Monday, September 18, 2017

Resistance By Jaye L. Knight Book Review



Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight, is a Christian fantasy book.  This book follows lots of different characters, their encounters and how they join the resistance.  The emporer is forcing people to bow down to false gods and the followers of the true God are ending up dead, because of this.

We read from the point of view of a girl working in the emperor's palace and trying to hide her faith.  We also get the point of view of the girl's twin brother and his life at the Academy.  He and his sister were trained at the Academy, because they have special skills.  There is also a half-blood boy whose perspective we get to read from  (he is half of a made up species that is generally regarded as monsters), who is having a really rough life.  There is an assortment of other characters whose point of view we also receive from time to time.

Things I liked:
Atmosphere at the resistance camp.
The world building and the writing.
The characters, even the smallest character is well-rounded.
The faith content of "would you be able to stand up for your faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego?".
All the work that was obviously put in to make this book a believable story in a very different land.

Fun fact: the author is a homeschool graduate!

This is a novel written for older teens, so it does have a bit of content, not in a bad way, it just tackles mature topics.  I have only read the first two books, and only the first four books are released.  I am planning on taking a little break on reading this series.  I re-read the first book and then went straight into the second one.



CONTENT:


Language/Profanity:
Not really a thing in this.

Romance/You Know:
A couple is semi-serious and one has asked the other to marry them, but the other said it was not the right time.  Afore mentioned couple has a quick kiss.
There are two characters I could see being romantically involved in future books, but they're not in this one.
A guy is really into a girl, and it is said that he likes the shape of her body.
One of our characters wears a dress that she thinks is too low cut and is uncomfortable in, no details.
When a girl is working at the palace, she is told that marriage and children are forbidden and should she at anytime find herself with child, she is required to see the palace physician to have it dealt with promptly and it will be at her own expense.  Our character is appalled, not by her having to pay for it, but that they even do that.
Note: There is nothing YOU know in this, but I feel the need to mention it.  When one of our female characters is arrested she is forced to strip down to her under-dress, nothing about her body is mentioned. Also, same girl is almost killed/taken prisoner and the guys trying to do that give the impression that they're going to take advantage of her.

Violence:
There is a lot of violence, fighting, Good vs Evil, being captured and imprisoned for your faith.  People you love being tortured and killed.  One of my favorite characters was forced to be a gladiator at one point in his life.  Some people have to kill, or be killed, or see people they love killed.  All that to say, very much violence, but not too bloody as some books are and not sick to your stomach description.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Not a thing really, unless it is used to clean wounds, but even then, not really talked about.  Someone might drink alcohol at the emperor's palace, but I don't remember it happening.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bake Me A Match by Erynn Mangum Book Review


Bake Me a Match, by Erynn Mangum, is book five, and last book, in the Lauren Holbrook series.  I have reviewed all the other books previously.  This is the second book following Annie McKay.  In this, we get to see her coming into who she really is and working at our favorite fictional cafe, baking many, many, many yummy things!  Annie gets to take over the cafe for about a week when Hallie and Shawn have their new baby.  Lauren also works at the shop during that week.

This book continues Annie's romance with Zack, and adds a bit of interest from Andrew, a man she worked with at her old job.  Annie is unsure about having a more serious romantic relationship, and has to confront her past and family issues.  I feel like this book has a good deal of learning about spiritual gifts and "being the body," that everyone not being the same is a good thing!  We need different skills to make everything work; you don't have to do everything on your own.

My favorite things:
All the baking! I love reading about a character who loves to bake.
Slow-burn romance.
The author's witty writing! I love laughing!
I cried when Lexi got what she always wanted!  Trying to be vague, but if you read the book you probably know what I'm talking about.
The sweet ending!
THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN BOOK FOUR!!!!!!!!

Nitpicking things:
Annie says she doesn't have a Facebook at the beginning of the book and then later says she's possibly friends with her mom on Facebook.  Was she joking about not having Facebook? If so, it should have been more clear.  That is the only answer I can think of, except that it just wasn't caught in editing.

As for content, this is one of the more mature books by this author. So, we have a bit more content, some mild, middle of the road spoilers:

Content:

Language/profundity:
Holy Co* is said many times and holy smoke* is said once.
It is said that Annie's dad cursed, but whatever he said is an unwritten curse word.

Romance:
A cheek kiss and one kiss on the mouth, both non-descriptive.

Violence:
Annie's remembers when she was growing up and her dad hit her and her mom, he also threw things and broke things many times.
Note: Annie remembers when Child Protective Services came to her house, but they didn't take her away.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Annie's dad was very into the alcohols, but we only see this when Annie is thinking about her past and family.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Match Made by Erynn Mangum Book Review


Match Made, by Erynn Mangum, is book four (I have already reviewed Books One, Two and Three) in the Lauren Holbrook series.  This is the first book not told in Lauren's point of view.  In this book, we met Anne, who is given the nickname Annie (by Lauren) very early in the book, and we call her that for the rest of the book.

Annie was a military kid.  Her father was in the military and they moved a lot because of that.  Now she has a job, not in the military, but it is a job she moves all over for.  We meet her when she has just moved to a little town in Colorado.  It's her first day in town and she goes to a little cafe that we all know and love.  And that's where Annie meets our beloved friends from the first three books.

Things I loved:
Getting to see favorite characters from an outside point of view.
And seeing them older and most of them with little kids!
The faith lesson was insanely well woven with the story.
Erynn Mangum's light romance and writing style.

Quick notes:
Explosive diapers and breastfeeding are talked about a LOT.  It's not content, but I feel like I should mention it.  We have lots of mothers with babies in the story.  It is not a bad thing, just different from other books by the author.


Content:

Language:
Holy C*w is said several times.
Our main character says "Shoot" and someone thinks she said a curse word.  She says, "No, shoot, like in basketball."
Annie lies, as part of a few jokes, it always discovered that she lies and she owns up to it.

Romance/You Know:
A cheek kiss.

Violence:
Two characters go on a walk and they joke about getting murdered.
There is a mention of Halloween, characters don't like it.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Our main character thinks her boss's wife is too young to drink.
Another character, jokes about getting a hit off hand sanitizer and says it has alcohol in it.
Tea and coffee are had many times, but no one is as addicted as Lauren, who has switched to decaf.

Fun notes!
Possible SUPER mild spoilers:

I laughed at the joke nondenominational Ninja.
Zach is basically me, but I do like lemonade and because of the nasty ingredients in Lucky Charms and my allergy to food coloring, I don't eat that every second, or at all.
Basically when I'm not Zach, I'm Annie, with her love for baking and ease at making up recipes!  So, me!  Except, I specialize in allergy free baking.
Hallie has the most adorable baby names picked out!
Pages 262-263 have the most hilarious tea puns!
I enjoyed that we have super casual mentions of "that time of the month", because, hey, it's a thing!
This is not one of Erynn Mangum's most laugh out loud books; I don't have as many notes of the funniest parts.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Amira's Secret by Katherine Wilson Book Review


Amira's Secret, by Katherine Wilson, is book two in the Maidens of Malidone.  I have a review of book one, from earlier this year.

We meet Amira when she is a little girl, and we find out (if we forgot from the end of book one) that she is is the daughter of our female protagonist from book one.  Amira gets books two and three to tell her story.  After establishing her as a character when she's little, we move on to her as a teen and her family is being threatened by a evil villain.  Her parents decide to send their two youngest children away to different places for their safety.  They have a her older son, Amari and her younger brother.

Amira reluctantly goes on a ship to go to a foreign school.  Something happens to the ship and she ends up in a very exciting, not where she was planning on going, place.  I really don't want to say too much more about plot.  I went into this book without even reading the back cover.  I actually prefer not to even read the back cover.  If I'm about to read a book by an author who I know I will like the book of, I don't read the back cover if I can help it, surprises just makes the book SO much more interesting.  If I read a back cover, I TRY to promptly forget what I read.

Things I liked:
The Sword Play!
The Faith!
That our main girl had friends that were close to her age, who were boys that she was not in "love" with.
The Plot.
The characters feel like they are the right ages.
The tiny hint of romance, because teens don't need to be making out all the time in books.
The writing is SO much better in this one, and since I have also read the 3rd, I know the writing continues to just get better.
I cried the first time I read this, but I was prepared this time and didn't, but then at something different I almost cried!

Content:

Language/Profanity:
NA

Romance:
Just a hint of more to come when the characters are older.  No kissing for our main characters in this one. ;)

Violence:
Some people get killed, and our main girl must fight for her life.  It's not descriptive or bloody, but there is some violence.  There is sword fighting and learning to sword fight, and other fighting evil villains. Our main girl also gets injured, but not because of violence, also not bloody.  Other injures are mentioned.  Someone gets taken prisoner and must be rescued by using violence.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Not really a thing, if there was any, it was for treating injuries, but it is not in my notes.  But if that did happen, and I was reading really late at night, I may have forgotten to put it my notes.  No alcoholism or anything.

Note: There is a shipwreck and slavers and people close to the Princess die.  These things could be scary for younger readers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Reintegration by Ashley Bogner Blog Tour Book Review


Reintegration, by Ashley Bogner, is the first book in the Reintegration Trilogy.  This is a dystopian book, following our main character, Katherine, "the perfect citizen."  She is training to be a regulator, sort of like our police, but different.

Katherine lives in what she thinks is the perfect place, a world where kids are not allowed to ever meet their parents.  They are taken away at a young age to a public government education and super monitored life.  There is a thing called the tolerance act and the people who don't agree with it live outside the "perfect city."  Everyone who lives inside the walled city has to live by the act and if they break it three times, they get killed.  

Katherine is approaching her final test, this will be the deciding factor on whether or not she'll get to be a regulator for realsies.  If she fails, the consequences will be very bad.  A rebel, Matthew, from outside their "perfect city" is captured inside their walls.  As a part of the final exam, she must choose between execution and reintegration.  Reintegration is a new thing that wipes the memory of the person and tries to reintegrate them into society with out any rebellious qualities.  Things gets harry when she picks reintegration, knowing it could possibly fail.   Chaos, romance, and character development ensue. 

This book just released on August 18th.  We can remember that because our main character is age 18.

Before I get into what I liked, here is about the author: 

When Ashley Bogner was in third grade, she decided she would be a published author when she grew up.  Ashley is a homeschool graduate and has lived in seven different states.  She completed a year of Bible College and in the fall will begin pursuing a degree in Communication Studies.  After college, her plan is to work in the Christian publishing industry.  When not writing, she can be found baking, posting book reviews on her blog, and watching her favorite movies over and over to the point of memorization.

I found Ashley because of her blog and book reviews, and am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for her first published book!  Here is a link to her blog, if you want to check it out!


Things I liked:
The writing style.
Matthew's view of love (Understanding that love is not just a feeling!!!).
The story and emotional connection.
The Christian content! 
Some of the things our main character did was like a spy movie!
The characters in general. 
That it was a clean read. And we need more of those! 
I thought it would be more like Anomaly, by Krista McGee (review HERE), but I was pleasantly surprised by how different it was.

*I read an advanced reader's (or review) copy, so this next part could be fixed.*
Nitpicking/why you got to be so mean self? :
Occasionally the story felt the tiniest bit choppy, but this didn't take away from the reading experience.
That's it!! Sorry!!!

*Disclaimer*: I was given a ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) for an honest review as part of the blog tour.



SOME MILD SPOILERS in the content! 
WARNING!!!!

CONTENT COMING! GO IF YOU MUST! 

Protect yourself!

Just in case you need another barrier, here are links to where you can buy the book:


And now... the Content



Content: 

Language/Profanity: 
NA

Romance: 
Katharine's friend, Chelsea, (another don't be like Chelsea situation, DON'T be like Chelsea!!!) NEVER stays with a boy very long.
Our main girl and love interest (you can probably guess who;) kisses four times on the month, but they are not descriptive.  Also, two cheek kisses.  Chelsea kisses boys, too.

Violence: 
There is a tiny bit of fighting in violence, but it's very mild. 

Drugs/Alcohol:
A character takes prescription-ish pills in one part.

Note: There is a bit of semi-descriptive cutting of skin to get rid of a tracker.  The description is only a little bit bloody, almost too much for me, though.  But REALLY almost any blood/cutting is over the top, because I think blood should go on the inside of bodies. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Match Point by Erynn Mangum Book Review


Match Point, by Erynn Mangum, is book three in the Lauren Holbrook series.  I have, of course reviewed book one and two.  This is the last book in the series that we get Lauren's point of view.

Here's the plot:

What is a matchmaker to do when people are matchmaking her?  Lauren is faced with this dilemma, her stepmother and well-meaning friends are trying to get her proposed to by Ryan (who, by this time, she has been with for about two years).  Lauren and Ryan are not sure how they feel about being pushed into marriage.  Lauren does untangle her feelings on the matter pretty fast in the grand scheme of the book.   Speaking of grand schemes...  later in the book, Lauren's friends and family set up an elaborate scene for the "Perfect Romantic Proposal," but Ryan and Lauren catch on and choose to have a fake break up instead.  The whole scam is extremely amusing!

As always, I love the writing and the humor.  The romance is super clean and very appropriate, even though most of are characters are in their early to mid-20's.  I only say most, because there is family that are older and younger than that.  The references to I Love Lucy, The Partridge Family, and Jane Austen were super fun.  Other books in the series reference Full House and other fun things, like The Princess Bride.  I always enjoy when I actually "get" references, but it doesn't take away too much if you don't pick up on all of them.

Content:

Language/Profanity:
Darn and shoot are used sparingly. (I put this in because, personally, I don't use words like this.)

Romance/You Know:
Very little, a kiss at the proposal and not much else.  I have read middle grade books with more kissing. A top is called "sexy."  Lauren jokes about being adopted, or that her mother had an affair with the newspaper delivery guy, but she says, knowing her mother, she is going with adopted.  Other married couples *may* kiss, I don't have it in my notes, because I don't find married kissing sketchy at all.
*There is also an understanding that love is not just a feeling! A+ *rounds of applause*

Violence:
There are jokes about violence.  And mainly at one point joking about killing a character, I think it went a little far, but at the end, it briefly mentions how killing someone in your heart is the same as killing them for real.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Jokes about caffeine and being added to caffeine.  Lots of caffeine. And yes, caffeine is considered a drug.

Fun, semi-spoilery things:
YAY!
Note that these things may not make sense to anyone, except they that have read the book, and maybe not even them.  Who knows?  I sure don't.



Her Dad's wedding, with Ryan in a top hat.  I do not know why I found that so funny, but when I was reading at like 3 a.m., okay, 3:30 a.m., I found it, like, the most hilarious thing ever.
Girls trip! I had completely forgotten about the girls trip and was super surprised!
When Ryan throws stones at Lauren's window and then makes a joke about making up the old-fashioned way with a broken window, and a ladder and a Justice of the Peace.  I had just re-watched Romeo and Juliet, and it made me think of them so much.  I know that it does not make sense completely, but I was sleepy, so, you know.
The baseball talk when Lauren just kept on getting everything wrong about the sport! I was laughing so hard.
I have the "I like you talk" written in my notes, but I forgot what I wanted to say about it.....
The Partridge Family references, I LOVED!  I was already singing a Partridge Family song when I was reading this book.  It was perfect timing.
Wedding.  Wedding?  Wedding!
The end sentence about Elvis not being on their honeymoon.  It was funny, alright?
So, yeah, funny, but possibly my least favorite book of the series.  I still think it was fabulous and still recommend it.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rematch by Erynn Mangum Book Review


Rematch is book two in the Lauren Holbrook Series, I reviewed book one, Miss Match, in April of this year.  After successfully matchmaking a couple, Lauren Holbrook is especially excited to matchmake everyone else in her life, besides her Dad.  When she decides that her almost-brother, Brandon, and her coworker, Hannah, would make a "perfect" couple, she will do almost anything to set them up, without them noticing, of course.  And when a new girl comes to Bible study, Lauren has someone picked out for her, too.

Lauren's family, with her sisters and her Dad, is one of parts of the series that I enjoy extra.  Erynn's writing makes them feels like a real family.  Lauren is greatly surprised when her father announces that he is going to a Christian Singles Retreat in Michigan.  Her mother died when she was eight, and her Dad has not been with anyone since her Mother.  The announcement is a shock to her system.  She is overthinking, and going crazy over this and has to learn and have character development over this particular thing.

Rematch is just as laugh out loud hilarious as Miss Match.  The faith content is still there and I LOVE how solid she writes that part, one of the reasons Erynn Mangum is the best.  I adored Lauren and Ryan trying to outdo each other at memorizing Bible verses.  I love how Lauren quotes Bible verses as dialogue sometimes and everyone is like "WHAT????" and then she quotes the Bible reference, and everyone is happy that Lauren has not truly gone crazy.

As of right now the full series is not in print, but it will be back "soon" with new covers.  Books three, four and five are in print, but one and two are not yet.  So right now, the library, buying used, or buying an e-book is the only way to read the complete series.

I am going to have a new way of reviewing with content.  I really enjoy reading reviews that are done in a similar way to this, so I'm going to try it out.

Language/Profanity:
There is a mention that a movie has language in it.  They do this with out saying any of the profanity. The words the "darn and shoot" are said occasionally.

Romance/You Know:
Side characters share kisses.  It is mentioned someone got pregnant on their honeymoon (no improper content).  It is said that a man would probably not like to have the main character around all the time, because at night he would like to have his wife (No details).

Violence:
It is mentioned that a movie has violence.  There are some mild jokes are made about violence, such as a character says that his girlfriend "Verbally abuses him in 19th century English," but it is a joke (And it did make me laugh in context).

Drugs/Alcohol:
Caffeine is consumed many times in various ways, such as soda and coffee.  Characters (mainly one in particular ) admit to being addicted to caffeine.
*Alcohol could possibly been mentioned an extreme passing, but I don't remember and it's not in my notes, so I would assume that it didn't happen, but I can only give you 99% sure.*


This next section is for reminiscing purposes.  I will be putting my favorite parts and other things that I want to mention.  They are spoilery and will probably only make sense if you have read the book.
This is a warning.



Fun talky spoilers:




I love Hallie!!!! Hallie and Shawn forever!!! And this book is the start of the relationship.
I am a fan. And his dessert shop cafe thing is the best!!!!  As a gluten free person, I deeply enjoyed reading about glutenous desserts, and it does make me keep looking for good gluten-free desserts.  I found a cinnamon roll recipe, so I will be fine, and not die, when I re-read book five (Bake Me A Match)!!!
The twins!! And one named after Lauren!
Who would have guessed that Brandon and Hannah would be a couple?  I love them together.
Lauren gets a puppy, named Darcy!!! Puppy, puppy, puppy!!!!!  Awwww!!!!!  Everything is cute!!!
Lauren and thinking that her Dad is going to bring home a genetic scientist from the singles retreat is so funny, and I am also not into genetic scientists anymore.  It was kind of creepy all the crazy things she came up with while learning about God's sovereignty.
Nick and Ruby are expecting a baby so quickly!!!!  I was almost expecting it (wink, wink), but I was still excited!  The "Bungalow moment" when Lauren was picking them up from their honeymoon made me almost die laughing.
Joan is fabulous! So sweet and perfect for her Dad.
Picking out Hannah's ring with Brandon was one of my favorite parts....
But trailing him to the proposal spot with everyone was even better!!!