Reader's Favorite

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow BOOK REVIEW

Sorrow's KnotSorrow's Knot
by Erin Bow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

On the world were Sorrow's Knot take's place, the tribe of Free Women, think they live on the edge of the earth, Nothing goes beyond the forest. It is their job to protect the tribe, or at least the binder's job. The story tells us of three you kids who are trying to find their places in the tribe, but they aren't going to stick to the old rules. Otter feels that she is going to be a binder, her mother is a binder, but little does she know her mother has other plans for her, she refuses to let her learn to be a binder. The shock and sadness causes her to move into an old hut that was abandon, followed son after by her two best friends, Cricket and Krestel. They each use the magic they have to find their way, to understand the old stories and to unravel the mysteries that are their world. Erin Bow wraps the unknown of a foreign world with the familiar and weaves a story that will keep you glued till the very end.

Sorrow's Knot is a fantasy book because it takes place on another world, but you will forget that as you read the book. As you start reading it feels more like an old Indian Folk Legend from long, long ago that wraps around you as you read. There are mysteries in the old stories, and Cricket finds them first, and I think I enjoyed that because he was the least valued in their tribe, it only made sense that Erin Bow would bring him to the top. The characters are teenagers, which is what puts it in that coming-of-age story group, but it so much more. Teens and adults alike will love this book, and enjoy the world that has been created.

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Reviewed by Amitha Knight
Reviewed by BookHounds
Reviewed by Tasha Saecker

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Divided Against Yourselves by: Bill Hiatt BOOK REVIEW

Divided against YourselvesDivided against Yourselves
by Bill Hiatt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Divided Against Yourselves is the second book in the Spell Weavers series, but unlike a number of series this book can be read on it's own without having read the first book and without feeling lost. Tal is a teenager dealing with reincarnation, in fact he is the reincarnation of the original Taliesin, a bard in King Arthur's court. Tal has successfully to this point merged his past lives together with his present life quite well. His best friend Stan is also a reincarnation, but his is not going so well. He past life as King David wants to take control too often. Even after defeating the witch Ceridwen last Halloween, Tal and the guys think they can relax and go back to normal life, only for Tal to be surprised by the appearance of Morgan Le Fay, who help Ceridwen at Halloween. Tal and his warriors work to figure out what Morgan wants and how to protect everyone at the same time. Bill Haitt does a wonderful job of weaving a magic tale into a modern day high school and making it work.

This is the first book I can remember reading that took on the reincarnation topic as a theme to the magic. It was novel of Bill Haitt to think of that plotline for a story, and it made this story compelling and interesting. It also opened a number of question that have me asking what is the next book after Divided Against Yourselves. I found the teenagers in the book to be real and remind me of my own teenagers at home, some of the bantering between the boys is stuff I hear coming from the boys in my sons room all the time. I felt the story was well developed and the action scenes would entertain and keep a good range of boys interested in reading. There is a puppy love vs. true love kind of thing, you know the kind that happens when you're sixteen through that along with the magic would keep girls reading. There are so many different side stories and themes in the book that are weaved together so well into a complete story that it will appeal to a great variety of readers.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Voice to Be Heard by: Dell Brand BOOK REVIEW

A Voice to Be HeardA Voice to Be Heard 
by Dell Brand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Travel back to the 1800's to a time when society was ruled by men, and women were window dressing. A Voice to be Heard starts with a young girl, Florence who is well educated, which is not common for that era. Yet she is seduced and becomes pregnant by the Lord of the house's son, only to be held in high regard by the Lord, who takes care of her and her twin daughters for the rest of his life. Within days, grandfather is killed in a freak carriage accident and mother dies after and run-in with her seducer. The twins go to their grandfather's lawyer with a plan, he having heard all about the intelligence and education that grandfather and mother imparted on them. The lawyer is more than happy to help and sets plans into action, within a month the girls are on a boat to Australia. Despite all society conventions,the girls proceed on their own, and buy a house, build another, turn the first into a hotel, and thus an empire is created. Along the way, each twin runs into problems with men. Joey falls for a married man, has his child, but never tells him about it and lets Maddy raise her as her own. Maddy marries a thug who hides his true intentions from her until after their marriage. He drains their bank account and beats up Maddy, only to later try to rape Joey and get knocked over the head and killed. Happier times and sadder times follow, just as in life. Dell Brand does a wonderful job making you feel like you are really living in Melbourne in the 1840's.

A Voice to be Heard is an inspirational read to any woman, allowing them to realize that they can accomplish whatever they want, no matter what society says. It won't be easy, there will be hurdles and bad times, but good times too, you just have to stay focused. Dell Brand cover a long period of time, from the early 1800's when Florence is young, to the 1850's after the death of Thomas, the twins father. It's truly a family saga, although it does skip huge parts of time, which of course you would have to, to cover the length of time it does. I enjoyed Joey's drive to be held under no ones thumb, to be her own person and to build this empire for her family. Maddy is more the romantic of the two and craves marriage and children. Yet for all Joey's strength, one man can still bring her crumbling, her first and only love. She never stops loving him. Overall the family saga, historical nature of the story first drew me in, but the characters kept me there until the end. It had me wishing I could have been there, almost. I couldn't handle the fashion!

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Entwined Courage by Tracy Lane BOOK REVIEW

Entwined CourageEntwined Courage
by Tracy Lane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

For centuries two worlds have existed in peace and harmony, the world of magic, a crystal city that floats high above the planet. Down below, on the planet, the common folk, who have no idea that the crystal city really exists believing it to be a myth. In the crystal city there are two forms of magic, the light and the dark, and they have stuck an easy balance and rule together for the good of both worlds. +Tracy Lane brings us into this world and introduces us to a young squire who is duty-bound to obey his master no matter what he asks of him. The problem is that his master is a greedy power hungry dark mage who wants all the power for himself and cares for no one else. He orders his squire, Kayne to steal a powerful artifact which he must do, but he cannot fully comply with his master and breaks his duty by hiding the artifact instead of giving it to the master. Entwined Courage is the ensuing story of Kayne's struggle to right the wrong he did by obeying his master and protect a young girl, Aurora who he involved in this plot without thinking.

+Tracy Lane does a wonderful job of describing the characters so vividly that you can imagine the evil in the eyes of Kronos and the compassion in the eyes of Iragos, As Entwined Courage continues the friendship between Kayne and Aurora grows, and much to Aurora's dismay she finds that she has magic in her. When she and Kayne work together to get away from Kronos, even with Aurora never having any training, they can do some amazing magic. Along with the story of righting his masters wrong, there is another story. This one is the one that involves Aurora's misguided belief in what the mages really do. She is sure they only protect the resources of the planet. She never thinks to consider that the common folk are the biggest resource they protect. As they work to right the wrong, Aurora must also grow up and figure out what she really believes about the mages and where her place in the two worlds really is.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Whitechapel Secret: Who Was Jack the Ripper? by: Martin Loughlin BOOK REVIEW

The Whitechapel Secret: Who Was Jack the Ripper?The Whitechapel Secret: Who Was Jack the Ripper?
by Martin Loughlin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who really was Jack the Ripper? Even after 125 years theories abound but no one really knows.
This novel takes a new perspective on the Ripper slayings, leading the reader on a scavanger hunt to find clues left by someone who was there at the time of the killings, some information that will finally reveal who Jack the Ripper was.
The story starts in the modern day, Ian is a freelance writer and he also gives guided walking tours of famous Jack the Ripper locations. Some have even said that he is the best of the Ripper tor guides. This night should have been like any other, but one lady on the tour is determined to talk to Ian. Ruth Walker has a interesting family history that has been passed down for generations. She truly believes that her ancestor knew who Jack the Ripper was, and left clues to solve the mystery.
Ian listens to her tale, and although it would be wonderful if it was true, he just isn't sure. At the train station on his way home, he is stabbed and almost killed. After talking to the police and getting stitches he arrives home only to find a message on his machine from Ruth's daughter. It seems Ruth had been killed by a hit and run driver earlier in the evening
Well, the death of Ruth and the attempt on Ian's life is just too much to be chance, so Ian and Ruth's daughter Lindsey set out to find and follow the clues, all across Europe.
This story gives a whole new perspective on Jack the Ripper and is filled with travel and adventure. I found it was so easy and quick to read because it made for a compelling story. No matter how many stories about Jack the Ripper you have read, you must read this one.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by: Colin McElwain BookReview

James Clyde and the Diamonds of OrchestraJames Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra 
by Colm McElwain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a pleasing, fictional mix of Narnia, Harry Potter, and the classic, Knights of the Round Table. With these favorite elements comes a fresh new tale from a debut author sure to capture the middle-grade reader’s attention.

James considers himself an average orphan, if there ever was one, with an old grandfather he looks forward to seeing each Christmas. His two best friends, Ben and Mary, also orphans, and James are a family (kind-of); and they look out for each other. When the psychic (who James believes might actually be psychotic) foretells that he and his family “are in terrible danger. I sense there is a man trying to find you. He’s trying to hurt you!”

When James, Ben, and Mary visit James’ grandfather, Wilmore, for Christmas—they learn that the psychic Belinda was extremely correct in her prediction. They are led on a chase to Orchestra, which he knew he recognizes from a painting and the stories his grandfather entertained him with each Christmas. When they finally find, what can only be described as a “secret portal to another world,” James learns of his destiny and will do anything to protect his birthplace.

As a young adult book, with the main characters in their pre-teens, I feel that kids would really relate to the story. The chapter where James, Ben, and Mary explore Orchestra is strikingly vivid and fun. It has plenty of adventure and action, including bloody battles that may be too intense for the elementary-aged reader but perfect for the middle-grades.

Even as an adult reader, I was entertained by the story and compelled to keep reading, not wanting to put the story down until finished. With the book ending on quite a cliffhanger, I do hope that there is another book in the works.

*This review was done for the author. In no way, shape or form did that influence my review.*

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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Appearance of Truth by: Rosemary J. Kind BOOK REVIEW

The Appearacne of TruthThe Appearacne of Truth
by Rosemary J. Kind

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Her mother passed away a year ago, and Lisa is still having trouble figuring out what to do now that she is on her own. A chance meeting at the cemetery brings new hope to her life, in the form of a budding relationship with Pete. A casual discussion about family, and a bet to research their family tree's will lead to unknown events for Lisa. She finds that what she thought she knew was not the truth, and she is not who she thought she was. +Rosemary Kind does a wonderful job of bringing to life the search for the truth to Lisa's identity as well as telling the heartbreaking tale from her parents side of the story as well. The Appearance of Truth will challenge you to understand the pain of parents, and the confusion as Lisa searches for the truth.

The idea that maybe you actually have a rich and famous ancestor in your family tree has sparked many a person to research their genealogy. An Appearance of Truth takes the idea of family tree's and turns it upside down, as Lisa sets out on a normal quest only to unlock a mystery that has be hidden for thirty years. +Rosemary Kind brings to life the many sides of this story, with each getting equal time, and none being slated as being the better side. The story takes the fears of finding out a secret and packages it into a novel worth the read. This was an engaging story that kept me interested to the very end.

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite .

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Plain Peace by: Beth Wiseman BOOK REVIEW

Plain Peace (A Daughters of the Promise Novel)Plain Peace 
by Beth Wiseman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Plain Peace is the latest novel in the Daughters of the Promise series by Beth Wiseman. I have to admit that this is the first of this series that I have read, and normally I hate to do that but at the time I picked this book I wasn't aware of the series. That being said, if you haven't read the series, you can still pick up this book and the story makes sense all on it's own, you don't have to have read the previous books. Although if you are like me, now having read this one, it makes me want to go back and read the others.

Anna is the bishop's granddaughter, and although she is growing her grandfather may be a little blind to that, along with a number of other things. Bishop Byler is old-fashioned and strict, some think too strict, but his strictness has a reason and it has purpose for him. Anna's parents died when she was young, in an auto accident as they were being driven by and Englisch. Anna has never minded his strictness, she has always felt loved, until now when it starts to effect her future and courting.

Jacob and his family are new to Paradise. The move was to be a fresh start for the family, yet it seems that they have brought all the brokenness with them. Jacob doesn't know the Bishop and so he tries to court Anna, the only person in town willing to try, despite the fact that she is sweet and beautiful. As Anna and Jacob develop a friendship, can she help to heal his family's hurts.

This is a story of life. So many things happen in lie that influence the decisions we make and the people we become. This story shows how the Bishop was influenced by his son's death. How the Bishop's wife rebelled in secret, and how all the people of the town mix together to heal each other. No one character stands on it's own, in fact they are all so intertwined together, I found myself flipping to the family tree's at the beginning of the book over and over again.

I have always enjoyed Amish life stories, and this was no different. I love the deep sense of family and connectedness that seems to come in that community. Sometimes I think that is what is wrong the world today, too much emphasis on self and not enough on family. I will have to say that this book does introduce a great deal of Englisch technologies into the Amish community, more than I have ever seen in an Amish book before, but it also has some sound reasoning for most of it. I didn't think it upset the story in any way, in fact it may be a more accurate picture of how the Amish have to deal with today's world. Whether it is or not, the story still focused more on the family and the influences of past events on their decisions and choices.

Anyone who is looking for an uplifting story, one to remind you of the value of family and being together. Working through all problems and finding faith and a way in the world, then this is for you. It was a sweet and enjoyable read.

Reviewed for +Book Sneeze.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Virgin Diet Recipes: The Recipes I Used To Lose 17 Pounds in 3 Weeks by Stacy Longoria BOOK REVIEW

My Virgin Diet Recipes: The Recipes I Used To Lose 17 Pounds in 3 Weeks (Wheat Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, Peanut Free, Corn Free, Sugar Free & Gluten Free Cookbook)My Virgin Diet Recipes: The Recipes I Used To Lose 17 Pounds in 3 Weeks
by Stacy Longoria

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We've all heard how gluten, eggs, sugar and other highly reactive foods are a harmful to our diets, but what to do about them. This cookbook gives you clear and easy to follow recipes that cut out those foods from your diet. This allows you to lose weight, and feel better all at once. It also gives you recipes to later slowly reintroduce some of this foods again in small quantities.

I have a good friend who is actually allergic to dairy, gluten and eggs. She has lived this type of lifestyle all her life, and has never had trouble with weight or fatigue. I had discussed with her about trying to lose some of those items from my diet, but it always seemed too difficult. I wandered onto this book by accident, and I have to say it is the greatest money I have spent.

It gives me clear and easy to follow recipes that allow me to start this journey without feeling like I am drowning in a sea of unknowns. I already have some favorites! I can also see, from the list of substitutes at the back, that I will be able to update and change the recipes easily to suit my tastes, once I get much more comfortable with the requirements.

New Year, New You, well that is my goal and this is going to be my handbook to that goal! I am actually excited to start a diet, for once in my life. That has to say something about this amazing book.

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Dreamers by: Ted Farrar BOOK REVIEW

by Ted Farrar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamers is a title given to a certain set of people in a research study. They have the ability to change facts in their dreams and to actually enter and interact with the dream almost as if they were awake. The research study has a found a few of these people and until the story starts, Wilson Cole figures he is the only one. As the story progresses we find that Ted Farrar is taking us on a rollercoaster ride between the dream world and the real world. Suddenly characters from the dream world are showing up in the real world, and Bill is finding his own life in danger, along with that of the research scientists. Bill must find other dreamers from the study and try to figure out what is going on and what to do to stop it, before more people die.

The twists and turns that Dreamers takes are more than equal to a rollercoaster. The ideas and concepts seem so far from the reality of the world we know, that at times it takes a second reading to catch the latest turn. The turns always come at the last moment, and never seem to come from where you are thinking they might. Ted Farrar created a wildly complex book, that is not for the faint of heart. It is not your typical easy read novel, but one that will require you to think and delve into your mind and your own dreams to follow the story and find the conclusion. This is definitely a thinking mind's novel.

Reviewed for +Readers Favorite.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Sundered by Ruthanne Reid BOOK REVIEW

The SunderedThe Sundered
by Ruthanne Reid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers Favorite

Water is no longer blue, it's black and it's dangerous. Not only is it dangerous, but it covers most of the world. The world is inhabited by the humans and those they can The Sundered. The Sundered come from the water, but can be controlled by the human mind. It can be difficult, but they have to be harnessed for humanity to live in this world. Ruthanne Reid weaves a story of co-dependency and mutual distrust. The humans need the sundered to grow food and survive on the world. The sundered don't need the humans, but they are less powerful and submit to the control, for the most part. The story follows one young man, and his group as they search the world over for the Hope. The Hope of Humanity is rumored to be what will fix the world back to what it used to be. Other's want to destroy the Hope to in turn destroy the sundered and take the planet for themselves. The truth, is somewhere altogether different.

Ruthann Reid creates a world that feels like Earth, only many years advanced when water covers most of the planet and land is rare. The humans can't touch the water, it will drag them in and kill them. They have to have the sundered to get the water to live. The Sundered is well written and has you really thinking. There are the two factions, one that says the Hope will fix the world, the other that says the Hope must be destroyed. As the story progresses and you learn more, things are uncovered that make you question each faction. Can two cultures survive on the world together, or does it have to be just one or the other? Which culture is really the one that invaded the other and forced themselves on the planet? Great read for adults and teens alike.

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A Lifetime to Die by P. S. Meronek BOOK REVIEW

A Lifetime to DieA Lifetime to Die
by P. S. Meronek

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Reader's Favorite

Our story begins in Czechoslovakia, where a young man, Aristotle Mercury is living with his mother after the death of his father. A Lifetime to Die follows Telly, as he tries to make his way as a young man, only to have to escape his home to American. Once in America, he builds his life and business beyond what anyone probably thought he was able to do. He experiences the joys and heartaches of life, and through it all is a deep desire to right a wrong done to his parents many years ago. This driving force it what propels him from just a carpenter to a businessman and developer. P.S. Meronek takes the all American dream of making it big, and translates it to this young refugee with superb skill. You will root for and cry with Telly from the beginning to the end of the book.

This saga follows one man through his life, and although he has a goal to right a wrong, he never seems to let it overtake him. He keeps a good balance on life. A Lifetime to Die starts in Czechoslovakia and travels to America, although truthfully it could have been from anywhere. It follows Telly, from teen to late 50's, almost a lifetime. P.S. Meronek does a wonderful job in this tale to reignite your belief in the American dream, and even more the ability of it to be achieved without selling your soul to the devil. It is a truly believable tell that you won't want to put down until you turn the last page.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

In His Father's Footsteps by Bev Irwin BOOK REVIEW

In His Father's FootstepsIn His Father's Footsteps
by Bev Irwin  

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Reader's Favorite.

At some point in everyone's lives there came that time when we stopped looking to our parents as our idols and role models and started letting our friends be the bigger influence. In His Father's Footsteps is a tale of just that time in a young boys life. He has reached that age when the influences of school friends are making the life and lessons his father taught seem old fashioned and out of date. As the story progresses and Jason is called upon to track his father and bring him home, the skills and lessons his father taught him become the things that he must rely on the most. +Bev Irwin does a wonderful job of twisting teenage angst and survival into a compelling adventure for children and teens of all ages.

The story is so easy to relate to because, at least as an adult we all can remember a time when we felt the same way. Our friends were more important and more knowledgeable than our parents. +Bev Irwin does a wonderful job of blending those feelings with the struggles to find his father and bring him home. In his Father's Footsteps is heartwarming to adults and a lesson to teens. This book could be read by either and enjoyed. The coming of age story, the unique setting and adventure, make it captivating. It might not be all that long of a book, but I still couldn't put it down until I had finished it all. I wanted to see where the story went and how the relationship between father and son finally turned out.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Steve Jobs - The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World by Gregory Watson BOOK REVIEW

Steve Jobs - The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our WorldSteve Jobs - The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World
by Gregory Watson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My 4th grader is an advanced reader and one of the tasks that she is required to do each term is to read a biography and write about it. I have spent much time in the recent weeks, and downloaded a number of e-books in this vein for her studies. I always read them first, and I loved this one. My child is so into computers, and she did a biography last term on a Nintendo designer, so this fits her tastes wonderfully, but it also has some great points that all students need to learn.

Everyone thinks of the success that Steve Jobs had in this later years, but that was not always the case. He was a sometimes troublesome prankster in school. That is something that might get overlooked, but can be of great benefit to a number of students who love computers and have a natural ability with them, but have trouble in other areas of school. If Mr. Jobs can do it, so can they. I found the recurring theme of Steve Jobs life to be that he used his mind, continued to drive no matter what, and kept going. I think this is a great message for the youth of today.

This would make a great short read for an adult, but for students, this is a perfect biography book that they can understand and would motivate them to work harder in school. I look forward to seeing the report my daughter ends up writing on this book.

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The Art of Forgetting (Book One: Rider) by: Joanne Hall BOOK REVIEW

The Art of Forgetting - Rider (Book 1)The Art of Forgetting - Rider
by Joanne Hall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Reader's Favorite.

Take the stories of knights on horseback, armies defending the Queen, and those crusader type stories from the 11th and 13th centuries, now place them in another world and you have The Art of Forgetting. Rhodri is a young boy, found in the woods, who no one quite knows what to think of. He has a perfect memory, but the people are scared of him, so life in his village is rough. Enter the Kings Third army troop and Rhodri's life is about to change forever. You follow him as he joins the army, trains and becomes a good solider. Watch as he makes new friends, grows and creates a relationship with someone much older than himself. Joanne Hall does a wonderful job of writing so that you forget this takes place on another world for the most part, it could be the story of anyone of the 11th to 13th centuries.

Joann Hall is a wonderful writer and has done a beautiful job in crafting a fantasy story that almost feels like a historical novel. The Art of Forgetting is set on another world, with two moons; yet for most of the book you almost forget that focusing solely on the army life of this young boy and his friends. If you like the adventures of the crusaders, the bravery of the knights and romance of the early centuries, then you will enjoy this novel. It brings all those elements together, places them on another world and adds some modern romantic situations to make for a compelling new novel.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nelson Mandela - The Inspirational Life Story Of Nelson Mandela, The Best Of A Legendary South African Leader by Gregory Watson BOOK REVIEW

Nelson Mandela - The Inspirational Life Story Of Nelson Mandela, The Best Of A Legendary South African LeaderNelson Mandela - The Inspirational Life Story Of Nelson Mandela, The Best Of A Legendary South African Leader 
by Gregory Watson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a parent and a teaching assistant, I am always looking for good and short biography books that I think will interest my kids. They also need to be about people who have done something inspirational, not just made a lot of money. I am so glad to have found this one. I think it is perfect for my advanced level 4th grade, and would be good up through high school.

We have all heard of Nelson Mandela, but maybe our children don't see the importance of him the way we did. This book takes you back and tells you of his life, from birth to death. The triumphs and trials, the joys and sorrows, and everything that went into making Nelson Mandela the man he was.You learn things that you might not have known before, the type of student he was and what motivated him to do the things he did.

This book is a great way to introduce a young, new generation of children to the legacy of Nelson Mandela and to see that they learn of his principals and commitments. To teach them what he stood for and to make sure that they know the importance of standing for something. Definitely one that I want in my library.

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Ayrton Senna - The Inspirational Life of Ayrton Senna, The Greatest Formula One Driver that Ever Lived by Gregory Watson BOOK REVIEW

Ayrton Senna - The Inspirational Life of Ayrton Senna, The Greatest Formula One Driver that Ever LivedAyrton Senna - The Inspirational Life of Ayrton Senna, The Greatest Formula One Driver that Ever Lived
by Gregory Watson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ayrton Senna was born in San Paolo to a wealthy family but saw the slums and poverty of his town. He was born to race and did so with great success up until his death. He understood engines and cars and that made him a delight to work with for the crews. He was also a man who spent his own money in silence to help those in the slums of his hometown. He also was vocal about driver safety and worked to make changes to improve driver safety.

What makes Ayrton Senna a perfect role model or inspiration is that he did all these good works without looking for public recognition. He did it quietly, behind the scenes. As a parent and a teaching assistant I am always looking for these type of books to give to classes to read, This would interest the boys and give them something to strive to achieve, the good deeds. This is great for the upper elementary and junior high grades, depending on reading levels. It would make a great biography paper. I am glad I found this over our school break so that I have it when we start back to school.

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Orphan of the Olive Tree by: Mirella Sichirollo Patzer BOOK REVIEW

Orphan of the Olive TreeOrphan of the Olive Tree
by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite.

Orphan of the Olive Tree is a beautifully crafted story of the life-long friendship of two men, sent to war and yet brought safely home. The are best friends, live next door, and because of the war make a blood oath to marry their firstborns to each other. Enrico is married to the sweet and honest Felica, and they have twin boys. Carlo is married to the ever envious Prudenza, who can not stand to let someone else enjoy their happiness, and on the day of the birth of the boys spread a cold-hearted lie. As with all lies, they tend to come back to haunt you, and when in the next year Prudenza herself gives birth to twins, she refuses to admit her lie and instead sends one child away never to be talked about. +Mirella Sichirollo Patzer knows that lies and fate have a way of deciding for themselves what should happen, and you are not in control, and Prudenza slowly finds out.

Orphan of the Olive Tree is so well written and flows so beautifully that you really have a hard time putting it down. You always want to know whats next. +Mirella Sichirollo Patzer weaves an amazing story of friendship and bonds, of rivalry and envy, of love and betrayal so effortlessly together. Some of the drama comes from superstitions of the 13th century, but most is just the down right evil of one person, who wants their own way. As you follow along you begin to develop a relationship with the characters and get to know them and you know what you want to happen, and you get mad when things are not going that way. I will have to say that anyone that loves a good family saga will love this story, not only that by the Spanish influence and the romance and the betrayal. It is just a perfect read.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Drops from the Kingdom : The Silver Arrow by: Larry Itejere BOOK REVIEW

The Silver Arrow (Drops from the Kingdom)The Silver Arrow
by Larry Itejere

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite.

Part knights of the round table, part knights of the templar, part historical, part fantasy, part paranormal powers and a classic good vs. evil storyline is what defines Drops from the Kingdom. Most of the book tells the story of Isesac, and how he came to be the guardian and guiding figure that he is today. There is some history of the world this story is being set in, which is a mix of old world, nordic and fantasy. There is also the story of Samuel, and his gifts. How he finds out about them, Iseasc's search for him and later his search for Iseasc. +Larry Itejere has set this up along the lines of a grand adventure like the knights of the round table, or King Arthur. Even better still, it is only the beginning of the story. The epilogue entices you to wait to continue the journey with Jayden.

+Larry Itejere has written a well-balanced story that has adventure and intrigue, mystery and suspense and just enough paranormal powers to draw in just about every pre-teen and teen boy. Drops from the Kingdom reminds me of a better version of the Knights of the Round Table, only set in a different location, a different time period, and with a different story. The paranormal powers and the idea of patrons and guardians will interest all those kids that are looking for a slightly magical twist in their stories. There is adventure and warfare, enough to keep the boys reading, but not so much has to drive the girls away. This is a great book for that pre-teen set, as the characters range from 12 to 17 for the most part during the story.

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