Category Archives: Fiction

The Night Baafore the First Day of School

Title: The Night Baafore the First Day of School
Author: Dawn Young
Illustrator: Pablo Pino
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1370-9

“When feathers go flying and stick to the glue, ‘That’s it!’ declares Bo, and he knows what to do …” Dawn Young rhymes in her children’s book, The Night Baafore the First Day of School.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page hardbound with a duplicate glossy jacket cover targets children four to eight years old and focuses on trying to get to sleep the day before school starts. The expressive illustrations by Pablo Pino cover the pages with easy-to-read font size.

This is an engaging story about a boy named Bo who is excited about starting his first day of school in the morning and cannot get to sleep. He asks the sheep in his bedroom to jump in front of him so he can count them, but instead, they make havoc while having a grand time playing with the items Bo needs to take to school with him the next day. In the end, Bo falls asleep, only to be woken up by the bus’s horn beeping.

~Why ~
This is a silly book about sheep that are out of control. I like that each sheep has a numbered collar to follow as they make a mess in Bo’s bedroom and the rest of the house. The reader can get engaged by looking at the detailed pictures or reading the rhyming lines about the out-of-control animals.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are already in school may not like a book about sheep or a monster, but it is not scary or disconcerting. Beginner readers may have trouble with some of the two and three-syllable words. Those who have a limited attention span may not like the busyness of the illustrations or having to keep track of all the sheep, which may keep them awake at night.

~ Wish ~
While the tale is cute and charming, it seemed to be crowded in its layout and maybe a little overwhelming for young ones. It is too bad that Bo had to be the one to clean up the sheep’s messes, but perhaps he was dreaming the entire thing.

~ Want ~
If your child is apprehensive about falling asleep before that first day of school, this silly read may keep the mind off of it.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, WorthyKids, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

#Hachette #WorthyKids #TheNightBaaforetheFirstDayofSchool #DawnYoung #PabloPino #FallingAsleepSheepBook

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

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

Pack Up the Moon

Title: Pack Up the Moon
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-451-48948-7

“So this month’s is on a very different note, and you might not like it, which is absolutely fine,” Sarah pens to Josh in Kristan Higgins’s novel, Pack Up the Moon.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-sixty-four-page paperback targets those who enjoy romantic medical fiction about moving onward after the death of a spouse. With plenty of profanity and adult situations, its topics of premarital sex, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes fifteen discussion questions and the author’s biography.

In this read based mainly in Rhode Island, twenty-eight-year-old Lauren has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and dutifully makes it her final mission to ensure her husband is well-cared for and loved after her demise. Through a dozen monthly letters written before her death, she encourages Josh to pick up the pieces by accomplishing specific tasks she finds important.

~ Why ~
This is a heartbreaking story of two individuals who fall madly in love, marry, and look forward to a long life together, only to have one of them die after three blissful years together. The many stages of dealing with grief are played out as Josh struggles through the days, weeks, and months, trying to accept the new normal of his life. Some of the concepts in Lauren’s notes are interesting, producing helpful results dealing with the loss of a loved one. I appreciated the idea of writing love letters to be opened after one’s death.

~ Why Not ~
Those who have lost a spouse or do not like sad, depressing stories may want to avoid this book. Anyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will find the book lacking deeply on a spiritual level as eternity is only referred to as the Great Beyond, which atheistic Josh has no belief in and Lauren’s perspective appears superficial. I did not care for the repetitive profanity or Josh visiting a medium for guidance.

~ Wish ~
While the tale is on the tearful, maudlin side, no true hope of eternal salvation is promoted, which I felt could have been more redeeming if the focus. Some emotions were repeated too often, making it sappy and overdone.

~ Want ~
If you like reading about having love and tragically losing it due to an illness, this may bring tears to your eyes, but it has a thoughtful way to keep someone’s love alive as life continues without them.

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

#PackUptheMoon #KristanHiggins #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3ij1ZPT

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

A Lady in Attendance

Title: A Lady in Attendance
Author: Rachel Fordham
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3973-7

“Her sentence might always mar her record, but was there a way to escape the fear, to leave free and honestly?” Rachel Fordham writes about Hazel in her novel, A Lady in Attendance.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those interested in a historical romance set in the late 1890s in New York. With no profanity or sexual content, topics of drugs, abuse, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes ten discussion questions, a chapter of another book by the writer, author’s note, biography, and advertisements.

In this tale, twenty-five-year-old Hazel has finished serving her time at a reformatory and arduously wants to forget the pain she has caused to others and herself. When she takes a job working as an attendant for a kind and quiet dentist named Gilbert, she remains secretive, afraid to let anyone know her past. As the two work closely together, not only must she learn about forgiveness but also allow others to help her to clear her name.

~ Why ~
I enjoy novels about how people lived over a hundred years ago and their relationships. I appreciated the way the writer blended the two opposite personalities, learning to be themselves with each other as their friendship developed. The handling of forgiving oneself and those who harm was tender and thoughtful.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories about dentistry may want to avoid this read, but it approaches the vocation with gentleness and care. Others may not like there are a few stereotypical characters. I found the story rather predictable.

~ Wish ~
I was surprised that blatant lying was done to accomplish a goal. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence. It would have been nice to incorporate God and His love as the most powerful link to forgiving one another.

~ Want ~
If you like a historical novel about finding romance after feeling hopeless, this is a light read that focuses on forgiveness.

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

#Revell #RachelFordham #ALadyinAttendance

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2SCDz94

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

Lighting the Stars

Title: Lighting the Stars
Author: Gabriele Wills
Publisher: Mind Shadows
ISBN: 978-1-7750354-1-1

“There’s such healing peace and beauty here. I feel I could swim right up into the stars,” Roz tells Elyse in Gabriele Wills’s novel, Lighting the Stars

~ What ~
The fourth in the Muskoka Novel series, this four-hundred-and-ninety-seven-page paperback targets those who enjoy reading about residents of a charming Canadian town living and surviving during wartime. Using plenty of profanity and the Lord’s name in vain, its topics of premarital sex, alcohol use, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, prior novel descriptions, and the writer’s biography.

In this story based during World War II, three young women from Muskoka, Canada, may be brought up in an opulent but small-town environment, but they are deeply challenged when they must do their part for the war effort. As Elyse becomes a Spitfire pilot and Peggy overcomes polio, Merilee must make decisions on a realistic romance. They sacrifice years contributing to the war effort, each experiencing love and loss while dealing with heartache, healing, and hope.

~ Why ~
Not having read any of the prior books in the series, I appreciate that this is a stand-alone with references to past characters. The read is expressively written with historical detail that shows research and accuracy. I like how the three women took different paths in life to find happiness during such a tragic time. Explaining how the Canucks treated their prisoners was engaging and interesting.

~ Why Not  ~
Those who do not like books about World War II, the seemingly endless bombings, and the prison camp environment may not want to read this book. Others may get confused about the many characters that are hard to keep track of, but there are over one-hundred names listed at the beginning of the book. Some may question the different spellings and punctuation rules, but this is because it is not written by an American.

~ Wish ~
At times, I found it hard to verify who was talking since there are a plethora of characters. I would have liked the book more if the profanity and swearing were eliminated. Adding a map of the Mukuska area would have helped.

~ Want ~
If you are a fan of World War II stories and how Canadians lived, loved, and lost during it, this is a nice read, but you may want to read the prior books in the series to get a better understanding of its abundance of characters. It’s “wizard.”

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#LightingtheStars #GabrieleWills #TheMuskokaNovels #VirtualAuthorBookTours #CanadianWWIISaga

https://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com/lighting-the-stars-by-gabriele-wills-on-tour/

There is a tour wide giveaway for the choice of print of ebook for 3 winners

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Print copies are open to the U.S. and Canada only. Gifted Kindle is open to the U.S only and Kobo is open to anyone who has a usable account on Kobo. It ends on June 30, 2021,midnight pacific time.

This book can be purchased at https://www.mindshadows.com or https://amzn.to/33GbyQi

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Fiction

Along a Storied Trail

Title: Along a Storied Trail
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3721-4

“Maybe she was destined to be another Aunt Perdie with nothing but maybes or might-have-beens,” Tansy ponders in Ann H. Gabhart’s novel, Along a Storied Trail.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those interested in a tale of finding love and contentment in a small rural community. With no profanity, topics of abuse, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes two chapters of another book by the author, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements.

In this story based in the Kentucky mountains during the Depression, unmarried twenty-year-old Tansy takes her job seriously as a packhorse librarian who delivers books to remote homes. Being a lover of words, she wonders if she will find true love, especially when an outlier from New York appears, wanting her to show him the history of the area. As she visits from house to house passing out books, many of the residents visited must make decisions that alter lives and she must decide what she truly wants.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that sucks the reader in as Tansy goes from house to house delivering books to the young and old. A local boy who has always had his eye on one girl, an old woman who finds peace, a young girl in need, and a woman who is seeking answers focus on trusting the Lord to find happiness. I deeply appreciate how the Word of God was naturally intertwined among the residents’ lives.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tales about the Depression, heartbreak, or losing loved ones may want to pass on this read. Non-believers may not care for its religious content, yet it is core to living life. Others may not prefer its many characters, but the writer does an excellent job describing their different personalities, problems, and hopes.

~ Wish
With many Bible verses added, it would have been nice to have the eternal plan of salvation clearly stated. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like reading a story of learning to be confoundedly content, this is an engaging read about sparking romances in the beautiful mountains full of chestnut trees in the Appalachians.

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

#Revell #AnnaHGabhart #AlongAStoriedTrail

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2QUnc7h

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

The Paris Betrayal

Title: The Paris Betrayal
Author: James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3850-1

“Perhaps a controlled release of the plague is … healthy for the world–and ordered and effective version of the chaos we’ve already experienced,” Ben is told in James R. Hannibal’s novel, The Paris Betrayal.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those who like current-day suspense about trying to stop the release of a bioweapon that could cause a devastating worldwide effect. With no profanity, topics of pain, abuse, torture, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an author’s note, biography, and advertisements.

In a breakneck pace covering several countries around the globe, this page-turner portrays Ben Calix as a detailed, sophisticated spy who has been taught well by the Company until he botches a job and is potentially exposed to a deadly virus. Given a severance, he is on the run, trying to figure out why he has become a supposed traitor to his country. Dodging bullets, being shot by SWAT forces, and accused of killing his girlfriend, he pushes on to locate the bioweapon and how it will be used and when.

~Why ~
This is a riveting tale of cat and mouse as one wonders who to trust and if they will continue to stay the course no matter what. I enjoyed the humanness of the protagonist and his tender concern for others although he is put through physical and emotional ringers chapter after chapter. I appreciated how the writer connected the dots of betrayal without giving too many hints.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like suspense stories about dangerous viruses and their potential devastation may avoid this book. Some may question if it is a romance read, but the subject is not overdone involving the characters.

~ Wish ~
Although the author’s notes mention a connection to Job of the Bible, there were no references or obvious links. I wish the story had promoted the sovereignty of God and how He rules the world, even when it is in chaos.

~ Want ~
If you like a swift suspense novel of a spy searching for answers while locating a deadly weapon, this is a kick of a thriller that will keep you guessing until the last few pages.

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

#Revell #JamesRHannibal #TheParisBetrayal #Findthebioweapon

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

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Never Miss

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Title: Never Miss
Author: Melissa Koslin
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3839-6

“Neither of us can do this alone. I don’t have your knowledge of science, and you don’t know how a terrorist mind works,” Kadance informs Lyndon in Melissa Koslin’s novel, Never Miss.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback is for those who enjoy current-day romantic suspense about trying to stop a dangerous virus from being potentially spread in America. With slang words such as heck and darn, topics of abuse, torture, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a chapter of the writer’s next book, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements.

Set in the United States, former CIA sniper Kadance becomes involved with Lyndon, a smart scientist with a photographic memory, when she saves his life. As they look for the reason for the attempted assassination, not only are they both targeted, but they try to stop the mastermind who wants to emit an Ebola virus at the upcoming State of the Union address. As the two get closer to their goal, they struggle with their paths of loneliness and heartbreak while searching for redemption.

~Why ~
This is a rapid story that zig-zags across America in a race to find who wants to lower worldwide population via releasing a deadly virus. The sharpshooter and geek’s connection is well-tested and tried as they work through their inadequacies and insecurities. I appreciated the scientific input and logical intelligent design discussions regarding a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian suspense will pass on this story about a trained sniper dealing with her skillset and a shy brainy guy who thinks too much. Others may think some of the scenarios were far-fetched, the traveling times incorrect, and the access to secured areas a bit unbelievable. Kadance’s pet cat was a unique addition to the tale but perhaps a bit unrealistic.

~ Wish ~
Although the story has threads of Christianity and praying, it would be thoughtful to include the eternal plan of salvation. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a romantic read involving two hurt and damaged individuals who want to do all in their power to save others, this is a fast read but you may find it a little over the top in some areas.

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

#Revell #MelissaKoslin #NeverMissNovel #SniperRomanticSuspense

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3vu8Jh2

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

Present Danger

Title: Present Danger
Author: Elizabeth Goddard
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3798-6

“God, help us to catch him before someone else dies. Help us find him. Help us dig up the root of this whole mess,” Terra prays in Elizabeth Goddard’s novel, Present Danger.

~ What ~
The first in the Rocky Mountain Courage series, this three-hundred-and-eighty-four-page book targets those who enjoy a contemporary Christian romantic suspense involving stolen archaelogical artifacts, past love, and family secrets. Using no profanity, topics of murder and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes author’s notes, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements.

Set in Montana, twenty-nine-year-old Terra Connors is a US Forest Service special agent who is thrown together with detective Jack Tanner when a body is found in the national forest. Due to their romantic past, Terra is overly guarded while Jack feels like a failure for having walked away from their relationship unexpectedly six years ago. The couple tries to tamper down their growing reconnection while trying to track down a killer with ties to dangerous trafficking of archaeological objects.

~Why ~
This romantic story is filled with suspense and drama as the pair works as a team to link stolen items to those involved, especially when Terra feels targeted and others are murdered. I liked the historical aspect of how relics can be stolen and illegally resold. The theme of forgiveness is poignant and tender.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian romances will pass on this story that promotes praying to God while learning to forgive oneself and others. Although no eternal plan of salvation is discussed, it does have sporadic prayers to God. I found the ending complicated and a little confusing.

~ Wish ~
I wish the protagonists were not so indecisive on their feelings for each other.

~ Want ~
If you like a suspenseful Christian series that begins with two past lovers having to work together to catch a murderer, this is fast-paced with a surprising twist.

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

#Revell #ElizabethGoddard #PresentDangerElizabethGoddard #RockyMountainCourageSeries

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

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Miriam’s Song

Title: Miriam’s Song
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3472-5

“Though she knew God had called her to help Moses lead, she had lost some of the connection she once felt for Him–as if He had given it to Moses and no one else,” Jill Eileen Smith writes about the prophetess in her Biblical fiction, Miriam’s Song.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-six-page paperback targets those who enjoy an enhanced version of the Biblical story of Miriam from being a young girl to dying en route to the Promise Land. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, topics of plagues, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements complete the book.

In this loosely retold story taken from the Old Testament, Miriam’s journey covers protecting her baby brother in the reeds along the Nile, witnessing the plagues of the Egyptians, escaping with Moses across the Red Sea, eating manna, and dying in the desert before reaching the Holy Land. In her trials and tribulations, not only does she encourage the Israeli camp to focus on Yahweh, but she also deals with insecurity, jealousy, and yearning to feel special to God.

~ Why ~
If you do not know much about a woman mentioned limitedly in the Bible, this will give you a synopsis of the book of Exodus and the holiness of God seen through a woman. The reader can tell quickly that the author has done plenty of research while adding her imagination and creativity to the Old Testament stories of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like fictionalized Bible stories may pass on this one as the author uses ample liberties to enhance the story. With the focus on Miriam having dreams and multiple added characters, it is fabricated, especially at the emotional level. Some may find some of the well-known scenes underwritten or without Biblical clarity, yet the author states it was a hard novel to pen.

~ Wish ~
Having read other books by Smith, I found this one a struggle to connect with its protagonist. It seemed Miriam often was the one with all the right answers and responses even though her desire to be needed by God and others was promoted (which is not noted in the Word).

~ Want ~
If you enjoy learning about the Miriam in Scripture, this one shows how God loves each of us in a special way and will always be with us, but realize, the read may not be emotionally or spiritually true to the Bible.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

#Revell #JillEileenSmitth #MiriamsSong

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3sNED6W

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

Facing the Dawn

Title: Facing the Dawn
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3729-0

“But beauty and love are what heal us. They’re closely related, you know,” Mara is reminded by her best friend in Cythia Ruchti’s novel, Facing the Dawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighteen-page paperback targets those interested in a tale of healing broken hearts that are either scared or sacred. With no profanity, topics of drug use, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, ten discussion questions, a biography, and advertisements.

In this story based mainly in Wisconsin, Mara Jacobs finds herself at the end of her rope with her humanitarian husband in Africa for years, her three children being increasingly distant or rebellious, and her uninteresting job more demanding. When the unexpected happens, she has to learn not only to lean and rely on God’s love but also allow others help her in her healing process.

~ Why ~
Having not had to deal with the sad and tragic experiences that Mara did, I appreciated the raw emotions, struggles to live another day, and fortitude to press on that were displayed in this novel. The characters are well written and show the humanity of life and disappointments that can make one become bitter or forgiving.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like depressing stories of how to move on in life after tragedies may not like this read. Others may find the sarcasm, snarkiness, and incessant overthinking of one character or the pushiness and determination of another cumbersome. There are quite a few sidetrack rantings that do not correlate to the story, altering its flow.

~ Wish
With this being a rather dark read, I found some of the scenes a bit unrealistic, such as why the husband never came home to visit or have the family visit him in the years he was gone. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like reading a story of loss, faith, hope, and redemption, this one reminds us of God’s relentless love among sadness and family turmoil.

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

#Revell #CynthiaRuchti #FacingtheDawn

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3qf4Ppv

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction