Non-Fiction Review: Matt Weber’s “Operating on Faith”

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“A Painfully True Love Story” is the subtitle of this book, and boy – it’s not kidding around. The Webers sure went through a lot their first year of marriage.

I appreciate Mr. Weber writing this book. So many memoirs out there focus on the struggles and triumphs of the author only – and while there’s nothing wrong with those works, this book brings something new by focusing so much on his wife, making what THEY are going through the central theme.

A better book on how to forge a marriage together would be hard to find.

No, the Webers aren’t perfect, but they are great role-models in how they actively put each other first, help each other through the hard days, and show grace for each other’s mistakes. The story in these pages will remind you to slow down a moment and savor the time you have with others – making each interaction count.

I recommend this book as good training for all who want to make their own relationships stronger.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Marie Benedict’s “The Other Einstein”

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Mileva Maric – a name I’ll not soon forget! She is definitely someone to research further, someone for scientists and thinkers today to learn from.

Mileva was Albert Einstein’s first wife, and through Ms. Benedict’s eyes, we get a glimpse of what their life might have been. This is a very precarious task, as with all historical fiction, for author and reader must be careful not to override or twist the reality they are building from. Ms. Benedict does a fantastic job of creating the time period in which the two would have met – the depth of research and care for her subject is evident!

As a highly intelligent woman who fought for every inch of learning she could achieve, it is a shame students don’t learn about Mileva and her work like they do Albert’s, or even other noted women scientists throughout history. She is definitely a role model for pushing yourself to your highest potential, and never letting the nay-sayers get in the way of your goal.

A very interesting read that makes the reader want to dig deeper! 

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Joe Ide’s “IQ”

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An interesting book! For fans of BBC’s new “modern” Sherlock series, this is one to check out!

The similarities between these two stories are most on display in one of my favorite scenes in the book – when IQ goes through the process of learning to see. For those who do not possess a natural eidetic memory, learning to absorb and process a lot of information quickly and accurately is something that takes much focus and practice. We see the end results in Sherlock’s “mind palace”, or, closer to reality, the training of law enforcement officers, but not a lot is ever really said about the process. Sitting with IQ on the edge of the road while he learns this skill is written well, the reader  feeling IQ’s frustration and sharing his eventual triumph.

The author’s style in this work adds to the overall atmosphere, keeping IQ and the reader working to stay a step ahead. The narrative is told through sets of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and different points of view on same scene – the plot doubling back, twisting and turning on itself. This creates a moving, restless pace for the reader, with a unique tone while the story moves forward.

One thing to note, there is a lot of rough language throughout the book.

This work is different from normal mystery/thrillers I pick up, but definitely worth a read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Lorilyn Robert’s “The Door”

A recommendation review!
I was gifted “The Door”, as I am a huge fan of allegory. This book first came out in 2013, and is now part of a vast series.

I grew up on “The Chronicles of Narnia”, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and “Hind’s Feet on High Places”. These works were the basis of my reader’s identity, creating within me a love for layers of meaning and deeper truths. “The Door” reminds me of those works, with its artful allegorical tale. The author definitely knows her genre, as I see similarities to other works, but she has taken the examples that have come before, and made them her own.

The best part of this work, for me, was the strong, clear, Gospel message! As the main character, Shale, is dealing with many deep issues of anger and abandonment, the way she comes to understand her true worth, and believe in the King is written exceptionally. I would highly recommend this for others who have young people dealing with these issues.

I would also recommend this as a fun read during bedtime stories, perhaps a chapter a night. A great way to get younger kids into larger books and series.

I received a review copy from the author

Fiction Review: Lawana Blackwell’s “A Haven on Orchard Lane”

Of all the styles of books I love, stories of redemption are the ones I love the most. And “A Haven on Orchard Lane” definitely fits that bill!

I grew up reading Mrs. Blackwell’s books, and have always enjoyed her style. The vivid settings, the rich plots, and deep characters stay with you. These books are carefully crafted, honed by great talent. New authors should definitely take notes from Mrs. Blackwell on the creation of a story.

This work has a lot going on! There are several plot-lines crisscrossing each other, keeping the reader glued to each page, so as not to miss a minute.  Mrs. Blackwell also tackles many deep subjects through the characters, talking with the reader about the danger of assumptions, those dealing with abuses, and as stated before, redemption, among others.

I really enjoyed this work, and highly recommend it!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Non-Fiction Review: Brandi Haas’ “More Tales From Suburbia”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes blog tour for “More Tales from Suburbia”.

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This book is a GREAT way to start the day. Those few quiet minutes before the kids wake up, a hot drink of your choice, and another Tale From Suburbia – a recipe that can’t be beat! 

I highly recommend this book for all moms (and dads) out there! The Tales within the story retain the style of a blog post, but here, it works – as the reader can take in one or two for a pick-me-up on those hectic, rushed mornings – or settle in during a quiet moment to enjoy a laugh fest. 

And believe me, your sides will ache, and the tears will roll. All the parents out there will find so much truth in the roughly 200 pages of hard-hitting hilarity in Mrs. Haas’ second book. It is definitely one to read, and then read again!

In short, I loved this book, and can’t wait to get a copy for all my fellow mom friends.

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Fiction Review: Marty Wingate’s “The Bluebonnet Betrayal”

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We’re back to adventure with Pru and Christopher!

I love Ms. Wingate’s characters and her ability to give them so much depth. Each character has a past, and a distinct personality that feeds the story – gives it life – without any clunky expose. Additionally, getting to see the characters in a setting outside of their comfort zone allows us to get to know them deeper – and I enjoyed the story all the more for it!

There are many misdirects throughout the work, making it an engaging and fun read. You will think you’ve got a handle on the culprits, and then the author pulls the rug from beneath all your assumptions. This is no easy “who-dun-it”!

A neat facet was the “newsletter blurbs” at the beginning of each chapter. I have worked on newsletters before, so I chuckled all the harder at the notes and announcements from those snippets, as I know how closely they resemble real life!

A great, fun read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley