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justanotherbookguy

justanotherbookguy

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Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers
Chap Clark
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Erik Larson
Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible
C.F.W. Walther

Prodigal Son

Frankenstein: Prodigal Son - Scott Brick, Kevin J. Anderson, Dean Koontz I have been excited to read this series since I heard it was coming out. It took me a while to get to it, but it's finally time and I have to say I wasn't disappointed with the first book. I love retellings of classic books and Dean Koontz fights over the spot for my favorite author with John Grisham so I feel like this series was tailor made for me.

The prodigal son is a wonderful book. It's well told and has a bit of a dark edge to it, which is one of the reason I love reading Koontz books. The characters that Koontz paints in this opening novel are fantastic. You have the 2 overworked cops, the original Frankenstein monster, and Dr. Frankenstein himself. I won't give you names so that you can figure out who is who all by yourself :) But, the characters are well rounded. You get just enough knowledge about them to keep you wanting more.

The setting for this book is perfect. New Orleans is already filled with intrigue and mystery, but then you throw in Frankenstein and his original monster looking to get even with the man that created him and it's a recipe for some fun.

This series will not be short on action. I would tell you what happens in the first book, but I hate writing spoilers. If you have taken my book recommendations before and not been disappointed then you HAVE to pick this series up and start reading it. You won't regret it.

The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community

The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community - Jesse Rice I enjoyed this book very much. It had a great deal to say about intentionality. I think that is a topic that is far too often overlooked in our day and age. This book talked about how to be intentional when it comes to your Facebook habits, but also when it comes to life in general. We need to be more intentional about our relationships. We need to invest more time in the face to face aspect of human interaction and not rely so heavily on our social interactions.

This book makes you sit back and look at your daily habits and see just how reliant you are on social media and things of that nature. I would challenge you to read this book and then take a look at your life and see where you fit into the "always on" mentality that seems to be the way of the world today. This book is definitely worth the read.

Secret Seekers Society and Solomon's Seal

Secret Seekers Society and Solomon's Seal - J.L. Hickey This is the second book in the Secret Seekers Society series (boy that's a lot of s's). Second books are notorious for bombing compared to the first book. That is not the case with this book. Joe (the author) did a fantastic job of keeping this book out of a sophomore slump. This is fast becoming one of my favorite series.

I like the way that Joe develops a plot. There are a realistic amount of twists to his story line, but he doesn't use the to excess. Another one of the things I love about his plots are that he incorporates people and places from history. I won't say more than that because it would be sort of a spoiler. I also like the complexity of the "world building" that takes place in this book. Joe does a great job pulling you into the story with his descriptions of things. Some authors overdo this, but not so in this book.

The characters in this book are so believable. A lot of them wear their emotions on their sleeves and are very relatable (as relatable as they can be for hunting for mythical beasts and relics). You can feel the pain, joy, angst, etc in the characters as your read. The other thing I like is that Joe doesn't overdevelop the characters. Some authors fall into that trap. The only challenging thing when it comes to characters in this series is keeping them all straight. But, it takes a lot of characters to pull off a long and successful series. So it's worth the work.

The readability of this book is fantastic. You don't have to slog through any sections at all. On the other side of the coin, you don't feel rushed in any part of the book either. It's got a nice even-keeled pace that makes for a very enjoyable read.

If you are a fan of mythology, paranormal, suspense, or YA in general then I recommend that you start this series as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed that you did.

My Rating: 5/5

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro - J.L. Hickey This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The first thing that I love about it is the title. Who doesn't like secret societies and beasts? The author does a great job of hooking you before you even open the book. It's also a vague enough title that you have no idea what you are really getting into. I like the mystery and intrigue that that causes.

The plot of this book was wonderful. It wasn't predictable and and there weren't a ton of slow moving parts. He did a great job of moving the story along. At the same time, he didn't rush the story either. It's got great balance and enough twists and turns to keep you wanting more. This is the first book in quite a while where I was disappointed when I had to put it down to go do something else.

The characters in this book are relatable and not outlandish in their situations in life. Plus there are enough different characters that just about anyone can find someone to relate to in this book. I loved that the characters were so well developed. They weren't over-developed, which I hate. I didn't have to suffer through pages and pages of what the person wears or what they eat or what their favorite color is. Mr. Hickey does a fantastic job with his character building.

The readability of this book was great. As I said earlier, the pacing was good and the suspense building was wonderful. I think he really nailed it with this book. It's a page turner for sure.

As far as genre goes, anyone who likes fantasy and mystery would love this book. Also, fans of great writing will love this book as well. I can't wait to read the sequel.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Immortality Pursuit

The Immortality Pursuit - J.A. Roman The Immortality Pursuit is the book that got me out of my reading slump. This book is well crafted when it comes to plot, characters, and readability. I enjoyed this book a great deal and would like to thank the author for trusting me to review his work.

There were many things I enjoyed about the plot, but I will only mention a few of them so that I don't include any spoilers in my review. The best thing about it was that it was a well thought out story. What I mean by that is that everything flowed very well and there where no awkward tangents that weren't really relevant to the story. Sometimes authors add to many side plots and then don't wrap them up. Not so with this book. The other thing that I enjoyed was the subject of the book. Usually when an author writes about immortality it is about vampires or werewolves. I appreciated that this was more of a scientific/action adventure story. It's also not so outlandish that it's not believable. The action in this book is spread out evenly as well. There aren't huge fights and then pages and pages of no action.

The second thing I would like to touch on is the characters. For those of you that follow my reviews, you know that the character development in the book is one of my joys or angsts. The characters in this book are well done. You learn just enough about everyone to keep your interest peaked but I don't know their shoe size, favorite color, and their mom's dog's name. What I mean is that the author didn't over develop the characters. They are superb in many ways. Jayr, Arkius, Harrison, and the gang are all just mysterious enough to keep you wanting more tidbits.

My last big thing when it comes to reviews is readability and readership. This book is a very fast read and keeps you on the edge of your seat. There aren't any sections of the book where you feel like you are trudging through until you get to the next good part. As for readership; I would say that this book would be well suited for high school and up in terms of age. As for genre, I would say anyone that likes science, action/adventure, or thrillers would be a big fan of this book.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis (Book #1)

The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis (Book #1) - Aurelia This book was somewhat of an interesting read for me. I found myself somewhere in between really not liking it and being able to tolerate it. I think the part that made it tolerable for me was the fact that it was a really easy read.

The character development in this book is sub par at best. You get to know enough about John and Julia, but then there are a host of other characters that just don't get enough attention There is this group of 23 that you really only get to know the names of some of them. You get a gist of who's in charge of this big group, but there is next to no background on them for you to draw on. If the author did this on purpose then they accomplished their goal. It makes for a very frustrating read for me though. Some other reviewers may like that about the book, but I didn't like it at all.

The plot development was equally as sub par. I read through the entire first book and have no idea where this story is going. All I know is that there is some satellite going into space that this group of 23 is going to try and stop by using John and Julia in some way. Other than that there isn't much else going on. The entire first book was spent on getting Julia to believe that there may be such a thing as ghosts and spirits in the world. There was no action or build up that made you want to continue reading on to the next book.

It was mainly for these two reasons that I gave this book 1 star. It did nothing for me and I won't be reading on in this series. However, I would like to thank to author for sending me a copy for a review.

The Reckoning

The Reckoning - Jason D. Morrow This was the final book of the trilogy and I always have high hopes for the ending book and Jason did not disappoint. Not only was this book a fantastic read, but it was very very easy to ready. It flew by. I have been in a reading slump for the last few months and this book tore me right out of it.

Jason continued with his wonderful characters and rich worlds. I have loved the plot of this book from the beginning and it only got better with the third installment. Silas and his friends have finally tracked down all the medallions that are needed to bring peace to Marenon and now it is time for them to wage war against the Stuhocs to bring that peace about. Jason does a wonderful job of painting the picture of the epic war for Marenon. You feel like you are flying along with Alric or you are fighting off the soldiers of the dead. While all that is going on you are also immersed in the individual battles the Silas is having along the way. I love how the book goes back and forth from the overall war to the individual battles. Some authors struggle to make those transitions and it just turns out sloppy, but not so with Jason. He does this very well.

This book is full of twists and turns when it comes to Silas as the finisher of the reckoning and Silas the person. I guarantee you won't see the end coming. If you are a lover of the fantasy genre then this trilogy is a must read for you. I have to thank Jason for giving me the opportunity to read these books. It has been a joy for me.

The Tube Riders

The Tube Riders - Chris  Ward The Tube Riders by Chris Ward was one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. I don't say this often because I hate movie adaptations of books, but I think this book would make an amazing movie. Chris is one of the best "builders" I have come across. Allow me to explain what I mean: the world that the tube riders live in is so rich in detail that I can totally see myself running alongside them as they are running from the government. I can feel myself hanging off the side of subway trains with them as they are rushing through the tunnels. The characters are well developed and easily loved or hated depending on whose side you are one. I love the internal struggles that some of them have throughout the book.

This book was great for me on other levels as well. I have a degree in psychology and I loved watching the interactions of the protagonists and the antagonists. I loved the fact that Chris let us into the minds of his characters. I think that adds so much to a book.

The plot is well developed and keeps you wanting more. I read some other reviews that called the book "gritty and rough", which I think is a great way to put it. There aren't a lot of frills, but man does this book keep you wanting more. I'm sometimes put off buy 500+ page books, but this one was well worth the time that went into reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone that has a love for reading. I don't care what genre you like, this book is well written and you will love the depth of the plot and the characters that you encounter. Give this book a try. You won't be sorry that you did.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible

Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible - Jonathan Fisk I really liked the content of this book. Pastor Fisk does a fantastic job of identifying what is going wrong in the church right now. It causes you to take a hard look at yourself and make sure that you keep yourself in check and rely totally on God and his promises for you in the Bible. The reason I only gave this book 4 stars is because the writing style was tough for me. He used different fonts, sizes, he bolded random words, there were a ton of pictures in the background and margins of pages. It was just kind of hard for me to stay focused so it took me a little bit longer to read then a traditional book. That was my only criticism. Otherwise, this is a fantastic book that is worth the read.

The Art of Fielding: A Novel

The Art of Fielding: A Novel - Chad Harbach When I first started this book I thought it was going to be strictly about baseball. Some of you are probably thinking that sounds crazy with all the people that have been talking about it and reviewing it but when I know I want to read a book I make sure I don't listen to what people are saying about the book so I am surprised by it when I read it. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Now, on with the review.

Plot: The plot of this book was fantastic. I'm a sports nut. I love reading about sports, writing about sports, and playing sports. So, I loved the baseball aspect of this book, especially that the Cardinals were worked into the plot. Being born and raised in St. Louis, I'm a total homer for the Cardinals. So bonus points to Chad for that.

The non-sports aspect of the plot was one of the best crafted plots I've read in a very, very long time. Chad does a fantastic job of weaving the stories of all the characters together. I'm not an author, but I would think that it's got to be incredibly difficult to wind some many complex stories together. Chad Harbach has crafted a gem in "The Art of Fielding". He has managed to intertwine baseball, failed relationships, new beginnings, college life, adult life, and many other things into a masterful story about baseball and growing in life.

Characters: The characters in this book are fantastic. There is a depth and relate-ability to these characters that is hard to find in many books today. There is a character in this book that relates to everyone that reads it. I think this is the case because the characters are dealing with real world situations that are easily related to by anyone. Sometimes in the realm of fiction, the author struggles to make the character realistic enough to relate to. That's not the case in this book. This may be my favorite set of characters since I started reviewing books on this blog.

Readership: This is one of those rare books the transcends a specific genre. Yes, it's fiction and it has sports in it, but it's also got so many more things that I don't want to post on here because it would ruin the plot for potential readers. I think this book would appeal to sports fans, fiction fans, romance fans, suspense fans, etc...Basically I'm saying that I think anyone can read this book and find joy in it. This is a book for all people that love reading.

Overall Score: 5/5 One of the best books I've ever read.

Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center

Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center - Daniel Preus Great book about the Lutheran faith. Well written and easy to understand.

Deadlocked

Deadlocked - A.R. Wise Plot: The plot was a little too abrupt for my liking in this book. There was no build-up to anything. The suspense of the plot was lacking in my opinion. It was almost like reading a check list. The thought of the plot was good, but the it just didn't get there for me.

Characters: I know I harp a lot on this blog about characters and the right amount of development. Having said that, I feel like the characters in this book were very much under-developed. They lacked depth in my opinion therefore it made it hard to get into the book as well.

Readership: This book is for someone looking for a quick read that is into zombie books.

I appreciate the author sending it to me, but I probably would not recommend it to anyone to read.

Overall Rating: 1/5

From Out Of Chaos

From Out Of Chaos - Nathan Wrann Plot: Since this is the second book in a series, I'm always worried about the plot. It always seems to be that the second book pales in comparison to the first book. That wasn't the case with this book and it was a pleasant surprise. The plot picks up seamlessly from the first book while still doing a great job of identifying the characters for someone who may be reading this book without having read the first one. My favorite part of this book by far is the fact that Nathan ties in things from classic horror novels such as Frankenstein and Dracula. I think it is great that he his tying into the roots of the genre that he is not writing in. It's not a knock off of those works in any way either. He has carved out a fresh new niche while incorporating elements from these wonderful classics. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Characters: I really enjoy the characters in this book series. They are easy to follow and understand (as much as you can understand a vampire and his friends). They are well developed and all play an intricate part in the story. Without just one of the characters in the book it would leave an irreparable void in the plot and story overall.

Readership: This book is readable for anyone that's in middle school or older. I would recommend high school as a good starting point though. I believe this book will appeal to you if you like vampire books, horror books, suspense books, and action/adventure books. It's got a little bit for everyone.

This book is another solid effort by Nathan Wrann.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Mad Science Institute

Mad Science Institute - Sechin Tower The Mad Science Institute was a fun read for me. It was a very easy book to just sit down and get into. I feel like Mr. Tower has crafted a very thoughtful and well written book.

Plot: The plot was very well done in this book. It's a deviation from just about everything else that's out there right now. I like the fact that Mr. Tower went out on a limb and created something that isn't popular in the mainstream right now. There aren't a lot of folks talking about mad scientists trying to take over the world and a group of college aged scientists trying to stop them. I'm not going to get into too much of the plot in this review because I would much rather you read it for yourself. It is well worth it.

Characters: The characters in this book are really well done. Soap and Dean are easy to relate to and easy to follow through the book. I like that each chapter of the book alternated from Soap to Dean. I love it when authors give me the point of view of more than one character in the book. I think it really helps to move the characters along in the story and keeps the reader engaged with each character.

Readership: I think that this book would appeal to teenagers, middle and jr. highers, and anyone that is fascinated by robots and science. It's got a great plot and it's a breeze to read. You won't be sorry you picked this book up. It's great for a light read.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Dark Matter Heart

Dark Matter Heart - Nathan Wrann To be honest, I was not in love with this book when I started it. I thought it had some Twilight type undertones to it. I also thought that it moved along way too quickly and I wasn't sure how there was going to be any good closure to the story. This just goes to show that you can't judge a book until you are done with it. By the time I was through with this book I was loving every minute of it. I understood why the plot was moving along so quickly and Nathan did a fantastic job of wrapping it up at the end of book one.

I usually like more character development in my books. As I have said on here before, there is a fine line between not enough character development and too much character development. But, as I neared the end of the book it dawned on me that Nathan was keeping the characters somewhat mysterious and enigmatic on purpose. So, I would have to say that the characters are right on par with the mood of the story.

The plot was well done, even though I thought it moved too quickly in some parts (I think the whole book takes place in the span of less than one week...). I'm excited to see how the characters that came to light in the end of book one play into the plot of the following books.

If you are a fan of vampires, thrillers, and ya novels then I would recommend this read to you. It goes by very quickly. You could easily sit down in a day and read this book. I can't wait the start the next book in this series.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Orphan, the Soulcatcher, and the Black Blizzard

The Orphan, the Soulcatcher, and the Black Blizzard - Kimberlee Ann Bastian This was an interesting read for me because I didn't remember that it was the beginning of a series (doh!). So, until the end of the book when I saw there was another one coming, I was really confused about the lack of closure in the book. Stupid me...

Having said that, this was a fantastic book with a perfect ending to set up a sequel! The plot is well thought out and well crafted. I love the setting of depression era Chicago. It is such a gritty and nasty place. It's the perfect setting to move the story of Charlie and Buck through. Charlie is a kid that has had to grow up too fast. He has a problem with not being able to leave "project" children alone. He feels the need to take them under his wing and help them along. Well, he get's more than he bargains for with "Buck". Buck gets him into more trouble then he really knows what to do with. It's an interesting relationship to watch develop and I'm excited to see how the author (Kimberlee Bastian) works all of the sub characters into the rest of the story.

This book has something for a wide range of readers. There is some action and adventure, some mortal vs immortal, and some mystery going on. If you are at all a fan of any of these things then this book would be a worthwhile read for you.

I apologize for the vagueness of this review because it's hard to tell you much about the story and what I liked about it without having some spoilers, and I hate spoilers. Just know that this book has a lot going for it and that it will keep you turning pages to the very end. If you have the time, pick it up and give it a read.

Overall Rating: 4/5