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Teaser for Rulers of Light Sequel

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on December 16, 2016 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Nikolai wandered the backyard aimlessly, as had become his habit over the past two years. Every night, without fail, Nik could be found in solitude and thought.


Having a missing sister was far worse than having a dead one.


At least if Evelyn was dead they would have had time to mourn and say goodbye. They would know where she was. They would know whether or not she was safe. They would have some way of visiting her.


But, as far as they knew, Evelyn wasn't dead. She was just gone.


The gardens had always done a good job of blocking out reality. Nik retreated to the back of them and sat down on a stone of the walkway.


Two years. Two years she had been gone, and Nik still had no more peace about it than the first day she never came home.


Nik started tugging on the weeds. It helped quiet his raging mind. He worked all the way to the back corner. It had obviously been a while since anyone had been this far. Black vines covered everything.


Nik crawled in and grabbed a vine.

Always Looking Up, by Madison Clark

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on July 1, 2016 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

     "Madison Clark is a mountain of a woman in a little person's body who never lets her short stature stand in the way of her giant spirit. Though uniquely created, she has learned to tackle physical and emotional challenges, fight for her beliefs, and show others that she can do anything they can do-just in a different way. Clark shares an inspiring story about what life is like for a woman who cannot reach a drinking fountain, needs help selecting items higher than the second shelf in a store, and is towered over by a typical fourth grader. While shining a spotlight on the good, bad, and ugly aspects of living with dwarfism, Clark reveals how she has persevered through it all with a never-give-up attitude and a refusal to be excluded that ultimately transforms ignorance into acceptance. In this moving and informative memoir, an ordinary girl living an almost ordinary life embraces her uniqueness and demonstrates that no matter what our challenges, it is up to each of us to determine our own happiness."

Short Summary: In a world that is often brutal and hard to navigate, people are in dire need of positive role models. Madi is an amazing person with an amazing story that everyone needs to hear.

Full Review: I loved reading Madi's memoir! The story of her life is so inspiring. It kept me up late every night because I simply couldn't put it down.
     Madi is a shining example of how to face life's problems and never let them defeat you. She retains her optimism through even the toughest of circumstances. Though she doesn't deny how hard things can get sometimes, she seems to always be able to turn it around for good.
     Reading Madi's life story is like talking with a good friend. I couldn't help but love her and her personality from the very first page.
     Madi encourages and equips people of all different walks of life to make it through whatever this world throws at them. She's shown us that she can do it, and that we can do it, and that anybody can do it. She also educates her readers on dwarfism, how it effects people who have it and the people around them, the different forms it comes in, and so much more. She brings to light how cruel people can be at times, often without any real cause. But while she leaves readers without excuse to change their own character and behaviour, she is ever kind and teaches out of a loving heart.
     In summary, even though it's not likely I'll ever get to meet Madi in person, getting to know her through her book was an honor and a joy. She has impacted my life for the better, and I think everyone could benefit greatly from reading her book.

Overall Rating: 5

*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 26, 2016 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

     "The story of four sisters-Diamond, Shelia, Crystal, and Felicity who dread their summer break because of their mom. A timely and hilarious read told through the eyes and voice of adolescent authors about their perspective of Mom's summertime "fun".

 

     Young readers will empathize with the youthful perspective of parents and “their ways”. Parents will enjoy reading about the feelings of the four girls in the story, nodding in agreement from the beginning to the end. The entire family will enjoy this book. Instead of those great summer trips and long lazy days of summer, the four sisters complain about having to eat healthy and exercise, do homework and chores, and more. Throughout the book the girls tell of important life lessons taught by their parents. These lessons are told in a comical way."


Short Summary: This is a fun, lighthearted read, written by a family that people will relate to.

Full Review: This is a book written mostly from the perspective of four kids, all different ages, and their differing viewpoints and thoughts make for a unique reading experience. As someone who comes from a family of six kids, it was fun to see and relate to how another family a lot like mine operates.
     Each individual child's personality shines through, as does how their placement in the family (oldest child, middle child, youngest child) effected them. It was especially fun to see how, even though this family doesn't deny that they have faults and disagreements, they do truly love each other. It was realistic.
     The human brain naturally focuses more on the negative than the positive. I would say this book redeemed any negativity in it by how the siblings made a point to point out their love for each other and find good as well as bad and through the conclusion by the mother. However, there were a few times when I felt as though there was a bit too much complaining or focus on problems that didn't seem logical. But then again, isn't that how life is? This book could be used as a mirror through which families can see themselves more clearly. The best writing usually does just that.
     If it wasn't for the last chapter written from the perspective of the mom, I probably wouldn't have liked the book as much, but as it is, it shows how perspective is everything. Look at the same thing through two different pairs of eyes and it will be like looking at two entirely different things. Having so many different voices in this book helped make that clear.
     Overall, this was a really good book for kids and families. There were a few errors and places where the writing style could have been more clear, but I think kids who read this book will enjoy it a lot and think to themselves over and over again "I feel the same way!"

Overall Rating: 4

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Guest Post by Andrew Joyce

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 26, 2016 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

     My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Bethanny has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure. I think it's a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I'm kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I'll turn things over to my dog Danny--Danny the Dog. So without further ado, here's Danny.


     Andrew took me away from some very important business--sniffing a tantalizing scent--to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don't think I will. Instead, I think I'll tell you about some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head recently.

     I'm Danny the Dog, Esq., and for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of making my acquaintance, I am Andrew Joyce's roommate and he is my human.

     I've just been reading a little Billy Shakespeare and listening to Kris Kristofferson. Genius will tell out. What got to me this day was how they both spoke to having nothing. Billy said: "Having nothing, nothing can he lose." And Kris wrote: "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

      In dog years I'm an old man, or an old dog if you will. And with age comes experience and with experience comes wisdom. And with wisdom comes the realization that we need nothing to BE, nothing to exist. We accumulate so much crap and it never makes us happy. Here in America, we have a storage facility on every corner. We have so much stuff that we have to pay someone to hold it for us!

     Over one hundred and fifty years ago, Henry David Thoreau told his neighbors that they saved things--put them in their attics and there the stuff stayed until they died. Then their heirs sold the stuff and other people bought it and put it in their attics until they died. Etcetera...etcetera...etcetera.

     I reckon what I'm trying to say is that all we need--we dogs, humans, and anyones else--is love. There is only love. There is fear of course, the fear of not having enough, the fear of not being loved enough. But love always triumphs over fear. So to my non-dog friends, I say choose love. I'm only a dog and I love my human unconditionally. Love those around you. Never, ever trade your love. Never ask for something. Never ask for something in return for your love because then it is not love.

     That's about it for now. I've gotta get back to that scent before it dissipates.

     Oh yeah, I almost forgot--check out Andrew's new book on Amazon and make the old guy's day.


     This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Bethanny for having us over. It's been a real pleasure.


      It's been so much fun working with Andrew (and Danny) and I'm so grateful for their post on my blog! If you want to see more of Andrew's work, you can check out his book by following the amazon link below. Thanks so much for reading! And thank you to Andrew and Danny!

~Bethanny

https://www.amazon.com/Resolution-Huck-Finns-Greatest-Adventure/dp/0692670904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466879030&sr=8-1&keywords=resolution+huck+finn%27s+greatest+adventure

Invisible Me, by Debbi Mack

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 7, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)


     "Military brat and albino, 13-year old Portia Maddox, has bounced from school to school, always an outsider. So when Denise Laughton, the most popular girl in the seventh grade, asks for her help in exchange for an invite to Denise’s big birthday party, Portia jumps at the chance to go. However, Portia must spy on Randy, Denise’s boyfriend, to find out whether he’s cheating on her.

 

     Portia’s spying unearths a tangled web of duplicity, hidden agendas and family secrets. And when Portia’s budding friendship with social outcast Judy and her feelings for Randy interfere with her plans to endear herself to Denise, Portia must decide who her real friends are."


Short Summary: Invisible Me broaches some of the toughest topics kids face. Moving, making friends, dealing with bullying, divorce, romance, what is right and wrong, etc. However, it has a few flaws that makes it a book to be cautious with.


Full Review: Portia, the 13 year old main character of this story, is the narrator. Because of her dad's job, her family has to move a lot, which is tough enough as it is. To make things worse, Portia is an albino, so kids tend to mock her or be afraid of befriending her.

     Portia is cold and hardened towards people. That's certainly understandable, and many kids feel and act the same way she does when put in similar situations. However, she can be difficult to relate to, and I wouldn't call her a role model. She's the kind of character a reader sometimes has sympathy towards, but other times just want to shake until they come to their senses.

     I believe the themes in this book would be good for discussion groups. There are plenty of questions to be asked and real issues that people can benefit from talking about. However, it also seems to be a rather mature book, and I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone, especially not those already struggling with the same types of problems Portia is. I feel like it would only drag them further down, because it is inconclusive and the main character is self-absorbed. If someone is already feeling down, this book won't help them get any better. It would, however, be good for people to learn how to understand people who feel like Portia.

     It's also hard to tell what audience this book is intended for. It's written in such a way that it may seem cheesy to too juvenile for older readers, but at the same time it's innappropriate for a younger audience. Maybe it would be best for older, mature teens who struggle with reading more difficult books. It is a fairly thin book, and isn't difficult to understand or read. I zipped right through it.

     The one thing that bothered me the most about this book was the constant use of strong language. This is one point I stand most firmly on, especially in children's books. The f-bomb is dropped a dozen times along with other strong words that I would never allow my younger sisters to read, let alone recommend to other kids.

     My job as a book reviewer is two fold. I am to help the authors, and I am to protect the readers.

     To the author I would say this: You have writing talent that just needs a bit of polishing. That's okay, writing is a craft that we never stop perfecting. Keep working on it, because you will have a bright future and career if you keep it up. I appreciate that you aren't afraid of touching on real-life issues. However, I would appreciate it if you were a little more cautious in the future since you're dealing with young people here, and they are a delicate group that should be handles wisely.

     To readers and parents of readers: Use caution when reading this book or giving it to children to read. Once things are in a person's head, they never leave. If you do allow your children to read this, be available to talk to them about it, and encourage discussion. If you are a kid who wants to read this book, use discretion and understand that the way Portia acts and feels is her own decision, and you have the option to make better choices than she does.


Overall Rating: 3


*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Author Spotlight: J.W.Webb

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 6, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)


     J.W. Webb is the author of the fantasy novel GOL (The Legends of Ansu). Gol is the first book in an epic fantasy series. The books feature illustrations by Roger Garland the Tolkien Illustrator.



     Webb's biography says that he fell "victim to a weird and random imagination, resulting in a love of epic stories and epic story telling." He continues to explain that this prompted him to "delve deep into the worlds of Tolkien, Peake, Eddison, and Moorock." He started dawing maps of imaginary places and inventing his own stories.

     When he was 27, Webb married a watercolour artist and got, as he puts it, a "sensible career" hauling trucks. This allowed his mind to ramble, and the result was more stories.

     "During one dark winter night back in 1993, whilst parked forlorn outside a dreary inn, something profound happened. I stumbled into Corin an Fol: A moody, rather difficult individual, mooching about in a deep tangled wood (my imagination). That wood grew into a world... the world became Ansu, home to all manner of mismatched mortals and grumpy gods. Late 2001 a plot appeared through the murky trees. It found Corin lost and wandering and introduced him to some other unruly types, resulting in The Shattered Crown," Webb says in his biography. However, "The Shattered Crown couldn't contain its characters."

     "These were (and still are) a very rough lot. They demanded a sequel. Instead (just to show who the boss was,) I focussed on a prequel, Fall of Gol being the result. But still the characters would not leave me alone. And so started The Legends of Ansu a forthcoming series of otherworldly tales, mostly involving Corin and his friends."



     Gol. A continent on the brink of destruction. Once a mighty kingdom, now six provinces torn apart by treacherous barons.

     In one province two young lovers strive to stay together when all else prises them apart. Lissane and Erun must survive to guide their people through the coming storm. The odds are stacked against them. Erun, dreamer and fool, is chosen for a dark path. Whilst Lissane is given away by her father the baron to wed the brutal son of a rival ruler.

     Meanwhile, at the far side of the world a sorcerer has freed the fire demon, Ashmali, setting off a chain of events that could ultimately bring about Gol's long foretold ruin. Caught between rising seas, civil war, and approaching fire the continent’s time is fast running out.

     Gol features beautiful sketches and maps by Tolkien illustrator, Roger Garland. It opens the doors on a new epic fantasy series titled Legends of Ansu. Within its content lies an sweeping tale of love, hatred, vengeance and destruction. In Gol the high courage of a few individuals is all that stands against the will of fickle gods and treachery of men.




Edith From Wessex, by Regine Sondermann

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 2, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

“You’d like to love me, but you don’t really know me.”
     "With these words, Queen Edith begins to speak to us, as if she were still able to address us, though she lived over a thousand years ago. Magdeburg author Regine Sondermann draws the reader close to this woman from the early Middle Ages, about whom little was known until now. She was young and came from England. She died at the age of 36, and she was laid to rest in the Magdeburg Cathedral. The author sifted through documents and history books to discover small shards of Edith’s short life, like a ceramic bowl destroyed long ago. She has pieced them together in this story of a woman and her family, which takes the reader to an unfamiliar land that seems so close but is infinitely far away."

Short Summary: Regine clearly cares a lot about the topic she's writing about. Her research has gone a long way to creating a wonderful story ringing true to readers today while helping us relate to a woman from a past much different from our current world.

Full Review: It took me a chapter or two to really get into this book, but once I did there was no escaping.
     I loved getting a historical account of Edith that was so full of facts woven together to create an amazing story. I could relate to Edith, though she lived in such a different time period than I do. However, that relation was not because she was just like me. She was entirely different from people living today. I saw a quote once that said an author's job is to make familiar things feel new, and make new things feel familiar. Regine did this very well in her book.
     I feel like this book brought out how humans have always been humans, throughout all of history, and just because a woman lived in a time when there were different expectations didn't mean they didn't still have opinions and feelings.
     One complaint I have is that it is a bit of a stiff book, and by that I mean it's not for entertainment purposes. I mostly review books that have a specific problem driving the plot. This was a factual account of a person's life. Edith From Wessex was obviously written to help people gain knowledge and understand a certain point in history. That's not a bad thing, but it's certainly not for everyone. Anyone who loves history would love this book, and those who don't love history as much may still be able to enjoy this particular book more than other historical literature.
     Most authors make it their goal to jump straight to the action in a book, or grab the reader's attention right away. This isn't so easily accomplished when an author wants to tell a life story from start to finish. There's only so much you can do to make the date of a person's birth interesting. However, I think Regine did a fantastic job with what she had to work with and got creative on ways to draw reader's attention from the start.
     The book left me with a lot of food for thought. There were many quotes scattered throughout it that could easily be framed and hung on a wall. Edith was portrayed as having a wise outlook on life, and while she was most certainly human, she handled circumstances thrown at her in an admirable way, and is a good example for any reader.

Overall Rating: 5

*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

$20 Amazon Gift Certificate Giveaway

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)



Author Matt Abraham is running a giveaway for an $20 Amazon Gift Certificate! Click on the link below to enter. 


https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d23c7ade3/


 

     "Awarded Pulp Detective's Best Newcomer of 2015, Matt Abraham spits hot PI palaver mixing Mickey Spillane with the classic super heroes from the golden age. In his series Black Cape Case Files we follow Dane Curse, a former black cape turned PI, as he navigates the powered underbelly of Gold Coast City. While not writing, Matt's engaged in juggling his newborn baby boy Kal, and supportive wife Jenny, all in the People's Paradise of China."

 


     Be sure to check out Matt's work on Amazon! If you win, you may want to use the gift card to buy his book. ;)


     The best of luck to you all!

Dear Mom...

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Mommy,

 

     Mother's Day comes only once a year. It seems odd and insignificant to spend only one day out of the year celebrating the people who brought us into existence and shaped who we are. Once every year we do what small things we can to show you our appreciation for all that you do 24/7/365. You deserve to be celebrated every day. There's never enough that I can do or say, nothing I can give you that measures up to all that you've given me. It's one of those days of the year where I am forced to pretend like "thank you" and "I love you" is enough. But those things never seem to say what I want them to say. And the amount of times I say it doesn't add up to the amount it should. Those words touch the fringes of what I feel, but they don't go deep enough.

 

     The question is, how does one tell another person that they love them to the extent beyond what words can say? Is it even possible to express as much love as I want to? As much love as you deserve?

 

     And the answer is, you've shown me how. You've been saying "I love you" to me, to our whole family, your entire life. You've been saying it from the time you were a girl who wanted twelve kids when she grew up. Your dream has always been to be a wife and mom, and I've been told we are your dream come true. It's one thing to have your own dreams come true, but to be told that you are another person's dream come true? Especially when that person is the one you most look up to, admire, and love? That is an unmatchable honor.

 

     When you prayed over each one of us from the moment you knew we existed, that was you saying "I love you." From the time you first held each of us in your arms to coaching us through our early accomplishments and friendships, you've been saying "I love you." When helping us during those awkward in between years when everything is changing, from the way we think and perceive the world to the way our skin behaves, you were saying "I love you." When I started to pursue the things I've wanted my whole life, when I've started to fulfill what you've raised me up to do and become... you've believed in me the whole time, and you've been saying "I love you" through all of that.

 

     Most importantly, you've taught me that Jesus loves me. I was already His in the womb, because you dedicated my life to Him, and it was the best thing you could have done for me. And now you, along with my father, help me to see the very tiniest bit of what my heavenly father must be like through your example. I think I understand Him better because I have you.

 

     You've been a mother for sixteen years, and you're still saying "I love you" in everything you do every single day. It's in how you let me follow you around the house and talk until I have said everything that needs to be said and then some. It's how you hold me when I need to cry. It's in our hugs before I go to work or to bed each night. It's in how we text each other back and forth when we're apart because I just can't stand being away from you. It's in how after long days, I just need to be with you in silence, because you mean peace, acceptance, comfort, and love. It's in how you encourage me to live my dreams passionately every single day. It's in the fact that you are my best friend, and I can tell when I'm with you that it's not forced. You truly enjoy your children, and that means the world to us.

 

     It also means everything that you listen to us and take us seriously, even when we're not making any sense. Even when we're very young, you listen and discuss things with us in mature ways. You take our opinions seriously, and treat us like people who matter. You believe in us when we don't believe in ourselves. If I come to you and say "this may sound crazy and stupid, but..." you listen and then say "That sounds amazing." You're the mom who has her kids with her everywhere she goes, and there's a massive hole any time we're apart.

 

     I know I will never have a friend as valuable as you are to me. There is no one who understands my heart and very being like you do. The only other people who have sacrificed as much are the other people in our family, and the only one who has sacrificed more for me is Jesus. I'd say if the only other being in existence beating you at these things is Him, you're doing a pretty amazing job.

 

     I have done nothing to deserve you. I am so incredibly blessed that God chose to put me into your life. I've been growing up for sixteen years, and you've been patiently training me all that time, when I was selfish, didn't understand, wanted things my way, fought with you, struggled through petty problems, made messes that didn't need to be made. You loved me through it all, and it's because of all of that that I am the person I am today. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than I was and a whole lot better than I could have been. Still growing, but grateful. Even now I know that I can't quite understand, but someday I hope to have my own children, and I hope to be half the mom you have been. If I can ever achieve your level of love in motherhood, I will count my life a massive success.

 

     Your motherhood is not just something you turn on every day when you get out of bed and turn off when you're away from us. You are a mom. It's part of your being and you can't change it. And you couldn't be anything more important.

 

     God knew that this crazy family was going to need someone who could hold them all together and love them all equally despite the fact that not a single one of them was anything alike. And we all know we're difficult. But you've perservered spectacularly. The hand the rocks the cradle rules the world, and you, my dearest mother, are one of the greatest rulers of them all.

 

 

     Mommy, I love you. With all of my heart, I love you. I will always need my Mommy. I will always be your little girl. You've always been there for me, and I will always be there for you. Other people come and go, but a mother is forever. And the family that you've created is forever. And I will always be grateful for the love you have demonstrated, the full measure of it that you have lived out every day of your life for as long as I've known you.

 

I love you.

 

Your daughter,

 

~Bethanny

The Magicatory, by Amy Vansant

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)



     "Brian, Anna, Marc and Cecily stumble into a wizard’s spell and are swept to the Magicatory, the magical factory / laboratory where everything is made. Too bad they picked a lousy time to visit! A mysterious girl and a horde of goblins is planning an attack, one of the shape-shifting mages has been kidnapped, and a crazed dodo bird is on the loose. Now the lost siblings have to figure out how to use their new superpowers before the multiverse is destroyed and they can never return to Earth!"


Short Summary: This is an entertaining, fast paced book that is packed with humor. It's my favorite book I've read in a long time!


Full Review: The Magicatory is a middle-grade fantasy. I would be cautious giving it to children ages 9-11 because of some violence and mild rude humor, but would easily recommend it for kids ages 12 and up.

     I was laughing the entire way through this book. The action never stopped for a moment, and while there was plenty of suspense it was also hilarious. And the plot twist at the end was certainly not one I ever would have seen coming.

     The story is told to us by "Auntie," the CEO of The Magicatory. I cannot express how much I loved Auntie. She was the perfect narrator, broke up the story at the right times, and (small spoiler alert) meeting her at the end of the book was one of the most satisfying parts of the whole thing. It was like finally meeting a pen pal or being reunited with a close friend. I loved hearing her give us some backstory at the beginning, and her comments and jokes scattered throughout the story were a nice touch. She was easily my favorite character.

     It's set in a place where magic is the norm. It reminded me of something I saw on Pinterest talking about how neat normalized magic would be in modern society, like fairy-run coffee shops where you can get a latte with a shot of charisma before a big meeting, or psychics running hair salons who always know how you want your hair to look, etc. The Magicatory did that. It was a change from the traditional awe of magic to, as soon as the kids from earth got over it, something everyone seemed to have in some form or another. I thought it was rather refreshing, and added another layer to the story. Not to mention the fact that almost every creature introduced in the story was one never invented before. They certainly made things more complicated, in a good way.

     The characters were charismatic and their interactions were quite enjoyable. Even the extras, who were only around for a chapter at the most, played their parts spectacularly. (Berg was another favorite of mine.) It was the perfect mix of adult and child. I also enjoyed that the adults had just as much fun as the kids, if not more. Most kids books portray adults as boring, or the authorities as people who never understand and are so high and mighty and worried about always being right that they get in the way of the kids. These adults and children acted like best friends and equals.

     As previously mentioned, the ending contains a plot twist that is equally shocking and satisfying. It tied up loose ends very nicely, although there was room left for a second book and questions left unanswered. I will be looking forward to Amy's next book with great anticipation.

     Overall, I loved this story. It is well worth reading. It's been quite some time since I enjoyed a story this much, and it was very refreshing. Simple, and yet complex at the same time, this book was easy and enjoyable to read. The pace never slows down, so readers never get bored, and I will certainly recommend it to fellow book-lovers


Overall Rating: 5

*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*


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