January 5, 2019

The Woodspeople by Marc Remus

The Woodspeople is the fifth installment in the exciting and magical Magora Book Series by Marc Remus.

This is Holly’s and her friends’ final year at Cliffony Academy of the Arts. However, there are more pressing issues in Holly’s mind than which independent study classes to take. First, there are those unfortunate incidents concerning one of the professors and the Head of the High Council. Second is her discovery of the Hidden Hill. Third is the horrible condition of the former Unfinished Holly has completed. Fourth and not the least is her search for three Woodspeople whom she thinks survived Cuspidor’s attack and whom she believes can shed some light on the mysterious life of her grandfather, Nikolas.  

While the new members of the High Council are busy finding ways to protect the island from Curspidor’s army, Holly has her own preoccupations. There is Cookie’s suspicious behavior, then a note that leads them to the possible whereabouts of the Woodspeople they are looking for. There is also her discovery of the reason behind Rufus’ too grown-up attitude. Apparently, this is going to be a busy year for Holly and her friends.   

This is the exciting fifth installment and mind-boggling continuation of the Magora Book Series. The suspense and excitement begin at the first chapter of the book and never stopped until the last page. Overwhelming revelations are uncovered such as secret doors and decoys. In addition to the Anches which were introduced in the fourth book, another new creature, Quadler, is featured. The never-ending suspense and shocking revelations make the book a real page-turner. This, however, can be a little exhausting.

Needless to say I enjoyed this book immensely. For a die-hard Magora fan like myself, everything is getting more and more exciting. However, I’m not much into cliffhanger ending but for this one I’m happy to make an exemption. At this point in the series, I’m having mixed emotions. I’m deliriously excited about the ending but I feel somehow sad to say goodbye to Holly, her friends, and the entire fantasy world of Magora.

Congratulations to Marc Remus (@MarcRemusArt) on such a great fifth installment! I’m so looking forward to reading the last book. I’m kind of keeping my fingers crossed, but I don’t understand why J . For more books by the author, click HERE!

January 1, 2019

My 2019 Book List

I have read 118 books in 2018. Just like the previous years, most of them are by independent authors and are self-published. As a professional book reviewer, sometimes I feel like reading books become ‘work’ which, technically, in my case, is true. So, when writing reviews becomes too tedious and stressful, I read for fun. The following list is that of books that I chose to read for personal amusement.

1. Surprise Me by Sophia Kinsella
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
3. Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by
4. Acceptable Risk by Robin Cook (reread)
5. Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts (reread)
6. Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
7. IQ84 by Haruki Murukami
8. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
9. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
10. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
11. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (reread)
12. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (reread)

That looks like a short list, doesn’t it? Well, if you want, you may add your book to that list. Here is the list of the books I read and reviewed in 2018. Mainstream books, however, are not reviewed. They are popular enough as they are and some are even overrated and don’t need reviews for promotion.

15. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
18. The Witch’s Journey by Elaanie S.
24. Brand Real by Vasken Kalayjian
29. Nightmares, The Lost Lullaby by Jason Segel
30. Pillow Talk: The Legend of Lorelie Begins by Daria J. Wagoner
36. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
39. The Manifesto Murders by Nick Airus
57. Angels among Us by Hannah Conway
59. Gone by Michael Grant
60. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
61. Revival from the Shoulder by Paul Juby
69. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
76. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
83. Beyond Wealth to Long-Term Prosperity by Naseem Mariam
99. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
116. I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn
117. The Woodspeople by Marc Remus
118. Of Zots and Xoodles by Zarqnon the Embarrassed

If you want to add your book on next year’s list, you may CLICK HERE. The blog author, however, reserves the right to refuse books that are beyond her field of expertise.  

December 31, 2018

I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn

I Can See Peace is a beautiful children’s book written by Julie Penshorn and illustrated by Jeanine-Jonee Keith.

In this lovely and colorful book, the author shows the readers how peace can be found everywhere. It also shows how it can be interrupted by fights among people. Most importantly, however, the book shows that peace can be found from within any person because anybody has what it takes to solve things in a peaceful way.

It is a charming book for children that shares an important message, that peace can be found anywhere, and though peace is sometimes difficult to come by, it is achievable as long as we are willing to search for it and work for it. The colorful illustrations help young readers to internalize how easy it is to find peace and make peace.

Congratulations to Julie Penshorn (@sunbornstables) on such a lovely book.

December 29, 2018

The Uprising by Marc Remus

The Uprising is the fourth book in the magical children’s fantasy book series, Magora, created by Marc Remus.

Due to an unexpected and shocking discovery about her foster family, Holly, together with her friends Amanda, Brian, and Rufus, urgently goes back to the fantasy world of Magora.

While on their way, they spot a hoard of Unfinished at the banks of Lake Santima in addition to boatfuls of the same creatures heading for the island. As they take another route, they go through the dark forest and find the hidden city of the Woodspeople whom Grandpa Nikolas used to live with.

They arrive at Magora and are met with a series of ominous news. Holly is not just expected to help out, but she is depended on to defeat the Unfinished and save Magora, quite a responsibility for a child, even a powerful Gindar.

The adventure and excitement continue as Holly and her friends go back to Magora to keep the fantasy island safe from the Duke of Cuspidor’s army of Unfinished. The author keeps the magic and excitement on high levels as he gives away a glimpse of the city of the Woodspeople and a slice of the secrets that Professor Kasmera has kept from everyone including the headmistress of Cliffony Academy of the Arts.

As fans of the Magora Book Series go deeper into this fantastical young adult fiction, they witness not only Holly’s gradual transformation from a scared orphan to a strong and courageous leader, but also the transition of the story from an entertaining and delightful read to a more serious and more profound saga that includes unexpected and shocking twists that showcase the author’s creative mind and writing skills.

Needless to say I enjoyed this fourth installment as much as I did the first three books, and I am looking forward to reading the fifth which will be featured on this blog in the very near future.

Congratulations to Marc Remus (@MarcRemusArt) on this exciting and amazing book! For more books by the author, please click HERE.    

December 18, 2018

Psychopath by Jefferey Dawson

PSYCHOPATH: Manipulation, Con Men and Relationship Fraud is an informative book written by Jefferey Dawson.

In addition to the Introduction and the Conclusion, the book has fifteen very interesting chapters. The author gives the definition of personality as well as the factors that affect the personality of an individual and the causes of personality disorders.

The book also enumerates various personality disorders which are divided into three clusters: Cluster A: Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal Personality Disorder; Cluster B: Antisocial (Psychopath), Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder; Cluster C: Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.  

The author discusses the symptoms of a psychopath and the pre-psychopathic child, and includes the professions that the psychopaths find attractive. He also presents a few case studies.  

This is a very interesting, informative, and helpful book. By giving a detailed description of how a psychopath thinks and behaves, the author is able to give the readers an idea on how to spot a psychopath and by describing the worldview of a psychopath, he is able to emphasize how devastating and dangerous it is to live with one.

The book is, fortunately, concise and very easy to read and understand, and except for a short part that includes some statistics in the first chapter, everything about this book is quite interesting and, probably, relatable to a lot of people. Except for several noticeable errors, I like everything about this book.  

Congratulations to Jefferey Dawson on such an interesting and helpful book. For more books by the author, click HERE!

December 16, 2018

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J. M. Bergen

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is an exciting young adult fantasy novel and the first book in the Elandrian Chronicles written by J. M. Bergen.  

Thomas Wildus is turning thirteen. He is a fine boy who loves books, chess, doodle-wars with his best friend Enrique, hanging out with his mother, and magic. It might sound stupid but Thomas believes magic is real. That’s what his father said anyway, before he disappeared seven years ago.

So, when Thomas discovers a strange bookshop downtown, he is so thrilled to be offered an ancient and mysterious book, The Book of Sorrows, by an equally mysterious man. Borrowing the book, however, comes with a set of rules which include absolute secrecy. Consumed by an inexplicable desire to read the book, Thomas willingly agrees.

As soon as he reads the book, however, strange things begin to happen. Thomas is pulled into a strange new world and learns something about his family. And this is just the beginning.

This is an exciting book about magic, family, and friendship. The story begins by presenting Thomas as a serious but fun-loving student, affectionate son, and a great friend. Then, mystery starts piling up as the plot thickens and the readers are sucked into the story. Scenes are described in meticulous detail particularly Thomas’s escape scheme somewhere in the middle of the book. Dialogues between characters, especially between Thomas and Enrique, are funny and realistic for boys their age and the closeness they share.

In addition to the interesting plot and exciting scenes are endearing characters, first of them, naturally, is Thomas. He is a smart and kind boy who is willing to stand up for others, a loving and reliable son, and a student of magic with admirable persistence and unwavering determination. Equally endearing are his best friend Enrique and the magician Squattapus. Finally, though this book is part of a series, the ending is satisfactorily conclusive.

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book immensely. However, I would have appreciated additional details on John Wildus, though I strongly believe there would be more about him in the next books.

Congratulations to J. M. Bergen (@JMBergen1) on such a great book!

November 30, 2018

The Mighty Blue Saves Christmas by M. A. Baer

The Mighty Blue Saves Christmas is an enjoyable children’s book written by M.A. Baer and illustrated by Marita Gentry.

An elderly man in Alaska receives an unexpected visitor, a beautiful white kitten, one snowy night.  He names it Blue and it brings playfulness, excitement, and happiness into his life. However, there is more to little Blue than being sweet and playful, he can also pull a sled fast like a powerful white tiger.

Then, something very special happens and it reveals the true power Blue has and the man finally learns whose gift his sweet little kitten really is.

This is a sweet and enjoyable children’s book set at the happiest time of the year, Christmas. It depicts happiness people get from companionship and helpfulness. Most importantly, it shows that the best gift a person can have is a friend.

I enjoyed the book a lot, not only the mystery that surrounds Blue but also the colorful pictures that grace every page.

Congratulations to M. A. Baer on such a beautiful and enjoyable book!   

November 29, 2018

Ink by Amanda Anderson

Ink is Book 9 of the Defenders MC Book Series created by Amanda Anderson.

Ink is keeping a secret from Angel. It pains him to do this to her, and though it entails a great risk to the life he has built with her, he knows he has to do the right thing.

Unbeknownst to Ink, Angel is keeping a secret of her own. When it is made known, Ink is too pressed for time and too preoccupied with his own sin to deal with it. He leaves Angel drowning in guilt and their relationship hanging by a thread.

This is a moving and touching story of true love. It shows what someone is willing to do and how far he/she is willing to go for the person he/she loves. It depicts how love gives someone the power to forgive the most painful betrayal and how forgiveness can heal the deepest wounds.

The book is told in the third-person perspective. It is an easy read with vividly described scenes. The characters are well-developed and the dialogues of each are quite fitting. Though the premise is not extraordinarily unique, the plot is well-presented and the ending is satisfactory.

Overall, this is an interesting and enjoyable book. However, there are already too many books with this theme. Moreover, though this book may be enjoyed as a standalone, the readers are strongly advised to read the entire series and in proper order, to appreciate it fully.

Congratulations to Amanda Anderson (@AAndersonBooks) on such an interesting and enjoyable book. For more books by the author, click HERE.      

November 16, 2018

The Influence of Military Strategies to Business by MD White

The Influence of Military Strategies to Business: Skills to Help with Problem Solving and Decision Making is an informative and helpful book by M.D. White.

It is divided into twenty-five chapters in addition to the Introduction. It is written to present the parallels between war and business planning based on the principles of the Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu. These principles are divided into two components: knowing oneself and knowing the enemy.

Among the topics discussed in the book include strategic surveillance, transformational leadership, business models, and innovation. Moreover, the author expounds on C3I (command, control, communication, information) as the basis to managing crises, the three most critical market factors (accelerating change, increasing competition, increasing complexity), as well as various defensive and offensive strategies and the application of the Principles of Sun Tzu in business. Furthermore, by analyzing the similarities between an airplane and a company, he is able to emphasize the importance of business models.

Basically, this is an interesting, informative, helpful, and, apparently, well-researched book. It is organized and academically written with a consistently formal tone commonly used in textbooks. By citing internationally recognized brands like Coke, Pepsi, Xerox, Ford, Colgate, Nike, and Adidas, the author is able to reach out to ordinary people, and by sharing the stories of Xerox, Sears, Ford and the battle between Coke and Pepsi, and Nike and Adidas, he makes this book difficult to put down.  

Needless to say, this is one great book that even a non-military and non-business minded person like myself is able to appreciate it. However, with its textbook tone, other readers may find this book not an easy read. In addition, there are a few errors within the entire book which some readers may find distracting.

Congratulations to MD White on such a great book!

November 8, 2018

Messed Up Men of the Bible by Tina Samples and Dave Samples

Messed Up Men of the Bible: Seeing the Men in Your Life through God’s Eyes is an eye-opening, insightful, inspiring, and encouraging book written by Tina Samples and Dave Samples.

With each chapter discussed alternately between Dave and Tina Samples, the book has twelve chapters that feature twelve messed up men from both the Old and the New Testament including King David, King Solomon, Samson, and Judas, among others.

Among the issues explicated include the conceited men, the control freak, the angry, the depressed, the traitor, the physically ill, the wayward, and the lustful, as well as those men who lack integrity, men who lack courage, those with father issues, and those possessed by various demons.

By citing specific verses in the Bible, the authors explain the behaviors of each messed up man and even present reasons that may justify these behaviors. Similarly, the authors illustrate how these messed up men in the Bible behave exactly the same way as the men in our lives. Moreover, they share how the women (mother, wife, lover, and daughter) in these messed up men’s lives dealt with the situations they found themselves in.    

The book offers practical and important advice on how to help these men: to how to live with a controlling man, ways to relax when dealing with an angry man, and the dos and don’ts of living with an angry man.

Each chapter ends with a list of questions for the readers to answer which makes the book interactive and personal, and by sharing their own experiences, the authors make this book very relatable.

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book immensely. It is an easy read, informative, inspiring, and encouraging.

However, some parts may require not just familiarity with but ample knowledge of the Bible. Though regular Bible readers may not find that much of an issue, non-Bible readers may find it a little bit bothersome.

Congratulations to Tina Samples (@tinasamples) and Dave Samples (@davesamples) on such a great book! To know more about the authors, visit Healing Hurting Hearts and DAVE SAMPLES.