Sunday, July 31, 2011

Child of Wrath: The Third Prophecy by Daniel C. Tomas

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Synopsis/Review: Riley is a 15 year old boy who is always called the child of wrath. He didn't understand but shrugged it off, not giving it a second though until one day his whole world is turned upside down. His family is not who he thought, his home is not where he thought, and he suddenly has a mission to either be the destroyer or savior of the world. People continue to give him hints but nothing makes sense. Riley has to grow up quickly so he can do what he is destined to do.

This book had a lot of potential. If it was a rough draft then I would say that it was awesome. It still needed a lot of work though. The author was only seventeen when he wrote it so with that in mind, he really did a great job. Riley was an emotional nut case... sometimes he was completely in control and handled situations better than most adults would and other times he went crazy and over reacted. I guess this can be blamed on teenage hormones?? There were quite a few of unanswered questions as well but this was book one of a series so I'm hoping they will be answered in the sequel which should come out in 2012 some time. Overall, it was a fun story.

Author: As I mentioned before, Tomas was seventeen when he published this book. That is amazing in my opinion. It takes a lot of work to publish a book. He is currently a student at Dartmouth majoring in English and plans to get his masters in Writing. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and has always loved reading and wrote his first novella in high school. His dream is to one day make it on the NY Times Bestseller. If you are interesting in helping him achieve this goal and would like to buy this book then please click here to purchase it from his publisher, Dorrance Publishing. :)

Rating: *** Three Stars

I received a complimentary copy of Child of Wrath as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Arrivals

This week I only got one book. I've been getting behind.

Child of Wrath: The Third Prophecy by Daniel C Tomas
I rec'd a complimentary copy from Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
"When Riley and his parents flee their country of Kenton, he doesn’t know why those in their new home, the kingdom of Gornon, call him the Child of Wrath. He does know he’ll have to find out the answers for himself because it seems as if everyone is speaking to him in riddles.
“He’ll come at you when you are weak,” he is told, but no one explains who “he” is. Soon Riley begins to realize this strange new land was once his home, and he learns of the Prophecy, which will make him either the savior or the destroyer of the world. Everything depends on the choices he makes and the people he decides to trust." - Dorrance Publishing

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where Will You Go from Here? by Valorie Burton

Genre: Non-Fiction/Self-help/Christian

Review/Synopsis: When flipping through this book, the first thing that caught my eye was a quote by John Wooden which reads, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." I loved that quote and it is really what most of the book is about. The author wants the reader to learn to get out of his or her own "ditch" by doing it the right way and not just leaping out of the ditch to land in something even more treacherous.The author leads the reader through steps using examples of tragedies and struggles in other people's lives with scriptures and better ways to think to get the reader out of the slump and get back on his or her feet.

As I was reading this book and all the struggles other people went through, I kept thinking to myself, "I don't really have any major struggles." So, then I started thinking about the things that stress me out from day to day and I realized this applies to those as well. I can use the same steps here and make a stressful day with a toddler a better day or turn an incredibly busy day into a... well, still busy and stressful but I will have a better view of the situation while going through my day. I found myself constantly thinking of her five steps introduced in the beginning of the book just to get me through my day to day activities as a mom and realized how much easier it is. I thought this was a fun book with excellent advice!

Author: If you are wondering if she has the education to back up the information she puts in the books -- I am going to say the answer to that is YES! She has a BA from Florida State University, a masters degree in positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a masters degree in journalism from Florida A & M University. She is also a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and and member of the International Coach Federation, National Speakers Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA. This is her most recent of six books. To learn more about hValorie Burton and the motivational programs she has available or to receive her newsletter then click here (http://www.valorieburton.com/).

Rating: **** Four Stars

Rank my review below to be entered to win a free copy of this book from the publisher!!!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia: A Novel by Mary Helen Stefaniak

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis/Review: Gladys Cailiff's life is turned upside down for her family and her little town when Miss Spivey arrives to teach their little one room school. Miss Spivey's forward thinking clashes with many of the Southern Christian ways. Especially her views of the "heathens" from Arabia she enjoys teaching the children about and the way that she feels the "Negros" should be taught from the same books and with the same sort of education as all the white folk in town.
This was a fun story and an eye opener for the prejudice that existed in the U.S. at that time. The KKK were normal people. I always pictured them as evil men who traipsed around and grouchy to everyone but in this story, Stefaniak made me realize that they weren't like that. They were regular people... it was shocking for me. Overall, it was an interesting story that came from Gladys' (a little girl) point of view as she got excited when learning about camels and Arabian princes or genies and magic. A great story for anyone in the mood for a historical fiction. There was some minor profanity.

Author: She is originally from Milwaukee and "grew up in a bi-culture household". She restored a 150 year old inn in Iowa City where she and her husband reside when she is not in Omaha teaching at Creighton University.

Rating: **** Four Stars


Here is a reading by the author if you're interesting in hearing a part of the book.

George Washington Carver by John Perry

Genre: Fiction/Biography

Review/Synopsis: George Washington Carver was the son of a slave. After his mother was kidnapped, he and his brother were "adopted" into the home of their 'owner' and raised as their own children. When the slaves were freed, Carver found the only thing he wanted was knowledge and he did everything he could to achieve that and make a better life for himself and for other freed slaves.

I will admit that I haven't read a biography since middle school. I didn't find them entertaining. It was like reading a text book but probably because the teacher wanted me to. This time, I wanted to and I loved it. It was so much fun learning about Carver and the way of live in the late 1800s/early 1900s. It made me so grateful to live now. I complain about the size of my home, but at one point in Carver's life he lived in a fourteen square foot home. I can't even imagine. I also really enjoyed how the author brought the characters to life by showing their quirks and downfalls along with the awesome things they accomplished. It made them more real for me and able to relate to them better. I laughed a few times with and at Carver and would have loved to have met him but I would have loved to have met Booker T. Washington even more. I may have to find a biography on him. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Carver's life and his amazing accomplishments that are still present in our lives today.

Author: Doesn't John Perry just look like a fun man to meet and the perfect man to write biographies? I just loved his style in this picture. :)
John Perry was born in Kentucky and graduated college from Vanderbuilt. He also spent some time at school in Oxford, England. He started off as an advertising copywriter in Houston and was eventually the founder of Wolf, Perry & Clark Music and American Network Radio. He now lives in Nashville and writes biographies.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekly Arrivals

Where Will You Go from Here? by Valorie Burton 

This is a complimentary advance reading copy from Waterbrook Press  Publishers.

Has the unexpected knocked you off course? You lost your job to the latest round of layoffs. A relationship you thought would last forever, didn’t. A health challenge is disrupting your life. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but with the right attitude and skills, you can persevere through even the toughest situations—and emerge stronger and better than ever.

Resilience to Get Through Any Challenge
 
In Where Will You Go from Here? Valorie Burton helps you navigate life’s obstacles and unexpected challenges. You’ll find all the tools you need to be resilient in the face of setbacks, now and in the future, including:

·   The Five Commitments that propel every successful comeback
·   Step-by-step guidance for restructuring your life
·   Strategies to unearth the courage you need for any situation
·   In-the-heat-of-the-moment words to combat negative thinking
·   Practical exercises to become better, not bitter, as a result of adversity
 
Packed with uplifting insights and powerful principles, this personal coaching resource offers the wisdom and  encouragement you need to think differently about your circumstances and take hold of the lessons God is offering you. As you experience the “post-traumatic growth” that comes only through adversity, you’ll be equipped to unleash a stronger, more authentic you.  - B&N


County Line by Bill Cameron

This was the free NookBook from last week.

When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind so suddenly.  - B&N
















George Washington Carver by John Perry

This is a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishing through BookSneeze.

A generation of 20th-century Americans knew him as a gentle, stoop-shouldered old black man who loved plants and discovered more than a hundred uses for the humble peanut. George Washington Carver goes beyond the public image to chronicle the adventures of one of history's most inspiring and remarkable men.
George Washington Carver was born a slave. After his mother was kidnapped during the Civil War, his former owners raised him as their own child. He was the first black graduate of Iowa State, and turned down a salary from Thomas Edison higher than the U.S. President to stay at the struggling Tuskegee Institute, where he taught and encouraged poor black students for nearly half a century.
Carver was an award-winning painter and acclaimed botanist who saw God the Creator in all of nature. The more he learned about the world, the more convinced he was that everything in it was a gift from the Almighty, that all people were equal in His sight, and that the way to gain respect from his fellow man was not to demand it, but to earn it. -- B&N
 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Blowout Sale at Dorrance!!

Book sales just happen to be the best type of sale in my opinion. :) One of the companies that I'm doing reviews for (Dorrance Publishing Company) is trying to clear out it's warehouse for the Christmas season so starting August 1st they are having up to 45% off certain books. Go here (http://www.dorrancebookstore.com/wablsa.html) for the books. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Genre: Fiction/self-help (parable style)/historical

Review/Synopsis: The Final Summit is the stand alone sequel to The Travler's Gift. A Traveler is a person who has traveled in time and David Ponder happens to be one of these people. In his seventies, he is feeling depressed and lost when the archangel, Gabriel, appears to him and asks him to lead the summit to find out the answer to saving humanity before it's too late. It's a race against time as David and all the great minds from history come together in this novel and together discover what humanity must do to save themselves.

I absolutely loved the way this story was written. It caused me to think and actually question my own actions to what I have done to help humanity or to hurt it. Do I do everything I can? The way this was written was a fictional story but it reminded me of a self help book as well, helping me to be more than I am and to try harder than I do. It was also fascinating reading the histories of the characters. Two of them I hadn't even heard of but their stories were amazing. What awesome people we have had throughout history who set such amazing examples.


Author: Andy lost both of his parents at the age of 19. His mother died from cancer and his father in an automobile accident. He found himself homeless. He started his career as a comedian in the 80s and performed in front of as many as 80,000 people. He was even the opening act for Joan Rivers for two years. His first book, The Traveler's Gift, was turned down 51 times. Finally, it was accepted and over a million copies were sold. A few of Andy's passions are history (which is obvious in his writing) and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Andy says he doesn't really like writing but he likes having written. (Info found here.)

Rating: ***** Five Stars

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exciting News!!

One of the companies I'm working with are now giving out free books to the reviewer's blog followers. Each time you read and rank one of my reviews you are entered into a drawing to win a free copy of that book. Unfortunately, my readers are not the only ones who are entered to win and different books have a different number of copies they are able to give out but it's still exciting!! I think it is anyway. If you win then you and I will both be notified and they will ship it directly to you. I won't even be involved in the transaction. Sounds awesome to me!! :) What do you think?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Arrivals

On Mondays I will post the new literary arrivals in my home from the previous week. Especially since I am now receiving free books from different companies for reviews. So, this week I have only gotten three and one of those I bought. =o)

The Hunt by Jane Neuharth was free from Barnes and Nobles thanks to Paper Chase Farms Publishing Group for the Free Fridays NookBook.
"The complex and romanticized lifestyle of elite foxhunters is revealed in this thrilling murder mystery. An attractive and wealthy lawyer and horseman, Doug Cummings personifies the old money equine subculture of Middleburg, Virginia. Driven to succeed, Cummings's climb to the top is halted when he becomes the target of a twisted scheme to frame him for the murders of his former lover and horse groom. As Cummings attempts to find the true culprits, the conflicting forces of his community offer a revealing look at how vengeance, love, and envy obscure the search for truth and justice." - B&N

Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley was $9.99 from Barnes and Noble.
"The standout opening volume of Woolley's Guinevere trilogy, first published in 1987, describes the Celtic princess's childhood in loving, sensuous detail with an uncannily accurate historical eye for day-to-day details. As Guinevere comes of age to marry Arthur, the recently crowned high king of Britain, Woolley does a marvelous job of portraying the political upheaval of the time. Despite the struggle between Celtic and Roman culture, Guinevere finds herself working with Arthur to unify a divided country and repel the onslaughts of Saxon invaders and rebellious kings. The sharply delineated cast will be familiar to any fan of Arthuriana, though many characters get new twists. While hardly the first book to retell these myths from a woman's perspective, this is an engrossing and satisfying addition to the canon." -B&N

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews - Thomas Nelson publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze.

"This standalone sequel to The Traveler's Gift tracks the story of a fictional character's pursuit of life's core truths. Presented as a timeless parable, The Final Summit follows David Ponder as he attempts to save mankind with the deepest lessons of humankind's wisdom and experience. Another powerful motivational tale by Andy Andrews, the author The Butterfly Effect and The Heart Mender." - B&N

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult

Author: Card has written many novels -- mostly fantasy and science fiction. He has a few historical fiction and poetry as well. He was originally born in Washington and grew up in California, Utah and Arizona. He also served a mission for the LDS church in Brazil in the early 1970s. He writes, teaches classes and workshops and also directs plays. He recently began a longterm teaching job in Virginia and resides with his wife and youngest daughter in Greensboro, NC.

Synopsis: In Card's world, the gods once traveled freely between Westil and Earth. Westil strengthened their powers and if they were too long on earth then their powers weekend. 1300 years before the book takes place was a gate mage named Loki. The gates are what allowed the gods to travel where they wanted including to and from Westil. Loki stole all the gates, leaving some gods in Westil and some stranded on earth. The ones on earth had very weak power and were determined to murder any gate mages that were ever born. Wad and Danny are both gate mages in different worlds or times -- it was unclear until the end of the book. They were both gate mages who had to hide their powers for fear of being discovered and murdered. This is a coming of age story for Danny as he discovers who he is and what he wants to become. As for Wad, he must try to remember who he is and figure out who he can trust and who is truly his enemy.


Review: Orson Scott Card's world was easy to follow. With all the magics and worlds I was a little worried that I would be confused but I was not. I was engaged in it the entire time, excited to see what would happen. Danny disappointed me in some of his choices but I think it was important to see his struggles so the reader could realize how difficult it is for a gate mage and why they were considered so powerful and feared by other mages. When Danny and Eric were together there was a bit more profanity in it than I was comfortable with and some crude humor. The story was great and in the last few chapters the stories of Wad and Danny are finally intertwined and the reader discovers why both were followed throughout the book. It was a fun read!

Rating: **** Four Stars

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Genre: Fiction

Author: Mark Dunn is from Memphis, Tennessee. He studied at Memphis State University and then did
post-grad work at Texas University in play writing and screen writing. He has written 25 plays and 5 novels. He currently resides in Albuquerque, NM with his wife, Mary.

Synopsis: This novel is "a progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable." Emma Minnow Pea (if read quickly out loud is LMNOP) lives in Nollop, a fictional place named after the founder of the 36 word sentence that uses all 26 letters of the alphabet, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," also called a pangram. The statue dedicated to Nollop has this phrase glued to it. After hundreds of years the letters slowly start falling of. As the letters fall off the council over this little area of the world forbid the use of the letters because they think it's a sign from Nollop to stop using them. First Z, then Q, then J, and then things get really tricky when D goes missing. The book is written in letters and it's interesting seeing how the characters struggle to communicate with each other as the letters go and as they get in trouble and have to face the consequences of using the words by being whipped or banished from the island. Ella, alone, must solve this problem and save her home so the people she loves can be together again.

Review: Oh my!! I don't think there are enough good things I can say about this book. It was incredibly clever! There were parts that were depressing as people died or were killed. There were other parts that were difficult to read because of the loss of so many letters. It was easier to read it out loud to figure out what they were trying to say. It also demonstrates the dangers of fascism and the importance of freedom of speech. I absolutely recommend this book. It was very clean and short so a quick read. There are lots of big words that I do not use in my regular vocabulary so I was grateful for the dictionary in my NookColor so I knew exactly what the author was saying. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Thirteenth Unicorn by W.D. Newman

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult

Author: W.D. Newman is the pen name of William Dale Porter. He lives in upstate
South Carolina with his wife and two children. He is a self published author and currently working on a sequel to The Thirteenth Unicorn called The Black Dragon.







Synopsis: Ben and Casey Alderman have to spend the summer with their grandparents in Pickens, SC. They notice their grandma, Louise, acting suspiciously around a patch of bamboo and decide to explore with the neighbor's children, Meg and Jeff. They end up finding themselves in another world in an adventure none of them thought they'd find behind the farm house. They find that the survival of a world is in their hands as they have to face mythological creatures and fight along side some as they work together to save one.


Review: This was a free ebook available on the nook. As I started reading it, it became very obvious that it was self published. I didn't realize that when I downloaded the book. There were lots of editing errors and the writing needed a little bit of work. The writing was a lot of telling but not enough showing. There was plenty of details but not the right kind of details so it made the writing a bit choppy. However, the story was fun. It was sort of J.R.R. Tolkein meets C.S. Lewis. Parts of it were a little dry but the adventure was fun. There were also characters that I felt weren't needed. They were hardly in it at all -- just no point to them. Mainly Meg and Jeff. I did find that most of the characters were very cliche and had no personality. Hob, Gob, and Nob were the only characters I found with any personality. They were quirky and quite funny. Sometimes, I really did laugh out loud with them. If you enjoy adventure and mythological creatures and don't mind typos and grammatical errors then this would be a great book for you. It really was a fun story, it just needed more editing.


Rating: ** Two Stars (because of the lack of editing)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Genre: Children/fiction/paranormal

Author: I wrote about Roald Dahl when I reviewed Witches. See comments here.

Synopsis: Matilda was born to a family who, well, was not the ideal family. They seemed to think that everything about Matilda was odd. They thought that since she was a female she shouldn't worry so much about books but focus more on looks. However, Matilda loved to learn and to read. She was placed in school with her teacher Miss Honey and Principal Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull thought that all children were pustules that should be squished and when Miss Honey came to Miss Trunchbull saying that Matilda was bored in her class and should be moved to a higher one, the Trunchbull was sure that Matilda was a rotten child who Miss Honey just wanted to get out of her class. She soon decides that adults need to be punished as well so through some inner abilities she was unaware that she had, she pulls some practical jokes on her parents and other leaders leading to a complete turnover in her life.

Review: My children LOVED reading about Matilda. They were even more excited when we found the DVD on sale at the store so they could watch it when we were finished. I was surprised to see how accurate the movie was compared to the book. It was fun with magic and mischief that kept my kids entertained and wanting more.

Rating: By request of my children, this book gets ***** Five Stars