Spies Never Quit by M. Taylor Christensen

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Spies Never Quit by M. Taylor Christensen and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive nor any review.

Spies Never Quit by M. Taylor Christensen is the first book in the “Banana Girls” series. Mari Sandoval’s mother is kidnapped and the kidnappers tell Mari she must break into her mother’s research lab and get them some information from her mother’s most recent research. However, when Mari attempts to follow the kidnapper’s demands, she is thwarted by some sorority girls.

Mari ends up moving in with the sorority girls for her protection and for their help. It turns out the sorority girls are none other than the “Banana Girls”–spies! Mari wants to help free her mother, so the Banana Girls help her get a job inside the company they suspect is connected to the kidnapper.

In addition to working under cover, Mari must flirt with a couple of the men in the company in order to gain information that could lead her to her mother.

Spies Never Quit is a fun read full of adventure, danger, fight scenes, and romance. I found the first chapter or two a bit slow-paced, but after that, I couldn’t stop turning pages. The Banana Girls are a unique group of girls who are making their way through college life, while working as spies on the side. In addition to all of their yellow Banana vehicles, they all have rhyming names, and they each bring a special skill to the group that helps them with their missions.

M. Taylor Christensen has created interesting characters the reader enjoys following through adventures while rooting for them to crack the case and save Mari’s mom from the kidnappers. M. Taylor Christensen also created a fun romantic interest in the middle of Mari’s struggle to release her mom, in the form of a sweet character named Trey who works in the company. He flirts with Mari and lets her know he’s interested, and when Mari decides to take a chance and trust him, he helps her find time within her workday to explore the entire building complex of the company.

Between heart pounding suspense, action-packed fight scenes, some humorous dialogue lines, and the sweet romance, you won’t want to put the book down.

The suspense, danger, and fight scenes are not explicitly violent nor graphic, and the romance is clean.

If you enjoy fun clean reads, you will enjoy Spies Never Quite by M. Taylor Christensen.

Exciting New Magazine for Book Lovers

Clean Fiction Magazine is a brand new magazine that is filled with Book Reviews of Clean Fiction stories you can find on Amazon and other places Clean Fiction books are sold. Amy Lynn McConahy of Sunset Valley Creations came up with the idea of creating Clean Fiction Magazine to help indie authors of Clean Fiction stories get the word out twice a year–the biggest book buying times of year, December and March–about their great Clean Fiction stories.

When I found out about it, I contacted Amy Lynn and asked if she needed reviewers to help with the project. She said, “Yes. Send five of your reviews to me and I will choose three to include in the magazine.”

Well, I sent her five reviews, and she decided to include all five! So, above is a picture of me with my print copy of the very first, newly released copy of Clean Fiction Magazine’s Winter 2021 Edition, as well as a picture of me with the magazine open to two of my reviews.

If you want a copy of Clean Fiction Magazine, you can get it for Free on Kindle Unlimited, or get an ebook copy for $2.99 — soon to be free for 5 days! You can also order a paperback copy for $14.99. Just go to this link: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B09L8LTLWN

In addition to Book Reviews, the magazine includes full color pictures, book blurbs, information about each author, book related advertisements, a few puzzles, a couple poems, and a few devotions.

I’m very excited to be a part of Clean Fiction Magazine and look forward to writing even more reviews for the next issue. Ms. McConahy has asked me to be the Clean Romance Reviewer for the upcoming issues of this publication and I was honored to accept that position.

Tomorrow I will post the information for the upcoming free ebook issue of Clean Fiction Magazine. If you’re a Clean Fiction reader, you won’t want to miss it!

Muck World by C. G. Lewis

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Muck World by C. G. Lewis and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Muck World by C. G. Lewis is a Dystopian Fiction book and the first book in the Ever Rain series. A global superstorm has destroyed civilization and survivors have fled to higher ground. Jessie and her parents are among those living in old bunkers and doing their best to survive.

Now another threat, the Citadel, made up of the rich and powerful and their army, are tracking those who have survived the storm and taking them prisoners for slave labor. Jessie’s parents and Calvin’s father have been captured and Jessie and Calvin have a plan. But they will need to convince the nearest town to join forces with them in an attempt to free their parents and defeat the Citadel.

Just before beginning the arduous journey, Jessie finds her mom’s diary and as she reads it, she discovers shocking secrets that could change her life forever.

C. G. Lewis did a great job creating a post apocalyptic world and interesting characters. He also created multiple interconnected story lines and weaves a complicated story without losing the reader along the way. I was engaged by the story line and could feel the cold rain and slippery mud that is a major part of this world. The characters all had definite individual personalities and voices.

Jessie came through as a strong leader despite the internal conflict she’s dealing with in response to the secrets she found in her mom’s diary.

I was definitely invested in Muck World and look forward to reading the next book in the Ever Rain series.

I recommend Muck World to any YA through Adult readers who enjoy Dystopian Fiction and stories that include adventure.

I give Muck World by C. G. Lewis 5 stars.

Henry–The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Henry — The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a review nor any review.

Henry–The Goose Who Loved is a unique sweet story of a goose living in a neglected park across the street from an apartment building in a city. Henry does not look like all the other geese. He has a deformed wing and is missing some feathers. The other geese and the few people who visit the park want nothing to do with Henry. Then one day, a boy living in the apartment building wanders over to the park during school break, and he hugs Henry and takes him across the street and plays with him. This continues until one day the boy takes Henry on an adventure. Through interactions with the boy, Henry experiences what it is like to be loved and he is happier than he’s ever been. When the summer comes to an end, Henry experiences another big change in his life.

Henry–The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick is a delightful story of what it feels like to be an outcast, to be noticed, to be loved, and more. It is told in first person. However, it is told as though from a narrator’s viewpoint and it could use some edits. The pace of the story is slow and the only conflict is Henry’s internal conflict. Even so, Henry is an endearing character and anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or as though they were alone in the world will be able to relate to Henry in his loneliness and desire to have someone care about him.

Though this book lacks fast action and external conflict, Henry’s struggle, especially in the last third of the book, is very true to life for many people. I expect everyone who reads Henry–The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick will be able to relate to Henry due to one situation or another in their own personal life.

Henry–The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick is a very touching story, and I encourage anyone looking for an encouraging read to pick it up and read it. Though you may be tempted it to put it down because of the slow pacing, I promise you won’t regret reading through to the end. The end is so rich in emotions and character, it is worth hanging on to the very last page. It is a clean read and is appropriate for all ages, though I suggest it as a read aloud for Pre-K and Kindergarten levels. It would also be a great read aloud for families and could generate some great discussions and an opportunity for parents to teach their children about emotional struggles and feeling left out.

I give Henry–The Goose Who Loved by Amadeus Vultznick 5 stars solely based on the story line and plot.

Beth: Legacy of Love by Jeffrey Young

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of Beth: Legacy of Love by Jeffrey Young and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Beth: Legacy of Love is a unique story as it is the novelization of the true story of two teenage girls who lived in Florida in the 1970s. Beth Davis and Marjorie Williams are the main characters. They are best friends who take different paths and their friendship becomes very strained. There are quite a few other characters, and even a couple other plot lines, but everything connects.

The story tells of the struggles of teenagers, not just in the 70s, but even now, as they face the struggles of dealing with peer pressure, troubles within families, the temptations of sex and drugs, drinking alcohol, and physical abuse.

There is also an element of spirituality and Christianity in the book. It is not preachy or overbearing. As a matter of fact, I was actually disappointed in the way it was presented, as I found the character of Beth, as a Christian, to be misleading. The other characters saw her as a “goody two shoes”, yet she judged people by their appearances and joked with her friends about some of their sinful behaviors. I’m well aware that Christians aren’t perfect and I don’t expect story characters to be perfect either. I do, however, expect story characters to be consistent with the story line, and Beth’s friends opinion of her being “so good” wasn’t really shown in the story through her character.

Beth: Legacy of Love certainly had some good lessons in its pages, but it lacked depth in the characters and I was never fully engaged with the story or the characters because the story was told by a narrator. I never had the opportunity to really get inside any of the character’s heads.

I continued reading because I wanted to see how all of the different plots ended and mostly because I wanted to see if there were any real growth and changes in any of the characters from the beginning to the end. I was pleasantly surprised to see the growth and change in two of the adult characters in the story. This was unexpected.

I also continued reading because I was a teenager in the 70s. However, I didn’t live in Florida and so I never really connected with a lot of what was happening in this story because my environment was very different and my parents were quite different than any of the parents in this story.

I do encourage teenagers who are struggling with being teenagers and the awkwardness and frustrations of life as a teen to read Beth: Legacy of Love by Jeffrey Young. I believe you can find examples of what you are dealing with as well as see some possible solutions to your struggles within this story. There are also some clear examples of choices you don’t want to make. I also encourage parents of teens to read Beth: Legacy of Love by Jeffrey Young as it may enable you to help your teenager to successfully navigate the waters of their teenage years.

I give Beth: A Legacy of Love 3 stars.

How Does One Write Well – Part 2

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

In the first part of this article, previously posted here, I mostly addressed why a Christian writer should write well, though I also touched on some ways we can do that. In this article, I will address more ways in which we actually can write well.

In the first article, I mentioned learning. What do we need to learn? Every writer should have a fairly good knowledge of the basics of writing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and how to know when to begin and end a paragraph. Every writer should also know how to properly write dialogue. These are the mechanics of writing, and if you find any of these items difficult, you can still be a good writer. How? You will need to hire an editor. I will address editors more in depth later in this article.

What do writers need to…

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Love Costs by E. B. Roshan

Love Costs (Shards of Sevia Book 3) by [E.B. Roshan]

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Love Costs by E. B. Roshan. Love Costs is Book Three in Ms. Roshan’s The Shards of Sevia Series and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Love Costs takes place in Sevia. Radoslav, the brother of Anna from previous books in the series, is working as an interpreter, after some of the Tur people surrendered to the government and are placed in Camp Peace. These people were promised that they would be relocated somewhere in Europe.

Dunya and her brother, along with an orphaned baby Dunya has taken into her care, are staying in Camp Peace. One day, Radoslav sees Dunya through the fence. She has pink hair and a shiny smile that catches his attention. In a conversation with her, she expresses concern for her missing cat.

Radoslav, his heart torn by the situation that Dunya is in because of the ongoing fighting in their country, decides he wants to do something to make her smile again. So he goes back to her neighborhood, which is a dangerous place for Sevian people, and Radoslav is Sevian. He wants to find her cat for her.

Once again, E. B. Roshan constructs a story with interesting characters facing dangers and difficult decisions in a war-torn country.

Radoslav, because I remember him from a previous book in The Shards of Sevia Series, was definitely a character of interest to me. A character I cared about and wanted to see find some happiness.

Although this story was engaging, I felt as though it lacked the depth and suspense of the other books in The Shards of Sevia Series. The story was definitely worth reading, and I don’t know if it’s because I actually read this book out of order, but I didn’t find the danger as suspenseful in this book or the characters in the story to have the depth the characters in the other books in the series had.

However, it’s still a well written book and it’s important to the series and I still recommend that readers who like suspenseful stories, stories of different countries and cultures, and stories of life struggles read this book. And if you’ve read the first two books in The Shards of Sevia, don’t skip this one.

I give Love Costs (Book Three in The Shards of Sevia Series) by E. B. Roshan 4 stars.

The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter

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The Search for Synergy is the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter and as a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy. This is my honest review, and I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

The Search for Synergy is a delightful fantasy tale of two young men who must learn to work together to rid the world of the evil lurking in the Void. Rome and Julian have unusual abilities and Rome has just discovered his. Julian is excited to find out about Rome’s abilities and is eager to use his own in accord with Rome’s to fight the evil. However, Rome needs some convincing.

Mr. Salter has created a unique story in The Search for Synergy. This entire story seems to take place in present day United States, but reaches back into the times of knights and dragons. As Julian and Rome develop their abilities and learn to work together, with the help of Mr. Jones, they eventually battle evil creatures.

The two young men come from very different families and have very different personalities, both of which add a bit of humor to the story.

The only thing that was a bit problematic to me was that the book has some spelling and grammar errors, but they were easy enough to overlook as I was engaged in Rome and Julian’s lives and the battles facing them.

The characters and circumstances they face kept me turning pages as Rome and Julian developed their abilities and fought evil creatures while learning more about their abilities and the history surrounding them. I finished reading this book in just three days because it gripped and held my attention and engaged me in the story and the characters’ lives.

The ending includes enough resolution to satisfy the reader, with enough of an open end to promise another great adventure with more evil creatures for Rome and Julian to battle.

This book is a fun easy read that I recommend to middle grade readers and up. Anyone who enjoys fantasy stories with unique characters and story lines that include battles and a bit of humor, will enjoy The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter.

I give The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter 5 stars.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler

The Farmer's Daughter: Book One in The Spencer Valley Chronicles by [Lisa R. Howeler]

As a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy of The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review of this book.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler is Ms. Howeler’s debut novel as well as the first novel in her “A Spencer Valley Chronicles” series. It is the story of the Tanner family with the main focus on Molly Tanner. The story takes place in a small town and on the Tanner family’s dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania.

Times are tough and many of the local farmers are struggling to continue their farming business, and as Molly watches several family friends sell their farms and move on to something else, she begins to grow restless, wondering if farming is all she will ever know. Then Alex, Molly’s brother’s friend and her father’s farmhand begins to show a romantic interest in Molly. This makes Molly uncomfortable as she wonders why he would be interested in her. Like many women in the world, Molly suffers from a low opinion of her physical appearance. The romance that develops between Molly and Alex is sweet and very touching and both characters grow within themselves as their relationship grows.

An accident on the farm has the entire Tanner family wondering how to save the farm and keep it running financially.

I enjoyed everything about this story. Ms. Howeler is a very talented storyteller who obviously knows about farming and the struggles that come with it. In addition, she knows people, and I mean really knows people, not just on a surface level, but deep down inside. Her characters are so well developed and their struggles are so real. As I read, I was reminded of one of my favorite T.V. shows from my childhood, “The Waltons”. Ms. Howeler’s characters and the struggles they faced were reminiscent of the Walton family and their struggles. But, in addition to the struggles, the loving bond of family and the strength of that bond shines through.

Ms. Howeler also did a very good job of creating her setting. She painted pictures in my mind of cows and fields and the barn. One scene includes the birth of a calf and the description gives the reader a very clear picture, not only of the birth, but of the importance and meaning of new life.

I found myself so involved in the lives of the Tanner family and cared so much about what happened to them that they became part of my group of friends and I found the ending bittersweet as I wanted to see how things would turn out, but at the same time, was hesitant to say goodbye to such rich, engaging characters.

The ending doesn’t resolve every aspect of the story, leaving the reader the promise of another story to come, and I look forward to reading the next book as soon as possible. The characters and their circumstances in this story sometimes made me smile, sometimes laugh out loud, and once made me cry. A story that evokes these kinds of emotions are the stories I love best and the ones that will live in my memory.

I highly recommend The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler to anyone who loves to read stories that touch your heart and that show what it’s like to live with a family that has its struggles but works together to get through them. None of the characters are perfect. They are very much like any of us and are very realistic, which makes the story all the more meaningful.

I will add that there are some steamy romance scenes but nothing in detail and nothing overly explicit.

I give The Farmer’s Daughter a 5 star rating.