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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Our Good Father Seeing God Through the Eyes of Jesus by Pierre Eade

Genre: Adult, Christian, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

The beginning of this book is wonderful. The author references the late painter Bob Ross. He talks about how Bob would paint these realistic pictures. What the author has done has shown us through scriptures the most wonderful painting of our heavenly father.  I had never seen so many references in one place that paints such a clear picture of everything our father is.  This is not a book you read one time and put down. This is a book you read over and over again because each time you read it you discover something else about our Good Father.  There was one part of the book that I absolutely loved. Yes, I loved all of the scripture references. But that is not it. On pages 178 to 179 the author has taken a collection of scriptures and put them together to create the “Father’s Love Letter”.  It is probably the most beautiful part of the book.  There are so many scriptures taken from different parts of the Bible and put together into a beautiful love letter. 

This is not only a book I will read again and again, but will recommend to friends everywhere.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Something for Everyone

I spent the week before last just reading books with the intention of writing reviews for them the next week. It seems that writing the reviews takes longer than reading the books. I have to go back and look at the notes I jotted down and then try to form them into some sort of cohesive piece of writing. Below you will find several reviews of some of the books I read. 

The Mind of the Living – J. Kaihua
Genre: Adult, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

A man traipses through the desert to find a man they call “Old Fool”. He is seeking a book. He finds the old man and offers him gold for the book. The old man refuses the gold and tells him he may read the book. Upon opening it the book is blank. When he asks the book a question the book speaks to him. The book is short yet full of wise advice. One of my favorite quotes from the book was:
“The only thing that doesn’t change, is that everything changes.”  I think if we were to remember this then we will be able to move ahead with no major surprises. It is a quick and uplifting book with a multitude of old pictures.  I enjoyed it.

O.K. Is Great by David Tiefenthaler

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Since I teach middle school I am always looking for books for my shelves that will entertain and interest my students. This is that type of book. First it has a student nicknamed O.K. I am sure my students will get the name connotation there and be able to identify. After all, they are in middle school.  I don’t know of very many middle school students who don’t want to do something that will get the recognized and remembered. Often it backfires like it did for O.K.  Unlike the character in this book many of my students would just give up. However, O.K. with his new friend Leo by his side push on.

Kids will be able to identify with this character. They will recognize the hardships that go along with being in middle school and trying to live up to an older sibling who can’t seem to do anything wrong. Many kids will be able to identify with being the ‘middle child’ and what that entails. They will understand this character’s feelings and in the end, will realize that they can overcome middle school obstacles. They will identify with this character and realize they aren’t out there going it alone.

No Rest for the Wicked – Dane Cobain
Genre: Adult Horror, Thriller
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Warning:  Some of the descriptions are graphic and so not recommended for everyone.

I don’t usually read stories that contain angels or demons. But the premise of this one was different so I agreed to read and review it. These are not the angels we read about in the Bible. These angels are attacking humans. They are choosing who will die and in what horrific manner they will execute them. Enter our two heroes, Father Montgomery and Robert Jones. They set out to stop these angels.  I won’t say too much because it would be so easy to give things away. There are lots of twists and turns.  Since I am an eclectic reader I enjoy things a little darker at times. This one fits the bill.  I have to comment on the cover, isn't it just delicious?

Stop the Diet I Want to Get Off by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Genre: Informational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is quite a comprehensive book. The author is a registered dietitian. She has provided an extensive look at the different diets out in the world. Some of them I had never heard of before.  Some made me cringe.  I was a little saddened to learn that she placed the paleo diet into the “fad” category. I started a paleo diet approximately two years ago and not only did I finally begin to lose weight, but a lot of my health issues went away. I am no longer pre-diabetic, no longer have a heart issue. My thyroid meds have been cut in half. I no longer have acid reflux.  I believe the main message from this book is that you don’t need to just jump on the bandwagon. Do your research. Make sure you are eating healthy. I’ve seen many people follow every diet out there because a friend or a celebrity personality lost so much weight. Be informed. This rather lengthy book will help you do just that.

Mindful Parenting by Susan Burgess
Genre: Informational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have gone through the parenting phase in my life. I would recommend this book to young parents everywhere. Parenting is without a doubt one of the hardest jobs we face. One of the things I found useful in this book was finding a balance between parenting and our own needs. Balancing our life is another area we have forgotten about. I realized that as a teacher I am often put in a somewhat parental role. Some of the advice in this book carries over into my job. It is important that we learn to apologize when we are wrong. Children respect that and it breaks the tension and teaches a lesson from which you can move on. Great advice in this book.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

28 Days of Solitude - B.L. Bruce

Genre: Inspirational
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Written during her twenty-eight-day stay in a small cabin in the remote mountain forests of Northern California, author B. L. Bruce chronicles the daily life of a writer at work.

In the wake of her award-winning poetry collection, The Weight of Snow, 28 Days of Solitude moves the focus away from the creative work and toward the often-overlooked creator. Offering insights into her personal thoughts of the craft and its importance in her life before and during her residency, Bruce’s memoir aims to give readers a glimpse into the psyche of a writer.

My Thoughts:
This is written almost like a daily journal. Each entry explains what the author’s intentions were for that day. She then tells us about the struggles she has with her writing. I’ve often wanted to be dropped at a cabin in the middle of the woods somewhere to write.  Having read her journal I know I would face a lot of the challenges that she faced.  She would often get up and begin her writing, only to realize she wasn’t getting anywhere with it.  She tried going different places to relax and get I spired.  I understood her writing struggles.  I believe all writers go through those same struggles.  On page 41 she said “There’s no pretense or judgement when you write.”  I feel that those very words are the reason writers write. We create, and the paper and words don'’ judge us.  I enjoyed this book because I was able to relate to it.  I’m not sure someone who is not a writer, or has no desire to write would really understand the message behind it. I will recommend it to those I know are writers or want to write. Maybe it will give them an idea about what real writing is about.

About the Author
BRI BRUCE holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in post-modern literature and creative writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz and has conducted extensive post-graduate work with UC Berkeley’s professional editing program. Currently a writer, photographer, publisher, and both a freelance and professional editor and graphic designer, her work has appeared in over fifteen anthologies, magazines, and literary publications, including Celebrate!, The Sun Magazine, Tattoo Highway, Ampersand, Red Fez Entertainment, The Cossack, The Avocet Review, Atom Magazine, Northwind Magazine, The Soundings Review, The Monterey Poetry Review, and Third Wednesday. She was named Featured Poet of Homebound Publications’ holiday issue of The Wayfarer (Vol. 2, Issue 4, Dec. 2013). Most recently, seven of her poems were selected to be included in Tayen Lane Publishing’s Poems from Conflicted Hearts alongside Poet Laureate Alice Shapiro, and she was the recipient of PushPen Press’s Pendant Prize for Poetry for her haiku series published in THREE with Poet Laureate Erica Goss. Bruce is the award-winning author of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems, published February 2014 by Black Swift Press.

Specializing in book publishing, Bruce's professional work has given her the opportunity to work with dozens of authors, assisting with editing, book cover design, and marketing. Many of her clients’ books have gone on to win awards.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Christmas in July: A Log Cabin Christmas

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christmas, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is a collection of nine wonderful short stories by nine wonderful authors. They all take place in log cabins, in different states,  in the 1800s. There are several reasons I loved this book. First it deals with log cabins which I think are some of the most romantic buildings ever. The stories all happen in my favorite time period in history. If I could go back in time that would be the time period I would wish to live in. The final reason I loved this book was because it was written by nine extremely talented writers, a few I was unfamiliar with, which gave me the opportunity to experience their writing. Each short story is about fifty pages long. I’ve had the book for quite some time.  Whenever I wanted to read something but had limited time I would pick the book up.  For me reading a book of Christmas stories is just as special in July as it is in December.  So let’s talk about these nine stories. 
I have to say “Snow Angel” by Margaret Brownley was my favorite.  Miss Parker comes west to teach in this one room school house. A lot of the parents don’t have a lot of faith in her ability to survive there. When she and three children are stuck in the school house due to a blizzard, the sheriff must go out to find them. They all end up stuck there. They all  have personal issues that make this at times a heart-wrenching and at times a hilarious story.
     I’ve read many books by Wanda Brunstetter. In “The Christmas Secret” while preparing the house for a Christmas Eve wedding, bride-to-be Elizabeth finds a journal that holds a secret. The secret is enough to make her run away. Now it is up to the groom-to-be to find her and together work things out.
     “Christmas Traps and Trimmings” by Kelly Hake gives you an idea of what life was like for women in the early 1800s. They had little say over their lives. Mina has been promised to a cousin in marriage. She sets off for American with her nurse in search for Sam her guardian and find themselves in an earthquake.  This story shakes up their lives in more than one way.
     “A Star in the Night” by Liz Johnson is another one I loved.  I am very familiar with Franklin, Tennessee. This is set during the Civil War. A Yankee soldier is found near Cora’s cabin in Confederate territory. Cora is dealing with the horrors she has seen in this war while she and her grandfather nurse this man back to health.  With their hearts entwined can there be a happily ever after for them?
     “The Courting Quilt” by Jane Kirkpatrick shows the lengths unmarried women would go to in finding a husband. Richard is a traveling salesman and partners with Mary to help sell her goods.  One of his tactics has him convincing women he will propose to them if they “meet the test” as a quilter.  From this you know things are going to be hopping.
     “Under His Wings” by Liz Tolsma is the story of two people who find themselves in a unique situation. Adie cooks for the lumber camp and lives in a cottage with her father. This is her protection. Noah is working to save money to go to seminary and become a preacher. Then Adie’s father is killed in an accident.  She is fair game for all of these men as the only female in camp.  Noah is there to protect her if she will only allow him to, even if it is a marriage of convenience.
takes place in the Minnesota North Woods in 1875. Beth Sorenson is convinced that she can only be a minister's wife and Todd Rambek, a mere blacksmith, will never do. After all her family has been ministers and wives of ministers for several generations and as a minister's wife she can be in service. The Christmas program that Beth is putting together can only be done by her, no one else is capable of doing it right. But when the unexpected happens and everything seems ruined can Beth learn a valuable lesson in service and see what is right in front of her? Or will Beth drive away those who care for her with her attitude?
     “The Dogtrot Christmas” by Michelle Ule takes place in Texas. While a man is off to war his land is sold without his permission.  He returns to finds a brother and sister building a dogtrot cabin.  If you don’t know what this is the look it up. It is quite fascinating and resourceful.  Luis must learn to forgive and Molly may just be the one to help him heal.
brother-in-law Manuel or will peace elude him? Can Molly's kindness help a soul damaged by war?
     “A Grand County Christmas” by Debra Ullrick takes place in Colorado. This is a story of loss yet we find God’s goodness through this loss. Widower Amadeus finds Awyna freezing and starving outside his cabin.  She’d been out looking for food and got lost.  She stays with him and his three children and his mother until the weather breaks. She returns home only to find she’s lost everything. But, sometimes the loss of one thing leads us to what great thing God has for us.
     “Christmas Service” by Erica Vetsch is one of those stories that can step on your toes.  I remember telling my parents I felt God calling me to be a missionary.  I was sure I was going to be a missionary like the many I’d grown up learning about. This seems funny because I was such a shy person.  I asked a missionary how I could have been so wrong when I became a teacher.  That missionary told me that missionaries come in all kinds of packages and for me it was the package of a teacher.  So when I read this story about Beth who believes she needs to marry a preacher because that is the only way she can serve God I got tickled. She had a great man, Todd, a blacksmith in front of her that wanted to court her but she couldn’t see it for her own blinders.  Sometimes God has to allow drastic things to happen to open our eyes.

This book is filled with stories that show God’s infinite love for us as we bumble along in life.  It doesn’t matter that these stories took place in the 1800s because they are just as appropriate to today. You know the saying, same situation different setting.  I definitely recommend this book and would not wait until Christmas time to enjoy it. We should celebrate the true meaning of Christmas year round.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hurray God by Jeanette Sharp

Genre: Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

These are stories that will inspire you. There are several stories here, each one inspiring.  Some will bring tears to your eyes.  All of them will show you how God works in our lives.  Some of these stories rocked people to their core, while others were simple stories that showed no matter how big or small the situation God is always there if we take the time to listen to and rely upon him.  These stories, this book would make an excellent gift for friends and family, whether they are going through a crisis or not.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In the Cleft:Joy Comes in the Mourning by Dana Goodman

Genre: Inspirational, Autobiography
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Dana Goodman is definitely a courageous woman.  I say this ot because she has had to handle the death of three family members  such a short time, but because of how she handled it. God does't promise hid children a life of eas. He promises to walk with us continually through these dark valleys. This raw look at Dana and her grief was not sugar coated.  It was not full of only the great things God helped her through.  This was full of reality. Her true thoughts and feelings.  Feelings that God was a puny God who could not help her.  Anyone who has lost someone to a slow diseas has the feelings. Not everyone will admit it.  That doesn't mean as Christians that we don't have them. It means when those feelings hit us, we rely on God to walk with us, and if need be to carry us for awhile. This book was hard to read because at this moment I have a friend who is walking this same path.  Her daughter has been sick for such a long time and now her brain cancer is ravishing her body.  It is painful to watch my friend go through this.  Like Dana, she is such an inspiration as has her daughter been to us.  She has leaned on God and let us know how tough it is.  She is not walking this valley alone but with Jesus at her side.  This is a book I think everyone should read whether they are or have gone through anything like this.  I will definitely recommend this to family and friends. I am sharing this with my other who teaches a Grief Share class at church and has since shortly after losing my father and my sister.  You can find other grief resources on Dana's site.

Where you  can find Dana: 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Repurposed and Upcycled Life - Michelle Rayburn

The Repurposed and Upcycled Life Blog Tour
About the Book

Life is frustrating sometimes. It can be hard and ugly. Hurt, frustration and regret can make everything seem hopeless. But, God has a plan for everything in our lives. He offers unconditional love and grace, despite our imperfections. He offers hope where we see only despair. 

Discover the repurposed and upcycled life. This is a life where no experience is wasted. Like the best trash-to-treasure decorating project, it's alife where God repurposes our juky experiences. It's where he upcycles---turns hopeless situations into something so much better than we ever imagined---when we let him work with the trash. When we surrender to his leading, god demonstrates his creativity in revealing how our greatest disappointments, mistakes, and painful experiences can be priceless treasures.

Through humor and stories, Michelle Rayburn addresses how to unpack emotional baggage and let go of the past. Readers will learn how to confront perfectionism and negative attitudes, change perspective on circumstances, and let go of regret and shame. It's an opportunity to learn how to build positive healthy relationships, and dream big and live with purpose. Through inspiration from God's Word and examples from everyday life, readers will discover the joy–filled, hope–rich way of viewing their past, present, and future.


My Thoughts
The title of this came at just the right time.  We were going through things in our house to see what we could get rid of and what we could recycle or repurpose.  This book does the same thing with events in our life.  The whole gist of this is that when you look at your life and things you are holding onto you need to  ask yourself if you need to continue to hold on to it. Is it important? Chances are it is not. Can you use it to change things in your life to improve things?  I have always seen myself as a fairly positive person.  However, there are areas in my life that when I bring them back up, turn into something very negative.  I had to ask myself if it was doing good or harm in my life?  I had to give myself permission to let go of it.  It definitely was not something God wanted me to hold on to.  It is like holding on to a grudge.   God has so much more for us.  This book is full of ways to help you do just that.  If there is one book you need to read this year it is this book.  I will recommend it to all of my readers and my family and friends.

Michelle wants to help you connect the dots between faith, creativity, and everyday life and discover the joy of finding God in the most unexpected places. Years ago, she left her career as a registered nurse to raise her family, and along the way, she discovered her true passion for writing, speaking, and singing.

Michelle has written more than 100 articles for publication, and this is her debut book. Her writing has also appeared in Christian Communicator, Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Vista, Queen of the Castle Magazine, and more. She has also written several Bible studies for, and does freelance editing and copy writing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Concealers by James Kauffman

Pages: 404
Genre:  Adult, Inspirational
Source:  Received a copy from the Author

From Goodreads:
Her mentor says she has the makings of a good reporter, but to be great, Katherine Kelly must learn to find the emotional core of a story and not hold back in its telling. Then he suggests one last grad school assignment find someone who has influenced her family and tell that story. Katherine pursues the only family story that has ever eluded her: the identity of the father she never knew. Her mother, knowing her daughter will not stop until she gets the truth, breaks her years of silence and makes the call she always swore she would never make.
The reality of her father stands in stark contrast to the one in her dreams, and Katherine must decide who her father truly is the guardian of a group of wounded souls called The Collectibles, the attentive father of a newly discovered daughter, the person of interest in a bank fraud investigation or a little of all three. Blood is deeper than principle, or so she is told. And a great journalist follows a story wherever it leads. It is her call, and only Katherine can make it.

My Thoughts:
It had been a while since I’d read the Collectibles, so I went back and reread it before I read The Concealers.  I was not disappointed in this second book. The author has done a great job in creating characters we can all relate to in one form or another. The characters and situations Kauffman creates cause the reader to pause and look inward at our own situations, choices and values.

For me as a reader, I look for books that not only entertain me, but helps me make connections. Without those connections a book seems flat.  This book is not flat. The suspense keeps you going all the way through. I highly recommend this book. If you’ve not read the first book then please, stop and read it first.  This is a series you will enjoy.  I am looking forward to reading the third book.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Collectibles - James Kaufman

Publisher – Downstream Publishing
Pages:  309
Source: Review Copy received from Publisher
Genre: Adult, Inspirational

Summary from Goodreads

In his debut novel, James J. Kaufman delivers a gripping and unforgettable story of two strong men from separate worlds - one touched by tragedy, the other by greed - brought together with unexpected results. In chronicling how their lives and those they touch are dramatically changed by their encounter, Kaufman reveals the power of relationships, the nature of love, and ultimately the meaning of life

My Review

Joe grew up with a strong work ethic taught to him by his uncle.  Preston grew up wanting for nothing financially yet no real role model when it came to  ethics.  As teens these boys crossed paths when Joe saved Preston from drowning.  Several years later Joe is once again called on to rescues Preston. Preston’s greed has brought him to the brink of financial ruin.  His advisors call in Joe to help restructure things.  Joe agrees under three conditions.  Preston must disclose everything, be honest and if Joe calls on him in the future to help he must do so without question. 
Unbeknownst to Preston, when Joe calls in his favor, Joe has an inoperable brain tumor.  He wants Preston to take care of his “Collectibles”.  The are other people who for whatever reason have had it tough.  Each of them have something to teach Preston.  As Preston carries out this task he learns to be more like Joe and a person both he and his wife respects.  I enjoyed this book immensely.  It makes us look at ourselves which can be painful.  These are not just lessons the rich can learn from, but lessons for us all.  I will be looking for more from this author.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Skein and the Pair - Kathy Flanary Nelson

Publisher:  Infinity  (July 16, 2010)
Pages:  92
Genre:  Adult
Source:  received a copy for review from the publisher

The Skein and the Pair is the story of a group of geese who have mated for life.  When they fly west they land near a pond where they are observed by a loving couple.  The relationship between the geese and their mate parallels the relationship between the couple.  Respect is show to the human by the geese  using human like thoughts, and gestures to acknowledge their thanks for help received from the humans.  Although this is a simple story, I have learned a lot about geese that I had not known before.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Witnessing and Dream for World Unity

Both of these books were received from the publisher. The opinions and review offered here are my own and are in no way influenced by the fact that I was offered the books in hopes of a review.

Witnessing by Haile Gebre Egziabher
Pages: 468
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.

This book is one of the most comprehensive books on Witnessing I have read in a long time. Beginning with the creation story through the life of Christ the author explains salvation and how to completely surrender ourselves to God. He leads us through the steps of faith and how to improve our lives through faith. This book is easy to erad and understand and an inspiration to all who read it.

Dream of World Unity by Haile Gebre Egziabher 
Pages: 612
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc

Once again we have a book that is large in page number but easy to read. I like to think that I am a dreamer and that I try to inspire my students to be dreamers. Especially when I realize they are our future. Haile Gebre Egziabher believes if we put our faith and trust in God and work for a more unified government that it is possible to reach that dream. I agree we need to have Christ in our lives and let him lead the way in our government if we are ever to reach this dream. Although there are some points I don't agree on with the author I will say that I believe we as a people have become to involved in setting our dreams up to get what we can material wise and have not worked to bring people together. We have become in many ways like Sodom and Gomora. I would like to think that one day we could have World Unity. I don't believe I will see it in my life time. However I do believe that we should all work toward it. If not then we are just one of many who have given up and given away our dream world.

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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Collection of Past Due Reviews

The Laceyville Monkeys Say the Right Words
Author: Harriett Ruderman
Illustrator: Beerly Luria
Publisher: Illusion Press
Source: Publisher Review copy

Let me start off by commenting on the illustrations for this book. The use of bright water colored pictures was wonderful the emotions expressed on teh the character's faces were well portrayed and helped the story line along. Hepzibah comes to Laceyville to enter her three monkeys in their talent contest. She takes them to Granny's house and hey perform for her. Granny decides to enter them as her own. However when she instructs them to dance and sing and tumble, she does it harshly and they just stand there. The trainer comes and saves the day. The lesson of speaking softly and kindly is portrayed with words and pictures. I enjoyed this book. This is a book I believe every parent should have and read before their child is born. After the birth of their child they should read it to their child at least once a week. I deal with students in middle grades and often can tell how they are spoken to at home. I loved this book and look forward to sharing it with my grandchildren

Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks
Publisher: PUSH
Pages 230
Source: I purchased

Martyn Pig has had a hard life. His mother divorced his father and left him with his dad. His father is a drunk who only stays sober when his sister is coming for a visit. She had tried to get custody of Martyn. Martyn finds himself in trouble when he accidently kills his father. Enter his friend Alex and her boyfriend Dean and the trouble has begun. This book kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. I felt the anxiety that Martyn felt while he was going through all his different situations. I have a hard time keeping this book on my shelves. this was a re-read for me. I first read it seven years ago when it first came out. I have had to purchase four new copies since that time because they have been stolen or just loved to death. This book is great for any kid because they can relate to it in so many ways.

GUTS by Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 148
Source: I purchased it

Move over Bear Grylls. Gary Paulsen, author of the Hatchet Books has soften been asked about his characters. A lot of his characters and their circumstances are based on actual events that have happened to him in real life. When I read about how he had sucked the eyes out of fish or eaten the guts of a squirrel. Maybe this is why my boys find this a really great book. He is a true survivalist and the reader of this book has a lot to learn from him. I enjoyed this book immensely. I realized he did not sugar coat anything. He talked about several instances where he observed people killed. The saddest was the story of the little boy feeding a wild deer and he and his mom didn't understand the signs and the deer kicked the boy killing him instantly. It is no wonder that his books are so realistic. They are based on events that actually happened to him.

An African Tale by Enna Neru
Publisher: Outskirt Press
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher's review

I have read a lot of myths but none have enchanted me the way this one did. The lessons to be learned about saving our resources were right on in this day and age. I enjoyed the idea that when the people became wasteful the water was collected into a stone in the shape of a diamond and buried in the desert until someone found. I felt sorry for Ledimo in the beginning of the book. His father was a terrible person. He used his sons ability. Jealousy, greed, hunger for power led to the downfall of Ledimo. It seemed like it took him a long time to learn his lesson. The idea of power being passed down to twins so that they had to cooperated seemed like the plausible thing to do. I enjoyed this immensely. I had not yet finished it when one of my students asked if he could read it next. He had been reading the back of the book. Since I teach reluctant readers, any book that can make them ask tot read it is excellent in my opinion. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my students.

One Speaks: Sacred Relationship Revealed by Richela Chapman
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 296
Source: Reviewers copy

Richela chapman makes some valuable points in her book, "One Speaks". The first chapter reminds us that before we can love someone else, we must first love ourselves. She encourages us to treat our heart and should as the temple that it is. For so many of us we have gotten lost along the way with excess baggage that makes it difficult to do just that. Something that I found helpful was in the reflections at the end of chapter 70. For years I have written down things when I was angry and then either tore them up and threw them away or flushed them down the toilet. Not once did I ever consider imagining the words actually being spoken to me and then thinking about my emotional reaction to them. I believe that is why the angry thoughts would resurface time and again. I enjoyed the reflection activities at the end of each chapter. As a teacher I made my students reflect on what they have learned and what they have read. For me this seemed so natural.

A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt

Publisher: Dreams Shared
Pages: 297
Source: Reviewer's Copy

I can remember when I was younger doing walk-a-thons to raise money for various things at our schools. The longest I had walked was 20 miles. I believed that was a lot until I read this book. Jeff alt walked 2,160 miles to fulfill a dream and raise money for a worthy cause. When I walk today I complain if I have to walk in a little bit of drizzle or if the weather is too hot. Jeff walked in downpours, snow, extremely cold weather or extremely hot weather and still kept on going. His dream was to walk the Appalachian Trail, a personal dream while raising money for the Sunshine Home where his brother Aaron was. This book is his inspirational story of how he accomplished this and the friends he made along the way. I had to ask myself when I finished this book, would I have the courage and stamina to do this? I laughed at the simple things, such as his realizing how bad he smelled when he hurt his ankle and had to get a ride to Gatlinburg. I would have been terrified to have crossed paths and then stood up to the group they called "The Vegetarians." Jeff tried to make hiking a pleasure in so many ways for so many people on the trail. I know I will never hike the trail long distance as he did. The next time I am on it I will remember him and bring some of his inspiration with me. I loved the maps at the beginning of each chapter and found the gear list and tips for taking children hiking especially helpful I have several friends who have been asking for an opportunity to read this and I will gladly share this inspirational book.

Grandfather's Story Cloth by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford
Grandfather's Story Cloth was one that so many people can relate to no matter what their cultural background. Chersheng's grandfather has Alzheimer's disease. He doesn't always remember his family, the time period, or where he is. This is upsetting to Chersheng and his younger brother. When their mother brings out a story cloth that the grandfather had made, the grandfather was able to share stories of his life in Laos. Chersheng decides to create something that will help keep memories for his grandfather of his time in America. this brought back memories of my grandmother who had alzheimer's disease. It often tears families apart. I loved the added information in the back of the book about alzheimer's disease, the Homong people and story cloths. I thought that it was great that this was a bilingual book. This is a great asset to my shelves.

The Unicorn Treasury by Bruce Coville
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books, 2004
ISBN: 978-052052164
Source: A gift from my daughter for my classroom

When my daughter was younger and we owned a ceramic business, she painted a unicorn that she still has today. As she got older and more adept at painting it was repainted a lavender with sparkles all over itl The mane and tail were glittery pink and it had a golden horn. It came as no surprise when she handed me a book full of unicorn stories, poems and unicorn lore. The stories were very crisp and refreshing. This collection of stories and poems were told by some of my favorite authors like C.S. Lewis, Jane Yolen and Madeleine L'Engle. That is not to say the other contributors were not good. I was not familiar with many and that made the book even more charming. The cover art was gorgeous. It takes anyone who has ever loved fairy tales and transports them back into that world. It was snatched up the minute I put it on my shelves. This is a must read for all who love unicorns.

The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle
Publisher: Orchard Books, 2008
Pages: 361
ISBN: 978-0545000130
Source: Library

I am picky about the fantasy I read. The reason I read this book was simple, I had taken some writing courses from the author and always loved what she wrote online. So, I figured I would try one of her books. Ruby Key is the story of Genna and Dan who lived in the village of Highbrush. They have hatched a plan to save their mother who is sick. The only night they are allowed out is the night they make their offering to the Nightlings who leave gifts for them in return. They know to go out at night might mean their death or they could become slaves of the Nightlings. to save their mother they must go out at night and venture to the taander tree to gather its sap. While out they encounter a nightling who becomes their friend. They find out that there is a problem brewing in their village and they join forces with the Nightling to try to set things right. I loved the way it ended. It was finished nicely, yet was finished in a way that a sequel would fit nicely. The characters and plot were definitely well developed. I would expect nothing less from Holly. I will also read more of her books. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The Never Pals by Rocky Kuznik
Publisher: Outskirts Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-1432703035
Pages: 480
Source: Reviewer's copy

The Never Pals is the story of two neighbors who have never really had anything to do with each other. Frank Bingham sells cars for Frenchy Mandril. He is Frenchy's best salesman. When things go wrong, Frenchy leaves Frank to clean up the mess. He can't really stand Frenchy and his ignorance. He often wondered about Frenchy, "Why is it those parents of his decide to make a human form that included a moronic brain? Then choose to provide him living space on this particular planet is way beyond me." To me this was absolutely hilariously. I kept asking myself if he hated it so much, why didn't he find a different job?
January Thornton works for King's Crib Inn. He runs his kitchen like a drill sergeant. He takes great pride in what he puts out. However, his suggestions to the general manager often fall on deaf ears. The manager seemed to be in the throes of dementia. he didn't seem to know he had a secretary. He was unaware of many things that were going on under his nose.
Frank and January meet in their driveways and January suggests they go down to Florida for a couple of weeks and get away from the stress of their jobs. This is exactly what they do. They meet a couple of girls and as usual, Frank can't just stick with one thing. January has actually started a relationship. Their differences on vacation are as different when they are home.
Both have unique experiences which involve a robbery and attempted murder. This was a fun book to read. I liked January's character best. He seemed more level headed whereas Frank was out for fun and for himself. Need something to pick you up and give you a laugh? This book is the answer to that.

Messy Tessy by Leah Orr
Illustrated by Josephine Lepore
Publisher: AuthorHouse, 2009
Source: Review copy from Publisher/Author

Tessy is your typical child who likes to keep her toys handy. Mom wants her room to stay clean. When mom goes away and Aunt Fran comes to stay, things quickly get out of hand. With Aunt Fran's help the mess is cleaned up. Well most of it. This was a cute book. I remember my sister pulling so many of these antics and me playing mommy and cleaning up so our mother would not know about it. This was a really cute book. I look forward to sharing it with many little ones. I really like the idea that Lea Orr donated the proceeds of her first two books to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, to help find a cure. This is something very close to her as her daughter was diagnosed with CF. I look forward to future books. These make great read alouds for my grandchildren.

Who Wants to be a Poodle I Don't
Author: Lauren Child
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2009
Pages 38
Source: Publisher Review copy for Picnic Basket

I read this book twice. I loved it. They rhyme and story line were wonderful A story told from he perspective of the poodle. I have always wondered how much dogs liked being pampered. According to Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, poodles would like to be treated like other dogs. It is okay to be pampered on occasion but not constantly. It is also not appropriate to give them long names. One think that I like even more than the story were the pictures. It looked as if they used scrapbooking papers and possibly fabric to create the looks. It was bright, cheery andgave the feel of elegance. By this I mean the poodle was pampered and the owner bought expensive items so teh choice of backgrounds and papers used gave the impression of elegance. This book will be a gift to one of my young friends, Charlotte. She is 4 years old and loves to read to her mommy (an art teacher at our school) every night. I know the two of them will thoroughly enjoy the book.