The Promise Of Dawn By Lauraine Snelling | A Book Review

Title: The Promise of Dawn

Author: Lauraine Snelling

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It is the first in a series called Under the Northern Lights. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I read the blurb, thinking it would be a different yet interesting story. I found the Norwegian phrases pretty simple to understand based on the context even though I wasn’t expecting the other language at all.

Summary: A family travels from Norway to Minnesota. They work hard to build a new life in another country, which isn’t easy.

Characters: The story revolves around the Carlson family, which are a likeable bunch. Gerd and Einar, the uncle and aunt, are not, but that changes as the book progresses. I enjoyed the various family dynamics and interactions.

Because Einar is not the nicest man, to say the least, I anticipated some kind of backstory or at least a reason as to why he’s so mean. Unfortunately, I never got any answers.


“Gratitude was valuable.”

Conflict: Both the uncle and aunt have high expectations. The mother, Signe, begins to lose her faith in God as a lot of things go wrong for her family in America.

More exciting events happened at the beginning and near the end, which left the middle feeling somewhat dull and flat at times.

Writing: It’s descriptive. Most of the Norwegian happens in dialogue or internal monologues. I think there were some minor errors and sentences that could’ve been written better.

I guess my only real gripe is that not a lot happens. I also feel some characters didn’t have much agency. Reading about the family’s day to day life got repetitive. Even some of the words or phrases were used often. Perhaps the book would’ve benefited if several parts were cut, and it was a shorter novel.

Final thoughts: Even though The Promise of Dawn isn’t what I normally gravitate towards picking up, I learned a lot while reading it. The story is set in the early twentieth century.

I recommend it if you’re interested in historical books with a particular focus on families.

Overall, it was a nice departure from what I have been reading recently and will likely continue to read. If you thought thrillers, you thought right. While I don’t mind historical fiction, I find them a bit tougher to relate to as the characters face problems so dissimilar from my own.

If you haven’t already, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading when I remember to update my status.

You can buy the book on Amazon or Book Depository. Those are my affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!


The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

American Assassin By Vince Flynn | A Book Review

Title: American Assassin

Author: Vince Flynn

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the first novel in a series which follows a young man named Mitch Rapp.

First impressions: I saw so many ads for the film. Then when I learned that it was based on a novel by Vince Flynn, I picked up the book. I had high hopes. Even from the get-go, the story didn’t disappoint. I especially enjoyed the humour.

Summary: Rapp, a college athlete, trains for months to become an assassin. Afterwards, he leaves a trial of bodies behind him. His goal is to stop terrorist attacks in the Middle East, and Mitch takes extreme measures to do so.

Characters: Rapp is an interesting and intelligent character. I didn’t expect Flynn to go into too much depth about human motivations and the psychology behind why people are who they are because of their past experiences. But to my surprise, he did.

As much as I’m fond of a larger cast of characters, I found myself needing time to learn everyone’s names, so I could distinguish who was who. It didn’t help that there were a couple of obvious mistakes where the name written referenced the wrong character. What’s more, a few people had fake names, which compounded the problem further.

Also, I generally like some description of physical appearance because I want to picture the characters, even the secondary ones, better. But at least the main ones are developed.


“If you’re not busy living, you’re dying.”

Conflict: Rapp loses his girlfriend in a terrorist attack, but then he becomes a killing machine.

Writing: Overall, Flynn tells a well-paced story. Even though the edition I read was 464 pages long, I personally felt the story progressed at a nice pace.

Some of the language, specifically certain insults seemed dated to me. Or at least different from what I’m familiar with.

The story is told in third person point of view and alternates between multiple characters, which provides more insight into people’s motives.

Final thoughts: The ending left me wanting more, so it’s a good thing Rapp’s story continues. Regardless I would’ve liked closure. I’m kind of a broken record at this point. But I do care for the characters enough to want to know more about what happens to them.

The one thing I didn’t like was the romantic subplot. It happened so fast, and I felt as though it had little bearing on the rest of the story until the end.

I’d recommend American Assassin to anyone looking for a fun thriller. I’m a huge fan of thrillers, so I had a blast reading Flynn’s novel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever watch the film, but a part of me wants to because I’m curious to see how certain events in the book are depicted on screen.

If you haven’t already, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading when I remember to update my status.

You can buy the book on Amazon or Book Depository. Those are my affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?


How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

Why I Love Baseball And Books

I don’t love many things. I could spend an entire day telling you everything I dislike or despise But I know this for a fact: I love baseball and books. Why, you may ask. I’ll attempt to explain as eloquently as I can.

I need variety, variation. I’m not someone who enjoys monotony or repetition.

Thankfully, no game is the same. No book exactly like another. Even after all these years, I still see plays and stories I’ve never seen before.

Variety goes hand in hand with discovery. I’m a fan of discovering new things. That’s why learning is one of my favourite activities. Books and baseball have been great teachers. I’m lucky to be a student of both. Sometimes the best life lessons aren’t the ones on the page or on the field either. You learn the most when you least expect to.

They allow me to disconnect. When I’m in the middle of a book or ball game, I want to be so immersed in the experience that I’m not thinking about checking my phone. I want to be in the moment. Besides, I can always connect to wifi after I finish reading or watching.

I enjoy cheering for someone. Sticking with a character or a player through thick and thin. Being in a person’s corner from beginning to end. Come what may, come hell or high water. In a way, they become your friends.

There’s something special in not knowing. You don’t know what will happen. Maybe your two favourite characters fall in love. Perhaps your team makes it to the post-season. I’ve come to embrace the strange, scary but also beautiful and lovely feeling of not knowing. After all, that book, that game might just be the best thing to ever happen to you.

Pick One: Book Characters

While writing my Pick One: Book Series blog post, I was inspired to pit fictional characters against each other. Enjoy!

Peeta or Gale? Hunger Games 

They’re both cool characters. Younger Herminia just thought Gale was cooler.

Edward or Jacob? Twilight 

Probably Jacob. I’m old, but I believe younger me was a bigger fan of the latter.

Dorian or Chaol? Throne of Glass

I liked Chaol’s character and his relationship with Celaena.

Rhysand or Tamlin? A Court of Thorns and Roses

Rhysand. He was more interesting to me even in the first book.

Darrow or Sevro? Red Rising

Darrow is amazing, but Sevro is somehow even more amazing. But I love them to pieces.

Minho or Newt? The Maze Runner

Minho in the books, Newt in the movies. So much got lost in the film adaptations. It’s such a shame.

Brenda or Theresa? The Maze Runner

Theresa in both the books and movies. She had greater depth to her character.

John or Robert Puller? John Puller

Robert. I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again: I love the older brother’s brain. I need a series that exclusively follows him everywhere.

Safiya or Iseult? The Witchlands

Iseult. She helped me remember the word, homeostasis, which I coincidentally learned in my biotechnology class. That’s enough to win me over. I have low expectations, okay.

Clary or Isabelle? The Mortal Instruments

Isabelle all the way. She’s one of the few characters I grew fonder of.

This was such a struggle to write. I hope you appreciate my suffering.

Different Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Lately, I’ve been moving my books around because I’m not entirely happy with the way they’re displayed on my shelves. But I don’t know how I want to rearrange them exactly, so I decided to write a blog post about different ways you can organize your bookshelves.

By alphabetical.

Do the author’s last name or first if you’re so inclined. You might even decide to go organize according to the titles of each book. It’s up to you.

By colour.

Ombré. Rainbow. The possibilities are endless.

By genre.

Have one shelf for fantasy, one for mystery, etc. This is a good way to see what you like or dislike.

By height.

Shelves look more uniform when books are the same size. This is a fact of life. My heart breaks when I buy a novel that doesn’t fit in with the others.

By love.

Have your favourite books on one shelf. You can play favourites with novels. That’s totally ethical.

By status.

What you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read. I have a shelf for all the books I own but haven’t read yet. Without fail, I’ll read a few novels on my to-be-read shelf only to buy many more. I almost always enable my own addiction.

By story.

Is it a standalone? A series? Also consider grouping books by the same author together. Because why not?

By type.

Paperbacks here. Hardcovers there. Easy, fast, simple. You’re good to grab and go.

By however you want.

Obviously, you can organize your books any way you like. Feel free to use one or a combination of the methods listed above.

Let me know how you organize your books. I’d love to get some inspiration for my shelves. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to run out of space either. But that’s a problem I’ll tackle another day.

No Man’s Land By David Baldacci | A Book Review

Title: No Man’s Land

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the fourth book in a series which follows an army investigator, John Puller.

First impressions: I’ve read Baldacci’s works in the past, and I keep returning to his stuff. They’re entertaining and exciting. I’m also a bit biased because The Escape was my first Baldacci novel, so it has a special place in my heart. For that reason and others, the John Puller books are some of my favourites. Hence why I had to pick up No Man’s Land.

Summary: Puller’s mom disappeared thirty years ago. Now Puller’s dad is accused of murdering his wife. John Puller won’t stop investigating until he finds out the truth, despite attempts from people to throw a gigantic wrench in his plans.

Characters: Not long ago, I fell in love with Robert Puller, John’s older brother. Thanks to this story, I fell in love even more. Is that even possible? I can’t explain it. I just love the interaction between both brothers. The humour and sarcasm gets me every time.

While you don’t have to have read the first three in the series (Zero Day, The Forgotten, The Escape). they do provide greater insight into the Puller family.

Paul Rogers is a man on a mission, seeking revenge. Although he does many terrible things, I couldn’t help but feel like he wasn’t the bad guy at any point.

Kudos to Baldacci for writing interesting characters with realistic motivations.


“Truths coming from those facts can be difficult to accept, particularly when they are of a personal nature.”

Conflict: Conflicts between people are my kind of conflicts.

Writing: When I’m reading for leisure, I almost always appreciate short sentences and chapters. I’ve also noticed Baldacci tends to set up his books in a similar way too.

Even though I predicted some things, there were a few twists I didn’t see coming. That’s likely why I keep returning to his works. I won’t spoil anything for anyone. You’ll have to find out what happens for yourself.

Final thoughts: Near the end, I really wanted to know the real truth. I think the ending provides much needed closure for everyone, characters and readers alike. That said, I hope Baldacci continues the series further.

My bias rears its head again when I say that I’d love for a larger focus on Robert Puller, even if the author technically wrote a story about him already. I’d love for the two brothers to work every case together from here on out. Regardless I think No Man’s Land might be one of my favourite books by Baldacci. In general, you can expect fun, quick reads from him.

I recommend if you’re interested in fast-paced thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat or the tips of your toes. (I stood while reading most of the novel.)

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you make a purchase using them, I earn commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood | A Book Review

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Classic Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone novel with dystopian undertones.

First impressions: I’ve only read Oryx and Crake, and even though the book was weird, I enjoyed it because Atwood told a good story. Safe to say the TV adaptation made me even more excited for The Handmaid’s Tale. Early on I got the sense this would be a different novel than what I’m used to reading (thriller, young adult, etc.), especially in the summer It’s dark and deep.

Summary: A Handmaid’s life. Offred leaves the house every day to buy food. She tries to get pregnant once a month because a baby is valuable. Offred remembers her past, but the present is nothing like the world she once knew.

Characters: We don’t learn the real name of the main character. She’s referred to as Offred, a Handmaid for the Commander who also has a wife. The novel is more character-centric than plot. There’s development. There’s depth. What more could you ask for?


“But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning.”

Conflict: Women are not allowed to read. They aren’t permitted to do a lot of things anymore.

Writing: It’s fragmented. That’s the best way I can describe the writing. Atwood writes in short sentences. I like to think the fragmented writing is a reflection of Offred’s life as a handmaid. The one issue I had, especially in the beginning, was the non-existent quotation marks. It made for a tougher reading experience. Because the story is technically more of a retelling after the events happened, I realize the dialogue isn’t an exact replica of what was said. Still, I would have liked an easier way to distinguish between conversation and narration or exposition. That said, the language and imagery are descriptive, especially with the darker, more poignant scenes.

Final thoughts: The ending is vague. Ambiguous even. It’s left to the reader to interpret. Atwood leaves some questions unanswered.

I’m not usually one to watch TV or film adaptations of books because the latter tends to be better. But after reading the novel, a part of me wants to watch the show. I’m curious to see how the events in the book are depicted on screen.

I’d recommend The Handmaid’s Tale to just about everybody. Even though I haven’t seen any of the TV episodes, I did read the book, and I’d encourage others to do so as well. The story is relevant. It might be tougher to relate to, but some parts resonated with me.

I can see why the novel doesn’t appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, I think Atwood has a way with words. The effect is quite chilling.

This post has affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.