Renegades by Thomas Locke ~ Review

Renegades pic

Renegades by Thomas Locke

If you like a good blend of pure science fiction and fantasy, then this is a book you must read. It involves multiple governments, several planetary systems, alliances, super creepy creatures, humans with special talents, the usual blend of human frailties such as injustice, greed, power struggles, prejudice, and unfair treatment. Yet there is plenty of good character qualities on display as well. Such traits as rising above your circumstances and poverty, leadership qualities, good intuition, team work, testing your mettle, and much more are part of the story that brings out the best we wish to read in our heroes.

The book starts out a little slowly as it sets up the main characters and their backgrounds. Once we get to know these men better, the action intensifies considerably until we are sitting on the edge of the seat, gripping tightly while the suspense and action build. The author is creative in developing twists and turns in the plot.

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There are two sets of heroes. Logan is from another world in a planetary system within the Human Assembly. He has just graduated from the military academy with honors and was about to be commissioned to his first assignment. He volunteered and requested what appeared to be an impossible assignment. It looked to General Brodwyn like a suicide mission. Yet she agreed because she had no choice. The general gave them three weeks to accomplish their task.

The second set of heroes are Dillon and Sean living on Earth. They are twins gifted with special abilities. They are considered Adepts. Dillon loves the military and a physical challenge. Sean is more comfortable in the diplomat role, but has been gifted with the ability to create unique plans and to foresee consequences. He was attending a diplomatic academy when the twins were called by the Messengers to complete a rescue. This one small event set in motion a series of problems that eventually affect the entire Assembly.

The action in this book is tight, precise, military and filled with suspense. Yet I consider this a clean and wholesome read. I never missed the overwhelming darkness, hopelessness, meanness and lack of soul you often find in today’s contemporary sci fi and fantasy. Evil is evil and needs to be conquered. I thoroughly loved reading it. I believe this is the second book in a series. The first book is only referred to concerning some action meant as background to set up for this new premise. However, the book stands very well on its own. I am looking forward to reading other books by this author.

Note: This book will become available November 7, 2017

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Librarything on behalf of Baker Publishing. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs ~ Review

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path pic

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs

When I want to find courage, wisdom and common sense, Proverbs is my go to book of the Bible. Liz Curtis Higgs is a talented author, writing books for children and adults alike. She writes both fiction and non-fiction genres as well. This book is one that is like a warm light bringing comfort in what can be a dark world.

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This author has chosen 31 verses from the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament of the Bible. Each chapter is only a couple pages long. At the end of each chapter, the author has added an application page called, “One Minute, One step.” Each of them contain a suggestion of something practical and do-able to apply the lesson of that chapter.

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At the end of the book, there are discussion questions that could be included with each chapter and verse to make this either a personal devotional or a group Bible Study. The author has used many different versions of the Bible to delve into as much insight as possible to make these verses come alive for us. She also includes many other Bible verses as cross references when digging into a topic of interest. There’s a lot of love in this volume.

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I loved this study so much that my copy of the book is all marked up, with underlined phrases, starred special quotes, and parenthesis around passages I want to read over and over. The author brings to the table a transformed life, where she shares her own experiences and insights into these verses. Her storytelling ability held me to the page so many times. I can see that I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of this book.

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The part of this book I like best is its conversational nature. I felt as if she and I were sitting at a table with a cup of tea or coffee in front of us, just talking about the Lord and His graciousness. It is both comfortable and meaningful, delightful yet pithy. I gained some new perspectives on life by going through this study verse by verse. If she wrote another 31 verses out of Proverbs and published it, I would be the first one in line to purchase it.

Author Bio

More information about the book

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Our Father written by Rainer Oberthur and illustrated by Barbara Nascimbeni ~Review

Father pic

Our Father written by Rainer Oberthur and illustrated by Barbara Nascimbeni

This is a picture book that features the Lord’s Prayer illustrated and explained for children. The illustrations are simple, representative of items rather than realistic images, and beautifully colorful in toned down but bright earthy tones. The pages are thick and glossy, and the binding is very sturdy. This is a book that will stand up to use over time.

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Phrase by phrase, the book moves through the prayer, using simple but meaningful words that young children can understand about each part. The words make an effort to make the reader feel that God is close to us, caring, loving and accessible. I really like this feature about the book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from LibraryThing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or negative. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Red: The New Rulebook: Christian Suspense series Book 1 by Joy Ohagwu ~ Review

Red The New Rulebook pic

Red: The New Rulebook: Christian Suspense series Book 1 by Joy Ohagwu

Suspense and mystery novels are a great way to challenge our minds. That’s one reason why I read them so often. I purposely look for suspense writers who stay away from becoming too dark and dabbling into graphic horror. I don’t mind fantasy or science fiction either as long as the line isn’t crossed at this same point. There’s a fine line to toe when looking for this kind of balance. So when I find an author who can write this way successfully while engaging the reader’s intelligence, I like to tell others. This book fulfills most of the above criteria. The author is new to me, so the jury is still out, but so far, it looks good.

Robert and Ruby had been friends since they were just children living in an orphanage. All those years ago, they had backed each other up, joining forces and becoming fast friends. Now as adults, they were each traveling their own paths, yet still in contact and still supportive of each other. Both busy in their own lives, until one day Ruby discovered she had been framed for murder. Terrified, the first person she thought to contact was her friend Robert.

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Throughout the rest of this book, they were running for their lives, followed by a mysterious force that seemed to know their every turn. It had something to do with The New Rulebook. What was the New Rulebook? Think of a contemporary TRON gone bad. Or an Anakin Skywalker’s desire to rule the universe benevolently, for the good of everyone, turned sour. The meme, a good idea falls into the wrong hands. And why could Spock not defeat Captain Kirk at 3-D chess? Because he made unpredictable moves that defied logic.

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So how did Ruby and Robert live through their ordeal? They had two things in their favor. You get to find out by reading the book. And while the story comes to a satisfying conclusion, the overall plot is not quite finished. There is more to come in future books. I am eager to read these and find out what comes next.

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I liked the plot and the concept shared in this book. It’s a good premise, and the suspense is kept moving along very nicely. I would like to mention that I think this author has more to offer in the way of refining the details. There were moments when ideas were a little confusing, or the structure of sentences were not clear. A few phrases worded awkwardly were dotted throughtout the book, although more frequently during the first third of the pages. These types of problems were a little distracting in the beginning from the action taking place. Once they are cleaned up, this will be a much better book. I’m looking forward to seeing these improvements.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Torn: The Salzburg Saga Book 2 by D.U. Okwonko ~ Review

Torn pic

Torn: The Salzburg Saga Book 2 by D.U. Okwondo

The three books in this Saga basically form one continuous story. You will want to read these books back to back because of that. There is no segue. The first story stops abruptly and the next one continues. Torn is the second story in the series. The name is apropos because the second novel becomes the dynamic relationship interplay between the survivors of the plane crash in the frozen mountains of Austria that was introduced to us in Book one.

In this second book, friendships fray under the strain of waiting for rescue and starvation; relationships in one family are going all wrong; new revelations crop up that take everyone by surprise; and tension mounts with the looming threat of death of one of the survivors suffering from hypothermia.

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Book one was packed with action while book 2 is contemplative. It’s a soap opera on steroids when veneers slip after being packed into a tight space together, wearing on the nerves. Tension and revelations take the reader to a whole new level of suspense. Book one sets up the situation, and Book 2 develops it and cranks it up a notch.

To me, this is all great writing. In addition, you now have another point of view when you add Nina’s sister’s perspective. She is home, waiting to hear from her sister, when she learns about the crash. Her brothers come home from their travels to sit with Hazel and the tension mounts as they wait to hear from rescuers’ efforts.

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Again, like book one, I just couldn’t put this book down. I wanted to read it from one end to the other. And again, like the first book, the ending is abrupt, without any solid resolution. This is irritating to me, but when we finally get all three books together, it will read as one book seamlessly. All I can say is that I hope I don’t have to wait very long.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from AXP Books on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Spiral: The Salzburg Saga Book 1 by D.U. Okonkwo ~ Review

Spiral pic

Spiral: The Salzburg Saga Book 1 by D.U. Okonkwo

The three books in this Saga basically form one continuous story. You will want to read these books back to back because of that. There is no segue. The first story stops abruptly and the next one continues. The book Spiral is aptly named. A normal situation where three young lawyers take a corporate jet sponsored by their largest client to participate in a networking event goes all wrong very quickly once they get into the air.

The story is written from basically two points of view, that of Jake’s, the pilot of the jet aircraft, and that of Nina, one of the lawyers in the group. As the situation on the jet becomes tense, we get introduced to all the characters as they interact with each other. Each person has a history which is revealed as the adventure continues and which keeps this event popping with intrigue and interest.

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There are two major settings: on board the aircraft and on the ground in the mountains of Austria after the jet crashed. The story line keeps us focused on the effort to survive a horrible situation. And while they are just trying to survive, the situation just continues to spiral out of control, getting worse and worse as time lapses. By the end of this first tome, two of the party have died.

There is continuous action in this first book. The pace is rapid enough to keep you reading without being able to put the book down. The author writes an effective buildup to the tension among the group, since there are people to blame and people who are innocent bystanders. At first, it’s unclear exactly who is who. That type of suspense propels the reader right into the next book.

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The author is very effective in building suspense slowly and painfully. I just couldn’t put this book down once I got started. I was immensely grateful that both books were in the same volume so that I could proceed to part 2 of the saga.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from AXP Books on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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A Michigan Photo Presentation: Second Edition by John Macdonald ~ Review

A Michigan Photo Presentation Second Edition pic

A Michigan Photo Presentation Second Edition by John Macdonald

This photographer’s assortment of Michigan photos is impressive. Since I was born and raised in Michigan I have personally visited and enjoyed many places in these photos. As he said in the introduction, the Upper Peninsula alone has nearly 500 waterfalls. It’s impossible to photograph all of them. But that’s not all there is to see in Michigan.

His subjects are the best of all collections: bridges, waterfalls, lakes, sunsets, lighthouses, rock formations, wildlife, flowers, historic churches and buildings. All of them in fabulous color and some monochromatically displayed.

My favorites are the waterfalls and the Fall colors, of course. They are why I love living in this state. It’s a state that’s vast, roaming and beautiful and this photographer has captured much of the best views you can find.

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Perhaps in a future book the author/photographer can include something of our historic towns (such as the ghost town in Fayette State Park), the Indian Petroglyphs in the Thumb area, a couple of the old historic forts and a few more lighthouses. The possibilities are endless.

But in the meantime, enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Story Cartel on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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