2018 Challenges, Bookshelf, Elevator Reviews, Monthly Updates

March Elevator Reviews

Are you looking for some good books for you, a friend, your children, or a family member?  Are you too busy to read a full review?  Do you ever think, “I don’t need all the little details.  Just tell me whether or not it is good!”   Then Elevator Reviews are for you.  Pretend you and I are on an elevator – sipping a Chai latte and on our way to the 18th floor – and I’m going to give you a quick glimpse into my current-reading shelf.  Sit back and enjoy!

March Elevator Reviews:

Dangerous Illusions, Hannon

I always enjoy Ms Hannon’s suspenseful fiction.  Her characters are well developed, the plotline is creative and interesting, and it always just the right amount of suspense.  This was a delightful start to what I am sure will be a wonderful series!  I can not wait until the next installment is published!

The antagonist does spend several scenes visiting a bar and going home with women.  Eventually one woman traces him back to his house and visits him.  Nothing graphic or detailed. Two characters are murdered, the Mofia makes an appearance, and one character is kidnapped.  However I did not find anything graphic or disturbing.  Ms Hannon provides details that are relevant to adequately understanding the gravity of the situation.

Dangerous Illusions Rating: 5 star ~ Genre: Suspense, Romance

168 Hours, Vanderkam

An interesting non-fiction for this month.  As with so many non-fiction (I feel like this happens all the time.  Am I the only one who deals with this?), I found it to have an interesting premise that overall fell short of its full potential.  We are all given 168 hours in our week.  The only difference between successful and unsuccessful people is *how* we use those hours!  When was the last time that you took a step back and evaluated how you are using your time, where your hours are going?

The only part that left me unsatisfied was Ms. Vanderkam’s suggestions for how to manage your time.  For instance she has a whole chapter devoted to outsourcing your housekeeping work (food, laundry, cleaning).  Not that you can’t outsource those things – it just made the book feel wide not deep. Interesting read though.

168 Hours Rating: 1 star ~ Genre: Non-Fiction, Time Management

The Power of Habit, Duhigg

Such a fascinating read!  Mr. Duhigg takes an in-depth look into how and why we, as humans, form habits. Then he dives into how we can purposefully change and create habits.  And he also walks you through a fascinating look into how companies use our habits to create effective marketing and communication plans.  I was intrigued by every chapter in this book.

Disclaimer: There is some strong language in this book.  Please preview for younger readers.  Additionally, his is not written from a Christian worldview.

The Power of Habit Rating: 4 star ~ Genre: Non-Fiction, 

Out of the Ashes, Peterson

A delightful second book in the Heart of Alaska series.  Following the lead of Book One, Out of the Alaska is set once again at the Curry Hotel.  This time our guests arrive at the prompting of a kind-hearted, slightly meddlesome grandmother.  They reunite after many years.  But after all the they have both endured, it is hard to pick up where they left off.

There is a element of suspense, as Jean Michel is followed throughout the book.  However, there is nothing that concerned me.  There was also an element introduced because of the abuse Katherine had endured at the hands of her husband.  But this was well handled, it was not graphic or disturbing.

Out of the Ashes Rating: 5 star ~ Genre: Historical, Romance

The Assault, Dekker

This is the second unique novel created by these four authors (first book is The Invitation). Overall, I found this book to read very slowly. It never really grabbed my attention. In addition, the four different writing styles, following the same group of characters, broke my train of thought. Some fans of Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, and their co-authors may find this read enjoyable, I found it lacking in depth.

There is also some crude language which may offend some readers. Please read with discretion.

The Assault Rating: 2 star ~ Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Space Between Words, Pheonix

This was my first taste of Ms Pheonix’s writing and I was strangely disappointed.  The plot-line was creative (and I am always excited about a story that highlights the bravery and faith of the Huguenots), but The Space Between Words did not live up to my expectations.

Not only did the dynamic of Jessica’s cohabitation (however platonic) with her guy friend make me uncomfortable, but the ending felt short and unemotional.  It felt like the story was cut off, midway through the resolution.  Interestingly, I looked up one of her other books to see if this is typical of her endings or unique to The Space Between Words – that ending was even worse than this one!

The Space Between Words Rating: 1 star ~ Genre: Fiction, Historical

Jack, Sayer

Wow, this was incredible!  I find myself fascinated by every book by C. S. Lewis and almost every book about Lewis.  This book was an absolutely amazing book, written by one of Lewis’s students!

Quick sidebar… I still find it mind-blowing that some people were actually blessed enough to study under C. S. Lewis.  That just sounds so surreal.  Can not even imagine!  🙂

Back to what I was saying… highly, highly recommend this book.  I was intrigued and challenged to read and re-read even more of Lewis’s writing.  The behind-the-scenes look at why he wrote what he wrote, and the heart of this author, was amazing.  Note: some of the addictions and temptations Lewis dealt with in his younger life (before being saved) may be too much for younger readers, please pre-read.

Jack Rating: 5 star ~ Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

That We Might Have Hope, Sinclair

Okay, so I am blessed to know this author personally, but I promise this review is very unbiased ;)!  I had been a terrible friend and this book laid on my “to-read” pile for far too long, allowing library books to take priority over a book I owned and “could read any time.”   But I finally picked it up and I couldn’t put it down!  Four hours later, it was 11:00 at night, and I was amazed at what I had read.  It started out a little slowly, but built speed and finished with a beautiful sweet ending!

Set during the War Between the States, this sweet story of a young girl remaining faithful to those around her is a inspiring read.  One note: I picked this up expecting it to be more for my age group (ladies in their twenties and above), probably because that is also the age group of the author.  However, this book is more aimed at younger girls and ladies.  I’m going to give it to my younger sisters (mid to late teens) because I think they would absolutely love it the history and the sweet love story.

That We Might Have Hope Rating: 5 star ~ Genre: Historical, Romance

The Lacemaker, Frantz

This is my taste of Ms Frantz’s fiction, and I really enjoyed it.  The Lacemaker was historically accurate and dove into the tension of families and friends having to choose opposing sides as a new country is formed.  This time period is a common setting, but Ms. Frantz approached it with a fresh, new look that was very enjoyable.

The only hesitation I would have in recommending it would be the romantic element.  It was not overly graphic, but it might be uncomfortable for some readers.  Highly recommend pre-reading for younger readers.

The Lacemaker Rating: 3 star ~ Genre: Historical, Romance

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