Recent Reviews...

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Book Review: If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Contemporary)
Date Published: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

If he had been with me everything would have been different...

I wasn't with Finn on that August night. But I should've been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it's not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know—the cause of the argument—is crucial.

So let me tell you...

If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin was a book I knew would be heartbreaking after reading the blurb, and I usually wouldn't even pick up a book like this, but I liked the name and the cover... I was lured in by it! I had a really hard time staying focused on this book. There was a lot of Autumn's day to day life as she went through high school. Most of us are living it or have lived through high school. We know how it goes, and some of that detail is necessary to make a story. I get that, but this was a LOT. With that being said, Autumn is a very believable character. You can feel her growing pains as she navigates life. For me, she lost some of her realism in the end. She goes to two emotional extremes so fast. It didn't make sense, and after taking soooo long to get to this point in the book, the actual ending was very rushed. I really enjoyed the author's writing style though... and how she builds her characters in a way that makes you feel like you know them. 

Laura Nowlin is the NYT bestselling author of If He had Been with Me and This Song is Not for You.  She holds a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Missouri State University.   When she isn’t at home agonizing over her own novels Laura works at the public library where the patrons give her plenty of inspiration for her writing.  She lives in St. Louis with her family.

To learn more about Laura Nowlin and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, BookBub, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Buy this book at:

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Book Review: Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler

Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler
Genre: Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction (Historical/Christian)
Date Published: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Zondervan

What can Jezebel, the Bible s wickedest queen, reveal about God s holiness and power and even about his sense of humor? What about the Woman at the Well the one with five husbands and a live-in lover? And what of the prostitute whose tears bathe the feet of Jesus in front of people who despise her?

There are also wicked good women like Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, Abigail, Esther, Mary, and more. What do their lives tell us about God s invincible love and his determined plan to save us?

In Wicked Women of the Bible Ann Spangler tells the stories of twenty wicked and wicked good women in greater detail. At the end of each story, Ann provides a brief section including additional historical and cultural background as well as a brief Bible study in order to enhance the book s appeal to both individuals and groups.

The stories of these women of the Bible reveal a God who is not above it all but who stoops down to meet us where we are in order to extend his love and mercy."

Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler gives us a brief look into the lives of many women of the Bible.  Each woman's story isn't very long, but let's face it, we don't have too many details on many of them either, so this book takes what we know happened and fictionally fills in some of those spaces with what might have happened or been said. This is a combination of fiction and non fiction, because along with these stories with their fictional aspects, the book also give an account of the times. I love books like this, because it brings Biblical people to life and makes me search the Bible for more info on them. It's always interesting to see how people so far back in history really aren't that different from us today. We make the same mistakes... do the same stupid things. Good or wicked... we're all still people, no matter what time period we lived in.


Ann Spangler is the best-selling author of numerous books, including Praying the Names of God, Women of the Bible, and Finding the Peace God Promises. An award-winning writer, Ann’s books have sold millions of copies over the course of her writing career. The mission of her books is to help readers strengthen their connection with God by encountering him in Scripture.

Before becoming a writer, Ann was an acquiring editor at various Christian publishers. From her unique perspective as an author and publishing professional, she believes readers are looking for well-written books that address the deep spiritual hungers that characterize our world.

She is the mother of two teenage daughters, both of whom were born in mainland China. In her spare time (what is spare time?), she loves to read, have dinner with friends, spend time on Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches, travel, and stream British TV shows. An admitted Anglophile, she harbors deep prejudices in favor of anything British.

To learn more about Ann Spangler and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy this book at:

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Book Review: The Silent Woman by Minka Kent

The Silent Woman by Minka Kent
Genre: Adult Fiction (Mystery)
Date Published: September 27, 2022
Audiobook Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Newlywed Jade Westmore has finally found her forever in husband Wells, a charming, successful, and recently divorced architect—only there’s one caveat. Behind the gates of their elysian estate, hidden from street view in the caretaker’s cottage … lives Wells’ first wife, Sylvie.

Three years ago, the original Mrs. Westmore suffered an unfortunate accident—and hasn’t uttered a sound since. Not a physician, psychologist, or world-renown specialist has been able to elicit so much as a word from the silent woman … until now.

On an ordinary Tuesday while Wells was away—despite instructions to never disturb the fragile woman—Jade visited her isolated predecessor bearing a peace offering: a bouquet of white lilies. Only she wasn’t expecting Sylvie to have something for her as well: a slip of torn notebook paper with a single word scrawled in shaky black ink.

That word? Run.

The Silent Woman by Minka Kent is a mystery that will keep you reading until the end. I wouldn't call this one a thriller, as the 'thriller' aspect was pretty short. I figured out bits of the mystery pretty easily. I knew who committed the actual crime the moment they appeared. I just knew it had to be that person. I really expected one thing to be different. I REALLY did! And I wish I could say what that one thing is, but dang it.. I can't! Honestly, I'm a little disappointed, and I can't say why either! Uggh! This is rough! So, I'll say this... All in all, even though it was fairly easy to predict, it was entertaining. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I'd pick up another book by this author.

Minka Kent has been crafting stories since before she could scribble her name. With a love of the literary dark and twisted, Minka cut her teeth on Goosebumps and Fear Street, graduated to Stephen King as a teenager, and now counts Gillian Flynn, Chevy Stevens, and Caroline Kepnes amongst her favorite authors and biggest influences. Minka has always been curious about good people who do bad things and loves to explore what happens when larger-than-life characters are placed in fascinating situations.

In her non-writing life, Minka is a thirty-something wife and mother who equally enjoys sunny and rainy days, loves freshly cut hydrangeas, hides behind oversized sunglasses, travels to warmer climates every chance she gets, and bakes sweet treats when the mood strikes (spoiler alert: it’s often).

To learn more about Minka Kent and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, & Pinterest.

Buy this book at:

Friday, April 21, 2023

Book Review: Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction 
Date Published: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

A girl with Tourette syndrome starts at a new school and tries to hide her quirks in this debut middle-grade novel in verse.

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calli's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is—an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calli navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that she might be moving, again, just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

Forget Me Not is a debut novel by Ellie Terry. This is a story of a young girl with Tourette’s Syndrome and how she copes with life. I wish there could have been a decent adult in her life. I understand her teachers and admin not understanding what was going on. Especially since she and her mother were attempting to keep it secret, but her therapist was also a disappointment. Her mother had no redeeming qualities. She was selfish and pretty useless. So, Calli's forced to figure out a lot of things on her own. It’s written as a short story, and things were definitely rushed a bit, but it also felt like it was unfinished in the end. I mean there was a clear ending, but it all wrapped up so quickly, and it just felt rushed and like something was missing. It's great that she helped herself.. sorta, but that's not realistic for most people.. and certainly not one so young. I wanted the book to show how she could get help. I'm sure there are young people out there that could benefit from some guidance. I love the concept and the characters. I just feel like it needed more. 

Ellie Terry writes heartfelt contemporary fiction for middle-grade readers. Her middle-grade debut, a verse novel titled FORGET ME NOT, was published in 2017 by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan. She lives in southern Utah with one husband, three kids, a dog, a hamster, and a snail.

To learn more about Ellie Terry and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Buy this book at:

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Book Review: Turned by Morgan Rice

Turned (The Vampire Journals #1) by Morgan Rice
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: November 14, 2013
Publisher: Self

In TURNED (Book #1 of the Vampire Journals series), 18 year old Caitlin Paine finds herself uprooted from her nice suburb and forced to attend a dangerous New York City high school when her Mom moves again. The one ray of light in her new surroundings is Jonah, a new classmate who takes an instant liking to her.

But before their romance can blossom, Caitlin suddenly finds herself changing. She is overcome by a superhuman strength, a sensitivity to light, a desire to feed--by feelings she does not understand. She seeks answers to what’s happening to her, and her cravings lead her to the wrong place at the wrong time. Her eyes are opened to a hidden world, right beneath her feet, thriving underground in New York City. She finds herself caught between two dangerous covens, right in the middle of a vampire war.

It is at this moment that Caitlin meets Caleb, a mysterious and powerful vampire who rescues her from the dark forces. He needs her to help lead him to the legendary lost artifact. And she needs him for answers, and for protection. Together, they will need to answer one crucial question: who was her real father?

But Caitlin finds herself caught between two men as something else arises between them: a forbidden love. A love between the races that will risk both of their lives, and will force them to decide whether to risk it all for each other…

Turned is the first book in the Vampire Journals by Morgan Rice. Caitlin never thought she was anything but human. Now that her vampire instincts are kicking in, she’s not perfect at it. I actually enjoyed that about her. It made her behavior more believable. Because of this she finds herself running for her life.. literally. The instalove felt rushed. I kinda hoped we would have more build up there. All in all, this first book introduced us to Caitlin’s life and her world nicely. I’m curious what happens next.

Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising three books; of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books; of the epic fantasy series OF CROWNS AND GLORY, comprising 8 books; of the new epic fantasy series A THRONE FOR SISTERS, comprising eight books (and counting); and of the new science fiction series THE INVASION CHRONICLES. Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.

To learn more about Morgan Rice and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Buy this book at: