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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Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: The Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been excited to read this series since I heard it was coming out. It took me a while to get to it, but it's finally time and I have to say I wasn't disappointed with the first book. I love retellings of classic books and Dean Koontz fights over the spot for my favorite author with John Grisham so I feel like this series was tailor made for me.

The prodigal son is a wonderful book. It's well told and has a bit of a dark edge to it, which is one of the reason I love reading Koontz books. The characters that Koontz paints in this opening novel are fantastic. You have the 2 overworked cops, the original Frankenstein monster, and Dr. Frankenstein himself. I won't give you names so that you can figure out who is who all by yourself :) But, the characters are well rounded. You get just enough knowledge about them to keep you wanting more.

The setting for this book is perfect. New Orleans is already filled with intrigue and mystery, but then you throw in Frankenstein and his original monster looking to get even with the man that created him and it's a recipe for some fun.

This series will not be short on action. I would tell you what happens in the first book, but I hate writing spoilers. If you have taken my book recommendations before and not been disappointed then you HAVE to pick this series up and start reading it. You won't regret it.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice

The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining CommunityThe Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community by Jesse Rice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book very much. It had a great deal to say about intentionality. I think that is a topic that is far too often overlooked in our day and age. This book talked about how to be intentional when it comes to your Facebook habits, but also when it comes to life in general. We need to be more intentional about our relationships. We need to invest more time in the face to face aspect of human interaction and not rely so heavily on our social interactions.

This book makes you sit back and look at your daily habits and see just how reliant you are on social media and things of that nature. I would challenge you to read this book and then take a look at your life and see where you fit into the "always on" mentality that seems to be the way of the world today. This book is definitely worth the read.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: The Secret Seekers Society: Solomon's Seal by J.L. Hickey

Secret Seekers Society and Solomon's SealSecret Seekers Society and Solomon's Seal by J.L. Hickey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Secret Seekers Society series (boy that's a lot of s's). Second books are notorious for bombing compared to the first book. That is not the case with this book. Joe (the author) did a fantastic job of keeping this book out of a sophomore slump. This is fast becoming one of my favorite series.

I like the way that Joe develops a plot. There are a realistic amount of twists to his story line, but he doesn't use the to excess. Another one of the things I love about his plots are that he incorporates people and places from history. I won't say more than that because it would be sort of a spoiler. I also like the complexity of the "world building" that takes place in this book. Joe does a great job pulling you into the story with his descriptions of things. Some authors overdo this, but not so in this book.

The characters in this book are so believable. A lot of them wear their emotions on their sleeves and are very relatable (as relatable as they can be for hunting for mythical beasts and relics). You can feel the pain, joy, angst, etc in the characters as your read. The other thing I like is that Joe doesn't overdevelop the characters. Some authors fall into that trap. The only challenging thing when it comes to characters in this series is keeping them all straight. But, it takes a lot of characters to pull off a long and successful series. So it's worth the work.

The readability of this book is fantastic. You don't have to slog through any sections at all. On the other side of the coin, you don't feel rushed in any part of the book either. It's got a nice even-keeled pace that makes for a very enjoyable read.

If you are a fan of mythology, paranormal, suspense, or YA in general then I recommend that you start this series as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed that you did.

My Rating: 5/5

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Harry Potter: A Guide to Hogwarts by H.P. Meredith

First of all, thank you to Harry Meredith and the fine folks at Tablo Publishing for sending this e-book my way. The Harry Potter series was the series that got me back into reading. It had been a long time since I had sat down and read a book and then in the summer of 2003 I cracked open this series and haven't looked back. So, I was excited to get a book regarding Harry Potter.

Harry Potter: A Guide to Hogwarts is an excellent resource material for any Harry Potter fan. This is one of the most in depth books that I have seen on the series. It covers characters, spells, creatures/beasts, potions, history of Hogwarts, and the list goes on. You will be astonished at how much you don't know about Harry Potter. For instance, do you remember what Murtlamp Essence is for? If not, then this book is for you.

I had a great time going back through and reacquainting myself with all things Harry Potter. This book is well written and has wonderful full color pictures. This is a must have for any Harry Potter enthusiast.

This book is available via ibooks.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review: The Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro by J.L. Hickey

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of BladenboroSecret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro by J.L. Hickey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The first thing that I love about it is the title. Who doesn't like secret societies and beasts? The author does a great job of hooking you before you even open the book. It's also a vague enough title that you have no idea what you are really getting into. I like the mystery and intrigue that that causes.

The plot of this book was wonderful. It wasn't predictable and and there weren't a ton of slow moving parts. He did a great job of moving the story along. At the same time, he didn't rush the story either. It's got great balance and enough twists and turns to keep you wanting more. This is the first book in quite a while where I was disappointed when I had to put it down to go do something else.

The characters in this book are relatable and not outlandish in their situations in life. Plus there are enough different characters that just about anyone can find someone to relate to in this book. I loved that the characters were so well developed. They weren't over-developed, which I hate. I didn't have to suffer through pages and pages of what the person wears or what they eat or what their favorite color is. Mr. Hickey does a fantastic job with his character building.

The readability of this book was great. As I said earlier, the pacing was good and the suspense building was wonderful. I think he really nailed it with this book. It's a page turner for sure.

As far as genre goes, anyone who likes fantasy and mystery would love this book. Also, fans of great writing will love this book as well. I can't wait to read the sequel.

Overall Rating: 5/5

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