Dianna (savingsinseconds) - Reviews

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Always Upbeat / All That (Cheer Drama / Baller Swag) (Lockwood High Series)
Review Date: 6/22/2012


This is a great way to introduce reluctant readers to the idea that each character has a story to tell. As the reader, I felt compelled to side with Charli as I read Always Upbeat. Then when I heard Blake's side of the story, I could understand some of his actions and emotions. I liked that the two books were in one so that readers could have the experience at once. The characters are in high school and the issues they deal with are quite mature and I would hesitate to allow my middle school student to read the book without my guidance. Read with a parent, it could be a really great opportunity to discuss some coming-of-age issues such as sexual morality and peer pressure.

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


The Angry Woman Suite
The Angry Woman Suite
Author: Lee Fullbright
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/27/2014


The interesting thing about this book is the intricately woven mystery that runs through its veins. Through The Angry Woman Suite, Fullbright personifies the impact that a parent can have on a child. How sad it is that adults can so deeply wound the children in their lives. Raw human emotions such as jealousy and psychosis are also portrayed through these characters. I can certainly envision this book in movie form; the story spans generations in order to create a cycle of love, betrayal, and abuse. Read this book with your choice of tissues and/or a blanket nearby! I received the book to review. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.


C. B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood
C. B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood
Author: Robert Hammond
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/9/2012


Before I read C. B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood I had never heard of C. B. DeMille. This book does a good job of showing how minor events in DeMille's career and personal life ended up impacting him in a huge way. I would have liked to have learned more about the way that DeMille seemed to be restored to his Christian faith.

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.


The Delusion: We All Have Our Demons (The Delusion Series)
The Delusion: We All Have Our Demons (The Delusion Series)
Author: Laura Gallier
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/18/2017


Fans of The Shack and This Present Darkness won't be surprised by The Delusion; spiritual warfare isn't a new book topic. However, this is the first time I've seen it so perfectly written for TEEN fiction. That's what makes The Delusion so special! It comes across as more of a horror story, or at least a thriller, and doesn't immediately connect with Christian beliefs. Though it does have biblical references, they feel quite natural as part of the story. As I read, I kept thinking of the ways this story could be integrated in a youth group book club, a church play, or even a Halloween activity for teens. The physical descriptions of guilt, hopelessness, and sin were deftly handled in symbolic ways that young people can appreciate.  Gallier also did a great job of describing the traumas of high school, right down to a suicide epidemic that isn't such a new thing in the news anymore. I really enjoyed The Delusion and hope to see more from this author! I received this book free with reader rewards; opinions shared are mine.


Desert Journey
Desert Journey
Author: Dr Jerry Burgener
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/12/2012


Desert Journey was a surprising book. While I could easily answer the questions posed in this book, or could put myself in the situation, it didn't end as I expected. I could relate to Jerry and his struggle to find closure in the decisions and seemingly wrong turns he has made in his life. Jerry tries to reconcile his present with his past. Don't we all have similar stories to share? And in the end, isn't that what many of us look for in a good book-something we can relate to? Without giving too much away, I want to mention that Jerry asks the same questions that many of us do in our lives. Questions like, What's going to happen? Did I make the right decision? How do I know? I don't want to spoil the book for you. It is something you need to experience for yourself.

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting!: A Bridge From Addiction To Early Recovery
Review Date: 6/30/2012


Excuse Me is almost like a memoir, or perhaps even a journal. The chapters document the stages Boich experienced through his rehab and recovery. He describes his relationship with his spouse and how he learns to appreciate being in the moment with his family. He expresses the need for depending on support from loved ones. He exposes the connection between substance abuse and the deeper problems that instigate the need for drugs or alcohol.

Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting can be an excellent resource for those who are experiencing the rough road to recovery. It is gritty and honest, no sugar-coating here. However, I think it would also be meaningful to those who are left in the wake of addiction.

I received this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


Head Trip
Head Trip
Author: Jack Eadon
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/24/2012


Head Trip is not the typical book I would read. It is the first of the American Drama Series, which deals with the "seven deadly sins" as they appear in one man's life. The book has a lot of background medical information, which I found to be very interesting and slightly distasteful. It contains a great deal of symbolism. There was some bad language in it and some of the scenes are particularly graphic. These took away from the story for me. Overall, the story was intriguing and suspenseful. Unexpected turns in the story kept me guessing. I was surprised many times by the plot twists. The story covered a long time span (about twenty years) in about 300 pages. Eadon did an excellent job of establishing strong character development in those 300 pages. He likens the main characters (Marcus and Roger) to the Biblical brothers Jacob and Esau whose rivalry changed history. Likewise, Marcus and Roger's relationship changes history in many aspects. When I read the summary on the back of the book, I mistakenly expected the book to be a Christian novel. This is definitely not something I could give to my grandmother, who is my earthly barometer for holiness. The series will continue with the sin of greed. The question is, how will it end? This is not a story for someone looking for an easy weekend read. Instead, Head Trip will take you on a thrilling ride that won't stop without a sudden jolt.

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


The Last Letter
The Last Letter
Author: Kathleen Shoop
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/1/2014


I can really relate to the mother-daughter interaction. My mom lived an entire life before I was born. I'm sure she has some great stories to tell that I never heard because I was so self-absorbed! Books that have a realistic side really appeal to me. I received this book to review. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.


Lemon Curd
Lemon Curd
Author: Homa Pourasgari
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/22/2012


Looking for a lighthearted summer read? Lemon Curd by Homa Pourasgari is a good one to pack for the beach. A gently budding romance between two career-minded Type A individuals is the premise of the story. The obstacles standing in their way border on the predictable, but you won't mind. There is enough humor and cultural drama to keep things going. I finished this book in two days because I just needed to see how the two fared by the end. Sometimes I felt that the actions of the characters conflicted with their personalities. Romance books are not my cup of tea so I was glad to see that this was a relatively clean book. There were some expletives sprinkled in the storyline that could have been left out; they did nothing to add to the story. The book needed another once-over from the proofreading department. Still, it's an overall decent read and one that I wouldn't mind sharing with a friend.

I received this book for review. These opinions are 100% mine.


The Life List
The Life List
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 7/5/2017


I really loved this book; it's one of my favorites. It's a smart, upper crust version of Bridget Jones or even the Shopaholic. The main character Brett mourns her mother's death while anticipating a major promotion at the family business. When things don't turn out as she planned, she thinks it's going to be the end of her world. While that isn't too far from the truth, the reader soon finds out that Brett definitely needed a gentle kick in the pants, and her mama was going to take care of it even in death.

One aspect that made The Life List so unusual was the way Elizabeth, Brett's deceased mother, was such a strong presence throughout the book. I thought it would be difficult to relate to Brett because of her family's wealth; however, she was pretty down to earth. Her endearing mannerisms made me root for her every step of the way. Though I figured out the ending pretty early on, there were enough surprises to keep me hooked.

This book quickly earned my-favorites-ever status. It was the type of story that made me appreciate my blessingsâ¦.even from the stiff chair in a hospital room. When the book's scenes started to play out in my mind, I started hoping that this might be a movie someday.


The Lost Scrolls (A Jonathon Munro Adventure) (A Jonathan Munro Adventure)
Review Date: 7/12/2012


The Lost Scrolls was a good, fast read that I finished in one day. We had just returned from an out-of-town trip and I needed to read a good book to wind down. While The Lost Scrolls wasn't exactly a relaxing book, it definitely held my interest. It is nearly free of bad language and there were no graphic romantic scenes, so that I didn't blush at all while reading. I'm not a fan of books that should be rated R. Thankfully The Lost Scrolls would be a book that I could pass along to my grandmother without worry and yet confidently able to share it with my husband knowing that he would like the action and adventure. Overall, The Lost Scrolls is a book that would be widely appreciated by all audiences.

I received this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


Magnolia Gods (River Sunday Series, Volume 2)
Magnolia Gods (River Sunday Series, Volume 2)
Author: Thomas Hollyday
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/13/2012


The main character, Mike, reminds me of a pilot-version of Jack Bauer. He loves deeply and fiercely, willing to sacrifice anything for his family. The relationships in the story are tied together in a beautiful way, not feeling awkward or forced. The government conspiracy in the background just adds to the excitement. The story is based in and around the Chesapeake, where I've never visited. I loved reading about the geography and isolated places of the area. It's also got romance without being too steamy. The plot centers around historic letters that send a haunting message from the past. This was a great read and one that I might have passed up if only looking at the cover. If you are looking for a book that you'll have a hard time putting down, consider Magnolia Gods. It's small enough that it can be read in an afternoon or weekend. That's a lot of book packed into a few pages. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I received a copy of Magnolia Gods to review. The opinions stated are 100% mine.


Magnolia Nights (Magnolia, Bk 1)
Magnolia Nights (Magnolia, Bk 1)
Author: Ashley Farley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/12/2018


I ordered this book because of two big mentions in the summary: Charleston and ghosts. It had so much potential! From the first couple of chapters, I had the feeling that I'd missed something....was this really the second in the series? On the back of the book, it distinctly says "a new novel..." so it must be the first, right? There just seemed to be something missing. I felt like I should know more about Ellie, or why she ended up in Charleston. That information does eventually come, but it takes a good while. Somehow the romance in this book was completely off. Maybe I'm just too out-of-touch with the dating scene. The writing of those romantic scenes made me roll my eyes. Do people actually say things like "making crazy love to each other"?

The ghost-story aspect of Magnolia Nights was barely there. There are figurative ghosts that pull on Ellie's memory, but otherwise don't go into this expecting a paranormal paradise. The old house Ellie inherited was charming, though, with its piazza and iconic magnolia tree. I loved the mentions of Charleston landmarks, such as The Battery and various restaurants.

There are some good parts of Magnolia Nights, though. I like a good family mystery, and it was fun to learn what happened behind the scenes through old journal entries. Anytime someone goes hunting in a creepy attic, I want to know what's up there! I liked trying to figure out what happened with the evil grandmother (who reminded me of Flowers in the Attic.) The final chapters of the story were disappointing, though, and felt like they were an awkward extended scene that didn't exactly fit with the rest of the story. I don't plan to read the second book.


An Obsolete Honor: A Story of the German Resistance to Hitler
An Obsolete Honor: A Story of the German Resistance to Hitler
Author: Helena Schrader
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/30/2012


I read Hitler's Demons, which was the Kindle version of An Obsolete Honor. Hitler's Demons is not your typical novel. Instead, it's more of a historical fiction reference guide, filled with deep characters and heart-wrenching side stories. Ultimately the reader realizes what sacrifices were made by those who wanted to overthrow the Nazi regime and how hard life was during the WWII era. I learned quite a bit about German culture and dialect, although I'm definitely no WWII scholar yet. At the end of the book you'll find a helpful glossary of the German military ranks as well as a thorough Historical Note. Hitler's Demons would be a deeply moving read for the WWII buff, especially those who are familiar with the Germany of that time period. It's obvious that Schrader is a gifted historian, able to weave exciting fiction into believable truth. I'm really interested in reading more of her works.

(Disclaimer: I received a copy of Hitler's Demons ebook to review, and was compensated monetarily for my review. I was not obligated to publish a positive review. The opinions stated are my own.)


The Promise of Breeze Hill (Natchez Trace, Bk 1)
The Promise of Breeze Hill (Natchez Trace, Bk 1)
Author: Pam Hillman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/30/2017


I received this book free from the publisher. Opinions shared are mine.

Based in Mississippi, The Promise of Breeze Hill highlights the nuances of society in the late 1790's. Though this book comes from a publishing house known for its Christian fiction titles, The Promise of Breeze Hill doesn't come across as an faith-based story. It is more of a clean historical romance, which makes it good for a wider audience. It's a good story for those who enjoy society dramas like Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs. Consider this when you have a few hours to spend on the breezy plantation grounds!


Quest for Light - Adventure of the Magi
Quest for Light - Adventure of the Magi
Author: Byron Anderson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/2/2012


I liked the natural way the author tied in history. It didn't at all seem like an overview of Christian themes but rather a historical fiction novel. Although I don't think I could use it as a reference for my teaching, it was definitely a good read and something that I would recommend to others. Anytime a book makes me curious and leaves me wanting to do some research, it's a good thing.

I received this book to review. The opinions stated are 100% mine


Ready When You Are: Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments for Success
Review Date: 10/7/2012


In Ready When You Are: Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments for Success, some of DeMille's life lessons are shared. The book echoes of the author's previous book so if you already read that one, some of the stories will be repeats for you. Don't be put off the by the grainy picture on the cover of this book. This book really contains an excellent message. Each of the chapters ends with a meaningful "commandment " for success. Although most of the "commandments" are common sense, I liked the way they were tied in with DeMille's personal stories. This is a quick read that would be great as a devotion in a small group setting or as a meditation message at church. If you are a public speaker, this would be a great resource to use as reference material. Ready When You Are is a book that would be an excellent choice to take on a short flight or another time when you have a few minutes to read. It can be read cover-to-cover in an hour or so, and the message will stay with you.

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


Reel Life: Two sisters on the verge escape to the movies
Reel Life: Two sisters on the verge escape to the movies
Author: Jackie Townsend
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/15/2012


In Reel Life we get an inside look at the relationship between sisters from a dysfunctional family. The play-on-words in the title is a recurring theme throughout the book. Movies play a huge part of the sisters' way of coping with life. Although the sisters believe that they are distant and cold toward each other, the story would say otherwise. I felt that Betty and Jamie were in fact very close, sharing major life experiences and understanding each other at a depth beyond words. I loved the way that author Jackie Townsend incorporated movies from the 1970's and 1980's into the plot. This was one way that I was able to relate to the story. Sometimes the story droned on, but that seemed to be the nature of the characters rather than the writing style of the author. Overall, this was an enjoyable book. I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are 100% mine.


The Roanoke Girls: A Novel
The Roanoke Girls: A Novel
Author: Amy Engel
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 6/10/2017


If you're looking for a feel-good, mind candy read, move right along. This book is deeply disturbing and made me shudder on more than one occasion. That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy reading this book though. I finished it in one day, turning page after page with wide eyes. Somehow, the plot is simultaneously riveting and mind-bending. Engel's writing style is brilliant, and she doesn't keep family drama hidden in the middle or end of the book. She brings it right to the forefront within the first few chapters. Likewise, main character Lane doesn't shy away from calling it as she sees it. Her candor made the story completely raw and honest. She doesn't sugarcoat, she just lays it all out there; the reader can take it or leave it.

What surprised me about the Roanoke Girls was that it was deemed as a thriller. While there were a few suspenseful moments, it just seemed so clear which direction the story would turn. I didn't find the ending to be unexpected or even unusual. It seemed rather anticlimactic instead. Engel spent the whole book going there. In fact, she went there, wore the t-shirt, and bought the season pass. Therefore, I expect the final chapters to astonish me. While that didn't happen, it did make me close the book and wonder if I actually liked it or not.

If you like creepy stories with a Flowers in the Attic kind of deviant nature, then this book might be for you. Otherwise, run like a Roanoke girl.

I received this book for free from the publisher. Opinions shared are mine.


The Rx Factor
The Rx Factor
Author: J. Thomas Shaw
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/5/2012


When I picked up The Rx Factor I wasn't sure if I would be interested in it at all. Wow, was I wrong. I couldn't put it down! The Rx Factor is better than watching a movie. Just do yourself a favor and clear your schedule for reading.........because you won't want to do anything else while this book is in your house. It was one of those books that kept me guessing the entire time. I really liked the characters and the surprise twists throughout the book. It can be difficult to keep up because the locations and character list changes at a dizzying pace. I had to stop a few times and thumb back through the pages to remember who someone was. Upon first glance, you might think it's just another conspiracy theory book. Don't judge it so quickly, though, because The Rx Factor is so much more than the typical espionage novel. This book hits frighteningly close to reality and made me wonder how much of it could possibly be true.

I received a copy of this book to review. These opinions are 100% mine. I loved this book!


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