Friday, December 14, 2012

Review of Oliver Twist!

Prism is reviewing classic books now? How can one review Dickens? Okay, okay, no I'm not reviewing Oliver Twist the novel, I'm reviewing Focus on the Family's audio adaptation of the book!

I grew up listening to Focus on the Family's famous radio show, Adventures in Odyssey. They have now expanded to create audio dramas of classic books from C.S. Lewis to Les Miserables and the list goes on and on. Those familiar with the style of Adventures in Odyssey will find that the adaptation of Oliver Twists, while of course different in content, is very similar in the way it is presented. A cast of all-star actors breathe life into the characters, with sounds effects, and a score to accompany. It really is as if you are hearing everything going on. The CDs come in beautiful packaging, and there are five CDs and one DVD. The CDs contain over 5.5 hours in audio drama, and the DVD contains a behind the scenes featurette and a video on modern-day Oliver Twists.

I was absolutely and completely hooked to the story. I had read the novel before, but it never seemed so real. Of course, Dicken's story is fiction, but the way Focus on the Family presented it with the audio drama and story of modern orphans, it really brought everything into perspective. Stories like Oliver's happened every day during Dicken's time, and many of them did not have happy endings. There's still much suffering among children today also, even in America. It truly opened my eyes.

A little disclaimer: Due to the nature of the story of Oliver Twist, the documentary of "modern Olivers", and one mild choice word in the audio dramatization, I would recommend this to ages 13 and up.

Great as a gift, to listen to as a family (with teenagers), ect. Highly recommended. Excellent adaptation!

All in all, I rate this audio dramatization 5/5 stars.

Note: Thanks to Tyndale for providing me with a free copy for reviewing purposes.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review of Placebo!

Placebo is the latest suspense novel by bestselling author Steven James. It is the first in a series about Jevin Banks, a former magician and current expose filmmaker.

Jevin and his assistant Charlene, in their latest investigation for their TV show, are going to a laboratory that is testing the "entanglement" of two people in love and mind-to-mind communication. The two pose as a couple in order to determine whether or not the study is legitimate. Soon, they are caught up in a huge conspiracy that may threaten lives... and it is up to him to stop it. Along with Xavier, a conspiracy theorist, and Fionna, a technology genius and homeschool mom, Jevin attempts to get to the bottom of the research and its potential far-reaching capabilities. Additionally, he grapples with personal tragedy, the loss of his wife and twins and the resulting guilt.

This book definitely pushes a person to think about the nuances of science, medicine, and religion. I love how the characters all have such great depth and the emotions, or lack thereof. One of the most intriguing characters was that of Dr. Riah Colette, who is a self-diagnosed psychopath. I found her character incredibly complex, as she is incapable of experiencing emotion and her motives and characteristics are very unclear and gray. In fact, many of the characters of this book are used to help explore the gray areas of life. One of Jevin's biggest struggles in the book is that of his loss, his guilt, and how God could let that happen to his family. The book handles the matter very delicately in a way both Christians and people who are not Christians will be able to read and understand the author's point of view. Well-written, full of suspense, and a great scientific-related, detailed book.

I wish this book had picked up a bit faster. The plot line did accelerate towards the end, but the beginning was somewhat hard to get engaged in.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Book Info:
Publisher: Revell (November 1, 2012)
Pages: 409 (Paperback)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
Available November 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Friday, October 19, 2012

Do You Like Free Stuff?

Tyndale Publishers has started a great new program where you can earn free books and Bibles! How cool is that? All you have to do is some little easy tasks, and earn points. You can then use those points towards certain Tyndale products. I signed up for Tyndale Rewards, have you?

Here is the link:


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of Rock Solid Faith Study Bible

Brief description: Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens is one of the latest teen Bibles from Zondervan. It is in the NIV format, and contains additional content to help keep a teen's faith strong.

Provided description (not mine): This all-new, full-featured NIV Bible is great for teens looking to grow their faith, increase meaning in their lives, and find hope for their future. The Rock Solid Bible for Teens is a timely guide for teens grappling with big questions about the world, their future, and their faith.  Featuring the complete New International Version text, apologetics helps, hundreds of call-outs, and concrete promises for the future, the Rock Solid Bible provides firm traction for the development of beliefs and behavior rooted in the unchanging love, guidance, and promises of God.

Only recently have I really delved into and explored study Bibles. Many of them are rich in content, and this is one of them. There are several features that are interspersed in the pages. These sections include: Truths, Principles, Promises, Plans, People, and God. Rock solid Truths explore what Christianity is and how it differs from other religions. Rock solid Principles help make topics in the Bible relevant to teen readers. Rock solid Promises describe what God has promised believers, but also addresses what God has not promised. Rock solid Plans addresses one of the biggest worries of teens: what's the future going to be like? Unshaken people highlights some of the the strong people of God in the Bible. And the last topic Unshaken God, explores who God is and His attributes. Some of the topics addressed often are in story form. Fictional examples relating to the topic are useful to see how it relates to life and in a way not to feel unique in struggles. Many teens will be able to relate to the material presented.

Aesthetically, the hardback cover is great, the Bible is easy to navigate through, and I loved the additional material at the end. I've always loved maps and visualizing where the events of the Bible occurred.

This is my first time to review a Bible, and as it is a Bible, I will not be rating it.

Because of the additional material and content, I do recommend this study Bible to teens.

Note: thanks to B&B Media Group, Inc. for providing me with a copy of this Bible for reviewing purposes.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review of Perfectly Ridiculous!

Perfectly Ridiculous by Kristin Billerbeck is the third book in the YA fiction Universally Misunderstood series (see my reviews for book one and book two). Daisy Crispin is finally done with high school and looks forward to a bright future as a finance major in college. To add to her happiness, her best friend's parents are giving an all-expenses-paid trip to beautiful Argentina! As an added bonus, Argentina is where her extremely attractive sort-of boyfriend, Max, lives! Some summer fun, independence from her well meaning but slightly overbearing parents, and the possibility of an innocence foreign romance! What more could a girl ask for?

But, of course, things never turn out as Daisy expects, as we have seen in the last two books.

Soon, a letter arrives in the mail dictating that Daisy cannot get her scholarship for four years at the university unless she completes two weeks of mission work. Bye bye tango lessons, exotic tours, spa days, and Argentinian steak... Or is it? Daisy soons comes up with a compromise. One week helping with a rural VBS program and another week enjoying her vacation in paradise? Sounds like the perfect plan, right?

Or... it could be perfectly ridiculous.

This book is so refreshingly real. I mean, true, most girls don't go to Argentina, have parents who are as eccentric as Daisy's, and have an affluent best friend, but the dialogue and Daisy's inner thoughts are just so spot on! Daisy's quirks makes this book even more endearing to the point that she feels like a real person! I believe teenage girls will absolutely relate and love the witty, and honestly, brilliant writing. I also love books with a big-impact lesson. I think on of the main themes in the Universally Misunderstood books is letting go of the OCD tendency most teenage girls have and letting our lives be piloted by God. Readers are able to see that Daisy's misadventures are often a result of her, as Daisy's mom puts it in the book, "playing God". I think this is an excellent message to girls, as I know it is to me, to really learn to depend on God and acknowledge His sovereignty. I also love how the end of the book leaves the reader fulfilled yet leaves enough open so that the reader could decide Daisy's future, so to speak. The ending is very well-written, as is truly the whole book. I'm so glad I found this series!

All in all, I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 247 pages
 ~Publisher: Revell (July 1, 2012)

Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group!

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review of Eye of the Sword

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley is the second book in the Angelaeon Circle fantasy series. A reformed thief and servant of evil, all Trevin wants to do now is to serve King Laetham of Camrithia and his beautiful daughter Melaia as one of the king’s captains. Things get shaken up with Prince Varic of Dregmoor appears with an eye for Melaia, and Trevin is commissioned by the king on a quest to find the rest of the captains, or comains as they are called, who have disappeared mysteriously. 

His quest becomes more challenging when Melaia requests that he also search for two missing harps that are said to have the power to restore the stairway to heaven. With a heavy heart, he leaves Camrithia and his beloved Melaia to seek the truth and and prove his worth to the king. What ensues is a dangerous, dramatic, and, at times, deadly journey of discovery, not only of what has happened to the comains and the harps, but who he truly is and what his destiny could be.

As he grapples with his past, will Trevin be able to finish his quest before Princess Melaia is won over by Varic? Will he even survive?
I detest picking up a series at the second or third book and muddling my way through the first few chapters. It’s like being the newcomer in a group that has known each other for years, and it can be quite irritating. However, this book reads like a standalone. I also like how the ending is satisfying. No bothersome cliffhangers that are at times more irksome than anticipation-inducing. The characters are strong and their backgrounds are well-thought out. And how rich the setting is! I loved the descriptions of new lands, new creatures, and new adventures. I highly respect fantasy writers because the majority of the content of their books is purely imagination! That is a very huge undertaking, and the author has handled it masterfully. There’s the right blend of suspense, mystery, and romance to keep the plot moving seamlessly until the end. Nicely done!

I wasn’t a fan of the book calling its “God” in the story “Most High mother-father”. That bothered me and made me wonder why the author even brought it up. I also must admit that the description of different characters in the beginning of the book was a bit disorienting. After skimming through it, I went straight to the story and had no trouble keeping up. I think those descriptions can be helpful but are best left at the end of the book and put in the index, where the reader can find it if they are even confused with a character. I also was a little bewildered at how the angel race mixed up with the human race so easily. It’s like everyone in the story is somehow blood related and family lines are distorted. It begs the question that if the angels and humans mix so much, are the angels in this story really angels after all? Or just glorified humans? And what point is the author trying to make through this? Muddy, dangerous waters. 

In the end, my opinion is half and half. I really liked the story, but there were some things that bugged me. Therefore, I rate this book three out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 256 pages
~Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 13, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review of Halflings

Halflings by Heather Birch is the YA fantasy about when the supernatural and natural meet. Nikki Youngblood has always lived a normal life, somewhat. Her parents deal in antique weapons and she's in karate, but other than that, she's a normal teenaged girl. That all changes one night. Nikki is attacked by strange wolf-like creatures, but is rescued by a mysterious boy with heavenly eyes. And that's no understatement.

Mace, Raven, and Vine- these Haflings, half human half angels, are assigned to guard Nikki.  They must protect her from evil while hiding their most startling secret... wings! Trouble begins to brew as they uncover a terrible plot. They soon discover that Nikki is somehow tied to a laboratory and a dark plan that could change the world as we know it forever. Things only get murkier when Nikki discovers that there is a growing attraction to two of her guardians, who are as different as night and day. Mace and Raven must grapple with their own feelings, because, although Nikki's broken heart is at stake, they could very well lose everything, including their own souls.

Danger lurks in every corner. A budding romance could bring nothing but trouble.

A teenage girl. Three semi-heavenly beings. One world to save.

The premise is certainly unique. I always find it intriguing when a lead female character finds herself in a tug of war for her heart. In this case, the men pulling at the opposite ends of the rope are part angel. The suspense of why Nikki was being protected and what the evil plan was certainly kept my attention to finish the book.

Unfortunately, that was it. To be honest, I really disliked the book. It seemed like some kind of Christianized Twilight. Almost as if the author was trying really hard to create a less-controversial alternative for young Christian girls. I could see the whole Team Mace and Team Raven things going on. The romance seemed a bit forced, and poor Nikki was caught in the middle. To her credit, I really liked the character of Nikki Youngblood and the aura of mystery that surrounds her. I just really disliked the whole background of her heavenly-human compadres. It is very creative, don't get me wrong. I just found it too YA fiction-ish, as in trying too hard to please the romantic teenager. YA romance books, I suppose, are very "mushy" in dialogue and plot. And this book laid it on thick when it came to the romance. In addition, I believe some feathers will be ruffled by the fact that this book deals with angels, who are God's heavenly servants and messengers. I think making up fantasy from Christian theology could step on some toes. Dangerous waters.

I think when it comes to books like this, it's all about personal preference. And my preference says no.

All in all, I rate this book one out of five stars. Liked the lead character, not so much the plot and supporting cast.

Specifics (from
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (January 9, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Review of Love in Disguise!

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox is a historical novel set in Arizona in the 1880s. Elli Moore is desperate. Her previous employer, a famous stage actress, decided to move to Europe, leaving her wardrobe mistress, Ellie, jobless with nothing more than a trunk full of old costumes. When Ellie eavesdrops on a conversation between two Pinkerton Detective Agency operatives, she feels as if her troubles are over. They need a woman to discover who is stealing silver from mines! She could become an agent, explore her acting abilities, have an adventure, and say goodbye to her money troubles!

After convincing the agency to take her on, Ellie sets off to Arizona for her assignment, her only shot to become an operative. Using the costumes and makeup left to her, Ellie becomes two people very different yet very close to herself. One of her characters is Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow of three years and possible mine investor. Of course, a respectable widow cannot travel everywhere an operative needs to investigate, so Ellie also becomes Jessie Monroe, a stunning redhead and niece of Lavinia, whose dazzling personality attracts men like bees to a sweet flower.

One such man is Steven Pierce, a mine owner who is struggling to keep his mine in the midst of the robberies. In one last act of desperation, he and the other mine owners had written to the Pinkerton Agency, asking for help. When it doesn’t seem to appear, help comes in another quite unexpected form. A widow and her beautiful, feisty niece.

Ellie soon finds out her undercover operation has brought more danger than she anticipated. When the thieves grow irritated with her characters’ nosiness, they decide to silence Lavinia and Jessie. Her deception has also possible alienated Steven, who has fallen hard for Jessie.

 Will they survive? And if they do, what will Steven think when he discovers the woman he loves isn’t real?

 I loved, loved, loved this book! It is filled with mystery, romance, and humor. Ellie Moore is definitely a spunky lead character, and the situations she gets into as Lavinia and Jessie are unique and captivating. The humor of the story is what really struck me, as this is a historical novel. Not quite typical of the genre. Sure, a woman becoming two completely different other woman is humorous in itself, but the author perfectly crafts scenarios that test Ellie’s ability to think quickly under pressure… and the reader’s ability to stifle their tendency to laugh out loud. The funny aspects are well-balanced with romance and, of course, Ellie’s mission to uncover the culprit. It was an excellent blend of all of the aspects necessary to make a book great.

All in all, I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 352 pages
~Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review of The Director's Cut!

The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson is the third and final book in the Contemporary Romance and Comedy series Backstage Pass (see my review for the second book here).

Tia Morales is kind of a control freak. I mean, she's the director of an extremely popular family sitcom, so she's gotta be good at taking charge, right? When things start turning out in ways Tia wouldn't have planned it to, she's forced to confront the not-so-controlled areas of her life. Even her perfect world of director-hood isn't turning out as planned! With script changes, guest stars, secret snitches, health emergencies, and her sister joining her on the set, Tia's got her hands full. Not to mention the cute camera guy, Jason, whose annoying qualities are started to seem less annoying. Yikes!

Can Tia learn to surrender her life's script to God? 

I really liked the flow of the three books of the series. They are all their own story, yet all three books mesh chronologically. Although this book isn't my favorite in the series, the main character, Tia, has her own zest and trait she has to overcome. I absolutely loved seeing the old characters, especially Lorena and Kat. The movie quotes and trivia are just as added bonus to the book! There's humor, seriousness, and spiritual truth.

As I mentioned before, this book was good but not my favorite. I couldn't completely connect with the story, and it wasn't as engaging or as comedic as the other books were. However, the storyline was neat, clean, and I did want to read it.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Available June  2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 320 pages
~Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review of Moonblood!

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the third book in the fantasy series Tales of Goldstone Wood (see my review for the second book here).

Moonblood picks up right where Veiled Rose left off. We see Prince Lionheart grappling with the strong man he could be and the weak excuse maker that he has so easily become. Desperate to keep his position as heir to the throne, Lionheart decides to get rid of the one person that drives his people away but is yet his only true friend. Prince Lionheart banishes his loyal servant, Rose Red. Little does he know the chain of events that will go into motion the minute Rose Red walks away.

She is captured by her father in the enchanted and hidden land of Arpiar, a dark place hidden by veils. A guilty Lionheart plunges in after Rose Red, determined to make his wrong right. But how far is he truly willing to go? Is he even willing to die for her sake?

A captive princess. A cynical orange cat. A struggling prince. A fallen unicorn. A goblin horde. A mystical wood.

A world's future at stake.

Once again, the author has done an incredible job detailing and making the setting and characters come to life. I absolutely loved Rose Red and "Monster"; they were definitely my favorite characters. The new characters were vibrant and unique. Although I and some readers will hold a dislike for Lionheart, we can see his humanity and struggle with right and wrong. His struggle is a main part of the book(s), and I believe the author handled it masterfully. I can't wait to read the next book, Starflower, set to be released fall 2012!

I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but I think it could very well be a great interest catcher for the next book. Also, I wish we could have seen more of Una, who was the main character of the first book, but I believe the author could also detail it in Starflower. To be honest, so far in the series, this book is ranked third on my list, with Veiled Rose being first and Heartless being second.

Super excited for the next book, though!

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars. 

Specifics (from
~ Paperback: 373 pages
~ Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Song Obsessed!

That ever happen to you? You get a song in your head and just can't get it out? But it's not a bad thing because you actually really like the song! Well, that's been the case for me and Coldplay's "Paradise". Absolutely love it although, yes, I lost some respect after seeing the music video... Really? Elephants?

Anyways, I must share with you!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review of Crazy Dangerous!

Crazy Dangerous is the new suspense/action YA novel by Andrew Klavan (author of the Homelanders Series, see my reviews of books two, three, and four). I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I'm going to let this book take the spotlight this time. Because it is that good, my dear readers.


"You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and-oh yeah-the weird murder . . . you're definitely going to want to hear about that."

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it's only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here's the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies--prophecies of something terrible that's going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

My Opinion:
Fear nothing. Do right. These two statements are the main theme of this book. As the main character, Sam, has to muddle through what he believes is right and wrong and what his response should be, he is put into some extraordinary circumstances. I mean, what other preacher's kid would start hanging around car thieves, befriend an eccentric girl who mutters his name like a magic word and seems to see the future, sneak out of his house several times, and build up the courage to talk to his crush?

Okay, okay, this book is a little far-fetched, but that's the point of most fiction, right?

I like the clash of science and spirituality in this book. When it comes to Jennifer, Sam has to figure out where he draws the line between the two, or if he does at all. This book does address that but lets the reader decide what they believe. Also, this book is not overtly "preachy".

I was absolutely hooked from page one. The author does an excellent job of keeping a fast pace while grabbing the reader's attention and not stopping to explain frivolous details. I literally could not put this book down. Thank goodness I was reading this on a Friday, because I stayed up late to finish it!

Samantha is definitely an intriguing character. Since I'm interested in medicine, I like how the possibility of a medical condition came into play. The author did an amazing job getting into her head and making it all so unique.

The book is eery. Ominous, even. Totally gripping, and eventually, shocking.

You don't want to miss out on reading Crazy Dangerous!

~Specifics (from
~ Hardcover: 336 pages
~ Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 1, 2012)

Don't just take my word for it! Check out other reviews here!

Andrew Klavan's Crazy Dangerous $100 Visa Cash Card Giveaway and Author Chat Party {5/29} Enter Today - 5/8-5/28!

Note: Thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jammin' Out my latest obsession: Christian rap.

Lecrae, Tedashii, ect... I wasn't too much into it before, but now I'm in love.

Okay, so I know this won't be popular to everyone, and I acknowledge that. But a lot of these lyrics are pretty good and Biblically sound.

Here's just a few, but now that you've listened to my small sampling, what are your thoughts?

Do you like Christian rap? If so, why? If not, why? Feel free to share your thoughts.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review of The Rose of Winslow Street

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden is the story of love in unexpected places. Libby Sawyer and her father are enjoying a relaxing time at their summer home when their house is in turmoil. Romanian Michael Dobrescu is new to American soil, but he has one goal in mind. Claiming the house that should be rightfully his. However, that house happens to be Libby's house. As the town is in confusion about the rightful owner, Libby finds herself torn between the two families. Although she doesn't understand Michael's ways, he is a strong man who cares strongly for his fragile sister and his motherless children. As the tension grows and Libby doubts herself, more and more of Michael's true history is made known, and secrets are no more. Soon, the rightful owner of the house becomes trivial, and it's Libby's heart that is at stake.

This book is definitely interesting. There are more points of intrigue than just the matter of who gets the house in the end. It was a great idea to center the book around a house but make it so much more; each person has a unique, strong tie to the house either directly or indirectly. I liked the aspect of a foreigner in the story and that sudden breaking of tradition that pushes everyone to think about the former status quo. Libby is a good leading lady; her insecurities make her relatable and likeable. I feel like her character was very thought out and well-balanced, and her relationship with her father was interesting to read about. I also loved the character of Mirela, in fact, she was my favorite character in this book. Her strength and inner beauty shone through and really contributed greatly to the storyline.

That said, I have to say that this book was doing great until it turned into a romance. I didn't feel like I knew Michael at all through the storyline and suddenly, BAM! romantic tension! Certainly, he seemed like a strong and chivalrous character, but he never seemed as human as Libby did. I wish it could have been crafted differently because this book had many strong points, but unfortunately, the romance was not one of them. Some things to be aware of is that the book gives the story of a violent, violating attack on a woman. It does not go into detail, but her character is a big part of the book.

All in all, I rate this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 342 pages
~Publisher: Bethany House Publishers(January 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review of Promise Me This

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke is a historical fiction book about the voyage of the Titanic and the story of the three lives that were deeply affected due to the tragedy.

Owen Allen is determined to make a new life for himself and his sister in America, away from their controlling and manipulative aunt. With the seeds in hand to plant a new life (literally), Owen embarks on the Titanic, leaving his little sister, Annie, behind. Michael Dunnagan is a young orphan who wants desperately to escape the life of poverty, orphanhood, and abuse he has known so long. One day, he meets a young gardener, Owen, who shows unexpected kindness towards Michael and shows him that there's hope for a better life. Annie Allen is a lonely, petulant girl who is deeply annoyed with her brother's newfound friendship with Michael, and she is quick to tell her brother of her negative opinions, much to his dismay.

When the Titanic sinks and lives are lost, Michael finds himself alone and feels undeserving of Owen's sacrificial gift to him. Yet Owen's gift results in the inexplicable entwining of two lives- Annie's and Michael's. Michael is now determined to fulfill Owen's dreams and bring Annie to safety in America. By corresponding through letters, Michael is able to help Annie heal from the pain and anger of Owen's death, and their letters soon lead to something more. Soon, Owen is able to bring Annie to America with the funds he so painstakingly earned. However, an evil aunt, an ocean, and the beginning of a world war separates any communication, and Annie's letters no longer come. Desperate to find her, Owen risks his life to find the woman he loves.... but at what cost?

Simply stunning. This book is one of my all-time favorites. When I finished the last page and slowly shut the book, I could only say, "Wow." This story is so poignant, so beautifully written to express deep emotions and vivid images of the story as it progresses. I felt as if I were viewing a movie with this book, everything was so vivid. I enjoyed growing up with the characters. We see them develop from childhood to adulthood and overcome their personal issues. The challenge and beauty of a well-written historical novel is that it must be well-written, historically accurate, and enjoyable. This book is all three. I was hooked from page one until the end.

I rate this book five out of five stars. 

Specifics (from
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (January 20, 2012)
Author website:
Publisher website:

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day from me to you! I hope you truly enjoy today. Whether it be with your significant other, friends, family, pets, or even by yourself (even though that never happens, right? You've got Him!!!)

Love's a beautiful thing, celebrate it!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review of When the Smoke Clears

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason is the fictional story of a smokejumper who's past is as smoky as what she faces when battling fires. When Alexia Allen's job becomes in jeopardy due to equipment failure, she is forced to  move into her mother's house and attend a high school reunion. Doesn't sound bad, right? But it seems trouble can't stay away from Alexia. Upon her arrival, terrible things begin to happen that put her life and the lives of those she loves at risk. In steps Detective Graham, her childhood crush, to solve the crimes. But when evidence and circumstance begin to point at Alexia, who can she trust?

Even worse, the crimes are forcing Alexia to dig deeper into her past. Will she be able to let her secrets come to life to catch the person responsible for the heinous acts?

This book was so engaging. I am a huge fan of Lynette Eason, so I jumped at the chance to review this book. I was definitely not disappointed. The pacing was brilliant: not too fast to overwhelm, but not to slow to be able to put down either. I really like the character of Alexia. Her past isn't crystal clear: she isn't perfect. That vulnerability makes her very endearing, yet she has the spunk to do things like fight fires and find the criminal responsible for all of the crimes. Speaking of which, I was so guessing who it was until the very end. I was not able to guess who that was, and I was shocked!

A must read. Highly recommended, five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 352 pages
~Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Review of The Mysterious Epigenome

The Mysterious Epigenome by Thomas E. Woodward and James P. Gillis is a nonfiction book about information beyond DNA.

The beautiful spiraled structure of DNA has fascinated scientist for years as they have slowly unraveled its secrets about life. Now, the study of epigenetics has become a subject of interest. Epigenetics is the study of DNA expression, such as why traits in the DNA are evident in a person physically (phenotype). In genetics, the "library" of information is stored in the genome and is perfectly identical in different types of cells. However, in epigenetics, there is as much epigenome variance as there are cell variance. The epigenome may be passed down through hereditary means like the genome, but there is a difference. The epigenome can be altered with lifestyle changes. As we delve deeper and deeper into what makes us, humans, us, we begin to question our origins... and even the meaning to our existence.

This book explores this and so much more.

Doesn't that just give you chills of excitement? If not, bear with me.

This book delves into the deeper consequences of the field of epigenetics to health, science, and spirituality. I'll be addressing the scientific content in this review:

I've always been interested in cells and how they work, especially when it comes to genetics. Therefore, most of this information was familiar to me, with the exception of what epigenetics is and how it all works. Yes, the field of genetics is very complex, and to be honest, much of what can ever be explained only skims the surface of what's occurring daily in our bodies. That doesn't mean you have to have a degree in genetics or microbiology in order to understand this book! You will be introduced to many cellular "friends". From the ribosome, to the nucleus, to little cellular "robots", the book beautifully illustrates the anatomy and physiology of the cell using a fictional research lab to give you the opportunity to learn about the cell. It uses engaging examples to draw parallels from the structures to items the reader will be familiar with. It also gives solid references to proven resources that a reader may explore. I'm a very visual person, so I was very appreciative of the illustrations and charts throughout the book. There's even a six page insert with color photographs to help readers further picture items of interest. Overall, this book is very readable with excellent scientific information.

I have never before truly thought about the field of epigenetics. In my study of genetics, it has always been, "this allele (bit of genetic instruction that is generally paired. one half from mom, one half from dad) is dominant, therefore is it expressed", but I've never really considered the deeper why and the deeper how. This book does that excellently and in a manner the reader will be able to understand. It also goes into the controversial debate of evolution vs. intelligent design, a topic which I must admit has intrigued me from a young age.  I believe, intelligent design proponent or evolutionary proponent, it's important to keep an open mind when reading what you believe is right and what you believe is wrong. I'm not going to go into my personal opinion, but I will address the book's. This book is openly pro-intelligent design; the authors outrightly say that unapologetically. They cite many noted and respected scientists in the field to build an argument about intelligent design and its correlation to epigenetics. Intelligent design (ID) is not touted as creationism, in fact, the authors are quick to point out that ID is not creationism. ID is the amassing of scientific information to prove the complexity of life to indicate the presence of a designer, but it does not desire to address who that designer may be. Whether you believe in ID or are opposed to it, I believe this book is very important to read to be able to know the opinions that are out there to be able to either logically and analytically defend or reject it.

All in all, a very engaging read that I recommend to anyone interested in science, learning more about epigenetics, or wanting to know more about the ID vs. evolution debate. I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 1, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Freedom Is Here

Don't you wanna sing it too? "Sing it out, sing it out...Freeeeedommmmmmmm Is Heeeeere!!!!"

Love this song.

"Freedom Is Here" - Esterlyn


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review of Alienation

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis is the second book in the sci-fi young adult C.H.A.O.S. series, which is based on the biblical story of David. (See my review for the first book here) Colt McAlister is just beginning to get past the shock of his parent's death and defeating aliens in charge of a super-corporation. A world he once though wasn't possible- one filled with aliens and very advanced technology that enables flying, mind control, and many other things- is quickly becoming the reality of earth. As the Thules, a type of alien, becomes more dangerous in their mission to take over the world, some believe that Colt and his friends Oz and Danielle may be able to stop them.

But there are some that will stop at nothing less to kill Colt McAlister. Dangerous, seemingly random acts against Colt are rapidly being carried out, but who is responsible behind it all? Meanwhile, Colt and his friends are recruited to become C.H.A.O.S. agent trainees, and Colt makes some shocking discoveries about himself and his friends.

Can he trust anyone anymore? And is he really the one chosen to stop the alien invasion?

I love the fast-paced storyline. This book carries smoothly from the last book, and the characters are as original as ever. The whole idea of C.H.A.O.S. and the alien invasion is pretty unique, and what's even more unique is that it's based on the life of David! I didn't know this until I was told, but I saw some of the similarities when I read. I'm glad that the author keeps the story original while still being able to incorporate some parallels from David's life. I'd have to say my favorite character is Danielle. She's very intelligent and loyal, and her computer know-how is a great addition to the story. The dynamics between Colt, Oz, and Danielle is excellent. They are the ideal team. Oz with his strength and alien-know-how, Danielle with her computer skills, and Colt as the strong, likable leader. Some things that I felt improved from the last book was dialogue with Colt's grandfather and more faith. We get to know Colt's grandfather better, especially in a scene where Colt is given a special medallion that meant much to his grandfather. Also, we see more of their Christian faith in this book. It's not preachy, but it's there and affects their decisions to do right. I liked that.

All in all, I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Hardcover: 288 pages
~Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 3, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


About the Author:
Jon S. Lewis is the coauthor of the Grey Griffins trilogy (over 500,000 books in print) and the upcoming Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He also writes for the DC COMICS family of publishers. He resides with his family in Arizona.

For more about Jon and the series, visit


The invasion was only the beginning! Jon Lewis is celebrating the next
adventure in his fast-paced C.H.A.O.S. series with an explosive giveaway!

One thrill-seeker will receive:

  • iPad2 with Wi-Fi
  • Copies of the C.H.A.O.S. novels, Invasion and Alienation
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway
ends at noon on February 7th. Winner will be announced at the Alienation Facebook Party
on 2/7
. Jon will be hosting an Author Chat, giving away copies of the books and
gift certificates to iTunes and! Don't miss a second of the intrigue!

Grab your copy of Alienation and join Jon on the evening of February 7th for an
author chat, spy training (How much do you know about alien invaders?) and lots of

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends
via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of
winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of Chasing Mona Lisa

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey is a historical novel about the nearing of the end of WW2 and the race to get the priceless Mona Lisa. The setting is Paris. As the resistance grows stronger and the Nazis are driven back, a top official in the Third Reich is determined to steal as many art pieces as he can. However, he has not yet achieved his biggest goal and huge postwar bargaining chip- the famous Mona Lisa painting.

Yet she has eluded him still with the help of one determined protector who will not allow her to be kidnapped by the enemy. Yet the Nazis are becoming closer and closer to discovering her location. Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler, Swiss OSS agents, must race against time to get to the Mona Lisa before it falls into German hands.

This book was fast-paced, and it was obvious that the authors had done extensive historical research. The characters are clear, and I felt as if I were watching, not reading, a historical show or movie. The details are that clear. The characters were all determined and dedicated, and the last part of the book is really intriguing to readers to see how everything resolves in the end. It was nice to get a glimpse into WW2.

I picked up this book expecting the best. Tricia Goyer is a great author, the book is historical, it's a race for the Mona Lisa... who wouldn't be intrigued? That said, I'm sad to say that I never really got to like any of the characters. There wasn't a buildup of sympathy or really getting to know the characters. Perhaps it is because this book is the sequel to a book titled The Swiss Courier, but I had to dig around to find that out. Fast-paced is a great thing, but not when it sacrifices the characters. I really had a hard time getting into the book, and it didn't become a "must-finish" until the very end. Also, there are some elements that would not be appropriate for young readers.

All in all, I rate this book three out of five.

~Paperback: 325 pages
~Publisher: Revell (January 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


LOVE these videos :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Jane Austen Character Quiz here!

I've seen this quiz around, but I never really took it... I just skimmed over the questions.

Now that I've got my results, I must read that book again... :)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ormie the Pig

Poor thing... don't we all feel like this sometimes?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beautiful Love

I have no idea why I like this song so much, but I have since I first heard it about four years ago. Christian band, but it's a love song. I just found the music video today. The video itself is okay, but I just like to shut my eyes, listen, and smile.

Beautiful Love - "The Afters"

Far away, I feel your beating heart
All alone, beneath the crystal stars
Staring into space, what a lonely face
I'll try to find my place with you

What a beautiful smile
Can I stay for awhile?
On this beautiful night
We'll make everything right
My beautiful love, my beautiful love

Larger than the moon, my love for you
Worlds collide as heaven pulls us through
The secret of the world is written in the stars
I'm carrying your heart in mine

What a beautiful smile
Can I stay for awhile?
On this beautiful night
We'll make everything right
My beautiful love

Maybe a greater thing will happen
Maybe all will see
Maybe our love will catch like fire
As it burns through me


What a beautiful smile
Can I stay for awhile?
On this beautiful night
We'll make everything right

My beautiful love
La la la la love
La la la la love

My beautiful
La la la la love
La la la la love

My beautiful love


P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts! I've been super busy. Happy New Year!
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