 1 and 2 of the Song of Solomon. The remaining volumes in the series will cover Chapters 3 through 8 of Song of Solomon. This entire series will help us develop a deeper revelation of God and captivate our hearts to love Him more. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Journey of North Denver Johnnie: Using Street Smarts to Add Value to Your Career

Journey of North Denver Johnnie:
Using Street Smarts to Add Value to Your Career
By John Santone

This is a powerfully inspiring book about how to avoid the bullies in our midst. This world is filled with people who make us feel small and unvalued. Santone shows the reader how not only to overcome this overwhelming negative feeling but to thrive by gathering our own inner resources and changing our attitudes.

Johnnie Dane was a wimp who didn’t believe that he could stand up to people in his life. At the age of thirteen, he was abused and humiliated by one of his students at a parochial school, Peter Schavinski. He accused Johnnie of calling him a Nazi, and one of the sisters at the school believed the student’s story without even asking Johnnie for an explanation or his side of the story.

When Sister Mary heard Peter Schavinski’s story, she further humiliated Johnnie in front of his classmates. Johnnie felt awful. But instead of turning away from the situation and succumbing again to wrongful accusations and terrible treatment, he decided to stand up to her and leave. This was the beginning of his transformation into the person who he is today.

He got transferred into another school, however, this school was dangerous and he had to develop a lot of street smarts. He had to learn a lot about himself to cope in this school. But Santone turned adversity into a platform of life lessons. This book is full of his life lessons.

The first is to never give up. Because when we give up, we give the bullies in our midst the upper hand on how to keep manipulating us into believing that we are less than they are.

Further, you should continuously assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you could develop goals to accomplish your objectives. To obtain most goals, you need a plan, initiative, confidence, and perseverance. Thus, if you want to change, you have to change things.

Lastly, it is impossible to predict the future. All we can do is to have a plan for the future. But we should not hold onto our plan too tight since things can change quickly and then we have to revise our plan.

These insights and much more are part of this powerful book. I recommend this book to anyone who has been hurt, put down and humiliated and didn’t know who to turn to. This book provides insights into career management and workplace advancement from a person who had successful sought-after position in successful companies.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Finding the Beautiful You by Lisa Cassman

This is an important book for people who lack self-confidence and self-control. It is an inspiring and transforming exploration of how we can feel good about ourselves because we are all beautiful in our own unique ways.

In this book, Cassman uses her experience as a Christian counsellor to explore how we can move forward and become the person we were meant to be, self-confident and knowing how wonderful we truly are.

Undervaluing ourselves can lead to many difficulties such as making wrong decisions, getting into relationships which are harmful and don’t serve us nor celebrate who we truly are. Also, undervaluing ourselves can leave us empty and not fulfilled in our lives.

In this book, Cassman explores how we can move forward from the place which we are at now to a more positive and self-confident one. She does this through reflective sections, which are combined with scriptural passages and thoughtful questions. It is book that the reader can follow along step-by-step to a place of emancipation and liberation from the negativity about themselves.

For Cassman, a strong, self-confident person does not allow anyone or anything to control her life, wakes up each day with a positive attitude, appreciates the success of others, appreciates the little things of life and is thankful for what she has, walks with her head held up high, and knows that inner beauty is more important that outer beauty.

I loved this book from beginning to end. I will be recommending it to the young women and teenagers that I work with at my parish. This book is truly transforming and inspiring.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

A Wonderful and Enchanting Picture Book For Kids About the Earth

Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon
By Kevin M. O’Dell
Illustrated by Megan Phillips

This is a wonderful and enchanting story for kids that will reacquaint them with the earth and reignite their fascination for all that is in it. We tend to not be aware of all the life that is around us. There is so much to see and take in, if only we stop and listen.

This story teaches kids many important lessons such as, family love, how to love and appreciate nature, and make sure that we don’t destroy it for future generations.

The story also teaches kids to stop and look around because the earth is very beautiful indeed. Each creature on earth and all the lakes and waters can offer so much nourishment and replenishment to us. All we have to do is to become aware of them. It seems that we always want to be doing something but not noticing and listening.

This book is especially relevant for our times. We live in a culture of being constantly connected and going. Many times, we are teaching our kids how to be distracted too through our own distracted mindsets. O’Dell’s book will show the reader, both parents and kids, how to stop and just be in nature, even if it is for a short time.

The illustrations are also stunning and bring the story home for kids and parents.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

A story about overcoming the darkness of evil and finding light anew

This is an example of a wonderfully written story! I just loved this book and I would recommend it to all readers of my blog!

The Guardian of Aurum
By A.J. Behul

This is a story that will keep the reader transported right to its climax and until the last page is turned. It is a story like no other that I have read. Usually stories of this type are very violent and cruel. But A. J. Behul has created just the right blend of good and evil and even the people who are considered dangerous have redeeming qualities at the end of the day.

There is so much negative around Aline. There is organized crime, violence, and lawlessness. Then there is the fluctuating price of gold. The situation around her is so unpredictable and it threatens to destroy the company and all the profit margins it enjoyed before.

Then there are the employee executions, kidnappings, extortions, and fraud everywhere she turns. It is a climate where no one can trust anyone and everyone appears suspicious and out of line.

If this isn’t bad enough there is the case of the forty-three missing students on the doorstep of one of the mines. No one knows where they got to and the whole company is sent into disarray.

Aline finds herself between maintaining her allegiance to the company and organized crime. She no longer knows what is right and wrong and she seems to be doing things that are truly out of character, transforming her from the holding of the Seraphim to the order of the Angelorum Lapsus.

Aline feels uncomfortable and has no idea where to turn. This can feel very disconcerting and we can all relate to this state of mind because most of us have experienced these types of feelings and clashes within ourselves from time to time. Can Aline overcome the darkness of evil and find light again or will she be banished to the Abyss forever?

The book ends on a positive note with a take on good and evil which I absolutely loved! A. J. Behul says that “there is light in the darkness just as there is darkness in the light.” Perhaps there is a light at the end of any tunnel of corruption and violence.

Rating: 5 stars

Irene S. Roth

The Importance of Developing a Positive Mindset

Develop a Positive Mindset


Writers are a very sensitive group of individuals. And there is much about the writing life that makes it difficult such as receiving rejection letters, working with editors, writing on contract and so on. However, there is much more about the writing life that is wonderful, such as the writing process, getting your ideas on paper, and working from the comforts of your home in your PJ’s if you want. So, why can’t writers stay positive?

One of the main reasons for this is because of negative self-talk. Writers say a lot of negative things to themselves every day. This can really have a negative impact on our overall outlook.

Therefore, in order to have a positive mindset we have to say positive things to ourselves, such as I can do it! All will be well! I will write today! I will complete this manuscript! These positive statements will frame how you feel about yourself and your writing. And the more positive you are, the better you will feel.

The important thing to remember is that our mindsets are in our control. And we can choose not to think negatively in order to be at our best. It is hard to do our best work if we are negative and down on ourselves and our writing. The more positive we can be, the better we will write and the more we will excel at our craft

Try it!

Irene S. Roth