Monday, September 25, 2017

The Action Storybook Bible-Part of the Action Bible Family

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: The Action Storybook Bible invites families with children ages 8 and under explore God’s redemptive story together. From the sleek and amazing creatures God created at the beginning of the world to the powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel to Jesus’s gift of eternal life for you and your family—God has a beautiful and exciting plan for the world. Where do you fit into that plan? How are the truths found in God’s Word reflected in your life?

This Bible storybook features 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God’s story, packed with dozens of scenes—combining stories from God’s Word with brand-new captivating illustrations from Brazilian master-artist Sergio Cariello, illustrator of the bestselling The Action Bible. Discover your family’s place in God’s redemptive story and together put your faith into action!

Interactive features include:

Fifteen episodes loaded with over 350 brand-new illustrations from master-artist Sergio Cariello.
Short and easy reading for all ages. Take turns telling God’s redemptive story!
The Life, Faith, Action! feature wraps up each episode and helps your family recognize how God is moving through each story, discover how that relates to your daily lives, and feel inspired to put your faith into action.
Heroes Hall of Fame index, where you can look up your favorite Bible characters and discover their stories!

My Thoughts: As an Action Bible for younger children, the images in this book are fantastic (they're fantastic for older kids too, but the story is a bit more simplified). The colors and detail draw the eye and there is plenty on each page for a child to spend time looking at and many of the images can spark further conversation.

However, the actual narrative of the book is not what I had hoped for. As a storybook, I expected for it to simply be the stories, minus much of the gore and violence, that take place in the Bible. And that would have been phenomenal, giving the opportunity for younger kids to become invested in the story of plagues and Israel wondering the desert. Yet instead, the chapters group multiple stories together, sometimes leaving only one or two pages per narrative.

Doing this forced the author to give an interpretation of events (which left out a lot) rather than giving the events and then offering the parents questions to ask their kids about what they had read.  Along with this, there were numerous instances where things were stated as fact when they truly were not facts. In the story about Cain and Abel, for instance, it states that Adam and Eve only had three children, which is not possible if Adam and Eve were the first people and everyone descended from them. While the implication of this reality is not something that young children need to know about, it is also unnecessary to make a statement to children that is false, when it is unlikely that a child of such a young age would question whether or not Adam and Eve had other descendants in the first place.

For younger children around 3-5, the pictures in this book and the streamlined version of the Biblical narratives are suitable for instruction. And for older children, the images would be helpful in catching their attention and allowing them to visualize the story. However, for these ages, I feel that the narrative presented leaves a lot to be desired from something presented as a Bible (even if it is a storybook version) and would caution parents to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase this for their children.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this in ebook form through Litfuse.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WANTED A Superhero to Save the World- Tour and Giveaway

About the Book
Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.
Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on Amazon

About the Author
Bryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard, the Reapers Trilogy, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight, and the Time Echoes Trilogy, fantasy/science fiction/dystopian novels for youth and adults. His first novel, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004, and several books in that series have hit various bestseller lists, including Eye of the Oracle, which hit number one on the CBA Young Adult best-seller list in January of 2007.
Bryan was born in 1958 and grew up in the eastern U.S. From the time he taught himself how to read before school age, through his seminary years and beyond, he has demonstrated a passion for the written word, reading and writing in many disciplines and genres, including theology, fiction, devotionals, poetry, and humor.
Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S. in Industrial Engineering). In high school, he was valedictorian of his class and won various academic awards. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and voted Most Likely to Succeed.
Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Contest Giveaways

There are two contests:

The first contest’s giveaway is the winner's choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The second contest holds the Grand Prize - the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card. Now, you will need to look for all the secret numbers placed on the giveaway pages below and add them together in order to get the correct answer needed for entry into this giveaway (mine is 12).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, September 20th

Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair

Book Spotlight @ Backing Books

Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books

Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings

Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows

Thursday, September 21st

Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering

Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified

Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways

Book Review @ Ashley Bogner

Book Review @ The Page Dreamer

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

Author writing blog –

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mercy Triumphs- Jana Kelley

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God. Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God's mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don't deserve it. Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.

My Thoughts: My favorite part about this book is how well Jana is able to describe life in an Arabic nation from the eyes of an outsider looking in. The things she described held true to my personal experience and filled me with found remembrances, along with agreement that there with things that were tough to get used to, both in traveling there and in returning.

What struck me next was the mercy Jana used to describe the situations presented and the doubts and struggles Mia underwent in wondering if her attempts to minister were falling on deaf ears. Witnessing across cultures and religious barriers is not something that is easy, no matter what country someone is in, something that Mia experiences in the end when comparing her life in Sudan to that in America. And despite the number of scriptural references, there was never a moment were I felt preached at, only encouraged that the author of this story fully understood how difficult being a witness of Christ can be and that it often doesn't feel like we are doing anything at all.

Despite the wealth of compassion in these pages that made me love the story, there were scenes and chapters that seemed to drag on with the only point in them being that sometimes we feel like we are wasting our time when we think could be doing something better with it. While the scenes were important for the characters' spiritual development, as a reader, I was sorely tempted to skip over them. The story is not a fast pace read. Since I have not read the other books in this series, I cannot say what to expect from those, but readers should not step into this one expecting harrowing tales of constant, physical persecution. Instead, it is more a story of day to day struggles and the emotions that come with them.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through Litfuse.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Stranger at Fellsworth- Sarah E. Ladd

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancĂ© has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this novel, as I have read others by this author in the past and had not cared for them. However, this one was well worth the read, with a romance and heroine I could cheer for, and a conflict that gripped my attention.

Annabelle is sympathetic and likeable character who needs to escape a desperate situation, while discovering that her only way out is to leave behind everything that is familiar. While not the most unique of plot developments, I believe Ladd was able to do this far more realistically than in many similar stories. Throughout this change in life style, Annabelle struggles with the limitations of her background and mindset, having to remind herself that things she believed previously have all along been false.

The interactions with Owen were also rather sweet, creating a relationship built on respect rather than passion. While I did not care for the depiction of Annabelle's maid <spoiler> who began as kind but then became shrewish, despite Annebelle's genuine attempts at reconciliation, </spoiler> I did enjoy the rest of the characters' interactions and the fact that there were friendships that crossed social stratospheres.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through The Fiction Guild.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Noble Servant- Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant. But she might just gain what she’s always wanted…if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

My Thoughts: This was a really disappointing read following The Beautiful Pretender, which had actually been one of my favorites of Melanie's. Where as the last was fun and held intrigue, this... didn't.

What put me off the most was how selfish both Magdalen and Staffen were. While their characters did improve somewhat toward the end of the story, they spent most of the first part thinking only of themselves. Both constantly disparage the positions they have been placed in (goose girl, servant, shepherd, ect.) as though these are jobs lowly and beneath them, making it clear that they think the same of those people who normally hold those positions. And yet they are described as being kind and caring people.

Maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if they didn't constantly daydream about how their enemies would receive their comeuppance. While I understand wanting to be avenged, it is frustrating to read characters who want vengeance... but not real vengeance. They want to see the expressions of horror on their enemies' faces when they are found out, but don't want the attempted murderers imprisoned or executed. Because somehow, only wanting the "Aha" moment makes the heroes good people.

There were a few moments between the couple that were cute to read, and I guess that in the end, they did help the people they were supposed to. But those moments were far fewer than I cared for.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through the Fiction Guild.