Category Archives: Book Reviews

To Soar Beyond the Stars: The Mystical Journey of One Wing


To Soar Beyond the Stars the Mystical Journey of One Wing is a unique tale about the spiritual journey of self-discovery of the seagull One Wing after a terrible accident. The story is told as though written by a human who has become disillusioned with life. The story is imaginative and original with likable and relatable characters in an unexpected way.

The story is quite an original idea and has some very detailed worldbuilding that makes it a story all its own. The idea of seagulls having their own society, education system, and even an enemy force that they defend against is unusual but intriguing. The average person likely does not view seagulls as sophisticated enough for this type of society, but the author manages to make it charming and convincing. The author also does a good job cluing readers into what will be important later in the story. For example, the way the author capitalizes Spirit gives the reader the idea that this concept will be important and somewhat anthropomorphized. This idea also applies to concepts like hope throughout the book. The superstitions and beliefs of the seagulls are explained in quite an entertaining way which explains why seagulls still get caught in the engines of planes despite having intelligences.

While I enjoyed To Soar Beyond the Stars needs I felt that the exposition felt rushed in the beginning as opposed to a complex story set-up that gives the audience insight into the complexities of One Wing’s personality and ideals. This is still a motivational story with language and literary devices that will appeal to middle grade readers and up.

To Soar Beyond the Stars takes readers on an inspiring and thought-provoking journey. This enchanting story has a unique premise that delivers a spellbinding adventure that anyone can enjoy.

Pages: 224 | ISBN: 1441536035

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Through the Waters and the Wild

Through the Waters and the Wild by [Greg Fields]

Through the Waters and the Wild by Greg Fields tells us the story of the human spirit. The book starts with Conor Finnegan, a young American completely disillusioned with the way his life had come to be. Trying to get out of the depressive state that he was in, caused by a failed marriage and a meaningless job, he starts to read the letters left for him by his grandad, Liam Finnegan, and begins to gain a new sense of purpose through his words and memories. Liam Finnegan was an Irish farmer who spent his youth in Ireland during the Irish Civil War. Liam felt stuck in his home country, without a real purpose. Not wanting to involve himself in the Irish war, he fled to America, leaving everything that he ever knew and loved behind, in the pursuit of a dream and a meaningful life.

It is through Liam’s memories and experiences, that he left for his grandson in his letters, that Conor is able to find new motivation in his life as he tries to turn it around for the better. The most enjoyable and enriching part of the book is Liam Finnegan’s story. Most of the book narrates the hardships that Liam had to go through in life, the losses that he experienced, the physical and mental pain that he had to endure, and all that he had to do to build himself a life worth living. Through Liam’s story we not only get to see the effort that it takes to find one’s purpose in life, we also see and are able to learn a little bit of the Irish history alongside it. This all makes for a very interesting and gripping storyline, full of history and humanity.

The pacing of the story felt at times a little slow, especially when it related Conor’s thoughts and storyline, however, it was still very enjoyable and easy to follow through. The writing is excellent, the way that the author presents the character’s thoughts and experiences is simply beautiful, very poetic, I simply couldn’t put the book down. There’s a lot of reflection that one goes into while reading this book, the stories told can be very relatable, we all experience doubt, loss and loneliness, sometimes we get stuck and we don’t know who we are or what’s the life that we want for ourselves. This book revolves around all of these topics, around human nature and the hardships that one may face throughout life, which allows for some introspection and deep thoughts about our past, present and future. The story also beautifully describes the value and importance that love and family has in human life, something that I enjoyed reading a lot about.

I wouldn’t mind reading more about Liam Finnegan’s story, he’s definitely a very interesting man that had to go through some unfortunate circumstances, a man “born in the blood of oppressed generations”. The human soul is contained within the pages of this book. Liam Finnegan not only helps his grandson but also us, the readers, to navigate the hard realities of adult life. Through the Waters and the Wild is a story about finding one’s place in this harsh world and also about finding love, full of the hopes and dreams of the human mind.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08LHMCC5R

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A Sibling’s Guide To Autism

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is an educational children’s book written in the form of an essay, or journal entry of sorts, where the author is explaining to her younger sibling what it is like to have an older sibling with autism. I don’t live with anyone that has autism so I, like her younger sibling, am learning about these things for the first time through this wonderfully illustrated book. This picture book is informative as well as enlightening and serves as a wonderful educational resource on the subject.

Author Irene Kim shares her experiences living with a sibling with autism. It sounds tough, but she also makes a point to say that it is rewarding in the end. The book uses a beautiful modern expressionist art style throughout the book to support the ideas presented on each page. Each piece of art and page is focused on an idea that takes on a different and more powerful meaning when you are living with someone with autism, like: pace, volume, people, and attachment. The section about ‘Attachment’ was the most impactful to me. I come to realize that living with someone with autism makes you mature and grow in ways that takes other people decades.

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is a poignant children’s book that illuminates the up and downs that come with raising a child with autism. This is a fantastic picture book for teachers, parents, and children that are about to have someone with autism in their lives. This will be helpful in understanding that, while it will be difficult, it will also be rewarding, and author Irene Kim captures that in a brilliant way.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B094HB7338

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Memoirs of a Bible Smuggler

Memoirs of a Bible Smuggler by [Jeana Kendrick]

Memoirs of a Bible Smuggler is the true story of Jeana Kendrick and her experience smuggling Bibles into Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Kendrick recalls the emotional highs and lows of this period. Fearing exposure and death, Jeana discusses these experiences and the experience of maintaining faith in order to serve God and protect Christianity.

At the core, this is an uplifting story about overcoming and maintaining faith during a difficult time. I’ll probably never go through anything in my life that is as terrifying as smuggling Bibles into Eastern Europe during the Cold War, but the emotions, faith, and drive to help others was relatable and heartwarming. I appreciated the candid nature with which the story is told. The story really puts you in the authors mind during that time, exploring the events as she saw them.

While this is a story based in history, this is more of a memoir that takes us through the life of a Texas house wife that’s called to serve during a harrowing time. Smuggling bibles was an idea that was new to me. But author Jeana Kendrick opens readers minds to thing others seldom, if ever, experience, and shares some profound and emotional moments. Her ability to keep the faith through it all is inspiring.

While I would have appreciated more historical context, Memoirs of a Bible Smuggler is still a riveting account of one person making a difference in a dangerous world. For any readers that need a powerful story about maintaining faith while facing adversity, or for anyone who wants to read a stirring memoir of an average person doing extraordinary things, then Jeana Kendricks memoir is perfect for you. This is a short but potent story that shows the power and importance of missionary work.

Pages: 187 | ASIN: B0971S3TTJ

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ONE MAN’S SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE

ONE MAN'S SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE by [Andre Patenaude]

Andre Patenaude’s One Man’s Search For The Divine is an intimate look into the realities of struggling with childhood abuse and trauma. Using his own words, the author takes us through how he navigated his 30’s in search of enlightenment and healing. Ultimately, the vulnerability and authenticity of this book make it an emotional read.

The author goes into great detail about his depression, substance abuse, and divorces in a way that is realistic and emotional. Interestingly, he also manages to incorporate spirituality into the narrative and explains how it played an integral part in his healing process.

What really makes his story interesting though is the fact that he took his life into his own hands and decided to seek out meaning. From page to page, Andre regales us with his experiences while cycling, hitchhiking, and walking across the country. He spends countless hours in tents and meets helpful strangers along the way. His story not only speaks to his fortitude but also helps readers regain faith in humanity

We see the kindness of those he meets and how they nudge him forward on his spiritual journey. We also encounter the guru who changed his life and feel the genuineness of his transformation. And better still, we feel the support from his family as he trudges through his chosen path.

Ultimately, this book is a source of hope for anyone dealing with trauma, abuse, and addiction, but I think the writing style could have been more engaging and descriptive. The book feels like a series of dense journal entries rather than a story.

Man’s Search For The Divine is an inspiring memoir that is thought-provoking and emotionally stirring.

Pages: 109 | ASIN: B00KICJOX4

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Beyond Revelation

Beyond Revelation (Vega Thriller Book 3) by [John Hazen]

Beyond Revelation by John Hazen follows journalist Francine Vega’s thrilling misadventures and affairs with the FBI. The life of a New York investigative journalist gets shaken up by a sudden disappearance and the consequent doubt that a cult might be behind it. Following the reporter’s investigations, the book takes us through Francine’s, or “Fava”, private life and introduces us to the mysterious world of secret cults and organizations in the United States, along with journalism and into the FBI’s alluring world.

Hazen writes beautifully and manages to give each character its own personality and uniqueness, making the plot intriguing and engaging for any reader who’s got an eye for the thriller genre. His writing style, along with the complex plot, gives the book a fascinating aura and won’t bore even the youngest and easily bored reader.

As a reader keen on details, I appreciated Hazen’s effort in describing action scenes. Sometimes writers can get lost while describing them and the result is a chaotic scene, which doesn’t allow the reader to understand its sense, but Hazen doesn’t do that. Instead, he describes them accurately and allows the reader to understand what is happening.

Furthermore, this novel doesn’t lack in action-scenes and suspenseful moments. It will keep the reader on edge throughout the story with a nice balance of heart-warming scenes as well. All of this is served well by the emotive and authentic characters, making it easy to feel empathy for the characters, even when some scenes are incredible.

With its action-filled scenes, deep intrigue, and wild plot twists, Beyond Revelation is a political thriller that is unpredictable and hard to put down. For readers who enjoy the suspense of the Jason Bourne series mixed with the compelling conspiracy of The Da Vinci Code, you’ll surely enjoy this stirring crime novel.

Pages: 257 | ASIN: B08KTQ5LSS

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The Days of Myth

The Days of Myth (God Stones Book 3) by [Otto Schafer]

While still coming to terms with his destiny to lead the Keepers of Light back to Karelia, Garrett joins forces with his friends to rescue Breanne. Unfortunately, they face a perilous journey because the world is in utter chaos. Apep, an evil elf, has assembled the God stones to create an army he’ll take back to Karelia, and their power is messing with the earth. Not to mention that the elf is bent on killing Garrett, who has been prophesied to oppose his plan to seize the kingdom of Karelia.

In all of this, an unlikely third player rises in the form of earth’s trees. The God stones have given them consciousness and mobility. However, Apep’s plan to return to Karelia with his army and the God stones would condemn the trees to immobility again. The trees, angry at how man has treated them for centuries, want to retain their newfound freedom in exchange for sparing humanity. Now Garrett and his friends must save Breanne, stop Apep from waging war on Karelia and return to earth with a magical item that will ensure trees keep walking or watch them wipe out humanity.

The Days of Myth by Otto Schafer is the third book in the God Stone series. Not to worry, though; this exciting blend of adventure, magic, camaraderie and fantasy tells a story that you can get into with without having read the past sequels.

Schafer returns with his brilliant writing chops. He creates a steaming brew of steady storytelling and suspenseful moments that will keep anyone engaged as the plot unfolds.

Striking a balance between the familiar and unfamiliar is so vital to excellent writing. With relatable analogies, Schafer brings his story home. Actions, scenes and objects are more vivid due to the author’s spot-on description. I also love how he throws in amusing elements of frivolity like having a deranged, power-hungry elf correcting the grammar of one of his henchmen.

Sometimes you get stripped down stories that turn out flat, and at other times you get tales brimming with too many details. Schafer finds the sweet spot between these extremes. His is an intricate story with details tied together expertly. So you don’t have to stop to scratch your head wondering who’s who or what the link between certain occurrences is.

The book ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger to top it all off. It’s a master class in how to end a novel if you’re planning to continue the story in a sequel. And I sure can’t wait for the next part of the series.

The Days of Myth is a solid epic fantasy novel for me. Think you’re up for some fast-paced, magic-laden adventure? Then grab a copy of Schafer’s gripping piece.

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B095W2LYMP

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The Search For Synergy

The Search For Synergy (The Talisman Series Book 1) by [Brett Salter]

The protagonist of Brett Salter’s teen fantasy, The Search for Synergy, is 13-year-old Rome, who is struggling with the world and his place in it.  Then he meets Julian and discovers there’s a reason he feels he doesn’t belong – he’s more than just a boy, he’s actually a dragon living amongst humans, and Julian is secretly his knight. Julian introduces him to Mr. Jones who works with both boys to develop their powers.  Together they strive to achieve synergy in order to fight the dark forces that threaten the world.

The first part of the book is dedicated to developing Rome as a character and setting up the difference in upbringing between him and Julian’s rich family. The friendship between the boys feels authentic, and the pair are very likeable. By the time the action moves into the battles with the terrifying creatures from the Void, you are really rooting for them.

The story is like a cross between The Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The fantasy element is satisfyingly fantastical, and the action is nail-biting. But for me, the real star of the story is the friendship that develops between Rome and Julian. Individually they are just typical flawed boys, but – as with all great friendships – their talents compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Rome encourages Julian to be brave and test his limits, and Julian brings an honest, light-hearted joy. Together they are invincible.

The battles between good and evil are well-written and thrilling, and there is just enough secrecy and hiding from the adults to make it a great read for young teens. It also manages to be a little educational with the connections to Arthurian legend.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that some of the language used between Julian and his father was a bit odd at times. It does show how Julian is a completely different person than his father thinks him to be, but I would have liked it to have been done in a more subtle way.

As the first book in the Talisman Series, The Search for Synergy should also work as a standalone book, but there are loose ends left hanging and questions left unanswered that really make you crave that follow up novel. The Search For Synergy is a fantastically imaginative and thrilling young adult coming-of-age novel.

Pages: 220 | ASIN: B071W9HZVC

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