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There Will Be Stars
There Will Be Stars
by Billy Coffey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.40
61 used & new from $6.38

4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Kind of Read, June 27, 2016
This review is from: There Will Be Stars (Paperback)
When one of the blurbs on the back speaks of the lyrical writing, you know this is going to be a different read.

And, to be sure, it took me a while to get comfortable with the style of Coffey's writing.

The setting is down south. Bobby Barns is a father of two boys and not exactly the assumed hero. He has a lot of character flaws.

After an accident, Bobby discovers he's in something akin to the movie, Groundhog Day. And he finds others who are in similar situations.

This is a very deep book. It will take you a while to get used to the writing style and the way the characters talk. You might even have to reread the first few chapters. But if you stick with it, you may find yourself deeply moved by the ideas Coffey explores with Bobby and his fellow "turners"

The reader's guide at the end provides a little assistance in understanding some of the themes within, but these are real-to-life presentations of people. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, a bit of dark and a bit of light in them.

You may not even fully comprehend what you read once the book is over, but you will be pondering this story long after it's over.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

MEG: Nightstalkers
MEG: Nightstalkers
by Steve Alten
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.76
15 used & new from $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer/Beach Read, June 24, 2016
This review is from: MEG: Nightstalkers (Hardcover)
A return to what most readers love about Steve Alten stories.

Welcome back to the characters who age yet don't seem to age, right? We have The Taylor family and associates - although Mac didn't seem to be in this one too much - older and dealing with the constant scars and grief brought about by large prehistoric sharks.

David Taylor, is grieving. He wants revenge. So he agrees to help the Dubai crew capture the creature that is causing his nightmares. David's mom, Terry, wants to be finished with large creatures all together. And Jonas is doing what Jonas always does.

This book was a fun read. Most of Alten books are. Even though they have good scientific explanations and exploring, you really shouldn't hold too hard to it. It's a summer blockbuster read and full of underwater action. His descriptions of the evening encounters are quite chilling.

However, I was curious why Alten added the whole "Arab Beauties Reality TV angle" to the plot. He tried it in the third book and I think that's the weakest story of the series. Why include a reality show connection? It didn't help anything, in my opinion.

The greatest thing, in my view, was the total elimination of what happened in VOSTOK!!!!! Sure it takes you a bit out of the MEG storyline but when Zach Wallace shows up with his exposition - I fell head over heels. As I'm reading his interactions with Jonas, I kept thinking, "Alten just erased the Vostok book!" And it was a beautiful thing.

Not only does he include Wallace in this story, but there were connections to many other Alten stories like Sharkman and The Omega Project. It was a quick blip in the story and fun to catch!

There are more prehistoric monsters than just the Megs. But not as many as were in the previous novel, "Hell's Aquarium".

This is a great summer/beach read and it felt great reading a Meg novel from Steve Alten!

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by TOR Publishing.

SpineChillers Mysteries Series: Attack of the Killer House
SpineChillers Mysteries Series: Attack of the Killer House
by Fred E. Katz
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from $0.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Leaping, June 22, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book fits in with the less-scary-some-religious-version of Goosebumps.

It isn't as scary as book 3. Most adult readers will figure out what is going on by chapter 2 but my son was engaged throughout the story and told me it was "good".

I only wanted to point out one thing after reading the first two books in this series: the author uses the term, "leaped" an awful lot. Everything and everyone is leaping in these books. It's like they can't jump; they have to leap.

That's all. Nothing too horrible, I just made that observation. On to book 4.

Curse (Blur Trilogy)
Curse (Blur Trilogy)
by Steven James
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.66
34 used & new from $3.66

4.0 out of 5 stars The Striking Conclusion That Leaves The Door Open, June 22, 2016
This review is from: Curse (Blur Trilogy) (Paperback)
This is the conclusion to James' Blur Trilogy. But not really.

We've followed Daniel Byers through his bizarre blur experiences - seeing dead people who help him solve horrendous crimes. Now he is with a group of his friends and they will be thrust into situations that anyone else would be calling their parents over.

But these kids can't because that wouldn't make an enjoyable story.

Steven James is extremely talented in storytelling. I have enjoyed his Bowers Files series. This trilogy was a bit weird but engaging as well. He built an interesting yet slightly off-center world with these books and I was hoping for some fantastic, head-whipping reveal about the blur abilities.

I just don't think I got it.

Don't get me wrong, the story is great and the pacing is right on the money - keeping me reading through all hours. The way he wrote the interactions between the teenagers returned me to "those days". He captured some of the awkward goofiness too.

The ending was even left slightly ajar so that more stories could told if James feels the need to return to this world and most people, I bet, think he will at some point because he's done this before - The Bowers Files series was supposed to come to this climactic conclusion and then he still writes more stories with the characters.

This is a good book. I didn't think it was as good as the first one. But the characters came to a kind of end of this arc.

I will obviously keep reading whatever he produces.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Skyscape Publishing

The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel
The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel
by James Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.29
75 used & new from $9.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Utah Desert Noir, June 7, 2016
I must have been in just the right mind-frame to read this book. Once I finished it, I thought "I don't typically read this kind of novel but it was really good. Until the end."

This is the first novel by James Anderson and it has a film noir quality to it. It's one of those things where it feels slightly off. (At least to me) Not even in a small way but just enough to cause you to think it's not normal.

The desert of Utah is a strange place but for truck driver Ben Jones, it's his home and job as he drives up and down Route 117 making deliveries for the inhabitants.

Not a lot really happens for 90% of the book. You meet the characters through Ben's eyes and his opinions of them and Anderson does a fantastic job with words and prose to make you feel like you're sitting in the cab with Ben as he makes his rounds.

The owner of the titled diner and his grumpiness, the brothers who seem to not be entirely all right in the head, the preacher who carries a cross as he walks the route, a couple other characters, and then a strange woman who plays the cello.

You slowly learn more about them and particularly the cello playing woman, to whom Ben becomes a bit attached.

The progression of the plot is slow but satisfying.

Then the climax builds near the last 10% of the story and things come into focus and upsetting.

I remember thinking, "What in the world is going on?" as I finished up the last three chapters.

I'm glad I read this book. I think Anderson has a real talent. The Utah desert was a unique setting for a slightly offbeat story.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Crown Publishing.

The League of Incredible Vegetables
The League of Incredible Vegetables
DVD ~ Various
Offered by DealsPro
Price: $8.46
23 used & new from $3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars VeggieTales to the Rescue, June 7, 2016
VeggieTales has their over version of The Avengers.

There was another group of heroes back in the day called The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which this title is based off of but most of the kids will think of The Avengers when watching this movie.

A new villain wants to freeze the city in fear. LarryBoy can't tackle him on his own so he needs the help of more heroes.

Junior is the character that learns the lesson about fear and turning to God.

The animation is solid. The acting and message are top notch like they typically are from a VeggieTale flick.

The most important thing for parents to know is that my two boys were glued to the screen when this was playing. In fact, they request it now for every movie night. It isn't too scary for young eyes and they learn a well-known but valuable lesson in turning to God when afraid.

The theme song is performed by The Newsboys so you know it will get your kids up and dancing.'

The bonus features were surprisingly substantial.

The only thing of critique is, from an adult point of view, I thought the Silly Song was a bit weak this time. Hairbrush song, it was not.

This DVD was provided for review, at no cost, by FishFlix.

BicMax Bath Toy Organizer Heavy Duty 4 Super-Strength Hooked Suction Cups for Glass & Glazed Tile Making Bath Time Safe & Fun for Baby
BicMax Bath Toy Organizer Heavy Duty 4 Super-Strength Hooked Suction Cups for Glass & Glazed Tile Making Bath Time Safe & Fun for Baby
Offered by zoya online
Price: $17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Bath Toy Bag, June 3, 2016
This was supposed to replace a plastic bin that held all of the bath toys our kids used. The bin had gotten used and you know what happens with bath toy containers over time...

This is a very sturdy mesh bag with two loops at the upper corners.

It comes with four suction cups with hooks. These hooks fit in the loops and you can stick it to your tub. The suction cups have hard plastic over them so you can't press it hard against the surface to see it stick. You have to trust it will.

Very well made and I would recommend it.

The only two problems I had were not really the fault of the product. 1) my tub isn't as tall as others I guess so the bag lays on the floor. 2) the suction cups don't stick to the inside material of my tub so I can't hang it higher.

But all-in-all, I would say this is a good product. I like it.

This product was provided for review, at no cost, by BicMax
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The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want
The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want
by Dave Kerpen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.87
72 used & new from $11.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Won't Get EVERYTHING You Want But Read This Book Anyway, May 23, 2016
I think I understand why Kerpen put the subtitle to this book: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want.

I don't like it though. It put in my mind the stereotype that this is just another surface level How-to-get-ahead-with-people gobbledeegook.

I say that because after reading this book, which was fantastic by the way, I don't believe the skills explored inside will get you everything you want.

With all of these John Maxwell wannabes, there is something to their persona that not everyone who will read their books have. Kerpen has it and it has worked out well in his art of the sale.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book. It revolves around gaining success and influence. Going in with hesitancy, I wasn't expecting such a fun read!

The chapters are very short and to the point. Inside you'll find eleven parts: Understanding Yourself and People, Meeting the Right People, Reading People, Connecting with People, Influencing People, Changing People's Minds, Teaching People, Leading People, Resolving Conflict with People, Inspiring People, Keeping People Happy.

Four or five chapters make up each part.

Reading this feels like sitting down with Kerpen and having him chat with you about his experiences. You'll find yourself underlining and highlighting parts of this book.

The anecdotes are fun and informative. The advice is fairly straight forward but helpful in their own repeatable way.

The subtitle could have been changed but all in all this is a great, quick read.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Crown Business.

Cocktail Shaker Set -Premium Bartender Kit in a Luxury Bag: Martini Bar Shaker,Jigger,2 Liquor Pourers & ebook : 100 Cocktail Drinks Recipes - Lifetime Guarantee on all the Barware Tools by SHIKSHOOK.
Cocktail Shaker Set -Premium Bartender Kit in a Luxury Bag: Martini Bar Shaker,Jigger,2 Liquor Pourers & ebook : 100 Cocktail Drinks Recipes - Lifetime Guarantee on all the Barware Tools by SHIKSHOOK.
Offered by SHIKSHOOK
Price: $43.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Mixer Kit, May 16, 2016
This is a very nice set. The carrying bag is very high quality - feels very durable - with nice draw strings to hold the shaker.

The shaker itself is made of stainless steel. It has the brand name engraved on the lid as well as the Shikshook logo on the top of the cap. You will have no problems mixing any kind of drink with this product.

It comes with two pourers if you want that bartender vibe and try to do tricks while you pour your drinks. It also comes with a jigger that has the logo on both ends for the 1oz and 1/2 oz.

The only critique I have for this set is for the box it came in. (How petty right?) The image on the box looks cheap. It has a couple recipes on the side of the box to give you a head start, but you actually get a free e-book with the purchase for all your mixing needs.

So cheap pixelated image on the box, but otherwise a very nice cocktail shaker.

This product was provided for review, at no cost, by #Shikshook
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Heroes of the Bible Treasury (I Can Read! / Adventure Bible)
Heroes of the Bible Treasury (I Can Read! / Adventure Bible)
by David Miles
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.99
57 used & new from $6.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Young Readers., May 6, 2016
This is a fantastic collection of books for your young reader.

It's part of the I Can Read level 2 so get ready for complete sentences and bright illustrations from David Miles.

Inside you'll find the stories of: Noah, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Queen Esther, and the Paul. They are the perfect length for my son to remain engaged.

I've found that they create good starting points of conversation about these characters. Many times my son has asked follow-up questions when we finish the story.

This is a great collection and I would recommend it to anyone with a young reader.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Zonderkidz Publishing.

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