All posts by Arwen

Tales of the Not Forgotten: Review

Tales of the Not ForgottenTales of the Not Forgotten
by Beth Guckenberger
208 pages
Genre: Christian Nonfiction, Middle Grade
Release date: May 1st 2012

Synopsis:

Follow these real-life stories as they take you on a journey to faraway lands and unknown faces. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver writing endings you’d never imagine!

Joel dares to ask for what he can’t have. Seraphina sacrifices what she can’t afford to give. Ibrahim looks for an answer buried out of reach. Christiana, saved by a mission, searches for her own.

These are the tales of the ones the world doesn’t see . . . the tales of the not forgotten.

In this collection of four real-life stories written for preteens, a compelling storyteller paints a picture of God’s dynamic movement in four foreign cultures, inspiring children to trust that God is weaving a story in their lives as well.

This resource will shrink the macro picture down to approachable, individual stories of real children and teach about fundamental survival issues. The stories address some of the challenging questions that kids have and weave God’s promises to orphans into each one.

Review:

This book was assigned reading for one month of my course at KidMin academy, but I wanted to review it here because it was just such a great book. In fact I have only had it since April and already I’ve read it, my mother read it and my Grandmother read it twice.

It’s a very easy read and we all practically sat down and read it in one sitting. Besides that you’ll be sucked into the stories and WANT to finish them.

The stories are engaging, engrossing and well written. Although they tell of hardships and struggles they will just charm your socks off. I fell in love with Joel in the first story (also it got me kinda teary eyed.)  I was heartbroken for Seraphina. I was charmed by Ibrahim.  I was encouraged by Christiana.

These four stories are filled with such hope and faith and love that they are bound to both encourage and challenge you.

Bottom Line:

This book is part of the storyweavers series and I can understand why it’s called that. The stories are artfully crafted and a real treat to read. I highly recommend this book.

Goodreads / Amazon

Gifts for Book Lovers

August 9th is Book Lovers Day
via Goodreads

Today is #BookLoverDay! In honor of the day I think you should…

  1. Bring your favorite book lover a cup of tea/coffee/ their drink of choice
  2. Rub their feet while they relax and read.
  3. Say “yes” to their requests to preorder all the books by their favorite authors.

Also this…

and then buy them a bookish gift like one of these:


How will you celebrate Book Lovers Day?

July 2018 Book Pick Ups

July 2018 Book Pick Ups

For Kindle:

Never: (Prequel to The Amber Isle)
Why I Got It: Offered in Authors Newsletter
What I hope to get out of it: A main character named Never sounds like a great setup for adventure.

What If Everybody Said That?
Why I Got It: During Amazon Prime Day you could get all of their Kindle First Reads, so I did.
What I hope to get out of it: A lighthearted lesson in kindness.

Whisper Me This: A Novel
Why I Got It: Amazon Prime Day
What I hope to get out of it: This doesn’t seem like my type of book, so I’m not sure what I’d expect.

The King Tides (Lancaster & Daniels Book 1)
Why I Got It: Amazon Prime Day
What I hope to get out of it: High octane mystery.

The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores
Why I Got It: Amazon Prime Day
What I hope to get out of it: While the setting of the Azorean Islands sounds intriguing I’m not that into memoirs.

Beautiful Exiles
Why I Got It: Amazon Prime Day
What I hope to get out of it: Again it’s not my type of book, so I probably won’t be in a hurry to read it.

A Killer’s Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery Book 1)
Why I Got It: Amazon Prime Day
What I hope to get out of it: Sounds like an episode or spin off of Bones.

A Darker Shade of Magic
Why I Got It: Freebie for signing up at Tor.com
What I hope to get out of it: There has been so much buzz about this series, I’m glad to get it and to jump into the world of alternative London’s.

Underground and Exile
Why I Got It: I’m on the authors newsletter list and it looked like an interesting sort of dystopian series.
What I hope to get out of it: A good dystopian read.

Era of Undying
Why I Got It: The author contacted me through my website.
What I hope to get out of it: It has an interesting premise for a fantasy story. I think it’ll be an interesting read.

A Shadow in Summer
Why I Got It: A freebie for being on the Tor email list.
What I hope to get out of it: I’m not sure, reviewers seem to be split on this fantasy series.

From The Library:

A Graphic History of the American West: The Oregon Trail
Why I Got It: The soon-to-be 8 year old has been interested in the Oregon Trail and pioneers this summer.
What I hope to get out of it: A way for her to better visualize life on the Oregon Trail.

The Science of Good Cooking
Why I Got It: I’m not into recipe books, I prefer to learn how and why things work and cook by that knowledge, so this book sounded perfect.
What I hope to get out of it: Can I please learn how to make good bread?

What we’re into:

Personal Reading – The Heart of Abshire House
Reading With the Miss S – Little House in the Big Woods
Listening to – Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs, Vol. I
Watching – Ha! I wish. We’ve been too busy to watch anything.

Follow Friday 2: Book Bloggers I Enjoy (And Think You Will Too)

This is not the same as the feature and follow Friday meme,  I’m not ready for another weekly meme on my blog. This is the old fashioned Follow Friday, where I say, “Hey I like these blogs and think you will too!” These are four bloggers who I have bookmarked and check often.

FLYLēF

FLYLēF Young Adult Book Blog for Reviews and Giveaways

Experience the magic of great writing coming together to build breathtaking worlds in our minds’ eyes. Happiness is a book away, find it at FLYLeF.

FLYLeF runs a lot of Guveaway Hops, which is how I found the blog, and also seems to be a fan of Kat Ross books (if you read my blog you know I gush about Kat Ross.) I don’t participate in a lot of Blog Hops, but I enjoy reading the Book Spotlight and seeing which books get chosen in the Winner Spotlight. In fact, that reminds me I better go make sure I have my July entry in.

Book Lovers Blog

Hi, I’m Jo, a 21 year old female History & Journalism university student and blogger from Cambridge, UK. As the title of my blog suggests I love books-that’s my entire reason for creating this blog-you’re supposed to write about what you know and I’ve loved books ever since I was able to read so this seemed like the perfect platform for me to share my opinions about the books I read.

I found Jo through the Top Ten Tues meme. I find myself agreeing with her a lot, and our reading preferences seem to over lap a lot. She does quite a lot of book tags, so if you are lost on ideas head her way and take a look at the book tags for lots of great content ideas. She’s also got good stuff on the writing process for the author crowd.

Howling Libraries

My name is Destiny, and I’m a 25-year-old stay-at-home mom who’s been obsessed with reading everything I can get my hands on since I was barely walking. My favorite book genres are fantasy, horror, contemporary, and sci-fi. I primarily read YA/NA and MG books.

Another blog I found through Top Ten Tues. Since I am an adult who enjoys Young Adult and Middle Grade books it’s nice to connect with other blogger who are the same. Agreat thing about the book blogging community it that you don’t ALL have to agree on your favorite reads, or even enjoy the same books. Case in point, she’s a fan of Cassandra Clare, and I’m not. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying her posts though.

X+1 / One More

x1 there's always room for one more

Welcome to the virtual home of @imyril and @deblurred, where we share reviews, rants, rambles and photos. Thank you for popping by.

The door is open and the kettle is on. Make yourself comfortable and poke about.

there’s always room for one more…

A blogger who actually found me through Top Ten Tues and left a comment on one of my blogs, and since I comment back I discovered Imyril too. A prolific blogger who posts nearly everyday, I can’t keep up with that (either in reading blogs or posting my own) but mad respect for hose like Imyril who do. We still trade Top Ten Tues comments… whenever I actually happen to post.

Now…

Introduce me to your favorite book blogger. I love discovering new book blogs and getting to know more people from the blogging community.

Avery & Blake: Series Review

The Strangler VineThe Strangler Vine
by M.J. Carter
369 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release date:  January 30th 2014

Synopsis:

Calcutta 1837. The East India Company rules India – or most of it; and its most notorious and celebrated son, Xavier Mountstuart, has gone missing.

William Avery, a down-at-heel junior officer in the Company’s army, is sent to find him, in the unlikely company of the enigmatic and uncouth Jeremiah Blake. A more mismatched duo couldn’t be imagined, but they must bury their differences as they are caught up in a search that turns up too many unanswered questions and seems bound to end in failure.

What was it that so captivated Mountstuart about the Thugs, the murderous sect of Kali-worshippers who strangle innocent travellers by the roadside? Who is Jeremiah Blake and can he be trusted? And why is the whole enterprise shrouded in such secrecy?

In the dark heart of Company India, Avery will have to fight for his very life, and in defence of a truth he will wish he had never learned.

Review:

I read a preview of this book on First to Read and then immediately put the book on hold at the library.

The Strangler Vine is a very good action-adventure story set in colonial British India. I basically sank into this book and lived with the characters for a couple of weeks. (Although glad I wasn’t in the heat and humidity of the jungle with them.)

You get a real feel for “Company India” and the politics that were at play, but not in a boring kind of way. It’s an adventure filled with mystery. As Avery looses his idealism and naivety, I really felt for him, for India, for the ideals and nationalism that thrust so many people into situations they were unprepared to handle. The corruption that was so obvious was also so expertly hidden, there were so many layers to peal back, the answers come late and come hard. I really enjoyed this book.

Goodreads / Amazon

The Infidel StainThe Infidel Stain
by M.J. Carter
357 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release date: April 30th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s 1841, and three years after we left them at the close of The Strangler Vine, Blake and Avery are reunited in very different circumstances in London. There has been a series of dreadful murders in the slums of the printing district, which the police mysteriously refuse to investigate, and Blake and Avery must find the culprit before he kills again.

Review:

An atmospheric thriller. Once I finished The Strangler Vine and learned there was a second book I checked it out from the library right away.

Although, at first, I wasn’t sure I would like the change of settings from the wilds of India to the grimy back alley’s of London. However, having read the first book, the unease of Blake and Avery at returning to London mirrored my own. Somehow that just worked perfectly within the journey of the story.

You really do sink into these books and travel with the characters. While mystery is not my favorite genre, I’d pick up another Blake and Avery novel any day.

Goodreads / Amazon

The Devils FeastThe Devil’s Feast
by M.J. Carter
432 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release date: March 28th 2017

Synopsis:

Investigative team Blake and Avery find themselves entangled in a case involving political conflicts, personal vendettas, and England s first celebrity chef.

London, 1842. Captain William Avery is persuaded to investigate a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London s newest and grandest gentleman s club a death the club is desperate to hush up. What he soon discovers is a web of rivalries and hatreds, both personal and political, simmering behind the club s handsome facade. At the center is its resident genius, Alexis Soyer, the Napoleon of food, a chef whose culinary brilliance is matched only by his talent for self-publicity.

But Avery is distracted, for where is his mentor and partner in crime Jeremiah Blake? And what if this first death is only a dress rehearsal for something far more sinister?”

Review:

Can the third book in a series be the one to have a sophomore slump?

Most of the disappoint is in the fact that this book spend an awful lot of time with Captain Avery stumbling along trying to solve the mystery without Blake. He’s not a bad character, but the point of have a pair like this is the interaction between the two of them. It’s like trying to enjoy Watson equally by himself when you just know that he is so much more interesting when paired with Sherlock. Avery without Blake just isn’t up to par.

The historical parts of the book are fantastic though! I found myself wondering if the author had also read “Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics.” So much of what was going on with the science in the book related to the themes in Sorting the Beef from the Bull. Of course I’m always interested in historic fiction that focuses on emerging science.

Also this is one mystery book that had me guessing for a really long time. There were simply too many scoundrels to choose from. Too many who had motive and lacked morals.

I also wish we got to see more of London in this book. The setting is pretty narrow and the books spends the majority of it’s time at the reform. And maybe that’s just nit-picky.

I’m not normally a fan of serial mysteries, and maybe this is why. Maybe after a couple of books I’m just not as interested any more, maybe the shine wears off, maybe I get nit-picky. Maybe.

Goodreads / Amazon

Bottom Line:

I really loved the first Avery and Blake novel The Strangler Vine (esp the setting in India.) The second book, The Infidel Stain, was also pretty good, pretty atmospheric. While still being enjoyable the third book didn’t live up to what I had come to expect after reading the first two.

Mewranters: Cover Reveal

Mewranters – Attack of the Sea Monster
Mewranters – Attack of the Sea Monster Synopsis:

If there are no sea monsters ravaging the seven seas, or three-headed hydras prowling our streets, it’s not because they don’t exist; it’s because we exist.
We are the last line of defense against nature’s indiscretions.

We are nature’s police.

We are Mewranters.

When Perry Johnson hits twelve, he finds out he’s a Mew—an almost extinct species of people who possess the ability to change shape into three different forms: an aerial form, a terrestrial form, and an aquatic form.

On the day of his initiation, he shifts into a huge Golden Eagle. But this is a bad thing since no eagle Mew makes it past the age of twelve. To complicate his life, his shifting into an eagle Mew has reawakened the sea monster. A tentative partnership is formed between the different clans. But when Perry Johnson realizes that this partnership could mean the death of his parents, he has a decision to make.

With every Mew in the country out to kill him, and the sea monster calling him out to the sea, Perry must quickly learn why every Mew is threatened by the existence of an eagle Mew if he is to stand a chance at saving his parents and killing the monster. If he fails, it may very well be the end of his family…and the rest of the world.

Add to Goodreads

XBTBanner1

Top 10 Books of 2018 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday #42: Best of 2018 (so far)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top 10 Books of 2018 So FarJuly 10, 2018: Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

Seeing as we’re halfway through the year this seems like the appropriate place to check it. I haven’t read as much as I hope to by this time in the year, but I have read some amazing books.

Best of 2018 (so far):

  1. Fourth Talisman Books by Kat Ross – listing them each individually wouldn’t be fair since I’ve read 3 this year. Read my reviews of Nocturne, Solis and Monstrum.
  2. Clod Makes a Friend – a fantastic fun middle grade read, that I cannot praise enough. My review.
  3. Tales of the Not Forgotten – I haven’t written a review of this yet, but it’s a great missionary story book. I read it (almost) in a single sitting and my Grandmother liked it so much she’s already read it twice.
  4. The Pink Umbrella – A truly lovely children’s picture book. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is very sweet. See my review.
  5. Cinder – Review coming soon! I finally bit the bullet and picked up Cinder and it was everything I hoped it would be.
  6. Roar – Guys I had to wait months for the paperback version, so I know most of the other book bloggers I follow have already read this book. It was amazing, and that last line, gah! It leaves me wanting more.
  7. Ready Player One – Read this one so that we could go see the movie, but then we were so busy when the movie came out we missed it at out local theater.
  8. Unwind – No review yet, but I am planning to review it. I’m still trying to get my head around all the concepts in the book.
  9. Forbidden – I really need to get the next book, because the story feels like it just got started and then the book ended.
  10. Numbers Game – I read the prequel last year as part of the Shattered Worlds boxed set and enjoyed it. A fun YA dystopian read.

Those are my top ten books of 2018. What been the best book you’ve read this year? Let me know in the comments.

June 2018 Book Pick Ups

June 2018 Book Pick Ups

Not a lot of books this month. Which is good, cause my TBR shelves are already overflowing, as is my Kindle. I’ve been working hard to do a TBR take-down this year. For every one new book or ARC I’m trying to read one book that’s been on my TBR shelf for a least two years, and one book from my Kindle. (I know I have a problem… the very best bookish sort of problem.😊)

For Kindle:

The Neverland Wars
Why I Got It: It’s been on my TBR for a while and it was offered for free.
What I hope to get out of it: A fun YA Peter Pan re-imagining.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1)
Why I Got It: It’s been on my Goodreads TBR forever, and I finally had a bunch of Amazon digital credits saved up so I bought it.
What I hope to get out of it: I’ve heard it said this is one of the best Cinderella re-tellings.

Dividing Eden
Why I Got It: Also’s been on my Goodreads TBR for a long time and it was on sale for $1.99.
What I hope to get out of it: A good fantasy read, although people seem to be split on it.

A Home for Leo
Why I Got It: My Kindle First pick for June.
What I hope to get out of it: Not sure, just none of the other seemed interesting.

New Books:

Roar: A Stormheart Novel
Why I Got It: The cover is beautiful and I’ve been hearing all sorts of good stuff about it from other reviewers.
What I hope to get out of it: A good YA Elemental Fantasy.

Where the Fire Falls: A Vintage National Parks Novel
Why I Got It:  Karen is a personal friend of mine, so I always pre-order her latest books.
What I hope to get out of it: A good historical romance with a national parks backdrop.

eBay:

The Toy Campaign (Spirit Flyer)
Why I Got It: We had book 1, and 3-6. Seemed silly not to have book 2.
What I hope to get out of it: We decided that we might never find this in “the wild.” so we opted to buy it from ebay so that we can read the series in order.

What we’re into:

Personal Reading – Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said
Reading With the Miss S – Little House in the Big Woods
Listening to – Innerwish 
Watching – Star Trek: The Original SeriesPrime Suspect: Tennison

 

Monstrum: Review

Monstrum
by Kat Ross
(Fourth Talisman, #3)
350 pages
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: June 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sex and violence (although not graphic in nature except for one scene of royal succession.) Contains LGBT content.

Fourth Talisman series, the hunt is on for the three daevas whose powers saved the world once before….

On the White Sea, realm of smashers and sea monsters, a ship is carrying Nazafareen and Darius to the Isles of the Marakai, where the wise woman Sakhet-ra-katme has guarded the secret of the talismans for centuries. But another is searching too, a daeva born in the brutal prison of the Kiln, who plans to use the talismans to free the Vatras and their mad king. When their paths collide at the emperor’s lavish palace in Tjanjin, Nazafareen and Darius face their deadliest and most cunning foe yet.

In the mountain fastness of Val Moraine, the Pythia’s minions are on the scent of another talisman, this one from the Danai clan. Trapped behind a thick wall of ice, everyone’s going slightly mad—the perfect cauldron of suspicion and betrayal for Thena, who sees a chance to redeem her failure and bring the talisman back to Delphi. Then she’ll be free to indulge her twisted obsession with Darius—and make him pay.

And in Samarqand, Javid is drawn into the treacherous currents of a royal succession. When the old king dies and his son takes the throne, the depths of the prince’s depravity become clear. A journey north reveals the source of the spell dust he’s addicted to—and leaves Javid with an impossible choice.

Review:

See my reviews of Nocturne (Fourth Talisman, #1) and  Solis (Fourth Talisman #2). It’s very hard to review the third book out of a four book series (at least I assume it’s four books. The forth book Nemsis has been announced.)

By this time I am super deeply invested in these characters. I’ve been with Nazafareen and Darius since the beginning. Although you don’t have to read their first series, The Fourth Element Trilogy, it does add emotional weight to the Forth Talisman (and it’s EXCELLENT!)

By this time in the series I’m an emotional wreck because THINGS ARE NOT WORKING OUT! The Pythia and her lackey Thena are ruining everything and Nicodemus is running amok and Victor is going crazy and things are FALLING APART at Val Moraine!!! Ok, Ok… back up.

You probably have no idea what I’m blabbing on about if you haven’t read the first books. Which is what makes this so hard, it’s not a stand alone novel. The story is so big and complicated at this point that its almost impossible to wrap it up neatly for you( and it is most definitely not wrapped up neatly by the end of Monstrum although there is a clear course for our characters to follow.)

The world building and character development are great. It’s why I feel so invested in this series. Every character is well thought out and complex. Even minor characters feel lived in.

The world of Nocturne/Solis is mysterious and familiar, the mythology so well done and the locations are amazing without having to take too much time away from the action.

The plot is complex and rich, every turn is filled with either action, love, or lies.

The Forth Talisman series is excellent in nearly every way and Monstrum is no exception.

It was a book I couldn’t wait to finish and yet dreaded to finish because I know that I there’ll be looong wait for the conclusion of the story. I just couldn’t bear to say goodbye to these characters, leaving them when there was still so much happening.

Bottom Line:

Kat Ross writes binge worthy fantasy stories. Get Nocturne and Solis and Monstrum, lock yourself away somewhere with lots of snacks and read them!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Does God Sound Like? : Book Blitz

What Does God Sound Like?What Does God Sound Like?
by Bernie DiPasquale
Genre: Children’s Books, Values & Virtues, Christian Books
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Release date: September 14, 2016
Content Rating: G

Meet A New Book

Synopsis:

We tell our kids that God is everywhere. Pray and maybe He will answer. But if God is everywhere and has created all things, then He must be talking to us all the time. This is my short story to help my Grandchildren understand they can talk with God all day, every day, everywhere.

To follow the tour, please visit Bernie DiPasquale’s page on iRead Book Tours.

 
Watch the trailer:
Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 28, 2018