Category Archives: Book Review

$100 Weekly Reader Giveaway

WHAT: $100 Weekly Reader Giveaway
WHEN: April 6-12, 2020

Hey, Fans. Here’s a little something to help you pass the time … Your chance to win a $100 Amazon eGift Card. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, you’re going to LOVE these BOOKS. Enter now; giveaway ends April 6th, 2020. Click here for details ~> Link:   http://ow.ly/7z1n50z5Krl

SEVERAL BOOKS ARE FREE HERE!
Suggested FREE reading:

How: Scroll through the book covers below and click on the books that look like “your kind of books”. Then enter our Rafflecopter form below, subscribe, and follow the authors who write the kind of books you enjoy. Who knows, you could meet your next favorite author! There is no purchases necessary to enter or win, but supporting our authors and buying their books is the only way these giveaways are made possible.

HINT: Supporting our authors will add 5 entry points each day. Share our sponsors’ books, Tweet their Amazon book link, Share on Facebook. And, yes, you can buy their books. Tell all your reader friends to enter, too! Good luck!

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The Traitor’s Pawn

Title: The Traitor’s Pawn
Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2917-2

“I just … I need you to forgive me, Aubrey,” the policewoman is told in Lisa Harris’s novel, The Traitor’s Pawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-thirty-three-page paperback targets those who enjoy crime suspense with Christian undertones and light romance. Containing no profanity, the topics of kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the first chapter of the writer’s next novel, author’s biography, and advertisements for other Revell books.

Set in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jack and Aubrey used to be best friends as teenagers, but their relationship abruptly ended, with one fearful of divulging true feelings. When FBI agent Jack happens to be in the area hunting down an American involved in a Chinese spy ring, Aubrey, a policewoman, is kidnapped. As their paths cross unexpectedly, they race to catch the traitor before more are injured or killed.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that packs plenty of action and tension between two past friends who must work together to solve who is selling government secrets. I like the sensitivity of Jack and how he deals with his past decisions. Aubrey’s character shows how trusting God helps her deal with heartache, disappointments, and life-threatening situations.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the calling on God for His protection. Others may not care for a story of a woman dealing with forgiveness of those she loves. The reader may feel frustrated that Jack appeared unaware of all the turmoil in Aubrey’s family life if they were once close friends.

~ Wish ~
While I liked the relationship between the two protagonists and how they both were scared to move forward, I found the persistent interruptions too obvious every time they tried to discuss the future. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are into spy stories involving the FBI and police, this is a quick read that caters to those who like re-establishing relationships, forgiveness, and trusting in God.

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2yr27I1

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?

Title: How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? 2nd Edition
Author: Todd Tresidder
Publisher: FinancialMentor
ISBN: 978-1-939273-06-2

“The amount of money you can afford to spend in retirement is dependent not only on your actual investment returns but also on the order of those returns,” Todd Tresidder writes in his book, How Much Money Do I Need to Retire: Uncommon Financial Planning Wisdom for a Stress-Free Retirement.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and–twenty-six-page paperback targets those planning or getting ready to retire from work. After an introduction, the book is divided into three sections, ending with a conclusion, bonus material, afterword, glossary, and author’s biography. With a few black and white charts and numbered lists, bolded or italicized words are included.

The writer explains in the first section the smart way of conventional retirement planning, dividing the topic into five parts that discuss retirement costs, assumptions, essential questions, accurately estimating investment returns, and figuring out your “magical” retirement number. The other two sections cover obtaining a creative lifestyle and simplistic cash-flow planning.

~ Why ~
Although this book was published in late 2019, before the coronavirus and stock market fluctuations, I like that it advocates one should be aware of what is ahead as retirement approaches. Since I retired at age fifty (yet still maintain my small business) and my husband did two years ago, we heartily agree with the book’s many concepts about not taping into principal, assume plausible outcomes, and spending less than you need. I appreciate the details explaining the Monte Carlo calculator’s limitations, expectancy models based on valuations, diversifying with passive income, and scenario analysis.

~ Why Not ~
While the book is well-written, there is plenty of the writer’s referral to his early retirement and free online downloads or other books he has written (which does factor into his personal passive income suggestions). Some may be frustrated there are no charts or forms to fill out to obtain a magic number that technically does not exist. Those who only rely on their monthly pension and social security checks after retiring may panic over the potential of their dwindling funds not lasting. Others may prefer a traditional retirement planning with someone else doing all the footwork and monitoring it for them.

~ Wish ~
While reading this book, I noticed passive real estate and business incomes were often promoted as well as insurance and annuities. Since my husband and I were fortuitous in planning our retirements by paying off all debt including our house early and always living within our means, I did not find anything new in the book, only reinforcement that we made the right choices when it came to saving for retirement.

~ Want ~
If you are young and have years or decades to plan your retirement, this is a good read to help you understand how to save and be wise in your investments, but there is no full-proof way to ensure your wealth, especially with the current status of our economy in 2020.

Thanks to the author, Book Launchers, and Bookpleasures for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#HowMuchMoneyDoINeedtoRetire #ToddTresidder #FinancialMentors #BookLaunchers #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Jp2Ag7

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Business / Money / Education, Non-Fiction

Ishmael Covenant

Title: Ishmael Covenant
Author: Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4530-9

“But know this … the box has a mission of its own. Do not deny the box from its intended purpose,” the Gaon warns in Terry Brennan’s book, Ishmael Covenant.

~ What ~
The first in the Empires of Armageddon series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy political Christian suspense involving the Middle East. With no profanity except for the use of the word hell, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a map and list of characters, while the ending includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, and an excerpt to the next book in the series.

In this read, Dipolocatic Secret Serviceman Brian Mullaney is banished to guarding the US ambassador in Israel, a man who has recently been given a special Jewish box that contains a centuries-old prophecy about the coming Messiah and destroys anyone who touches it. It is a race to get the unique box safely to a Jewish synagogue before Turk, a mysterious man, gets it first.

~ Why ~
I appreciate books about the future, especially if they involve the second coming of Jesus Christ. While this one is the first in a series, it shows how the Middle East is lined up for changes when the antichrist evolves and the Tribulation begins. I liked the portrayal of the main character and his struggles personally and spiritually.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian-faith based novels or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus will not appreciate this book or care for its simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may already be aware of the Old Testament predictions, the history of the Middle East, and Biblical end-time prophecies.

~ Wish ~
While including detailed historical background information, the story often gets bogged down to the point the reader wants to skip sections if they already know about it. I found its unsatisfying ending abrupt, although I know it is only the first in its series.

~ Want ~
If you love a suspenseful and political read involving the Middle East, this first book in a series about its potential future may interest you, but I struggled to get through it and felt no closure at its rushed ending.

Thanks to the author, Bookpleasures, and Kregel Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#IshmaelCovenant #TerryBrennan #KregelPublications #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2WSplAV

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two

Title: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two
Author: Anne Danahy, RDN
Publisher: Rockridge Press
ISBN: 978-1-64611-595-2

“Each dish is specifically created for two people–so cooking is a breeze, nothing is wasted, and everything is savored,” states the back cover of Anne Danahy’s book, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-twelve-page paperback targets those interested in Mediterranean cooking with smaller portioned dishes. After an introduction, the book is divided into eleven sections that contain one hundred recipes, followed by measurement conversions, references, index, and the author’s biography.

The first chapter offers an overview of the Mediterranean diet, focusing on eight principles, its science, and health benefits. The next chapter is about plate portions, pantry options, shopping, and saving money. Chapters three through eleven have breakfast, snacks, soups, salads, vegetarian, fish/seafood, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, simple sides, desserts, and sweets recipes.

Each one-to-two-page recipe begins with its title, followed by prep time, serving size, and a descriptive paragraph. The ingredients are listed in order used on the left side of the page with numbered directions on the right side. Often added are variation, ingredient, substitution, and prep tips. All include caloric information.

~ Why ~
Now that my husband and I are empty-nesters, we tend to make meals together so this is a lovely book for partners who want to eat healthily. I like the simplistic instructions and variety of so many dish options with sometimes unique ingredients.

Some of the notable recipes are Tomato Goat Cheese Stovetop Frittata, Apple Chips with Chocolate Tahini, Green Bean and Halloumi Salad, Grilled Eggplant Stacks, Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce, Skillet Greek Turkey and Rice, Baked Lamb Kofta Meatballs, Toasted Grain and Almond Pilaf, and Orange Olive Oil Mug Cakes.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like cooking, especially with someone else, may have no need for this book. Others may have issues with finding some of the uncommon ingredients.

~ Wish ~
Being a visual person, I wish there were colored photographs of all completed dishes. Adding a list of recipes at the beginning of each chapter instead of on the table of contents page would make them easier to look up.

~ Want ~
If there is only one or two of you to cook for, this makes a lovely cookbook that concentrates on healthy, fresh dishes portioned perfectly for two.

Thanks to Callisto Publisher’s Club and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#RockridgePress #CallistoPublishersClub #TheMediterraneanDietforTwo #AnneDanahy

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3bmtqBH

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Home / Garden / Food

The 28-Day Pescatarian Meal Plan & Cookbook

Title: The 28-Day Pescatarian Meal Plan & Cookbook
Author: Chelsey Amer,  MS, RDN, CDN
Photographer: Evi Abeler
Publisher: Rockridge Press
ISBN: 978-1-64611-496-2

“By the end of the next month, you will be able to design your own pescatarian menus and meal plans to help fuel your current season of life,” writes Chelsey Amer in the introduction of her book, The 28-Day Pescatarian Meal Plan & Cookbook: Your Guide to Jump-Starting A Healthier Lifestyle.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-eighty-four-page paperback targets those interested in cooking a month’s worth of plant-based meals with fish added into their diet. After an introduction, the book is divided into nine sections that contain over sixty-five recipes, followed by listings of measurement conversion tables, resources, references, and an index.

The first chapter explains the pescatarian diet with five principles, health benefits, science, and adaptation while the second is about preparing the kitchen with stocking, selecting, and preparing fish and seafood, and the third contains four weeks of meal plans with shopping lists. The fourth through ninth chapters have breakfast, soups and salads, vegetarian mains, fish and seafood mains, snacks and sides, and dessert recipes.

Each recipe includes its title, followed by a short descriptive paragraph. The serving size, prep and cook time, and icons of timing, dairy-free, heart-healthy, and vegetarian are on the outside of the page. Ingredients are located in the middle of the page in use order; numbered instructions, variation tips, and caloric and dietic information cover one to two pages.

~ Why ~
Although I am not a vegetarian, I love fish, especially shrimp, scallops, crab, and lobster, and this one has plenty of them. With the many dishes focusing on veggies and fish, there are many tasteful ones to use while knowing you are eating healthy.

Some of the notable recipes are Tropical Chia Pudding, Mexican-Style Shakshuka, Easy Israeli Shrimp Salad, Roasted Vegetable Panzanella Salad, Cauliflower Clam Chowder, Marinated Tofu Greek Salad, Greek Hummus Collard Wraps, Pepita Pesto-Crusted Cod, Bruschetta Branzino, Tuna Avocado Burgers, Zesty Crab and Avocado Bites, Simple Ratatouille, Peach Pie Egg Rolls, and Blender Black Bean Brownies.

An example of one of the daily meals is Day 7 in the First Week: Smoked Salmon Scramble for breakfast, Totally Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos for lunch, and Lentil “Meatballs” and Spaghetti for dinner with Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix for snacks and Coconut Brownie Energy Bites for dessert.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like fish or vegetarian dishes may not have any interest in this book. Others may not like that many of the dishes are strictly vegetarian and some of the meal plans are left-overs. There are only one or two dishes containing scallops.

~ Wish ~
Being a visual person, I wish there were colored photographs of all completed dishes.

~ Want ~
If you love fish and vegetables and are looking for a cookbook that plans a month’s worth of meals for you that are healthy, this one is a good one to have on hand.

Thanks to Callisto Publisher’s Club and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#CallistoPublishersClub #RockridgePress #28DayPescatarianMealPlanCookbook #ChelseyAmer #EviAbeler

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2UnX825

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Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Title: Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Author: Jill McSheehy
Illustrations: Enya Todd
Publisher: Rockridge Press
ISBN: 978-1-64611-537-2

“With the help of this book, you’ll work toward creating the vegetable garden of your dreams,” Jill McSheehy writes at the beginning of her informative book, Gardening for Beginners: A Simple Guide to Growing Vegetables at Home.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-sixty-six-page paperback targets those who want to learn more about planning, planting, and maintaining a vegetable garden. After an introduction, the book is divided into two sections with a total of eight chapters that cover the topic. It ends with a zone map, resources, references, index, acknowledgments, and the author’s biography.

Divided into two sections, the first part of this read focuses on explaining how to plan, build, plant, maintain, and harvest a vegetable garden. The second part has descriptions, tips, and requirements for both cool and warm-season vegetables along with alliums and herbs. With light green highlighted sections, tan-colored charts, and explanations of when, where, and why to plant over thirty home-grown foods, there are colored illustrations throughout.

~Why ~
This is a very to-the-point book that any gardener-wanna-be can pick up and start immediately. I liked that it covers the tools needed, planting combinations, how to read a seed packet, and common problems and pests. The simple writing on how to grow arugula, broccoli, green peas, spinach, eggplant, melons, okra, cilantro, mint, and thyme and others was informative and concise.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not be interested in books that promote growing your own garden. Others may wish there were more illustrations showing plants, beds, and planting techniques. A few may consider the book rudimentary in detail, which is why it concentrates on beginner gardeners.

~ Wish ~
Although I thought the illustrations were beautiful and detailed, I wish photographs were included instead for a more accurate visual description of the plants, how to plant them, and landscaping suggestions.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an elementary book on starting a veggie garden, this is a delightful source book.

Thanks to Callisto Publisher’s Club and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

Rated 4.5 of 5 stars

#Callisto #Jill McSheehy #VegetableGardeningforBeginners

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3bfjQ3e

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Home / Garden / Food

CONTEST ~ 1, 2, 3, Animals! ~ 1 Free Book Giveaway!

WIN BETHANY LAKE’S CHILDREN’S BOOK,
1, 2, 3 ANIMALS! A FIRST COUNTING BOOK FOR TODDLERS

1 PRINT BOOK to be given away by Callisto Publisher’s Club!

TEASER: “The animals are on their way,
as happy as can be.
Where are they going?
How many are there?
Let’s all count and see!”
Bethany Lake begins her children’s book, 1, 2, 3, Animals! A First Counting Book for Toddlers.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest:

1.  Follow my blog if you do not already.
2. Click on the headline ** CONTEST ** to be sure you are on the Reply page.
3. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
4. Visit at least one of these websites on the internet.

5. If you are the winner, please consider posting a review on Amazon, B&N, online book stores, or social media sites regarding what you thought of the book.

This is a FAST CONTEST ending Sunday, March 22nd, 2020, after 5 PM PST so follow the requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the author directly to you or sent the ebook link! Winner’s shipping address must be in the U.S.A.

I read & reviewed this 5-star book: https://connywithay.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/1-2-3-aminals/

 

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1, 2, 3, AMINALS!

Title: 1, 2, 3, Animals!
Author: Bethany Lake
Illustrator: Sarah Rebar
Publisher: Rockridge Press
ISBN: 978-1-64611-580-8

“The animals are on their way,
as happy as can be.
Where are they going?
How many are there?
Let’s all count and see!”
Bethany Lake begins her children’s book, 1, 2, 3, Animals! A First Counting Book for Toddlers.

~ What ~
This forty-eight-page book targets infants to three-years-old who like to look at animals while learning to count. With no scary scenes, it would be best read to beginner readers based on some complicated words. Expressive, colorful illustrations cover the pages with the story often in rhyme. While the beginning has a note to caregivers and teachers, the ending has the author and illustrator’s biographies.

In this educational read with a circus theme, three separate sections teach young ones how to count forward and backward to ten and visualize the numbers in several ways. The first part begins with adding animals one at a time to ten as they get ready for the circus, while the second section counts from ten to one of what the animals do at the circus. The final part has two opened pages of the number written as a numeral and then icons on fingers, dice, charts, sticks, dominos, and playing cards.

~ Why ~
This is a fun book, especially for wee ones who know their animals and have been to a circus. I like that there are three different ways to count so the sections relate to each other while being unique. I appreciate that the wording encourages the reader to look for something in each illustration.

Some of the cute numbers are:
Four kangaroos bring four snack carts to feed a hungry crowd.
Eight tigers carry eight balloons, in time to take their place.
Ten toucans shine the spotlights. Nine apes make quite a sight.
Three elephants stomp to the beat. Two silly dogs poke fun.

~ Why Not ~
The book contains many multi-syllable words that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words. However, it is aimed at toddlers, who generally do not know how to read.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more numbered or alphabet books like this that have more than one story within it.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an engaging book that will keep your young one entertained while learning, this is an excellent one about numbers, animals, and the circus.

Thanks to Callisto Publisher’s Club and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Callisto #BethanyLake #123Animals #CountingBookforToddlers

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2U4GFkt

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens

Blaze of Light

Title: Blaze of Light
Author: Marcus Brotherton
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-0-525-65378-3

“To really live, you must almost die. To those who fight for it, life has a meaning the protected will never know,” Gary is told in Marcus Brotherton’s biography, Blaze of Light: The Inspiring True Story of Green Beret Medic Gary Beikirch, Medal of Honor Recipient.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-seventy-two-page book is based on the true story of Gary Beikirch, a Medal of Honor recipient who was a Green Beret medic during the Vietnam War. Targeted toward those who like real-life accounts of dealing with the fog of war and overcoming the emotional distraught of it, topics of alcohol/drug use, dying, death, and war may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this factual tale based in the 1970s, twenty-two-year-old Gary finds himself in Dak Seang, Vietnam, protecting the Montagnards, who he has come to value and love, from the NVC who surprisingly attack their village of indigenous fighters, women, and children. Even after being seriously wounded, he arduously tries to save the injured until he is helicoptered to a nearby hospital to heal. When he arrives back in the States, his emotional state is fractured and broken more than his body, and his only redemption is resolved when he turns to the Almighty.

~ Why ~
This is a hard read of the sacrifice and suffering a soldier makes for his country, especially when he returns back to America, only to be mocked and ridiculed. I appreciate Gary and any other serviceman who went to Vietnam and am greatly thankful for their commitment. Gary’s life story is full of confusion, disappointment, and tragedy, yet it shows how God’s hand was always there, protecting him and keeping him safe.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate the read that confirms God is the answer. Some may not like reading about the surgical procedures, detailed destruction, injuries, or deaths that are sad and heartbreaking.

~ Wish ~
Since I received an uncorrected proof of this book, I hope photographs of Gary and his family are included in the final print. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy stories about the physical survival during war and emotional and spiritual redemption, this would be a great book to read or pass on to someone struggling with their purpose in life and how God is in control.

Thanks to the Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#BlazeofLight #GaryBeikirch #MarcusBrotherton #WaterbrookMultnomah

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3aQsAwG

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Biography, Book Review, Christian