When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander

When Love Arrives (Misty Willow #2)When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For my Christian Fiction readers, a word of caution. This isn’t your typical Revell read and may be offensive to more sensitive readers. There’s quite a bit of Christian content and talks about God’s plans for the characters but there’s also quite a bit of unacceptable leering and language related to the same characters (and a couple others). Other than the content, the writing is well crafted and the general plot is interesting with a tidy wrap-up, although the believability of it is a bit stretched. There were a few grammatical points that stood out to me as well. Overall, it’s an ok read that will appeal to many readers while being a put-off to others. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. This review is my own and was provided without compensation.

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Parenting Gifted Children 101: Everything You Need to Know about Raising a Gifted Child by Tracy Inman

Parenting Gifted Children 101: Everything You Need to Know about Raising a Gifted ChildParenting Gifted Children 101: Everything You Need to Know about Raising a Gifted Child by Tracy Inman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a good starter book for parents who discover they have a gifted child and don’t know anything about where to go from that point. I’ve raised one gifted child and am in the process of raising another so the majority of this book contained information I already knew about or learned along the way. Gifted children are unique in the way they look at the world and so they require a bit of a different parenting process. There are some good points in here but it’s just a start of the world parents will find themselves in and they’ll need a lot more information to navigate this new terrain. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Raven by Mike Nappa

The Raven (Coffey & Hill #2)The Raven by Mike Nappa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This second installment in the Coffey & Hill series is just as well constructed as the first. I highly recommend picking up the first book and continuing with the second. The characters are well fleshed out and developed through the two books. The plot threads are still present and active. The writing is clean and well edited making the read enjoyable. As with the first, there is no preaching or heavy Christian theology, just a really good clean read. I enjoyed the suspense and twists, all without obvious clues spelling out what was to come before I read it. I received an ARC through Revell in exchange for an honest review. These are my opinions given without any compensation.

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

All Summer Long (Follow Your Heart #2)All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a lighthearted and easy read with the typical restraints in regard to language and anything beyond a lightly described kiss expected from Revell. The plot is light as well with no worrisome suspense or tricky situations; perfect for an afternoon read. I’ve read several Carlson books and typically they are clean with a good pace and happy ending. This one feels a bit rushed, especially towards the end, but not so much so that it ruins the overall read. I received an ARC in exchange for a review through Revell publications.

Freefall by Joshua David Bellin

FreefallFreefall by Joshua David Bellin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This read is a blend of intriguing plot and disappointing sudden emotional attraction (instant love). Overall the book is well-written although at times the wording feels unnecessarily complicated. The science side of things sounds solid and flows with the overall plot thus giving credence to the situations and reasoning although there is an overabundance of information provided that I didn’t feel was necessary to enjoy the book. I wasn’t thrilled with the choice of words or descriptions for the people remaining on Earth or the other political elements that just seem taken from current headlines rather than original. For a book that’s supposed to be YA, I felt there was entirely too much unnecessary language I wouldn’t want my youngest son (13) to hear, much less read in a book. I stopped reading at this point and was going to list this read as a DNF but my eldest son picked up the book and decided to read it and offer me his thoughts. He pointed out that the planet Cam’s ship landed on sounds an awful lot like a blend of Crematoria from The Chronicles of Riddick and the planet from Pitch Black. He agreed with most of my points although he did state that YA books seem to all have that instant love. Overall, there are good aspects about this read and some areas that could use polish, editing, and some general improvements. We received an ARC through the author in exchange for an honest opinion, which may or may not align with yours.

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

The Day the Angels FellThe Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this books for several reasons but I can’t say I loved it. There is the Christian element without being overpowering or preachy, which I appreciate. There is the paranormal/myth element without making them out to be evil beings although there is definitely a darkness about them. Dealing with sudden loss is very difficult and everyone goes through the emotional turmoil and questions differently. This story is just one other path, although not the path I’d recommend of course. There are some tingly moments but nothing that created any huge swings in emotional response. Overall, it’s a decent read and something that may appeal to a broader audience compared to the typical Revell publications. I received an ARC through Revell publications in exchange for an honest review.

Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure by Andrew Joyce

Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest AdventureResolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure by Andrew Joyce

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the third in the series although it could stand on its own. For me, it was an improvement from the previous two books. The reading is easy enough with no complicated phrases or thesaurus replaced words. There are a few grammatical issues that stood out to me but likely wouldn’t bother most readers. I feel there were too many obstacles for the pair, many of which seemed to be a stretch in terms of survivability. The western feel was nice and felt authentic, as was the era. Overall, this is a decent read. I received an ARC through the author in exchange for an honest review.

Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore: A Rebellious Romantic Comedy by Jane Carter Barrett

Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore: A Rebellious Romantic ComedyAntonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore: A Rebellious Romantic Comedy by Jane Carter Barrett

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book is shelved under DNF. I found it annoying with an overall lack of development and originality. The blend of historical and current colloquialisms, odd word choices… Why set it in the 1500’s but then use current day phrases and such? The writing felt like a computerized thesaurus was issued the command to randomly select alternate words. The characters lacked development, at least as far as I was able to read, which was the third? kidnapping. I would only recommend this read if you enjoy reads that require 100% suspension of disbelief and absolutely no logical thinking. While this was certainly not for me, I feel there will be a small audience that absolutely loves it. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion and review, which may or may not mirror your own.

Don’t Listen to Your Parents: And 20 Other Thoughts for Teens, Young Adults, and People Older Than Young Adults by Andrew Krehbiel

Don't Listen to Your Parents: And 20 Other Thoughts for Teens, Young Adults, and People Older Than Young AdultsDon’t Listen to Your Parents: And 20 Other Thoughts for Teens, Young Adults, and People Older Than Young Adults by Andrew Krehbiel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This reads like someone is rambling on in a diary or in a letter to someone. A few points I could agree with but several I have a differing opinion. It’s part memoir, part motivational but not in the typical motivational genre setup, part blog feel. I don’t like the title although I imagine it was selected because it might get more younger adults to pick it up and start reading. While times have changed, the advice and experience of your elders is valuable. You -should- listen while you still can. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ghost Hampton by Ken McGorry

Ghost HamptonGhost Hampton by Ken McGorry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This paranormal story has a little humor thrown in, mostly done at just the right moments. The overall story arc is maintained well enough but the smaller bits could use a little polish. It’s easy to read and follow the characters, who thankfully are well-developed and perhaps relatable on some level. This would be a nice lounging read while on vacation. There’s nothing spooky or scary that’ll keep you up all hours but you might have to stifle a laugh or two. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mopar Small-Block Engines: How to Build Max Performance by Larry Shepard

moparMopar Small-Block Engines: How to Build Max Performance by Larry Shepard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love knowing how things work, as does my son (12). We enjoyed reading through this book and feel it would make a great reference book for mechanics. The text is easy to read and understand with no complicated language. There are plenty of photos, diagrams, charts, etc., to help the reader grasp all of the topic. While I doubt I’ll ever work on my truck’s engine in the depth this book provides, I do feel I could use it to understand more about it and possibly fix issues related to timing, starting, exhaust and oil. I received an ARC through Library Thing in exchange for an honest review.

Journey to Appleville by Veronica Appleton

Journey to ApplevilleJourney to Appleville by Veronica Appleton

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My son (12) and I sat down together to evaluate this book. Although he is older than the intended audience he enjoys reviewing books aimed at all ages. His first comment was that although he could relate to living in a “quiet neighborhood” he didn’t like that the book starts out by saying the kids had to go to another town in order to “accomplish our goals”. He also said the eyes looked creepy on four of the six children. The fears the children state are not all fears, some just want to improve skills, impress someone, or just need to learn a lesson. We never find out if they accomplish anything because the book just ends without any resolution or hint of something positive. There’s no lesson about failure, working hard, or how to overcome any sort of obstacle. Overall, while the idea is good the execution isn’t. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu by Paula Guran

The Mammoth Book of CthulhuThe Mammoth Book of Cthulhu by Paula Guran

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Collections of stories by a variety of authors typically only have one or two that stick out for me. This is a good thing though, as different readers look for different things in their reads. Collections can provide a bit of exposure for a new author. I love the fantasy genre and I’ve enjoyed a few of Lovecrafts stories so I had a good idea what to expect with this collection. Some stories stood out as better crafted and developed than others and a few I just couldn’t finish. It’s my personal opinion that the stories would have worked out better without adding Lovecraftian names and places and just kept the feel. Overall, it’s an interesting collection with a few promising authors. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion and review, which may or may not mirror your own.

Creativity and Innovation: Theory, Research, and Practice by Jonathan Plucker

Creativity and Innovation: Theory, Research, and PracticeCreativity and Innovation: Theory, Research, and Practice by Jonathan Plucker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of essays and research on our understanding of creativity written at a scholarly level. Each chapter has key points for the reader to remember, which is helpful and a lot less dry than just researching and reading. There is a wealth of evidence indicating the lack of creativity in the classroom is having a detrimental effect on students and teachers. Change needs to happen in our education system, a change that encourages creative thinking. This book contains evidence that backs up the importance of creativity and innovation, in the classroom and beyond. I received an ARC through Library Thing in exchange for an honest review.

Silly Elephant – Peace with Bees by Nadh Poduri

Silly Elephant - Peace with BeesSilly Elephant – Peace with Bees by Nadh Poduri

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the plus side, this is an adorable story with colorful graphics that tries to teach a lesson about stealing. The dialogue can be read to a younger child. Young readers may need help sounding out some of the words. Middle readers, while able to read the story, may not have as much interest – depending on the child. My son (12), while a bit old for the story, helps evaluate children’s books aimed at all ages. His thoughts were similar to mine although he pointed out that honey, when harvested properly, is a valuable commodity. He also pointed out that there are animals that “steal” honey as part of their diet to stay healthy. We agreed that the lesson is a good one to teach, one that can be difficult to understand, so the book has a valid purpose. Overall, it’s a well done book for a variety of reading levels – even struggling older readers. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.