Friday, April 21, 2017

The Prince Warriors by Pricilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler



  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 650 (What's this?)
  • Series: The Prince Warriors
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Kids (April 27, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433690195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433690198

About the Book:

The battle is real.
As brothers, Xavier and Evan are used to battling each other. But now they’re discovering that there is a much bigger battle going on all around them. And it’s their turn to fight. Based on Ephesians 6:10–18, The Prince Warriors is the first book in Priscilla Shirer’s epic new series that brings to life the invisible struggle ensuing in the spiritual realm. Xavier, Evan, and their friends have typical lives until they enter a mysterious land called Ahoratos. There they meet their guide, Ruwach, who offers wisdom and direction as the kids’ initial adventure begins—an adventure filled with armor and danger and a very real enemy.
Written by New York Times Best-Selling author Priscilla Shirer, The Prince Warriors series was created for middle-grade readers and will include the fiction trilogy as well as Unseen: The 365 Prince Warriors Devotional and the Unseen app.

My Thoughts:

This is going to be one of those reviews that won't completely make sense until the very end, so please hang in there with me!  Way back, almost a year ago, I received a complimentary copy of "The Prince Warriors" from my friends at B&H Publishing, with no obligation on my part.  I did, however, commit to reviewing the book.

And then it promptly was buried beneath a pile of TBR (to be read), TBR (to be reviewed), and my GINTTRTBP (Gee, I need time to read this book pile).  And I completely forgot my commitment. After our youngest daughter married this past March we did some relocating in our house.  And I finally had enough bookshelf space to organize every book I had in my massive collection.

How massive?  It took me over a week, and I was sorting and alphabetizing as I shelved.  Low, and behold, a book appeared by Pricilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler...that had released LAST YEAR, for the love of bookmarks!

I felt awful.  I felt like I'd let the girls down.

Then I started reading.

So, this review is for every customer I ever had who asked me for a recommendation for a great book for young boys that had a solid spiritual theme.  This review is for every mom of every reluctant reader of the male gender.  This review is for every bookseller who searches high and low for a great book to recommend to a frustrated and weary person of a young boy.

THIS IS THE SERIES WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!  Yeah, that's right!  It's a SERIES, and it RAWKS!!  That's boy-speak for a really great read.  I love the origin of the series: Pricilla was making up stories to teach her own sons about the power of prayer, and they were so good, publication was pursued...

...and God moved and now we have books we can recommend with confidence!  So, "The Prince Warriors" receives my very special, just created award of "Hallelujah!  We have boy books!" (and yes, girls will dig them as well, but c'mon...you know you've been waiting!).

And many, many humble apologies for allowing this to become buried beneath all of my massive piles of books.  Just so you aren't jealous of my shelf space...I have new piles starting, and I need a new bookshelf already!

So, until the next book.......

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Disturbed: Clearing Out the Demons by Jesse Peterson, illustrated by Andy Manley



  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First Edition edition (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1539700399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1539700395
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches

About the Book:

In Peterson's first book, he presents the reader with ten stories carefully crafted to send chills up their spines. With Andy Manely creating illustrations that bring Peterson's creatures to life, Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons will haunt your dreams for weeks.

My Thoughts:

(Full Disclosure: my son is the author of "Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons", and I served as his editor.)

As a first novel, Peterson's book impressed me.

True, it's a brief compilation of stories geared to creep out the reader.  On that note, success.

And the size of the book is unusual--more the size of a magazine than an actual book.  On that note, seems to be success.

What has me most impressed is the drive Peterson has demonstrated, carefully crafting ten self-contained tales of a variety of things that go bump in the night without becoming campy or reinventing the creepy wheel.

Each story stands on its own merit, with a variety of topic as well as style.  "Ghost" is straight narrative, describing a disturbing but unique transformation of a girl into a creature of the night while ultimately discovering---oops, almost gave something away there!

While "Gnaw" tackles a journal format and re-imagines legendary carnivore extraordinaire Miss Bathory.  Don't know your history?  Might want to brush up, but the tale will give you the grist--I mean, GIST of her history.

Don't be shocked to find some grammatical and even a few spelling errors in this self-published project.  Yes, I served as editor, but a person can only do so much!  (That was a joke) (A not funny joke).  But don't let those few flaws keep you from allowing yourself the experience of "Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons".

The stories are fresh and some feature some mind-bending twists the reader will not see coming, but make the meat of the story oh, so sweet.  I have my favorites, and one or two didn't hit the mark for me.  Overall, I really enjoyed "Disturbed: Clearing out The Demons" and see great potential for Peterson's craft.

Original poetry from Peterson prefaces each creep-tastic tale.  Original artwork by illustrator Andy Manley brings the characters to horrifying life.  And each tale will lead you to a much larger picture if you just continue along the path Peterson has crafted for you...

...because Peterson is not done being Disturbed.  Oh, no, not by a long shot.  This is a general market fiction title, classified horror, but think more along the lines of R.L Stine with the potential for Stephen King.

Be sure to leave the lights on, if you will.  I'm giving "Disturbed: Clearing Out the Demons" my 'one to watch' award.  I believe greater--and creepier--works are ahead for the team of Peterson and Manley. (and I promise to get him a better editor) (okay, again, a bad joke) (or, is it?)

Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham






  • Series: A Pleasant Gap Romance
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 2, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 153969903X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1539699033

About the Book:

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain "mom" life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn't planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. 

Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley's two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. 

When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

My Thoughts:

Many of my reading friends adore Pepper Basham's historical novels, and they really are quite good.  But my heart is passionate about her contemporary fiction, and her newest novel is a keeper (just like Pepper Basham is!).

Why, you ask?  

Three words: hilarity, heart, and hope.

"Just The Way You Are" shines the spotlight on broken hearts and disillusioned people.  Both Eisley (don't you just LOVE that name?) and Christopher have been betrayed and crushed by love, and both are quite skittish about romance in any shade or on any continent.

That's right, reading friends!  Basham takes us across the pond for a good chunk of the story, exploring family history and those uber romantic landscapes, tossing in a few hidden passages as a bonus.  Makes me want to update my passport, it does, it does!

Both Eisley and Wesley (go ahead and think Princess Bride, but better!) have a suspicion that more than family histories are the current topic in their respective families, and soon enough their suspicions are proven correct.

Matchmakers are afoot, and they are the most delightful characters I've encountered in quite a few reads! Daniel, Eleanor, and Uncle Joe are hilarious and quite instrumental in healing Eisley's heart.  And I cannot wait until you mean the entire Jenkins clan!

From the mountains of Appalachia to the hills of jolly old England, you're in for a real treat with "Just the Way You Are"!  This is a book I will be reading again and again...maybe one of those 'once a year pick me up' reads, I'm thinking.

Either way, get thyself to a bookstore and pick up your copy of "Just the Way You Are", available both in ebook and print format.  But paper absorbs tears, and I was letting them flow from both laughter and heartache.  Still, I'm seriously thinking about purchasing a 'real' copy so I can hold it in my hands.

"Just the Way You Are" receives my "Oh, the Feels!" award, and I am eager to read whatever Pepper Basham creates next!  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert





  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (April 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429025
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches

About the Book:

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.
 
A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 
 
Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.  
 
In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My Thoughts: 

Prepare for MAJOR gushing, readers!  I'm a HUGE fan of Katie Ganshert and have loved all of her novels...but "Life After" is a real game changer for me.  She has raised the bar high, high, HIGH with this newest release.

Autumn Manning struggles with much more than survivor's guilt.  She struggles with a multitude of issues, the kind of issues that we wrestle with on a daily basis: worth, perspective, acceptance, craving love, family, identity...and the list goes on.

On the surface, you could read this as a love story with two broken people coming together to find love and healing.  Paul Elliott is just as broken as Autumn, and his struggles are just as multi-layered: loss, grief, panic, guilt, loneliness, fear, being enough...again, the list is endless.

This alone makes Autumn and Paul into Everywoman and Everyman.  But the story goes even deeper as it exposes our own flawed humanity and how we respond to the events in our lives.  Do we hide, like Autumn?  Do we burrow in and refuse to come out (this is my go to response: turtle mode).  Or do we step into the Light and try to move forward?

Or maybe like Paul, we accept false blame, artificial guilt and emotional manipulation by those we love and those who claim to love us.  Do we develop a grudge worthy of a movie title?  Do we let roots of bitterness take hold in our souls, allowing them to grow until we can't see or feel the Son?  Or do we own our own stuff, refuse to carry someone else's stuff, and then lay our stuff at the foot of the cross?

Two broken people do not make a whole person.  They simply can't.  Oh, we can try to make a relationship work, but the cracks and holes and dents will always, always rob us of what could be.  And I don't want to settle for what is...I want what could be.  So, will Autumn and Paul feel the same?  You'll have to read "Life After" to find out!

Because Katie doesn't always tie things up into neat and tidy bows...sometimes the bows are crooked, and sometimes, despite her best efforts at controlling her imaginary people...they do what they want and invite her along for the ride.

And, oh, what a ride "Life After" is!  Stock up on tissues for the tears and laughter that await you.  I'm so thrilled I received an advance copy of "Life After" that I ordered my own finished copy (but no obligation was met for my freebie).  You may just want to buy multiple copies and get together with a few girlfriends or guyfriends for a group read. 

Because you just might find your own healing in this powerful work of fiction.

That's why "Life After" is getting my "For Such a Time" award, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next new project from must read, must love author Katie Ganshert.  But, until then...


Mark Your Place,

Deena

Nifty Gifty: Noah's Ark by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Sean Sims





Author: Timothy Knapman; Illustrator: Sean Sims
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-839-7 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books 
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

This retelling of the story of Noah's Ark is a fun and lively version of the classic tale, in which Noah builds an ark with room for his family and all the animals to save them from the flood. 

With beautiful art from Christopher Flint plus a large, foldout model of the ark, young readers will love this brand-new version of this Bible story. 

Children can reenact the story with the cardboard characters and animals included as well!

My Thoughts:

This is my third experience with Silver Dolphin Books, and I am making them my go to publisher for all things creative!  What a fabulous product for readers and creative imaginations!  "Noah's Ark" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.



Your child can re-enact the adventure of the true story of Noah and his ark. The book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the story of Noah and the animals, and characters to replay the adventure inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "Noah's Ark" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...


Mark Your Place,

Deena

Nifty Gifty: Beauty and the Beast by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Christopher Flint





Author: Timothy Knapman; Illustrator: Christopher Flint
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-840-3 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books - Fairy Tales & Folklore 
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

Relive and reenact the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast in this brand-new storybook and playset. When a terrifying Beast captures Beauty's father, Beauty agrees to take her father's place as his prisoner. But while she lives in the palace with him, she learns that he is good and kind and not so terrifying. But can Beauty love the Beast? With a beautiful story, charming illustrations, and a foldout castle filled with a library, a ballroom, and more, young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with the lovely Beauty and her Beast.

My Thoughts:


This is my second product received from Silver Dolphin Books, and I'm head over heels in love!  "Beauty and the Beast" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.

Your child can re-enact the experience of Beauty meeting her Beast and all the magic that ensues. The book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the magical castle, and characters to replay the fun and whimsy found inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "Beauty and the Beast" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, April 17, 2017

All Aboard The Pirate Ship by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Andrea Castellani



ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-841-0 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

Tommy Montgomery loved everything there was to love about pirates! "Treasure first and friends forever!" was the motto he knew and tried to live by. All Tommy wanted was to be a pirate, and one day he decided it was time for an adventure! So he snuck on The Pirate's Revenge and headed for the high seas. 

Children can follow along and reenact their favorite scenes in this storybook and playset! The large, foldout model becomes the inside of a pirate ship so children can play as they read along and find out if Tommy has what it takes to become a real-life pirate!

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with Silver Dolphin Books, but it will not be my last one!  What a fabulous product for readers and creative imaginations!  "All Aboard the Pirate Ship" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.

Your child can re-enact the adventure Tommy Montgomery takes on his trip aboard the pirate ship. the book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the pirate ship, and characters to replay the adventure inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "All Aboard the Pirate Ship" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena
 

Just One More Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon