Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How to Listen so People will Talk

I received a copy of HOW TO LISTEN SO PEOPLE WILL TALK: BUILD STRONGER COMMUNICATION AND DEEPER CONNECTIONS by Becky Harling from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  This is a bit of a self-help book.  I was excited to be offered the chance to review this because I need help with listening, and listening is important to my job – I’m a trainer.

I do enjoy listening to people, but before reading this, I tended to interject with my own stories.  I also tend to give unsolicited advice.  I don’t think I do it because I believe I know best.  I like to learn and I like to share what I learn.  After reading this, I’m going to take away many of her tips, and I will be ruminating about what she was talking about in other areas.

This is written by a Christian author, but it is not tailored just for Christians.  I believe anyone could find relevant information and help within these pages.  She does, however, reference the Bible quite frequently.  The book is uplifting, insightful, and designed to encourage you to be your best, not to put you down.

I read a lot of Christian self-help books, and this was the first one about listening.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Soldier Who Killed a King

I received a copy of THE SOLDIER WHO KILLED A KING:  ATRUE RETELLING OF THE PASSION by David Kitz from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.   This is a standalone book.

This book…wow.  Subject matter aside, it blew me away.  The writing is superb.  It feel as if you are watching a movie, but a 4D movie.  (This would make a great Broadway play)  It puts you in the scene.  You taste and feel and smell.  You are transported back in time.  You get to really know the characters as if they were people living on your block.  You travel back in time to the first-century world and experience it all.

Now for the subject matter.  According to the blurb: A stunning story of Holy Week through the eyes of a Roman centurion.  The centurion is Marcus Longinus.

This story shows the events leading up to the Passion Week.  This is a new take on a story that has been told many times.  I admit to thinking it might “just be another one.”  If you hesitate because of that, you’re missing out.  This is historical Christian fiction at its finest.  I highly recommend it for your collection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Tale of Bryant Adams

The Tale of Bryant Adams:
How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days

A new young adult urban fantasy novel from Megan O’Russell

Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?

Don't worry. I never wanted to either. But if you're ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you've never had the guts to say actual words to, there's an app for that.

I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn't have, burned down the set shop for my high school's theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad's penthouse.

But it gets better! Now I'm stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It'll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.


Don’t miss the Goodreads giveaway running through August 31st. Readers can enter to win a paperback copy at: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/249261-how-i-magically-messed-up-my-life-in-four-freakin-days

Megan O'Russell is a native of Upstate New York who spends her time traveling the country as a professional actor. Megan's current published works include YA series Girl of Glass and The Tale of Bryant Adams: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days as well as the Christmas romance Nuttycracker Sweet. 2018 projects include The Chronicles of Maggie Trent: The Girl Without Magic and book two in the Girl of Glass series Boy of Blood. For more information on Megan O’Russell's books, visit MeganORussell.com.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vzWzqJ
Curiosity Quills Press: http://bit.ly/2uYGhnW

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2vBzh1M

Visit www.meganorussell.com for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Promise of Dawn

I received a copy of THE PROMISE OF DAWN by Lauraine Snelling from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.   It is the first installment in the “Under Northern Skies” series.

I was thrilled to receive a book by Ms. Snelling.  I am in love with her series “Dakotah Treasures.”  I have read the books many a time over the years.  Sadly, I wasn’t a fan of THE PROMISE OF DAWN.  It didn’t have the usual elegance of her other novels, although I haven’t read all of her other novels yet.  This one seemed a bit rushed and the ending was rather boring, as if she forced herself to write it.  The ending definitely picked up and for the last half, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  Because of that, I will read book 2.

Overall, it is an okay book.  If you are a fan of historical fiction, especially historical fiction with a Christian theme, then you will enjoy THE PROMISE OF DAWN.  I found it interesting to read about Norwegian immigrants, as usually books about the Old West don’t involve immigrants.  Parts of this book reminded me of the Kirsten series from American Girl, although Kirsten was from Sweden.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Her Darkest Knight

This is such a fun book!  I am a huge fan of historical romance, and became hooked in high school.  Unfortunately, everything I got my hands on back then was Harlequin.  Many of the sex scenes spoiled the overall fun  of the story, and random scenes broke up the flow as if they were placed only for shock value.  That’s not the case with HER DARKEST KNIGHT, which happens to be a clean historical romance.  Yes, it is CLEAN, but that doesn’t take away from the romance. 

Isabel and Turstin are electric together.  You can feel their chemistry and you keep rooting for them to succeed.  The setting is beautifully described and all of the action flows well with the plot.  Highly recommended for fans of historical romance.  This is an adult book, however, it would be perfect for teens too who are looking to get into the romance genre like I was once upon a time ago.

I did read this before reading book 1 and found it enjoyable, so this does work as a standalone.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Return

I received a copy of THE RETURN by Suzanne Woods Fisher from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  It is the third installment in “An Amish Beginnings” series.

I hadn’t read books 1 and 2 before, so I can safely say this can be read as a standalone.  I am interested in checking out the others now.

So, for my thoughts on the novel… It didn’t feel Amish.  Yes, the characters are Amish, but the book takes place in the 1700’s.  Be prepared for it not to have the feel of traditional Amish fiction.  I knew going into it that it would be historical, but I was still a little disappointed.  The book focuses on one teenage girl who is kidnapped by Native Americans.  I’ve read many books about captives, so I was intrigued, and this can stand with the best of them.

Overall, I enjoyed THE RETURN.  The characters are engaging.  The action is awesome, if cringe worthy at times.  This is excellent historical fiction.  I was disappointed to get to the end and realize it was a trilogy.  I would like to see what happens to Betsy and Tessa.  I would also like to see a novel about the Amish during the Revolutionary War, as this book took place a few years prior.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Royally Entitled

Oh my goodness.  This cover!  Okay, now that I’ve stopped gushing about it, onto the story.

The Medeival-esque setting could be a character in itself.  It sucked me in, and despite the negatives there, I wanted to live there!  It is a young adult novel with realistic characters and catchy dialogue.  It is a “clean” story, so you can feel comfortable sharing it with your mom and your daughter.  There is just enough mystery to keep the flow, but what I loved best was the romance.  Their chemistry flashes.  It didn’t feel like your run-of-the-mill historical romance, and there weren’t any bizarre actions like I’ve found in some Harlequin’s.   Overall, a very fun story!  Anika is a shining character who would be an excellent role model.

(I found it interesting that her family was into cider.  I’ve never read a story with that as the business.  I love stories that have that unusual tidbit to them.)