Monday, December 5, 2011

New Book for Review!

Hey guys, I'm happy to announce that I have received my second book for review from the fine folks at Blueprint Austin . The book is called "Daddy Dates". Here is what it looks like:

In addition to a review of this book there will also be a Q&A with author Greg Wright. So, be on the look out for these posts here in the near future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
My Pick this Week:

I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton's history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .
The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of  madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge  into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become real—and where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanity’s destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street.
*Excerpt taken from Barnes and Noble

Book Details:

Title: 77 Shadow Street
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Adult Fiction
Hardcover: 464pp
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: December 2011
ISBN: 0553807714
ISBN-13: 9780553807714

Why I'm Waiting:

Simply put: I can't get enough of Dean Koontz books. I want them all. The list of his works is huge, but one day I would love to own every single one of them. As for this book in particular; I haven't read a scary book in quite some time and this one looks like it could have me listening for things that go bump in the night.

What are you waiting for?


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Throwback Thursday (2)



I am really interested in reading this book because I really want to read the Dean Koontz adaptation of the story. I feel like I should read the original before I read a spin off. So, after I'm finished with Dracula I will move on to Frankenstein.

If you write your own "Throwback Thursday" please leave a link for it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review: The Book of Man by William Bennett

First, I would like to thank Thomas Nelson publishing and the Pinkston Group for allowing me the opportunity to review an ARC of this book. Thank you. I would also remind you that this book hits stores today so check it out.

I had high expectations for this book when I received it and first started looking at it. Once I got into the book I would have to say that my high expectations were partially met. Let me explain.

The premise of the book is great. I love the idea of illustrating the points of manhood by using famous speeches, essays, etc. I also like the fact that Dr. Bennett used stories of everyday people such as police men and sanitation workers to illustrate his points. It makes it very easy to relate to the book on a personal level. I gathered a lot of great insight and information on what it means to be a man. That part of the book definitely met my expectations.

I had only two problems with this book. The first problem was the sheer length of it. This books is over 500 pages long and only has 6 chapters. I feel as if Dr. Bennett could have gotten his point across with far fewer essays and stories per chapter. About halfway through the chapters I found myself thinking that we could probably move on to the next point and I would still have 50 or so pages to read in the chapter. The second problem was that I sometimes got bogged down with trying to read all of the different writing styles of the original authors of the essays. What I mean by that is that all of the different stories and essays and speeches were written in their period language, so your mind had to constantly try to switch back and forth and that got tiresome during some chapters.

Having said all of that, my overall view of the book is a positive one. This book is a great resource if you are looking for one or two thoughts on manhood and how it relates to different aspects of life. The 6 chapters cover: war, work, play, polis (politics), women and children, and prayers and reflection. If you are going to sit down and read it cover to cover give yourself plenty of time because it's not a quick read.

I would recommend this book for people that work with men and boys such as counselors, teachers, etc. I would also recommend this book for men that want to take a look at what manhood looks like throughout history and today.

This book releases today! So go check it out!

Overall rating 4/5 (because it's such a great reference book)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Throwback Thursday (1)

I was talking with my wife the other day about all the cool posts that people do on different days of the week and she said that I should come up with my own. I told her that I wanted to do one on classic books, so she said, "Hey, you could call it "Throwback Thursday". So, without further ado I present to you the very first "Throwback Thursday", in which I will talk about classic books that I have either read already or want to read and why.

I have always been fascinated with the character of Dracula. I have seen a lot of the contemporary Dracula adaptations and some of the older stuff as well. I have recently started reading this book on my Kindle (thank you Amazon for the free classics!) and can't get enough of it. So far it's been a wonderful read and I can't wait until I can get to the end of it.

What's your throwback?

If you feel so inclined as to create one of these posts yourself please fill out your name and link below so we can all share in your "Throwback Thursday".

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review: Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

*Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. As tension builds and Eon's desperate lie comes to light, readers won't be able to stop turning the pages...

 *Excerpt from Goodreads

I found Eon to be a very fascinating book. Alison Goodman does an amazing job of painting a vivid world that you get sucked into as you follow the main character, "Eon", through the story. I've read a few reviews of this book that were less then complimentary about the quality of the story and the writing. I would say that I have to disagree with these reviewers on their feelings about this book. I found it to be a fairly easy read that had plenty of action to get you through the book. I will say that there were a few points in the story where you were kind of "willing" the story to move along a little quicker, but it wasn't terrible at all. 

Eon is a great lead character because "he" doesn't always have the answers and spends a lot of time worrying about how things are going to work out. I like that in a main character because it is like real life. No one has everything together and we all worry about how things are going to pan out for us. Needless to say, Eon, has plenty to worry about as the story moves along. There was the constant worry of connecting to the dragon, dealing with Ido, and hiding all of "his" secrets from the world at large and from friends. (We all know how hard it is to keep things from our friends)

The plot was well thought out and kept you guessing throughout the book. The other characters in the book were well rounded and Goodman didn't spend an unnecessary amount of the book describing them. She did enough to let you know all the details that were important for each character. Some authors "over do" some of their supporting characters and that annoys me to know end. I don't want to spend 100 pages talking about characters that the story doesn't ultimately revolve around. 

Having said all of that; I feel that Eon is a book that is well worth the time to read. The story is engaging and the author leaves you on the edge of your seat for the second book. I can't wait to pick it up to find out how this wonderful story and power struggle come to an end. 

Overall: 4/5

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
My Pick this Week:

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.
And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.
With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.
A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!
It almost seems too good to be true.
And it is.

*Excerpt taken from Barnes and Noble

Book Details:

Title: The Litigators
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Adult Fiction
Hardcover: 400pp
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Release Date: October 25, 2011
ISBN: 0385535139
ISBN-13: 9780385535137 

Why I'm Waiting:

I'm a John Grisham nut! I can't get enough of his books or his writing style. I read many of his books before I started this blog, that's why you don't see any reviews of his books up on here. I can't wait for this book to come out! Grisham has a way of writing that just pulls me in and makes it hard for me to put down his book. The only problem I have with Grisham books is that I don't get enough sleep when I get a new one.

What are you waiting for?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

IMM (1)

This is a very exciting post for me! This is the very first arc I have ever received for review! Thank you to the fine folks at The Pinkston Group and also Thomas Nelson publishing. I look forward to diving into this book. It comes out on October 4th so please check back then for my review of this book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher

Warning! this book is one that is useful for my job. It may not be for everyone so if you aren't interested in hearing about it you can stop reading now.

Youth Ministry 3.0 is a very insightful book for anyone interested in what is going on with youth culture right now. It talks about three very distinct times in the "life" of youth ministry."Marko", as the author is called, talks about the different youth culture fixations, cultural influences, key themes, drivers, and theme verses for each of the 3 "versions" of youth ministry through the years.

Youth Ministry 1.0 is the original. Here is the breakdown for you:

Youth Culture Fixation: Identity
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Language and Topics
Key Themes: Evangelism and Correction
Driver: Proclamation
Theme Verse: Matthew 7:13-14

Youth Ministry 2.0
Youth Culture Fixation: Autonomy
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Models and Success
Key Themes: Discipleship and Creating a Positive Peer Group
Driver: Programs
Theme Verse: Matthew 28:19-20a

Youth Ministry 3.0
Youth Culture Fixation: Affinity
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Contextualization
Key Themes: Communion and Mission
Driver: Not Driven, but Present
Theme Verse: Acts 2:44-46a and John 17:18

This is just a brief overview of what is covered in this book. If you are someone that works with kids for a living, in any setting, you need to pick up this book and give it a read. It is one of those books that really makes you look at what you are doing in your ministry. I know that it has prompted me to change some of the ways that I do things.

**Information for the breakdown was taken from: Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher, Youth Specialties, Copyright 2008

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this Week:


Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider, was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.
The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaƫsia? And if so, at what cost?
This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle

Book Details
Title: Inheritance
Author: Paolini
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Hardcover: 800 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date:November 8, 2011
ISBN-10:  0375856110
ISBN-13: 9780375856112

Why I'm Waiting
While I have had some issues with how slow these books move along I have to know what is going to finally happen to end this series. It has taken Paolini forever to get this book ready for print and I'm ready to see it out on shelves. The story line is good and the characters are fantastic so, despite the issues I have had I am still wanting to get my hands on this book. 
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: White Cat by Holly Black

As I watched bookshelf tours on Youtube this book seemed to be on a lot of shelves so I decided it must be worth the read. I must say that I wasn't disappointed at all. I found White Cat by Holly Black to be a very well written book with a very original story line.

I like the way that she developed the characters. Some authors seem to feel the need to over-develop their characters and that gets tedious and boring for me as a reader. Black, however, does a marvelous job. She makes the characters believable, well as believable as "workers" can be. You find yourself sucked into the world of Cassel and all of his "friends".

The only criticism that I have for this book is that it was somewhat hard to follow in the first few pages. Once I figured out what was going on though I had a hard time putting this book down. There are many twists and turns in the story line that keep you guessing from the beginning to the end. You have kind of a hard time figuring out who really has the upper hand in the story, which makes for a great ending. I can't wait to get my hands on the second installment of this series.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something a little different than the vampire and werewolf books that are so popular these days.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller and John Macmurray

This is the third book I have read by Donald Miller. The other two are Blue like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What. I am a big fan of the way Miller writes. His books make me laugh and they also make me contemplate. He has a way of writing that makes it feel like you are having a conversation with him.

This book is about growing up without a father and the affect that can have on your life. My father was an active part of my life, but in my line of work with youth at our church I run into kids who don't have an active father figure. So, I thought this book would have some valuable insights for me on a professional level.

I was right about the valuable insights. There are a few statistics that are of interest but the best part about this book is hearing Miller talk about his thoughts on not having a dad around growing up. It's a good perspective to hear since I don't have a frame of reference for that kind of thing. This book also talks about the struggles Miller had with accepting God as a father figure. I had never thought about that aspect of things before. I can see now how you would struggle with the notion of God as a father figure if you didn't have a good benchmark of a father in your own life. Throughout the book Miller talks about little things along the way in life that brought him a little closer to the idea of God as a father. It is a very thought provoking book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that works with kids or has had trouble with father figures in their life. It is a great read and well worth the time spent.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From the Library

I don't really get books in the mail and I don't buy a whole lot of books. So I figured I would start putting my library pick-ups here on the blog. Here is what I got last night:

White Cat by Holly Black

I have seen so many bookshelf tours with this book on them that I figured any reviewer worth their salt should probably pick it up and give it a read.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
I saw this book on a haul on youtube and thought it looked pretty interesting. Stay tuned and I will let you know what I think of it here real soon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Contest on Lauren Oliver's Blog

Hey guys, If your are into middle grade books then you need to go over to Lauren Oliver's blog and register to win her first middle grade book. It's called "Liesl & Po". Click here to register!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Quitting Church by Julia Duin

As some of you know I read books for work as well as for pleasure. So, this is one of the books I read for work. My work reviews are much shorter because I don't want to bore everyone to death with stats and other things of that nature. On with the review:

This was a well written book. It focused most on Baptists and Evangelicals, but that's ok. It had some great things to say about small group ministry and the role that it plays in the church. It said that small groups are a great way to know when people are falling through the cracks at church. In a small group people notice that you are missing, whereas in a large group setting it is easier for the fact that someone is gone from church to go unnoticed. There was also some interesting stats on why folks are leaving churches. The most talked about reason in the book was because they felt like their church wasn't catering to their needs as much as they thought they should be. Overall, I think that someone from any denominations can glean some valuable insights that they can put to good use in their congregational setting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter

This book was my first Netgalley read. I'm a big fan of what Netgalley is doing. If you have a kindle you should be taking advantage of their service.

On to the book. This was my first foray into the steampunk genre and I have to say that when I first started this book I was very confused as to what was going on. However, as I progressed through the book I started to get more and more into the plot and the characters.

Jeter does a phenomenal job of painting a scene and developing his characters. I could actually picture myself walking through the dank streets of London at night along with the main character. The main character in this book is Mr. Dower and he is one of the most unassuming main characters that I have come across in a long time. He just seems to be a plain old guy that gets caught up in one mess after another.  If I had his luck then I would never leave my home ever again. It is interesting to watch how he gets himself into trouble and then subsequently gets himself back out of that same trouble (with a little help from time to time). I believe that many of you will really enjoy his character.

As far as the plot goes, as I have said, I was confused at first about where I was heading in this book. But, as I read on the plot pulled me in and made me want to keep reading long into the night. Jeter spun a fantastic tail of science fiction set in old London. If your are a science fiction fan then I suggest that you pick this book up as an interesting alternative to what you may be used to reading.  

Overall rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Book Haul

Here is what I've gotten from Borders in the last week or so:

I'm excited to get into these books. I know I'm behind on reading the Mortal Instruments books but that's ok. I still have some netgalleys to get to on my Kindle before I can start on these. For those of you who don't know Matthew Pearl, he's an adult fiction writer that's got some pretty great stuff. You should check him out if you are into adult fiction.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Broker by John Grisham

In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive—there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

*Excerpt from Goodreads

This is another novel in a long line of great books by John Grisham. You know it's going to be a fun book when the CIA is leaking someones whereabouts just to see who kills him. When I read the jacket of the book I was afraid that they may have given too much of the plot away. I was wrong. There was still plenty of suspense and drama to be had. This book had me guessing how it was going to end until it was over. I must admit that I didn't guess right at all. 

The characters in this book are well rounded and well developed. It seems that Grisham takes great pride in developing the characters and the settings of his books and it shows. The chase in this book takes you into 3 or 4 different countries and crosses paths with many, many people. 

If you are a mystery fan or a Grisham fan then this book is a good read for you. It's not as good as "A Time to Kill" or "Runaway Jury" but it's by far better than "The Brethren" (those references will make sense to the Grisham addicts out there). 

Overall Rating: 4/5

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Favorite Authors

I decided that it was time to post something other than a book review on here. I thought I would give those of you that actually read this blog a taste of something new. So, I've decided to talk a little about my favorite authors. I read a lot of YA lit, but at the end of the day I always come back to these two authors.

My two favorite authors are Dean Koontz and John Grisham. I could sit and read their books all day everyday. The first book that had a real impact on me as a reader, and to this day is still my favorite book, was "Intensity" by Dean Koontz. The plot was amazing! It was also the first book I read that switched points of view. I literally couldn't put the book down. Grisham also has a way of keeping me on the edge of my seat. I once read his book "Bleachers" in 4 hours. I don't know what it is about these two guys but they just have a way of captivating me as a reader.

I have a few other books in my TBR pile to get through first, but after that I am anxiously anticipating reading the Frankenstein Series by Koontz. It looks amazing.

Here are a few book suggestions from each author if you are interested:

Seize the Night
Odd Thomas
The Husband

The Broker
The Appeal
Runaway Jury
A Time to Kill

I hope you enjoyed this post. Who are your favorite authors? Feel free to leave them in the comment box or via a link to your blog!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I had high hopes for this book as I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. I have to say that I was somewhat let down by this book. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I really struggled through this book. It wasn't that there wasn't as much action in this book, because there was plenty of action, but this one just seemed predictable in many parts.

The characters just seemed somewhat stagnant in this book as opposed to the other two books. There were a few twists and turns in this book but nothing like the first two. As I said earlier the plot was predictable in parts and boring in other parts.

I don't even have a whole lot to say about it in review of it. It was just ho-hum to me. If you are like me then you are going to have to read the 3rd book because you read the first two, but don't get your hopes up like I did because I don't feel like this book can live up to them.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

To be completely honest; I wasn't all that thrilled with how this book was going along until I got about 2/3 of the way through it. It just felt like the author had run out of good ideas for the book. It seemed as if she was just retelling the first story with the changing of a few names and changing a very small part about the games themselves. I guess what I'm saying is that the book seemed very slow to me.

Having said that, I am totally happy with the book as a whole now that I am done with it. Once I got into the last third of the book the rest of the buildup and story started to make more sense. I hate when books start out kind of slow because I have the tendency to lose interest and not want to finish them out. I'm glad that I didn't do that with this book. Collins found a way to bring it all back around with some pretty exciting action toward the end of the book. The ending of this book just leaves you waiting to see what is going to happen next.

The characters from the first book continued to develop nicely through this book and there were some interesting new characters inserted. It will be interesting to see how they all come together in the third book. My hope for the third book is that it is as gripping through the whole thing as this one was through the last third of the book.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Hunger Games

After watching dozens and dozens of videos and reading a ton of blogs about how good this book, and series, was I decided it was time to pick it up and start reading it. I have to say that this book lived up to the expectations that I had for it. Often times when a book receives so much hype it has a hard time living up to it. This wasn't the case for "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. Collins does a wonderful job of transporting you into a world that I don't think any of us could imagine happening. You feel like you are there at the reaping and you are pouring your heart out with Katniss at what happens at the reaping. You are then pulled into the Capital with her and Peeta as they are preparing for the games. I was on the edge of my seat and turning pages as fast as I could once the hunger games started. I have to say that this book is excellent in terms of plot, character development, and readability. I must admit though, that I am curious as to where Collins is going to go with the next book in the series. She ended it at an interesting time in the story. I guess that's what keeps us book obsessed folks coming back for more though. If the second one is as good as the first one I will be pleasantly surprised and this series may end up being one of my favorites of all time.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

This is the 3rd, and final, book in "The Looking Glass Wars" trilogy. When I started this book I was very intrigued about how Beddor was going to wrap up all the loose ends from the first two books in the series. I have to say I was not disappointed. The only frustration I had with the book was the very abrupt end. The endings to the other two books were awesome, but I have to say that the ending to this one lacked a little bit in my opinion. It did the job of tying everything up but it was so abrupt that it almost felt like he couldn't figure out a proper way to bring it to an end.

Despite the ending I would highly recommend not only this book, but the entire trilogy to anyone that is an avid YA reader. These books take you into the world of Wonderland in a way that I could have never imagined. The trilogy encompasses a great story with many twists and turns that will keep you entertained throughout. It gives a fresh life to many of the classic characters that you remember from Alice in Wonderland. This trilogy does a great job of bringing these characters to life for a new generation of readers to enjoy for years to come.

Overall I would give this book a solid 4.5/5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seeing Red by Frank Beddor

This is the second book in "The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor. I'm always nervous about the second book in a trilogy because it always seems to be the weakest link of all of them. Usually it is just a book full of story build up so that the author has something huge to end it with in the last book. This wasn't the case with this one. Beddor does a fantastic job of making this a fun to read part of the overall story.

The characters progress along very well from the first book and through this one. As you can probably tell from the title the book focuses a lot on the character "Redd". It's fascinating to watch what becomes of her and her cohorts and how that relates back to the other main characters in the trilogy. Along the way there are plenty of twists and turns that you don't see coming at all.

While, in my opinion, this book isn't your typical middle book in a trilogy because it has such a great story that could stand by itself; it does do a wonderful job of making you eager to read the final book. There are plenty of open story lines and ways that this whole thing could still play out. Beddor is a wonderfully refreshing author and I can't wait to read the third and final book in this trilogy.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Alyss Heart can't stand that "master of fantasy" bunk; she knows that Lewis Carroll was nothing more than an incompetent reporter. After she generously shared her Wonderland experiences with this fledgling author, he totally botched the retelling, even mangling her name. Alyss, however, refuses to merely grouse; she and royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan decide to make another emergency excursion down the rabbit hole, opening our eyes to parallel realms that prim Rev. Dodgson never imagined. A refreshing take on a Victorian classic.

Summary from

I have to say that when I first looked at this book I wasn't sure If I was going to like it. My first thought was that the Alice in Wonderland story has been told and retold so many times that I didn't know how someone was going to make it new and interesting. 

I could not have been more wrong. Beddor does a fantastic job of painting a wonderland that is new and different from anything you have ever read about. The characters are the same, but he does a great job of tweaking them just enough as well. For instance, instead of having the "Mad Hatter" you have "Hatter Madigan". Not only is the name different but he also plays a much different role from his counterpart in the Carrol classic. 

The idea of a war for wonderland is fantastic and Beddor does a wonderful job of painting you into that war with the way that he writes. This book moves at a great pace. I never found myself having to fight through certain chapters or parts of the book to get to the next interesting section. 

I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next installment in the trilogy. I hope it meets the high expectations that the first book has set in my mind. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Chima

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn t enough, Jack finds out that he s not just another member of Weirlind he s one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he s in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack s official sponsor, they ll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

Summary from

The Warrior Heir is one of the best books I've read in at least the last 6 months. I'm glad about that because I was kind of on a string of mediocre books and it was getting frustrating. Chima does a fantastic job of getting you hooked from the first page. The book starts out kind of mysteriously and keeps you turning pages to see what's going to happen and how it is all going to tie together in the end. 

The main character, Jack, is a fantastic "hero". He's likable and you always find yourself pulling for him in whatever situation he finds himself in. He is very unassuming and kind of wants to stay out of the limelight. As the book moves along he doesn't have much of a choice in the matter so it's fun to see how he's going to handle himself. 

The storyline of the book is wonderful. It's very intriguing and fun to follow. The book has a great blend of "predictable" stuff and "twists". Just when you think you are honed in on what is going to happen at the end there is a new tweak added in that makes you rethink where the book might end up. There are also points in the book were I laughed out loud because some of the story is told in a small town in Ohio and there are some very typical small town things at play. 

If you are looking for a light read that will keep you entertained then this is the book for you. I can't wait to get into the second and third book in this series. 

My Rating: 5/5

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is a challenge being hosted by Book Chick City at:
I will be starting out at level 1 which is 6 Steven King books. If I get through that then I will shoot for the 12 books that are a requirement for level 2.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

"So that in everything He might have the supremacy."
-Colossians 1:18
Christians have made the gospel about so many things-things other than Christ. Religious concepts, ideas, doctrines, strategies, methods, techniques, formulas, "its" and "things" have all eclipsed the beauty, the glory, and the reality of the Lord Jesus Himself. On the whole, Christians today are starved for a real experience of the living Christ. We know a lot about our Lord, but we don't know Him very well. We know a lot about trying to be like Jesus, but very little about living by His indwelling life.

JESUS MANIFESTO presents a fresh unveiling of Jesus as not only Savior and Lord, but as so much more. It is a prophetic call to restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ in a world-and a church-that has lost sight of Him.
Every revival and restoration in the church has been a rediscovery of some aspect of Christ in the process of answering the ultimate question that Jesus put to His disciples: "Who do you say that I am?"

Read this book and see your Lord like you've never seen Him before.

Summary from

I just finished up this book and I have to say it is one of the best Religion based books I have read in a long time. I read a lot of books in this genre because I work at a church so I like to keep up with what's coming out.

I think the greatest thing about this book is the simplicity of it. The message, at least as I read it, was short and sweet: keep Christ as the center of your life and let Him live through you and in you. Now, that may sound stupid to many of you because we know that that is what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. But, how many of us are actually doing it. This book is a great wakeup call for Christians to examine their lives and take stock as to whether or not they are truly doing this.

The authors do a great job of keeping it moving and not trying to over explain everything. They pull in great quotes from some really well known sources and also from some obscure and surprising sources. There is not an overwhelming amount of deep theological discussion either. You can run into that sometimes in this genre.

This book was a homerun in my opinion. It is written well, gets to the point, and keeps you engaged. Plus, it has a great subject matter...Christ. This book is easily in my top 3 of this genre.

I would give this book a 5/5.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review: Brisingr

OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.
Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

Excerpt from Goodreads

I would have to say that I give this book 3.5/5 stars. I have the same issues with this book as I did with the first two in the series. The book starts out really fast paced and ends in a flurry of action. The problem is that all of this action at the start and the finish comes at a price in the middle. The book is so slow through the middle that it is almost unbearable.

I appreciate good character and world development as much as any reader does, but there comes a point when you go too far with it. Paolini reaches that point and perhaps goes over it. I'm not an author, far from it in fact, but I feel like he could have accomplished the same effect he got with about 100-200 less pages. Don't get me wrong, it's a great story but it takes him too long to tell it.

I will get off of my soapbox now. He does a great job of storytelling at the end and completely makes up for the dragging through the middle. So, I will get the 4th book when it comes out. As far as I know he hasn't set a release date yet for the last book. I hope it's not too far off because I don't want to have to read through all of these books again to remember what happened and why. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

Rating: 3.5/5