Monday, October 30, 2017

God Gave us Family

Little Pup is on his way to a family reuinion with his mom and dad.

On the way he asks why there is only one kid in his family but other families have lots of kids.  Papa says that God gives families and every family is different.

While rowing in a boat they pass different families.  The bear famiy has an adopted child.  Th goose family has a single mom most of the time.  One child lives with their grandparents.

Then Little Pup learns that the rest of their pack are family too, even if they are not related to us.  And he also learns that family is still family, even when they are annoying.

In the end they get to the reunion and Little Pup plays with his cousins and pack members.

It is a cute book, from the "God Gave Us...." series of books.  The most popular which I think as God Gave Us You.

The artwork was cute and it would make a great addition to any Christian family's book collection.

I will say that none of the families in the book have parents who are same sex.  Of course since this is a Christian book we couldn't really expect them to include that facet of life could we?

There are also no families without children, so you have to have a child to be a family?

I received my copy of God Gave us Family though Blogging for Books in exchange for an hontest review.  Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

If you would like your on copy it is on Amazon in Kindle or Hardcover.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Draw 50 Sea Creatures Step by Step

Draw 50 Sea Creatures
The Step-by-step Way to Draw
Fish, Sharks, Mollusks, Dolphins and More!

Available on Amazon
Draw 50 Sea Creatures is a simple book on, you guessed it, how to draw sea creatures!

The only equipment you'll need is a medium or soft pencil, paper to draw on, and a kneaded eraser.

There is not a lot of written content in the book.  There is a letter to the reader giving you just a handful of tips on how to use this book to improve your drawing.

There is also a short letter to teachers on why that even though freedom of self expression is important, its also important for young artists to learn how to do things step by step as well.

From there it is just page after page of how to Draw 50 Sea Creatures.  Most of the creatures break it down into 6 steps.  A couple have 8 steps drawn for you to follow.  Even with 8 steps, some of the more detailed animals have several details are added in one step.

To me this makes this book more suitable for someone with some drawing talent as opposed to an absolute beginner. I'm not a very talented artist.  Here are 2 animals I drew from the book. 

The anemone was pretty easy, but you can see that the step by step didn't do much for me with the seahorse.

Lee J. Ames, the artist behind the Draw 50 series has been drawing for most of his life.  His first job was for the Walt Disney Studios when he was 18.  Since then he has led a career as an advertising artist, fine artist, cartoonist, designer, animation in-betweener, illustrator, and as an artist-in residence at Doubleday. 

It is his minimalist approach to teaching drawing that makes the 26 books of the Draw 50 series such a success.

(Disclaimer:  This book was received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and comments... and bad seahorse drawings ...are my own.)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ninth City Burning

An alien race had come to make Earth theirs.  The war has raged for five centuries.  It was nearly the end of the world.

Growing up in this shattered environment isn't easy for anyone.  Some, like Jax, grew up in an elite military academy, training for battle.  Others, like Naomi, grew up nomadic roaming the wilds of a ruined Earth, it means a daily fight for survival.

When paths cross Jax and Naomi, along with other fighters and survivors must find a way to turn back the invasion.  Otherwise their home will finally be completely destroyed.

Ninth City Burning does the thing that so many books do these days that I hate.  It hops back and forth from different POV.  Starting out with different characters in different cities who all eventually converge.  

Frankly I would have like to have seen more of Naomi's story.  I was annoyed that the tale around her and her tribe converged so quickly with the high-tech society.  SO I guess I would have lieked a post apocalyptic survival story instead of a Sci-fi tale.

The overall story was interesting.  How the world handled a multi-year inter-dimensional war.  The underlying theme of "OMG YOU'RE TOO YOUNG FOR WAR, but we're gonna make you do it anyway" got to be really annoying after a while.  Especially since this is a thick 500+ page read.

I could see Ninth City Burning making a big-budget big screen movie one day, maybe, but it didn't really make me want to change my favorite reading genre to Sci-fi.

I did get this book for free from blogging for books, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Home on the Range Book Review
Available on Amazon

Nick Stafford has been working on his family's ranch, trying to proove he is the "good son."  Despite a strong commitment to be a better husband, father and ranch manager than his father was, Nick has found himself a single father.  One of his daughters is having trouble in school and he has to think past his Stafford stuborness and do what is best for his girls.

Dr. Elsa Andreas has suffered her own tragedy.  One that caused her to abandon her family practice and hide in a dark corner of Gray's Glen.  Her sister, the school principal, convinced her to come out of hiding to help the Stafford girls.

Nick is smitten with Elsa, and she with he, but they both agree to put the girls first.  Can Nick put aside his stuborn side, or will Elsa's hidden secret keep them apart despite both of them wishing the best for the girls?

Home on the Range is the 2nd book in the Double S Ranch series.  (Books 1 and 3 follow the other two Stafford brothers.)  It is a Fictional Christian Romance.

Normally I don't read or enjoy romance novels, but I chose to read this one because of the cover art, of a little girl hanging on to her fathers leg.

Reading Home on the Range I was in love with the charactger of Dr. Elsa.  I loved her Hobbit hole in the woods.  I loved her eccentric parrot.  I loved how much she loved Nick's daughters.  Her fear and distrust in certain people felt right with me

This quote from another chacrater in the book stuck with me:

"We cannot blame God for the evils of people.  We are inclined to sin.  But if each of us maes her corner of the world as sweet and good as she can, she blesses many, unseen."

In a not entirley unexpeted twist, the girls mother shows up.  One that happened I kept expeting things to be done and said that never were.  I was happy that the book wasn't so predictible that I knew what would happen before it did.

If you like a light Romance with Christian undertones I would recommend you read Home on the Range. I enjoyed it enough to read it in a couple of days.  However I didn't enjoy it enough to be tempted to check out the other books in the series.  I guess its just not my genre.

If you are interested in checking it out, Home on the Range  is available in several formats on amazon, along with the rest of the series.

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I received my copy of Tell Me How This Ends Well for free from Blogging For Books. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tell Me How This Ends Well

Set in the future (slightly, the year is 2022), Tell Me How This Ends Well features each of the three Jacobson children.

Mo, Edith, Jacob, along with their parents have all gathered together for Passover at Mo's home.  Their mother is very ill, and this might be their last year together.

For the sake of their mother, the children have decided to kill their father.

Throughout the book, you get to see through the eyes of each of the siblings.  We see their father as a raging tyrant from childhood onward.  More than once we see him trying to harm or even kill his own children.

What you don't see much of is their mother.  Rarely does she show up in the backstory and the result of that is that you don't much care for her.  At least I didn't.  Why should I care if they kill their father for her?  She is almost a non-entity.

Meanwhile, the narrators are also rather unlikeable.  Jacob is whiny, Mo is egocentric and materialistic, and I'm pretty sure Edith has some sort of dangerous personality disorder.

Sure, Julian Jacobson is a clearly loathsome character, but the children and wife don't have a lot going for them.

I put the novel down several times to read other books in between.  It wasn't bad enough to give up on entirely as I have other books (see A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing) but it didn't grab me.

Meanwhile, in the distant future of 2022, the world has become very anti-Semitic (much like our current anti-Muslim world view).  Other than the fact that Jacob's boyfriend is German I don't see where it added to the story at all.  Enid ran into a couple of unpleasant people, and suicide bombings are mentioned throughout the book, but overall it played no part in the larger story aside from the very end which could have been re-written to keep from having all the other pointless moments from the rest of the book.

Unfortunately, overall, I don't see myself recommending this book to anyone.  If you want to give it a try anyway, Tell Me How This Ends Well is available in multiple formats on Amazon.

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I received my copy of Tell Me How This Ends Well for free from Blogging For Books. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal is a novel by Brunonia Barry.

On Halloween night a teenaged boy dies unexpected, and some town members blame Rose Whelan.
Rose Whelan also happened to have been involved in an unsolved murder case from 1989.

Callie Cahill had thought Rose to be dead, so she returns to Salem for the first time since she was taken away when she was 5.

While some people thought Rose killed the young man, and the "Goddesses" many years before, Callie loved Rose like a mother and insists she didn't kill the goddesses but rescued Callie from the person who did.

John Rafferty, Salem's sheriff, also thinks Rose is innocent.  He wants to help Callie find the missing piece of the puzzle or the "Fifth Petal" of the rose.  However, the town is beginning to think he is biased, and his time to solve the riddle is running short.

The Fifth Petal is the third in a series of books that circles around the same town and characters.  I have not read the first two books in the series, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the tale.

I felt for Callie and for Rose.  I with they could have both had a happier ending.

I was pretty sure I had figure out who the real killer was, and I turned out to be right.

There were a couple of side characters in the novel I wish I could have gotten to know better.  If there is ever another book featuring them I will probably read it.

I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
I received a copy of this novel free from Blogging for Books, but all thoughts and opinions on it are my own.

Flash Fiction Magazine Giveaway

Have you ever wanted to read something, but don't have the time (or energy) to commit to a full length novel?

How long has it been since you've treated yourself to the bite sized morsel of short fiction?

Flash Fiction Magazine is giving away 3 of their shot story collections in paperback.  All together that would be 130 flash and micro fiction stories for you to read.

Enter to win these 3 collections today!

From established and up and coming authors, each story has something to offer you, and you don't have to say "I don't have time to read" as each one is short and quick.

I own Volumes 1 and 3, so I can tell you they are worth reading.

Interested, ENTER TO WIN HERE:

Even if you don't win the Grand Prize, there are plenty of (17) runner up prizes, each also a worthy short story collection.

But you have to act fast!  There are only 2 days left (as of my writing this on 4-19-17) to enter this Flash Fiction Magazine Giveaway.

Or, if you just can't wait to read them all volumes of Flash Fiction Magazine are available on amazon in digital format.