Jupiter Winds Review

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Jupiter Winds by CJ Darlington is a fast-pasted, futuristic tale set in an unrecognizable earth. Two powerful entities rule earth: Mazdaar Government and Yien Dynasty. Up for grabs is a new world, Jupiter.

It’s like Agenda 51. People are forced to live in the cities while the preserves are reserved for use only the very rich could afford. The preserve is where the unconnected people live–people who escaped into the preserve illegally and chose not to get the RIFD-like thing implanted into their minds. This is where Grey and Orinda live.

They are teenagers living alone after the disappearance and presumed death of their parents. Many friends in the secret community exist, but nothing is what it seems, and Grey and Orinda will discover that another world will give them the freedom they desire.

Jupiter Winds was published by a small publishing company called, Mountainview Books, LLC. The formatting of the book was excellent, and I only discovered one or two minor punctuation mistakes.  It is an otherwise well-laid out book and story. I gave this novel five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review.

The Hundred-Year House Review

Books1-1The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai is a novel written backwards. It’s more art than story.

Zee is married to Doug. Doug is an unemployed writer and they are forced as a married couple to move in to the coach house of the hundred-year house. Zee’s mom lives in the great house. The property used to be an art colony. Doug is researching poet, Edward Parfitt. While living in the coach house, a couple from Texas moves in and causes problems between Doug and Zee. The Texan couple doesn’t yet realize it. It’s a complex novel with a good story that I felt ended well on page 167. The rest of the novel after page 167 is all back story ending with the prologue.

I’ve heard of novels like these, and agents say they are the hardest to write, because if you don’t do it right, it’s a project that loses the interest of the readers. Up to page 167, I thought the descriptions of the drama and plot twists were well-done. The cuss words and graphic descriptions were unnecessary. But the story well done.

It was after page 167 that I lost interest. At that point, I really didn’t care enough about the art colony to want to hear their individual points of view. I reluctantly finished the novel. I’m sure the art community will love that part of the book. Regular readers might feel bored through it and wonder why the story didn’t just end at page 167. I wished the novel could have been written normally with all the backstory fed into the twist and turns of the plot, ending the way it ended on page 167.

Sometimes art is distracting when one wants to read a juicy story. In spite of its back-story, I still give The Hundred-Year House three stars for complexity of characters.

 

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review.

Ex-Muslim Review

Diversity usually has a negative tone. One relates it to tolerance to everything except Christianity. It’s what liberals use, but indexEx-Muslim: How One Daring Prayer to Jesus Changed a Life Forever by Naeem Fazal gives a great definition of it through his actions without compromising the Gospel.

Ex-Muslim: How One Daring Prayer to Jesus Changed a Life Forever is written in a friendly, warm, and conversational tone. The book begins with Naeem’s story in Kuwait before the war. As he tells his story, and how he came to know Christ, Naeem also goes into the beliefs of a Muslim. Naeem goes on to explain how he started Mosiac Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. People who attend are not necessarily believers, but from varying cultural backgrounds. As Naeem tells his story, he also teaches how to reach the lost, how the church confused him, and the bumps he experienced when he launched Mosiac.

I read this book during an electronic fast. Even as I prepare for my own ministry next year, I am encouraged by his words. A person always assumes people who attend church are saved, but that is not the case. Jesus doesn’t expect people to come to Him after first expunging their own sinful behavior; Jesus just says come, and if you come, you will change out of love for a Savior who first loved you. What Naeem writes about reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis:

No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.

—Letter to Mary Neylan (January 20, 1942)

What Naeem wrote helped me to clarify the vision of Cataclysm, and therefore, Ex-Muslim will remain in my library for re-reading as I grow to understand how to open the eyes of the closed-minded. I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review.

Undetected Review

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Dee Henderson’s new novel, Undetected, should have been a nonfiction book instead about submarines and their crew. I got to page 73 before I tossed it aside in frustration.

Per my book review policy, I do not have to finish a book if it fails to keep my attention. In this case, I became bored four pages in, and kept doggedly at it. But it didn’t improve. Writers can make the mistake of falling in love with their research. In this case, Dee Henderson didn’t have the same tension found in her other books; my favorites being the O’Malley series. I gave this novel one star.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review.

The Warden and The Wolf King Review

c8807460d81413a43d81144acafc6735_largeAndrew Peterson has given his fans a tome to end the Wingfeather Saga series. It’s four-parts and a whopping 509 pages. I almost gave up on it. Because I fell in love with his other books in the series, I immediately agreed to review The Warden and the Wolf King without realizing how thick it was, or that I would grow impatient as I journeyed through the many rabbit trails to get to the end.

The fans of the Wingfeather Saga will remember Gnag the Nameless and how he pursued the Jewels of Anniera all the way to where we left them at Ban Rona. I hadn’t read one of these novels in a while so I had to learn to swim again in the storyline when I began to get into The Warden and the Wolf King, and reacquaint myself with the characters and their myriad of stories and histories. There is no doubt that the Wingfeather Saga has the greatest world ever. It ranks right up there with Middle Earth. The names, personalities, and quaintness of each character and animal in the book still amazes me. Andrew Peterson is a genius in world making and writing, but I struggled with this one.

It kept my attention until part two when suddenly I am in Skree. Yes, the part says I am in Skree, but it’s like I jumped into a different story again. The action made me impatient. So when suddenly I am in Skree, I thought, “I don’t care about Skree. What’s happening in the other town?” I skipped a lot of pages here in my hurry to get back to the story I began with. In fact, I don’t think I would have missed it at all if the book left it out. The other distraction was the story in between the parts of the main story. I scanned part of one and skipped the rest. I would have preferred the information be worked into the story line without having to read another story. I almost considered stopping, procrastinated on more than one occasion on finishing and just managed to finish The Warden and the Wolf King under deadline.

The ending of the saga was beautiful. It’s the kind of unexpected ending that shows the writers genius. What I assumed about the villain in the story was all wrong. Many who read this story will be able to relate with many of the themes in this book, especially those of us who have made bad decisions in the past. The story is about second chances, sacrifice, and love. That being said, I still only gave it three stars. Maybe I would have liked it better made into a couple of novels instead of one very long read.

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Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Author Website - http://wingfeathersaga.com

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Never Go Back Review

“Successful people realize that just because someone is unhappy with them does not require that they give up their purpose, fold their cards, or change. They realize that making some people unhappy is just part of the deal–and they keep going.” Pg. 67

nevergobackNever Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again by Dr. Henry Cloud is an ideal book for the blogger, dreamer, or for people like us who see life upside down. It’s about staying the course and never looking back or returning to dysfunctional familiarity.

I wrote a couple of blogs about portions of the book that made me think. You can read, The Job Interview.

As a blogger and a dreamer, it gives sound advice. In regards to the blogger, Never Go Back talks about how you can’t change the person’s mind, you must show them why they should do or be something. For the person like me who see’s life upside down and might be tempted to stay in dysfunctional familiarity, it takes our hand and leads us gently, but firmly away from what is familiar and safe to the life we were meant to live.

Like Boundaries, Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again is a book that I’ll keep in my permanent library for future re-reading. It’s practical and helpful as well as encouraging as I think about my future. No one should do what they have always done just because it’s safe or familiar. I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review. 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace Review

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Christian publishers appear to be putting out a lot of books about how to rest or relax. It makes me wonder if the busy doing of Christian life is finally wearing down the church. Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray is a different sort of book.

It’s written blog-style. Like I said in my original assessment, blog-style won’t make the grammar patrol happy, but those who can set aside their stringent rules will find enjoyment and rest in this book. What makes this book different than most other how-to books is that it doesn’t seek to tell us how to resolve our inner issues. Finding Spiritual Whitespace doesn’t even end with Bonnie having no more PTSD. It’s a journey that’s still ongoing, teaching us how to slow down using artistic methods and comparing spiritual rest with artistic whitespace.

I found only one mistake in the book in the way a sentence was structured, but it’s hardly worth mentioning (since I am unable to locate it again). The book caused a lot of good discussion within the book launch team, drawing the group closer to each other. This means you could use this book in your own groups, like a women’s Bible study, for it has questions at the end of each chapter, created similar to her Thursday #faithjam posts at faithbarista.com. But what does it have to do with Life Upside Down?

Here at Life Upside Down, it’s the perfect latte to go with your biscotti. Meaning, people like us who see life differently because of the pain of our past will find rest in Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Those suffering daddy issues will face their past and the lost little girl weeping in the corner. A woman will be able to say after reading this, “Yes! Yes! Finally, someone DOES understand!” I gave Finding Spiritual Whitespace five stars.

Buy book here: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.” Book given by publisher to review.