Featured New Release Of The Week: Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie

This week, we’re looking at yet another book from a Lake Union author. Though in this case, we’re looking at the author’s actual debut book! This week, we’re looking at Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie.

This is a mystery that is told in two timelines – present day and twenty years ago, when Cara was in high school. Between the two timeline structure, the story is very well paced. You begin to get a sense of what is really happening and what really happened… and then yet another swerve is thrown in. And as big as some of the swerves are, the final one is very likely the biggest of them all. It is this final one in particular, in the very epilogue of the book, that will leave you breathless and mindblown.

There really is just not enough positive I can say about this book. It was solid from front to back, and I never saw any weakness at all to any aspect of the story or writing. Simply superb, and a gold standard for Cowie to attempt to meet with her sophomore work.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Dancing With The Sun by Kay Bratt

This week, we’re looking at a book from yet another new-to-me Lake Union author. This week, we’re looking at Dancing With the Sun by Kay Bratt.

This book was all about a mother’s love for her daughter, and read very much like a love song from a mother to her daughter. Learning later that Bratt actually has two daughters, one hopes that both of them reads this book and realizes just how much their mother truly loves them.The story itself opens with the mother having the difficult duty of telling her daughter that after many years of marriage to the daughter’s father, she is ending the marriage. But the daughter has plans of her own, and wants to take her mother to a beautiful place she found in Yosemite National Park. Except a freak severe rain storm comes up, and they get lost on the way. Now, the battle for survival is on – with neither woman prepared for such a battle.

I wasn’t joking earlier when I said that this book reads like a love song from a mother to a daughter. That is absolutely the main thing you will remember about this book months later. The absolute determination to do whatever it takes to ensure her daughter lives almost screams across every page once the survival part of the story kicks into gear. Yes, the mother battles her own doubts and demons, and has an excellent character arc as a woman of her own right. But the main focus is absolutely the mother/ daughter dynamic, and in that focus this book truly shines. This may have been my first book from Bratt, but it won’t be my last.

And as always, time for the Goodreads/ Amazon version of the review:
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Claiming Amber by Vi Carter

This week, we’re looking at the second book in a new series whose opener we looked at just last month. This week, we’re looking at Claiming Amber by Vi Carter.

As this book is the second in a series, the lead couple were both first introduced in Saving Grace – Amber, Grace’s best friend, and… Grace’s brother, Emmett. Now, we know from the first book that Emmett is a pretty big cheese in some pretty dangerous stuff. In this book, we get an in-depth look at just how dark and dangerous it is. Along the way, we get to see just how care free Amber can be yet still have a very trusting heart – one that Emmett could use a bit of, even if he finds it too dangerous given his work.

Overall this book definitely had elements to satisfy both romance readers and in particular mafia-style romance readers while also giving people who were looking for a more drama-driven, some action kind of book something to both love. Excellent character development on many fronts. not just including the primary couple but also some of the other characters both introduced here and previously. Yet again looking forward to where this series goes.

And the Goodreads/ Amazon:
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Featured New Release Of The Week: The Perfect Match by Maggie Dallen

This week, we continue Maggie Dallen’s Kissing The Enemy series with the story of introvert Kate and new guy Levi. This week, we’re looking at The Perfect Match by Maggie Dallen.

This is the middle book of a short series of high school romances centered on different high school sports, in this case soccer. And in this particular book, we actually get the most sports of any of the three books in the series, though that isn’t really saying much. The book steers away from the couple featured in the first book – neither Callie nor Noah show up very much at all in this book. Instead, this book uses Callie’s friend Maddie as the real glue between The Perfect Catch and The Perfect Match, even though all six people that feature as the couples of this trilogy were introduced in The Perfect Catch. But that allows us to focus more on the high school drama side of things, which can be entertaining. When you’re no longer in high school.

Overall, the tale of Kate finding a way to be more expressive while Levi struggles to feel at home in his new environment was great, fun, and mostly light. Very much looking forward to Maddie and Ox’s story to finish the trilogy.
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Girls On The Line by Aimie K Runyan

This week, we go back to WWI just in time for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. This week, we’re looking at Girls On The Line by Aimie K Runyan.

This book opens with a woman trapped in the Philadelphia High Society scene due to the era and her parents’ desire to try to break into it. Her problem is that she doesn’t want that life – she wants to be a fully independent woman, and has even taken part in the suffrage movement while in college. She already works as a switchboard operator, and when the call comes that the Army needs just such ladies for the war effort in Europe, she leaves the social pages and heads to the front lines.

This was an excellent historical fiction book that got most of the details I remember from my not overly detailed studies of the era correct and weaves a great story of people trying to find their way during the social turmoil of life in the 1910s. While historical fiction isn’t normally my thing, Runyan’s work here proves that I may need to explore opening myself even more. Yet another stand out work from Lake Union Publishing, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from Runyan in particular.
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Featured New Release Of the Week: Space Force by Jeremy Robinson

This week we’re going to look at the most hilarious book I’ve read this year. This week, we’re going to look at the book that the author had just finished writing when I met him almost three months ago. This week, we’re going to look at Space Force by Jeremy Robinson.

The book itself is classic Robinson as far as the science fiction itself goes – alien invasion, Earth forces have to stop it. But it is the way Robinson crafts this particular tale that makes it stand out above even his own amazing books. The pop culture (and specifically geek/ gaming culture) references abound arguably more than in even Ready Player One – you seriously seemingly can’t go more than a paragraph or two without some reference. And they all work well in the story he is telling with the tone he is telling it in. Specifically, a very irreverent, literally laugh out loud comedy that happens to have a solid science fiction backing. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the 2015 Adam Sandler movie Pixels as far as the mix of science fiction, gaming, and comedy goes, but Robinson is far superior on his execution and more modern on his gaming, using some of the latest and biggest trends in gaming -battle royale games ala PUBG and Fortnite – as one of the primary plot points of the book.

Coming from a man that is written into one of Robinson’s other books (HUNGER) and literally has a tattoo featured in another Robinson book (UNITY, see over there ->) on his arm, this is arguably one of my favorite Robinson books to date because while his other books have been fun, they have always had a very serious undertone. This book is basically pure fun, even while the characters and indeed, Earth itself, are in mortal peril. Robinson shows that he is equally as gifted at creating pure light-hearted escapism as he is at crafting solid science fiction heart wrenching drama, but these days I find myself preferring the more light hearted side of things, and thus this book is very welcome.

So help me out here. I’m going to read Robinson’s books regardless, because I absolutely consider him the Modern Day Master of Science Fiction. But I would REALLY love to see more of these pure fun, light hearted books from him – but he is absolutely sales driven. So I really need this book to sell better than his others, preferably *all* of his others. That way he’ll be convinced to write more of this style of book, and we can all laugh a little more.

And really, given all that is happening in the world right now, we could all use a little more laughter.

So go buy this book!

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon reviews:

The Master Of Science Fiction Adds Humor! Jeremy Robinson, the modern day Master of Science Fiction, has now added even more to his stories: literal laugh out loud, and very nearly literally roll on the floor laughing, level humor to a science fiction adventure that is just as breathtaking as his other books.

If you like science fiction at all, this is a must have. If you like geek humor and/ or battle royale gaming, this is a must have. If you just want to laugh amidst all the drama in the world right now, this is a MUST. HAVE.

So stop reading this review and go buy this book and start reading it instead already! President Kanye West demands it!

Featured New Release Of The Week: Saving Grace by Vi Carter

This week, we’re looking at a great romance that serves as the introduction to a new series. This week, we’re looking at Saving Grace by Vi Carter.

In the opening scene of this book, we’re introduced to several friends at a bonfire. This group of friends will all play parts in this book while also setting up future books featuring them. Meanwhile, in the next chapter, we get down to business with the actual story of this book: Grace projects having it all together, but inside she is a mess. Derek is secretly sent by Grace’s big brother to look over her… with explicit instructions that she is off limits romantically.

But when Grace finds herself in some… interesting… predicaments, Derek finds himself needing to save her. And in the process, a spark happens…

This was an excellent book about a broken girl and a guy in an impossible situation and an excellent introduction to a new series, with the usual tropes – the secondary female character is indeed the next female lead, and the other female characters will get their own books in time. Very much enjoyed this book, and very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

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Featured New Release Of The Week: Buckman by Erin Lockwood

This week, on my beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs’ off week, we’re looking at a book about college football told from the perspective of a female lead who is not a football fan. This week, we’re looking at Buckman by Erin Lockwood.

This was a visceral look at one woman’s rejection of all things relating to fame… even as she falls in love with one of the most famous athletes in college football. April Moxley is the daughter of the drummer of legendary rock stars Libra, and after spending her teens touring with her dad after her mother’s untimely death, she now structures her life to stay as far away from anything remotely relating to fame as possible.

Until she stumbles into star quarterback Tallan Buckman on the field after the last home game of the season… literally. Now, Tallan is doing everything he can to woo this woman who keeps rejecting him at every turn… and April is conflicted.

This was a truly remarkable book about football from an author who clearly loves the sport, told from the perspective of someone who clearly wants nothing to do with it. It ranks up there with books such as Bleachers by John Grisham or movies such as Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans, or Varsity Blues. Yes, it is truly that good.

So go pick this one up today, while most of the SEC is on an off week.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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Featured New Release of the Week: Marked By Love by Tim Stevens

This week, we return to nonfiction and in particular Christian nonfiction. This week, we’re looking at Marked By Love by Tim Stevens.

This was a 200+ page narrative built around the idea that Christians are supposed to be “marked by love” and exploring what this might look like if it were more readily apparent in the life of the modern American Christian. Stevens pulls no punches, and at times it seems that he is trying to step on as many toes as possible in an effort to show that no matter how loving you may think you are, there are always areas to work to improve on in this regard.

And by and large, Stevens does an amazing job of showing his primary point in many different ways. He actually uses some of the same examples that Jonathan Merritt did in his book Learning to Speak God from Scratch two months ago, including the Good Samaritan and the adulterous woman of John 8. And in one of those points that might (and probably should) hit close to home for many, he says “What is going to be a stronger statement to a waitress – taking her away from her work to ask her about her soul and her relationship with Jesus, or treating her with grace and dignity, learning a bit about her story, and leaving a large tip? How many people just want something from her all day every day, including you with your Christian-ese questions, rather than trying to add value to her day and life?”

Overall this is an amazing book that everyone – not just Christians – should read and learn from. But it does have a few problems. It does indeed get a little too preachy at times as it relates to “being saved”, and it is a little too WASPy at times, effectively noting that members of the LGBT community are the “other”… even while decrying others being non-loving in noting the same. And it is for these two reasons alone that it went from a 5 star book to a 4 star book for me. Everything other than these two points was phenomenal, truly. And I very much agree that Stevens’ message is desperately needed for the American discourse in its current form. Just be prepared to roll your eyes a little and continue reading through these particular parts.

Very highly recommended!

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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A Month of Reading: September 2018: Trilogies!

September 2018 turned out to be all about trilogies – from starting the month reading a book about movies in pop culture that frequently cited Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to following it with a romance trilogy to ending the month with a trilogy about zombie dinosaurs and a ‘trilogy’ of some of the remaining nonfiction books on the #2018TBR project.

The highlight of the month was the surprise announcement of the LONG anticipated sequel to Steven Savile’s 2011 book SILVER, GOLD, at the beginning of the month and its release just two weeks later. Which contained the most horrifically beautiful scene I have ever seen in a book.

Overall, I read 15 books in September 2018, per Goodreads. Five of them in just the last four days of the month. I now stand at 105 books read on the year, with at least five ARCs still outstanding. Of the 15 books this month, there were three series – Jamie Beck’s St James trilogy, Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster’s Jurassic Dead trilogy, and DJ Jamison’s Real Estate Relations series. There were three nonfiction books, Nate Silver’s 2012 The Signal and The Noise, Brendan McDonough’s Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers, which the 2017 movie Only the Brave was based on, and Jennifer Knapp’s Facing the Music. Overall, this month featured ten books from the #2018TBR project and just five review copies – four of them ARCs. I also read my first Century Book near the end of the month, crossing 100 books on the year for the first time in my life.

The 15 books combined for 4542 pages according to Goodreads, for an average of 302.8 pages per book – and took the single longest novel and nonfiction books off the #2018TBR stack.

Best series of the month goes to the Jurassic Dead trilogy by Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster. Because zombie dinosaurs. Do I really need to say more there? Ok, well, in book 2 the zombie dinosaurs attack Washington, DC. There. Now you have to read the trilogy. 🙂

Most interesting book of the month goes to The Signal and The Noise by Nate Silver, as it was an astounding and needed look at applied probabilistic statistics and how they can help us make informed choices in a wide range of situations.

There really wasn’t any humor to be had in this month’s books for the most part, so I’ll go with most tear jerking book instead – and that is without a doubt Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers by Brendan McDonough. I watched Only the Brave last year, the movie based on this book, without knowing anything about the story. While on a Caribbean vacation. Yeah, that ending was very unexpected. Then. I knew what I was getting into reading the book, so I listened to the Audible. And still bawled my eyes out in the later chapters, which included a few scenes of the aftermath that I don’t remember making it into the movie. I almost challenge anyone to read this book via text form, as I don’t really think it is possible due to all the crying in those sections.

Overall book of the month? Has to go to the one I waited SIX YEARS for and spent literally YEARS begging for – Steven Savile’s GOLD. It was absolutely worth the wait.

As is traditional here, the full list, in date completed order, with links to Goodreads reviews of all:
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