Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon

Some events in history have become memetic. Just mention the name, and you instantly get people to comprehend what you are talking about. The Watergate Scandal is one of those events. It's been discussed at length many times by many people, but Fred Emery's narrative of the events of that time is still an excellent, albeit very slightly dated accounting.

Fred Emery was a reporter for the New York Times London branch office at the time of the story and notes his reactions several times throughout the text. He also writes his account in a narrative-like format, but the events and people are real, which makes the format brisk and easy to follow. With some edits, one could easily make a miniseries or two-part historical movie out of his writing, just to give an idea of the text.

Like most writers who cover Watergate, Emery focuses on three things. Richard Nixon, the president who was at the center of the entire scandal. The inner workings of the people Nixon had around him who planned, engineered, and later were caught for the Watergate break-in and related abuses of power and violations are also detailed at length. Finally, after the Watergate Hotel capture, Emery details in intricate detail the coverup, the differing accounts by all parties involved, the legal and political environment that complicated the matter, and continues until Nixon's resignation after he was found worthy of an impeachment he narrowly avoided.

Emery proceeds based on three overarching themes. One, while it's clear Nixon did not directly have a hand in Watergate, he is adamant Nixon's paranoia of political enemies and his hands-off command to stop them by any means necessary were responsible for the event and why he had to work so hard to try and cover it up. Second, he examines the immediate and long-term impact of the scandal on American politics, specifically how the event seriously damaged the credibility of the federal government, the office of the President of the United States, and the trust of the common citizen in the safeguards against abuses by elected officials. Finally, Emery draws a line between the "sheep and the goats" of the event, with the former being those who honorably served the American public and/or chose to admit their wrongdoing without expecting more than atonement for their crimes. The latter group includes those who lied and defied the legal system and abused the trust of the public and those who turned the state's witness merely to save themselves.

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The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931

I am a big fan of history. So much so that while I'm sure some men my age may have far more unwholesome hobbies, my love of collecting history books is my far geekier and arguably much more wholesome alternative. One book I would consider a crown jewel for my history collection and that of anyone else is Adam Tooze's "The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931", which covers the transformative changes of economy and politics of the first World War.

Adam Tooze's stock in trade is economic history. While this text covers a considerable amount of that, it also examines the political aspects of the time in question as well. He starts his breakdown of the events in 1916 when the first World War had already transformed much of the world's politics and economic foundations and ends with the beginning of the Great Depression. The period in between is given an intricate breakdown, not only to show how the world reached that ending point but also, given its critical views, to show the tortured process by which the period changed the world stage both then and for future generations.

The book can be divided into thirds. The first portion is dedicated to how the World War had utterly upended empires and the system of financial support that had been taken for granted, which resulted in new political forces such as the rise of Bolsheviks, the declaration of the German Republic, and the preeminence of the United States as a decisive economic and military partner in the conclusion of the first World War. The second part details the Treaty of Versailles, the formation of the League of Nations, and how both not only fell short of ensuring a just peace, they also sowed the seeds of future conflict. The final portion shows how the remainder of the 1920s was held up by a fragile peace nominally based on economic stability until it was shattered by the Great Depression.

I came away from my readings of this exhaustive and detailed historical account with several conclusions. The first is that the United States, under Woodrow Wilson, made several missteps in trying to preserve its "moral" detachment from the rest of the World while paradoxically trying to mediate peace during the War. Their mistakes were complicated by the fact everyone else could little afford the idealism the US wanted to indulge and this led to the failure of a just peace. The diplomatic, economic, and political blunders of all sides in regards to Communism, the rise of proto-fascist movements, and the failure to support places such as the briefly democratic China while persecuting the Communists only created long-term political issues the world still deals with to this day. Finally, the Great Depression was inevitable as a result of all these blunders, though sadly could have been avoided or at least minimized through prudent statecraft, sounder economic policy, and a lot more goodwill and good faith than anyone involved had been willing to show at the negotiation tables.

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Walking the Line

I would like to thank Ascot Media for a copy of this book for review.

Of all things Christians should know, it's that the very name means to be "Christ-like". Pastor Alan Davey, while figuring that was obvious, decided it was a good idea to explore that concept and elucidate on its history and meaning as it regards to modern-day Christian practice. With that in mind, "Walking the Line: Embracing the Imperatives of Jesus" was written, and I found it to be an engaging text.

"Walking the Line" is a summation of the general theme, which is to walk the same line as the path of Christ. To that end, this book is split into three parts with several chapters each. It's meant to be read linearly, as it covers the life and ministry of Jesus. At the same time, it also has a linear progression because the individual chapters build on the overarching theme, which makes this a book easy to read, put down, and resume later for those who want to savor the message in portions.

Another interesting this I found remarkable is the author's decision to blend various historical facts and contemporary real-world situations into the text to both draw parallels to the time of Jesus, and to also emphasize how it can be applied in the reader's own life. It's clear the author is very literate, and they even weave in a lot of historical trivia to both entertain and inform.

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What if Jesus Were A Coach?

I would like to thank Ascot Media for providing a copy of this book for review.

Now, I adore reading, and while my favored topic is history, I'm not averse to broadening my knowledge in other regards. Accordingly, after reading Coach Micheal Taylor's "What if Jesus Were A Coach?", it's worth reading, but I heavily advise reading the disclaimers in this review before doing so.

The author claims to be a practitioner of the views of the Unity Church (not to be confused with Unitarianism), and since those views make up a prominent part of the text, their basic views need some elaboration.

First, they are for Christians who are "spiritual but not religious", meaning Christians who disdain organized religion and its practices while still conforming to the Bible. The book places a heavy emphasis on not getting tied down by dogma, which is not objectionable in and of itself, but my first area of concern is that their creed has a distinct avoidance of dwelling on the topics of sin, eternal consequences for falling away from God, and other "uncomfortable" topics. These things are not deliberately denied or rejected out of hand, but for those who consider God's admonitions against immorality a guidepost for their lives, this may be concerning. The author concurs the "commandments" (which they admit they find a harsh term) are ideal guidelines for our behavior but expresses disbelief a loving God would be so harsh.

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The Wages of Destruction

When it comes to historical topics, the regime of Nazi Germany has been so extensively covered that it seems pointless to review the subject further. Adam Tooze, however, believed the economy of the period had gotten far less attention than it deserved, hence his writing of "The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy".

Most histories covering Nazi Germany, as Tooze asserts, pay far more attention to the humanities and politics while ignoring more technical and even "boring" aspects of the influence of the economy on the period stretching from 1918-1945. Believing it deserved a second look, the text he presents is three-pronged in its goals. First, it laser focuses on how the economy brought about the fall of the Weimar Republic, the rise of Nazism, and its even more ignominious fall. Second, it tries to separate fact from fiction, specifically just how solvent and powerful the Nazis were economically, a factor Tooze notes was distorted in many other accounts. Finally, it uses the economic data it discusses to explain how such things as the conquest Hitler planned and the Holocaust his regime was responsible for fit in terms of the economy, and how they played a role in the growth and failure of the Nazi solvency.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part discusses how the Weimar regime prospered until their fall at the end of the 1920s and how Hitler rose to power in their place, presenting key details to show how that transition was motivated by the economy and its influence on German politics. The second part covers the 1934-1939 period during which the Nazi regime shifted their economy to a wartime preparation phase and the changes this brought about, both on their internal affairs and the world markets at large. The final part covers the 1941-1945 period, during which the economic strengths and weaknesses of the Nazis were subjected to the demands of war. This last part goes into exhaustive detail on just how the Nazis managed to limp on for several years despite economic setbacks caused by the war.

In terms of prose, Tooze is very matter-of-fact and technical. He does not dwell much on the more emotional and sentimental aspects of the study of the period from 1919-1945, rather the book is entirely oriented around the economic matters of the period. Having some degree of economics knowledge is recommended, as this text contains lots of technical discussion of exchange rates, world credit, loans and savings policies, and various other subjects of interest to the more statistical social scientist. This text has extensive citations, and it does not waste time or space, filling each page with extensive references to economic events, persons involved, and their historical impacts. To be blunt, this is not likely to be of interest to the casual reader, but instead more to the in-depth historian wanting a far more detailed look at the economic aspects of Hitler's tenure.

On a personal note, I had three takeaways from this book. One, Tooze was definitely convinced a lot of people were suckered into believing Germany was doing far better especially during the 1930s than they actually did, and he went into exhaustive detail explaining why this is a myth. Second, while most history books make clear Hitler cozied up to business leaders for support, it's a lot more clear after reading Tooze's analysis just how integral they were to the Nazi regime. Finally, Tooze clearly had a fair degree of contempt for Albert Speer and his own account of how he tried to be a nonpolitical technician and industry supervisor. Tooze really tears the scab off what he considers fiction and lays out evidence to show Speer is far less pure and important than historians have been led to believe. I really came away from this with a much better understanding in general that Nazi Germany was outwardly vigorous but inwardly even more economically hollow than they seemed even before the latter years of WWII.

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Galveston Burning

Disclaimer: The reviewer is the nephew of the author of the book being reviewed. No compensation of any kind was exchanged except for due payment for a copy of the book. Nothing was promised in exchange except for an impartial review of the merits of the text.

Fire is humanity's multi-edged sword. While it is useful for heat, cooking, and metalwork, it does have a dark side. Arson, injury, and death by flame or the attendant smoke caused by fire have been and remain a constant danger. James Anderson's Galveston Burning is a look at how the city of Galveston, Texas has grappled with the dangers of fire and its history of dealing with flame-based disasters.

The text is a five-part breakdown of various historical aspects of how Galveston has contended with fire. The first part is concerned with the cultural and historical background of Galveston itself. The second part concerns the improvements made to the city of Galveston, both to secure better living conditions in general and to secure the city against the dangers of fire. The third part discusses the history of Galveston's fire prevention and fighting services from their early origins to the present day. The fourth part covers various prominent fires that have occurred in the many districts of Galveston. The final part focuses on particularly significant historical buildings that have been damaged or lost to fire.

In terms of prose and grammar, this is a very straightforward text. It comes equipped with many illustrations that were needed to show landmarks and buildings described, with many of them provided by the author as part of their personal research. Despite the coverage of a somewhat niche topic, the citations are numerous and detailed. I must admit the latter sections of the text are a tad bland, reading like a summarized collection of news articles on fire-related incidents, as opposed to the straightforward discussion of the historical background of Galveston itself.

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Civilization’s Quotations: Life’s Ideal

Thank you Algora Publishing for sending us this book to review!

Throughout the highs and lows of life, most Christians turn to the Bible for wisdom and guidance. The book of Proverbs has so much great advice from one of the wisest people to have walked this Earth (King Solomon). Civilization’s Quotations: Life’s Ideal has many wonderful quotes from various famous people and religious figures like Abraham Lincoln, Aristotle, Buddha, Churchill, Confucius, Einstein, Emerson, Gandhi, Pascal, Socrates, and more. Some Bible verses make it into this publication as well.

The table of contents is broken down by topics that you may be seeking wisdom on. Are you planning on getting married? If so, you can find some advice ranging from “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” Proverbs 18:22 to “There are no premature babies, only delayed weddings.”-- American proverb

We all have different views on the state of the world. Here are a couple of quotes from this book: “Nothing is certain in this world except uncertainty.” – Old proverb and “We brought nothing into this world and it is certain we carry nothing out.” 1 Timothy 6:7

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Unknown 9: Genesis

Thank you Reflector Entertainment for sending us this book to review!

Unknown 9: Genesis is a novel written by Layton Green that was published on March 13, 2020, otherwise famously known as the day that the United States went into quarantine because of COVID-19. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the second book, Revelation, is going to be released to the public on April 13, 2021.

The premise is that a young astrophysicist by the name of Andie Robertson loses her mentor, a man by the name of Dr. James Corwin, to the clutches of death. However, the circumstances surrounding his passing are a bit strange, to say the least, and she is forced on a goose chase based off of clues he’s left behind for her to find. As she continues upon her journey that spans the entire planet, she begins questioning many facets of her own reality as she reveals clue after clue. Joining her is a journalist who has been discredited from his dream job and hopes to get it back.

The first thing I noticed when I began to read this book is the quality of writing that is present. The novel is extremely well written, and I found myself immersed in the story very quickly. It comes as no surprise that Layton Green wormed his way to the spot of bestselling author. The next thing I noticed is that the plot is definitely targeted towards adults. It contains murder, references to lust, and has several curse words of varying intensity scattered throughout. The novel also pokes at many hard questions concerning the nature of information that a child probably would have trouble grasping.

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Learn C# Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning C#, Even If You’re New to Programming

Thank you Code Quickly for sending us this book to review!

Learn C# Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning C#, Even If You’re New to Programming is a guide designed to kickstart the reader on a journey to advance their programming skills. It’s created with the intent to introduce them to the world of C#, which is a programming language developed and maintained by Microsoft. It starts by introducing the beginner’s topics, before moving into the recommended workflow of creating a program. Then, it dedicates a chapter to the more advanced topics before wrapping up with a final project: a simple software using the console as its GUI.

However, it’s not what it’s worked itself up to be. When I began working with the book, it gave absolutely no introduction to getting started with any compiler or programming software. It jumped right into the concepts of the programming language. As a result, I was incredibly confused, and my father had to jump in and help me set up Microsoft Visual Studio because Learn C# Quickly didn’t breathe a word about it.

Whenever a code example comes up, the book does a thorough job explaining the logic behind each portion. I found that to be very useful, considering the language itself can be very confusing when looked at verbatim (especially with untrained eyes like mine). However, some of the phrasing that is used is confusing, and I wasn’t quite able to decipher what the author was trying to say. There are grammatical errors and typos scattered throughout, including missing transition words and sentence fragments. Some of the typos are even present in some of the code examples.

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In the Garden: An Illustrated Guide to the Plants of the Bible

Thank you Karen Campbell Media for sending us this book to review!

On the third day of creation, God created plants, trees, and kinds of vegetation. The Bible is full of references to various trees, plants, and flowers. In The Garden provides Biblical references, useful information, and beautiful water color illustrations to all of the plant life mentioned in the Bible.

This hard cover, 128-page book is broken down into four sections: Trees & Shrubs, Edible Plants, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, and Flowers. There is also a guide on how to grow your own Biblically inspired garden, a calendar of Jewish growing seasons, an index of plants, and an index of scripture references.

In the tree section, I found it helpful that Noah’s Ark was made from acacia wood or shittim as it’s referred to in scripture. While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact plant used to make Jesus’ crown of thorns, the author suggests that it may have been made from Sarcopeterium spinosum, which was readily available in Rome and quite malleable.

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Learn Python Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning Python, Even If You’re New to Programming

Thank you CodeQuickly for sending us this book to review!

Learn Python Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning Python, Even If You’re New to Programming is designed to be a fast read and teaching tool, clocking in at about 150 pages. The book has twelve chapters and an index of references used in it. It covers a wide range of programming concepts, from variables to classes and everything in between. Each chapter has a varying amount of subsections, which discuss different elements of the topic. The very last chapter contains two projects to complete as a test for everything the reader learned in the book.

Learn Python Quickly is generally well-written and well-edited, and speaks in layman’s terms. As I am a beginner in the world of programming, I found this incredibly useful. However, it does lapse into technical terminology every once in a while, and I would get lost in the fancy programming vocabulary that I didn’t know very much about.

There are also a few typos that I noticed throughout the course of the book, but they were things like font changes at the wrong spot and other minor issues. One sentence I remember in particular didn’t make much grammatical sense to me, causing me to reread it a few times, and I was only left with a vague impression of its meaning. Another sentence had an apparent switch of what words were supposed to be in what places. Both versions made grammatical sense, but it was in the context of the content in which the words were in the wrong.

I also had my misgivings about the structure of the chapters. The first ten chapters were short, and were straight to the point. However, when I got to chapter eleven, I was slightly daunted and annoyed that the author decided to shove all of the non-beginner concepts into a singular chapter. The entirety of said chapter amassed a whopping forty pages. After a while, I was mentally spent on that chapter, and read through it rather than trying some of the examples because of how tedious it was. The twelfth chapter was the project chapter. It was approximately twenty pages, and in my opinion could have been split into two chapters.

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Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life

Thank you, Sutherland House, for sending us this book to review!

Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life by Joan Moriarity and Jonathan Kay and published by Sutherland House is a wonderfully written 166-page paperback book consisting of fifteen chapters. As stated in the first chapter, each is written as an individual essay and they do not have to be read in order. I will say, though, that later chapters did make some references to previous ones, but not significant enough to where one wouldn’t be able to comprehend the section they are reading. It is simply things like “As I mentioned in the previous chapter, this is where I reiterate my point.”

Chapter one is called “Welcome to the Magic Circle.” Joan Moriarity writes to explain the basic unwritten contract everyone silently agrees on before starting a tabletop game. If the participants are absolute perfectionists, there is no room for fun; likewise, if at least one of them is too bored or lazy to even bother trying, it spoils the game for the whole table. “In order to enjoy play, to be playful,” she writes, “players must realize that the freedom to fail is as essential as the will to succeed.” (Moriarity 6)

Chapter two is called “Peaceful Games from War-torn Europe.” It focuses on the many differences between American board games and European board games, or Eurogames, as they are called. “And so almost every Eurogame is designed so that final scoring comes only at the end of the game, after some defined milestone or turn limit so that every player can enjoy the experience of being a (nominal) contender until the final moments.” (Kay 18)

Chapter three is called “A Checkered Life.” It covers the history of the board game that we now know as Life, along with some issues with its concept and moral differences between it and what it originated from.

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The Crimson King

Written by: Tristan Williams
Published by: Self-published 
Released: November 16, 2019
Price: $5.99 Kindle, $13.99 paperback
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you, Tristan Williams, for submitting a copy of this book to the site for review!

*Advertising disclosure* - Before this review was posted, Tristan Williams became an advertising partner. This review is not influenced by this relationship.

The Crimson King is the first book in a series titled the Butterfly Chronicles, written by Tristan Williams. This is the first book by the author from Louisiana, and was inspired in part by the tabletop games that he plays.

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100% Unofficial Fortnite Pro Guide

Thank you Quarto Group for sending us this book!

This is a book that teaches Fortnite players how to become a pro at the game. It teaches players the art of speed building, how to build a good base, the best strategies, and much more.

This book tells the readers about emotes. It shows what they look like, and when to use them. It also talks about a lot of epic things that happened in the history of Fortnite: Battle Royale. It will explain you many ways that you can bend the rules. It tells you that you can play the game however you want to play the game, so that you can have fun as well as everyone else who is playing with you.

The only problem with this book is that it is outdated. Fortnite is one of those games that changes or has something added or removed every few weeks, so that makes this book incorrect in some of the things that it says in it. When this book was made, it was season 7. As of this review, season 10 just came out. It is a little more up to date than the first book (the 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide), which was made in season 5. Other than that, the book is great.

I think that any Fortnite players that want to become a pro (probably all of them) should read this book. If they just want to become a master builder, then this book would help them. If they just want to know how to properly raid an enemy base, they are covered. This book covers stuff from battle tactics to just organizing your inventory. This book is very useful, but I still think that you should read the first book before reading this one, that the first one covers the basics, while this one contains more advanced things.

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100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide

Thank you The Quarto Group for sending us this book to review!

This book is a guide to Fortnite players who had just started playing the game. It provides lots of tips and tricks to help you survive a good amount of time in a match. If you don't already know, Fortnite is a Battle Royale game, so the tips that this book gives are very nice to know when you are being attacked by another player.

This book is very useful, but it is also very outdated. When this book was made, it was in season 5 of the game. As of this review, it is in season 10. That does matter a lot, because the creators of Fortnite have removed and added some weapons and features since then.

This book helps you decide what gaming platform you want to play Fortnite on, learn the controls, helps you decide if you want to play Battle Royale or Save the World mode, and so much more. It tells you what to do when you encounter another player, stumble into a build battle, and how to use your weapons and conserve your ammo. It tells you what building materials to use, their advantages and disadvantages, and also what every item and weapon can do. It provides a description of a weapon, how easy or hard it is to find, and where to find them. It also tells you how to build a base and how to invade other bases as well. It also describes each location and tells the reader how many players usually land at that location.

I think that this book is very useful and whenever I play Fortnite: Battle Royale I use these techniques and I use the hints and tips that it gives me. There is also another book like this one called the 100% Unofficial Fortnite Pro Guide. If you read this one and use it, then you should also read the Pro Guide.

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Finnian and the Seven Mountains

Thank you Philip Kosloski for sending us a digital copy to review!

Finnian and the Seven Mountains is a 25-page long Christian comic about a man named Finnian who wants to find a lost sword because his village was raided by vikings. He wants to get revenge, so he asks a man who was fishing for a boat. He says that if Finnian helps him fish, he would show him where a boat is. Finnian helps him fish, and ironically, they caught so many fish in their nets that they could not carry them all. Finnian gets in a boat, and starts paddling. Weeks later, he arrives at an island that is supposed to have the sword. He gets hit by a giant wave but someone on the island named Brendan grabs his hand. Brendan takes him to an old man named Abba, who is a very wise man who the people on that island seem to speak to for help. Somehow, Abba knew that Finnian would come. He showed him around the island, and Finnian stayed there for a while, but when he had to leave, he slipped and almost fell into the ocean! He grabbed on to the cliff and climbed up. But when he did so, he loosened a rock and it fell down. Under that rock was a container. Inside that container was a map. It was a map that led to the sword he was looking for! But little did he know that vikings had another version of that map, but they only had half, but they were still going to the same place as Finnian...

I think that this book has a good art style which fits the book very well. It has a similar art style to a Marvel comic, except it doesen't have any action bubbles because there isn't any violence for those to fit in to.

I really enjoyed this story, and I think that my favorite part was the fishing, because it was obviously a reference to the Bible. I think that any Christian people who like comics would really enjoy this one. I am really looking forward to the second issue, and I think that anyone who reads this one would feel the same way.


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The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Volume 2 (N-Z)

Author: Brett Weiss
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Hardcover book
464 full-color pages
Over 375 games covered
MSRP: $49.99

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for sending us this book to review!

As I mentioned in my SNES Omnibus Volume 1 review, I was blessed to grow up as video games did, and played tons of Atari, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and got my Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in what was probably early high school. Based on the release date of Super Mario All-Stars as mentioned in this book, I believe it was 1993.

This book celebrates this generation of gaming by devoting one or two pages to each and every game in the SNES library. This volume covers every game in alphabetical order, starting with ‘Natsume Championship Wrestling’ and ending with ‘Zoop’. I highly recommend you check out Volume 1, as well as this one.

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Unofficial Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids: How to Stay Sharp, Have Fun, Avoid Bullies, and Be the Creative Ruler of Your Universe

Thank you Quarry Books for sending us a review copy!

Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids is a book that teaches kids some things about communication skills, building self-confidence, and much more. It has some stuff to do and build in Minecraft, and some stuff to do in real life.

There are two chapters: Life Hacks: Acquiring Skills and Life Hacks: Applying Skills to Projects. Chapter one teaches children skills (hence the name) like emotional empathy, problem solving, and much more. Chapter two teaches children ways to use those skills. For example, you would make an animated movie in real life, as well as a short film in Minecraft.

This book has twenty-four labs (twelve in each chapter), which are things that you can do. In every chapter, there are 6 in game labs, and 6 labs to do in real life. Most of the things that you have to do in real life have something to do with what you do in-game. As an example, you had to draw a map of a house, and then building the house you drew in Minecraft. It made you build your character as well, and it had you fill it with positive messages to gain self-confidence. A lot of the things you do in Minecraft relate to the real world. It makes you build a farm, but the farm has to be the same style of farm that you can find in the real world. It also had you build a democracy, which was interesting. My favorite thing to do was building a roller coaster that described me. I put lots of work into it, and it turned out very well.

Overall, this book was fun to work on and I loved building some of the things, and then testing to see if they work, and then fixing them if they don't work correctly. The only thing it had wrong was the estimated time that it takes to build something. The book said it would take one to two hours to do something, but I was able to do it in ten to fifteen minutes. Other than that, the book is great and I think that lots of people who enjoy Minecraft should read it and use it as well.

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The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity

Thank you Blue Sparrow for sending us this book to review!

The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity is written by Matthew Kelly who is an author of books translated into twenty-five languages, acclaimed speaker, and business consultant at his company, Floyd Consulting. This book is fifteen chapters long and only 128 pages. It’s a pretty quick read if you want to learn how modern culture is robbing billions of people of happiness.

If you’re looking for the answer to the title’s statement, you’ll have to read through the first few chapters of fluff. In fact, much of the book is filled with statements that I was already aware of. For example, the second chapter discusses happiness and the author shares insights like “Lying never makes me happy” and “It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time.” The fifth chapter discusses various lies about Christianity including: Jesus did not exist, the resurrection is a myth, Christianity preys on the weak and ignorant, Christianity is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific, and Christianity is anti-sex.

The biggest lie is uncovered in chapter six, claiming that holiness is not possible. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is referenced and used to state that “God wants us to live holy lives, grow in character and virtue, and become the-best-version-of-ourselves.” I bet you’re wondering how this is possible! Through what this book calls holy moments. Everyone else knows them as pay it forward. There are some nice examples of kindness like a guy taking care of his neighbor’s lawn while recuperating from a broken leg or nurses agreeing to take on an extra shift for years to cover the salary for their co-worker who is battling cancer. Those are some significant tasks that surely make God proud and bring joy to others, but even simple things like recycling are holy moments according to the author.

Even if I don’t see eye to eye with what qualifies as a “holy moment”, I do agree with the author that our world does indeed need changing and we as Christians should get off of our collective butts and do something about it. The thirteenth chapter uses some fascinating math on how if we impact three people that can multiply to one billion people if each of the three people we inspire bring three more and continue the cycle. In the end, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity has some good stories and ideas, but I’ve already heard them all before.

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The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Volume 1 (A-M)

Author: Brett Weiss
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Hardcover book
416 full-color pages
Over 350 games covered
MSRP: $42.99

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for sending us this book to review!

I was fortunate enough to grow up with video games and technology as it did. Being born in 1978 (and recently turning forty), I was fortunate enough to play the Atari 2600 long before I went to kindergarten, played tons of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) through elementary school, and got my Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in late jr. high or early high school (I don’t remember exactly when; it was early in the system’s launch, but I doubt it was year one).

I had gotten a PlayStation maybe a year after that released, and enjoyed it, but I always felt like the SNES was a perfect storm of available technology and maximum creativity that led to some of the best games of all time, and many remain timeless and revered to this day. (It also helped that I had more time to play games in high school rather than the busier early adulthood that occupied my time shortly after I got my PlayStation.) This book celebrates that generation of gaming by devoting one or two pages to each and every game in the SNES library. This volume covers every game in alphabetical order, starting with ‘3 Ninjas Kick Back’ and ending with ‘Musya: The Classic Japanese Tale of Horror’. Volume 2, when it is released in 2019, will cover game titles starting with N-Z.

The first few pages include a foreword, where the technical specifications of the SNES are discussed, as well as a brief summary of historical context about the system’s release. There is also a preface, where the author talks a bit about his history with gaming, and what led to him writing this book. All of the action starts on page ten.

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