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Currently reading

The Dream Of The Forest
Stjepan Varesevac Cobets
I Must Have You: A Novel
JoAnna Novak
Releasing Your Potential: Exposing The Hidden You
Dr. Myles Monroe
The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Arnold D. Ehlert, Henry M. Morris
Books for Kids: ELLIE THE ELEPHANT (Bedtime Stories For Kids Ages 4-8): Kids Books - Bedtime Stories For Kids - Children's Books - Early Readers - Free Stories (Fun Time Series for Beginning Readers)
Uncle Amon
Facts About Champagne And Other Sparkling Wine (Illustrated Edition)
Henry Vizetelly
The Sherlock Holmes Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Holy Bible : Scofield Reference Bible
Cyrus I Scofield
Progress: 456/1382 pages
Under God
Michael Tait, Toby Mac
Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
A Certain Sort Of Madness - Nicki Chapelway
I thought that this was a charming book that I really enjoyed. This fairy tale retelling employed a few likeable characters in a story that drew me in. 
Alicia thinks she is crazy because everyone thinks her mother is crazy, and she thinks she has inherited this problem (though I didn't find either of them insane-- I admit, her mother while on Earth seemed as if she was a bit disconnected from reality-- but when she was needed to step in and save her daughter, I thought she was very sane--- and Alicia, I thought maybe sometimes ditzy, sometimes too literal or illogical, but never insane).... Alicia has been raised on stories of Amar, a magical land that her mother had always made to seem so real; then she got older and found out is was real! It was her and her mother's native land (or actually, world), and they had come here to escape Alicia's evil grandfather who wanted them both dead. 
Alicia had also always had dreams about an (what she thought was) imaginary friend, but she finds him living in Amar! When she must go there, along with her snarky, sarcastic cousin Olivia (she's got a tough outer shell, but she really isn't that bad) to save her mother, who has been kidnapped trying to protect her (don't get confused here), and have to enlist the help of Dante, her imaginary friend (who I liked, then not, then liked again), and his friend Eugene. A dragon is battled, evil fairies must be overcome, and then their kingdom must be entered in a quest to steal a book that the fairies value above all else to rescue Alicia's mother from certain death at the hands of her grandfather, who just happens to be the most powerful man in the universe and has made himself immortal, i.e. they can't kill him--- not to much to ask right? 
I do think Ms. Chapelway has weaved a adorable tale that has enchanted me! I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

 

Fearless - Sarah Tarkoff

Wow-- what a horrible world to live in. After the "Revelations" when the "Prophets" came to power and released upon masses of the global population nanotech, that they unknowingly inhaled, that imbedded itself in people's brains. These mini-computers then would "sense" guilt or other negative feelings by the chemicals those feeling give off in the body, and if detected, would start to deform the that person-- "revealing" them to the rest of the world as "unworthy"-- and everyone is brainwashed into believing that this is through the amazing power of the main "Prophet". Most people have become robots-- unwilling to think any of their own thoughts that differ from whatever is "prophet-correct"-- and basically no more free- will. 
Except for Kendra, who has been learning the truth, and has joined the "Resistance" to end this tyranny and expose this "Prophet" for what he really is-- which is anything but holy or pious. She has also just seen someone that looks like her mom, who she had been led to believe died years before as an "unworthy outcast". Between trying to find this mysterious woman and get some answers, and bring down the "Prophet", and having to watch every word she says and every step she takes-- since no one can be trusted-- not ever her father-- her hands are quite full, and that is a lot for a teenager to deal with. I enjoyed "Fearless"-- it kept me guessing as to what could happen next, and now I have to get #1 in the series, Sinless, to see what events happened in the world to make everyone so willing to embrace such a monster as a leader-- and what had actually happened to Kendra's mother. 
I won this book in a #goodreadsgiveaway-- my thanks to the author and publisher!

One Shenandoah Winter - T. Davis Bunn

A bitter and disillusioned doctor gets more than he bargained for after moving to a small isolated Appalachian town to start over. I was moved by this touching and inspirational story (told from a faith based, Christian perspective.)

Forgiven - Geoff Lawson

"Forgiven" is a lovely book written about a lovely story. Set in Victorian New Zealand, one gets to feel that they have been transported back in time, it is so well told. Richard has been born in rural New Zealand on a farm, and meets Rachel from bit larger town and daughter of a wealthy department store owner. Richard falls instantly in love, but unknown to him, Rachel likes him to. When their mutual attraction becomes known, and she eventually reveal their love to her parents, they are not too happy. Richard ends up volunteering to serve in the Boer War in South Africa in order to prove himself to her father, where he seems to have an uncanny knack of surviving and becoming an hero. I really enjoyed this book-- the author had done his research well, and I felt transported to those locations in that era. I felt Mr. Lawson captured the ambiance perfectly-- there was a couple times I had to look up what some words were-- but not bad, and I was warned beforehand-- in the front of the book the reader is notified that it is written in New Zealand English-- which I think only added to its charm.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

Great current events thriller

On This Day  - Joseph DiFrancesco, Kevin J. Anderson
I was on the edge of my seat through the entire book-- the suspense was crazy. It is like something out of the real word, just taken a step further. After some mysterious seemingly unrelated deaths of a couple of early 20-something men of middle-eastern descent, law enforcement discovers a coincidental link, that they had both been adopted as teens after wars in the middle east by wealthy American parents to give them a better life. What the investigation uncovers is a subversive plot that a terrorist group had been using the overseas adoption agency as an unknowing partner to "plant" indoctrinated teens into American families where they would assimilate into American culture, and have the advantage of a good education, all the while, looking forward to the pre-arranged day when they would simultaneously initiate terror attacks across America. "On This Day" also delves into the personal lives of Officer Brant Discher and FBI Agent Kendra, who, at one time years before, had been seriously involved with each other and this new investigation has brought them together again--lots of romantic suspense there--can they get beyond their differences and see they are perfect for each other, or will their past and hurts be too difficult to overcome? I really enjoyed this book, as reflected in the rating, and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller with some romance thrown in. : )
I received this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest reveiw-- thank you!

 

Just curious.....

Booklikes doesn't have a reading challenge this year?

Current Christian Events Thriller

It Could Happen Here - Greg Watson
"It Could Happen Here" is a Christian current events thriller that isn't really all that far fetched, despite one of its genres being sci-fi and another dystopian. With all of our social media and technology one does sometimes begins to wonder if all the comments we see communicated are actually from real people. With facebook admitting to censoring posts (LA Times article: https://www.latimes.com/business/tech...) and Google playing with algorithms (Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/technolog... article : https://www.engadget.com/2015/03/20/f...) one has to begin to wonder if our opinions aren't being manipulated with what others want us to believe.

That is what the book is about, with its focus on Christianity and how some elements in the world would like to alter the theology of modern christian faith. An IT giant, Proteus, with oodles of money to play with, starts creating "false" chats with AI, called Evangel Blend, that people respond to and think it is real people talking. Proteus then infiltrates churches, spying on the clergy and members, recording conversations, to see how effective their subterfuge has been. Proteus is evil in other ways too-- from trafficking in young teen girls, kidnapping them to be "nice" to potential clients, and then abusing them. The invasion of privacy Proteus likes to conduct also extends to its own employees. Churches, through Proteus' efforts, do start to see changes in the way their members think. 
Also, another point made is the overwhelming desire for acceptance. It portrays Brother Davis, with good motives, starts a program through his church and with support of his community, focusing on anti-bullying. Through Proteus' sponsored articles, the church and the program gains national attention, and initially Brother Davis think this is a blessing for the program and his church, until he feels pressured to alter his opinions to conform. 
I liked Alex, the local teen and member of Brother Davis' church who is computer savvy and creates the computer software involved in the anti-bullying program, and takes a stand for what is right, risking harm to himself.
What disappointed me at the end-- I was waiting for justice for the young girls that Proteus had abducted and abused. The girls were delivered from that horrible situation-- but at the end of the book, Proteus was business as usual, still making their terrible, nefarious plans-- and no charges against them or attention brought to their horrible activities. Given, the author has stated that this is the first book in the Proteus series, so possibly justice will be seen for the girls in following books, but if a reader goes into it hoping to read it as a stand alone, I at least, was left hanging. If there was some type of resolution, or the hint that something legal was put into motion for Proteus' demise, I would have been happier and given the book a higher rating. All in all, I liked the book and its message, just wished for some closure at the end. So, if goodreads had 1/2 stars, it would be 3.5.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

Cute Children's Book

Imaginary Fred - Eoin Colfer, Oliver Jeffers

Sam was lonely and longed for a friend. Only under the perfect circumstances does an imaginary come along, and when it does, it is special indeed, and that was imaginary Fred. Fred had had real friends before, but only until they had found another real friend, then Fred would fade and wait for another. Sam and Fred did everything together-- they were inseparable, until one day, Sam met Sammi and Fred was sure he would start to fade again. Fred was so sad; he had never had such a good real friend as Sam, but he knew this is how things went. Then he discovered Sammi also had an imaginary friend named Frieda and they (all 4 of them) did everything together. The story has a unique and happy ending.
This was my granddaughter's favorite book last year, and we reread it many times. We like the way it looks, the illustrations, as well as the story. Very cute.

Indy 500

Indy 500: The Inside Track - Nancy Roe-Pimm

Even though this was intended for children, I learned quite a bit from it myself. The books introduces children interested in professional auto racing to all aspects of the Indy 500-- its history, facts about the race itself, requirements for the cars, the engine, tires, cockpit, how fit the driver must be, crashes, the pit stop, and the various flags used. The book also has a bibliography for further reading.

I met this author in May 2010 when she came to our local library to promote this book and talk about her experiences with her husband who had raced in the Indy 500 3 years, placing 9th in 1985 and she was in his pit crew. She had a lot of equipment with her that her husband had used-- either on himself or part of his car. She was fascinating to listen to! 

Lalibela's Wise Man

Lalibela's Wise Man - Matshona T. Dhliwayo
Christian is embittered after his father's death when he finds that his father has left his estate to his 2 ne'er do well brothers and he is left with a note in a box, telling him he will find all the answers to his questions at a small mountain top monastery in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Why would his father do this to him? Christian had been his father's favorite, who had always tried so hard to please his father. His father, upon his death, had told him that he was proud of him and he was to inherit his father's estate. Instead, he finds he is kicked out of his father's home by his spoiled older brother, kicked out of his office in his father's company and treated with contempt and humiliation. 

He decides to make the journey to Lalibela to find out what exactly was waiting for him that his father wanted him to know. He finds an old monk who allows him to stay, and everyday does some task that seems to have nothing to do with what his father wanted him to find out. But he finds in the end, that all of the tasks where actually to teach him something that would help him be far more successful than if he had just given him money. 

I enjoyed this book very much. In some ways, it reminded me of The Ultimate Gift which I liked a lot too. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!
 
 

 

2 Giveaways!

Like book swag? Head on over to https://twogalsandabook.com/ and read interview with USA Today best selling author Pauline Baird Jones and enter to win a tee or tote-- winner's choice! Giveaway ends 1/22/2019! Read interview with Charles E. Frye and enter to win a copy of his debut novel "The War Has Begun"! Giveaway ends 1/24/2017! Good luck!

Wow!

The Library Book - Susan Orlean

What die-hard book lover doesn't like books about books, or books about the places they are stored, or the sometimes fascinating lives of some of the people through history who championed for books to be available to the common person through libraries? 
The main focus of "The Library Book" was LA's Central Library, its history, the people who have been its librarians, and the fire that almost destroyed it, but also so much more. It shared information about books, libraries and their caretakers through history, its patrons (some were hilarious!) as well as exploring the crime (or was it?) that almost wiped out one of the largest libraries in our country. It looked at the man accused of his arson, and why there are still questions regarding the nature of the fire. The books was chock full of interesting tidbits and I know I exasperated members of my family, every day, having to read the next bit I felt so interesting I could not keep it to myself. I could all most feel, as I approached, them sending up furtive prayers "Please don't let her talk more about that book". : )
Each chapter started with a list of 4 or five books that somehow pertained to that chapter, and those list were thought provoking themselves, and contains an extensive bibliography at the end. 
But it was also a book more personal for the author as well as she felt an abiding love for libraries since her youth and the memories shared with her mother growing up, during their weekly visits there leaving with stacks of books, and her mom always saying that if she could have chosen any profession, it would have been a librarian. 
When I saw that Susan Orlean had written this, I got so excited because I had loved "The Orchard Thief" and just had to get this-- and I was not disappointed. I love everything about it-- not just the topic, or the way the story was told, but also the way it looks, the way it feels-- even the end papers inside the front and back cover were nice.

I Play In My Room

I Play in My Room - Anne F. Rockwell, Harlow Rockwell

A little girl plays in her room, showing the reader the various activities she does through the day-- puppets, reads stories, rides her toy horse, and hiding from her mom. Good for early readers.

I Am Lost

I Am Lost! (Hello Reader! Level 1) - Hans Wilhelm
The cute, fluffy dog see a pretty leaf drifting in the wind and starts chasing after it, only to find himself very lost. He is frightened and see a police officer, who notices his tag with his address and takes him home. Little doggy is happy then! 
Good story for early readers to practice their reading.

Charming story

The Colonel And The Bee - Patrick Canning

Wow! What a great book! I like steampunk anyway, and this story encompassed so much of what I love about reading-- a compelling tale that keeps you turning the pages, and author good with words, adventure, and a mystery. To me, it was reminiscent of The Good Thief, which I also loved, but vaguely, and at the same time a story unique and all its own.

Beatrix (Bee) is a 13 year old acrobat who had run away to the circus from an home where she was unwanted, but the circus proved no better as the owner, Ziro, was a volatile man who used his whip for the smallest infraction. During a performance she meets Colonel James Bacchus, a mysterious man that many tales of daring and adventure are told about, and he ends up being her savior, allowing her to escape from Ziro and his 2 dangerous mute and strange guards that are often tasked with the duty to kill whoever disappoints Ziro. The Colonel's home away from home is the Ox, a four story hot-air balloon which is almost entirely self-sufficient, and this way the conveyance for what ended up being a globe-hopping adventure, on the hunt of criminals and treasure. 

This book has now found a treasured space on my bookshelf, sure to be revisited again. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author. Thank you!
 

Fairy tale retelling

Happily - Chauncey Rogers

Happily is an unusual twist on the Cinderella fairy tale. The main character, in fact is not Cinderella, but a orphaned, street-smart girl named Laure. The cover says "No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkins. Just a grumpy girl and a glass slipper.", which really intrigued me. Laure was a cynical, wise-cracking teenager having to fend for herself, which usually meant stealing, since the death of her father. Her plan is to steal enough money to guarantee her escape from the kingdom of Ecarlate, a place she has come to despise. After stealing from a local spice merchant, her plans go awry and take a turn she never would have anticipated. 
I really enjoyed this book, and the author's fresh look at an old tale. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!