When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

When God Made YouWhen God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a mother of three, one of whom is special needs, I love coming across children’s books with such a positive message that is delivered in a way that will actually reach the child reading it. My son (9) and I read through the book together. He was drawn to the bright colors and remarked that it was rare to see a book with a child who wasn’t white, and he liked that a lot. He helps me review children’s books when they come in but rarely requests to look at/read them on his own at a later time. He has asked if we can donate this book to the school library instead of the local public library so more kids might see it. We agree that at times the writing seems to lack a bit of polish but we don’t think it’s enough to detract too much from the overall experience of the book. We love the artistry and message! I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review with no requirement of the review being public or positive.

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The Port-Wine Stain by Norman Lock

The Port-Wine StainThe Port-Wine Stain by Norman Lock

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wasn’t able to read the entire book, but based on what I did read it’s not exciting or exceptional. I looked over the odd punctuation in places even though it stood out to me. The book feels like you’re reading a recording of someone rambling on about their past. It gets confusing sometimes just who is supposed to be speaking as part of the book has quotations around speech. There are parts where it’s just one side of the conversation which muddles the read a bit. It’s not that I dislike first-person POV, it’s just difficult to do well and I don’t feel this book did that well. I’m a Poe fan but I didn’t begin this read expecting anything Poe-like since I don’t believe anyone can write like Poe except Poe. Overall, it’s not a terrible read but I didn’t like it enough to read the entire 217 pages. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

DodgersDodgers by Bill Beverly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Open your mind and let go of any preconceived notions of how a crime novel is supposed to read. Let your mind soak in a fresh approach and just enjoy the read. That is how you’ll come to enjoy this one and want more. I didn’t love it or “really liked it”, but I did like it. It deserves 3.5 stars, not 3 or 4, but alas that is all I can do at this time. The book has interesting characters who develop as the book moves along. My only complaint is that at times, especially the latter portion, the book tends to feel like it’s dragging it’s feet in the mud. It’s not a fast mover, but I feel that plays towards the strengths of the book and the author. I received a copy of this book through blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

Second Twin by Jaime Lee Mann

Second Twin (Legend of Rhyme, #4)Second Twin by Jaime Lee Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book, in case you didn’t already realize that, and a prime example of an author that continues to grow. Jaime’s first book was a little bit rough around the edges, but this 4th installment really shines. I’m impressed with her continued growth and ability to accept and apply constructive criticism from her readers. I’m also very impressed with the growth her characters have had through the four books. It’s one thing to have children in a series, but to have them grow and develop as these have isn’t an easy task. If you haven’t taken a trip down her imaginative lane, you might take that path less traveled and discover a piece of enchantment. Overall the series is well-constructed and an easy read. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn’t your typical fantasy read. It’s neither lighthearted nor is it an easy read. It’s going to take a bit more effort to read and digest, but if you can take the time to do this you’re in for an enjoyable ride. If you can’t, then avoid even trying to read this and instead pick up Theft of Swords. The writing style in Nevernight takes a little more effort to get used to, but that’s not to say that it’s poorly written. It’s just different. Did I love it? Not after the first read, but somehow I feel that by coming back and reading it again I’ll enjoy it even more than I did the first time around. What was it that I didn’t like? Well, by now most of my followers know that I’m a bit of a grammar nerd and that I’ve knocked down a rating due to poor writing skills. I really didn’t like the halting, grammatically incorrect sentences, however, I can see why it was written that way. Not that I agree with the style, just that I can understand on some level the reasoning behind it. That said, the story is quite good. I enjoyed the characters and the setting and feel that overall, this is a good read.

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished this book while enduring multiple surgeries and hospital stays to save my kidney. While I wouldn’t want to go through that experience again, I would read this book again. In fact, I got the audio-book so my son (12) and I could listen to it as we traveled to his practice and meets. He loved every minute of it and asked for book #2. I introduced him, and my 23 yr old son, to Riyria when the books first came out and they have loved them. Sullivan definitely has a way with words and the ability to craft a believable, enjoyable, authentic fantasy experience. Not only is the world unique, it is easy to visualize and fits the characters nicely. Each character has a unique personality and experiences development as things happen to them and around them. In the audio-book, the reader does a fantastic job. My son (23) received an signed copy of this book for Christmas and was elated when he saw who the author was. We are all eagerly awaiting the next books, #2 of Legends series and #3 in Riyria Chronicles.
This was a purchased book, not a book submitted for review.

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I agree that this book can be a valuable asset to a writer either starting out or finding themselves in the midst of a brain freeze. There are several points Cron makes that are logical and worth investing some time in. I agree that more work needs to be done with character development. I’ve read too many books where the characters are undeveloped or just lack any personality. What I don’t agree with is that a story shouldn’t start with an outline, or plotting. I believe you need both elements in order to create a great novel. You need character development, which this book can be extremely helpful with, and you need to have a solid plot outline; a developed plot thread. I also believe that most writers could do with a bit of grammar study. Having just one piece of the novel puzzle won’t gift you with a magical outcome. You need all of the pieces. Overall I feel this is a book worth reading and referring to but I don’t feel it’s the only reference an author should refer to. I received an ARC through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way.

Strong Foundation and Adjusting to Married Life by Marcus & Ashley Kusi

First Year of Marriage: The Newlywed's Guide to Building a Strong Foundation and Adjusting to Married LifeFirst Year of Marriage: The Newlywed’s Guide to Building a Strong Foundation and Adjusting to Married Life by Marcus Kusi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you look for a book to give you advice about marriage you will have thousands to choose from. Expand that search to the Internet and you’ll add thousands of sites. Some claim to have all the answers or to know the perfect steps towards a happy marriage. So how do you know which book, or which site, you should turn to? Which steps should you adopt? My suggestion is to read whatever appeals to you and try out the various steps with your spouse while keeping your communication lines open. There isn’t a single book or site that fits every relationship but many of them have similar suggestions. This particular book is brief and written in a way to be easily understood. It has a blog feel to it which seems to be the next great way to get a book published. I like the outline style and bullet points to help separate each part. I like the quotations by other people and the long list of questions to open up discussions with your spouse. Overall this is a decent book for those looking to marry, recently married, or even those who have hit a rough patch and have no idea how to move forward. I wouldn’t recommend only reading this one book as I feel there are a great number of books out there with valuable information. Also, if your marriage is deteriorating it may be wise to seek counseling such as couples therapy. I received an ARC through the author in exchange for an honest review.

Miles Away by C.W.J. Henderson

Miles Away (Time Crisis Saga #1)Miles Away by C.W.J. Henderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are aspects of this book that I enjoyed and just as much that I didn’t enjoy. The writing is good without multiple grammatical issues which is a huge plus in my book. That said, the writing didn’t help with connections and at times made me want to either skip to the next chapter or pick a different book to read. Having raised two teenagers of my own and worked with troubled teens I found the constant negativity from Miles to be over the top. This negativity began to grate on my nerves about half way through the read. Parts of the book felt well thought through, even well researched, while other parts felt as though they were lacking any solid foundation. This is especially noticeable when referencing dated aspects, with some dating issues being more obvious to me and pulling me out of the read. I have mixed feelings about the science fiction explanations for time travel and how it supposedly would work. I don’t feel this will be a huge deterrent for YA readers, however I wouldn’t recommend this to YA readers due to the language usage by Miles. I don’t believe foul language does anything to add to a book and I certainly wouldn’t want my son reading this. Overall the plot is intriguing and with some minor fixes would fit well among other YA books. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

The Tengu’s Game of Go (Book 4) by Lian Hearn

The Tengu's Game of Go (Tale of the Shikanoko, #4)The Tengu’s Game of Go by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before you pick up this fourth book, read the first three. Hearn does an excellent job of keeping the various plot threads woven nicely throughout the four books, bringing them through to the conclusion of the tale and fourth book. I like that there are multiple characters and not just one hero. This makes for a much more satisfying read overall. The writing continues to be solid and well edited. I feel the conclusion is satisfying, especially for the style this is written in. I like the sizes (lengths) of each book as it makes it easier to carry one with you to read as there is time, unlike trying to carry a huge thousand page novel around. I like the Japanese myth feel to the whole story. I like the majority of the characters and how they are manipulated. Overall, this is an enjoyable series with a well thought through story line. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Lord of the Darkwood (Book 3) by Lian Hearn

Lord of the Darkwood (Tale of Shikanoko, #3)Lord of the Darkwood by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd of 4 books that need to be read in order otherwise you’ll miss out on important pieces and generally feel like you’ve stepped into the middle of something with no reference points. The writing continues to be well done and well edited. This installment provides valuable information as the plot temporarily slows down in order to incorporate this information. This can make it seem sluggish or even a tad bit boring if your main focus is forward driven action. What is learned here sets the stage for the final book where hopefully the various plot threads weave nicely towards the completion of the tale. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (Book 2) by Lian Hearn

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (Tale of Shikanoko, #2)Autumn Princess, Dragon Child by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read the first installment before you read this one. Think of the four book series as one continuous story that happens to be separated into separate books for ease of reading, not for division of plot or for any other reason. Where the first book introduced the reader to setting and characters, the second book continues to move the pieces into place with experiences, gains, losses, and so forth. The writing remains the same, well-written with good flow and maintenance of the various plot threads. The style fits the story. It was easy to become immersed in the read, which I found to be enjoyable, intriguing, and well constructed. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Missing by Lisa Harris

Missing (The Nikki Boyd Files #2)Missing by Lisa Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is going to become one of my favorite investigative characters. Nikki Boyd comes across as intelligent, resourceful, wise, and determined. I love the way Harris describes her and her surroundings, making everything feel realistic and authentic. The writing is strong and well-edited with no dips across the moral avenues. It’s refreshing to read something without worrying about what the characters are going to do behind closed doors, or out in the open as some novels present them. The plot has good flow and the strings are well thought through. This is one I can easily recommend to other readers. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What Matters Most by Kellie Coates Gilbert

What Matters Most (Texas Gold #4)What Matters Most by Kellie Coates Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review by Sarah: “I absolutely loved reading What Matters Most! I didn’t realize it was a numbered book at first, but that really doesn’t matter since it’s not a story line that goes from book to book to book. Each book is its own story. I don’t think they should have added Texas Gold #’s to make it seem like a series. Anyway, the story was exciting in all the right places and I really like that there’s no preaching between the covers. I really like the strong central female character and how she sticks to her morals and roots. I love that she cares for family and tries to do what is right. I like the way things work out in the end.” We received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Honor Redeemed (Keys of Promise #2) by Christine Johnson

Honor Redeemed (Keys of Promise #2)Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with Johnson’s first book in this series, the book starts out with plenty of promise. The main characters have a general fleshing out without going through too many layers. This gives places a bit of distance between the characters and the reader and makes it difficult to fully connect. Keeping the entire read light works for some readers but not others. The writing is clean and well-edited with no surprises in the form of low morals or extensive preaching. I like how the first book ties into the second although I’m not sure if reading the first book is a requirement or simply a recommendation. In any case, I feel the majority of Christian Fiction readers will enjoy this book. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.