April 2013 Book Reviews

I can't believe it's the end of April already. This month flew by. I've decided to incorporate ratings into my book reviews based on a 7 star system. A 7 star book is the best, but anything 4 or above is a good pick. I had a hard time picking a book of the month for April, so I have a special giveaway in its place. Read to the bottom for more information! The Dog Stars by Peter Heller - The Dog Stars is the story of one man's life in a post apocalyptic world. We quickly learn this world is a vicious fight for survival, not only against disease, but against other people. But, in the middle of this tough environment, we watch Hig, the protoganist, search for meaning and eventually find it through relationships. The writing style takes some getting used to because Heller doesn't use dialogue in a traditional manner. I enjoyed the book greatly as a portrait into our humanity. 5 out of 7 stars.

Z 2134 by Sean Platt & David Wright - Z 2134 is one of Sean Platt and David Wright's many serials. Platt and Wright arrange the content into episodes (roughly novella length) which are released weekly. I read the first four episodes which compose season one and ended up a little disappointed. The description clearly states it's a combination of the Hunger Games, Walking Dead and 1984, and I wish they didn't stick so true to that statement. On the upside, Z 2134 is well written and the plot is engaging. I finished episode 4 wanting more and for many questions to be answered so I think despite it all, I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to trying out more serials from Platt and Wright. 4 out of 7 stars.

Jesus Is by Judah Smith - I enjoyed reading Judah Smith's book. There wasn't anything revolutionary in the book, but it was a good reminder of how following Jesus guides my faith as a Christian. I'd recommend this book to a new christian. However, if you are looking for a book with deep theology, this isn't the book to read. 4 out of 7 stars.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I bought Life of Pi over a year ago for my kindle when it was a daily deal. I have many books on my kindle through those deals and it takes me way too long to get to them. However, I am glad I finally read Life of Pi. The novel starts a bit slow, but once Pi is on the lifeboat I was sucked into the story. Themes of faith, imagination, story and reality are intertwined throughout the book. The writing is clear and concise with beautiful and sometimes disturbing imagery. This is a book I can read many times and I look forward to watching the film now. 6 out of 7 stars.

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty - I wasn't sure if this book belongs in the book review post, yet it does deserve a mention. The book is targeted for nonfiction writing, cover letters, and business writing; however, this book is a great resource for all writers. She covers basic grammar, word usage, and punctuation rules. Her website and free podcast are also helpful.


Book Giveaway

I couldn't decide on a book of the month for April, so the giveaway is a little different. One lucky winner will win a copy of any book in my monthly books reviews of 2013. Simply leave a comment of what book you would like to win and a short reason why. The links to my past monthly book reviews are below. Happy Commenting! I will pick a winner in a week.

January 2013 Book Reviews

February 2013 Book Reviews

March 2013 Book Reviews

March 2013 Book Reviews

This was a fun month of reading. I read some great books and due to my surgery, I spent lots of time reading. I read five books this month including one indie book and one literary classic! Check them out below and leave a comment if you want to win a copy of the book of the month! The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go is the first in another young adult dystopian trilogy. If you haven't noticed yet, I like this genre. Todd is a thirteen year old boy who lives in a town of all men in the New World. In the New World, all the men can hear each others' thoughts which is called "Noise." Todd quickly learns the history he was taught isn't true and he forced to run away from his home for his life. Ness does interesting things with language and fonts in this book which I enjoyed. I liked the story, but was a little disappointed with the cliffhanger ending. It's a solid read, but not in the same category as the Hunger Games or Veronica Roth's Divergent series.

The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller - Keller's short book examines the familiar parable of the prodigal son. Keller reminds us the story is about two sons, not just the "lost" son and the implications for our faith when we look at the story of both sons. Keller is a great pastor and theologian and this book is a great read to remind us of God's grace.

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker - I picked up The Emperor's Edge as my indie book for March and it was a great pick (especially since it's free in the kindle store). The Emperor's Edge is a mix of fantasy, steampunk and the thriller genres. Amaranthe Lokdon is a strong female lead who puts together a team of criminals to save the emperor from an assassination scheme. Buroker laces humor through her characters and I found myself chuckling often. The story moves along well and the novel is very well written. I can't wait to read Dark Currents, Book 2 in the series!

Dracula by Bram Stoker - I'm ashamed to say this was the first time I've read Bram Stoker's Dracula. With the popularity of vampires in pop culture, I wanted to go back to a classic vampire tale. And this book is a classic. I loved the narration of this story- through letters and journals from the main characters. The story is frightening in the best way. If you missed this book somewhere along the way, pick it up.

Book of the Month

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors these days and I absolutely loved this book. The story revolves around Laurel Nicholson's investigation into her mother's past to solve a murder her mother covered up when Laurel was a teenager. Morton switches point of view and time period throughout the book in an effortless manner. The characters are well-developed, the language is beautiful and the intrique is high as the story dives into themes of family, relationships, loss and love. This is a well deserved 5 star book.


Every month I give away a free copy of the book of month to one lucky comment. Leave me a comment about any of the books above, or a book you've enjoyed recently for a chance to win! Zelda will pick the winner in a week or so.