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.

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We Had a Job to Do: A Basic History of World War II Through the Eyes of Those Who Served by Theresa Anzaldua

We Had a Job to Do: A Basic History of World War II Through the Eyes of Those Who ServedWe Had a Job to Do: A Basic History of World War II Through the Eyes of Those Who Served by Theresa Anzaldua
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of stories told by those who lived during World War II. Each story is unique and offers a unique view of those days. I felt a closeness to the stories and the people who were telling them as I have worked with veterans from WWII and my grandfather was active duty military during WWII. This is an easy to read and understand collection of viewpoints that offers information in a personal way. I like the way the book is written and feel the layout and conclusion is very well done. For anyone interested in this era of our history I can easily recommend this book. I received an ARC through Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children by Rachelle Sparks

Once Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish ChildrenOnce Upon A Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children by Rachelle Sparks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m familiar with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the wonderful work they do for children with terminal diseases. I was excited to be able to read a book about the gifts they work out for these children. Instead, it felt like the book focused primarily on the progression of the disease and things leading up to the wish but not so much on the wish itself. I would have loved to have read about the wish and the impact it had on the child and the loved ones and how it helped the child and the family deal with their situations. The stories are all heart-wrenching yet tender hearted at the same time. Overall the collection of granted wishes is inspirational and fills the reader with empathy and hope. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals by Dinty W. Moore

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and CannibalsDear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals by Dinty W. Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book to be a nice break from the usual ones I read. It has plenty of humor and what the author likely considered current types of posts. My son (22) and I disagree on the content as I’m a bit more old school and prefer my essay replies to be well thought out and articulated. He sees the modern parts as appealing to the younger generation. Overall though, this is an entertaining read and makes for a great coffee-table book. I received a copy through blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Top Secret Files: Pirates and Buried Treasure: Secrets, Strange Tales, and Hidden Facts about Pirates by Stephanie Bearce

Top Secret Files: Pirates and Buried Treasure: Secrets, Strange Tales, and Hidden Facts about PiratesTop Secret Files: Pirates and Buried Treasure: Secrets, Strange Tales, and Hidden Facts about Pirates by Stephanie Bearce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son (11) prefers non-fiction for his reads so it wasn’t difficult to get him to read this one. He read it during a car trip while I listened to an audiobook, or at least tried to. He loved telling me about the new things he learned while reading this book then asked if he could take it to school. Of course I obliged his request. Seeing him happy with a book in hand is all I needed. I looked through the book briefly and liked the layout and how everything is presented. This would make a great book for a child’s library, or an adult who likes an easier way to learn about pirates. I can see this being a popular book in a school library as well. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

The Constitution of the United States of America Modern Edition: Rearranged and Edited for Ease of Reading by Henry Bain

The Constitution of the United States of America Modern Edition: Rearranged and Edited for Ease of ReadingThe Constitution of the United States of America Modern Edition: Rearranged and Edited for Ease of Reading by Henry Bain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Over the years I’ve found a variety of methods that work when teaching younger readers about our Constitution. I’ve used several ideas and methods with my own children when homeschooling the older two. I suspect I’ll look for a way to help my youngest when it comes time to study this document. Will I use this book? Maybe as an additional resource but not as a primary one. It’s the Constitution broken down to be a little easier to read but it lacks contributing information. Why was an amendment important during that time period? That helps readers understand the Constitution as a whole because times change and what was important then may not be seen as an issue now. Overall it’s a good supplement that has been divided up for easier reading but not something I’d depend solely upon for education. I received an ARC through Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette by David M Weitzman

Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de LafayetteLiving A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette by David M Weitzman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is highly entertaining if you enjoy reading about historical figures as I do. The writing is imaginative and is also intelligently written. While I cannot attest to the accuracy of everything contained within this book I can say much of it resonates as truth. It’s amazing how much our country depended upon people from other countries, especially the French. Without them we likely would have lost. Overall I enjoyed reading this book and found it a wonderful escape during stressful days and I found nothing to gripe about inside. I received an ARC through Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber C. Haines

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way HomeWild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber C. Haines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not a fan of memoir or memoir type books so I handed this one over to my good friend and fellow book enthusiast to read. She came back to me with the book the next day and placed it in my hands, “You’ve got to read this one.” I placed it aside as I was in the middle of another book. A few hours later the phone rang and it was her, “You’ve got to read that book.” I finally wrapped up the book I was reading and picked up this one just to be able to tell her I read it. Several hours later I’m still reading this book and thinking how nicely Haines has written this. It’s not like a typical memoir, it doesn’t preach down to you or tell you to aim for lofty goals. There’s no begging for sympathy or demands for understanding. It is in fact, a wonderful poignant story told as though Haines is your best friend sharing something very personal and in doing so shows you that it’s ok that you’re not perfect. From Christina and I, this book is well worth the read. Pick it up and clear your mind. We received an ARC through Revell publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for School Success by Mary Cay Ricci

Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for School SuccessReady-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for School Success by Mary Cay Ricci
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful resource that I wish more schools would implement. Too many times I’ve heard children come in the library after school and say they’ll never learn -whatever is currently being taught- because they aren’t smart enough. I’ve heard it over and over how certain demographics reduce intelligence. Sure, the boy down the road born to immigrant parents with no formal education may have a difficult road ahead of him but that does not mean he can’t learn complicated math or become a scientist. This book touches on several areas that can be implemented in any classroom regardless of what the school system dictates. I’ll be using it with my currently public schooled child. I wish I had something like this when I was homeschooling my older two. I received a copy of the book through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Friends of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury

The Friends of JesusThe Friends of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read the Bible or if you read it several times a day, or somewhere in-between. Kingsbury has taken those much loved stories from the Bible and woven endearing tales much the way she writes her fiction stories. They are easy to follow and understand with characters we can’t help but adore. This book makes an excellent addition to your library or the perfect gift. Either way it’ll be cherished and well-read. I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway with no expectation of a review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Science of Swimming Faster by Scott Riewal

Science of Swimming FasterScience of Swimming Faster by Scott Riewald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone who gets into the water to swim can benefit from even a light reading of this book. The section on nutrition can be used by anyone in any sport. The book is set up with various sections devoted to that particular topic so finding what you want to learn about is easy. I like that it can be used by the swimmer, the coach, the parent or just about anybody with no complicated high-tech ways of saying things. I was eager to be able to read this book since my son (10) is an avid swimmer and swims in USA Swimming sanctioned competitions (meets). This is a reference I am sure I’ll be coming back to time and time again. I like everything about this book and feel I can easily recommend it to others, swimmers or not. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way has influenced my opinion although seeing my son smile upon hearing he can learn ways to be faster sure has.

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O’Brady

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every DaySeven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O’Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this is a fantastic cookbook to flip through and makes a excellent conversation piece -just leave it on the coffee-table and see how irresistible it is to pick up and talk about- don’t expect to pick it up and start cooking right away. The ingredient lists are chock full of things I have never purchased or things I wouldn’t know what to do without a cookbook like this one. There are several beautiful pictures although I could have used a few more. I like the organization except that the sauces are added on at the end like an afterthought when they should couple with the recipes they are used with. I am comfortable in the kitchen and love to try new things so I’m sure I’ll be using this cookbook more often. Overall this is a beautiful book that just about anyone can use. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review through Blogging For Books.

Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alex Kershaw

Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied ParisAvenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alex Kershaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As memoirs go this one is well written and enjoyable to read, if you are into reading about personal experiences and triumph during times of often terrifying ordeals. The topic is one that should be visited more often or else it will be repeated. I don’t think enough people realize just how wide-spread the Nazi regime was or how horrible life was during that time in history. Too many people either turn a blind eye or swear it never happened. Well it did and it needs to be taught on a broader scope. That said I’ll step down from my little soap box and tell you that this is actually interesting reading and the author did a fine job telling the series of events in a personal way. Overall this is an excellent choice in the memoir genre and one I can easily recommend. I received an ARC through Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by Michael J. Svigel

Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and SalvationExploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by Michael J. Svigel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title should tell you just what is inside. The information is logically presented and organized with quite a few tidbits I didn’t know. I feel it can be read and studied regardless of which flavor of Christian you might be and that it has something for everyone. It’s not a read in one sitting type book nor is it a read and put away type book. It’s meant to be digested in your own pace and referred to on a regular basis. Overall this is a very informative book well worth keeping around. I received an ARC through Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success by Gina Barnett

Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business SuccessPlay the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success by Gina Barnett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book wasn’t for me so I handed it over to my fellow reviewer as I often do when I come across a book I just don’t like. Sometimes our opinions are very similar while other times we have drastically different opinions as was the case for this book. I could have taken a nap while someone read this to me but my reading cohort swears it’s chock full of valuable resources and information that could really make a difference when you strike out on your own. She swears that it is written in a way anyone can understand it and garner tidbits that will help in everything from an interview to running your own shop. I received an ARC through Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.