Tag Archives: book review

Hometown Legend, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Hometown Legend

Hometown Legend

This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read.  I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall.  I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.

So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.

I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious!  I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time.  As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.

One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well!  She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too.  (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)

REading

What I hoped it would be

After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs.  I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week.  Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.

This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time.  An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy.  The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.

hometown_new_poster

Available as a 2002 DVD Movie

Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged.  Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism.  He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face.  The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.

This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff.  I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.

The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page.  This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.

This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.

Rating

Get it used...

Get it used…

Leave a comment

Filed under Book to film, Christian, Review, romance

Weekly Reader No. 1

So, I have this problem. I’ve been reading tons and tons of books and feeling very guilty about not writing reviews on all of them. After all, what is the point of book blogging if I read and don’t blog?? However, I’ve been on a major reading binge ever since school got out and the idea of sitting down to write reviews on all the amazing (and some not so amazing) books that I’ve been reading, just seemed like a bit much. Also, when I read this way I get a huge backlog of book reviews. So I’m going to try posting things that I’ve read from week to week on Mondays. If I feel like a book needs a lengthy review, I’ll write it but most books are going to get a few sentences. For the purposes of this format, we are going to go to a simple five-star rating system (regular reviews will still use the regular blog system).

 

89507-hp5The week started with a reread of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I used to reread all the time. I love the thrill of going back to something familiar. It’s like visiting an old friend from college. You rehash the same stories with a joyful air knowing exactly what will happen. You catch greater nuance and discover things you never knew but it still has a comfort level that a new book simply misses.  This time through the books, the complexity of the relationship between Harry and his muggle family stood out to me most. Petunia and Dudley in particular.  I do wish that we had seen Dudley standing on platform 9 and ¾s during the epilogue. It would have been poetic justice.  I love going back to visit this world and will always wish that Rowling would go back to her magical world. While I’m excited to read her latest, nothing will ever quite compare to Harry Potter. Rating –  ★★★★★

 

I had a bit of book hangover after reading that series. I couldn’t seem to pick up anything for a couple of days. Finally I settled down and dove into VIII by H.M. Castor. A fictional retelling of the life of Henry the VIII which was exactly the kind of thing I needed to get through my Harry Potter book hangover. So often historical fiction about his reign comes form the point of view of one of his many wives. It was interesting as the author strove to get inside his brain. I think what I found most interesting was all of the politics that went on with his first marriage. This book would be a great starting point to create interest about Henry the VIII. Rating – ★★★★

 

I have a love/hate relationship with Charles de Lint. I love some of his stuff and simply can’t get through other things he writes. I think it’s largely me. I’ve picked up some of his Newford stuff and loved it. However I tried to get through Dreams Underfoot, the first book and I simply couldn’t do it.  Sadly this one went back in my library bag, mostly unread. I might return to it at some point. I think I just picked it up at the wrong time. I hesitate to rate it right now but I rate everything so… Rating – ★

 

I’m not a judge a book by it’s cover kind of girl, but this one is lovely.

I’m not quite done with The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White but should finish in the next hour or so.  I have a feeling I know exactly where this book is going and I think I’m going to enjoy getting there. I love the idea of looking at Egypt’s mythology as the focus. So far the main character is very enjoyable to read and the author captures the idea of not fitting in anywhere in a somewhat simplistic but sincere manner.  While it is definitely light reading, it is entertaining. Rating – ★★★

1 Comment

Filed under historical fiction, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review

The Lupus Encyclopedia by Donald E. Thomas, M.D.

Lupus Book Review

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book) by Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, was recently released.  Within the astounding 43 chapters is an in-depth and exhaustive discussion of the many facets of lupus.  This book is for lupus patients, but is not a quick read, but between two covers holds a broad library of balanced lupus topics that are worthy of investing some time and study.

There is so much in this book, but where should you start?  Begin in the Preface, where Dr. Thomas sets forth seven specific steps a lupus patient may use right away to get the greatest benefits from his book:

  1. Go to the 3 page Lupus Secrets Checklist in Chapter 44
  2. Read the listed specific chapters Dr. Thomas recommends reading next
  3. Get a copy of your medical records, notes, labs, x-rays, etc.
  4. Skim interesting chapters to find and go back to spend more time on ones that apply most to you
  5. Consult the Patient Resources at the end of the book
  6. Visit Dr. Thomas’ Facebook page and follow him on Twitter for current lupus news
  7. Consider sending an email to Dr. Thomas with suggestions for future editions

After ferreting out reliable lupus information for more than twenty years since my diagnosis in the early 1990s, it really seemed there were few sources of fresh information about Lupus, without going to books and references written for the medical community.  This book provides an understandable reference resource appropriate for patients. Happily, there is great depth and much to learn from reading and referring to this important book!

cc

Check out this new Lupus book!

Dr. Thomas clearly demonstrates his broad understanding of Lupus, and this book should stand the test of time as one of the great books about this complex auto-immune disease.  The first printing of this exhaustive patient reference initially sold out in both hard and soft cover edition at a reduced price through Amazon.com but a few more copies are now available, and more are on the way.  It is also sold at BarnesandNoble.com in both cover styles and as a Nook e-book at the lowest price I have seen online so far.  If other sources are out of stock and you don’t mind paying full list price, purchase it direct from the publisher’s website at John Hopkin’s University Press.

I heartily recommend The Lupus Encyclopedia, and urge you to check it out, too.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under non fiction

Book Review: Redshirts

Book: Redshirts

Author: John Scalzi

Recommend: If you’re a fan of star trek and understood what the title meant without looking then absolutely!

I’m a big star trek fan. My favorite series is Next Generation by far. I can’t stand the original series in more than tiny occasional doses. I have liked some of the other series and have one I simply couldn’t stomach but yep, I am  Trekkie. When I was younger I used to sneak out after I was supposed to be in bed and hide behind the couch in order to watch episodes of TNG, only getting caught occasionally.

So when I saw this book at the library it simply had to end up coming home with me and when I finally got a chance to crack it open, it definitely did not disappoint. The whole thing was hilarious and set in a show that was a bad ripoff of Star Trek (probably due to copyright issues). There are few books that made me laugh as much as this one did.

The only slight negative that I could find was that in some places the adult situations while not overly explicit simply didn’t feel like the fit the overall tone of the book. There are a couple of places where you can really feel the author poking through which can be a bit distracting. Other than that, if you are a Star Trek fan and can handle a bit of Trekkie satire, this one is worth picking up.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: Dead Ever After

Book: Dead Ever After

Author: Charlaine Harris

Recommend: If you’ve read the rest of the series, I don’t think you’ll be able to avoid it, although I think poor fan fiction would be better written than this book…

I have read this whole series form the first book on. A friend of mine at work recommended them after she realized that I loved the Twilight series and that I could probably use something more adult. While I enjoyed the first few books of the series, I got tired of Sookie‘s constant relationship shifts. After the fourth or fifth one, I was done with the ridiculousness although I continued to read because I was so far into the series.

I kept hoping that somehow she would get a fresh inspiration and decided where she wanted the whole thing to go but by the last book of the series it was still feeling stale and the ending was crazy forced. Let’s not even discuss who Sookie ends up with at the end and how annoyed I was by that whole thing. It felt like it came completely out of left field and was done to tick off a large portion of the audience. While there was no way to make everyone happy, she picked the ending that I think made the least amount of people happy.

The last book was completely anticlimactic and the story was lacking. Definitely not a good reason to start this series up but if you’ve read to this point I don’t quite know how you could resist the last book in the series. All the same, I’m glad I picked this one up at the library instead of paying for it.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

TRASH IT!!

Leave a comment

Filed under mystery, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: The Infernal Devices Series

Books: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess

Author: Cassandra Clare

Recommend: This series was better than the original three books and I didn’t think that was possible.

Okay, it is no secret that I love everything that I’ve read from this author. Her original series, The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite YA series I’ve read. This series actually might be better than the original material.

This series centers around Tessa Gray, a girl who has no idea who or what she is when she is taken by the Dark Sisters and forced to use a skill she didn’t even know that she had. it puts her in the path of the shadowhunters as they work together to stop an evil force that the Nephillim alone cannot defeat.

Okay, this has to be with, without a doubt, the best love triangle I have ever seen. In most books we see two guys fighting over one girl. In this one, it is three people who love each other completely but don’t want to hurt anyone in the process and yet Tessa must choose. (I know – spoiler but it’s YA so this plot point is fairly predictable and therefore I don’t feel too bad about it). At the end of the first book, I was certain which way I wanted it to go. By the end of the second, I had completely flipped and by halfway through the third I was so confused that I somehow wanted both to end up with the girl even though it wasn’t possible.

With one of the best book ends I have read in a very long time, this series had me on an emotional roller coaster ride that I never wanted to get off. In fact, I have a serious book hangover from this series. I’m trying to read another book right now and I just can’t seem to get into it and it is all Cassandra Clare’s fault. There is no question that these books will be joining my extensive library the second I have the cash to purchase them.

I will say that while Clare is able to suck me into her world every time I read one of her books, this is not the case for everyone. In fact a couple of my close friends have tried to read her stuff and hated it completely. They simply don’t like her writing style and find that sometimes it can feel like she is trying too hard. So much so that they couldn’t even finish City of Bones. However, I have many other reader friends who love this series as much as I do. In fact, the moment I finished, I had to text one of my friends just to let her know how much I loved it by the time I was done. Definitely a whirlwind that is worth riding.

Also, I just found out that a movie is coming for this series!! I can’t wait 🙂

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review

Book Review: Agenda 21

Book: Agenda 21

Author: Glen Beck and Harriet Parke

Recommend: This one is a MUST read

What if the United States was simply a dim memory? Freedom was a word never spoken and daily life was something out of a futuristic dystopian novel? What if your job, spouse and movements were all carefully controlled by your government? That is the life of Emmaline, a young girl who is among the last to have been raised by her parents instead of the state. She is paired (marriage is a thing of the past) and forced to produce children she will never get to see, let alone hold. When the government can take away everything, how can anyone fight back?

This book was a great read. It was cleaner than most YA I read (although it is adult fiction) and yet it had an edge that left me sitting on the edge of my chair waiting with bated breath to find out what would happen next. The characters were a great mix of innocence and a hardness created by their rough environment. The characters had depth and were very memorable. I think that Emmaline and David will be resonating through my head for quite some time to come.

By the way, whatever you do, don’t forget to read the afterword on this one – it will knock the wind right out of you.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

3 Comments

Filed under political thriller, Review

Book Review: The Wheel of Ice

Book: The Wheel of Ice (Doctor Who)

Author: Stephen Baxter

Recommend: If you are a fan of the Doctor. Oh wait, that should be everyone who has ever seen Doctor Who (if you haven’t – go watch it)

Yep. I’m a Whovian. I started watching with nine and can’t seem to stop. I’ve watched a few older episodes when I can get a hold of them. This book though is my first real exposure to the second Doctor. I found the companions entertaining and the overall plot enjoyable. It definitely was a Doctor story in so many ways. For that alone, I really enjoyed it.

I think that the biggest flaw in my eyes was that it has too much information that is up to date. The second Doctor wouldn’t have known some of the things he seems to know in this book. There is too much future knowledge and too many things that don’t ring true of the second Doctor. I know why the author made the choices that he did but it was still distracting because it was the second Doctor. I think the Whovians could have handled the scientific inaccuracies in favor of staying true to the Who Universe.

Definitely a fun read if you are a Who fan but if you aren’t a fan of Doctor Who, you are going to need to watch some first before diving into a book like this.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

Leave a comment

Filed under Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

Click image to purchase

 

Book: Out of the Silent Planet

Author: C.S. Lewis

Recommend: If you are a fan of older science fiction or enjoy the work of C.S. Lewis, you’ll enjoy this book, the start of a trilogy.

I’ve read a lot of C.S. Lewis in my time. I have heard many songs that quote this series. I can’t even remember how long these books have been on my to-read list. Finally, I got my hands on all three of them for free and started in with book one. I was expecting something similar to his other works and wasn’t disappointed.

Ransom is walking through the British countryside, trying to find a place to spend the night when he happens upon an old college acquaintance who drugs him and places him on a space ship taking him to Mars where he evades his captors and makes his own journey through the planet, meeting the various intelligent life forms there.

This is definitely a different style of writing than what I usually read. It was interesting but I wanted to connect with the characters more than I did. This was all about discovering a new place, not about getting to know someone, which just isn’t my favorite kind of reading. I definitely will be reading the next two books but I don’t see this series ever coming close to my love for some of his other books like The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, or The Chronicles of Narnia.

Final Rating:

Get it free

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Classic Literature, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: The Fiddler

Click image to purchase

Book: The Fiddler

Author: Beverly Lewis

Recommend: If you are looking for an easy, enjoyable read.

Beverly Lewis is one of those authors that I’m reluctant to mention as someone I really enjoy. Her books are just simply not my normal fare. If you were to ask people who know me well, they might be surprised since I tend to shy away from Christian romance novels in any shape or form. However from the time my gram (my dad’s mom) handed me The Shunning, I’ve been hooked. When I saw that the newest book was about a musician, there was no way I could stay away.

Amelia is an amazing violinist who leads a double life as Amy, a fiddle player (yes, there is a huge difference). When she gets a flat tire coming back from a concert, she ends up quite literally on the doorstep of a young man named Michael who, despite being 25, hasn’t decided what life he wants to live.

I really enjoyed this sweet, fluffy book. I would classify this as book candy. A sweet light confection of a book that is a breath of fresh air after reading more heavy literature. While the story is a bit predictable, it doesn’t take away from the pleasure of it. Sometimes it’s nice to know what’s going to happen in the end.

For my friends and readers out there who enjoy this kind of read, this one is definitely worth the time.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

2 Comments

Filed under Christian, general fiction, Review

Book Review: The Night Circus

Click image to purchase

Book: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Recommend: If you only read one book this year, make it this one.

I was reluctant to read this. I waited until the day before it was due back at the library to pick it up. I find it hard to read books about the circus. There is something so foreign, strange and desperate about it all. This book however, takes the idea to a level of surrealism that makes it feel like a grown up dark fairy tale. The author balances a complex, delicate story which could so easily unravel with a level of mastery I have rarely read. The images this book brought to my mind will stick with me for a very long time.

This tells the story of two children who are used as pawns in a competition for the amusement of old men. The game is magic and the stage is an elaborate circus that only runs at night. Unknown to each other, they compete, creating wonder after wonder, all the time wondering when it will finally end.

This story in the hands of almost anyone else would have been a disaster. This author however knew exactly what to say and what to hold back from the read. How to skate the line of believability without crossing it. How to create an ensemble of characters that worked well together, each rich in their own right without competing with each other for dominance.

I would LOVE to see this on film but I would only want to see it done by the right people.

Wonderfully written and amazing to read, the moment I closed the book, I almost ran to buy a copy for my nook.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

1 Comment

Filed under general fiction, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: Article 5

Fiction - February 08

Click image to purchase

 

Book: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons

Recommend: It was an interesting read. Not at all what I expected.

I saw this one a few months ago. It was on my massive list of books to read. I thought the concept was interesting. What if having a child out-of-wedlock was illegal? What if breaking a statute meant that you would disappear? What if the government was run by a moral code and one religion? That is the questions the author poses. What would the extreme case look like?

I really enjoyed the story line. What I didn’t like was the completely negative spin it took on traditional values and Christianity. The author seemed to think that having morality regulated would turn into something horrible. While anything can be taken too far, I think that the author forgets that the ideology in the book seems to be based on Biblical ideals and core of the Bible is God’s love for the people He created. The author seems to think that a world run by Christianity would be a world full of unfair rules and regulations and that the slightest thing would be met with extreme consequence. A world run by true Christian values would be one of love, caring, sacrifice and mercy, not violence and hatred. A situation similar to the book occurred a month or so ago in Mali (Couple given 100 lashes after child born out of wedlock) but it wasn’t Christians, it was under Islamic extremist rule.

I also think that there is a huge structural flaw with Article 5 of the statues. I think the idea that someone would be condemned for being a single parent doesn’t make sense with the structure she has created. If the whole idea is to promote traditional values, there still would be single parents, even if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock. What about widows/widowers? What about cases of rape? What about cases of abandonment? It’s just not solid enough to make sense to anyone reasonable.

While this was a fun fast-paced thrill ride, I think the author is trying to push her agenda through an engaging story.

Final Rating:

Get it free

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Summer book challenge, Teen Book review, thriller/horror

Children’s Book Review: Hocus Pocus Hotel

Click image to purchase

Book: Hocus Pocus Hotel

Author: Michael Dahl

Recommend: This is a cute series for readers ages 9-11 set in a hotel built by a magician.

The school’s bully asks one of the nerdy kids who has a photographic memory to meet him at the Hocus Pocus Hotel. Charlie thinks Ty asked him to meet there so he could beet him up but he had a very different plan. Charlies was the only one who could solve the mysterious disappearance of one of the hotel’s guests that had gone missing.

This is not the type of magic that can cause controversy, I’m happy to say. This book is all about illusionists and even reveals some of the tricks in the books with diagrams. Even I found myself studying the diagrams closely to figure out how they did what was described.

This was a great book for young readers aimed at boys. It is nice to see more books being written for boys in this age group. I think male readers tend to get ignored somewhat, especially child/teen readers. YA fiction is the worst example of this. There are so many more YA books aimed at girls than their are for boys. No wonder boys don’t want to read.

The first book of the series, I definitely see the potential for this series to pick up quickly and develop into a long series. Worth giving to your kids.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's book review, mystery, Review

Another Look at Harold Fry’s Unplanned Adventure

Book:  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author:  Rachel Joyce

Recommend:  This is a great vicarious read for those who love to walk, talk out loud to themselves and long for the great outdoors.  I takes a common man and shows us his personal struggles in an uncommonly insightful way.  Also, for anyone who cannot tolerate exposure to the sun, this book offers a virtual adventure along side the determined steps of a humble man’s solitary pilgrimage.

Setting out to run a simple errand, Harold Fry takes himself and the reader on a journey he did not chart nor plan for.  Ill shod and unprepared for his spontaneous trip, Harold suddenly summons the inner courage to step outside the known and venture out on a desperate quest he hopes will save a dying friend.  His persistence and plodding progress toward his goal become at times the end in its self, as his self-doubt and uncertainty battle against his desire to finish what he started, and somehow find a way to set his personal world right again.

The map of Harold’s journey

Haunted by the demons of his imperfect past, Harold finds faith and trust in the people he meets to overcome his many fears.  With each step, Harold finds a little more of himself, and learns to accept truths he has long buried and avoided.  He slowly rebuilds a dawning comprehension of primal values he once abandoned in response to the painful events his life.  I found this book especially enjoyable as I walked with Harold through its pages.  I trekked for hours down roads I could never personally walk, borrowing his perspective and the author’s imagination, I shared his steps and the reawakening of his heart and soul.

As a lupus patient, my auto-immunity makes me extremely photosensitive.  Lamenting my own ability to stand or walk in beloved sun light more than ten or fifteen minutes without aggravating my lupus, the idea of taking a much longed-for hike is especially welcome!

I strolled for miles next to Harold down winding paths through the rolling English countryside, and listened with him as he relished the voice each new bird’s song or echoing barking dog heard in the distance.  I shivered with him as the dank night air chilled his bony frame and dampness made him cower in the dark.  I encouraged him as he slogged through the rain, and quietly shouted hurray for him a hundred times over, as he grasped for each new ounce of strength to help him press on just a little bit farther toward his ambitious goal.

I felt as if my presence at his side somehow helped him.  I was the companion who understood his purpose when other companions failed to grasp his intent.  He trusted me with his true thoughts.

Rachel Joyce

Joyce spins her tale with skill, as she helps us understand the inner workings of Harold Fry through his winsome honesty, and artfully and patiently unveils the identity and humanness of the secondary cast of characters and walking companions.  His wife and son, Maureen and David, their neighbor Rex, a host of others, and lastly Harold’s friend that we finally meet at journey’s end, all become real and engaging.  Joyce paints a colorful host of interesting souls who are woven into the tapestry of Mr. Fry’s daunting hiking adventure. Joyce stands a great chance of gaining a stance beside two of my favorite authors, John Hershey and E.B. White.

Setting out to the mail box to post a letter will never be quite the same again!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under general fiction, Review

Book Review: The Help

Cover of "The Help"

Book: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Recommend: No question about it. This one is an instant classic.

I’ve been hearing about this book for ages it seems. Everyone was shocked when they found out that I hadn’t read it yet. Sometimes when a book is so insanely popular, I tend to avoid it. I think it might be a bit of latent teen rebellion that’s not quite worked through my system yet. I actually am glad that I waited to read it. If I had read it when the movie came out, I know I would have been pressured to go see the movie and as much as I loved the book, I just have no desire to see the movie. I just think I would be terribly disappointed by it.

I loved this one. It tells a great story without going to one extreme or the other. Sometimes, books about racial conflict can be extremely biased. This one felt honest. Instead of taking a side, it seemed to simply share both sides of the conflict. I also love that this isn’t about the center of the civil rights movement and that there isn’t some HUGE and seemingly instant resolution.In real life, prejudice doesn’t disappear instantaneously. It is a slow progression until one day someone realizes that they have reached the end of a journey they didn’t even realize they had started.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for?

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012, general fiction, historical fiction, Review, Summer book challenge

Abandoned Book Review: The Book of Fire

the really bad cover..

Book: The Book of Fire

Author: David L. Dawson

Recommend: Definitely not.

It doesn’t happen often but occasionally I’ll find a book I just can’t stand reading. Whether it is the plot, the writing style or it just not being what I expected, sometimes a book is so bad that it is just not worth the time to finish reading.

The plot was so implausible that I couldn’t keep going. Killer butterflies?? Are you kidding me? This read like a bad mix of Harry Potter and The Lightening Thief with so many grammar and spelling errors that I couldn’t continue. In addition, this book was written as something YA when it is clearing a middle grades book. Don’t bother wasting your time.

What was the last book you abandoned?

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's book review, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review

Book Review: The Map of Time

Book: The Map of Time

Author: Felix J. Palma

Recommend: Definitely worth the read!

I originally saw this book sitting on the shelves at my local Barnes and Noble. I really wanted to pick it up and read it but there was something else I needed to read and so I decided against it. I subsequently forgot about it until I saw it on the shelves at the library a couple of weeks ago. Immediately I recalled my desire to read it and hastily shoved it in my overflowing book bag. I cannot go to the library, it seems, without filling my bag to the brim and beyond.

This book was not what I was expecting. The jacket gives a hint of the plot at the end of the book, but is rather misleading. I’m not sure the jacket writer actually read the book. The Map of Time begins with a wealthy young man falling in love with one of Jack the Ripper‘s victims and his attempt at suicide. His well-meaning cousin enlists the help of H.G. Wells and they fake an episode of time travel to ‘save’ her, even though he cannot be with her.

H.G. Wells, 1910

H.G. Wells, 1910 (Photo credit: LSE Library)

The basic idea of the book is how one writer’s flight of fancy can have an effect on the real world in simple yet profound ways. I found the book very interesting and was able to make it through rather quickly, even though I am currently fighting off a reading slump. Particularly, the very obvious narrator was written in a refreshing, humorous way that made me laugh out loud a few times.

The only negative I can find with the book were some moments that could have been left to the reader’s imagination that were for some reason described in detail. For me, this is a personal pet peeve since I end up skipping over such material, even though I don’t like missing part of book.

This one is definitely worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of H.G. Wells, time travel or speculative fiction in general. I personally enjoyed it more than the work of Mr. Wells itself. I am very eager to read his next book, which should be out in the near future.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012, historical fiction, mature themes and subject matter, Review, romance, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Summer book challenge

Book Review: Black

Book: Black

Author: Ted Dekker

Recommend: If you have a vivid imagination and don’t mind a story that seems to really stretch the bounds of reality..

I am always on the hunt for a good read. A few weeks ago, I read a book co-authored by Ted Dekker. My sister-in-law saw the review and shipped four more books by Dekker to me. She insisted that I would love this series of books.

I have been putting them off for a while, having a bunch of advanced reader copies of books to read but finally got to the first book. This is the first or second book in the series. This book series can be read starting with Black, as I did or starting with White, depending on your mood. It supposed to be a full circle, which is why it is called the Circle series. I decided to read the books in the order they were published in so that I would get the same effect the original readers did.

This book centers around a young man named Thomas who seems to be a nobody. A nobody who has dreams that are uncannily accurate about a virus that threatens the whole world. A super-virus that has no cure or vaccine. A virus that is a mutation of a vaccine meant to save the world. The reader is dragged through two parallel worlds that effect the other.

I had trouble getting into the first book. The dream sequences were somewhat out there and bit hard to swallow for me. However, after a little while, the pace of the book sped up and I was sucked in, even though the dream sequences were still outlandish. By the end of the first book, I still am undecided about this one. I guess I’m just going to have to read the next book and see if I continue to be engaged and see if I can decide if I like them or not. The first book doesn’t really end, it just stops. We’ll see if the next book picks up where the last left off.

I’m not sure exactly what to rate this one, but I am definitely intrigued and open to see what else Mr. Dekker has in store.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, political thriller, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Book Review: Quest for Celestia

yes, there is a dragon in this book 😉

Book: Quest for Celestia

Author: Steven James

Recommend: It is an interesting read…

I have been sick for the past few days. My husband who is a computer technician in a couple of schools lovingly and thoughtfully brought home the flu to share. I had started reading this one just as I got sick and then was just too miserable to continue. I basically spent the past few days vegged out on the couch completely out of it. I finally got back to this book this evening and raced through it. If you’ve ever read The Pilgrim’s Progress, or Hind’s Feet for High Places, the plot of this book will not catch you by surprise since it is referred to as a modern retelling of Bunyan’s classic allegory about Christian.

At first I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book. After all, it started out by saying that our hero was on his way to become a wizard, something I found rather strange for story it was supposed to tell. I continued to read and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t some odd attempt to bring the occult into a Christian allegory but just a lie about what Celestia really was. I found the fear and hatred of those who decided to go to Celestia even more severe than they were in the original, which I found realistic considering the current state of opinion when it comes to Christianity from the public right now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take five minutes and go read comments on articles on yahoo. You’ll quickly figure out that Christian bashing is all the rage right now. I also found the confusion over what the right choice is, is far more clear in this version of the tale. In the original, the right choice seems obvious to the reader but not the character. In this version it is less obvious to both which I think helped show how easy it can be to make the wrong choices.

My only complaint with this book was the ending. I felt like it was far too abrupt than it should have been. It was like the author just got tired of taking them through trials and decided to end it instead of writing anymore. The ending felt very slapped on, instead of that we had finally reached that point where there was no other choice but to end the story.

Definitely a book worth picking up but not sure it’s going to be as timeless as the original it’s based from.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's book review, Christian, Review, Teen Book review

Fairest of All

Yes, that's actually the cover

Book: Fairest of All

Author: Serina Valentino

Recommend: If you are a Disney fan.

I’ve been watching Once Upon a Time on CBS. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is basically all the fairy tales you grew up with mashed together and put into the real world by a curse. A curse that wouldn’t allow for any happy endings. The only person who can break the curse is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming who grew up in the real world.

I have always loved the ‘true version’ of fairy tales. The idea that we don’t know what really happened or what motivated a character to make the choices that they did. The author most known for doing this though is unfortunately extremely dull to read. I keep my eyes out for these kinds of stories because I love to read them.

This book, is one such story. It takes the Disney version of Snow White and wonders what could cause the queen to want to kill her stepdaughter. Why would someone be so evil towards a young girl. What created that jealousy. How could Snow White’s father choose such a horrible woman to raise his only child?

The thing I loved about this book was that it did an amazing job of answering all the questions behind the story of Snow White but still made it feel like a fairy tale with a sad ending. It somehow gave a more realistic that’s the rest of the story feel while maintaining the original vibe of the fairy tale we all grew up watching (since most get exposed to the Disney version before they read the real version).

The only negative I might mention with this book is that it felt like the queen’s switch was a bit too abrupt. Her change was a bit like flipping a switch instead of something more gradual. I would rather have seen her more conflicted about the choice she decided to make in the end.

This was definitely a fun read for a bit of lighter fare.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Leave a comment

Filed under Review