Sunday, December 31, 2017

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The purpose of this site is to Review self-published and small-press published books. If a book is reviewed here, you can expect the quality and content to be sufficient for human consumption (at least ours, your mileage might vary), or know the reason why not. We will post clearly in our review the general quality, the amount of violence, language, sexual and spiritual content.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Unlikely Adventures of Race & Cookie McCloud: Volume 1 by Tom Hoefner

The Unlikely Adventures of Race & Cookie McCloud: Volume 1
by Tom Hoefner
Illustrated by  Kevin Gillespie

28095142
A superhero with anger management issues! A living stone idol with a love for pop-culture trivia! Fist-pumping vampires! These are but a few of the nefarious (and ridiculous) challenges facing awful private investigator Race McCloud and his teenaged niece, all-star spy-in-training Cookie McCloud, as they scour the globe in search of their missing secret agent family. Stuck together by Cookie’s parents under the pretense of ‘babysitting’ (who is sitting for whom is left largely unclarified), the pair find themselves the target of special forces who are out to capture Cookie and KILL RACE! With nowhere left to turn, they seek the aid of Green Suit Jacket Man, the night-stalking vigilante that Race has been hunting for six months and that Cookie finds in one night. With the hero’s reluctant support, the dysfunctional duo are off! To find Cookie’s parents, spies of a Bond-ian sort! To find Margolis McCloud, a tomb-raiding treasure hunter! To find Nyte McCloud, a monster slayer and practitioner of badassery! Through it all, our two heroes must figure out why the military is so hellbent on capturing Cookie, how to act like partners and, most of all, how to be a family.


My Take:
If you like adventure stories with nonstop action, werewolves, vampires, zombies, mafia, superpowers, gadgetry, lost civilizations, mummy curses, and ninja skills, this one's for you.

When Race McCloud, private eye, agrees to babysit his sixteen-year-old niece Cookie, he knows it's not going to be an easy task - after all, she's in training to be a super-spy like her parents, and all of her extended family as well. And the clandestine way her parents dropped her off, with strict instructions not to take her back to 'school', make it clear that somebody's coming to get her, and probably kill Race in the bargain. Without the protection of her spy extended family, I might add... all of whom seem to excel at something exciting and deadly.

The only, well, reasonably 'normal' one in the family is Race, a never-even-has-been with a penchant for collecting useless bits of trivia on comic books and video games, who lives in a hovel rent-free as the janitor. Yeah, THAT guy.

With the help of the mysterious hero Green Suited Jacket Man, who Race has been hunting for six months, and who Cookie finds in one night, they attempt to stay at least one step ahead of their pursuers as they attempt to reassemble their over-powered family and save the world.


Content:

Drug Content:
PG - Several scenes in this book occur in a nightclub where there is some drinking.

Violence:
PG - Like in any YA Spy novel, there's quite a bit, but not gratuitous or explicit in its description. Bones are snapped, jaws are broken, some thugs get killed. Lots of high-velocity chases and some explosions occur. A lot of violence is done to a werewolf and a bar full of vampires.

Language:
PG - I don't recall any swear words at all, except perhaps the D-word tossed in a couple times, but nothing that I took note of.

Adult Content:
PG - I would have kept this at G, but there are a few innuendos tossed around and some mention of a gay vampire, and a few scantily clad succubusses. There's also some discourse about the objectifying of women and a brief discussion about the physical discomforts of females battling without proper attire.

Christian content:
Apart from some mention of holy water and silver crosses, and a slight nod to a side character who if I remember correctly is a priest, there's no mention of scripture or prayer anywhere. The characters depend solely on their own admittedly adequate power to overcome significant obstacles. There's no real discourse on life after death or a higher power.

However, Race tries very hard to be a protector for his niece, and in his bumbling way is clearly depicted as better than the rest of his amazing family. Cookie begins the novel with nothing but contempt for him but in the end realizes his true value and character. Issues like character, diligence, family, self-sacrifice, and consequences, are pretty well depicted here, in a manner that, after the laughter dies down, will make you think.

Final analysis:
Race and Cookie make an unlikely 'odd couple' but the combination works wonders not only for the plot but the flow. Their interactions are priceless, and Race plays the part of comedy relief well. The author transitions him smoothly into the part of a real three-dimensional hero. Pace, setting, world-building, action, dialog - it's a solid, complete package of fun as a fast-paced laugh-a-minute getaway.
The book was well-edited and kept my attention pretty much cover to cover. Five Stars!

About the Author:
Tom Hoefner is a writer, director, and teacher (not necessarily in that order) who lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jaime, his daughters Gabby and Audrey, and their cat Zelda. In his spare time he stages college and high school musicals, plays too much Nintendo, and roots for the Mets.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Six Months to a Year by E.P. Grace

Six Months to a Year
by E.P. Grace
29491334
Scottslynn Steele and Martin Drake happened into each other’s lives out of the blue and fell in love just as quickly. It was love at first sight – perfect chemistry. Most would call it fate. Scottslynn calls it God’s Will. But then the unthinkable happens. A latent disease becomes terminal. It cannot be stopped - neither can her reason for living. In what will become her darkest hours Scottslynn must learn to accept God's Will no matter what it brings, and find the courage to face a future that suddenly leaves her with only Six Months to a Year.

My Take:
When Scottslynn Steele accidentally cuts her foot on barnacles in the ocean, her blase lack of treatment of it causes a serious infection. A newfound acquaintance, Dr. Martin Drake, suggests she get it treated at his office. It doesn't take long for chemistry to take effect, and the two fall in love. Both are strong Christians with a solid faith, and Scottslynn is sure their future together is God's sovereign will.

But just when her future seems brightest, a latent lung disease she has carried since birth becomes terminal, and Martin must give Scottslynn the tragic news that her time left is only... six months to a year.



Content:

Drug Content:
PG - There is a some slight discussion of drinking, but the main characters do not drink.

Violence:
G-The most violent thing that happens in this book is a debilitating disease that slowly suffocates the main character. Much of the suffering in that decline is glossed over, so there's only a light dwelling on the serious physical aspects of the disease..

Language:
G - I don't recall running across a single swear word in the novel.

Adult Content:
G - There is one short discussion about one of the ladies in the church suspecting the main characters in the novel of having an affair. This is squeaky clean.

Christian content:
There is a tremendous amount of meat in here, of the struggle for faith in doubtful circumstances, or crying out to God for an explanation, of being angry with Him. Some emotions are very raw. Good Christian advice is shared between good friends, and the characters must come to grips with the brevity of life. Heaven is portrayed clearly in a positive light. Scripture is quoted only a few times in this book, and it does not come across as preachy but open and honest.

Final analysis:
I normally don't like to dive into a book that is filled with the promise of impending death and suffering, and usually expect I will have to crawl through it kicking and screaming to the tragic bitter end.

But what i found instead in between the covers of this 270pp novel is a chronicle of faith and doubt, love and loss, and ultimately acceptance and triumph over one of our darkest foes, Death. The characters and struggle were believable and the setting was immersive. The pace was good and the conflict was real. Five Stars!


About the Author:

E.P. Grace
Hello everyone, I'm E.P. Grace, author of Six Months to a Year. 

I've read a lot of books over the years. Lots and lots. And I've figured out that my favorite types of stories are usually kind of sad. They're the ones that stay with me, the kind that make me think about the plot and characters after I've finished the book and ultimately make me go back and say hello again a year or two later.

I have a little stack of those books that I keep in my bedroom. They aren't all best sellers and they aren't ALL bittersweet or sad (I have some happy favorites too!) Some were given as gifts and some are library discards by obscure authors. Their social status isn't important to me. What's important is that they leave me wanting more when I reach the end. As a reader and as a writer, I think that's the best place to stop. 

My hope - my goal really - is that you as readers will think about the characters in Six Months to a Year even after you've reached the end. Because if you do, if you can put yourself in one of the character's shoes and emote with them and think about them when you're away from the pages then I'll know I've succeeded as an author and that'll make me really happy.

So. All of that said, I'd love your feedback! if you liked Six Months to a Year please let me and others know by leaving a comment and a rating here on Amazon and over on my Facebook page, facebook.com/epgrace.author

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Seven Misterious Gifts by John Mellor

The Seven Misterious Gifts

30813939A reject rock star and a lonely white dolphin, together with "some of the most bizarre and memorable characters that have ever appeared in a book", take a young boy on a wild, electrifying ride through seven extraordinary, unimaginable tales. Buried deep within the heart of each lies a precious gift for the Earth, and the young boy must find them. And also the truth of himself. And perhaps the mystery of us...

The boy clings precariously to "a fine line between profound and insane" as "these quite incredible characters and events begin to strike the reader as insanity on the part of the author. However, if insanity it is, this is the type that gives birth to great achievements and in examining so many themes such as society, religion and environment, this book can be considered a great achievement."

My Take:
A young boy getting ready to be sent to Earth must first read seven books, which each contain a gift to be given to Mankind. From a reject rock star and his eclectic band, to a lonely bosun shipwrecked alone on a desert island, to a lonely white dolphin with a desire to rescue lost ships, the boy must read a scattered disconnected collection of stories and glean the heart of them, before he will be allowed to come to Earth.

Overseeing the boy and the stories is a mysterious Angel with plans of her own. She guides the boy in his discoveries, and prepares him for the journey he must take. But what could he hope to accomplish in a world gone mad, in the death grip of an insane controlling Snow Queen and her lockstep minions?

The outer story of the Angel and boy tie together an eclectic collection of fascinating violent stories of the Snow Queen's domain in this wild fantasy ride that teeters between insanity and wisdom.


Content:

Drug Content:
PG - There is a small amount of drinking and drug use hinted at in some of the stories in this collection. The queen and her entourage seem to know how to party.

Violence:
PG-13 - A person is struck in the throat with a crossbow bolt. A song destroys a palace and everyone in it. A vine strangles a person to death and destroys an entire kingdom. There are hints of torture, but none of it comes onscreen. Many people are exiled into a wasteland with vicious marauding beasts.

Language:
PG - There's a bit of cussing in this book. Several of the stories depict coarse people with coarse language, but the book doesn't seem to wander past the D-word.

Adult Content:
PG - The princess has a party which seems to be poised to devolve into an orgy, though none of that is more than hinted at. A song for the princess is fairly revealing in its discussion of her immoral descent.

Christian content:
I'm not exactly sure where to place this book. It appears allegorical on the level of Narnia, but the main characters are a bit hard to reconcile with who they seem to be intended to represent. Some scripture is quoted, but reincarnation is hinted at, and a 'cycle' of returning to earth until a lesson is learned, smacks of karma and Hinduism. There are some definite Christian references, but they are intermixed with other religious concepts that make it unclear where the path is. Basically the seven gifts are intended to put Mankind back on the path to enlightenment.

Final analysis:
Although the author intended to draw the reader into the characters depicted in the stories, and into the personalities of the boy and the Angel, there just wasn't enough time and dimension to help me relate to any of them. The Snow Queen was rather one-dimensional, a classic villain with only the characteristics of arrogance and contempt. The boy and the Angel had the most coverage, yet there didn't seem much in the way of conflict or emotion in their journey together. The best character in the line of characters is a tossup between the flamboyant musician Custer and the aged gardener George.

The author seemed driven to send home a point, and the story was exceptionally good on that front, but mixed with solid wisdom and encouragement are differing worldviews a bit at odds with each other. Coupled with rushed world building, character development, and pacing, the story placed with a solid Four Stars.

About the Author:
John MellorI was born and brought up in Liverpool, UK just after The War and went straight from school to sea as a young officer in the Royal Navy. After five years I resigned and worked as a professional yacht skipper for quite a few years before settling to full time writing. I have lived in and renovated a number of boats and houses in various places, and now share a delightful house and 10 acres of weeds near Nelson, New Zealand with wife, son, daughter and a motley collection of animals and boats.

Having had a dozen yachting books professionally published I am now striking out into publishing my own novels. The first is an unusual fairy tale called The Seven Gifts, which has been well received so far.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: 1123 Hard to Believe Facts by Nayden Kostov

1123 Hard to Believe Facts
by Nayden Kostov

30522577A compilation of the most interesting and verified facts, suitable for a broad audience. This is the result of years of sifting through history and reference books on a myriad of subjects as well as searching the Internet and paying attention to the news.

Most trivia books are insufferably boring. This book promises to be different, packed with interesting, educational and fun ingredients; it seeks to entertain as well as challenge. It will provide you with never-ending intellectual ammunition for a lifetime of dinner parties. You will amaze your friends and family by recounting to them that the greatest Chinese pirate of all times was a woman, or that herrings use flatulence to communicate! 

The book will be your strongest ally in combating social awkwardness and will arm you with plenty of ice-breaking pieces of trivia, suitable for any occasion.

My Take:
There's a lot of interesting statements in this trivia book, little factoids that were in some cases titillating, in other cases I had to do some research to determine the veracity.

1123 hard to Believe Facts is packed with interesting tidbits concerning animals, world events, natural disasters, political and popular figures, places, and other odd bits of information, much of which is suitable for discussion starters. 

Content:
Even though this is non-fiction, figured I'd better put a bit about the content in here. The F-bomb is dropped, there's even a picture of it, because there's a town over in Europe by that name. Go figure. The Tower of Babble strikes again. 

There are some adultish tidbits of information that are listed in the mix, but for the most part the author keeps the conversation starters pretty civil. There's no real Christian content, pro or con, but from a secular standpoint there's a good deal of interesting factoids for general consumption.

With an organized bulleted list of facts and figures it's hard to give a proper rating. The wording of most of the facts was interesting, and in that respect I found the book well written. Five Stars.


About the Author:
Born in Bulgaria, I have lived in places like Germany, Belgium and Iraq, before settling down with my family in Luxembourg. With varied interests, I have always suffered from an insatiable appetite for facts stemming from an unrestrainable intellectual curiosity. It has certainly influenced my academic background and career: after acquiring Master degrees in Greek Philology, German and English Translation, I graduated in Crisis Management and Diplomacy and, most recently, undertook an MBA. 

My career has been equally broad and diverse, swinging from that of an army paratrooper and a military intelligence analyst; through to that of a civil servant with the European Commission, and presently, that of a clerk, performing purely financial tasks in a major bank. Member of MENSA.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Beyond the Void Darkly by Douglas Tanner

Beyond the Void Darkly
by Douglas Tanner

30283948Can a man and woman separated by a century and a half be destined for each other?

In a love story which spans from 2031 to 1883, a man wrestles with questions of faith, love, and destiny. Matthew Walton is a man on a mission. As a pharmaceutical scientist working on a top-secret time travel project, his one goal in life is to find a cure for his mother's cancer. But when he sees a beautiful young woman in 19th century Kansas, the daughter of a doctor who may have stumbled across the cure, Matthew becomes enraptured and begins to wonder if there is such a thing as love at first sight. But she can't see him, hear him, or feel him. To her, he is a ghost.

As he gets to know her from reading her faded old diary and repeated trips through time, Matthew's desire to make contact with Elizabeth grows in urgency, because he has seen her die. And only he can save her.

Weaving in issues of philosophy, heartbreak and loss, Christian faith, and ultimately, hope, "Beyond the Void Darkly" will remain with you long after you have finished the story. It will make you believe in love again.

My Take:
Matthew Walton is a pharmaceutical scientist driven by his desperate race against time to discover a cure for cancer, to save his mother's life. With a team of scientists, he is sent back in time to the late 1800s to find a little known doctor who may have stumbled on the cure. The clues to the cure, the ingredients needed, are in the doctor's diary, which was partially destroyed at the doctor's death. 

But while back in time, Matthew falls desperately in love with the beautiful daughter of the doctor, though she can neither see nor hear him. He follows her from her bedroom into the doctor's lab, just before they are brutally murdered right before his eyes.

While traumatized, Matthew insists on being repeatedly sent back in time, on the surface to retrieve the final ingredients to the cure, but underneath is the desperate desire to save the girl and her father from the senseless act of violence.

But if Matthew manages to change the past, what disastrous changes could that make in the present? 



Content:
Drug Content:
PG - In the advanced society there is a significant amount of drinking socially. Matthew wakes up at home and doesn't remember how he got there because of his state of inebriation, once. There is virtual reality addiction, and (like smart phone usage today) there is widespread digital isolation to the level of an addiction, almost universally.

Violence:
PG - The doctor and his daughter are murdered before Matthew's eyes. More than once or twice, as he attempts repeatedly to thwart their death or warn them somehow. A soldier threatens one of the scientists with a gun, and another soldier goes into the time machine and gets blown up in it.

Language:
PG - I don't remember any gratuitous cussing in the novel, though I won't say there wasn't any.

Adult Content:
PG13 -  Matthew's former girlfriend drops quite a few hints that he could have her back, and uses derogatory terms in relation to the girl back in time, who keeps dying. Matthew's brother is addicted to a virtual reality girlfriend.

Christian content:
Quite a bit. Matthew has several meaningful conversations with his believing mother about life and the hereafter, the importance of love, and the destiny God has for each of us. Matthew struggles with atheism and in his life, only his electronic virtual assistant seems to have solid Christian words of advice. The Void is a dark realm with no life at all, not memory or thought, almost, through which Matthew must travel to reach the past. Matthew equates it with death, which is the atheistic view of death. The only thing that makes this transition easier is love for another, and later, his faith.

Final analysis:
Beyond the Void Darkly is a poignant saga of love and loss, a bit slow-starting but action-packed. While it is science fiction and romance, the science is not overbearing and the romance isn't overwhelming. It's message of love at first sight, and the desperate drive to save someone you care about deeply, will resonate with most readers. It's pretty well-written, though the scenes could do with more description. The depth of character for the main character and a few of his supporting cast are well-depicted and dimensional. Some others, are simply unlikable and rather one-dimensional. It was entertaining if not depressing that the supporting character with the most dimension was a VR construct. Four Stars!

About the Author:
Douglas Tanner lives in North Carolina with his wife, son, two daughters, and a small Schnoodle named Snuffleupagus (Snuffy for short). He has been writing since fifth grade when he began sharing his stories with friends.

He studied at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri and Labette Community College in Parsons, Kansas, and has been a lead vocalist in rock bands; a radio DJ and news director; and a provisioning analyst and team leader with Sprint in Kansas City.

Doug's first adult novel, "Beyond the Void Darkly", a Christian time travel romance, is now available.

Other works by Douglas Tanner:
His initial book, a creative non-fiction self-help manual entitled "A Truly Successful Life: Ten Principles for a Life of Meaning and Purpose," was published in 2008. He followed up with a middle grade/young adult series of inspirational horror novels; "Alec Kerley and the Terror of Bigfoot" (2013), "Alec Kerley and the Wrath of the Vampire" (2013), and "Alec Kerley and the Roar of the Dinosaur" (2014). The fourth book in the series, "Alec Kerley and the Revenge of the Werewolf", is due to be published in October 2016.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Review: Reviews Wanted: An Author's Guide to Effective Networking with Book Bloggers by Kasey Giard

Reviews Wanted: An Author's Guide to Effective Networking with Book Bloggers

33988121
Many small press and indie authors struggle to market their books. Book review bloggers are a valuable asset to an indie writer because they get the word out to readers and other reviewers, helping to generate far-reaching buzz about books they love. Reviews Wanted will show you how to successfully build relationships with book review bloggers and generate excitement and reviews for your books while introducing them to new readers with tips from a veteran book review blogger and author of over four hundred book reviews.


My Take:
And now, as Monty Python is wont to claim, for something completely different.
I'm taking a pause on my review-blogging journey to review this book about review blogs and getting reviews from bloggers, written from the perspective of a review blogger. Whew. 
I'd suggest anyone who wants to get reviews for their books, from an indie and small-press perspective, to pick up a copy of this book. It's inexpensive, it's quick, and it's packed.
It covers topics such as identifying your genre and your audience, the importance of choosing or creating a meaningful and attention-getting cover, well-written marketing copy, the importance of a professional author website, and other things, even before contacting book bloggers.
Kasey also helps the reader-author choose the 'right' book bloggers to market their book to, to prevent confusion, wasted time, and possible bad reviews. She discusses pitfalls and warning signs in reviewers, to help you avoid pain and loss in your review process. She covers researching the bloggers, the review site, and the importance of following the blogger's guidelines, how to craft a good submission email, and how to build the all-important relationship with a blogger. 
Because frankly, if the blogger liked your book but you didn't follow the rules, came across as rude or unthankful, chances are they will give your next submission a pass. Conversely, if you are professional and build rapport with the blogger, chances are they will be much more likely to review your next book as well.

Final Analysis:
This is a well-written 'fireside chat' with a book reviewer for predominantly indie and small press authors. It covers, from stem to stern, the basics for getting your book reviewed, and getting those reviews posted where it counts. 
From my perspective as a reviewer, I'd love for submitters to read it simply because it will ease the process. And help the authors understand the issues behind getting their novel reviewed. 

About the Author:
It won’t surprise you to learn that I enjoy reading and writing, or that I’m a Christian parent concerned with the content in books my daughter reads at home and in school. What you might not know is that I am a total sucker for a story about a good guy who has to make some tough choices and nevertheless does the right thing. I love happy endings but also enjoy a good tear-jerker if there’s some good that comes to someone out of all that sorrow and suffering.

I have two sisters. One saves me from fashion blunders. If I’m wearing something cool, it probably used to be hers or she bought it for me. I like to think this is payback for our entire middle school lives in which she sneaked into my room to swipe my clothes before I woke up for school in the morning. My other sister saves me from poor music choices. She tries, anyway. If I’m listening to something too trendy or annoying, she’s probably hanging her head in shame while simultaneously composing complex, emotive, super-hip tunes on drums, bass, or guitar. (Yeah, she’s THAT girl. Don’t hate.) I also have one brother who keeps us all laughing. I mean, with him. Usually.

When I’m not reading or writing, I might be found geeking out over video games with my husband, carefully cultivating an appreciation for Cary Grant and classic movies with my daughter, outside planting herbs or building a butterfly garden, snuggling with my adorable cats, or perhaps out on the water chasing down a fish or two with a fly rod. In addition to blogging, I write contemporary YA and harass my very patient, wonderful critique partners on a regular basis.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd



27774433A US Marine fighter pilot explores life’s important questions as he prepares for combat, searches for truth, and wages spiritual warfare during his mission to become a better husband and father. “I highly recommend it.”— John Njoroge, speaker and radio host at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Jason B. Ladd grows up in a military family with loving parents but spends his young life filled with spiritual apathy. Ladd enters the US Marine Corps, becomes a fighter pilot, and sees combat in Iraq before life events align to nudge him into profound spiritual inquiry. Digging deep into his quest for truth, he realizes the art and science of fighter pilot fundamentals can help him on his journey.

Filled with stories that contrast his spiritual apathy with his post-Christian worldview passion, One of the Few is the compelling life story of a spiritual seeker engaged in a thrilling profession combined with a strong, reasonable defense of Christianity.

For fans of Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, and Frank Turek, Ladd’s remarkable journey shares the transformative power of faith during a time when belief in God is dismissed and religious liberty in the military is attacked.

My Take:
This is a non-fiction memoir and apologetic, so to speak, of a Marine fighter pilot and his journey to faith. Jason begins this account as a cocky, self-assured agnostic with a fiery ambition to be the best of the best, a Top Gun fighter pilot in the Marines, who DON'T just take 'anybody.' He ends the account in a settled faith in the Lord of Creation, and his journey from A to B is laid out for all to see, with a well-thought-out, erudite apologetic for the faith, for purity, for moving on with God.


Content:
Drug Content:
PG - Alcoholism is quite common in the military, and it is unveiled in a frank and clear exposition as to its dangers and effects. Jason is clear that while drinking is not prohibited in scripture, drunkenness is described therein as unwise. Smoking and other drug use are also discussed briefly.

Violence:
PG - In wartime, there is bound to be death on both sides, whether dealing or receiving it. The struggle in military conflict is exposed without giving sensitive information. Jason struggled with the death of insurgents he was ordered to take out. A death by dragging is described.

Language:
G - I do not recall any language in the book at all.

Adult Content:
PG - There is a brief description of the soldiers' life and forays on leave with the ladies in town calling for attention. Nothing is described, but one soldier who left early as the group went to a strip club, later mentioned offhand that he left early because he took two girls home with him. There is some mention of the struggles of loneliness and infidelity when deployed, and the high divorce rate in the military. Pornography, its additive perils and collateral damage are clearly explained and decried.

Christian content:
This is a solidly Christian conversion story. It is rife with apologetics at every step as Jason takes us along on each step from unbelief through reasoning and analysis of the Christian faith, to solid belief. He doesn';t just cover the basics, but also delves into God's requirements for purity and holiness, and several of the common threats to it. Each chapter begins with two opposing quotes - one from the worldly, atheistic point of view, and one from either a biblical apologist or straight from scripture, exposing the opposing worldview for what it is. Quotes from Chuck Colson, Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, Walter Martin, and C. S. Lewis share pages with Deepak Chopra, The Satanic Bible, and Manuals on Military Codes of Conduct. Strange bedfellows, but every page is directed to the cross.

Final analysis:
Jason has done a masterful job of presenting the truth couched in terms a person in the military (or anyone else) can identify with, as well as clear guidance for a seeker beginning from where he was, an agnostic or atheist with an open mind. It is well-written, erudite, well-informed, solidly Christian, informative, hard-hitting, challenging, even convicting. Five Stars!

About the Author:
Author website: http://www.jasonbladd.com
Jason B. Ladd---
Jason B. Ladd is an award-winning author, US Marine, and Iraq War veteran. Ladd served on active duty with the Marines for fourteen years and has flown as an instructor pilot in both the F/A-18 and the F-16 fighter jets. He is the founder of Boone Shepherd, LLC and creator of IndieListers.com, the largest live online database of book promotions results built by authors. He and his wife, Karry, are the parents of seven children.


His book One of the Few was awarded as Finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Oki and Harlo: Fairytale Friends by Cas Mesterom

Oki and Harlo: Fairytale Friends
by Cas Mesterom

30761727Oki, a little orphaned goat meets Harlo, a shooting star, who falls to earth and ends up in the field where Oki is asleep. They become instant best friends and together they go on a quest to find Oki's momma.

On their adventure, the little friends encounter wise old, Mr. Owl, Wobbly, the chicken, and a little girl named Ellie and her family. 

Enter a world where children can safely go and learn about making friends, being honest, and believing in dreams, as well as healthy eating and the REAL purpose of rainbows! 

"Oki and Harlo, fairytale friends" is the first ever draw freely e-book. 
The story invites the readers to make their own illustrations. There are free-draw pages that have clear instructions on what to draw.

My Take:
This children's book is a little longer than the average illustrated kids' book, weighing in at a bit over sixty pages. The delightful story of a goat who finds a friend in a fallen star, and sets out with him to find his lost mother, will resonate with kids everywhere, who find security in their moms. A bonus is the embedded pages that allow kids to draw and illustrate the book themselves. A nice touch that can turn a children's book into a treasured family memory.



Content:
As this is a children's book, I wouldn't expect to find anything objectionable, and I didn't. Certainly related to language, drugs, violence, or adult content. Concerning Christian content, a family goes to church in the story, and there is quite a bit of discussion about a deceased relative and their presence in heaven, and the ability to talk with them. Valuable life pointers such as healthy eating, being honest, showing respect for others, are shared, coming from Oki's mom and a wise old owl. However, I'll caution that talking to a deceased relative is not a practice found in the bible. In a children's book it's a therapeutic thing for a kid to do to deal with the grieving process. Just be ready to answer questions if they arise.

Final Analysis:
Oki and Harlo: Fairytale Friends is a delightful journey full of wisdom and life lessons. The added benefit of places for the kids to illustrate is a big plus, as it promotes creativity and imagination. Five Stars!