Monday

Review: Goodnight Wishes!

Goodnight Wishes! Goodnight Wishes! by Leea Baltes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sweet story with beautiful illustrations. Leea did a wonderful job depicting this story. Plenty to look and and discuss.

Being a believer in Jesus and through whom all things were created, I hesitate to highly recommend this book because it trembles on top of the fence with wishes (hence the name of the story) and prayers of the mama mouse. The stars and moon do tell the mama that the blessings come from the one who created them, but most of the story is about wishing with all your heart, and blessings coming after wishing and doing as much as you can.

Without getting into deep theological reasoning here I can see how this book is perfect for those kinds of discussions that Christians want to have with their children even as young as three years old. It is sure to draw out questions as long as you make sure your child is getting the message you want her or him to hear.

This book can go either way... just a fun, sweet story with a wonderful happy ending, or a way to talk to your child about belief in God the Creator, prayers, and how blessings do come from prayers when faith is exercised.

I am going to read this to my granddaughter who loves Jesus with all her heart even at 3 years old. I am going to talk to her about the difference between wishes and prayers. I think it is a great discussion starter which is why I gave it 4 stars. If it had greater emphasis on God than on wishing on the moo, I would have given it 5 stars.

I really love the illustrations!

I received this from the author. No exchange agreement was made. This is my honest opinion.

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Friday

Review: Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass Ashes of Glass by E.J. Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A refreshing of the Cinderella story with a faith foundation. Very nice. Good writing, character development, and interesting intrigue. I quite enjoyed this novel. It is a fairly quick read, and isn't as predictable as it might seem.

You'll enjoy getting to know Ella, who is a scullery maid promoted to chamber maid. She is a very good girl with some very unsavory characters out to see to her harm.

I received this book from the author, and this is my honest review.

4 of 5 stars

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Review: When Hearts Rekindle

When Hearts Rekindle When Hearts Rekindle by Janet Syas Nitisk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had forgotten what it is like to hold a real paperback in my hands to read. This book brought back all those old (and tender feelings) of staying up late, and reading in my bed. Great memories.

This is a good romance, third in the series, but very stand alone. Didn't feel lost even once. It has a very interesting premise. Broken relationship creates need to get away and do something else. And that something else is going to nursing school and meeting a new fella, a fella that is good, kind, thoughtful and lovely to love.

Nursing school in the 1890s was extremely viable. At one point in the 1890s there were more women in the medical field than men. That is when medical schools started restricting registrations of women into the school, and that is when nursing school registrations swelled. The historical aspects of this novel are very good and accurate. So read on history buffs!

Nitisk does a great job of giving good reasons for the two main characters to fall in love with each other. That is something that isn't exactly rare, but it isn't exactly run-of-the-mill either these days. I was glad to see not only those reasons, but also a strong faith aspect in this novel. The characters have a lot of challenges to face, they grow, they grow up, they make mistakes, and they live life. I also like the way Nitisk uses anticipation to keep the pages turning. Of course, the build up to the climax gives you a blatant clue as to how it all turns out, but I won't go there--you need to read that for yourself.

There are some problems with the editing, though, typos and some grammar errors. I do mention those because being an editor these errors are like neon signs to me. They are story flow dams that need a blast of editing to break it all loose so the reader can hit the rapids.

I was talking to a publisher a few days ago, and he still has a disdain for indie published books. At the top of his list were these same kinds of errors. Anyone reading this and who is an indie author, please get your work professionally edited. It truly will lift you from being just a good writer to being a great writer.

Nitisk is a good writer. As you read, you can smell the dirt and grime, feel the heat and cold wind, smell the cigar smoke--that is good writing. Great writing is creating a wonderful river-like flow for the reader where you rush through the rapids, slow down through the deep water, and splash in the shallows. That's the kind of ride that keeps readers buying books

Four of five stars. This book is worth the money, and you'll enjoy the read.

I received this book from the author. This review is my honest opinion.

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Wednesday

Review: Sam: The Cat Without A Tail

Sam: The Cat Without A Tail Sam: The Cat Without A Tail by Gloria Lintermans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful illustrations, quite colorful and attention keeping!

The story moves quickly and with the interactions among the cats, it lightly delves into the realm of self-esteem and how others can make one feel unwanted because of differences. The story also touches on how differences makes you unique and suited for different achievements.

Really good story for discussing these complicated issues with young ones. I can't wait to read it to my grandchildren.

I also like how Gloria subtly points out using our skills to do for others helps put self-esteem in the proper perspective.

I read the eBook version and it works very well as an eBook read.

The author gave me this book, and my voluntary review is above.

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Review: 3 Hour Dad

3 Hour Dad 3 Hour Dad by Adam T Hourlution
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having birthed two babies and the pregnancies were normal but highly uncomfortable, I find it very hard to believe that a highly active woman was completely unaware she was pregnant and still be thin enough that friends and family had no clue either. However, I take him at his word. Nothing but the truth -- and love -- could change a person's heart this much. There are all kinds of miracles, aren't there?

This is an entertaining peek into one man's push over the edge into fatherhood--literally three hours notice that he would be a father to a bouncing baby.
I imagine there are lots of men who secretly feel the exact same way Adam did about children, but are afraid to voice it aloud. But this gives you insight into the thought processes a man races through to find all that tender love a baby showers into his heart.

A humorous, yet touching read. Whether Adam and his Lindsey want to admit it or not, God had a huge hand in providing them this bundle of love and life. A very good read for ladies to get a peek at how their man might be feeling about having children. A great read for men to see how one little baby can change a heart and soul into tender but protective mush.

Received this book from the author; voluntary review is above.

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Monday

Review: Serial Rites

Serial Rites Serial Rites by Cortez Law III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cortez has produced a marvelous insight into some intriguing characters and a horrific serial killer case that needs solving quickly before more victims die.

These characters are very well developed to the point you can almost predict how one will react to a situation...almost. There are quirks in every human, and without God's controlling hand, we all flounder. Some even flounder with God's presence in their lives. Cortez does a wonderful job highlighting those contrasts in this story packed with action, surprising twists, faith, leadership, and matching wits with a vengeful and twisted psychopath.

Parts are so real, you can tell he's either lived the life or his research is ocean deep. You definitely won't be bored with this novel.

When I read books, it is difficult to impossible for me to turn off my editor mode. I can't help it. I did find some story logjams. There are some cultural references that may not be clear to you. However, the humor and the personalities override those problems. Another story flow jam happens when the dialogue is so cryptic that you can't understand what was just said. There were a lot of places where this happened. Some typos may have caused that problem, but not all. Also there are some sentences that are not clear enough to understand.

Setting all that aside, the story is good, the characters are very believable, the faith factor flows generously throughout making this a joy to read. It really is worth the money.

I received this book from the author so that I could review it for him. This is my honest opinion.


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Review: A Defense of Honor

A Defense of Honor A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazing story. Great premise, and a subject that I have not seen or read about in any novels -- that's up in the thousands of books read over my ummmhumm years of reading.

I'll skip over the story overview. Lot's of other reviews to read for that.

Hunter delivers a fast-paced romance that is not fluffy but has some strong pillars lifting it up from the rest of the pack. Romance, a little suspense, a little mystery all add up to good reading fare.

The only problem I had was that every in novel I've read with an English backdrop that has a character named Kit, the Kit was a man. I had to adjust my brain to that, then I was on a good ride.

I never did wonder what happened to the noblemen's byblows. In fact, some kings and noblemen recognized their boy-children, but what happened to the girls? I could tell the Hunter did some great research. She dealt well with the threads of faith and God's control in the lives of believers. I also like the fact that both character knew God, just didn't have the personal relationship very well developed.

The whole reading experience was very, very good. This is the book that backed up my reading queue because, frankly I savored it. Not very often does a well-written novel such as this come my way. I had to savor it.

Received this from Netgalley. No exchange agreements were arranged. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: Together Forever

Together Forever Together Forever by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really did like this sequel. The first one was superb, this one had a lot of hashing/rehashing of character angst. I like a book's plot to move forward not stay in first gear, move to second, and then go back to first gear. I did finish it, though, and for me to plow through all that angst says a LOT for the writing of Hedlund.

I liked the insight into the orphan trains and the people who placed those orphans. I really didn't know that these placers went back to check on the children placed. That was a new piece of history that I didn't know. Good to know.

Historical tidbits through out this story are very interesting. Characters from the first book are interspersed in this one except we delve deeper into Marianne's story who I thought was a brat in the first one.

I think this story is written to be a stand alone--I don't think you have to read the first in order to enjoy the second.

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Review: The Fashion Designer

The Fashion Designer The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here is a great sequel to Moser's first one, The Pattern Artist. Loved the characters then, and still love them. Sometimes it's nice to find out What Happened Next!

Characters were developed well in the first one. This one, it's kinda difficult to develop them even more. There were mentions of characters in the first book that are developed more in this one. Quite interesting. Since i read the first one, it's hard to tell if you really need to read the first one to get everything in the second. Although there was some rehash from the first, so I doubt reading the first is a must.

The plot moves along at a steady pace. The difficulties the characters must overcome are completely different, and that is what makes this book as interesting as -- maybe even a bit better -- than the first. Good reading all around. Five of five stars.

Received this book from Netgalley. No exchange agreements were made for this honest review.

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Thursday

Review: The Abduction

The Abduction The Abduction by Ester Lopez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story was good, the premise was extraordinary, but the plot integration leaves a lot to be desired. Loved the set up, but with no explanation of why the girl mis-identified Adam as Dram (the criminal she was chasing for 10 years) was confusing. Then the Ah-ha moment that they looked exactly the same except for age. Should have taken note on the fact Genesis didn't look closely enough at the young man to see he wasn't the older man. That says a lot about her character.

As an editor, there were a lot of plot holes, and some plot point mistakes that make this hard to read. I thought we'd put behind us the days where females made stupid decisions. If a person has been chasing criminals as a bounty hunter for 10 years -- even if it has only been 1 criminal -- this person would have rubbed elbows with other criminal types for 10 years and would/should be able to see through motives and traps. My suspension of belief went out the window.

Romance rarely mixes well with adventure. It is extremely hard to do it well. Most of the time, main character A likes main character B's body and face and falls into "love" that is really lust. It is basically the same thing here. There is no reason why Adam should fall in love with Genesis except those chemistry fizzes that fizzle out. Plenty of reasons Genesis should fall for Adam as he is kind, caring, honest, and high integrity level (keeps promises). But she doesn't know that right away, so why fall in love? It doesn't make any sense. They aren't together long enough to get to know each other well enough to fall in love.

The premonitions are a contrivance that doesn't work all that well. They don't help Adam so, why have them? Therefore, plot ploy doesn't work well or move the story along. They don't create tension. However, the telepathy does work, and I really like the way it's sort of learning how to walk for Adam.

Faith in God is not really explored until about half way into the story. There are some aspects of this part of the story line that are really good. I like that we don't have to wonder about who God is. But, bolding the Vaedra words just detract from the story flow. Using 2 different words for napkin is not necessary and leaves the reader wondering why use 2 different words? The Vaedra language is not part of the story, so skip over those mind traps.

Here is a bit of advice for the author and other newbie authors out there: When writing adventure, or mystery, or suspense, keep the kisses and fondling well toward the end of the story. Give each character plenty of reasons to fall for each other and your readers will love them, too.

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Wednesday

Review: Broken Chain

Broken Chain Broken Chain by Julia David
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful love story with a very unusual "hero." I love Ben, but he drove me crazy. Margaret had some things to learn as well. Great character development, great journey toward love, and the song lyrics at the end are beautiful.

Great story premise. I'm not sure how I like Ben's relationship with Nadine, but it is so true how young people confuse love with those chemistry fizzies. But Ben finally sees the light not just about what love really is, but also sees himself through the eyes of God.

I know there are a lot of folks who buy into other people's opinions thinking that is truth. I didn't learn how false that is until my divorce driving back from Arizona. It was as if God embraced me, enfolding me in His hand and told me that the only person I needed to worry about pleasing was Himself. What a freeing moment that was. Especially when Bible study showed me I was acceptable to Him the instant I took His Son into my heart as my Savior.

I have never seen this fact illustrated in a work of fiction before. Great insight.

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Friday

Review: Song of Blood & Stone

Song of Blood & Stone Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wonderful, intriguing, great story premise, and good writing combine to make this novel a good read. However, there are some factors involved that you need to be aware of. There is a graphic rape scene about 17% into the book. There is also some graphic, and nasty violence.

Just beware.

Character development is very good. There is quite a bit of backstory, and I'm not sure how crucial that is for the rest of the story, although it does help to develop the characters and motivations.

Well written and well turned phrases, in some places rather lyrical. This is just more adult fare than I am used to and that is why I couldn't go past the 20% mark. So it this review is not all it should be.

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This review was published here and on Upon Reflection http://uponreflectionblog.blogspot.com simultaneously. Tweeted and Facebooked

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