Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Scribner; 10 Anv edition
ISBN-10: 1439156816
Price: $17.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Review

I’ve had this book on my book shelf for awhile. I was intending to read it, but never got to it until a week ago. Now I could kick myself for not reading it sooner.

In my opinion, On Writing is one of the best books on the craft of writing. Novelist Stephen King gives you the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be a writer.

If I were to sum up the book in a few words, it would be… “Read a lot, Write a lot.”

What I found encouraging (since I don’t have a college degree), is that Stephen King says it is not necessary to attend college to be a writer. He doesn’t deter people from attending college, he just says you don’t need a degree to write books. You just need to read a lot and write a lot. Every day. Without fail.

Writing requires work, discipline and perseverance to succeed. There are no short cuts.

On Writing is a goldmine filled with helpful nuggets. It is the kind of book you want to have in your library to refer to. I highly recommend it.

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy, Revival, and Doctor Sleep. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dynasty by Dutch

Paperback: 245 pages
Publisher: DC Bookdiva Publications
ISBN-10: 0578029464
ISBN-13: 978-0578029467
Price: $15.00
Purchase: DC BookDiva Publications | Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

National Bestselling Author Dutch debut’s “Dynasty”, the first urban soap opera! The Bells and Simmons are family. The Bells, a crime family in New York, have the cocaine market on lock. The Simmons, hailing from the South, reign supreme in heroin. Talks of joining forces are suddenly stalled when family patriarch Guy Simmons is gunned down. Suspicions fly. Jealousy breeds. The body count rises. Guy Simmons has created a legacy he wants to pass on to his two sons, Kevin and Tyquan. However, his womanizing ways have spilled over and jeopardizes all he’s worked for. The mothers of his sons hate each other. Like mother, like son. Guy s shooting has ignited a new brotherly beef; a beef that could have deadly repercussions, especially when you have a family where the enemy may lie within.

Review

This is the second book I’ve read by Dutch. I believe he is an excellent writer and storyteller.

Dynasty is rich with intrigue and drama, containing some interesting twists which will surprise you.

Dutch draws you in immediately from the start, and you won’t want to put the book down. His characters are rich and vibrant, the story is detailed and believable. He is a gifted writer, who has an uncanny ability to teach as well as entertain you.

Dynasty is about two families, the Bells and the Simmons, but centers around the main protagonist, Guy Simmons. The surprises that are set off as a result of Guy’s decisions will have you reeling.

All in all, Dynasty is a fabulous read. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read the sequel, Dynasty II.

Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Dutch is the award winning, critically acclaimed, and Essence #1 bestselling author of the street classic Dutch trilogy. His other novels include The Adventures of Ghetto Sam and the Glory of My Demise and Thug Politics under the pseudonym Dutch. With a passion for writing, Dutch is hard at work on his next novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher:  W. W. Norton & Company (September 17, 2012)
Language:  English
ISBN-10:0393062929
ISBN-13:978-0393062922
Price: $23.95
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can’t be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou’s mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.

One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother’s disappearance be explained by the boy? Will Boxman be able to help find her? Minou, unwilling to accept her mother’s death, attempts to find the truth through Descartes’ philosophy. Over the course of her investigation Minou will discover the truth about loss and love, a truth that The Vanishing Act conveys in a voice that is uniquely enchanting.

Review

The Vanishing Act is a well written and captivating story with mixture of fantasy and philosophy. This story is like a beautiful painting whose brush strokes are poetic and descriptive.

The central theme is about a twelve year old girl named Minou and the disappearance of  her mother. One day her mother puts on her best shoes, takes her big black umbrella and walks out the house never to be seen again.

Everyone thinks she is dead, except for Minou. She does not believe her mother is dead, but will return one day. She keeps a journal, building a case with the reasons why she believes her mother is still alive.

While Minou was walking on the beach, she comes across the body of a dead boy. She runs to tell her father. Her father comes and carries the dead boy to their home. He decides to put the dead boy on the bed in Minou’s mother’s blue room until the ship arrives in three days. In the interim, he opens the window to make sure the boy’s body remains frozen.

Minou’s father is a philosopher from the descendant of Descartes searching for the absolute truth. Both Minou and her father struggle to find answers and figure out what happened.

Her father believes the key to finding the absolute truth is somehow connected to the dead boy’s body. He thinks he will get the answer (as does Minou) by sitting with him for three days until the ship arrives.

Minou and her father live on a small, remote island surrounded by the ocean. I get the impression the island is in the middle of nowhere. The only people living on this isolated island is Minou, her papa, a Priest, Boxman the magician and his dog, No Name.

You never quite know where any of them come from (except for Minou) and/or how they wound up on the island.

However, there is mystery surrounding Minou’s mother’s arrival to the island as well as her departure.

Minou’s mother disappears the following day after performing in Boxman’s magic show, called “The Vanishing Act“.

The only item found was one of the shoes she wore the day she left.

There is an underlying melancholy theme throughout the book. Between Minou’s complex and troubled father, who was traumatized by a war. The disappearance of her free spirited, artistic mother with a troubled past. The pretzel making Priest and his inability to sleep in the dark. The mysterious Boxman the magician and his lost love named Cosmina.

The Vanishing Act keeps you guessing and coming back for more.

I enjoyed reading The Vanishing Act and recommend this thoughtful novel to everyone.

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Erin Sinesky Lovett from W.W. Norton & Company for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Mette Jakobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964 but now lives in Newtown, Sydney. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and a BA in philosophy. In 2004 she graduated from NIDA’s Playwrights Studio and several of her plays have been broadcast on ABC national radio. The Vanishing Act is her first novel.

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Book Review: Fully Alive by Ken Davis

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0849948428
ISBN-13: 978-0849948428
List Price: $19.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

Sample Chapter

 

 

 

Description

Food labels, advertisements, politicians, self-help books–they all promise the same thing: a better life . . . or–as Jesus might put it–life to the fullest.

For millions this pursuit of happiness has captivated , ensnared, and, most disappointingly, it has alluded.  Which begs the question, what is the missing link?  Fully Alive explores the idea that God is glorified when man is “fully and eternally alive,” illustrated by best-selling author and motivational speaker Ken Davis’s most honest and intimate stories.

Ken invites us to walk with him on a journey, along a road of heartache and adventure to a place he calls “the land of the living,” and discover what may be missing in our lives.

A poignant and entertaining storyteller, Davis points out the practical steps necessary to live this way–everything from lightening up to taking a quality of life assessment, to overcoming trials–while also revealing the power of Christ’s resurrection available for each of us.

Get a taste of the beautiful urgency of today and begin moving toward a change in your life that draws from the joy and power that can be found only in Christ.

Review

I admit, I didn’t know who Ken Davis was before reading Fully Alive.  So, it was especially sweet getting to know him by reading his story.

Ken Davis shares his struggles and triumphs in his life’s journey. He doesn’t hide anything.  He is candid and open in relaying details of his life.

Have you felt depressed or unmotivated lately? Have you been thinking about getting back in shape, but think it’s impossible?  Do you feel old and listless? Are you just going through the motions in life?  Have you thought, is this all there is?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, I strongly urge you to get this book.  Fully Alive will challenge, convict, inspire and invigorate you to make positive changes your life.

After reading this book, I realize I seriously have no excuse. Ken Davis shows you how its done. You get the sense that if he can do it, you can do it.

Ken Davis touches on various subjects, such as exercise, diet and faith.  He writes from a holistic standpoint and leaves nothing out.

This is my favorite quote:

“The glory of God is man fully alive: Striving in the midst of all odds.  Never satisfied with the status quo.  Seeking excellence in every area of life.  Because Jesus can raise the dead and because He Himself was raised from the dead, then no matter what my situation, I can know the power of His resurrection to live my life fully alive.” (Page 209)

I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to live fully alive.

Fully Alive will inspire, encourage and enrich your life. I highly recommend this motivating book to everyone.

In conclusion, I want to thank Daniel Decker and Thomas Nelson for allowing me the opportunity to read and review a complimentary copy of this wonderful book.

Ken Davis is one of the most sought-after speakers in North America. He has appeared on television and stage around the world, addressing groups as diverse as the Gaither Praise Gathering, The Kellogg Corporation, Focus on the Family, and Pentax Corporation. Ken provides a unique mixture of side-splitting humor and inspiration that never fails to delight and enrich a wide variety of audiences. Each presentation is carefully designed to fit the diverse needs of his clients. Davis’ daily radio program, LIGHTEN UP!, is broadcast on over 1,800 stations worldwide and spotlights his gift as a storyteller and comedian.  http://www.kendavis.com/

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Book Review: Faith and Other Flat Tires

Faith and Other Flat Tires

by Andrea Palpant Dilley
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (February 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10:031032551X
ISBN-13: 978-0310325512
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

Sample Chapter

Description

At age twenty-one, Andrea Palpant Dilley stripped the Christian fish decal off her car bumper in a symbolic act of departure from her religious childhood. At twenty-three, she left the church and went searching for refuge in the company of men who left her lonely and friends who pushed the boundaries of what she once held sacred.

In this deeply personal memoir, Andrea navigates the doubts that plague believers and skeptics alike: Why does a good God allow suffering? Why is God so silent, distant, and uninvolved? And why does the church seem so dysfunctional?

Yet amid her skepticism, she begins to ask new questions: Could doubting be a form of faith? Might our doubts be a longing for God that leads to a faith we can ultimately live with?

Review

Faith and Other Flat Tires is as unique as its title. The subheading reads, “searching for God on the rough road of doubt”.

I have a penchant for memoirs, and this one was especially captivating.

Andrea Palpant Dilley was the daughter to Quaker missionaries who served in Kenya most of her childhood.  She had grown accustomed to living in Africa, that when she returned to the States, she had difficulty assimilating into the American culture.

While living in Africa as a child, Andrea Palpant Dilley was exposed to a great deal of suffering and death.  Those early experiences planted a seed which then germinated into doubt and her crisis of faith.

As we traverse this earth, sooner or later, we will face doubt.  We will wrestle, as Jacob did, with an invisible God, we can’t see or touch. Doubt will inevitably be our companion or foe on this sojourn.

The following excerpt encompasses the beauty and brilliance of this thoughtful, philosophical and superbly written memoir:

To me, longing for God was like hearing music from an open window on the street or seeing mountains off in the distance. The yearning felt almost like grief.  A cry born into my heart before the human heart ever existed. A desire so deep and far back that it seemed almost prehistoric. I sensed the imago Dei, the image of God within me. I was Plato’s child searching for the lost language of my origins. I was a homing bird traveling with my outspread wings, carried by the innate compass and crossing a thousand miles to get back to the place where I began. (Page 235)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Faith and Other Flat Tires and highly recommend it to adults who are struggling with faith and doubt.

In conclusion, I want to thank Zondervan and Handlebar Marketing for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Author

Andrea Palpant Dilley grew up in Kenya as the daughter of Quaker missionaries and spent the rest of her childhood in the Pacific Northwest. She studied English literature and writing at Whitworth University. Her work as a writer has appeared in Rock and Sling, Geez, and Utne Reader, as well as the anthology Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical. Her work as a documentary producer has aired nationally on American Public Television. She lives with her husband and daughter in Austin, Texas.

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Book Review: You Are a Writer

You Are a Writer

By Jeff Goins
Print Length: 77 pages
Publisher: Jeff Goins
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Published: 1st Edition April 27, 2012
Language: English
ASIN: B007YJEIAS
Price: $4.99 (Kindle)
Purchase: Amazon

Description

You Are a Writer is a book about what it takes to be a writer in the 21st Century.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own story of self-doubt and what it took for him to become a professional. He gives you practical tips for freelancing, how to get published in magazines, and what it takes to build a platform that brings the gatekeepers to you.

This journey of becoming a writer begins with a simple but important belief: You are a writer; you just need to write. Readers will learn the importance of passion and discipline and how to show up every day to do the work.

Here’s what else you will learn:

  • How to stop waiting to be picked and finally choose yourself
  • What it takes to build a platform
  • Why authors need to brand themselves (and how to do it)
  • Tips for freelancing, guest blogging, and getting published in magazines
  • Different ways to network with other writers, artists, and influencers
  • The importance of blogging and social media and how to use it well to get more readers and fans of your writing

You Are a Writer is a book that will help you fall back in love with writing and make the connections you need to build your brand as a writer. It’s about living the dream of a life dedicated to words.

And it all begins with you.

Review

I have had the pleasure of following Jeff Goins’ blog for over several months now.  I was first introduced to his writing through friends on Twitter.  I was completely blown away.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I love every single thing this man writes.

Jeff Goins is an incredibly gifted writer and communicator. He creates what Michael Hyatt calls in his book Platform, a “Wow” experience. Everything Jeff Goins does and writes is remarkable. I have learned so much from him by following his blog and participating in his writing challenges.

One of the things I love most about Jeff Goins is his heart.  He is kind, generous and a servant, which makes him such a great leader.  I am blessed to be a part of his tribe.

You Are a Writer is a brilliant book.  I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. This book goes step by step on how to make “You Are a Writer” a reality in your life. The first step is by confessing, believing, accepting and then acting upon it.

The way I did it was by first looking at myself in the mirror and saying to my reflection, “You Are a Writer”.  I confess I had to say it more than once to let it sink in.  It’s incredible how much resistance I faced with while doing this simple exercise.  Those unrelenting negative voices kept trying to convince me otherwise.

After I did this, I took it a step further by confessing it to the world on Facebook, Twitter and my co-workers.  I was surprised and happy to get a lot positive responses, which was encouraging.

If you ever dreamed of being a writer or if you are one and not really pursuing it, I highly recommend this book.  You Are a Writer will definitely help, inform, inspire and encourage you!

Author

Jeff Goins is a part-time blogger, speaker and author. He works full-time for a nonprofit organization called Adventures in Missions, where he serves as the Communications Director. In his free time, he writes books and shares ideas worth spreading.

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Jeff graduated from Illinois College with a double major in Spanish and Religion. There, he spent a semester in Spain, which opened his eyes to different cultures and stretched his worldview.

After a year of travel and long-distance communication, he moved to Tennessee to chase the woman who became his wife. In 2008, he married her.

Since 2006, Jeff has worked out of his home, overseeing marketing, communications, and innovation teams from afar. He is passionate about not only telling great stories, but living them, as well.

His blog, GoinsWriter.com, is one of the fastest-growing blogs on the web and is a well-respected resource for bloggers and writers. In 2011, it won the Top 10 Blogs for Writers award on WritetoDone.com. Each month, he receives over 80,000 visitors to his website.

Jeff’s work has been published online and offline in a variety of publications, including RELEVANT Magazine (which has a circulation of more than 150,000 readers), Copyblogger.com (voted by Ad Age as one of the top marketing blogs online), and ZenHabits.net (one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Websites for threes years in a row).

Jeff and his wife, Ashley, live just outside of Nashville, TN with their son and dog.

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