September 13, 2018
A Side of Faith is a Christian Inspirational Romance Novella and the second book in the Sandwich Romance Book Series created by Krista Phillips.
Rachel Carter is new in Sandwich, Illinois. So, she finds it strange to find a visitor in her doorstep while she is in the middle of repainting her wall. Stranger still is the unexpected presence of the tall man with reddish hair who reminds her so much of someone from her dark and painful past that she has tried so hard to forget.
Determined not to commit the same mistake twice and resolved to wait for the right person whom the Lord chooses for her, Rachel makes it crystal clear that she is not interested in dating.
But Cameron Foster, the red-headed stranger who is nursing a broken heart himself, is not easily dissuaded. With his determination and Rachel’s friend, Maddie’s constant meddling, Rachel may have to reconsider giving him a chance to prove that he may be the person she is actually waiting for.
This is an entertaining, inspirational, and enjoyable romance novella that makes the readers feel hopeful. It depicts the trauma that victims of domestic violence have to overcome as well as the hate they feel towards the perpetrator and the fear that they might commit the same mistake. More than that, however, the book shows the courage and freedom brought by faith in God and His constant love: courage to face whatever is coming and freedom from fear and helplessness.
In addition to the simple but well-presented plot, the author creates endearing characters. Rachel is the empowered woman who refuses to be manipulated by anyone and is trying her best to let her painful past stay in the past while Cameron is the man who gives everything to God and lets God’s plans unravel on their own.
Overall, this is an inspiring and enjoyable book, funny for the most part, emotional then suspenseful. However, I was expecting more from Cameron, not necessarily the clichéd knight in shining armor stuff, but something more impressive and impactful in the story.
Still, I like this book a lot and I recommend it to readers who enjoy Christian inspirational stories.
September 7, 2018
When Angels Play Poker is a religious fantasy book written by Maura O’Leary.
Jimmy is getting ready for a date with a hot chick he just met at the town’s best retirement home when he suddenly dies of heart attack. He wakes up in heaven and meets his elder angel guide, Norm, who informs him that he is, actually, in heaven and a guardian angel himself, albeit a Level 1.
Jimmy is so excited to meet with long dead relatives especially his sister, Pat. However, as much as he wants to hang out with her, he is given his first assignment, Maura, who happens to be his brother’s girlfriend.
Maura is a very special person as Jimmy gets to learn eventually, and together with Pat and the rest of the angels who watch over Maura, in between or while playing poker, Jimmy will do everything in however little power he has to help her out.
This is a feel-good book about life after death and interactions between terrestrial and celestial beings. The book depicts how the author imagines heaven is like with pearly gates, fluffy, soft, warm, and comfortable beds and dead relatives playing poker with one another.
It is, first and foremost, funny and entertaining. It is told in the third person perspective using informal conversational tone making the book an easy read. The author did a great job in describing not only the settings both in heaven and on earth but also the emotions of each character particularly Maura’s.
This is, undoubtedly, an enjoyable book especially for those readers who enjoy stories about celestial encounters. However, I had a hard time connecting the game of poker in heaven with Bob and Maura’s problem on earth. Moreover, though Maura’s character profile is sufficient to make her relatable, I found Jimmy’s character as a former con-artist not adequately established. A short backstory on Jimmy may suffice. Furthermore, I found the ending less conclusive than I hope. Finally, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book like The entire family was in shocked and Who did not accomplishing anything and misspelled words like breathe instead of breath and starring instead of staring.
Congratulations to Maura O’Leary (@M_OLearyAUTHOR) on such an enjoyable and entertaining book!
September 4, 2018
Law of Attraction Master: 7 Steps in 17 Little Days is a helpful, informative, enlightening and inspiring book about how to manifest abundance written by Steven Marie.
In addition to the prologue, the book has seven chapters, a chapter for each step. Chapter 1 presents five steps to be followed for the first three of the seventeen days of this lesson; Chapter 2 introduces a 10-day diet for gathering energy, and Chapters 3 to 7 offer lessons on focus, action, pre-success, strong feeling of success and accomplishment of mission.
The author features various topics including quantum mechanism, servomechanism, autosuggestion and lucid dreaming. Moreover, the book discusses the three layers of the mind (conscious, subconscious and unconscious), seventeen layers of consciousness and various crystals and their uses to raise vibrational level.
Overall, this is a very informative book and I enjoyed reading it. However, other readers may find some explanations too technical and looking up for words like prana, chakra and chi may be a little bit bothersome. Moreover, the recommended diet sounds tough and the crystals may be a tad difficult to obtain.
Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and maybe someday, I would be able to follow it and master the law of attraction which sounds very rewarding.
Congratulations to Steven Marie on such an interesting book!
August 23, 2018
Fighting to Win is the first book in the Elite Book Series created by Nicole Flockton.
What star swimmer Mitch Osborn and World Champion diver Julia Ashland have is the real thing. Then, a scandal turns Julia’s world upside down. Not only does she need to toughen up and prove her innocence but she also needs to protect the one she loves, even if it means breaking his heart and hers in the process.
Now, it’s the Olympic Games and Julia comes face to face with Mitch. With the scandal still not far behind her, she is torn into several pieces. A piece wants to prove her worth in the diving team, another piece wants to protect Mitch at all cost, and still another longs for him and what they had.
With the backdrop of the 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016, this is an enjoyable book about love, for sports and for another person. The author describes the extreme workout and strenuous training that athletes undergo in the name of their beloved sports. Moreover, she portrays not only the hardships they have to face and the sacrifices they have to make but also the reward that awaits the winner.
The author did a good job in presenting the story by starting with the scandal already over. It makes the book so much more interesting in that a question hangs in every meaningful word, spiteful comment and hopeful thinking. In addition to the interesting premise, the author created a set of well-developed, admirable and endearing characters. Both Julia and Mitch are tough, passionate and dedicated athletes, but while Julia is selfless, Mitch proves himself to be understanding and forgiving, qualities that not all men possess.
However, I found the plot, somehow, predictable. With no shocking and unexpected revelations, the story seems too simple and traditional, which may be a good thing for a certain set of readers. Moreover, I noticed some errors within the entire book which are thankfully very few.
August 21, 2018
Hello, there! I just want to share another exciting news to all bookworms out there. Ms. Victoria Randall, author of the Children in Hiding Book Series, a suspenseful and exciting dystopian thriller, just released another book last month, The Witchstone.
The Witchstone is an adult dark fairy tale that features an exceptionally beautiful witch and an enigmatic wizard. I have the honor of reading it and featuring it here on this blog.
The Witchstone was actually published in 1974 and though the author made slight revisions, the old and the new versions are essentially the same. What more, Ms. Randall also released TheWizard’s Gift, the backstory that will shed some light on questions readers might have about the stone and how it came to the witch’s possession.
Ms, Randall is also the author of The Golden Helm which I also featured here on this blog.
Q. Do you have a special ritual to set yourself in writing mode?
A. No, I just snatch moments when I can have relative quiet to think. Between my husband watching Spanish novellas which usually feature screaming or wildly weeping women and my grandson needing help, those moments are rare. Usually they are late at night.
But I keep a pen and notebook at my bedside, because inspiration frequently strikes at night.
Q. When did you realize you wanted to be a book author?
A. I don’t describe myself that way. I just enjoy writing books. I needed to make a serious living, and not being Charles Dickens, chose a more secure career in nursing. Besides, you can’t swing a cat without hitting an author, whereas nurses are in demand and useful. If you had stomach pain which would you rather have next door, a writer or a nurse?
Q. How do you come up with names of your characters?
A. Sometimes they just appear out of nowhere. Other times I go through lists of baby names.
Q. Do you prepare and follow an outline?
A. Absolutely. Every time I try to pants it, I end up with pages of stuff that go nowhere. At least I need to know how it ends. I usually read the end of books also, because I like to be prepared if it’s going to end tragically.
Q. Do you ever consider co-writing a book? If yes, with whom?
A. I’m afraid not. I know few other authors in person, and those I know don’t write scifi or fantasy.
Q. What is the best thing about being a writer?
A. An occasional fan letter is nice. But I enjoy the process and the challenge of exploring ideas and worlds in succinct yet evocative ways.
Q. As a book author yourself, do you have a book that you consider your favorite. If yes, what is it?
A. My favorite books are Charles Williams’ spiritual thrillers, and the best of those is The Place of the Lion. Although his style is obscure at times, he manages to combine exciting adventures, such as dealing with an escaped lion, with supernatural elements such as Plato’s Ideas being real creatures.
Q. What are your purposes in writing books?
A. My purposes are first, to entertain, second to present a Christian worldview in well-written fiction. I try not to be in-the-reader’s-face about it, but it’s just there in the background and the assumptions.
Q. How do you get over writer’s block?
A. I haven’t really had the problem of writer’s block. If I know where the story is going, I start writing it. It will often be clumsy and incoherent at first, but you can always go back and revise. In fact, you must go back and revise, but at least you can see in what direction you’re heading.
Q. If The Witchstone is ever turned into a movie, who would you like to play Sibele and Fenrulf?
A. Strangely enough when it first came out, there was talk that Warner Bros was interested in the film rights. I wasn’t enthusiastic, because I was afraid they might make a horror film out of it because of all the dark elements in it. But if it were, I think David Giuntoli, from Grimm, would make a good Fenrulf, and Scarlett Johansson a lovely Sibele. It won’t happen, but what fun to fantasize!
That was great! Yes, and it's not only so much fun to fantasize it is also absolutely free!
Thank you very much Ms. Victoria Randall (@Entlover27)! I’m looking forward to reading more of your books.
You may check out the other books of Ms. Randall featured on this blog:
August 18, 2018
No Peace After War: Twenty-Six Short Stories and Poems Illustrating Life After Combat is a collection of moving and unforgettable stories and poems depicting the life of soldiers, and those of their loved ones after military service, written by Claire St. Hilaire.
With a foreword by SPC Dennis Murphy, the entire book collection is told in alternating perspectives between first and third person. The stories are arranged in alphabetical order, with Abandoned being the first and Zenith being the last. The author uses descriptive words lavishly portraying not only vividly detailed scenes but also the profound and innermost feelings and emotions of characters.
The stories and poems depict the pain, the suffering, the guilt, the nightmares and references to untold horrors that plague a former soldier’s nights. Moreover, they portray the anguish suffered by widowed wives, orphaned children, bereaved girlfriends as well as the sorrow of the family from witnessing the changed behavior and the entire personality of the returning warriors. Furthermore, they told not only of death but also of life of service and honor. Mostly importantly, however, the stories/poems glorify the sacrifices of the veterans so that we, civilians, would continue to live in peace.
This is a touching and moving book that gives us a glimpse of a world we know nothing about and which we will never understand. I particularly like the stories: Betrayed, Guts, Knowledge, Left Behind and Zenith.
The author also includes a Crisis Information chapter for veterans in crisis.
August 12, 2018
World, Incorporated: A Modern Dystopia is a suspenseful political thriller written by Tom Gariffo.
Agent Sliver is the personal covert operative to the CEO of World, Incorporated, one of the five supercorporations that practically run the country in the year 2058. With a hazy past and a dicey future, Agent Sliver lives in the Chrome Wind, an airship with several state-of-the-art systems including a talking computer that serves as his companion and the closest he gets for a friend.
Agent Sliver’s life is ostensibly simple. He works for the CEO of World, Incorporated by eliminating possible threats to the supercorporation in exchange for a lucrative compensation package which include the Chrome Wind, an indeterminate credit points for his purchases, a supply of Serum that he very much needed to function, and an outstanding promise of revenge against the CEO of a rival supercorporation. Then, an unexpected turn in one of his missions disrupts his routinary existence.
This is an exciting and suspenseful thriller that depicts the possible future of the United States of America. Personally, I find it well conceptualized albeit a little complex which other readers may find more exciting. The writing style varies from casual and conversational with a predominantly sarcastic tone to journalistic and academic. The major character is well-developed with a sense of humor and relatable need for revenge. However, other readers may have mixed or even conflicting emotions toward Agent Sliver. I, for one, find him compassionate one instance and callous the next. Finally, though I prefer it to be more conclusive, I enjoyed the ending of this book which somehow promises more from the author.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable read with its shocking revelations and unexpected turns of events. However, I find it too detailed for my taste, thus a bit verbose. Though this is generally a good thing, other readers may find it taxing. Moreover, I noticed errors within the entire book which, though only a few, may detract from the overall reading experience.
Congratulations to Tom Gariffo (@TomGariffo) on such a great book!
World, Incorporated was OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on August 1st 2018. You may check it out at Online BookClub.
August 2, 2018
Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the fifth book in the exciting young adult fiction book series Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency created by Iain Reading.
Kitty is in Rome. With her trusty De Havilland Beaver seaplane tied up at a small marina in a tiny fishing village on the coast, Kitty, after so many adventures, finally meets again with Charlie.
After feasting on the best ravioli, enjoying an authentic Italian dessert and an unfortunate encounter with a wheelbarrow full of walnuts, Charlie and Kitty meet new friends. And before the night is over, they make an astonishing discovery, that of a stolen Van Gogh painting hiding in plain sight, or probably more.
This is another exciting installment in the delightful Kitty Hawk book series. It features numbers stations, decades-old cryptic radio broadcasts, unbreakable mathematical codes, decoding pads, coded and hidden messages, and notes on a musical scale. Moreover, the story takes the readers not only to the streets and alleys of the eternal city of Rome but also to the historical city of Nuremberg, the former Nazi Concentration Camp of Dachau and the breathtakingly beautiful old town of Salzburg with references to the Cathedral of Light and the famous classic musical film the Sound of Music.
As with the first four books, this installment is filled with puzzles, riddles, mysteries, and of course, chasing scenes. Though I find this particular book less suspenseful than the previous one Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic, it is just as informative and as interesting.
Finally, while the most important part of the book for me is, and always will be, the information imparted and integrated in the story, my favorite is that part about Kitty and her realization regarding the movie Sound of Music. I find it so hilarious that I think I will never get over it, ever.
July 30, 2018
Hello, everyone! I’ve got an exciting news for you. Mr. Marc Remus, the multi-talented author of the Magora Series, a delightful fantasy book series for children, just released a new book for young adult, The Language Thieves, and I got so lucky to be among the first to read it and feature it on this blog.
The Language Thieves features a group of teenagers investigating an elusive tribe that steals people’s languages. It is set in a small but seemingly charming Scottish island and just like his other books, it is so exciting and suspenseful.
In regards to that, Mr. Marc Remus granted me a Q & A that I’m so glad to share with you. Please read on and let us know more about this talented author together.
Q. Who is the greatest influence in your writing?
I can’t really say that I ever made a conscious decision to be influenced by someone. But of course, there are authors I like more than others. I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss and Michael Ende. I also enjoy old fairy tales from all over the world.
My children’s book series Magora was obviously influenced by the Harry Potter series. I started writing the series in the 90s. At that time Harry Potter was just starting. Even though I didn’t read this classic until ten years later, the hype in the media must have influenced my story. However, it was not a conscious decision and the similarities also vanished with the follow-up books.
Q. Do you have any celebratory ritual every time you finish a book?
I don’t really have a celebratory ritual when a book is finished because it is hard to say when a book is really completed. Once I have the book written it goes into editing. When the story has gone through a few rounds of structural changes with a professional editor it goes into the proofreading stage. When all this is completed then I have beta readers suggesting changes. So along the way there are constantly changes taking place. When the book is published and I receive the print copies I know that it is mostly finished. But even then, readers sometimes discover errors. Then I have to go back and change things for the next edition. But I do go out with some friends for drinks when I have the print copy in my hands.
Q. How long do you develop a character?
It really depends on the character. Some characters have developed in my mind for years, but never had the chance to be used in any of my books. So when I finally use them they are fully grown. Others are being developed as I write the book. Holly in the Magora series grew slowly over a period of 20 years while Daniel, in my latest book The Language Thieves, was developed in a year.
Q. Do you prepare and follow an outline?
Yes, call me Mr. Outline. Some of my fellow authors and editors think I am overdoing it because I use outlines that can be 50 or more pages long. I write whole conversations in my outline before I start writing the first draft.
It is very time consuming but it saves me a lot of time later because I never have to delete entire chapters as some authors have to do. Once the outline is done 60% of the work is completed. Anything that follows I call “cosmetics” because I just beautify the language to make it accessible to the reader.
Q. Do you have a designated ‘writing spot’? If yes, where or what is it?
Not really! All I need is a quiet, peaceful environment without any people. Usually I work best in nature. I have written on a lake, a swimming pool, a river or a forest. I just need a laptop and paper and time for myself without any distractions. Unfortunately, these opportunities are rare today and so I really have to cut myself off from civilization if I want to get a new outline done.
Q. What is your ultimate dream as a book author?
I love movies, and I have studied acting for a while. So it would be a dream to see one of my books on the big screen.
But film adaptions are like a lottery win, so I am working on a smaller dream that seems to be more realistic. I would like to see my books published in different languages. As a translator, I was able to translate the first Magora book into German myself. After that I have worked with a translator on the Spanish version, and currently I am working on a Mandarin version with a translator. They all should get published in the next two years.
Q. How do you come up with ideas for your books?
I always hear from readers that they can’t come up with ideas and that you need to have talent and inspiration to be creative. To a certain extent this is true, but you can do a lot to learn how to be creative. I usually don’t have a sudden flash of inspiration that enlightens me and pops out a book idea. I sit down and jot down some topics. Then I start asking myself “what if?” questions. From this I come up with many weird ideas. Then I sort through them and discard the ones that are useless. Once I have found one interesting idea I start asking more “what if?” questions. This narrows down the topics until I come up with one good idea.
Q. In your experience as a writer, is there such thing as ‘best time to sit down and write?
Yes, I believe there are good and bad times for writing. But this is very subjective. For me it doesn’t make sense to write if I am tired, stressed out, or have to meet deadlines. I don’t get very creative when I am pressured. I have to have all my chores completed before I start writing. Otherwise these to-do things will be in the back of my mind all the time. I need the full capacity of my brain to plan out a new story so everything else needs to be off my mind. But I know from fellow authors that some can only write when they are being pressured. Every author is different in this respect.
Q. Do you consider writing your own memoir in the future?
I have lived in Germany, California, Arizona, Florida, Honduras and Japan and have studied many subjects over the past 30 years; anything from painting and acting to Cultural Anthropology and Japanese. I visited over 1000 cities in over 60 countries, survived cancer and organized dozens of painting exhibitions. So I have been asked many times if I would write my memoirs because people consider my life to be quite interesting. However, I have to disappoint you. I have no plans to ever write my memoirs. Real life is not interesting enough for me to write about. I prefer to take readers away to fantasy worlds full of magic instead of keeping them rooted in real life.
That is why my next project is a children’s book that will take readers to a world full of chocolate and sweets.
Q. If ‘The Language Thieves’ is ever turned into a movie, who would you like to play Daniel, Connor, Jenny and Emily?
I think for young adult books it is very hard to pick someone for a movie. Any of the actors/actresses who are now young adults would be too old in a few years to play the roles of my characters. So I believe that new teenagers would have to be cast if the book ever became a movie. But I certainly would love to be part of that casting process and pick the actors/actresses. For adults it is a different story, and for the Magora series I had already set my mind on a few well-known actors/actresses. But for The Language Thieves I am not really set. However, I could see myself playing one of the language thieves, just like Hitchcock made short appearances in his own films.
There you have it, everyone!
Thank you so much Mr. Marc Remus (@MarcRemusArt) for taking the time to answer my questions. I enjoyed this Q & A a lot and I believe our readers enjoy it as much as I do.
You may check out the author’s books as featured on this blog:
The Uprising (will be featured in the near future)
July 26, 2018
A Father Offers His Son: The True and Greater Sacrifice Revealed through Abraham and Isaac is an inspiring and uplifting book written by Scott LaPierre.
The book has nine enlightening chapters that highlight and analyze a very important biblical event; that of Abraham’s offering his son Isaac in the book of Genesis.
In his careful and thoughtful analysis, the author presents the parallels between Isaac, son of Abraham in the Old Testament and Jesus, the son of God in the New Testament leading to a conclusion that the Old Testament is actually about Jesus and that the offering of Isaac prefigures the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the propitiation of our sins. The author examines Genesis 22:1-19 phrase by phrase and creates an inspiring, uplifting, enlightening, hopeful, reassuring and beautifully written book that every Christian should read.
Needless to say I enjoyed this book a lot and I love everything about it. Unlike other religious books, it is an easy read even for laymen. It reminds Christians of the unimaginable magnitude of God’s love for mankind as manifested by Jesus’ sacrifice. It inspires the readers to be the good Christians they should be by emphasizing the importance of submission as exhibited by Isaac and obedience through Abraham’s examples.
Furthermore, the book offers interpretations that even regular Bible readers may find surprising like appearances of God the Son in the Old Testament.
However, though deep and thorough knowledge of the Bible may not be required to appreciate this book, familiarity with famous Bible stories like Jonah and the Great Fish, Ishmael and the Bride of Isaac would make this book more enjoyable to read.