Friday, December 29, 2017

Here Be Dragons

Do something you believe in.

You need to be the founder of some great creation. You owe that to yourself and to the lives around you. You deserve to hunker down over that Project for hours upon hours, days upon days, possibly years upon years, and make something amazing. Only you can make it. It may be buried deep down, under layers of clothing and wrapped in duct tape, but oh my, please unearth it.

Your children may be your project. Your house and homemaking skills may be your project. Sewing, skating, running marathons, playing an instrument, singing, dancing, painting, scrapbooking, graphic design, putting together robots or refrigerators, folding paper, shucking corn, editing essays, and all of those things that have not yet been created, may be It. Making a guitar from a block of ice and the hair from a llama may be your project. I don’t know. People do weird stuff, man. Just look at most of YouTube.

But the point is, you will realize so much more of the unique, crucial character you are when you create. Intentional creation offers life. Intentional creation spurs light, life, waves of hope, and that deep stirring within the heart. Not only will it draw out these elements in yourself, but others as well. Only you can create and share that project, unlike anyone else.
Feeling stressed out? Create. Feeling bored? Create. Stuck? Create.

Maybe you used to think you were supposed to Be Something In Particular and it hasn’t worked out. Maybe you need to explore other options, maybe you need to keep learning more about that interest, or maybe you need to adapt and look at other aspects of that Something. For example, what if when you were eight you wanted to be the first professional female baseball player? Well, maybe you can coach. You may be one of the best coaches who ever played first base. What if you wanted to be a writer, but you just can’t find a good story? Maybe you’d be great at editing and finding writers, and reading their good works, and helping to revise that project to greatness. Maybe you wanted to finish high school but you are fifty eight. Online school, baby! Maybe you want to be an actress but had a knack for knowing just the right sound would go with an action. Be a foley artist. Not all memorable people were famous. Every part of the puzzle is crucial, even that patch of blue sky.

Try. Act. Practice. Start. Move.

Plan your success.

Be willing to adapt, and you’ll be amazed at what colors the journey will become.
Along the way, you will face challenge and failure, as all projects (especially the worthy ones) do. This is where focus comes into play. Improve upon every attempt. Do this project for yourself. Enjoy it immensely yourself. Who cares if nobody else likes it! But, I am willing to bet some money, or pancakes or something, on this, that others will like it too.
So if you feel as shredded as a block of cheddar cheese inside, if you feel lost and weighted down and hurt, write it down, and make a plan to fight it. Pick up the sword and let it fly. Swing away.

Don’t be a quesadilla. Quesadillas get eaten. You are the chef.

We have loved and lost. We have buried dreams, goals, and stepped on chewed gum in the dirt. We have seen nights so hazy that the morning shines even brighter because of it. Take that magnificent story line that you are on, and shine it up, build it out, and add on a room. Think about those times when you felt successful, pleased with yourself, excited, and others recognized, confirming it. What were you doing? Why were you doing it? Did it add joy to others? Bring forth that moment and work on it!

Own your talents. Own your joy. Set a schedule for yourself and create.

You are called here, down below, for this time, in this place. Make your space shine. If you can hardly breathe from the crushing silence, create a new song to sing. Create the world in which you want to exist.
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.

Pound the war drums. Rattle the cages. Here be Dragons.

Fierce yet sparkly, I help seekers find brave new worlds. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I'm not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

The INSURRECTION trilogy, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational IGNITE roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along at
Here Be Dragons is a standalone novel, but it does follow my Insurrection trilogy. We see a few characters we met on those luxurious Caribbean beaches. Tucker was the romantic interest from the trilogy. After writing the trilogy, I felt like readers needed to know Tucker more, and he had to complete this assignment. Might as well follow along! No need to have read the trilogy; this book records its own wild adventure!
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Submit your pre-order receipt to and receive your own Alliance Military Guard Training Guide containing TWO WEEKS worth of exercises, guaranteed to get you in battle-ready shape to train as a Guardsman.
This gift with purchase will ONLY be available on pre-orders! Offer expires January 1st, 2018 at 11:59 PM Central time.

Purchase here be dragons on kindle unlimited for only $4.99:
(here be dragons releases January 2, 2018)

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I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

Here be dragons excerpts

Excerpt 1:
“Be careful, Thompson. ‘Nough of us stayin’ down here forever.”

“No one is staying down here. That’s not the mission.”

“Aye, sir. Once I drop these off, I’ll be back to help.”

“Sounds good. Bring Parsnip. I’ll hold Exit off ‘til then.”

Nodding, Burkman shuffled out, Berserk sound asleep over his shoulder. A beam from above groaned.


Exit had vanished.

The door to the Vault clicked shut. As the door closed, the rumbling wall shuddered again, and after a sizzling pop, the beam overhead released itself from its bolts.
Shooting away from the wreckage, I coughed in all the dust as ceiling particles and chunks tumbled around the beam.

In the plunging darkness, amid the fog, my VISTAS declared with precision: the door was blocked. The easiest entrance had been barred. Panic, seething, whirling and awry, pitched through my chest. Couldn’t be marooned in that dungeon. My gut told me I’d have to find an exit, and it might be painful. In fact, it would. All mortals dwell inside armor containing their mettle. But in treasure hunting, in creating a life crammed with rollicking fires and austere winds, the armor gets dented. To leave behind that armor is possibly the greatest adventure of all.

Pivoting on my heel, I faced the door to the Vault. Here be life. Here be adventure, to whatever exit it may unearth.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


This is the first book in the “Oric Trilogy.”  This is a young adult series set during the Middle Ages.  I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and I like it even more if it is geared towards young adults.  This book has strong morals and lots of actions.  By morals, I don’t mean that it beats you over the head with religion.  Rather, it shows the main character being a good person.

The historical detail is excellent.  The story is vibrant and well described.  I’m excited to see where this story leads.

Look for this for your teen boys.  Even a reluctant reader should enjoy this adventure.

Note: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

NOT QUITE EDEN by Dominique Kyle

I am an avid and eclectic reader.  I will give anything a try.  This genre wasn’t my usual choice, so I found it refreshing and fun.  I liked the description of her being a “kick-a** heroine.”  That is the perfect description.  I found myself instantly rooting for Eve.  She had me on the edge of my seat throughout. 

I liked that this is a YA romance with a little something extra.  The other YA romances I’ve read have been just super-predictable and involve high school insta-love.  This is so much more.  Definitely give this book a chance. 

Note: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


This is the first book in the series “Riley Collins.”

I found this book funny and delightful.  The voice is entertaining, sucking you in, and I didn’t find any parts too dry or dragging.

I loved the plot.  It went from wild to wild, with non-stop action.  I found it incredible that she suddenly became a bodyguard.  This is definitely the type of book I would have loved as a teenager.  Now as an adult, I still loved it. 

If you’re looking for a fun young adult book, check out this start to what is sure to be a lively series.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

HIGH SUMMONS by Eli Celata

This is the first book in the series “Warlock of Rochester.” 

This reminded me of all the fantasy books I read back in high school.  The world-building is phenomenal.  I found myself totally sucked in and when I suddenly looked away from the computer, it was to blink in puzzlement at my surroundings.  What a great story to get sucked into!

The other aspect of the story that really stood out to me was the voice.  Jon is an awesome main character.  He made me laugh and wince, and I was rooting for him from the start.

The fantasy aspects reminded me of a classic fantasy novel.  If you’re looking for something with a strong voice and magic, check out this novel.

Also, I thought it was cool that this book takes place in Rochester, which is just a few hours from my home.   A character was named Jordan (my name) too, so it was sort of like this book was written for me, haha.

Friday, December 15, 2017


This book is beautiful.  I cried through most of it.  There were tender, heartwarming moments.  There were joys and tears, and it was all centered around Alzheimer’s.  My grandmother had dementia before she passed away, and while reading this book, I saw many similarities.  Reading this brought back so much of my grandmother to me, and in a way that didn’t hurt, but rather made me remember the good times too.

I liked how she kept the subject serious, real, and raw, but she mixed in love and laughter.  It made this book feel more than just real.  I commend her on taking such a horrible topic and making it into a spiritual growth journey. 

I recommend this to anyone who has dealt with a loved one in a similar situation.  Rarely do books read so real.

Note: This was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


I received a copy of PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOUR ADULT CHILDREN: TRUSTING GOD WITH THE ONES YOU LOVE by Jodie Berndt, foreword by Jim Daly, from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. 

Right now, my son is 1, so I know he has many years ahead of him before he will be an adult, but I also know those years are going to fly by.  I have to be ready to let him go, both mentally and physically, not to mention spiritually.  This book shows you how to continue praying for your children once they become adults.  Each chapter explores a different prayer, and Jodie Berndt writes with understanding, sympathy, and love.  Her writing voice is beautiful and captivating.  You will find this book to be a pleasure to read.

With the holidays coming up, this is an excellent gift to give a parent who is about to bid a child farewell as he or she makes their way into the world.  

Monday, December 11, 2017


This was my first story by M. L. Sparrow, and wow.  It really blew me away.  The book contains some beautiful sentences.  Amazing imagery.  It was a pleasure to read.

I love true stories, and while this one is only based on a true story, I found it captivating,  I haven’t read any other stories about the tsunami so this made it even more unique to me.  I’m glad she wrote about such a heartbreaking event. 

You know how some stories you really have to plod through?  This one isn’t like that at all.  I flew through it.  The book is short, by the way.  It is a novella.  It doesn’t seem like it though.  It is definitely a complete story, while still leaving you wanting more.  I will be looking for more of her books just to experience more of her poetic voice. 

Be warned that while reading this, you will definitely feel emotional.

Note: I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

CHILD OF NOD by C. W. Snyder

I thought the description sounded cool, but I didn’t expect to love the book as much as I did!  I started reading it rather late at night, thinking I would just read a chapter or two, and suddenly I was halfway through and couldn’t wait to finish it the following day. 

This has the beauty of a fairy tale mixed with the action and adventure of a modern fantasy.   It really isn’t for kids, by the way.  It tends be very dark and gritty, which is something I adore.  Easily five stars from me.

Note: This is book one in “The Balance” series.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

VAMPIRE HUNTERS by Trudie Collins

It has been a while since I’ve read vampire lit.  Sure, I’ve read novels about vampires, but they have been second stage to another plot point.  This book screams “vampire” in your face, grips your heart, and refuses to let you go.  I LOVED IT!  It is one thing after another…after another…after another.  It doesn’t let you go until the end, and then you are left breathless.  My favorite part about this book is the action.  It never lets you down.  This is excellent escapism. 

Note: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 8, 2017


This is the first book in the Solaris Saga.  I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review.

SOLARIS SEETHES was described as being a mix of Star Wars and Star Trek, with some Battlestar Galactica.  I have to admit to not being familiar with ANY of them.  Yes, I am probably very unique in that regard.  I do, however, love books about space, so I was eager to read this one. 

I found this book delightful.  The world building is breathtaking.  I was blown away by how detailed it was.  You can tell the author spent a lot of time exploring her imagination and creating a complex structure in outer space.

Rynan is strong and independent, but she also shows her vulnerable side.  There is a lot of action to counteract the emotion. 

Overall, a great read.  I can see it appealing to teens and adults.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


This is the first book in the series “Kings.”  I found it chillingly good and this is an excellent first book.  It sets the stage well.  I look forward to seeing what comes next. 

Belle is a character who had me cheering, cringing, and laughing.  She was my favorite of the batch of characters.  By the way, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill werewolf story.  For a while, I was sick of werewolf stories because they all felt the same.  This one is surprisingly unique.

My favorite part was the dual point of view.  I love books that do that.  It really helps to get you into the different heads and really suck you in.

Note: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

PIGSTY PRINCESS by Nancy S. Brandt

This is the first book in the “Misfits Monarchs” series.  I am definitely hooked!  This reminded me of an older version of the pictures books I was obsessed with as a kid.  There’s fantasy.  A princess who is strong and emotional.  This is a beautiful fairy tale.

My favorite part is the world.  It is detailed and you can tell that the author loves her creation.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017


This book is weirdly fun.  At first, I was confused by the set up.  The first part is written in second person and the second part is written in third person.  I started the first part and then switched to the second to see which I preferred.  I ended up reading the first section, and then I loved the author’s writing style so much I read the second part too.  I am in awe of how smoothly he was able to write the two sections.  They flow so well and are yet so distinctive.  It turns into a his and hers.  Really, you have to read it to see what I’m talking about.

The story itself is great.  I couldn’t stop reading once I started.  It sucks you in and the action keeps coming, but he also wrote with enough emotion to keep the characters engaging.   I’m going to look for more by this author.

Note: I received a free pdf in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 1, 2017

THE STONE OF KINGS by Shea McIntosh Ford

Most young adult fantasy novels that I read involve a girl who dresses like a boy or about a girl who goes on a journey.  This one is about a young boy, which I found refreshing, and it was about Ireland.  The history of Ireland.  Oh, I was so in love. 

There was so much about this book to enjoy.  I think my favorite part was the combinations of fantasy and history, two of my favorite genres.   If you’re looking for a gift to give a reluctant reader, I highly recommend this one.  It is fast paced, so even a teen struggling to read will want to keep going.  I can see it appealing to boys and girls.

This book deserves a standing ovation.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ATLANTIS by Carol Roberts

When Alanthea, high-priestess of Atlantis, connects to a woman in her dreams, she becomes haunted by a mystery. Compelled to trace the other woman's life she finds coded poems that hold clues to the predicament of her people. Now she has to venture ever farther into forbidden territory to link past and present, and understand the real danger threatening Atlantis.

Arakon always thought of himself as an orphan, a loner without any real belonging. But after a strange encounter his life changes, and he is drawn into events beyond his control. 

They move parallel in their search for answers until their destinies converge, and the weave unravels. Yet what they finally uncover lies deep at the heart of collective evolution, and what has been set in motion cannot be undone.

“And that is all I can tell you.”
The big, leather-bound book closed with an air of finality, as if to never again disturb the dust particles that resettled on the ancient, worn cover. Derwan’s voice, harsh and abrupt, carried all the weight of his rank and age, and, bending slightly forward, his whole position radiated an intense dislike of the situation.
The silence between the two dimly illuminated figures lengthened, permeating the ancient Hall of Priests and weaving intricate patterns of potential words and meanings through the thick stone columns and heavy torch holders. Not all the candles were still burning; some had melted into wax pools whilst others were about to extinguish, flickering wildly and releasing puffs of smoke into the blackness above. Then the stillness became heavy, and Derwan started to feel strained.
Nobody but the woman opposite him held the right or rank to ask for such a lengthy audience, nobody had ever dared to give him, the high priest, the position to wait patiently for a dismissal, and it was unheard of that anybody had ever dared to go back in time and request insight into the Book of Justice.

Bio: Carol Roberts is a free lance writer with particular interest in cultural myth. Originally from Vienna, she has spent all of her adult life in the Far North of New Zealand. Her work took her to several different countries, where she indulged her fascination with stories, particularly those dealing with the creation of man.  'Atlantis' is her first full length novel; speculating on concepts of the human condition, the meaning of individual and collective destiny, and the choices within that. 

Check this out:

May the Faith Be With You

I received a copy of MAY THE FAITH BE WITH YOU HOLY BIBLE from ZonderKids in exchange for an honest review. 

There are many Bibles out there.  There are many spins on the Bible.  By spin, I mean that it is slightly different from the others offered out there.  This one is unique by appealing to middle graders.  (At first I thought this would have a Star Wars spin, but it does not.  Be warned if you want to get this for a Star Wars fan just because of the cover.)

The book is written with easy-to-understand vocabulary.  Colorful pages are added throughout to maintain a child’s interest.  I did like this version, and I think it is great for kids to take with them to church.  They will feel empowered and eager to read.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


This book…when I think of one word, I think of funny.  It was just what I needed to read after a long day of work (think 10 hours straight).  More often than not, I was laughing out loud. 

This is a romantic comedy that is clean.  I was more than happy, and comfortable, to give my mom a recommendation to read it.  If you are looking for a comical, sweet story, check this out.  It would make an awesome holiday gift.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Caller 107

I have very mixed feelings on this book, so I will be rating it with 3 stars.  I’m torn about that rating, but 3 is right in the middle, so that’s where I’m landing.  I’m going to break the story down and rate each one separately.

5 stars for emotion.  The emotion is raw.  It is so palpable; it really makes this story stand out from the rest.

5 stars for the divorce theme.  Matt Cox wrote about the divorce with such power.  I think this would resonate well with any child going through divorce.  From my teaching days, I saw students going through divorce and you could tell they were suffering.  I think this book would really help them to see they aren’t alone and might make them think twice about falling in with the wrong group of people.

1 star for the language.  I am looking at this book from a junior high/high school standpoint.  I get that teens do use the f-word a lot.  I’ve seen it many times in young adult books.  However, the frequent use of the f-word prevents this novel from being used in classrooms.  It prevents teachers from giving the books to students who might benefit from reading the divorce standpoint.  (Looking at this as an adult book, then 5 stars for realistic language.)

3 stars for age range.  Natalie is 13, so that places the book more towards a younger YA audience.  The book, however, deals with rape, drugs, and swearing.  All of these topics are true for teens, but parents might balk at them.  Basically I thought Natalie should be older, maybe 16 or 17, to make the book more geared toward upper YA. 

2 stars for the mom.  I didn’t find any redeeming qualities in her.  I get that she was supposed to be a horrible person, but I would have liked to see a little bit of her shine.  At the end, I wished Natalie’s dad got full custody so she would never have to see her mom again.

1 star for setting.  I really couldn’t picture much of the setting.  The story was fast-paced and I didn’t get a sense of descriptions other than Natalie’s emotions.  The best description in the book was when she got shot.

3 stars for originality.  Matt Cox writes strong characters and the divorce theme is powerful.  However, I have read many similar books where someone dies and gets the chance to “go back” to the world of the living to “complete” something.  It is a classic theme that works.  It makes us think about our lives.  What sets this one apart from the others is the divorce aspect. 

5 stars for the artwork.  Wow.  Just wow.

So, overall, check out this book if you were a child of divorce, if you know a child going through divorce, or if you are going through one.  It will really make you rethink how children are treated when parents aren’t civil.

Friday, November 24, 2017

In the Middle of the Mess

I received a copy of IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MESS: STRENGTH FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN LIFE by Sheila Walsh from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.  This was my first book by Sheila Walsh, and her found her writing style easy to read and trustworthy.  Each page feels as though she is speaking from the heart.  I liked that she didn’t seem afraid to hold anything back.  Everything felt pure.  Honest.

The chapters are short, which make this book perfect for reading in between chores or on your lunch break.  It gives you plenty of fodder to think about throughout your day.  If you know of anyone struggling, this book would make a perfect holiday gift.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Out of the Ordinary

I received a copy of OUT OF THE ORDINARY by Jen Turano from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  This is part of the “Apart from the Crowd” series.  I hadn’t read the first book and didn’t feel that I needed to in order to enjoy this one.

This is another top-notch historical romance from Bethany House.  I always know that I can expect a Christian message, a sweet romance, and strong characters.  I wasn’t disappointed.  My favorite part about this book is the humor.  There were many times I actually laughed out loud and people around me asked what was so funny.

My only complaint is really that this book didn’t feel unique.  It was just another historical romance with a Christian theme.  It was good, and if you like this type of book, than I can easily recommend it.  It just didn’t have anything that made it stand out from the rest, if that makes sense.  I guess I thought about that because of the title.  It did feel a bit ordinary.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Vanishing Point

I received a copy of VANISHING POINT by Lisa Harper from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  This is part of the Nikki Boyd series.

I found this book to be incredibly interesting.  Usually books about cases are quick.  The mystery is solved within a few hours and a couple falls in love.  Instead, this book takes place over years.  You get to realize the ins and outs of law enforcement cases.  This would be an excellent book for someone thinking about going into law enforcement to read.

Other than that, this is a fast-paced and heart-pumping adventure.  It is truly gripping and you will want to read it in one sitting.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

ANGELINE 43 by Kathy Bosman

A lot of times I call a book fun.  This book, well, it isn’t so much fun and emotional.  It pulls you in and leaves you breathless.

I don’t read many angel books, but of those I have read, ANGELINE 43 is definitely different.  This is fresh.  Unique.  I loved Essa, from her attitude to her passion.  She is a strong character to root for. 

I also loved the descriptions.  Kathy Bosman takes something insignificant, like a hoodie, and makes it beautiful by calling it “duty-blue.”

The ending will leave you smiling.  You will sigh as you put the story down.

I 100% enjoyed it and recommend it for fans of young adult fantasy.

Friday, November 17, 2017


I am a huge history buff and I used to be obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials when I was in high school.  This book brought back my love of that time in history…and when I say love, it is more of a morbid fascination.  DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND takes a fresh new look at the witch trials.  I liked that it didn’t lesson the trauma of the historical time period, while still delivering something new and emotional.  I loved Elizabeth.  She was so relatable and strong. 

This is a fun, historical novel with a supernatural twist.  It is perfect for teens who love paranormal books, but aren’t too familiar with history.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears

I received a copy of LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS by Joanna Davidson Politano from Revell in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was, well, it was incredible.  I am so in love with it.  The description sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to read it.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I zipped through this story in no time!  I have always been passionate about Gothic romances, so I might be a bit biased, haha. 

You will quickly be sucked into the writing.  Don’t expect to read a chapter and then set the book aside.  Give yourself a good few hours because you will need it.  I love books about family secrets and creepy houses, and historical fiction just adds sugar on top.  As you can see, I really loved this book.  I can’t stop gushing about it!  Check it out and prepare not to be disappointed.

Monday, November 13, 2017

CARRIED HOME by Heather Manning

Oh. My. Gosh.  This brought me back to Pirates of the Caribbean, one of my favorite movies.  I’m also a fan of sea stories and romance in general, so I just ate this book up. 

The best part of this book to me (other than the characters, who are all engaging) was the imagery.  I could picture everything like a movie.  It sweeps you up into the scene.

Other than the romance, there is plenty of danger and action to keep the story moving.

This is the second book in the series, but I was able to read it and thoroughly enjoy it without having read book 1 first.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

LUCID by L. E. Fred

This is a young adult fantasy book that is fresh.  I read a lot of fantasy, and after a while, certain fantasy books blend together.  They feel as if they were all the same story, but with different character names.  LUCID feels totally new. 

Other than the world and adventure, you’ll be rooting for Devon.  He definitely comes of age.  You’ll watch him grow mentally and physically.  I found it cool that the story is told from a boy’s point of view.  Most of the fantasy books I’ve read that are geared toward young adults involve a girl.

Be warned: the book doesn’t really end.  It will leave you wanting the sequel.

Friday, November 10, 2017

DAY MOON by Brett Armstrong

This is the first installment of the series “Tomorrow’s Edge.” 

I don’t normally read sci-fi, although I do enjoy the genre.  This sci-fi dystopian young adult novel blew me away.  It kept me entranced.  (Sometimes sci-fi goes over my head)  This book will appeal to anyone who is looking for an intelligent read about a strong character who is family oriented.  I loved that the book was left to him by his grandfather.  It reminded me of the treasures my grandmother passed down…although nothing like that book.

Something else that stood out to me was how this isn’t your typical dystopian novel.  It hasn’t been done before, so it was refreshing and unique.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Great Siege by J. N. Tomczak

This book is just as good as the first!  Sometimes the sequel fizzles out, but it isn’t the case here.   My favorite part is the world building.  It feels like a movie.  You can see everything…and feel….and taste even.  It all comes to life.  After reading this, I really sat back thinking about the series.  The world building is definitely what makes it stand out.  (Of course, I also enjoyed more adventures of Aurora!) 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

JUNCTION 2020: Book 2: Nightmare Realization by Carol Riggs

This is the type of series that doesn’t just follow one character.  This book is about a different one.  You’ll get to know Tony.  You’ll feel what he feels.  You’ll see what he sees.  I found much of it, like with the gangs, chilling.  It really sucked me in more than book 1.  I really felt that I could connect with Tony more, and that made this book more enjoyable than the first.

Check out this series if you love books where you get to experience a whole new world.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Crazy, Holy Grace

I received a copy of A CRAZY, HOLY GRACE: THE HEALING POWER OF PAIN AND MEMORY by Frederick Buechner from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. 

Like with another book of his I read, the prose sucks you in.  It makes his writing easy to read and enjoyable.  The book is small and reminded me of the texts I had to read back in high school and college, boring texts that I had to force myself to endure.  Maybe that’s why I went into this with a bit of trepidation.  I was excited to find it so enjoyable!  Yes, the topic is serious and sad, but by enjoyable I mean that I enjoyed reading the words.  I am still struggling with the loss of my maternal grandmother and this book helped me in a way other things haven’t.  There’s a lot of negativity going on in my life right now and the book gave me hope. 

The Remarkable Ordinary

I received a copy of THE REMARKABLE ORDINARY: HOW TO STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN TO LIFE by Frederick Buechner from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. 

The best thing about this book would have to be its prose.  This book isn’t dry at all.  Frederick Buechner writes with mirth and honesty.  I looked forward to sitting down each night for another chapter.  It felt like visiting a new friend.

This book is basically a series of lectures.  They are perfect for reading one a night.  They don’t really correlate, but after finishing the book, I can see the overall reach.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Forest

The Forest is a middle-grade/young adult fantasy about a bullied high school boy who encounters a life-changing mystery inside of a magical forest. In the sequel to her middle-grade fantasy The Gold, Krista Wagner fast-forwards seven years to show us what has become of Shane Smith, the fifth-grade bully from The Gold. Tired of his dad's abuse and his teacher's mistreatment, Shane takes a walk inside of a forest. Little does he know that the forest contains mysteries that will forever change things for him. Will he be ready to face the sudden shift in his world?

When abused Shane escapes to the forest, he encounters a miraculous mystery. 

“He didn't like not understanding things; it made him feel stupid, and it only confirmed his dad's verdict that he would never amount to anything worthwhile. Huffing out of frustration, he moved forward until the edge of his shoe touched the brink of the forest. He was going to show his dad that he was somebody.”

Reader Reviews: 
The Forest is well crafted, and passionately told story about Shane, and the many issues he faces growing up. The attention to detail weaves a rich tapestry that embraces the reader, taking us from the harsh reality of abusive adults to the mystical, alluring forest with ease. The issues Shane faces will be familiar to many youth, and I'm sure they will connect with this well written story. It will be well-received by young adults across the globe.--Susan Day

In this YA Fantasy novel, The Forest, Krista Wagner entertains, informs, and encourages her readers once again! This story, a sequel to her previous work, The Gold, follows seventeen year old Shane Smith into a tumultuous life of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father. Shane’s authentic anxiety and hopelessness is immediately transferred to the reader, as well as the peace, joy, healing, and renewal that he finds in the forest. Wagner’s fearless ability to tackle extremely heavy subjects with skillful and open dialogue is a hallmark of her writing. This is a beautifully written book that will fill the reader with a confident hope. Turn the page. “The Forest” awaits!!--Karen Wiser

The Backstory:
In my MG fantasy The Gold, ten-year old Amanda Greene is constantly teased by her classmate. Shane the bully. I thought it would be interesting to see what becomes of him and if he ever learns from the choices he makes.

About the Author: 
Krista Wagner is a 70's product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader's Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

Damsels of Distress

16 authors. 1 anthology. Just $1.

Forget helpless princesses and ingenues with stars in their eyes. CHBB Publishing, the leader in small press fiction, brings you an anthology that is all about the strong women who bring the world to its knees. Rulers, villains, heroes: women of all walks of life bringing or fighting horrors unimaginable. Compiled and edited by award-winning and bestselling author Lily Luchesi.
Featuring these 16 authors:
Kathy-Lynn Cross
USA Today bestselling author Deliaria Davis
Sara Dobie Bauer
Poetry from A. Giacomi
SK Gregory
Mirren Hogan
Lily Luchesi
Poetry from Xtina Marie
P. Mattern
SL Perrine
Tianna Scott
TL Travis
EM Whittaker
Jay Michael Wright II
Simone Young
A novella from USA Today bestselling author SJ Davis

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ALONE by SM Ford

Who wouldn’t want to be the live in housekeeper for an author?  To me, authors are like movie stars.

Okay, moving on, haha.  This is a clean murder mystery, and I liked that.  Sometimes murder novels are too gory, too gruesome.  I can’t sleep while I listen for someone to break into the house and murder us all.  This book flows much better than that, and it didn’t give me any nightmares.  Cecelia is a strong female character you will want to look up to and I loved the sweet romance.  This is a mystery with sturdy development, and one of the best I’ve read in a while.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Plain Leaving

I received a copy of A PLAIN LEAVING by Leslie Gould from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  This is the first book in the series “Sisters of Lancaster County.”

I love Amish books and couldn’t wait to dive into this one as soon as it arrived in the mail.  I was doubly excited because it takes place in Lancaster County and I’ve been there often on vacation.   I’d read Leslie Gould before, too, so I knew I would be in for a treat.  She is an excellent storyteller.  I admit that I don’t always picture her settings, but her characters are so real.

This was an awesome Amish book.  My favorite part is that it also involves the story of a Revolutionary War ancestor.  I am a huge history buff when it comes to the Revolutionary War because I used to volunteer at Fort Stanwix.  I just swallow up anything historical.  I actually enjoyed Ruby’s story more than Jessica’s. 

My only complaint for the book is that, like with all books I’ve read by Leslie Gould so far, I had trouble picturing the setting and characters.

I recommend this to fans of Amish and historical fiction.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CATSKIN by Artemis Grey

This is an awesome fairytale.  It isn’t a normal fairytale at all, but one that takes place in Alaska and is beautifully written.  I was cheering for both Cat and Ansel.  I loved reading about how they come together and grow.  I was so sad when the book ended just because it meant the story was over!