Children’s Book Review: I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard

I Can Only Imagine: A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever

I Can Only Imagine: A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever by Bart Millard

March 13, 2018 – Thomas Nelson

32 pgs. – Children’s Fiction, Inspirational, christian

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf

Source: Publisher

5 Stars 

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

This was another beautifully illustrated story that we received this month. The pictures are bright and fun. The story takes you through a series a questions that allows you to reflect on what you know about Jesus and imagine what it would be like to be with him daily, in the small ways.  It is very appropriate and engaging for kids. My daughter enjoyed looking at the pictures and my son enjoyed the rhythm of the story itself.


Always Shine!


Children’s Book Review: Sea Creatures From the Sky by Ricardo Cortes

Sea Creatures from the Sky

Sea Creatures From the Sky by Ricardo Cortes

April 3, 2018 -Akashic Books

48 pgs. – Children’s fiction, animals, sharks

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf

Source: Publisher

5 stars

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I saw this in the Akashic Books catalog and was intrigued. Mainly because my son loves sharks. This is a beautiful children’s book that is not only full of wonderful illustrations, but has a unique story. This is a shark’s first encounter with man -written from the shark’s perspective.  Seeing how most people are afraid of sharks and often think of them as monsters, it is interesting the voice that Cortes chose to give the shark. Because that is not the impression that we are left with. This was fun and both of my kids enjoyed it.

Always Shine!




This is one of the changes that I am making. I am really going to focus on the books that I own, either in print or digitally as much as possible. But to shrink my attention I am only picking out 5 titles for each category. Right now I am only picking from a TBR stack that I was already working on. As I make progress, I will be changing how I select the books.  While there are a few library books this round, I do plan on limiting those books as well.

5 Print Books-

Del Toro Moon This was sent to me by the author, and I am currently reading it. (I started it last night!!!)

In the Shadow of the Gods (Bound Gods, #1) I received the second book for review.

The Bones of the Earth (Bound Gods #2)I was sent this from the publisher for review.

The Ghost Line This is one of the books that I have checked out from my library.

Marked (The Soulseer Chronicles, #1) This is another book that I have checked out from my library.

Digital Books

Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, #1) I have book 4 for review, and I wanted to start this series, so I checked out the e-book from my library.

No Time for Goodbye (No Time For Goodbye, #1) I have wanted to read something from this author for a while, as this is one that is always recommended to me. I saw that it was on sale (but since I am not buying books right now) I used that as an excuse to check it out.

Lightning in the Blood (Ree Varekai, #2) Another book I checked out from my library, I wanted to continue with this series.

Platform Dwellers I was sent a copy of this from Owl Hollow Press for review.

Golden Skies This is another book I was sent Owl Hollow Press for review.

Update about Changes

A while ago I posted about how I wanted to make changes, I wanted to do my part in being attention to books by authors of colors. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to hold to my review commitments before I completely switched to this. Well, if you are a book lover who gets offered books to review, you can probably sympathize. It doesn’t look like I will be making that switch.

I have been working on organizing all of my review books into a more manageable system and as I finish I will tell about the new system. The first change I’m implementing is a 5n5 tbr. I will select 5 print titles and 5 digital titles that I will focus on. For the summer, for the most part it will consist of review books  for the second half of 2018, or as many as I can get through. How I pick the 5n5 will change in the fall, but for now they’re coming from a premade tbr, broken into groups of 5. My first 5n5 tbr will be posted soon.

If you have any fun and creative or practical ways to organize review books, please share. I need all the help I can get.

Always Shine!!

Review: Fiyah Literary Magazine Vol. 6- Big Mama Nature

FIYAH Literary Magazine, Issue 6: Big Mama Nature

Fiyah Literary Magazine edited by Justina Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins

Volume 6: Big Mama Nature

April 1, 2018

Purpose: Review, #Kindlecleanup

Source: Fiyah Literary Magazine

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I can’t believe that I was given a chance to review this magazine again. With all of the short stories that are available, and the literary magazines that are available, it may be a bit overwhelming to find the right fit, or to find the gems. Somehow, Fiyah has done it. They have found gems and have put them together for the readers. This is a great way to get to know a lot of authors that you probably haven’t encountered but wish you had.

This edition was about nature and was another great showcase of talent.  (I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but at the end of each edition is a highlighted indie/ self-published title. Another way to find the jewels in the masses. I think that this is a great feature!)

The Sower by Takim Williams : This appears to be a bit disjointed. Each segment twining around the next into a whole. It’s written in lyrically, acting as a magnet-in some moments it attracts and in others it repells.

Furious Girls  by Juliana Goodman: (This is my favorite!) This story has a lot and definitely makes me want to read more from Goodman. Normally, fury and rage are bad and disastrous feelings, Goodman does a great job of showing this side. But, she doesn’t only use this side to tell he story. She flips it over and shows the usefulness and beauty .

Valley Fieldwork by Stefani Cox: This is one of those stories that’s about one thing but also about something more. While this was a nice glimpse into something much bigger, but I wanted more.

The Other Side of Otto Mountain by Ivy Spadille: This story meandered through the man’s past and alongside his future. It was well written but it left me with an odd feeling that I am struggling to put my finger on.

This edition ended with a poem, A Combustible Illness Clots the Blood by Terrance Brown. Poetry is one of the things that I find hard to review, but I liked this one.


Always Shine!




Goal Check in

Okay, so I thought that I had made a post about my reading goals. Turns out that I was wrong. In all honesty, it probably wasn’t worth it. I don’t have very many. The biggest goal I’ve been working on is to read more books that I own. I want to clean up and read more books from my Kindle as well. I have 4 other challenges that I am working on to. One My 12 Friends Recommend, will be finished this year and the other three will go on year after year,

Total books Read This Year: 104 

I’m using the Goodreads numbers, as I tended to update that with all of my books, including the ones I read to/for my kids.

#Offmybookshelf: My goal for this was to have 75% of the books I’ve read to be from my own shelf.  For simplicity sake, I have included any digital titles that are mine in this count.

35 of the books that I have read so far has been from my personal collection. So that puts me at 33%,  I will do better with this goal. 

12 Friends Recommend: 1

I have read All American Boys by Jason Reynolds. Rated it 5 stars,  Kelly Hager recommended anything by Jason Reynolds.

100 Must Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors: 0

This was a list I found on Book Riot and knew that I had to read the list. I started this last year and have already read 6 and dnf’d 1 (but will return to it) but I do have a quite of few titles that overlap with other challenges and goals and hope to make a lot of progress.

Nebula Shortlist: 0

Clarke Award Shortlist: 0

For both of these I plan to read all of the shortlist for the awards going back to the beginning of the award. I have not begun reading for these challenges but plan to start soon.

I guess I have not made a lot of progress on any of my goals, but I have half a year to make a dent and I plan on doing just that. I did have a goal with my book hauls, but it didn’t work. EPIC FAIL. So I am going to try something new: I will place a dollar in a jar for every book (kindle or print) that I read that I own. With the exclusion of pre-orders, I plan to take a break from buying books and focus on reading what I already own. I also had a goal about completing series, but I think that will happen naturally if I can stick to reading my own books.

Summer Classics:  I have picked out 5 classics that I want to read over the summer. (If this goes well I will pick out 5 for the Fall).

Persuasion by Jane Austen (Currently Reading)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

1984 by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I will do another goal check in at the end of summer to see if I’ve made any progress.

May 2018 Wrap – Up

I tried to do the  quarterly wrap-ups, but it hasn’t worked out. So I’m going to try to go back to monthly wrap-ups. I am going to do it a little different. I know that I will be making big changes to the blog, as my reading has evolved. But I am not sure how or when, as I am trying to figure all of that out still.  But until then….

Audio: 3

Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2)  Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Children’s: 1 

Big News! (Emma is on the Air, #1)

Graphic Novels: 5

Foiled (Foiled, #1) Faith, Volume 2: California Scheming

Oddly Normal, Book 2 Goldie Vance Vol. 3

Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel's Revenge, #1)

Print (#Offmybookshelf): 6

Hidden Legacy Amish Christmas Abduction (Amish Country Justice #3)

No Grater Evil (The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries #3) Grounded Hearts Night Song Heartstone (Heartstone, #1)

Print (Library):1 

Kindness for Weakness


Total Books Read: 16 


This was a pretty good reading month. How was yours?


Always Shine!