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Wonderful, Marvelous, Magnificent You

Children need to know that they are special, and loved, and that they can rely on Jesus. Author Abbey Feldkamp has written a dazzling children’s book that will warm children’s hearts. This vibrant picture book is a love letter to young ones. I can imagine me saying this quote from the book to my child, “I love you so much, in all of your ways, in all of our moments, all of our days.” Every rhyme contains wonderfully emotive, loving and empowering words just like this.

Every page of this inspiring picture book contains a wonderfully hand-drawn illustration that depicts different children in a variety of joyous situations. I loved the diversity in this book. There are so many different people from different cultures and races represented in this heartfelt kid’s book. There is even a beautiful child with vitiligo on one of the pages, which I think is underrepresented in children’s literature. Children will love how bright the artwork is and how expressive each character is. The stunning artwork will surely keep the attention of little ones as their parents read them this magnificent story at bedtime. And what a sweet message this book sends them off to bed with.

Wonderful, Marvelous, Magnificent is a short but impactful children’s book that will inspire faith in kids and motivate them to think about what makes them special, and to embrace it because God made them that way. This is a picture book that exudes love and is filled with cute illustrations. I highly recommend this to parents or to anyone who wants to give a beautiful gift to a young child.

Pages: 20 | ASIN: B0BKR6T4YC

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Dear Dad, A Novel

Dear Dad, by John Hazen, is a wonderful but harrowing read. John Foster is the son of a decorated World War II vet who grew up in small-town New England during the build-up to the Vietnam War. Eager to do his part, Foster is drawn into small disagreements with his peers and family as he battles his own misgivings about the conflict. Once in Vietnam, his resentment toward the army brass, his enemies, and his fellow soldiers grows as he’s routinely faced with the horrors of war. When he’s wounded during an attack, he awakens to find himself in 1862, where he finds a nobler purpose.

John Hazen crafts a compelling story. Foster’s background and character are fleshed out extremely well through flashbacks to his upbringing in Fairbrook, Massachusetts. We learn of his camaraderie with his childhood friend group, and there’s a touching passage about how he brings his father back from the edge after his mother’s death. These strong family bonds clash harshly with the impersonal nature he learns to adopt in the military.

Once he’s transported to the Civil War era, he is confronted with more horrors of the battlefield, but now he feels as if he is part of something worth fighting for. I really enjoyed Dear Dad, A Novel. I found Hazen’s writing remarkably easy-going and entertaining.

Each chapter was prefaced with a letter that gave a little more insight into the story. Foster’s experiences on the battlefield are truly horrific. Hazen has a sharp critique of military bureaucracy, including the incompetence of some officers, while still admirably praising men who earned their way through merit. I think anyone who likes historical fiction from the Vietnam War or the Civil War would greatly enjoy this book.

Pages 303 | ASIN B007SXID7E

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Restart

Restart by Drew Samuelsen is a dystopian tale of thirteen-year-old Ulysses, who finds himself alone after a strange event has killed most of the world’s population. Fearing for his Mother, who never came home from work, he sets out to find her. Along the way, he acquires a group of friends and learns the world’s own technology was used to decimate the population. They also soon know not all humans hit by this technological-based attack were killed; some were changed into deadly, almost animal-like killing machines. Can Ulysses and his friends avoid technology and murderous humans while looking for their loved ones?

I like that the vessel to bring about the apocalypse is technology. This also turns the book into a fear-inducing one; I kept thinking about all the tech around me that could be used against me. It leads to a bit of a chilling reading experience. The action was well-paced, and the story kept me intrigued. I also liked this book because it provided light moments in this dark situation. The tone was really a fun one. The fault I’ve found with other dystopian novels is that they are too heavy, with no moments to break up the bleakness; thankfully, this one suffered from no such problems.https://amzn.to/3UxUsvX

I found the book’s frequent foreshadowing took away from many surprise twists in the story that I’d liked to have been able to have gone in unwarned for. I also felt too many things just got handed to the characters. It was like everything they needed fell right into their laps. I am glad they managed to have what they needed to survive, but I would have liked them to work a little harder for it in some cases.

Restart: Book 1 (The Restart Series) is a captivating young adult dystopian story. It had the right amount of chilling and humor that balanced it well. In addition, it gave some unique ideas about how an apocalypse might go. I highly recommend this to any dystopian and science fiction fans.

Pages: 160 | ASIN : B0BJYD1KWW

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Trapped

Trapped by Reese is a fiction story about four friends who meet during their freshman year in college when they are assigned to complete a group project together. Naomi Spencer is from an affluent family but had a unique childhood experience that left her anxious in social situations. Arnya Nicholas was raised by a single mother but comes from a large extended family, and she is into computers. Stephanie Stone was raised by her religious grandmother after her mother abandoned her. Jasmine Taylor grew up in foster care, and that experience has left her cynical, but she likes to draw. Despite their different personalities and upbringing, they find that they have a lot in common. But can their friendship last through all life’s changes after the end of college?

I liked that this story was told from the point of view of the four friends, which provided additional insights into the characters’ motivation. Naomi, Arnya, Stephanie, and Jasmine had very distinct personalities and might never have become friends if they were not forced to work together on a class project. At the beginning of the story, Jasmine was my least favorite of the four friends. But as the book progressed and other softer characteristics about her are revealed, I could understand why the other girls became friends with her.

I liked that this book showed several years in the characters’ lives, from the start of college to their lives after graduation. Most of the books I’ve read take place over the course of a few weeks or months and might have a short epilogue that gives readers a brief glimpse into what happens a few years later. This book was an unexpected and interesting change from that. However, this did cause an issue where large chunks of time were skipped over. I would have loved to have seen more time dedicated to the developing relationship of the four friends.

Trapped is a riveting coming-of-age women’s fiction novel that shares the story of four women that meet in college and how their lives are intertwined as they grow up. There is some romance, some drama, and lots of self-discovery as each of the protagonists finds their own path in life.

Pages: 321 | ASIN : B0B16K6FDH

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Of All Faiths & None 

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale is a historical fiction novel set during the Great War between 1910 and 1918. This compelling novel begins with Julius Drewe, who hires a famous architect, Edwin Luytens, to design a castle. Drewe’s goal is to establish and preserve his legacy with the construction of Castle Drogo, which later symbolizes the nature of the war, and how the younger generation of the Drewes and Luytens become entangled in the war, which breaks out in 1914. The plot quickly develops when the setting shifts from the families’ residence in London to the various battlefields and their connections to each other and Castle Drogo.

The author explores many essential topics during the early 1900s, including the age of enlightenment, the suffragette movement, and the impact of war. It’s an emotional rendition of the history of western society and how significant changes in the world challenge different religions and belief systems. Tweeddale does a great job developing each character and evolving them throughout the book in well-structured chapters and well-written descriptions of their individual experiences.

Throughout the book, Tweeddale explores the themes of duty, vanity, romance, and spirituality and how they evolve during the war. Readers get a glimpse into the political system of this era, and the consequences of war on all levels of society, from the ordinary people to the elites. The author brilliantly showcases the horrors of war and how it capitalizes on the arrogance and vanity of humans while humanizing war casualties so that they are not merely seen as numbers or statistics but as soldiers who are also brothers, sons, and spouses.

I profoundly enjoyed Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale. I recommend this impassioned historical romance novel for the author’s ability to highlight the tragedies of war and how it is the ultimate equalizer, impacting everyone regardless of faith or lack of it. It is a well-told tale of love, faith, and war, and is perfect for fans of historical fiction. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: 1739612205

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INTO THE STORM

Roger Boggs is a local sheriff in Circlegold county. Haunted by past traumas, Boggs dedicates his life to policing the small town he lives in. When a group of local boys goes missing, it starts him on an investigation that will change him forever. Aided by the mysterious Sears, a major in the Air Force, they must contend with a town hellbent on serving their own kind of justice. And when one of the missing boys shows up claiming that the person they are looking for may not be of human origin, it sends Boggs on a journey into the unknown.

From the start of the first page, I was intrigued by the plot of this book. Author D.J. Adamson immerses the reader into the suspense making this one book I couldn’t put down. Being a fan of sci-fi mysteries, this book had everything from the aliens, and the interesting characters, to wondering what would happen next. I enjoyed that the author didn’t stop describing each character. Instead, throughout the chapters, she provided bits of information about the character as the story progressed. This allowed me to get to know the characters without slowing down the story.

The author seamlessly switches between characters in the chapters without confusing the reader or interrupting the flow of the story. While I kept reading, I was mesmerized and kept in suspense. The author’s descriptions of places, especially when describing the aliens, are so vivid that I was creeped out while reading. The scenes where people start disappearing also kept me in suspense, and I felt like I was alongside the characters hiding from the alien. The icing on the cake is the ending of the story; it was not what I expected, but it was even better than I expected.

I highly recommend the science fiction thriller, INTO THE STORM: Aliens Among Us to readers that enjoy the unknown and want to be on the edge of their seat.

Pages: 319 | ASIN : B092RD6Q7Z

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Ghost Mark

Jane Walker is a tough yet gentle woman trying to live an everyday life despite her paranormal ability. Ethan Bryce is a bartender with a chip on his shoulder that loves his girlfriend, Jane Walker, and is coming to terms with Jane’s ability. Sadie Prescott is Jane Walker’s best friend and might or might not be missing her former hooker life. Jane runs into an old friend, Dylan O’Brien, but he claims to not know her. Jane is surprised by the brush-off but lets it go. However, it’s not long before Dylan becomes an integral part of Riptide, a club Ethan works at, but Dylan is not the sweet and bright friend Jane remembers.

Ghost Mark by JP McLean is a gripping story many urban fantasy lovers will enjoy. The lead character Jane is tenacious and kind, and her dilemma is fascinating and never boring. Ethan, Jane’s boyfriend, is tough, too, but his kindness and compassion are apparent throughout the story. Sadie, Jane’s friend, has a narrative that is interesting and compelling to read about. The character’s development throughout the story is beautifully crafted and well thought out. The way the characters interact with one another is realistic, allowing readers to be drawn into the world created by JP McLean. This makes for excellent reading.

Ghost Mark by JP McLean is a thrilling occult horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The crime constructed throughout the novel is fundamental to the plot and is setup in such a manner that you feel compelled to see where things end up. The action is set at a pace that never lets up. The world-building is expertly done and is commendable. Many moments in the story have you wondering what could possibly happen next, and it delivers at a satisfying pace. The author has provided an intense, riveting, and fast-paced novel.

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B5LK8GZL

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A Cage for the Wind

A Cage for the Wind by [Dave Matthes]

To be fair, the reader has been warned that they will be “helplessly lost in an abyss of muddied and bitter confusion”. Jerry is one of the brave ones. He is brave for letting the reader see into his messy mind. He is brave for not attempting to hide the darkness inside him. He is brave for being exactly who he is, weird and disturbed as he may be. Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone let others see them in their full glory.

Jerry has worn many hats and many masks. He has been the charming diner. He has been the office worker who does not conform or fit in. He has been the ‘jilted’ lover. He has been the unassuming courier enjoying the company of jazz on the lonely road. He has been the man who creates a marriage then goes home to a cat at the end of the day. Through his many faces, he has always been a writer and a murderer. This is the story of Jerry and all his different selves. It is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. Is it his upbringing? Is it his inborn nature?

When a book starts off with an oedipal confession then you know it is going to be a treat. In that moment, you know that Jerry is not going to be an ordinary person. Rarely do people come back from watching the mounds of their mother’s breasts peek out of the bathwater as she cries about something she never talks about.

Even when he does or says something particularly disturbing, Jerry is almost likable. Maybe it is because of the pity he inspires. He has a way of manipulating the reader into rooting for him despite his actions and character. He does nothing to be liked but somehow, he is. The writer does not describe him but a reader will know him. Jerry is the alter ego we all hide from the world and only allow him out in dark empty rooms. The crass narration of events is funny and abhorrent in equal measure.

The book ends just like it begins; in confusion. The writer often misspells the name ‘Agnes’. While it does not happen often, it causes a measure of distraction on the pages it does happen. Considering the type of writing in this book, any other errors will go unnoticed as Jerry keeps the reader gripped and their eyes stuck on the pages.

Ever gone by a gruesome accident with brain matter sprawled on the ground and limbs bent unnaturally as screams of agony fill the air? Ever found yourself staring, almost savoring the smell of hot blood and listening to the lull of fading pulses? That is what this book is. It is a hot but intriguing mess. A Cage for the Wind is daring. It is messy. It is the book you whisper about to everyone. Dave Matthes has executed a beautiful literary tangled web.

Pages: 152 | ASIN: B09D43RBRH

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