November 30, 2018
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 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.
November 16, 2018
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.
November 8, 2018
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.
October 31, 2018
Paralytic State is a metaphysical science fiction written by Steven Orlowski.
Jaron Brundt is a world famous virtuoso guitar player. After replacing the legendary Tod Vas as the lead guitar player for the Darren ‘Loud’ Ray band, Jaron is about to become a big time rock star.
He is in the middle of recording his major label debut with the band when he feels that he is losing his dexterity. Before the end of the recording session, he is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. He is given 3 – 5 years to live. After twenty five years, however, Jaron is still alive, albeit in paralytic state.
A former fan turned Virtual Warden at Aeternalis Federal Penitentiary finds Jaron to be the perfect candidate for a new but secret virtual reality program funded by the Federal government, where a person’s consciousness is transferred to a computer and live in a virtual reality world where he can walk, talk, and play guitar. But once he enters Aeternalis, there is no turning back.
Basically, I love the concept of this book. It brings up the most important issue of all, a person’s mortality. By portraying the main character as an extraordinarily talented young man with a promising career ahead of him, the author successfully presents the glaring truth that life is but temporary. Everything we have at the moment, the things we enjoy in life, the skills we learn, and the special abilities we possess may disappear at any moment and there is nothing we can do about it. No amount of money or fame can buy us health and vigor.
Furthermore, the choice presented to Jaron between living in a virtual world free of sickness and disease and living in the physical world with his family but confined in a wheel chair unable to take care of himself, is a wake-up call. It answers the basic questions ‘what and who are we living for?’
Except for the several errors that make reading a less pleasurable experience, I love the book including the lengthy explanation about ALS and the possibility of a virtual reality program.
October 27, 2018
The Ghost Writer is an easy read paranormal book written by Damon Norko.
Arnold Showalter dreamed of becoming a writer but ended up working in a grocery store. Frustrated and discontented with his life, Arnold died and his dream of becoming a writer died with him.
Now, Arnold has a seemingly unlimited time in the afterlife. In between haunting the Mystic Caverns of the Appalachians, he works at the Orpheum Corporation as a writer and is popularly known as The Ghost Writer, enjoying a celebrity status. Too bad he is no longer alive to savor it.
His fame is due primarily to his ‘straightforward prose’ and ‘vivid portrayal’ of the human condition. Unbeknownst to his readers and fans, Arnold’s realistic depictions of life are inspired by the memories of his past, his dreams, wants, pains, and regrets. With no loved ones to visit every once in a while, Arnold seems as bitter in death as in life.
Then, he meets Clarisse, a young ghost who was a victim of a fatal accident. Even in death, she seems to find a way to enjoy life.
This is an interesting depiction of afterlife based on the author’s imagination. Told in painful reminiscences, the book presents the reality of our limited stay in this world. For me, it is a call for introspection and reality check, for a chance to change whatever needs changing to have a more productive life.
However, I find the plot too ambiguous for my taste and the ending a little inconclusive. Still, I find the book enjoyable.
October 6, 2018
Roadmap to the End of Days: Demystifying Biblical Eschatology to Explain the Past, The Secret to the Apocalypse and the End of the World is an interesting and intriguing book written by Daniel Friedmann.
The book has ten chapters, three appendices, glossary, and endnotes in addition to some figures and tables. It demonstrates a clear biblical time comprising a chronology of actual history until today up to a deadline for the End of Days in 2240 and events relating to the End of Days.
In order to understand the ‘biblical timeline’ to the End of Days, the author explains first the purpose of our existence which is, ultimately, the fulfillment of the Cosmic Purpose and explicates how this Cosmic Purpose can be achieved and how we can hasten the End of Days.
The book discusses the Seven Noahide Laws and mentions the 613 commandments of the Torah as pertinent to the accomplishment of the Cosmic Purpose. Moreover, the author describes historical events where we have been close to the End of Days but failed to get there as well as the prophecies about the End of Days including The Battle of Gog and Magog and the resurrection of the dead. By presenting figures and tables, the author illustrates the parallel pattern of Creation Days and the coincidences between biblical events and recent historical events.
Overall, this is an academically written, very interesting, very intriguing, and, apparently, well-researched book. However, this is not an easy read. It requires not only familiarity with but ample knowledge of the Scripture. Moreover, the flood of details can be very confusing and disorienting. Finally, I find the premise of the book a little subjective.
October 3, 2018
Accidents Happen is a sweet romantic comedy written by Sharon Karaa.
Tabitha Brownlee is getting married in a week. On her way to pick up the rings from the jeweller, the first in her list of errands for the day, Tabitha gets into a freaky accident and ends up trading places with a soul collector. Totally clueless on how to get back to her own body, which is on its way to the hospital with somebody else’s soul in it, Tabitha is taken by the ‘light’ and comes face to face with Death.
While Death is trying to sort out the ‘mistake,’ Tabitha is expected to perform the duties of the soul collector, Mort, she trades places with under the guidance of another soul collector, the steaming hot but downright rude Cooper, a former banker who is atoning for his sins.
Hoping to return to her normal life while performing soul collecting duties, Tabitha gets the chance to evaluate her life and the decisions that she is about to make and marrying a man she is not romantically in love with is the first in the long list of issues she has to deal with.
Told in the first-person perspective of Tabitha, this is a funny, relatable, and touching book about life, death, love, friendship, and fear among others. It is a story about a person’s life’s ‘worth’ as the author masterfully brings up the very important issue about the meaning of life. Though presented in consistently casual tone through hilarious scenes of mischief and chaos, the story is actually a profound examination of life. By giving Tabitha a chance to contemplate on a loveless marriage and showing the seemingly difficult choice Cooper had to make, the book seems to present a challenge to do the honorable thing.
The author creates delightful characters and for some reason, Mort appeals to me the most. He is painfully honest and takes everything slow and easy. Most importantly, he is proven to be far more important in the story than he first appears to be.
Needless to say, I enjoy this book immensely. However, there are some characters and scenes that I find not too important which only made the book longer than it should be.
September 28, 2018
First Family is a poignant retelling of the biblical story of the first man, the first woman, and their offspring written by Alice Langholt.
The first man wakes up in a beautiful garden totally clueless about everything around him albeit in awe of his surroundings. Trusting ‘The Voice’ for guidance, he is completely assured that everything is going to be alright and that he is provided with everything he needs. So, the man goes about discovering the wonder of his world and eventually realizes that he is alone. Then, he wakes up with an ache in his side beside a creature just like him whom he has never seen before. They are Adam and Eve, the first man and woman.
Told alternately between the first-person perspectives of all the characters: Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and God, this is a well-written personal interpretation of the author of the monumental events that took place not only in 'the garden' but also outside 'the garden' after the first man and the first woman were sent away.
The author does a great job with character development which is, apparently, based on how the members of the first family were depicted in the Bible. I can describe the portrayal of each character as convincing and relatable. The author adeptly illustrates the curiosity, the confusion, the sadness, the fear, as well as the hope, the courage, the strength, the will to survive, and the determination to gain God’s favor.
In a seemingly simple retelling, the author successfully brings up significant subjects such as maternal love, paternal love, arrogance, envy, jealousy, rejection, pain, grief, loss, and other human weaknesses. Moreover, she presents how a husband and father should be to his wife and children: provider, protector, companion, leader, and example and how a wife and mother should be to her husband and children: nurturer, supporter, helper, and inspiration.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot and I like everything about it. However, other readers may view the book as subjective and a little presumptuous.
Congratulations to Alice Langholt (@ReikiAwakening) on such a great book!
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.