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review 2018-03-22 17:49
Blind Date by Melody Carlson
Blind Date - Melody Carlson

The girls of the Dating Games club are at it again, setting each other up on five blind dates for the upcoming masquerade ball. Trouble is, some of the girls are wondering if the others can be trusted to deliver on their promises. In fact, there's a very real danger that this dating treat could turn out to be nothing but a nasty trick.

Teens will be delighted to spend more time with Cassidy, Devon, Abby, Brynn, and Emma as they navigate the thrilling and awkward world of dating. As always, Melody Carlson subtly delivers great advice wrapped up tight in a package of fun and friendship. (from Goodreads)

Series: #2 in the Dating Games series

Rating: 2.5 stars

This was an overall okay book. I'm not going to lie, I struggle with Melody Carlson books. She's either way to safe or goes way too far. And this a bizarre mix. Safe in sexual content and language but there's a character who drinks heavily and that didn't really need to be in there in my opinion, just a bit of end of book drama. There's no real boundaries for her.

The book itself was okay, but I'm not sure that's it realistic that in a group of five guys, all of them or going to be perfect gentleman. At least one of them would act like a jerk, even if he's just rude. And also, having a date doesn't turn him into Cinderella.

Bryn needs to change her attitude before someone smacks her. I don't know why, but Bryn's attitude bugged me a heck of a lot more than Devon's, even if Devon was kind of worse. Maybe it's because Devon was raised by non-religious parents and now both ignore her, while Bryn was raised as a Christian and has parents and at least one sister who loves her. I don't know, I wanted to punch her lights out half the time. An example: "Well, if our dates turn out to be losers, it means our friends let us down."

Also, as obnoxious as Abby's dad sounds, he is so accurate when he's talking about the influence of Abby's friends. "Bad company corrupts good character" and all that.

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review 2018-03-22 17:11
Her Christmas Guardian by Shirlee McCoy
Her Christmas Guardian (Mission: Rescue Book 2) - Shirlee McCoy


Former army ranger Boone Anderson immediately senses danger when he spots Scout Cramer and her precious little girl while holiday shopping. Then two cars suddenly give chase in the parking lot—kidnapping the child. His worst suspicions are confirmed, and professional instincts propel him into action. Having lost his own infant daughter years before, Boone is determined to reunite the beautiful single mother and her missing child. But when a secret from Scout’s past finally catches up to her, she must work with her self-appointed guardian to save her daughter. Before the kidnappers cancel Christmas for all of them…permanently.

Mission: Rescue—No job is too dangerous for these fearless heroes (from Goodreads)

Series: #2 in the Mission: Rescue series

Rating: 3 stars

First things first, BOONE IS PERFECTION. Okay, no, but seriously, I adore Boone. He is my favourite Love Inspired Suspense guy thus far. He’s sarcastic and loves food and God. What else do you need in a guy?

This was good for Love Inspired Suspense, I’ve read much worse. But to be honest, when the book is centered around a single mother whose child has been kidnapped, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that while in a blind panic trying to find her child, she has the mental capacity to fall in love? I don’t know, it’s never really sat well with me. Plus, in the same notion, the stakes are different so while it’s terrible (no child should have to go through that) it doesn’t live up to the suspense part of the name, because from what the readers are getting, nothing really suspenseful is happening. All that is happening to the child, but because we’re from the point of the parent(s), we don’t get that. We just get blind panic.

The fact that Scout (I love this name by the way) had a bad head injury and insisted on never following Boone’s orders, putting herself in danger countless times, kind of irked me. I get it, her daughter has been kidnapped and that’s terrible, no parent or child should have to go through that and the fact that they do sickens me, but she should’ve rested in the hospital and let HEART and the FBI do their jobs, because putting herself on death’s doorstep is not going to help Lucy.

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review 2018-03-20 18:46
The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter
The Celebration - Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Celebration is enjoyable. I like that you get to meet all the families and it rotational. It not with only one family and I like that. I like how Wanda does that with this book and series.


I like Hedi Toyer and how we see how she has struggled. We alway see how she reaches out to other children and their parents along the way as she is trying to help her foster children adjust and get to know other children.


We meet the Velma and her family. We also see the other families and meet them. Will they all heal over this Amish food and cooking class. Then gain they may form friendships they did not know will happen.


The one thing I noticed that I wish was different was that it gave us more of the children point of view more. It was a cooking class for children. I was hoping that would let see the children point of view along with the parents point of view.


The plot is done well. Wanda Brunstetter as done herself well with this book. I know this is the third book in the series. I want to read the other two hopefully soon. I would recommend any of Wanda’s books to read. This is good. This one is unique to me and have yet to see and Amish author do it the way she as.

Source: nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-celebration-by-wanda-e-brunstetter.html
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review 2018-03-18 20:11
An epic-story, which will make you reconsider what you thought you knew about angels, demons, and everything in between.
The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series) 1 - Vashti Quiroz-Vega

I have seen this book described as “epic” and I agree, not only for its length (it is two books in one) but also for its topic. It does talk about all things in Heaven and Earth, near enough, from the creation of the angels and the battle of good and evil to the fall of the angels and their revenge plans once on Earth (that don’t bode well for humanity).

The author’s writing style in this book is reminiscent of the Bible, although the story is told from quite a different point of view, and it deviates from the narrative most Christians are familiar with (I am intrigued to know how the story will resonate with readers not familiar with the Christian tradition, although the world building is detailed enough for anybody to be able to follow the events). I am not a bit Fantasy reader, mostly because I am not that fond of lengthy descriptions (I admire authors who do it well), although this story has the added interest of providing a major variation on a story many of us are familiar with. As typical of the genre, there is plenty of telling (in fact, all the characters are storytellers, and we get to hear the angels’ voices often, narrating their own adventures, or even fictional ones, like a fascinating story Lilith narrates in book 1), and beautiful descriptions of Floraison, the part of Heaven inhabited by the angels, of the angels, and also of the creation of Earth, and of Earth itself in book 2. We follow the story in a chronological order, from the time when the angels are quite young, growing up and learning about their powers (this part reminded me of YA books set up in special schools for young people with special abilities, and also of parts of The Hunger Games, when the characters had to train for the battle ahead), through to the battle between good and evil and their fall to Earth. Although the story is narrated in the third person, we follow the points of views of a variety of angels, mainly Lilith, the main character, but also most of the others at some point.

These angels reminded me of the Greek gods. They are not the celestial beings many of us imagine, but more human than human. They have their personalities, their peculiar characters, their flaws, their desires, and they are far from goodie-goodie-two-shoes. Even the good angels have faults… (Oh Gabriel…). We get to know Lilith’s cunning and devious nature better than that of others (she is rebellious, proud, has a superiority complex, and does not seem to feel true affection for anybody, even her supposed friends), but we see that Lucifer is proud and is not a good looser from early on (when he is following the rules), and some of the other angels are weak, easily manipulated, and only worried about their own well-being and interests. The God of this story does not tolerate rebellion or deceit, and he severely punishes his children for their misdeeds. The author excels at writing the punishments and tortures the angels are subject to, and these parts of the book are not for the faint-hearted. I know she writes horror too, and this is quite evident in her penchant for devising monstrous characters and pretty cruel and sadistic tortures.

As is often the case, the bad characters are more interesting than the good ones (that we mostly lose sight of in book 2, apart from some brief appearances). I would not say any of the characters are very sympathetic. Lilith is put to the test and punished for being what she is (and considering angels are given free-will, that seems quite cruel), but she displays psychopathic traits from the beginning and it is difficult to blame her nasty personality on her experiences. She is strong and determined, but she abandons her friends, is manipulative, and goes to extremes that make her exceedingly unlikeable. I have no problem with having a truly horrible character as the main voice of a book, although I missed something that helped me connect with her (there are moments when she hints at a weakness or hurt, but I did not feel they were particularly convincing. Perhaps a sense of humour, no matter how dark, would have helped, but other than some instances of silly behaviour very early on, there are moments of wonder but not many laughs). Gadreel is perhaps the easiest character to empathise with, and she grows and develops during book 2 (to begin with she is constantly complaining and moaning, but she gets more confident, although she is not traditionally good either). Satan does horrible things, especially to Lilith (who is not blameless by a long stretch, not that such abuse could be ever justified in real life), but he is an interesting character and quite loyal to his friends. And he also does much of what he does out of love, however misguided. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really like Dracul, Satan and Lilith’s child. He is described as quite an ugly thing, but I find him cute. There you have it.

For me, book 2 is more dynamic and moves faster than book 1. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the adventures of the fallen angels on Earth allow us to read about their first impressions of the world as it would appear to somebody who had never been here, a totally brand new place. Such estrangement and sense of wonder are fascinating and the writing captures it well. The fact that the fallen angels find themselves in a hostile environment and have to learn to work together to survive adds to the interest. Of course, Lilith has her own plans, and she makes sure she convinces others to follow.

The character of Lilith reminded me of the typical figure of the femme fatale in film noir (or the spider woman, or… well, I’m sure you can think of many epithets such females have received over the years), who is powerful but her power consists in manipulating and deceiving males, convincing them that they are in charge, while she pulls the invisible strings. I do admire such characters, especially when the circumstances are dire and that seems to be the only option to get ahead. There is always a difficult balance to maintain between creating a strong negative female character that can hold her own and ensuring it does not reinforce the usual story tropes that blame women for all of world’s ills from the beginning of times.

This book made me wonder once more about the well-known narrative (and let me tell you, there are some twists that will keep readers on their toes) of events, which amounts to a civil war in Heaven, where there is no reconciliation and no possible redress or forgiveness for those who rebelled against the established order and lost. I also had to wonder about the rules imposed in Floraison and what seems to be a bias against LGBT (sex is bad, but same-sex sex is worse and is more severely punished), which has always been an issue that has caused much religious debate.

This book is a tour-de-force that I’d recommend to readers who love to be challenged by narratives that push the limits of well-known stories and make us rethink and reconsider the stories we have been told. And one for those who love strong and wicked female characters. And baby demons…

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review 2018-03-18 01:57
Let My People Go
Imagine... The Ten Plagues - Matt Koceich

In this second book about time travel and Biblical stories, Matt Koceich again intertwines the two to create an incredible adventure. “Imagine: The Ten Plagues” takes the reader back to Ancient Egypt during the time of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites, seen through the eyes of a young girl. Eleven-year-old Kai Wells is facing a bully in her Florida neighborhood when suddenly she finds herself transported thousands of years back in time. She befriends a resident and becomes involved in helping a child stay safe from the Pharaoh and his servants while witnessing the plagues visited upon the hardhearted Egyptians.

“The Ten Plagues” was, in my opinion, a quicker and even more exciting read than its predecessor, “The Great Flood.” Koceich neatly creates characters to whom young readers can relate, while dealing with issues germane to what kids are facing today. This narrative focuses on bullying and standing up for what is right despite intense pressure, and yet it does not become preachy or superior. This is a great way for kids to learn a moral lesson in a fun and interesting way and to also introduce or reinforce major Biblical stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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