Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bathsheba Review


First, I have to thank Bethany House Publishing for sending this book to me in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I had always heard the story of David and Bathsheba growing up, in church. I never really understood the story and why David was condemned as a sinner until I read Angela's account of what likely happened. 

The story was well paced out and I enjoyed the shortness of the chapters. It made it easier to read and frankly, better in many ways. I felt so bad for Bathsheba AND David. They both went through so much heartbreak in this story. The losing of children, spouses, and other family members was heartbreaking. Still, it made for compelling storytelling. 

One of the only things I had an issue with was the ending. It seemed to fall just a bit flat for me. I was hoping for a boomer of an ending because the story was so well written. That is the only reason I am writing this as a 4 and not 5 star review.

I will say I recommend this book and this author. I really did enjoy it. Thank you to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Refining Fire Review


This was another approved ARC from Bethany House publishing that they were so kind to send me for review.

Refining Fire is a historical piece set in 1800s Seattle Washington that centers around a young lady named Militine. She is a strong willed character who goes to the beat of her own drummer while trying to adhere to the standards of her time, and to the standards that God has set down in His holy word. She is generally successful with the later, but not so much with the former. She was a feminist in the sense that she does not believe that she needs to get married at a young age. In fact, she wants to marry for love and not for the traditional role that women married for in those times.

The setting was a great one. I really enjoyed reading about the time period as well. I do not usually read about this time period, but it was actually fun. I found Militine and her family interesting to read about and I liked the growth that Militine demonstrated throughout the course of the book. There were times where I was shaking my head in agreement with her, and wanting to throttle many of the male characters for their decidedly irritating views. One has to remember the customs of the time of course, but it did not mean I had to like it. After all, Militine certainly did not.

I have to say my only complaint about this book was that it moved a bit slow for me. There were many times I had to put the book down and pick it back up but I wanted to finish it. I wish that not only the speed was a bit better, but also that there were more descriptions of the characters. This book relied heavily on dialogue which is fine, but it can take away from the setting which brings a book's storyline down a bit. All in all, a good book 3/5 stars!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins-Review


This is my first Ellen Hopkins book, and it will not be my last. I really enjoyed this novel. It is a wonderful story about the innate flaws in not just someone who is hooked on drugs, but also those who are affected by their family member's illness. Each short chapter was a glimpse into the reality of a family (or in this case, many families) torn apart by their own inner (and sometimes outer) demons. I am giving this 4 stars out of five and that is simply because even though the chapters were short, the book was a bit longer than I think it needed to be. I have Burned on my bookshelf now for a buddy read with someone, and look forward to reading it soon. 4/5 stars!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shadow of The Mountain by Cliff Graham


First, I have to say I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review. That being said, I really enjoyed this book! As someone who grew up in a Christian home, I heard a lot about Moses, the Exodus, and the plight of the Hebrews to try and escape the slavery of the Egyptians. This story does not focus on Moses, though. This story focuses on Caleb, who is not really mentioned very much in the Bible at all. It did not detract from a great story, though.

We open the story by meeting our main character, Caleb. He is a man who knows about the story of Moses and of the plight of the Hebrews. He is telling his story a long time after the Exodus, and the author makes it clear that much of his story is artistic in basis, not exactly taken from the stories in the Bible. We follow Caleb through his journey of life and some loss, all while fighting hard to keep those he cares about most alive. There are many bloody battles in this book, and while I usually do not like them saturating a story, I could get my mind around it for this story. The author gives a real face to a man that no one really knows anything about. I could almost see Caleb as I was reading his story.

This book only took me three days to read, and I almost could not put it down. The ending was a bit slower than the rest of the story, but overall, it was a well written book. I have never read this author before, but I would be happy to read another book by him soon. My only other complaint was that there were times that the story seemed a bit rushed as well, which could be why the pacing was good. I know it makes no sense to say that, but a story's pacing can be great while parts can feel rushed. Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to review this book for you and share my thoughts. I look forward to reading more soon. 4/5 Stars!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reading during the Hype Or After?

“OMG! This book is AMAZING! You Have to Read It!” We have all heard this at least a dozen times in our reading lives. We have all finished a book that we read while there was a ton of hype going on around it and wondered, “What was all the hype about?” I have had this happen a few times in my reading life, and frankly, it sucks to feel like you are in the minority. This happens in all genres, from crime novels, to young adult fiction.

Recently, I began to ask myself if I (or anyone else) should read a new book that is being hyped up on YouTube, or just in general. I often ask myself, is it really worth it? Should I wait until after the hype has died down? This is often a question that I know I have not only asked myself, but as readers we all have asked ourselves at one point or another, right?
My opinion is that waiting until the hype dies down can be more beneficial than falling into the trap that the hype can create. The reason I say this is because, if you read the book at the height of its popularity, and you do not like it while others are raving about it, you may think you are missing something, or that you are left out of something perhaps.  

One of the most vivid times that I have felt that I completely missed the boat on a book was when I read The Hunger Games. I remember reading the book shortly after the first movie came out, and while the hype was still fairly high on the whole series. It took me a short time to read the book, as it read fairly quickly, but when I finished the final page, I looked up at my parents and basically said, “I just do not get the hype.” I closed the book, and to this day, I am not sure I am going to finish the series. Now, I did not read it when the series first came out, and waiting was supposed to help me to enjoy it more (or so I thought), but in this case, it did not help me to enjoy it more.

There was a book I recently finished that I also waited for the hype around it to die down, and was very happy with the book. This was the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by JR Ward. I had tried to read it many years ago when they first started, and they just did not speak to me. I was not in the right space for them. Well, I started the series again, and recently finished the 8th book in the series, loving it all the way through. To me, this is proof that if you wait for the hype to die down, it can let you, as the reader form their own opinions on a book (or series) that others are raving about while being able to be true to yourself and honest in your review without feeling like if your opinion does not fall in the “party line” that it will get you flamed on social media.

Hype surrounding a particular book can be great for sales, but as readers, sometimes we can give into the hype only to be disappointed, or feel unsatisfied. I think it is important to remember that, as readers, we can read what we want, when we want and still do not have to give into the hype if we do not want to. I personally do not like to read books during their “hype” period, but after. For me, it gives me a fresh outlook outside what other may think, which can be even more authentic when it comes to my review of the book.

Reading Lives-Reading Outside Your Genre Comfort Zone

On Reading Outside Your Comfort Zone

As readers, we all have our favorite genres. Some of us like mystery, others, Historical Fiction. Sometimes, there is a craving for other genres such as Young Adult, or even Erotica. What some readers don’t do is read outside their genre. This is simply not reading away from the genre they gravitate to each time they pick up or buy a book.

I am one of those people who did not like to read outside his favorite genre until recently. My genre of choice is Historical Fiction, specifically anything set in Medieval or Tudor England. There has always been something about that time period that has called to me. I have many books on my shelves from various authors that write only Historical Fiction, from Phillippa Gregory, to Sarah Bower, and others in between.

This does not mean I was not open to other genres, I simply did not think to look at them as frequently when I went to the library, or to a bookstore. I saw all kinds of genres at my disposal, and sometimes I contemplated picking them up but then would not find anything that really interested me, and I would default back to my go to genre.

Recently, I have made it my goal to read more books outside my “safe zone”, as I have come to call it. I have started to find some great authors such as Tess Gerritsen, Gillian Flynn, and even some good YA authors to boot. One of my new favorite genres to get me used to new and exciting authors is to read Japanese Manga/Graphic novels. I love reading them as palate cleansers in between larger books (and yes, I count them toward my Good Reads challenge) because the artwork is usually really good, and the stories are wonderful too. There are occasionally some bad apples, but you can get those in your chosen genre too, so in the end, there is no excuse to neglect other genres, or authors based on a safe zone that you may have built for yourself as a reader.

It can be difficult to read outside your favorite genre, whatever it may be, but I promise that if you open your mind, you will find some great authors that you would have never expected to find. That is what happened to me, and I am happy to say not only has my reading grown, but I have grown as a reader because I decided to embrace new and exciting authors and the works that they put out into the book world for us all to enjoy.