Showing posts with label March 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label March 2022. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2022

Dayana, Dax, and the Dancing Dragon

Written by Ballerina Konora and Illustrated by Olha Tkachenko

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Genre: Children's picture book

                This was a mother-daughter collaboration.  The story is beautiful. Dayana  eagerly awaited the arrival of her new brother. She couldn’t wait to dance with him. When he arrived she was disappointed he couldn’t do anything. This didn’t prevent her from loving him and playing with him. One day while dancing for him he rolls onto his back and makes some baby sounds. Kadeena the dancing dragon appears and dances first  with her baby brother then with Dayana.

                Here is what made me love this story. First you have a story filled with love. There is the love of dance, the love shared between  a young girl and her brother, and the love of dance.  On each page you have Ballerina Konora showing the young child how to dance certain steps. Not only does she demonstrate a unique and fun way to do the different movements, but she also uses the dance terminology.  It is a fun interactive book. I know of no mother who has not picked up their child and danced with them. This is fun  to read.

                I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the illustrations. They are fun, bright and colorful. The drawing are realistic enough that older children and adults will love the pictures. They are bright and playful enough for the youngest child.  Overall this is a beautiful book. I look forward to reading the others in this series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The World Inside My Plastic Mirror by Christopher Francis


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

As I read this I kept thinking about my students. I teach in a middle school and what Aubrey is going through at school could happen to any of my own students. Aubrey is like so many students who don’t fit in with the ‘popular’ crowd. She tries to keep all attention off of her but as you know that never happens. It seems the harder a person tries the more conspicuous they become. Aubrey opens her locker door one day and sees the face of a boy looking back at her. This boy tells her he needs her help. Aubrey’s best friend Charlie is another outcast. He has been at the mercy of the ‘popular’ group.  The head of this group is a girl named Megan Knight. She is about as nasty as they come.  Together the three of them will be drawn into an adventure involving the boy in the mirror.  I loved the book. I hated the very ending unless there is a sequel planned for it. It left me hanging and wanting to know what will happen next. This author is very talented. I have several of his other books. I am looking forward to reading them all.

Monday, March 21, 2022

After the Fall by Craig DeMartino

Genre: Adult, Christian, Inspirational
Source: I purchased a copy

I have never had a desire to rock climb. It might have something to do with my fear of heights, or worse yet, my fear of falling.  I will however read books and watch movies about people who do this.

This book is amazing. This is the story of a man who fell 100 feet while rock climbing. By all accounts he should have died that day. A few miraculous things happened that prevented that. First he struck a tree that slowed his descent. Then he managed to twist his body in a manner that when he landed it didn’t kill him, but messed him up big time.  There were several other things that played a part in his fall and rescue. He landed in the one place that they were able to get cell reception. He had his phone on him instead of in his car. The people who came to rescue him were familiar with the area and made it in record time.  This is a book about not just a man’s journey to survive and heal, but more importantly a man’s journey back to God and the purpose God had for him. Before the accident Craig and his wife were Christians, but didn’t live very close to God. After the accident Craig had to rely on God for so much. He started question God as to what his purpose was in all of this. I am a firm believer that sometimes God has to hit us over the head with a two by four to get our attention. The fall was Craig’s two by four. Casually sharing with people how God helped him not only that day but every day after became a first step. Learning to step out on faith when he had his badly damaged leg amputated and then having the courage to begin climbing again is another example.  Yes, we know that this book and climbing could be a metaphor for the mountains we often have to climb to get back to a relationship with God. However, this is just straight forward, ‘look what God has done with my life and  how he has blessed me after my accident. Look how he has taken something I deemed so bad and used it for something good.’  This is one of the most inspirational books I have read this year. I highly recommend it. You don’t have to be a rock climber to enjoy this book. It is inspirational in the fact that it shows us how much we as Christians need to hold tight to God, to keep our priorities in order. It shows us that no matter what terrible thing happens that God is there to walk with us on that journey.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Beyond the Storm by Carolyne Zane

I was on Spring Break this week. One of my goals was to catch up on reading. That didn't go as planned. However, I spent several days reading and below is one of those books. Unfortunately for me, when reading about quilts, whether fiction or not I start thinking about quilts. This is why my reading goal didn't get met.  I got side tracked and planned an entire quilt for my bed and a throw for my mother-in-law. However, I loved this series. See my review below

Genre: Christian, Romance
Source: I purchased a copy 

The idea of this story was great from the beginning. It is the story of a tornado that ripped a town apart. But, it is much more than that. The storm could also be seen to represent the storms or trials in our lives. Through the making of a quilt made from scraps of fabric found by the local hairdresser after the storm. We see how each piece of fabric helps make sense of the tragedy and the part the person played in the lives of those in the town. Creating the quilt, putting it together piece by piece is the way we have to put our lives back together after we weather our own life storms. The center patch belonged to a man who made Jesus a part of his daily life. It is the interconnectedness of those he touched along with the interconnectedness of the quilt pieces that make this such a wonderful book. The book doesn’t come off as preachy. It is a demonstration of a life lived the way Christ would want us to live life. Just another reminder that in life’s storms we need to turn to and rely on God. He is truly the only one who has control. This is the first book in this series and was by an author I was not familiar with. I am looking forward to reading the others in the series.

Friday, March 11, 2022

I Survived The Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 by Lauren Tarshis

Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Adventure

Source: I own a copy 

Hugo, his sister Gertie, their parents and their dog Panya are going to America on the Hindenburg.  They had spent the previous year in Kenya. Hugo’s parents are scientists. They have loved it there, but Gertie got malaria. They have only the hope of new medicine in America to save her life. On the Hindenburg, Hugo and his family are introduced to the man in charge of the Hindenburg and his daughter. There are Nazi soldiers on board because they are looking for a spy.  All of this is tense enough. When the actual event happens you get a small feel for what it was like inside the Hindenburg when it burst into flames and hit the ground. All of this took a little over thirty seconds. I was handed this book by one of my students and told I needed to read it over Spring Break. I am glad I did. I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 7, 2022

What Hurts the Most by Willow Rose


Genre: Adult, Suspense/Thriller
Source: I purchased a copy

I love the setup of this book the chapter titles are dates. The book switches back and forth between past and present and the dates help keep you from getting confused.  Mary is a journalist with a young son. She has been fired from her job. When she learns her brother has been arrested for murder she returns to Cocoa Beach Florida to try to solve this crime. The tensions run high in this book. In the beginning she stays with her father and her step-mother. There is definitely no love lost between Mary and her step-mother.  Then there is her ex-husband and all of her old friends. Together they set out to try to prove her brother’s innocence.   One thing is for sure, Willow Rose does an excellent job of creating a variety of well fleshed out characters. Each of them have their own quirks, some of them very annoying. Be sure this book will keep you on the edge of your seat reading until the end.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Plum Springs by Dan Lawton


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

This could have been ripped straight from the headlines. As a matter of fact we have seen stories like this in the news. We have the abuse of young children by their father. Bo and Rusty work long hours in the field. They have little food or water. They do everything they can to protect their youngest sister Ruby. Living next door are the family members who should do everything in their power to protect them but didn’t.  I think as things got worse for the children and the mother and grandfather did nothing to help the children, I got angrier. No child should have to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves. I kept thinking the whole system had let them down. They were slipping through the cracks. This is not an easy book to read. The story of abuse will rip your heart out. What the children do to protect their sister will haunt you.  The writing shows the strength of the characters and the love that bonds them together. Most importantly it shows that there is always hope.  This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.