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 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:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: The Frankenstein Series by Dean Koontz

Frankenstein Series Books 1-5Frankenstein Series Books 1-5 by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love retellings of classic books. When I started this series, I thought that's what this was, but it's not. I would refer to this series as an "add-on". When I say "add-on" I mean that this story picks up after the events of the original Frankenstein and continues the story in modern day. Having said that, I think this series as great! I enjoyed through all 5 books. Dean Koontz is a master story teller and it comes through in this series.

The plot is fantastic. I would say that it incorporates action/adventure, suspense, thriller, and sci-fi genres all into one nice package. Often times with series of this size there are books that are a let-down along the way (usually book 2 or 3). Not so with this series. They are all page turners. The plot starts us off in New Orleans in the modern day. This is a great location due to the mystery that comes with New Orleans all by itself. It makes the idea of a battle between Dr. Frankenstein and his original monster seem somewhat plausible. I don't like to go into the plot too much because I don't like spoilers in my reviews. But, the gist of the series is the battle between Dr. and monster. It is worth the read, I promise. The plot moves very well in these books and is rich in depth. There are the twists, turns, and surprises that us Koontz fans have come to know and love. There is also some darkness to the plot that can bee seen throughout most of his books.

The characters of this series are wonderful. Some authors make the mistake of trying to cram too many people into the story so that they can fill the content of this many books. Not so with Koontz. There wasn't any time through the series that I had to go back and remind myself of who someone was or what they were doing in the story. He does a good job of keep the core characters at the core and bringing in support characters as needed. It is wonderfully balanced throughout.

The readability of these books is great. They are page turners from start to finish. There aren't any parts of the book where you are willing your way through it so that you can get to the next "good" part. It flows very naturally and makes for any easy read.

The readership of this book would probably be high school and up. It's not that the language is hard to understand or that there are difficult words to get through, but there are some themes that run throughout the book that would make it suitable for an older audience.

Overall, this series was very enjoyable for me. I would put it in my top 10 series of all time right now. It's on the low end, but in the top 10 for sure. Well crafted and well worth the read, especially if you are a Koontz fan.

Overall rating: 5/5

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: The Elementalists by C. Sharp

The ElementalistsThe Elementalists by C. Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Elementalists is a fantastic book! It was a page turner from start to finish. Mr. Sharp has crafted a must read novel for any fantasy fan out there. I can't wait to get into the rest of the series.

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to come across this book and read it. Now, on with the review.

The plot of this book is fantastic. It mixes mythology, teen angst, and action/adventure all into one. The story follows Chloe, a 15 yr old girl that is just trying to keep her head low and stay out of the lime light in her new high school. Needless to say, that doesn't really work out for her. She ends up uncovering thousands of years old mysteries, fighting with a global corporation, and trying to juggle umpteen relationships all at once. Mr. Sharp does a fantastic job of weaving the plot in and out and over and around itself so that you are completely immersed in the story from page 1.

The characters in this book are wonderful. You really get to know them and get to relate to them. You find yourself rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys when they come up in the book. The characters are not over done and over developed. There is just enough told to you to keep it interesting. I don't feel like I know everything there is to know about them yet, which is good since this is just the first book in the series.

The pacing of this book is fantastic. There aren't spots where you feel like you are having the slog through the story to get to the next good part. The readability is also very good. It flows very well and is easy to get yourself lost in for hours at a time.

Overall I would give this book a 5/5. It's a well crafted story that keeps you wanting more. I can't wait for the next installment in the series. So, make haste Mr. Sharp!

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