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The purpose of "Reviews from a Guy" is twofold:
Purpose #1 - I review books that appeal to me. Better put I want to read and review books that are similar to what I already write. I rate books on a five star basis, and I'm honest about it. I'll post any reviews that I do on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, and this Words of Action blog. I rate books on a five star rating scale.
Want me to review your book? Then follow these guidelines.
- Send me an email at guysactionwords(at)gmail(dot)com that has "Review Request - Book Title" in the subject line. Your email needs to contain stuff like your book blurb, your name, link to where your eBook is sold, and the genre that your writing in. I'll get back with you if I'm interested in doing a review for your book. If I do want to review your book I except free book files in either the epub or mobi format delivered via email. I may yet at that point back out in providing a review if I can't manage to get through what has been written. No offense, but my time is too precious to waste and I don't think any author out there wants a review less than three stars. I do not profit in any way in this book preview process other than hopefully having something good to read.
- I only, at present, review books that fit into the following Genres: Christian Fantasy, Christian Science Fiction, Christian Romance Action Adventure, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Christian Romance Thriller.
Note: I do not review books that contain explicit sex or paranormal story lines such as the Twilight series and Harry Potter. I also only review romance plot lines that feature romance between one man and one woman. I review books from a Christian perspective, but please no Amish Romance syrupy sweet stuff. I write fiction grounded in reality and that's what I want to read, but dial up the creative world building, make believe, heavy action aspect, as much as you want to, I know I do.
Purpose #2 - I get great free reads and am in the position to give a hand up to aspiring authors such as myself, who need honest reviews, provided that they've written something truly noteworthy.
May the best stories win the day, even as I pray that we all keep food on the table. Guy III
Book Reviews -Scroll Down for Newest Reviews
Review Date 12-6-2013
Public Relations For Authors Take Hold of Your Own Promotions by Babs Hightower
Genre: Non-fiction (Publicity Book that is in layman’s terms)
I found the aforementioned title helpful to me, as a self published author, in several ways. First off, this book by Babs Hightower does a good job of defining the need for and the purpose of a publicist, as a part of a successful book marketing strategy. Secondly, I found it helpful in terms of defining concepts important to me as an author such as PR releases, Media Kits, blog tour etiquette, and the explanation of the four points of contact with likely book purchasers that are needed for typical book purchases to be made.
While I found this book helpful there are a few things to consider. The book is rather short and as a self published author currently embroiled in the struggle to be noticed myself I would have liked a bit more of an exhaustive description of all the ways an author can be promoted. The book’s primary purpose, as I see it, is to both help educate the author, as to the need for promotional aid to sell books and correspondingly the need for a publicist to help in that promotional effort, but the book doesn’t delve into the pricing arrangements with said publicist. As a self published author myself, with an extremely limited budget that bares close management, it would have been nice to have gained insight into what a fair market rate in contacting a publicist for promotional purposes would be, as well as what some common pitfalls or warnings that one should heed, when contacting a publicist, so as not to be taken advantage of monetarily or waste of time wise.
My Rating, Four out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of “Public Relations For Authors Take Hold of Your Own Promotions” from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
Review Date 12-7-2013
Once in a Blue Moon (A Collection of Short Stories) by Ken Christopher Ping
Genre: Short Stories
Story #1 Of Sand and Castles
I really enjoyed the underlying emotional context and the prose with which this story is delivered. The prose is such that it reminds one of a bygone fairytale. The message of the story echoes a symbolic fairy tale as well with its explorations into the deeper side of the fabrications of life that different people constrict themselves by. I liked how the story illustrated that the better option in life is to be who you are as opposed to what others may set you up to be. Well done!
Story #2 Mother’s Day
One of the best written definitions of what it means to be: Mom. The story is short, sweet, and so true, in regards to defining good mother’s everywhere. I especially liked the author’s comment that a mother is a child’s ultimate teacher and the sculptor that helps mold them into the person, who they will be for life. So true.
Story #3 Once in a Blue Moon
I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this story so much. It’s not poorly written, but it involves too much mix-up of mythological deity type figures made over into a story setting that doesn’t mesh at all with my Christian perspective on life and the Creator, who set the order of the universe into place.
My Rating, Four out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of ONCE IN A BLUE MOON from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
Beauty’s Curse by Jodi Woody
Genre: Inspirational Fiction
Reviews From A Guy
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Beauty’s Curse. The story reminded me in a way of the classical work of Pilgrim’s Progress. The story is not so spiritually based, but the message of the storyline has several profound lessons to teach. Which are the following: Be wary of choices made and their long reaching consequences. Love’s enduring qualities to redeem that which was long thought lost. True beauty is more than just skin deep. A father’s undying love for his children, which has the parallel of illustrating in a small way the enduring and sacrificial love that God has for His children.
The storyline uses a richer prose of speech more akin to the past than what is present in the modern age. There is a progression of time from the old past to the present throughout the story, until it lands in a modern type setting, but the feeling that the story doesn’t really exist in any one day and age is well maintained, as the story like a fairy tale is pertinent in what it teaches to peoples of all times and places.
There is the use of magic in the story, but I find it used more in an allegorical sense and it’s certainly not something that is praised. Rather magic or in the modern vernacular ‘taking the shortcut’ is shown for the darkness of what it can be, when someone forsakes the life they have for something else out of vain and foolish motivations. Points well made and very well written.
My Rating, Five out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of Beauty’s Curse from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
A Memoir of Love by Jessiqua Whittman
Genre: Inspirational Fiction / Chic Literature
Reviews From A Guy
A Memoir of Love is an extremely well written work of epic proportions. There are many charming stories outlined throughout it and the redemptive aspect of the Christian message is very well displayed time and time again. I would definitely recommend this book to readers of Inspirational Fiction and Chick Literature. As a man I found it not quite my cup of tea, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a very well written story that provides a lot of insights into the lives of characters that you can like and commiserate with.
I do have a few issues with the book, the overall bent of the story not being quite my style not being one of them. This book is rather exorbitantly large (my kindle version was close to 4000 pages). While I respect the love of an author of continuing a story on out past the normal parameters, this book takes it to far I fear. There are five parts to the book with aprox. forty chapters each. Again if this (dear reader of this review) is your genre and point of literary interest congratulations, because you’ve found a book to read for quite some time to come. One other issue I had is that, while very well written, the story is sold as that of an apocalyptic setting of an outpost set in a survivor colony in the Middle East. The apocalyptic part really didn’t seem real given the focus of the story was elsewhere predominantly and the story in general seems to have more founding in the American West (both ecologically and socially) during the time frame of Little House on the Prairie then it does the Middle East.
Very well written, although quite long, with some setting issues.
My Rating, Four out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of A Memoir of Love from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
Centurion – Mark’s Gospel as a Thriller - by Ryan Casey Waller
Genre: Inspirational Fiction / Thriller
Reviews From A Guy
Centurion by Ryan Waller is exactly what it claims to be, a literal replaying out of the Gospel of Mark as a Thriller set in an apocalyptic world setting of the modern era that bears an uncanny similarity to the Biblical narrative. This book is at least two things. It is masterfully written and it is one of the best books that I have ever read.
With any work of fiction that plays off of a Biblical narrative I have to say that I am wary of it at first. In short I do not want to see the Biblical account given to us by the Holy Spirit corrupted by man, but this is not the case with this book. There is no corruption of the core elements of the greatest story ever told laid down for us to read in the four Gospels of the New Testament. To say this book is a thrilling adventure to read is an understatement. Even though the outcome of the story is known I found that Ryan in his recreation of the events as we know them has transposed them over into a modern setting that has helped me experience all over again the all consuming love of my Savior for me. That is a powerful thing for any author to achieve with a reader of his fictional work in that it transcends the words written on the page and become a living emotion that resonates with the core of another human’s spiritual identity of belief.
If you read this book and I highly recommend that you do I can promise that at least three things will occur. One, you’ve found another great author to invest your hard earned money in as well as a great book to add to your shelf. Two, at some point you will identify with the plight of the main character in some aspect and be moved to tears. Three, you’ll reexamine all over again or perhaps for the first time what the Son of God has both done and made freely available to all of us who draw breath, which is life evermore made possible by His redeeming sacrifice. Read the book and then better yet pick up the Gospel of Mark and see for yourself that the Gospel message wasn’t meant for just one time and place in history, but rather it is a living breathing framework of an amazingly redemptive and restorative story that loses no value even told over into our modern era that has been wonderfully portrayed by Ryan in a neat feat of world building to accurately reflect the symbolism of the Biblical narrative of yesteryear.
My Rating, Five out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of Centurion from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
Writing in Holiness by David Bergsland
Genre: Inspirational Self-Help
Reviews From A Guy
“Real damage can result from people giving themselves into the hands of the enemy. With no true believer in your tale, there is no real counter to the demonic kingdom.” Quote from Writing in Holiness by David Bergsland
I loved this book!!! This book is a must have for any Christian author. This book although its genre is self-help it is really in a league of its own. There are many books out there on how to write or edit or get through writer’s block and of course book promotion, but what makes David’s book different is that in a mere 181 pages he completely illustrates to all of us how to write in a God pleasing way. He strips down all the jazz and chatter that goes on in the head of an author to define what is really most important and that should be to write fiction or non-fiction that is edifying to God. As an author I have chartered my way through the process of learning to write, learning how to self-publish my books and finally how to promote them. I’ve learned a lot, but throughout that process I have had this sense of being alone in my struggle to honor God with my imagination and endeavors with the pen. More and more I am coming to realize that I am far from being alone in this fight. Much of what David lays down in a clear and concise manner in his book is the path I have been chartered on by the Holy Spirit. I can’t recommend this book enough to other Christian authors. Not only does David illustrate how to be right with God in close relationship in order to know what to write, but he shows you how through faith and prayer to let the Holy Spirit write your story for you and then he caps it all off by showing you how to be a wise steward of your resources in terms of book creation and promotion. Something that David has really ministered to me in this book is the reaffirmation for me that I need to let go of the book promotion process after I’ve done all that I can do to get my book out there and noticed. In short, I need to trust God to do my book marketing for me and be content with whatever the results may be.
David really honored me in his book by mentioning me and my books quite a few times, which humbles me greatly, because never in my wildest dreams did I think one day I would be mentioned by a contemporary author in such a glowing manner. My journey to becoming a successful author of Christ honoring fiction almost exactly parallels what David lays out in his book. If you let go and let God and knock on the door for inspiration and pray to be kept on the straight and narrow path then one day you too can be humbled and put in awe of what God can accomplish with a pile of marred clay such as myself.
My Rating, Five out of Five Stars
· I received a free review copy of Writing in Holiness from the author. The author’s generosity, while appreciated did not influence this review.
The Story in the Stars (Gateway to Gannah #1)
Genre: Science Fiction / Inspirational Christian Fiction
Reviews From A Guy
The Story in the Stars is a beautifully written work of science fiction told in vivid contrast and full of meaningful context to today’s reality. It is a great portrayal of creative world building at its best, with a masterfully done plot line and well scripted characters. This book deserves five stars………so why did I only give it one star?
Well to explain that I need to address the fact that this isn’t a straight up science fiction novel. It’s one that is written from a very strong Christian viewpoint. I don’t have a problem with that, far from it as I myself am an author of heavily infused Christian Science Fiction among other genres of Christian Fiction. The problem arises for me in that this novel is so ingrained with the principles of the Christian faith that its author immediately then becomes accountable for how the Christian faith is portrayed to believers and nonbelievers alike. I think she made a very bad mistake in her portrayal of the Christian faith, which is the only reason that I rate this book as being worthy of one star.
In the story we have characters from at least five different galactic races, who she often refers to confusingly as all being human, even though some of these races are very different from what human is as created by God on Earth in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time. She portrays a galaxy where all these galactic races are intermixed genetically and capable of receiving salvation through Jesus Christ. Well what’s the problem with that you might ask? Well nothing if this was a secular inspired science fiction novel, but as a book meant to express the tenants of the Christian faith it amounts at the very least as a great oversight on the author’s part and at the worst its abject heresy.
The two main characters are Dassa, a Gannahan and Dr. Pik a Karkar. Gannahans are depicted by the author as an ultra elite human race differing from the humans of earth in that there stronger, faster, smarter and so on. While very similar it is clear they are a hybrid species branched off from humanity. The Karkar are depicted as extremely tall (well over six feet) expressionless beings with six fingers on each hand. They are very alien, much reticent of a tall ‘grey ufo’. Dr. Pik is a halfbreed. His father being a human of Earth and his mother being a full blood Karkar. At various times Dr. Pik is referred to as human as well even though he has all the trademarks of being Karkar.
The problem that takes this story away from being an imaginative telling of fictitious events is that author works in the gospel salvation message of Jesus Christ as well as the portrayal of God the Father as being relatable to all the varied races that are depicted in the book. On the surface that sounds like a great idea that if there are other sensate beings out there that God is actively at work into bringing them all to salvation. The problem is that while noble and I believe well-meant on the part of the author the opposite is the case. Because this book was grounded in the Christian tenements of belief so it must remain. I will now illustrate how it all goes wrong.
The author repeatedly refers to these different anatomical beings as human, but human can only be described as those original forms of Adam and Eve and their offspring. We know what happens in Scripture (Genesis 6) when humans intermarried with another of God’s created kinds, which were one group of fallen angels. The result were giants. Giants aren’t human. They aren’t of God’s creation and in specific in the book of Isaiah it says that their spirit will have no part in the resurrection made possible through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. As a side note it is believed by many that the spirits of these giants live on in the present as demonic spirits being themselves the offspring of devils(fallen angels) and human women, the seed of satan if you will forever at amity against the seed of woman aka Jesus Christ.
In the book Dassa (hybridized human) has a close on-running relationship with God as a fully saved and sanctified in the blood of Jesus individual. It is her mission in life to save all the other members of the galaxy including the Karkar Dr. Pik. (Incidentally giants in the Bible are referred as having six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. That can be gleaned from the passage of scripture detailing the accounts of Goliath and his brothers whom King David and his men were adversaries against.) The problem is that Jesus did not come for any other being’s redemption other than full blood humans. We are the only ones made in the image of God. To say any other hybrid form off of human is capable of redemption is to go outside of what the Bible tells us. In fact a little known fact it would seem is that the Great Flood of Noah’s day was an act of love by God the father in that it secured the ability for Jesus to one day come to earth and be our redeeming sacrifice. How’s that? It’s often taught in the church that the pre-flood world was just really really wicked and that’s the sole reason why it was destroyed. It was wicked, but most notably of all was that the bloodline of mankind as created by God had become corrupted by the fallen angels and by their offspring the giants. When it refers to Noah as “perfect in his generations” in the Hebrew it’s not talking about him being overly righteous, but rather that he was still a direct full blood descendant of Adam. If the human blood line as created by God had not been preserved then it would have been impossible for Jesus to come in the form of a man who was fully human and yet God with us. We are unique in our creation and position in the galaxy’s of God’s creation. Satan tried to pollute humanity and by doing so he planned to keep Jesus from being able to come as a redeeming sacrifice for us, but God made a way.
I believe we are entering a time of great deception and while some may say my reaction to this book by way of this exhaustive review is overkill I wish to pose the following to you. I’ve already shown how according to scripture that Jesus came only for humans of God’s creation. Now consider the fact that satan hasn’t gone away or stopped in his pursuit of the destruction of mankind. As the Bible says, “as in the days of Noah so will it be at the coming of the Son of man” Notice again the emphasis placed on Jesus having been a flesh and blood man. Satan tried once to corrupt the bloodline of mankind and the Bible says that him and his compatriots are going to do it again. So what happens when we have popular well written fiction extolling the benefits of Christianity to a fallen world, but at the same time promoting a message of interspecies marriage and procreation of genetic hybrids along with the misconception that Jesus died for human and nonhuman alike? The Catholic Church has already gone on public record that should aliens come to earth that they are prepared to rewrite the four gospels of the New Testament and baptize these aliens into the Catholic faith. Now that’s the Catholics talking and not the Christians, but this book is authored by a Christian saying much the same thing. Consider if these are the end days what could be significant enough of an event within a person’s life that God would look at them and see a mark on them that makes them unredeemable? The only beings in the history of the Bible that God listed as being unredeemable were the spirits of the giants and if we know the last days will be like they were in Noah’s day then does it not stand to reason that soon there will be a false visitation by alien saviors purporting to be the friends of mankind who may offer the ability to share their technology and even take a gene treatment to live longer healthier lives, which thereby alters the human genetic code as no longer being fully human? Remember that even satan can portray himself as an angel of light.
In conclusion I wish to say that I don’t think it was the author’s intention to err in the regard to the Biblical inaccuracy that her book has given birth to, but the fact remains that she did err. I’d have more leniency if she had written her story in an allegorical context much as C.S. Lewis did when he incorporated chimeras(combinations of man with animals and fallen angels with animals) in the forms of centaurs and fauns and the such in his stories. She took a more literal route though and thus she’s laid the groundwork to usher in what I see as a great wrong. I pray that any reader of this review will search the Scriptures to form their own opinion on the matter. 1 John 4:1 - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
My Rating, One out of Five Stars
I purchased a copy of this book.