Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blog Tour: AD 33 by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker is a master of his craft. He's a phenomenal story teller and has a way of drawing you into his books. This series is my first look into the writing of Ted Dekker and I have to say that I enjoy it very much. This is the second book in the AD Series.

For those of you that read my blog quite often you know that I look at a few different things. I look at plot, character development and readability. Lets take a look into those things.

The plot of this book is very well written. You can tell that there was a lot of thought given to how the stories fit together and flow with one another. Sometimes when there is a series involved an author has trouble with trying to make the plot too complex so that they can fill the books out. That isn't the case here with Mr. Dekker. He does a magnificent job.

The character development is very well done. The characters aren't over developed in any way. What I mean by that is that sometimes the author tries to give you way too much information on the character and half of it ends up being irrelevant to the story. Not so in this book. The characters slot in well to the plot and the overall makeup of the story.

The readability of this book is very good. It has great pacing and it's easy to read. Someone who is a faster reader could sit down and knock this book out in half a day. It's not an intimidating read and it flows very well. I like the writing style very much.

I think this book would make an excellent gift for the person in your life that enjoys reading and reading series books. You should consider this book for your holiday shopping needs. It can be picked up online or in stores and it's very easy to spot with the beautiful red cover that it has.

Disclaimer: I know this review is vague. I strive very hard not to give away any of the plot of the book because I hate when that happens. I just try to present a well written book and suggest it to my readers. This is a well written and well done book. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps

Flexible WingsFlexible Wings by Veda Stamps
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flexible Wings is a wonderfully written story about a military family, swimming, and friendship, to name a few of the themes. I wasn't sure how I was going to like this book as it didn't immediately jump out at me when I read the excerpt of it. I was pleasantly surprised however and ended up enjoying it very much.

The character development is done very well. Sometimes with short books it's hard to get enough info on the characters or you get too much info on them and the plot doesn't get as much time as it needs. Neither of these issues showed up in this book. The author does a wonderful job of character development throughout the story.

The plot of the story was pretty straight forward. There weren't any major twists and turns that caught you off guard, but sometimes that's refreshing in the story and that was the case with this. I didn't find myself wanting any more or less when I finished the book. That's the mark of a good story to me.

The writing style of this book was probably my favorite part. It was just so down to earth. I could imagine myself having this conversation with my family if we were in these situations. There were not outlandish parts that made it unbelievable in any way. The only thing I didn't like, and this is going to sound weird, was the titles of the chapters. I didn't like them because they gave away what was going to happen in each chapter. There wasn't really much buildup as a result because you kind of knew what was coming based on the chapter label.

I enjoyed the readability of this book very much. You could easily sit down and read it in 2 or 3 hours if you had that kind of time to commit in one stretch.

This books touches on many wonderful topics of family dynamics. The sibling interactions are wonderful to watch as they develop. The arguments with mom and dad are very down to earth and applicable. I think this book has the capability of helping many young readers cope with some family angst they may be having. The topic of moving and making new friends is also a big one in this book. That is such a hard thing to do, moving to a new home and school, and I think that lots of kids cope with this everyday. The author tackles in a very straight forward way and doesn't pull any punches about how hard it can be. I appreciate that very much.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars. It is a solid read that I would recommend to anyone that would ask me about it. Veda Stamps has crafted a wonderful novel that touches on some tough issues. She approaches these issues with a grace that is sometimes lost in the world today. Well done.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review: The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

After a rather long hiatus I am back with a book review or, more accurately, a series review. I haven't posted in so long because I was waiting to finish this entire series before I wrote a review on it. So, here are my thoughts on this series.

Any of you that have been reading this blog for a long time will know that I loved the Percy Jackson series. I thought it was one of the best series I have ever read. I have to say that this series did not let me down either. I found myself pulled in from the very first book. I was very apprehensive when I found out that Percy Jackson would be worked into this series because I didn't know how that crossover would work out. It turns out that it was seamless and wonderful.

The plot of this series was wonderful. I found it to be very rich and full of layers. When I say that it is full of layers I mean that there are many subplots woven into the main plot of the books. Sometimes I find that authors struggle to do that and you feel like the books are disjointed somehow. This was not the case with this series. Each of the subplots was vital to the main plot and made for a deep and rich reading experience. Besides, who doesn't love a plot where gods and demigods are fighting against titans, giants, monsters galore, and the earth itself?

The character development was fantastic in these books. You got a well rounded view of every character. In all books there are major and minor characters and sometimes the author spends too much time on one or the other. That was not the case here. It appears that there was great attention paid to getting the characters just right. They were well thought out and planned in terms of the story. You could tell that the author really had an eye for crafting a great story here just in terms of the character development.

I found this series to be very readable. You could easily knock out one book in a weekend. It took longer for me as I have 2 small children so my reading time is relegated to after they go to sleep for the night. As far as who would read this book; I think that fans of fiction, action adventure, or just plain good writing would all love this book.

Overall I would give this series a 5/5 rating.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spotlight On: Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson

This book isn't normally in my genre of reading, but the fine folks at Center Street publishing asked if I would spotlight this book for them, so if you are a romance aficionado then this book sounds like a great addition to your library. You can pick this book up here.

About the Book:
Rita Jansen is living her dream as a hairstylist in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother has suffered a stroke. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is healing but facing a long recovery. Worse, without being able to run their family-owned salon, her mother could lose the business. Rita decides to help, but she only has until Valentine's Day to come up with a plan. 

As Rita takes her mother's place at work, the nearby skating rink she loved as a child brings back fond memories. Rita also finds herself renewing friendships with her childhood best friend, Marley, as well as her classmate Johnny. Although they now lead such seemingly different lives, Rita is surprised by how well she and Johnny connect and how far he will go to help her. Though Rita believes Johnny is only being kind, with romance kindling in the air and on the ice, their friendship may just fall into something more.

About the Author:
Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she is a writer who loves to write! She is a bestselling and award-winning author of more than 200 books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than six million. Carlson's passion for 'true to life' fiction has had great success for both the young adult and women's markets. Informed and aware of the challenges and struggles facing teens today, she writes young adult novels that she hopes will change lives and women's fiction to which women of all ages can relate. Her popular series, Diary of a Teenage Girl (Multnomah), has sold more than 775,000 copies and her popular Christmas novellas have sold over 590,000 copies combined. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Looking for Christmas gifts?

If you are like me, you are a last minute Christmas shopper. If you are still looking for just the right gifts for that book lover in your life I've got 4 great suggestions right here. Go to this link to find out more information about these books and also to purchase these great titles. Thanks to the fine folks at Center Street Books for sending me these titles. Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

1. A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley

 2. Ask Anna by Dean Koontz

 3. A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin

 4. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Something a bit different

I know that this blog is dedicated mainly to book reviews and other book related things but I have something a little different for you today. What goes better with a book than a nice warm cup of coffee or tea? I love to read with a cup of coffee right there beside me. In fact, besides my wife and kids, reading and coffee are two of my favorite things in life. I'm actually enjoying a cup of coffee while I write this post.

My enjoyment for coffee is where www.downtoearthenware.com comes in. I just received two amazing coffee cups from Zach Schnare, the artist behind Downtoearthenware. Here are a few pictures to show you the packaging and the product.

Very professional shipping and packaging

Beautiful Products

In addition to these wonderful coffee cups, he also sells nativity sets, pie dishes, apple bakers and a wonderful array of other products. I would invite you to go check out his store here. You will not be disappointed! 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and hopefully you will be sitting down to a good book and a hot cup of coffee or tea in your new downtoearthenware cup :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Ask Anna By Dean Koontz

I would like to introduce all of you to a wonderfully fun new book by Dean Koontz and his dog Anna. Here is a little bit about the book:

Bestselling author DEAN KOONTZ’s latest, ASK ANNA: ADVICE FOR THE FURRY AND FORLORN (publishing 10/07) is a fun, image filled coffee table book where dogs write to Anna (Dean’s golden retriever) for advice about love, food— even how to cope with lazy owners!
Anna begins her counseling by putting dogs at ease. Her motto: " Let Me Hold Your Paw and Help." Anna' advice to owners is: "Read this book and get a clue about what your dogs really think of you!” 
All proceeds go to Canine Companions for Independence. 

Here is an interview from Dean and Anna:

Dean Interviews Anna

DEAN: Hey, sweetie, how does it feel to see your first book, Ask Anna, in print?

ANNA: Better than a bee stinging me on the nose, maybe not as good as being given a membership in the Sausage-of-the-Month Club. I'm a little worried about the celebrity thing, so I've ordered a custom disguise that makes me look like a poodle.

DEAN: When did you first realize you had the Dear Abby gene and could give meaningful advice?

ANNA: Remember a year ago, Dad, when you went shopping and came home with those hideous shoes? I just had to pee in them to prevent you from being seen wearing them in public. You went out and bought another pair of the same, and I peed in those, and you decided to
take my advice. I realized then that I had something to offer that might help people and dogs. I don't mean pee. I mean common-sense advice. Who in the world makes lemon-yellow patent-leather platform shoes, anyway?

DEAN: Never mind. I was flashing back to my disco days. Now that you have written a book of advice for dogs, might you write advice for some other species?

ANNA: Cats need a lot of help, but they don't take advice well. You never know when they'll respond to a friendly suggestion by clawing your nose. Offering counsel to cats is like being the psychiatrist for Tony Soprano.

DEAN: There's an article in your book that reveals how people like Noah and Albert Einstein changed history by listening carefully to their dogs' advice. Are you aware of any more recent famous people who failed to heed the advice of their dogs?

ANNA: Tragically, yes. Mr. Johnny Depp's dog warned him not to play

DEAN: Is there any down side to a dog being a successful author?

ANNA: Carpal-tunnel paw. Hollywood wanting to buy the film rights and recast me as a gerbil to be played by Adam Sandler in a furry suit.

Perhaps a catty review here and there. Static electricity from the computer screen standing my fur on end, so that for hours at a time I go around looking as if I stuck my tongue in a wall plug.

**Make sure you check out this fun loving books for yourself. You can find more information on the facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/AskAnnaBook