Showing posts with label Adult Informational. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Informational. Show all posts

Thursday, July 6, 2017

When Work Gets in Your Way or How to Forget to Post Reviews You Wrote

Every year I find reviews that I had written and never posted. How does that happen you ask? Well usually it happens when I have had a couple of days of downtime and tell my family that I am going to work on my book stack. My days are finished I go back to work and think to myself, "Well, I have an extra ten minutes of my planning period. I think I'll try to work on reviews for the books I read this weekend. "  Along the way the pages get ripped from my notebook and put into my calendar to be typed up. They get moved from there to any number of places and then forgotten. As I do every year at the end of the year I try to organize and clean up before I leave school.  When I am finally home I begin to do the same thing, clean and organize things on my bookshelves, my notebooks, and folders.
In this case, I was going through my composition notebooks preparing for my writing retreat and came across all types of papers. Some were notes to go into my writing notebook and some were school papers I'd scribbled a valuable writing idea on and kept the whole paper until I could transfer that small idea. In the midst of all of those papers I found not one book review, but ten I had written and never typed up.  So, I might as well get them up now. I have a couple of other books that when I see them on my TBR list I keep searching for their review because I've read the book but can't find where I wrote the review, and I know I wrote it.  Guess I need to just rewrite them and post them, because who knows when or where I will find them?  I hope you enjoy these reviews. These have been some of the most popular books in my classroom or with other teachers in my school.


Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: Classroom shelves

This series has been one of my favorite. It is also one of the most stolen series in my classroom. I don’t know if they are keeping them, passing them on and they never return or what. I have bought this entire series twice just this year. Desires of the Dead is the second book in the Body Finder series. Violet has always been able to locate dead bodies. That doesn’t mean she can go into a graveyard blind folded and point them out. I’m talking about those bodies that have been disposed of.  Her family has been very supportive as has her boyfriend Jay.  This “gift” has been passed down in her family.  Unfortunately, in this book she has two people after her, the FBI and a creepy stalker. We see her relationship with Jay build, we meet new characters, Rafe and others. We see the toll this “gift” take on her and her relationships.  This is a series I would definitely recommend to more mature readers. On my shelves this one required parental permission because of some of the content and the fact I was teaching 6th graders.  I definitely recommend this book.



Skull Creek Stakeout by Eddie Jones
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: Classroom Shelves

This is the second book in the Caden Chronicles and is what I call a clean read. Nick Caden has so many qualities for a reader to like. First and most important to me he loves to solve mysteries. He is trying to discover who murdered a man found dead on a golf course. As a fourteen year-old boy, Nick is a very likeable character for all ages who read this book.  My students will love the fact that he puts himself in danger to solve murders. In this book they will love the creep factor of an old mansion. Who wouldn’t feel creeped out if locked in a creepy old mansion? Dead Low Tied is the third book in this series. I have not yet read it, but it will be purchased for my shelves at school. If you have read any of Max Elliot Anderson’s “Sam Cooper” books you will definitely enjoy this series. Highly recommended and on the to be purchased list for my granddaughter for Christmas.



Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Classroom Shelves

As so often happens I plan on reading a book, but because of all the hype behind it my students get before me. It doesn’t matter I have four copies of this book on my shelves. That just meant more students would get their hands on it. I will always let a student read it first unless they find it on my desk because I am trying to read it for a requested review from the author. Okay, sometimes I let them read it before me.  This book was awesome. In this conclusion to the trilogy we find those we loved throughout the books coping. They are coping with the devastation of a war that was largely thrust upon them. They are coping with physical and mental loss.  One thing I really loved about this book is that the author didn’t take the easy way out. She lets us see the effects war has on all parties and how each deals with it. She tied everything up neatly, yet for some they will hate the ending. Me, I loved it. Everyone wants a happily ever after ending. But, this is a realistic outcome.  I like that even better. It makes it relatable to everyone. Listening to my students talk about the book before I could read it and seeing the connections they made to real life and how something like this could really happen opened my eyes to how deep some of my students are.  Books like this make them really think about their future. That is why I loved this book and will continue to recommend it to my students.



The Cassini Code – Dom Testa

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult Science Fiction
Source: Classroom Shelves

The Cassini Code is the third book in The Galahad series. If you haven’t read the first two you must. I’ve had this book on my shelves for quite some time. The problem has been my students have had it checked out so much I’d not gotten to it. I took advantage of it coming in on a Friday to read it. Each book in the series seems to be better than the previous one. That to me is amazing since the first book has long been one of my favorites.  It becomes very obvious why Triana was chosen as leader. We have a new leader emerging. Merit has started a movement to return to Earth.  This discord keeps the tension going throughout the book. We have the same excellence with all of the other characters we’ve come to love, or hate and those who are freshly introduced to us.  My favorite is and probably always will be ROC. If you don’t know who this is then you definitely need to get the series and read it.



The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlit
Genre: Children, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

I first purchased this book because of the cover. That rarely happens. This is a beautiful book both in story and the pictures within. Flory, a night fairy has lost her wings in a tragic accident. For most fairies this would have caused them to give up. Not so with Flory. She can’t fly, but she can survive and make the best of the situation. She makes friends with a squirrel and goes about life the best she can. Her one dream is to be able to fly again. This is a hopeful book, full of adventure. I am sure it will be loved by all who read it.




The Real Boy  by Anne Ursu

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

Oscar works for the magician Caleb. He works in the basement. He strikes up a friendship with Callie who is an apprentice to the village healer.  He is constantly tormented and put down by Wolf who also works for Caleb and thinks himself so much better than Caleb. One day Caleb disappears and Wolf gets killed. This means that Caleb must leave the basement and wait on the customers. He is shy and backwards, yet he truly has a gift. When the children of the village get very sick, Callie and Caleb set out to find out why, and to solve the problem. I loved the feeling of being vulnerable the author created with Caleb. With the boy ‘Wolf’ she created a perfect bully. One the reader could easily despise. Caleb is happy staying out of everyone’s way in the basement. He reads at night when he’s had nightmares. He waits until everyone is in bed then he sneaks into the Magician’s library and reads.  There is plenty of adventure and suspense in the book to keep you reading. The best part about all of it is the ending you don’t see coming.  This was one book that was consistently checked out of my classroom this last year.  Such an awesome and fun book to read.


Tuesdays at the Castle – Jessica Day George
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: Classroom Shelves

I absolutely loved this book. To me Castle Glower was almost like a character itself.  On Tuesday’s in particular the castle would get bored and create a new and hidden room. For our main character, eleven year old Celie would be off exploring the new addition. When Celie’s oldest brother graduates Wizard school her parents go off for his graduation.  This leaves siblings Celie, Rolf, and Lilah in the castle alone. Their parents are attacked on their journey and word gets back that they have been killed. As people from other lands come to pay their respect it becomes clear they are there also in the hopes of obtaining the kingdom. What they don’t realize is that this magical castle hasn’t changed anything in the king and queen’s suite and this lead the children to believe their parents are not dead. With the castle’s help they will defend their kingdom at all cost. This is a wonderfully, adventurous book to read. I really need to read the other books in the series.


Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson
Genre: Adult, Informational, Educational
Source: I purchased

Most books I have purchased in the past along this line give students sentences to correct. Jeff on the other hand has taken sentences from great works and used them to teach students.  These are mentor texts.  You can take examples he has there and use them in your classroom.  Great examples to help you with your classroom writer’s workshop.





Polishing the PUGS by Kathy Ide
Genre: Adult, Informational, Educational
Source: I purchased

PUGS, in case you were unfamiliar with this acronym stands for punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling. Kathy Ide has taken information teachers are always searching for and placed in one book to make a great resource.  I have recommended this to other teachers. However, I find this most useful for my own writing. This should be on every writer’s bookshelves.


Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
Genre: Adult, Educational
Source: I purchased


Donalyn is by far one of my favorite authors when it comes to reading about ways to inspire kids to learn to love reading. I purchased this book and addedbook she makes recommendations about the right way to encourage students to read, the right way to recommend books and genres. The right way to make sure your kids are reading “in the wild”, when they are away from you, instead of only when they are in your class.  This should be a must read for all beginning teachers no matter what subject they teach. In the real world of teaching, no matter what subject you teach, if your student can’t read well then they won’t really do well in any of their classes. All subjects require the ability to read and comprehend.  Put this on your list of must read books for this year.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Know Thine Enemy" and "What is Time"

Although I read four books today, I was only able to get two reviews written.  I'm not upset about it.  Today was very productive.  I started out my day doing Spring cleaning.  I accomplished all but three tasks.  I then finished four books and wrote the review for two of them.  I didn't get the other two completed because  I received four books today and of course had to preview them.  I will start tomorrow morning off with two reviews.  My plans are then to complete two of the three tasks left and then read.  We've had beautiful weather and my yard swing and the books are calling my name.  Until tomorrow.

Know Thine Enemy – Dr. David Ukiwe

Publisher:  XulonPress
Pages:  224
Source:  Review copy from publisher
Genre:  Bible study on spiritual warfare

Book description from Amazon:

The Holy Spirit through Apostle Paul tells us not to be ignorant of the devices of satan. The word "Ignore" is the root word from which we get the word "Ignorant". However, people have been taught incorrectly or misapplied the teachings they heard about dealing with the kingdom of darkness. Some people think they have to ignore satan and go on with their lives because he has been defeated and wouldn't bother them. The other extreme is those who are kind of paranoid, are too conscious of satanic activity and focus excessively on fighting him as if they were trying to win the war. But the victory has already been won by Jesus, all we are doing is enforcing the victory and maintaining law and order. In this book, Dr David Ukiwe takes you on a journey in scriptures to unravel and expose the tricks of the enemy. He uses bible stories and contemporary illustrations to explain how the kingdom of darkness operates and how to successfully wage spiritual warfare. He shares step by step how The System works, and encourages you to believe that you can overcome the challenges of life. You will learn about: • The mission of the kingdom of darkness. • The enemy's weapons of warfare. • How the enemy influences your choices and decisions. • The benefits of controlling your thoughts and emotions. • How to use "spiritual Intelligence". • How to overcome discouragement. • Satan's inferiority complex. • And much more. This handbook which includes a bible study guide for personal and group study is guaranteed to help you live an overcoming and victorious Christian life if you apply the principles therein.

There are many books out in the world on Spiritual Warfare.  Dr. Ukiwe has set out to show us how Satan tries to get at us.  He is a very tricky being.  He uses our weaknesses, and our flaws against us. He clinches on to our human nature and twists it for his benefit.


What is Time – Gary W. Driver
Publisher:  Self
Pages:  156
Source:  Review copy from author

From Amazon:
What is time itself? The question of the time of day, week, month, and year is not difficult to ascertain. The great question is not the time of day, but what is time? The answer is within this book! Empirical evidence and time proves God created the universe. Time is the common denominator of the Bible and Science. Time is the key that reveals God in the most modern scientific discoveries in Quantum Mechanics, Physics, Cosmology, and Geology. Driver connects the dots of the bible and science to reveal the picture of time itself and creation. GOD answers such critics as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins, who declared God is a delusion and not needed in creation. Empirical scientific/biblical evidence contained in this book proves them wrong without the need of faith. While the ‘god particle’ cannot be found, the true and living God speaks now concerning Creation. The mountain of scientific and biblical evidence about the universe outlined in this book totally refutes those assertions and proves the bible is of divine origin. Modern science proves the God’s intelligent design of the bible! “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”-- Albert Einstein “God’s handiwork is everywhere; therefore, saying that God is missing is like traveling around the globe in search of the Earth”. -- What Is Time –Gary Driver. Learn why time is no illusion; we cannot see the present, why we age, what is eternity. Learn where the bible says the universe is finite and earth is at least 230 million years old! Enclosed proof the Big Bang cannot be the start of time and how this affects evolution. Learn how God and Jesus can wholly claim to have created the same universe and much more.

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to like this book based on its subject content.  The problem is, I really could not understand a lot of it.  I don't understand quantum mechanics and the laws of physicsI believe that God and Science go hand in hand.  The scriptures he used throughout only confused what he was trying to say.  I very seldom give low reviews, but this is one I could not recommend unless there was a high degree of science knowledge.


About the author:
Gary Driver is Senior Pastor at C C Driver Revival Center in Cleveland, Texas. He has been a biblical
teacher and Pastor for 23 years. He and his wife Shere have five children and seven grand children. He
served as Senior Project Manager for 15 years in the building automation industry.




One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the end of each chapter.  Dr. Ukiwe has added questions, a memory verse and something to ponder/think about.  It takes the lesson further and makes the reader think about the application to their own life.

This book is great to use alone in your Bible study time or as a group.  It is one I will recommend.


About the Author:
Dr. David Ukiwe has been a born again Christian for 20 years.  He has taught the principles shared in this book for over 10 years with good results.  The applied principles shared in this book heped Dr. David Ukiwe overcome challenges in his life.




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If It Had Not Been for the Lord by Rosalyn Walton

Publisher:  AuthorHouse
Pages:  148
Source:  Borrowed
Genre:  Adult, Inspirational

I was visiting the classroom of one of my friends at school and we were discussing books.  I told her that I was feeling discouraged I had been unable to find a publisher for my book and was thinking I would need to go with ebook or self-publishing.  She then informed me that her mother had self-published a book.  She went to her closet and brought it out and let me borrow it.  I sat down and read the book in one setting.  It is the story of Sharon's mother Rosalyn Walton.  It is the story of her walk with the Lord when she discovers she has liver cancer.  She takes the reader through the steps of denial and grief and how as humans we get angry and pull away from God only to realize he is the only one who can get us through whatever we are going through.  I gained strength and inspiration from this story.  Had it been one of those feel good stories where she had stayed positive throughout the entire story I would have not been impressed.  Instead we see the human weakness and how frail our spirit becomes until we remember to take our hands away and turn it over to God.  It made me remember a time 21 years ago when I screamed at God for taking away my fiance.  He had a rare blood cancer.  I remember his father and my father and their entire gospel quartet laying hands on him and annointing him and praying for healing.  When he died I screamed at God and called him a liar.  He had not healed Mark.  My mom and dad let me rant all night.  Around five o'clock the next morning, exhausted and cried out, I was able to let go and listen to God.  It was then that he spoke to me a made me realize he had healed Mark, that he was given the ultimate healing and was with him.  Whenever I lose a friend or a loved one I remind myself that it may be hard for me but God has given the ultimate healing.  I hope that my friend Sharon was able to realize that when her mother finally lost the battle with the cancer, and took comfort in the fact that we will one day see them again.  I would recommend this book to everyone as something to remind us that if God is on our side we need no one else.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspirational, Powerful, and Educational


Embrace the Struggle - Zig Ziglaer
Source:  Review Copy from publisher

Are you looking for something inspirational to read?  Embrace the Struggle is just what you need.  Zig Ziglar is best known for his motivational speeches.  he openly shares his faith.  This is a compilation of success stories of people who have overcome major obstacles.  Zig's own tragic accident that left him with a permanent brain injury inspired this book.  For those who may have wondered about how positive he was in real life wiil find he not only talks the talk but walks the walk.  You don't have to be in sales to enjoy this book.  You just need a desire to want to change things in your life.  I have had the privilege of listening to him speak a couple of times when I was in my early twenties.  His positive message still rings true today.

The Great Grammar Book:  Mastering Grammar Usage, and the Essentials of Composition
Author - Marsha Sramek
Publisher - Arch Press
Source:  Review Copy from publisher

Although this book was made for high school and college students I have found it beneficial to me.  There are plenty of fun practice exercises.  Eventhough I am a teacher who has taught grammar in the past, I especially found the diagnostic test useful.  I took it and found my own weaknesses.  Schools today need to go back to a basic grammar book and I personally think this one would fit the bill.


Dirty Little Angels - Chris Tusa
Publisher:  Livingstone Press, 2009
Pages:  147
Source:  e-book from author for review


Dirty Little Angels is a story told through the eyes of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair.  Her life is very hard.  Her mother has been in bed for six months after having a miscarriage.  Her father was laid off and he can be found at a local bar.  He has decided since he couldn't find a job he would find a mistress instead.  Hailey's brother has been arrested several times.  She sees her parents tell her to do one thing while they do the opposite.  She sees her friends making decisions about sex, drugs and other issues.  She becomes involved with an ex-con turned preacher and she thinks that he and God can help her fix things.  This turns out to be wrong.  This is a very powerful novel that has us look at the consequences of our actions through the life and actions of Hailey.  Well worth the read.