A heartfelt series of Christian meditations, heavy on both Scripture and uplift.



A series of emotionally charged personal readings of Christian Scripture.

McDaniel’s passionate nonfiction debut is a combination of nuanced scriptural interpretation and old-school congregational exhortation—all centered around the centrality of love to the Christian faith and lifestyle. Citing again and again that the New Testament insists that the Christian God is love, the author celebrates the ineffable moment when one person chooses to love another, the moment that baptizes them and seals them forever in the life of Christ. “We were created for life, vibrant life, free from fear and pain, sorrow and, frankly, gravity,” she writes after reflecting on her son’s love of skiing. “We were created to love, fall head-over-heels in Love, be transformed by Love, and to rest…in Love.” Refreshingly, all this emphasis on love doesn’t deter McDaniel from occasionally indulging in some old-fashioned charged rhetoric about the hypocrisies of some modern megachurches. “They twist His holy word this way and that to fit the ‘God in the box’ that they have come up with,” she writes, adding sternly: “Jesus warns us of such doctrine.” And she likewise has sharp criticisms to offer individual believers who might wrap themselves in churchly behavior but sometimes forget the essence of Christ’s teachings. “Did you take time for the grocery clerk who just needed a smile?” she demands. “Or were you too busy looking at your church’s Facebook post on your iPhone? Jesus was inside her…waiting for you to look up.” These and other admonitions are rounded off with a simple “Pay attention.” She’s aware that this kind of no-nonsense accountability might make some readers stomp off in anger, but the book’s accessible prose and consistently upbeat message should keep such defections to a minimum, and the author’s optimism—“Call out to the God you are not sure is even there. He will answer. It’s not too late”—will make the book winning reading for her fellow Christians.

A heartfelt series of Christian meditations, heavy on both Scripture and uplift.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5742-2

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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