Category Archives: Book Reviews

General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms

General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms by David Bush is a fiction story about the five kingdoms of animals: Feline, Canine, Dairy, Equine, and Big Mammal. The lions, rulers of the Feline Kingdom, are cruel overlords of all the other animals. Miaow is chief of the cats, the lowest of the Felines. Although he laments the unjust and savage way of things, he accepts it and does nothing to change it. But after he is wounded by a panther, he is saved by a boy named Jack, who nurses Miaow back to health and encourages him to take action. The four other animal kingdoms join together and work with the cats in secret to overthrow the Feline rulers. What will happen if King Roar learns of this betrayal?

I enjoyed reading David Bush’s riveting novel that follows an ordinary character that does something that he’d believed was impossible. The plot of the story was intriguing and unique, and I liked that the cats became some of the heroes of the story. Scratchy was my favorite character in the story. I liked the pictures of the animals and landscape, especially the black and grey silhouettes of trees and mountains, that were included throughout the story. Most of the pictures were black and white, except for a few that showed black silhouettes against a bright orange sky. There were lots of interesting facts about history, geography, and wildlife in the notes at the end of the book.

I enjoyed the thrilling conflict at the heart of this story, but I didn’t like how Miaow behaved in the beginning of the book, standing by and allowing injustices and atrocities to happen to others. Miaow’s son Scratchy was the only one willing to risk his own life and safety to intervene. Miaow turned a blind eye to the suffering of others out of fear of the consequences to himself. With Jack’s prodding, Miaow finally started organizing the covert warfare against the Feline Overlords. In this part of the book, there was a lot of focus on the battle tactics of the Union Jacks. The descriptions of the successful missions against the lions, tigers, cougars, panthers, and jaguars were very descriptive, if a bit repetitive, but still aided in creating some enthralling battle scenes.

David Bush has created a unique story that blends The Jungle Book with The Lord of the Rings to create an enchanting adventure. General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms is a spellbinding story that will appeal to fans of epic fantasy.

Pages: 163 | ISBN: 979-8667226413

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Better Than Our Dogs

In John Murray’s latest book, Better Than Our Dogs, he uses the interesting lives and behaviors of his and his neighbor’s dogs to impart faith-based life lessons. Not only has he beautifully captured God’s love in his words but he also managed to write in a non-judgemental way that would attract even those outside the faith.

This story follows the lives of five dogs; Socrates, Chloe, Darby, Young Pup, and Old Vet, so deeply explaining their mannerisms and temperaments that you would be forgiven for mistaking them for actual people. Truly, character development doesn’t get better than this.

By drawing parallels between his relationship with his dogs and our relationship with God, he brings life to Biblical principles, clearly laying out lessons that we can all apply in our lives. I also like that the author draws on Greek mythology as well to bring more clarity to his points.

Moreover, the way he manages to draw the same message from different stories and weaves them together is something to behold.  He also does the reverse quite efficiently, fetching different lessons from a single story.

I truly appreciate about the simple and whimsical delivery. Needless to say, this is one of the easiest books to read. It’s not too wordy and there aren’t any long paragraphs of meaningless information.

It is captivating and straight to the point, yet still giving you enough to leave a long-lasting impression. It is clear that John really put his heart and soul into this. As this book is written in his voice and is actually about real-life experiences, it feels very personal, as if we are peeking into his innermost musings. Coupled with its gut-wrenching epilogue, it is this that I believe makes this book so relatable. Some of the running themes in this book include the fragility of life and the importance of loyalty and serving others.

Pages: 122 | ASIN: B08FWBRF1L

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The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character

The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character (The Diamond Soul Trilogy Book 1) by [George Vasilca]

The stepping stones shared by George Vasilca in his book The Diamond Soul will help you change your life for the better. The author highlights the necessary virtues and habits that you can adopt to be the best version of yourself. The text in the book is uncomplicated and convincing for any reader who enjoys reading inspirational and religious books. When reading about heavenly virtues, I got to understand why God wants to be closer to his people and why everyone who believes in him has a personal responsibility to do by his will. The virtue of love spoke to me the most. Human love is beautiful. The author explains that by loving each other unconditionally, human beings get to exalt and exhibit the nature of the Almighty.

Other than improving your character to be Christ-like, George Vasilca will also have the reader ponder life and it’s meaning. While reading through the chapters, one thinks of one’s purpose on earth, their destiny, and why certain things happen. The author also gives clear answers to questions Christians ask about God as a supreme being. Reading this book is fulfilling as the author makes one feel at peace with his words. The text is therapeutic and gives one hope to face the next challenge. George Vasilca also reminds the reader that God’s love is all we need to enjoy life. The Lord has plans for everyone and will not hesitate to step in when the devil tries to overpower you.

Every stepping stone discussed in the book is important. My favorite stepping stones were 2, and 5. The topics under the two were ‘You are a Fighter’, and ‘Polishing Your Character’. The second stepping stone is helpful for someone who feels conflicted about self and is on the verge of giving up. the author reminds everyone that even when the going gets tough, there is someone or somewhere where you can lean on until things get better. The author also speaks to people who are still discovering themselves and explains how change can influence one as a human being. The biggest take I got on polishing one’s character was being a kind and humble servant. Christ loves it when his people serve the church and others. You will receive blessings when you serve your family, perform acts of kindness to strangers, and respect your friends. By putting yourself ahead of others, you are living as God intended.

George Vasilca incorporates his personal stories while giving lessons in the book. I enjoyed stories from his past because they show that human experiences are almost the same. His encounters were interesting and the conversations he had with people fascinating. The stories also added a personal touch to the book which made reading and relating with the author’s words easier. The stepping stones are like guides or tidbits of wisdom that will help you build character. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy inspirational books and are looking to live a righteous life.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B08FMXTWVR

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Don’t Step on the Spider

Don’t Step on the Spider is a charming children’s picture book that educates readers on the importance of life and how every insect benefits mother nature and brings balance to the ecosystem. Kirk Raeber accomplishes this with very easy language and a cute comic art style.

Young Tim is at his grandparent’s house when he decides to go out and play and encounters a spider. He’s about to step on it, like I think most people would do, but is stopped by his grandfather. His grandfather tells him that every creature has a right to live, and to prove his point he takes Tim on a jaunt through the forest to meet many more insect friends.

Every insect they meet along the way is adorable and friendly, and each one explains how they contribute to the ecosystem. There is plenty to learn in this book, even I learned about the importance of ants! This is a great book for early readers or for parents and teachers to read to children. This book provides many opportunities to discuss nature and how everyone has a role. Don’t Step on the Spider skillfully informs and entertains young readers and is one book I can see reading several times.

Pages: 35 | ASIN: B0842DJSWV

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The Vatican Must Go

The Vatican Must Go: An American Tale of Government Power and the Glory of Faith by [D. Grant Fitter]

D. Grant Fitter created a thrilling political that is story full of intrigue, mystery and drama. Fitter’s writing is lyrical and complex and will leave you astonished with the darkness of some moments and how faith on the other hand can be so wonderful. The humans won’t take chances when it comes to survival and we will be in the front row watching a religion versus political war.

The Vatican has always had a greater power in Mexico’s culture and daily life. The United States of America was deeply concerned with the church’s influence in their democracy so they sent a mercenary force to represent them. Little did these mercenaries know that they would find themselves in the middle of a dark and terrible war.

Rosa is without a doubt my favorite character and I am sure that she will melt all the reader’s hearts. For the people that don’t know Mexico and are quite interested in it, this is an awesome book since Fitter also provides us with some facts about the country, past and its rich culture.

Don’t expect this book to be a simple historical novel, because you will find so many different topics: war, democracy, family and exploitation. You can expect a roller coaster of emotions. It is well paced and masterfully written. The Vatican Must Go is a riveting historical fiction novel that takes some intriguing character to the cusp of war against a nefarious government that attempts to abolish Catholic control over Mexico.

Pages: 363 | ASIN: B08CY1G6XK

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The Calla’cara Gambit

The Calla'cara Gambit: The War Against Infinity: Book 2 by [Rob Bartlett]

The Calla’cara Gambit is a high- fantasy science fiction novel by author Robb Bartlett. It is the sequel to the award-winning novel The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity. Starting with the prologue, Lilith Morningstar´s plan goes awry when she is shockingly defeated and sent to an unknown planet by a powerful and mysterious man, identified as the “Chosen of the Adversary”. As she is discovered and forcibly escorted away by two individuals, she silently plots revenge against everyone who ever wronged her. Milo Sapphire finds himself in a difficult position, after being blackmailed into helping the Sentient Ships emancipate from the Empire and killing Lilith Morningstar (or so he thought), he’s aware of being targeted by three groups: the Lotus Eaters Society, the Khan of Calla´cara, and the Emperor himself. When one of his lovers is captured by the Empires ambassador, who threatens her should Milo do anything against the Emperor’s agenda; he must find a way of getting the job done before the deadline without risking the lives of his crewmembers while navigating a harsh political climate.

The Calla’cara Gambit is a space opera that combines the best elements of science fiction with elements of epic fantasy to create a consistently riveting novel. I enjoyed the detailed political and financial climate that the story exists in. I felt like these types of details made the world feel real. The story is mostly narrated in first-person through Milo Morningstar, a witty and sarcastic yet charming man who feels elevated because of his past actions, which have proven him to be the one chosen by the creator of the universe. The way the story is narrated through his point of view helps the reader form a deeper understanding of his character, his decisions, and his way of seeing the universe. Milo is cunning and therefore overconfident, which at times can be annoying but ultimately makes for a complex character and an interesting read.

The universe the story takes place in feels vast and is formed by many different worlds and planets, particularly Calla´cara, an exotic planet ruled by intelligent reptiles who seem to have their own agenda. The writing is unique, alternating between Milos first-person narration with third-person POV´S from different characters, this makes for a refreshing break from the main character’s monologue. Sometimes the mixture of genres can make the tone feel inconsistent, but that’s just a very minor concern.

The Calla’cara Gambit has a unique plot that is helped along by an engaging protagonist. Fans of Star Wars or space opera’s will have plenty to enjoy in Rob Bartlett’s dramatic novel.

Pages: 454 | ASIN: B08FWV5TBQ

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Subterfuge

Subterfuge (The Magdalena Series Book 4) by [Shannon Condon]

Subterfuge, by Shannon Condon, the fourth book in her action thriller series, is a story about deceit and betrayal. It is the story about Magdalena, a member of a black ops unit, who together with her team, is on an assignment to assassinate a Russian crime lord. However, soon they realize they are working for the enemy, and it is not a government contract as they were led to believe.

The narration is straightforward yet sufficiently descriptive to create vivid imagery. The author takes you on a visual journey with the characters and whatever they are doing. Also, I felt that there was a good balance between narration and dialogue between the characters. So, you get to see what they are saying and the emotions they are expressing while saying it.

The story is engaging and fast paced, with each chapter ending in some kind of suspense that will nudge you to read the next. A good author knows when, and how, to end a chapter.

What I liked most about the book is just when you think everything is going well, the author surprises you with an unexpected twist to the plot. At first, everything goes according to plan, almost too perfect. But this is a story about deception, so nothing is really as it seems.

Another thing I liked about this book is that you need not have read the other three that precede it in the series to understand it. The author provides flashbacks to help you understand the series arc in summary and gives a bit of background to each character. The interpersonal relationships between the characters also make the book much more enjoyable.

Subterfuge is a fast-paced story with twists that are rarely, if ever, expected. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Pages: 164 | ASIN: B08D3VB9HS

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The Thriving Hive: How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results

The Thriving Hive: How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results by [Mari Ryan]

Anyone who has observed workplace trends and how employees in a company mingle while working together will agree that Mari Ryan wrote an informative book. The author bases all the information in the book on facts, experience, and years of research. The Thriving Hive gives you an insight into how different workplace cultures influence the productivity of employees and the rate by which companies grow. Organizations just like any entities need a specific framework to be run and a set of rules to be followed. If the management of the company puts minimum effort, then, the employees will reciprocate. The energy shown in company leadership has a huge effect on how the employees work.

In The Thriving Hive Mari Ryan talks about various types of employees, how the workplace can be a place of growth and the foundation for long-lasting goals and friendships. When reading this book, you realize that the workplace does not need to be too serious. A little fun and lightening up is allowed as long as everyone is taking care of their duties.

Through Mari Ryan’s personal experience, the reader learns how important it is for one to start their career in a warm and friendly workplace. The author writes about their lovely experiences which are encouraging. Working around people who show love and concern especially for junior employees is a pipe dream for many. Most times, seniors at a company tend to show juniors contempt due to their lack of experience and sometimes financial status. This should never be the case.

While reading this book, the general impression one gets is that the author is addressing the heads of companies and the management. Mari Ryan has solid advice for CEOs, managers, human resources, heads of departments, and all staff with senior positions. The message being reiterated throughout the book is that company heads should put their employees first. This includes employees from the lowest levels like janitors and messengers to those that hold the highest positions. Mari Ryan encourages organizations to treat their workers with dignity and in turn, they will get the best services from the employees. A happy employee will ensure that your client is also happy. This will lead to an increase in clients and thus growth of the company.

One notable thing in the book other than the solid advice is the beautiful storytelling done by the author. The narration skills are both modest and enthralling. The thriving Hive is for everyone in a leadership position or those aspiring to be leaders. This book will help business executives improve their administration skills and help shape the organizations that they head.

Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07H3879LT

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