Wednesday, April 30, 2014

REVIEW: "Hold Me Tight" by Faith Sullivan


He loves me. He loves me not.

Ivy's heart shatters upon hearing Eric's crushing ultimatum. Despite how much she cares for him, she won't give in to his demands. She has no choice but to leave, even if it's the hardest thing she's ever had to do. 

She loves me. She loves me not.

When Ivy walks out, Eric can't help feeling betrayed. Unwilling to put her at risk, he values her safety above all else. By refusing to compromise, he's blindsided when she moves in with a man who's already stolen so much from him.

I love you. You love me not.

Lauren sees Eric and Ivy's split as an opportunity to end their relationship once and for all. When Ivy places herself at the mercy of Eric's rival, Lauren plots to destroy the fragile tie binding them together, even if she endangers Ivy's life in the process.


"I really hate talking about myself. My goal is to have the shortest author bio imaginable. I would much rather have a conversation with my readers. Are you able to escape within my pages? Does my writing make you feel something? Are there characters that you can't get out of your head? Let me know!" 


I received an advanced copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows.

Many mothers make hard decisions to tend and care for their little ones.  Women make hard decisions as they work on tending and caring for their significant others.  People in general make hard decisions in order to protect those they hold dear....especially if the one they hold dearest is them, themselves, and they.  But what if protecting the life of a tiny tot could mean the end of everything?  What if looming secrets are revealed that will spell disaster for all?  What if...

Riveting characters.  Intense action.  Heart-pounding drama.  Surprising plot twists up to the very end.  Sullivan has crafted a thrilling finale to the trilogy following Eric and Ivy, and it kept me on pins and needles the whole time...and maybe just a bit glued to my Kindle screen (I could not put this book down)!  Discovering what love really means is hard, especially if the life of an unborn child hangs in the balance, as well as the conflicting dreams and aspirations of several individuals.  Sullivan's lovely writing style shines in this work, as it is super accessible, relateable, and down-right fun to read. Characters are just as endearing and maddening as ever, and events elicited real tears from this reader's eyes.  Just a down-right good read. 

That being said, it is a down-right good read for 18+ people (again, too much steam!).

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 4!

The Good
Oh. Em. Gee.

Just.  Oh. Em. Gee.

Pregnancy is a difficult enough process when the man involved isn't being a hothead, the psycho woman who is obsessed with him isn't doing her d***dest to get him, friends aren't keeping lies, men with money and power aren't wielding their power over life and death, mortgages aren't due, and deadlines aren't looming.  Geez.  

Here we rejoin Eric and Ivy right after he has told her to do the impossible - give up her baby.  Of course, we as readers can be majorly angry at him...but he has his reasons: he has already lost one woman who was trying to make it through an impossible pregnancy.  Lost not just her, but the baby as well.  He can't stand to lose another.  Ivy can't stand to give up her baby.  She leaves and lands right in Lauren's clutches, who deposits her with Tim - Eric's one time best friend, and potential father of Eric's dead fiancee's baby.  

And Tim is a Chris Hemsworth worthy hottie.  As if Ivy's life weren't complicated enough.  

Will Eric see the err of his ways and win Ivy back?  What lengths are Lauren willing to go to in order to secure the future she desires?  What are the secrets that Ivy senses are still creeping along behind the scene, just waiting to jump out at the wrong time to stress her out badly enough to make her lose the baby she loves more than life?

I could barely put this book down during the entire time I was reading.  Okay, so maybe I should rephase - I could barely put my phone down during the entire time I was reading this book on my Kindle app.  Seriously, Sullivan's writing style is accessible, easy to read, majorly addicting, thorough, etc.  We still (of course) have the point of view switching between major players in the plot (namely Eric, Ivy, and Lauren) and Sullivan writes this so well that it just works.  Even without the name of the person at the top of a chapter, it is clear who is speaking.  It feels like Sullivan crawled inside of each character's head and method acted the chapters!  Gives me the shudders just to think about what it was like to be in Lauren's head.  */shudder*  See!

Anyways, it has been awhile since I've been so emotionally invested in a book.  It helps that I've read the first two books (Take Me Now and Meant for Me).  I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how Sullivan was going to pull off a plot that would match or beat these two books.  I should never have ever worried my reading little brain.  The exceptional plot that Sullivan worked through this book is more than worthy of its predecessors, and gave me a thudding heart more than a few times.  What is going to happen now?!  I have to read the next chapter.....

It was impossible to tear myself away from the drama, not just because of the war happening between individuals around Eric and Ivy's baby, but also because of the war happening within Ivy's body as she struggled to hold onto a baby who wanted to join the world too soon.  You see - I had an at-risk pregnancy with my 2-year-old son.  I know what it is like to see your body disagreeing with your every prayer that Baby stay right where it is until it is time.  It sucks (to say the least).  It is emotional.  It is gut-wrenching.  I just wanted to wrap Ivy up in a warm cozy blanket, and then go b****-slap all the jerks who were making her stress out.  All of them.  *huff*

But let's get back to the book: Sullivan jumped right back into the action.  After all, she didn't need to spend a lot of time setting the scene because hopefully readers had already read the first two books (if they haven't, they need to - they are super good books, and this one doesn't make a lot of sense without them).  What she did do was spend a bit more time on the back story of other individuals playing into the story either directly or indirectly, and this informed some of the "Oh em gee!" plot twists that happened near the end.  Let me just say this - I did not see that one...or that one coming!  Well, kind of.  I did figure out the biggest secret before it was revealed, but literally only a few paragraphs before it was revealed.  You did great, Faith - usually I'm ahead of the reveals by a few pages!

This book was an absolutely terrific finale to an absolutely wonderful series.  I loved seeing how the main characters grew and developed - and their growth trajectories made sense!  Eric and Ivy grew not only as a couple, but also as individuals.  Ivy grew some determination and more ability to positively stand up to those around her, while Eric learned how to not be an island.  Will learned about caring for others.  Other characters grew in other ways, but you're not going to squirrel all of it out of me....go read the books for yourself (unless, of course, you aren't 18 yet....then wait until you are old enough :P)!

(Side note: the fact that Faith dedicated this book to my son and I did not change my review of this book, just in case you noticed and were thinking my glowing review was a bit of schmooing.)

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
le sigh

So, unlike the second book in this series, I have a bugly.  The progression of time along with the plot does not flow as well as it could in a few places.  What do I mean by this?  Well, at one point they are at Thanksgiving, and a few things were coming to a head.  Then suddenly it was Christmas....and those things that had been coming to a head suddenly weren't happening as quickly as it would seem like they should. Something that seemed like it should have been a within-the-next-few-days thing suddenly turned into a wait-a-minute-it-is-going-to-take-weeks thing.  Also, Lauren's insistence on the screenplay was apparently forgotten as the Price family's focus was moved to something else...but that "something else" was part of the motivation for the screenplay to go as it was supposed to go, so how Lauren's insistence on the screenplay going how it as "supposed to go" changed made my brain go "huh?"

That said, I'm super picky.  If you've read my other reviews then you already know this.  Don't let my confusion over a couple of plot points stop you from reading this super good book.  It isn't a highly intellectual, deeply philosophical kind of good book - it is a Lifetime movie kind of good book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it (and its predecessors!)!!  Now go read it...but only if you are old enough.  :P

Sunday, April 20, 2014

REVIEW: "Summoned" by Rainy Kaye (Reading Addiction Blog Tours)

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

SUMMONED is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.


Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.
She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

My son recently was rather obsessed with a toddler show called "Abby's Flying Fairy School".  Unfortunately, there are only a few episodes on YouTube.  One of these episodes includes a genie....which brings up an interesting question?  Is genie-hood a form of slavery?  What if the genie does not want to complete the wishes for moral reasons?  What if she or he has no choice.....

Dimitri is a man with a secret.  This secret means that people are abducted or die, things are blown up or stolen, and all at the whim of someone else. Blackmail?  No....something far more sinister.

Many of us have seen Aladdin, or some other similar story where a genie can be summoned to perform three wishes for the lucky master.  How many of those stories are told from the genie's point of view?  Summoned is a wonderfully written story told from the story of an unfortunate genie who is bound to a vicious master who has way more than three wishes.  Oh, and he can summon his genie at any time.  Dimitri, the genie, has one rule when it comes to relationships - wham bam thank you ma'am.  Until Sydney comes along and rattles his world.  Dim then finds himself longing for a "normal" life, one where he doesn't just disappear at the whim of someone else, one where he doesn't have to kill, abduct people, steal, lie, and otherwise obey the increasingly excruciating hum in his brain when a wish has been made and is unfulfilled.  One where he and Sydney might live a long, happy life together.

This is a superb book written in a raw, sarcastic style that made me laugh.  Think Sawyer from the television show "LOST" and you have an idea of the rough-around-the-edges-with-a-secret-snarky kind of person that Dimitri has turned into.  A whirlwind of a plot throws together ancient stories of jinn, modern technology, moral questions, and quite possibly the most dysfunctional biological family in history in an easily accessible story written in a snarky, sarcastic style that is just plain endearing.  This book was just plain fun to read.

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 4.


The Good
Genie stories abound in ancient literature, in many forms.  Generally one being is bound to another to somehow carry out the other's wishes.  Aladdin primed much of us to expect the genie to have to grant three wishes of his or her master.  Aladdin touches a little bit on how unsettling this may be for the genie, but Summoned takes it a step further.

Summoned is the story of a modern genie who has inherited his unfortunate spot in life through bloodlines.  His father was a genie, his grandfather was a genie, etc.  They were all bound to successive members of the Walker family.  Now, the Walker family just may be the most dysfunctional family in literary history, but I can't go into "why" too much without spoiling the plot.  Suffice to say there's lot of people out for their own interests despite whatever might get in their way.

Well, Dimitri is this genie.  Dimitri can be summoned to the wish chamber at any time....he just *poof* disappears.  This makes normal relationships complicated.  This makes anything complicated.  Oh, and he cannot tell anyone what he is, he cannot harm his master, and he cannot harm himself.  Well, he's just plain trapped, huh?

Too bad masters in this kind of situation tend to not be very nice.  Dimitri's master is up to something, and Dimitri doesn't know what.  All he knows is that he's been sent on a slew of back-to-back wishes that seem to have some sort of connection....but what is it?

And then there's Sydney - the woman who has rocked Dimitri's world to the point where he is bound and determined to have a normal life...too bad he can't tell her what he is, or why he disappears for days or weeks at a time and comes back all beat up.

Intrigued yet? Good, you should be.  : )  This is a superb book written in a style that flows very well.  Settings are described from the eyes of someone who has either been in the Four Corners area or has studied pictures of such in detail.  Movements of individuals make sense (i.e. there are no "wait, how'd he get across the room?"  moments).  There is an intricate web of deceit, murder, and mythology that just plain works.  

The characters?  Oh - I liked them a lot.  : )  Have you ever seen the television show "LOST"?  Well, Dimitri is kind of like Sawyer: major chip on his shoulder, SNARKY and sarcastic, endearing in his own bad-boy kind of way.  Sydney reminds me of her namesake from "Alias": strong, determined, kick-ass, not willing to back down from a fight, and very caring.  These two are written in such a way that you cannot help but cheer for them....except near the end when......oh darn - I just about spoiled something!

Here's what I also appreciated about this book - it takes on an angle of the genie story that most stories I've read that include genies just gloss over entirely: genies are little more than magic slaves.  In stories they are bound to their masters and must perform whatever wish that master requests (except, somehow, more wishes....always wondered why that was never anyone's first wish in any of the things that I've read).  But what if that master is requesting something that the genie finds morally repulsive?  As I've mentioned, the movie "Aladdin" talks about this a little bit, but not to the extent that it is covered here.  And what are the repercussions if the genie doesn't obey?  I loved how Kaye worked with this - very real, very shocking, very sad.

You should read this book.  This...I...wish.

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
I don't have a lot to gripe about when it comes to writing style, or many of the other things I generally pick stories apart for.  Rather, my complaints here revolve around the characters a bit, namely that Dimitri reads as a 40-year-old guy, not someone who is supposed to be in his 20s.  He reads far too old for his chronological age.  Maybe this is just me - but somehow this bugged me a bit. Then again, perhaps he sounds older because the stuff he's been through has aged him beyond his years - certainly I've run across this before.  Still, somehow his apparently chronological age vs.  his mental age/attitude bugged me a bit.

Another thing - there are sections of this book that are definitely NSFW.  Now, this inherently isn't much a problem except for two major things that happened here: there are far too many of these scenes.  I get it - the people involved can't keep their hands off one another.  There were so many of these scenes, however, that I kept finding myself trying to skip pages in some of the later ones.  That being said, when I did read them it felt like they fell apart a little bit by the end.  The last few NSFW scenes were far less involved than the early ones.  I get that the author didn't have to spend as much time on this as in the beginning because this kind of scene was already set, but I really like consistency.  :P

Oh, and there are typos.  Not a huge amount, but definitely enough that I found myself wanting to have a red pen in my hand.  Generally they were just the kind of typos that one becomes guilty of after viewing the same text for hours on end...I've done the same thing.  These are just the kind of typos that should be edited out.

Friday, April 18, 2014

REVIEW: "Justice Perverted" by Dee Wilbur

Sandy dozed intermittently with her head on Jon's shoulder as they headed west on IH10. She thought about the changes that had just occurred in her life: her father's death, quitting her teaching job in New Orleans and packing all her belongings into the moving truck she was riding in. Her mind then raced to the changes that were to come: her marriage to Jon, moving to the town of Richmond, Texas, and the effect that the community would have on her—and she would have on the community. She could not have foreseen the arrest of Jon's partner for murder, the teenage marijuana ring or the complete perversion of justice about to take place.


Beatrice Dee Pipes and Charles Wilbur Yates, Jr. write under the pen name Dee Wilbur, a combination of their middle names. This is their second work of fiction. A Texas native, Dee Pipes grew up in a small Texas town. Her degree from Rice University is a B.A. in English. She currently runs a company that helps other companies with marketing, project management, and other tasks. She has been married to her husband Bryan for thirty years. Also a native Texan, Charles Yates, Jr., was also reared in a small Texas town. He graduated from Rice University in Houston with a B.A. and Ph.D. in Biology. He received the M.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He has been married to his wife Sally for forty-five years. They have four adult sons and six grandchildren. He now tends his garden in Richmond, Texas.


I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows:

Small towns beget small town politics.  There are places in Alaska where you can hear the following phrase: "There's justice, then there's Alaska justice."  Several things happened in the rural Alaskan town where I grew up where locals handled justice before matters were brought to the authorities.  Why am I going into this?  Well, Alaska and Texas kind of have a pissing contest friendly rivalry.  Which is bigger/better?  Depends on the day.  :P  This book would make it appear that the two places do have one thing in common - small towns and their workings.  

Dee Wilbur is (are?) at it again, crafting a superb story while revealing the soft underbelly of living in a small town - small town politics.  

A small town lawyer has finally married the woman of his dreams and has brought her home to Richmond, Texas.  Shorty thereafter, there are some mighty "interesting" happenings in this fine town of his, and he finds himself embroiled in a situation where things are not as they seem, lies are told, drugs run rampant, and true friends may be in questionable status with the law.  A man winds up dead.  Then another man.  Meanwhile Jon, the aforementioned lawyer, tries his hand at criminal defense despite that not being his general area of law, and his wife - Sandy - tries to fit into a town where everyone knows everyone and has for centuries.  What could possibly go wrong?

Justice Perverted is a wonderful sequel to A Jealous God.  It has a riveting plot, a court case full of gut wrenching ups and downs, likable characters, and the ability to stand alone on its own two feet without its prequel.  

Let's just say that I stayed a little glued to this book 

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 3.

The Good
In college I only ever found one or two people who came from a town smaller than the one where I was reared.  According to the 2000 census, my little town boasted just over 400 people (I'm sure it has grown a little since then, but I'm also sure that number is a little low since I know some of the town folks who greeted the census takers with a gun and stern reminders of 'NO TRESSPASSING' signs in front of their house).  

I know small towns and their politics.  I also know what it is like to move into a small town where everyone knows everyone and you are the odd one out, at least for awhile (my spouse and I just moved to such a town).  

Justice Perverted is something that made me laugh at how very real-to-life it is.  This, unfortunately, is a story I could actually see playing out in any small town across...the planet.  

Jon Miller is a lawyer in the relatively small town of Richmond, Texas.  Much to the chagrin of the available ladies in town, this heart-stopping stud has just returned from a trip with a new bride in tow.  Sandy is a vivacious young lady who has had Jon's heart for quite awhile and is definitely up to the task of fitting into a place where everyone knows everyone already....or is she?  When someone winds up actually dead at a reenactment of an old shoot out, the colors of this little town show through as the gossip gears grind, someone is jailed, and justice may be swayed by a little bit of the "good ol' boys club".  Or is it?  And what is with all of these pesky teenagers suddenly getting into trouble?

Well, don't look at me for the answer to those questions - go read this book!

Oh, don't be nervous that it is team-written by two individuals.  As in the first book in this series, you can't tell that two different brains are at work here.  In that regard it is seamless - I cannot tell who wrote what chapter/page/word  :P

What I can tell is that the masterminds behind Dee Wilbur put a lot of time and effort into this supremely riveting plot.  Seriously, I stayed glued to the book for the couple of days it took me to read (and it wouldn't have even taken me that long to read if my toddler took longer naps).  Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next, something would happen that surprised me.  My brows furrowed more than once as I tried to predict what was even going to happen on the very next page.  This is not to say that it is so full of surprises that it is just plain annoying.  It is to say that it is full of enough surprises to keep it interesting.  

Anyways, let's take a look at characters.  I'm not going to list them all out here, but let's just say it is easy to love the ones you are supposed to love and to not like the ones that you are supposed to not like.  Then there are all those pesky people in the middle who do bad and good things so much that you aren't sure how to feel about them....but hey, that's life.  The point here is that the characters are real.  I could have lunch with Sandy and/or Jon.  And (*gasp* I just started a sentence with and!) I am so glad that Dee Wilbur choose to continue their story with Jon...I really liked him in the first book and I really like him here. 

This reminds me - this is a book in a series.  HOWEVER, it can stand delightfully on its own two feet without one absolutely having to read the first book.  Now, I highly recommend reading the first book because it is fantabulous, but this book can survive by itself.  In a series that revolves around court cases, that is bonus.  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
You may have noticed that though I'm raving about the content of the book, I've only given it a 3 out of 5.  There are 2 major reasons for this - dialog and editing.  

Dialog - as in the first book, there are not enough of the "he said this" and "she said that" indicators to help readers figure out who the heck is talking.  I went back many times to the start of a scene or conversation to try and figure out who said what (that's kind of important), and it drove me crazy!  I couldn't rely on punctuation to help me figure out what was going on, because....

Editing - this book needs to go through a professional editor if it  hasn't already (and if it has, it needs to go through a different one).  Punctuation and indenting, especially within a dialog, are not consistent.  My main gripe is that quotation marks are in mostly the right places, but enough of the wrong places to completely confuse who the heck is saying what and when people are talking.  

The reason I knocked two points off my score for this book for these gripes (typically I'd only take off 1 for these) is that they were so freaking distracting that I had to do far too much freaking work as a reader.  I should not have to work that hard to keep track of conversations, and punctuation needs to be consistent throughout an entire work.  Since I found these kinds of errors on many pages instead of just a few, I took off 2 points.  

Also, in my humble opinion, too much of the book itself is dialog.  This is merely me quibbling about a stylistic choice that I'd never make, but I felt that learning 95% of the content from the 95% dialog that made up the books text was just a bit too much.  

That all being said, the story itself is superb and this is a good book!  I will be happy to read more...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

REVIEW: "I Didn't Know" by Yvette Allen-Tatum (Write Now Lit)

I Didn't Know" is for more than just an audience of one. If you look to your left, look to your right, or directly in the mirror, you will see or know someone who has been sexually abused... even if you look in the mirror, and the person is YOU! More than the tragedy of sexual abuse is the tragedy of the silence of sexual abuse. It must be talked about. Our stories have to be shared; someone's life is literally depending upon YOU to BREAK THE IGNORANCE OF SILENCE! "I Didn't Know" brings to the forefront the many hidden faces of child sexual abuse. The author, Yvette L. Allen-Tatum, shares not only her story, but the compelling testimonies of others--everyone from the actual victim, to the offender, to those who standby by in disbelief and allow these heinous crimes against our children to continue. Our voices have to be heard, our children must be free or freed to tell the TRUTH: that someone touched them. Who can they run to? Will it be you?

Paperback: 110 pages
Publisher: Kingdom Publishing Group, Inc. (March 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988312670
ISBN-13: 978-0988312678

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Yvette Allen-Tatum
Author, teacher, conference host, public speaker, encourager, motivator, ordained & licensed minister of The Gospel, radical for Christ, undercover comedian and the list goes on...

Yvette is a graduate of Grace Christian College where she earned her Masters of Divinity and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. She is also a graduate of University of Richmond, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance and a Minor in Leadership Studies. In addition, she has 30 plus years of experience in income tax preparation and bookkeeping.

As the Founder of Surrounded by Faith Ministries, Yvette has had the opportunity to touch and transform the lives of many women with the Word of God. This mighty woman of God has a prophetic teaching anointing which has enabled her to cross many boundaries. As such, the call of God on her life has broadened from transforming the lives of women to transforming LIVES with the Word of God. While she still holds a passion to train and equip women in the life study and application of the Bible, her ultimate goal is to strengthen families. To do so her platform is geared to men, women and children.


I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows:

There are few ways to rile my ire faster than to harm a child.  In fact, that is the most expedient way to rile my ire...especially if that harm comes through sexual means.  Unfortunately, as the news tells us every day, sexual abuse is rampant in our society...even targeted at children less than a year old (if you don't believe me, ask the 9 month old little girl who died after her mother "gave her" to her boyfriend for the night).  I've seen many posts lately about "rape culture", and few of these dealing with the fact that grown men and women are not the only targets.  Our precious ones, the "Dibbuns" (to borrow a term for young ones from Brian Jacques), are also targets.  If only we talked about it more...

Allen-Tatum has here a non-fiction work that shines a light on one of the aspects of our society that we want most to hide - sexual abuse aimed at minors....heck, sexual abuse in general.  As a survivor of multiple instances of sexual abuse herself, Allen-Tatum speaks from harrowing experience about a subject that we want to pretend is relegated to Law and Order shows.  Powerful language is used to talk about a powerful subject.  Definitions are given that ensure one cannot walk away from the book saying "I didn't know...", or pretending sexual abuse is not running disturbingly rampant in our world.  Real-world research and stories highlight this disturbing occurrence in this tool intended to educate people in order to protect them.  Scripture is used to highlight God's healing power in the midst of the sh** storm of this life.

Despite the subject matter being something that I wholeheartedly agree needs to be discussed more in the name of prevention, the format of the book left something to be desired.  I kept wanting to pull out my red editing pen to fix poorly constructed sentences, organizations of chapters that were confusing, and formatting errors in the printing of the book.  

Because the formatting problems with the book overshadowed the valuable material contained within, 

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 3.

The Good
Let's just get this out of the way - I have several close friends who have been sexually assaulted.  I've wept with and over friends who have told me their devastating stories of abuse.  This is a problem running rampant within our society, a rape culture that is highly sexist.  If I ever find out that my son has sexually assaulted someone, I'll turn him in myself.  

Allen-Tatum has here created a work that seeks to shed light on myths and truths about sexual assault in its various forms.  She desperately wants to fulfill God's all on her life to minister to those in need, and the issue it appears she has been called to is educating the world about sexual assault.  What is sexual assault?  What are its various forms?  Who is responsible?  Why isn't it usually reported?  What are the ramifications on both the victims and survivors of sexual assault?

This is a non-fiction book.  It's a quick and easy read filled with difficult things.  Allen-Tatum defines many terms that society probably wishes were left ambiguous.  She describes her real-world experience with being a survivor of sexual abuse, as well as the stories of several others.  She uses scholarly research, Scripture references (to the protestant Christian Bible), and a tone that one of my friends would call a "come to Jesus" tone that makes readers sit up and pay attention.  

It is hard.  

It calls us to realize hard things...such as that ignoring the issue revictimizes the victims of sexual assault, such as that children are sometimes not even safe with their own family members, such as that forgiveness is about setting the victim free.

It is something we need to talk about more, especially if we want to see more of the abuse that happens actually freaking reported (can you tell the lack of reporting is a personal hot button of mine?) so that more can be done to protect those who are targeted.  

It is something that teenagers should read, so they are equipped to talk about the topic intelligently instead of regurgitating questionable ideas found in sound lyrics.  

It highlights the importance of talking about this with our young children so they know how to report if - God forbit - it ever happens to them.  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
While I appreciated the content of this book, I did not appreciate how it was written.  There are problems with how the chapters are organized (I'm sure there is a method to the madness, but I couldn't find it), poorly constructed sentences that are unnecessarily repetitive in all the wrong ways, fragmented sentences, random inclusions of information, Random Capitalizations of Words that Should Not Be Capitalized, Scripture passages yanked completely out of context (as a seminary educated person as well, I'm touchy on this topic), and citations at the end that are just plain not done properly.

I understand that Allen-Tatum is a very well educated, well qualified woman to speak on the subject.  That much is obvious.  I do not understand how this work got past an editor in this shape (if it hasn't been through a professional editor, it needs to be).  In honesty it feels like a stream-of-consciousness work that was cleaned up only a little bit.  Were this a person, it would be a highly attractive person, but with disheveled hair, wrinkled and mismatching clothes, and perhaps a hole in a shoe in the wrong place.  

For the sake of spreading this message in as effective a way as possible, I want to see this run through an editor so the glaring problems with grammar, sentence and paragraph formation, organization, etc do not detract from the quality of the content.  The content is superb...the presentation is terrible.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

REVIEW: "Leviticus" by Daniel Seltzer (Fire and Ice Blog Tours)

Science has created a world where anything is possible and everything is affordable.

A world where illness and disease have been eradicated.

What if you could be young forever?

What if you didn't want to?

Levi Clayton Furstman's decision not to be inoculated with technology designed to bestow youth and immortality leads him on a journey that forces him to reexamine his relationships, his purpose in life, and, ultimately, what it means to be human.

Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Futuristic, Nanotechnology


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Seltzer
Daniel Seltzer holds a J.D. degree and a BA in English. He also holds an MA in Bioethics and previously worked at a major university researching the ethical, legal and social implications (“ELSI”) of nanotechnology. It was while working there that the idea for this story first took shape.


I received an ARC of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  Such follows: 

We are witnessing technological advances in the First World that would boggle the mind were they seen by individuals from even 100 years ago.  Microwaves, “moving pictures” in 3D, computers, little computers that have a phone capability (what my hubby calls smart phones), etc.  Anthropologists have argued that youth today in First World countries are so different from their grandparents, and even their parents, that anthropologically speaking, they can be considered members of different cultures….and there is one main reason: technology.  How far is too far for technological advances?

Monday, April 7, 2014

REVIEW: "Unbound" by Georgia Bell (Xpresso Book Tours)

After her father dies, Rachel realizes she is scared and stuck. Scared of heights, of cars, of disasters harming the people she loves. Stuck in a life that is getting smaller by the minute. Stuck with a secret she has kept all her life: Someone has been watching over her since birth. Someone who tends to show up when she needs him the most. Someone she believes is her guardian angel. 

Eaden is a 1,500-year-old immortal who wants to die. Drained by a life stretched too thin, he has requested his final reward – a mortal sacrifice bred specifically to bring him death. But something went wrong. Rachel’s ability to grant death has mutated in ways that threaten to upset the uneasy alliance between mortals and immortals. And utterly beguiled, Eaden discovers that although Rachel is the key to his death, because of her, he no longer wants to die. And he will do anything to protect her. 

Swept into a world of legends, caught between the warring political factions of immortals, and carrying the future of mortal kind in her flesh and bone, Rachel must risk everything to save her world and the man she loves.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Georgia Bell (don't you just love her name?)
Georgia Bell was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy, courtesy of her father, a man who loved his family, fishing, scotch, and science (although not necessarily in that order). Georgia is an avid reader of young adult fiction, and a lover of good wine, music, children, and cats (although not necessarily in that order).


I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a thoughtful and honest review, which follows:

Have you ever felt as though someone were watching you?  Not a malevolent someone, just someone who seems to show up at odd times and help you out?  Someone you generally see in times of trouble?  Someone who helps quell the anxieties that make you double check everything?  What if that someone isn't an angel?