Upon Review: Teaching Christ’s Children About Feeling Angry

October 5th, 2015

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry
by Corine Hyman

Five Cup

Does your child have trouble expressing their anger? Do they call names when angry or hit when mad? Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry helps children understand and manage the difficult emotion of anger from a biblical perspective. Once again, Corine Hyman breaks down what the Bible says in a way that children can understand. Like all of Corine’s books, Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry is designed to speak directly to the child, and acts as a discussion starter for children and adults to use together.

The Good…

 

I wish I’d had this book when my oldest child began school. I really think she would have benefited from the Biblical precepts that are written to her level of understanding.

This is simple and easy to understand, something I look for in a children’s teaching book. The best part is that Feeling Angry doesn’t “dumb down” the subject and gives some great Bible verses to back up the basic teachings. That’s not always easy to do when dealing with Biblical takes on tough subjects.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, which would be pleasing to children, and the Biblical tenets are sound.

The Not-so-good…

To be honest, I didn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book. For a child growing up in a Christian household, this is an excellent resource on how to deal with being angry.

The Overall…

I would recommend Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry by Corine Hyman for any parent needing to address anger issues with young children.

Upon Review: Marketing Your Book On A Budget by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

February 13th, 2014

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Marketing Your Book On A Budget by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

 
Five Cup
 

How does an author best get book reviews? What of interviews, blogs and social media? How can a new author expect to be seen while crowding the lane with other authors of his/her genre?

Marketing Your Book on a Budget is tiny for a reason; any author can afford it. But be prepared for the endless information enclosed. You’ll never wonder again about the best ways to speak up about your book, get free advertising, or learn why postcards can help you get the word out faster and easier than any other way.

Plus, once you have downloaded the Kindle version, expect yearly updates for FREE. Just contact us to register via the email at the end of the book. Never be in the dark again when it comes to marketing your book. See what little or no money will really attract!

The Good…

The ideas are simple and easy to implement in the small amount of time most authors have between writing and editing. While a few are the same techniques preached over and over, there are many I found new and creative.

Not only are there a multitude of great ideas to use, there are a number of resources listed that the reader may not be aware of. This is so much better than some of the other books out there that tell you to find out where your readers are, but don’t give you a clue where to start looking.

The Not-so-good…

To be honest, I didn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book, except maybe that it was shorter than I would have liked. However, the simple fact that it is a short book makes it great for quick references.

The Overall…

I would recommend Marketing Your Book On A Budget by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones for any writer looking for a quick reference guide with fresh ideas.

Upon Review: The Dream Keeper (The Dream Keeper Chronicles) by Mikey Brooks

February 12th, 2014

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

The Dream Keeper (The Dream Keeper Chronicles) by Mikey Brooks

Five Cup Must Read

 

 

Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

The Good…

From the start, I was drawn into the lives of Kaelyn and Parker, remembering what it was like to feel like an outsider in junior high. The characters are realistically written, colorful and easily remembered. Information leading to Fyren’s end was subtly woven throughout the story in such a way as to be obvious only after the fact. And what good story doesn’t have a hero’s sacrifice? This one was both obviously necessary and beautifully written. Added to those well-written details was the weaving in of the next book’s story, making the final chapter a satisfying cliff hanger with just the right amount of closure mixed with teaser.

The Not-so-good…

A few of the dreamlings seemed like over-the-top caricatures or thrown together after thoughts. However, dreams seldom make sense and are products of our vivid imaginations, so I suppose it would be natural that some of the characters would be outrageous stereotypes and others would be not quite solid in their description. Keeping that in mind, the comic-like descriptions of those few wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

The Overall…

I would highly recommend The Dream Keeper (The Dream Keeper Chronicles) by Mikey Brooks to middle graders and adults who enjoy well written flights of fancy.

Upon Review: Children of Angels by Kathryn Dahlstrom

January 15th, 2014

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Children of Angels by Kathryn Dahlstrom

Four Cup

 

 

“Not my iPod!” yells Jeremy Lapoint as his day plunges to record lows when Sid Lundahl and his crew stomp on the only nice thing he owns, and Jeremy gets in trouble for fighting. With Dad in prison and Mom struggling to scrape by, Jeremy’s life seems hopeless. 

Until he has this urge to . . . fly. 

One leap and Jeremy soars through the air: with this and his other newfound powers, life is suddenly amazing and wonderful—until—a real-live demon chases him through the school hallways, terrifying him, and making him a freak to his schoolmates. Because Jeremy is the only one who can see the monster, he wonders if being able to fly is worth it. 

As Jeremy tries to fight off demons, he is relieved to get help from Asiel, his guardian angel, who wields his sword and fiercely comes to his defense. Asiel explains that Jeremy is a Nephilim—half human and half angel. After his initial shock, Jeremy’s quest to uncover how he got like this sends him to the Higher Humanity Institute where he meets other Nephilim like him along with a slew of friends and enemies —both human and not. 

In the midst of his strange and dangerous struggles, Jeremy also receives the peace and love he has always longed for but never knew. When called to lead an angelic battle for the truth, Jeremy must decide whether or not he will cling to the one who can win the war or let his old doubts and fears overtake him. 

Fun, danger, friendship, mystery, and faith fill the pages of this exciting book about angels and demons. This is a must-read for kids (and grown-ups) craving adventure with a life-changing message.

“To the Lord of Hosts!”

The Good…

This book struck me as very similar to Frank Perretti’s Piercing the Darkness only with middle graders instead of adults. Since that is one of my all time favorite books, I was excited to see the appearance of angels and demons in the story.

When Jeremy finally decides to take up the call to arms, his heroism is unquestionable. I also enjoyed the turnabouts of several of the characters, some we think are bad choosing good and vice versa.

There was excellent use of scripture throughout the book without dipping into preachiness, something that is very difficult to do. I particularly enjoyed Jeremy’s thoughts at the very end on what the birth of Christ must have been like.

***Spoiler Alert***

The fact that Prouse got away with File Number Twelve makes it quite clear the story will continue. I’ve read some books that try to twist the end so that the bad guy gets away, but it’s done in such a way that it turns out laughable. That’s not the case here. We are left hungry for the next story to see if Jeremy and his group of Nephilim will be able to find the woman and retrieve the file.

The Not-so-good…

The story beginning was a bit more abrupt than I prefer. I think I would have enjoyed it better if Jeremy had discovered his new abilities slowly, rather than making the jump from super strength to flying in a single day. In many ways, his first discoveries reminded me of Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spiderman movie, only without as much build up of “normal world” first.

The descriptions of the demons were a bit comical, as opposed to scary like in Perretti’s book, which disappointed me a little.

Also, while I enjoyed Jeremy’s views on the birth of Christ, it felt a tacked on rather than an integral part of the story.

***Spoiler Alert***

The sudden reappearance of Asiel after he was supposedly killed felt like a cheat, as if the author was afraid to deal with the issue of death. We are told that angels and demons can kill each other, but then Asiel is resurrected. While that does fit into Christian resurrection theology, I don’t feel it was set up very well in the story. Up until the moment Asiel reappears, there’s no mention of possible resurrection.

The Overall…

I believe Children of Angels by Kathryn Dahlstrom is a great adventure for middle grade readers and a nice light read for adults.

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Upon Review: Rescuing Liberty by Amanda Washington

December 16th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Rescuing Liberty (Perseverance) by Amanda Washington

Four Cup Must Read

 

 

Six months ago Liberty Collins was advancing in her career at a prosperous marketing firm and dreaming of a bright future. Now the only thing darker than her nightmares is reality.

In a socially, and economically, collapsed America, Liberty struggles to find the courage to endure, and the strength to protect herself. Her faith, constitution, and sanity are challenged as the lines that separate right from wrong grow increasingly blurry.

Connor Dunstan was a thriving personal injury attorney with a comfortable life and a deeply-buried past. As the country crumbles and provisions dissipate, the survival of Connor and his unforgiving niece, Ashley, rests on his ability to trust someone other than himself.

The Good…

When I first started reading Rescuing Liberty, I wasn’t positive that I would be able to finish it, but I’m so glad I pushed on. The dark beginning firmly sets the reader in a dystopian fantasy world where what’s expected and what’s reality is completely turned around. It’s a fantastic setup for the rest of the story as we are continually thrust into seeing every situation from multiple points of view.

I loved how flawed the characters were and how God didn’t answer all their questions or give them what they wanted. Needs were met, but often in unexpected ways that sent the characters in a tail-spin. While most of us don’t hear the Call like Liberty, it was perfect the way Washington mimics the way God’s instructions come to God’s chosen in the Bible.

Even the romance in the story was well done. It was refreshing to see two characters come together in the midst of such horrible struggles and have neither one come off as whiney or stereotypical romance characters. I was pulled into their personal struggles first and the romance simply bloomed as naturally as a flower planted by a bird in the wild. By the end of the story I was fully invested in seeing Connor and Libby become a couple.

The Not-so-good…

I’m not entirely convinced telling the story in both first person from Libby’s viewpoint and in third person from other character viewpoints was the best choice for the overall story. It jarred me out of the story at first. The further on I read, though, the easier the switch back and forth became until it was almost natural.

The only other problem I had with the book was that there were a few sections that could have used just a little more proofreading. In general, those areas weren’t so bad that I couldn’t automatically make the corrections as I read. There were, however, a couple places that I had to stop and re-read a sentence more than once to figure out.

The Overall…

Rescuing Liberty (Perseverance) by Amanda Washington is second only to Frank Perretti’s Piercing the Darkness as my favorite Christian novel. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys delving past the darkness that hides beneath the surface of us all into the Light of God.

Seed Savers: Heirloom Official Blog Tour

November 16th, 2013

THE STORY SO FAR (Brief Summaries of the first two books.)blog tour

Book One, Treasure:

In a future where processed food is king and gardening is illegal, three friends secretly study about seeds and growing food. Afraid of being caught by GRIM, siblings Clare and Dante run away one night leaving behind their friend Lily and mentor, Ana.

Book Two, Lily:

After Clare and Dante leave, Lily sets out to discover why. Along the way she makes new friends and struggles inwardly when a family secret is revealed. Lily must decide what to do and whom she can trust.

Book 3 – Heirloom Summary & Book info
(scroll down to read an excerpt)

In a futuristic U.S.A. where gardening is illegal, siblings Clare and Dante have escaped to Canada and are living with a host family, enjoying farm life and learning to grow their own food. Attending Garden Guardian class, they meet other refugees and unearth the  history of how they lost their choices about food.

Their friend Lily, who was left behind when they escaped, searches for a father she grew up believing was dead, but whom she recently discovered is alive. To succeed in her quest, Lily must elude GRIM, look for the secret Seed Savers symbols, and find the friends who can help in the search.

Heirloom is book 3 in the Seed Saver Series. The first two books are Seed Savers: Treasure, and Seed Savers: Lily.

 

Chapter 33

 Clare and Dante

heirloom front final At last, midway through March, the cold fingers of winter were pried loose, and sunny, warmer weather heartened the budding gardeners. By the third cloudless day, the beds were dry enough to start the early plantings: cole crops such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and kale, and other cool weather plants like peas, lettuce, carrots, and the onion starts. With most of the class working, it didn’t take long to plant the seeds. Clare was disappointed she had only gotten to help with a few kinds; she wanted to gain as much experience as possible. Dante, however, managed to run around to all of the beds and peek at the seeds, excited at how large or small or round they were. He charmed the adults, who let him put a few seeds in the soil before he dashed off to the next bed. Clare, meanwhile, stayed put, dutifully poking their onion transplants into the ground.

She inhaled deeply, smelling the rich, moist soil. Until her life in Canada, Clare had never realized soil had a scent. It was intoxicating. One of the teachers told the class it was a scientific fact that fumes from good fresh soil, caused by certain microbes, have an effect like antidepressant pills. That digging in dirt makes you feel energetic and happy. Clare wondered what that meant for a country whose citizenry had been deprived of the opportunity to dig in the dirt.

After everything was planted, the students spent the remainder of the day weeding the perennial beds and the berry patches where the ground had grown lusciously green.

“I feel kind of bad pulling out these weeds knowing that some of them are eatable,” Dante said.

“The word is edible,” Clare corrected.

“Why?” he asked. “I like eatable better.”

Clare smiled. She had no answer.

Pulling weeds was hard work, but for the kids the difficulty came more in the monotony than anything else. Their smaller stature, energy, and flexible joints allowed them to upturn the unwanted plants with relative ease, while the grownups often groaned, standing and stretching, or taking multiple and lengthy breaks.

At the end of the day, though, Clare and Dante were tired—a good, worn-out, physical tiredness. Marissa had suspected they would be and greeted them in a kitchen smelling of freshly baked cookies.

“Cookies!” Dante yelled as he smelled and spied the fresh cookies cooling on the rack.

“Thought you might like some warm cookies with milk,” Marissa said.

He helped himself to the cookies and poured a glass of milk. “I’m never going back,” he said offhandedly as he stuffed a morsel into his mouth.

Clare’s heart skipped a beat. “Of course we’re going back,” she said.

“I know. Mama misses us.”

“That’s right,” she said. She knew there was more to say but decided to let it end there. For now, anyway. He probably hadn’t meant it. It had just sort of slipped out in his admiration and excitement over the milk and cookies. And yet … wasn’t this sometimes when people spoke what they really thought—those careless moments of joy or heartbreak? Clare tucked his sentiment carefully away. She would take it out and look at it later when no one else was around.

 Information Amazon page for paperback/kindle:

List Price: $12.99/$3.99
314 pages
Sandra L.\Smith
ISBN-13: 978-0615906737
ISBN-10: 0615906737
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Dystopian

Safe in Canada, Clare and Dante attend Garden Guardian classes while living with a host family on an apple farm. In the Guardian classes they learn about gardening and the history of food politics in the United States.

Their friend Lily continues the quest to find her father, a former leader in the Seed Savers movement who was arrested and jailed before she was born. Along her journey she meets a host of interesting characters, and more surprisingly, herself.

AUTHOR BIO

smith 5x7 authorS. Smith grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can’t taste the soil on a carrot, it’s not fresh enough. Although she now lives with her husband and three cats in the city, she still manages to grow fruits and vegetables in their backyard garden.

A licensed ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Ms. Smith has enjoyed teaching students from around the world.

Ms. Smith is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and an OSU Master Gardener. She gardens and writes at her home in the beautiful and green Pacific Northwest.

Upon Review: Phoenix Feather by Angela Wallace

November 12th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

Phoenix Feather by Angela Wallace

Four Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Aidan Quinn is not entirely human. Every hundred years, she bursts into flame and is reborn from the ashes. Now she’s a grad student in Seattle, weary of these repetitious life cycles and grieving a lost love.

An obsession is born. Detective Bryan McCain is trying to solve the serial murders of young women with red hair. When his brother, Trent, starts dating a potential victim, Bryan has to pour everything he has into catching the killer, without losing himself in the process.

Aidan’s heart has been broken many times, but she just might have a little left for dashing fireman Trent McCain. Little does she know, the killer is on the hunt for a phoenix, and he’s getting closer.

The Good…

This was quite possibly Angela Wallace’s best book yet. I loved the murder mystery parts. Her use of details concerning how an investigation proceeds, as well as what happens in a fire department, showed a mastery of balance between the amount of research done and what actually gets used in the story.

I also enjoyed the way she treated the characters’ feelings regarding Chris’s illness. It was an honest view of different people’s reaction to a loved one living with stage four cancer. Many scenes brought me to tears, and, as I’ve said in other reviews, that is difficult to do.

Not only did she treat each character with dignity and fashion them into believable people, she gave us an ending full of surprises and unexpected twists that is very satisfying.

The Not-so-good…

While the characters and situations were as believable as any writer can create, I was a bit disappointed that the mystery almost completely disappears near the middle of the book. I would have liked more tension brought out with reminders that there is a serial killer on the loose throughout the entire story, instead of just at the beginning and near the end.

The book meandered into romance genre territory more than I prefer about one-third of the way into the story. However, by the two-thirds mark, the mystery was back in full swing and continued to rivet me through the rest of the pages.

The Overall…

I think Phoenix Feather would appeal to mystery lovers and romance readers alike and I would highly recommend it. You can find it on Amazone, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Upon Review: The Participants by Brian Blose

October 31st, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

The Participants by Brian Blose

Four Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Zack Vernon is an immortal Observer sent to watch the world on behalf of the Creator. When his suicide attempt fails spectacularly and earns him a spot on the national news, the other Observers are drawn to him.

They believe Zack to be the reincarnation of a rebellious Observer from a previous world. Several of them plan to punish him for the sins they believe he committed. One of them wants back the man she has loved through hundreds of worlds. But Zack remembers nothing before the present. All he wants is a chance to end his life.

The Good…

This story kept me turning pages, wanting to solve the mystery of the Observers and how they were different from the Participants. Each new chapter either dangled yet another piece of the puzzle in front of me or asked yet another question I wanted to know the answer to. This was perfect for someone like me who enjoys working out the whys and wherefores of an enigma.

The characters are well-developed and distinctive. Some, like Eric, actually scared me. Others, like Lacey, made me want to slap them until they acquired some sense. The tension and fear in Zach felt real and kept me rooting for him through the entire story.

I also enjoyed the twist at the end. It’s rare that an author can surprise me. Either I’ve figured it out long before the end or the twist comes off like a gimmick, but that is not the case in The Participants.

The Not-so-good…

I only have two complaints. The first is that the story is too short. I enjoyed reading it so much and invested so much energy into the characters that, by the end of the book, I was ready to find out what would happen in the next incarnation — or if there would even be a next one. Along with that was the disappointment that there isn’t a book 2. I would have loved it if either the story was longer or there was at least the promise of another book.

My second complaint is that there was more foul language and brutality than I am personally comfortable with. While I understand that serial killers are more likely to curse and their very nature necessitates brutality, I don’t have to enjoy it. I prefer torture and murder to happen off stage.

As for the cursing, it wasn’t just the serial killer. There were at least two others who swore more than I thought was necessary. Had the characters been in some kind of gang or had some other reason for speaking in such low terms, then I might have been able to overlook it.

The Overall…

I highly recommend The Participants by Brian Blose to anyone who enjoys a good puzzle with a plot twist, but beware that there is plenty of onstage brutality and swearing.

Dreamsnatcher Cover Reveal

October 30th, 2013

I’m so excited to be in on the cover reveal for one of my favorite authors. Here it is, the long awaited sequel to Dreamwalker and Dreamstealer:

Dreamsnatcher Cover Reveal

Falling asleep has never been so dangerous…

Lexa has spent the past five years training the princess of Teltania in dreamwalking, but with Taryn’s eighteenth birthday approaching, the girl has increasing royal duties and Lexa is getting ready to retire yet again. This time she’s looking forward to settling down and sailing with Sir Neil Duram—until his ship barely survives a raider attack. The raiders have been hounding Teltania’s coast and their victims are falling into comas. With Neil’s crew at risk, Lexa sets out to find a cure. But things aren’t what they seem. She discovers that the comatose have been snatched from their dreams and stolen into the dreamscape. The scattered cases soon become a potential plague, and Lexa has to find the connection between the waking world raiders and the dream snatchers. Is there a third dreamwalker out there, or something much more sinister? Lexa’s desperate search for answers will drive her to the edge in order to save everything she cares about.

DREAMSNATCHER: COMING NOVEMBER 13 2013

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 Angela author pic thumbnailAngela Wallace loves gun-toting good boys and could have been a cop in another life except for the unfortunate condition of real blood making her queasy. Good thing writing gun and sword fights isn’t a problem. In her books you’ll find the power of love, magic, and redemption.   Subscribe to her newsletter and get an exclusive surprise when the book releases. Follow on Twitter @AngelaRWallace Facebook Website: angelawallace.wordpress.com

Upon Review: Alec Kerley and the Terror of Bigfoot by Douglas Tanner

October 18th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Alec Kerley and the Terror of Bigfoot (Book One of the Monster Hunters Series) by Douglas Tanner

Three Cup

 

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Is the legendary Bigfoot real? Twelve year-old Alec Kerley finds out, in an adventure he’ll never forget!

Alec’s mom died six months ago, and his world is upside down. Now, it’s just Alec and his dad, alone, together but apart. 

Making matters worse, Alec has discovered that his dad works for a secret government agency that investigates monsters – real, living, breathing monsters! When Alec joined his dad and the Gonzalezes, longtime family friends of the Kerleys, on what he thought was a short getaway to the Branson, Missouri area, he and his best friend Ken Gonzalez – along with Ken’s sister Sarah and her pretty friend Emily – expected to stay in cabins with a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. What they got instead was a close encounter with a wiggly kid named Ethan Elvis Edgar, who breaks wind whenever he gets scared, and a terrifying attack by a group of the fabled Bigfoots, who are not happy the vacationers are there. 

And what Alec learns through his experience is that faith and hope and healing can be found in the most unexpected places – even in the midst of the Terror of Bigfoot.

The Good…

Even though this book isn’t categorized as a mystery, there are some decent misdirections in a couple scenes, which is something I look for in any good story. And there’s some good use of tension between civilians and military.

Also, while Part 1 of this book is rather predictable and not as entertaining as I had hoped, in Part 2 the story picks up and gets interesting. Alec’s struggle to understand and accept the loss of a parent and the existence of a loving God is woven very well through the story, though it really shines best in Part 2.  In fact, the scene between Alec and the old Sasquatch in the second part of the book was wonderfully poignant and well-written.

The Not-so-good…

As I mentioned earlier, the story is rather predictable and often contains too much detail about things that have only a passing need to the story. I’m a firm believer that research should be iceberg-like or it bogs everything down. Also, as so often happens, the prologue was unnecessary. It ended up making the story confusing later.

At times it felt like there was an ensemble cast where everyone must have screen time/dialogue because their contracts dictated it rather than a group of people dealing with a bizarre and terrifying situation. I also wonder if all the characters are necessary. For instance, neither Emily nor Sarah brought any specific skills or information into the story that couldn’t have been combined into one character. Also, there were certain characteristics of the cast, such as anxious farting, that ended up being distractions during what would have otherwise been intense, dramatic scenes.

Lastly, the segue into the next book seemed a bit clumsy. The existence of vampires is mentioned a couple times and one character claims, after a particularly intense scene, that she sees a man standing in the distance. This is the only introduction there is to Benjamin the Vampire before he literally drops into the climactic scene. Unfortunately, having the characters suddenly facing a vampire after all the conflict they’ve had with Sasquatch through the rest of the book, only serves to derail what could have been a fabulous, heart-wrenching climax.

The Overall…

Alec Kerley and the Terror of Bigfoot (Book One of the Monster Hunters Series) by Douglas Tanner is a decent book, but I would suggest skipping the Prologue and skimming Part 1 to get to the better written Part 2. This could be a good book for a child trying to understand the loss of a parent or simply wrestling with the idea that God exists and cares for all of creation.