Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amy Plays the Violin

Amy Plays the Violin
By Julie Labossiere

Amy has been preparing for her first violin recital. Even though she has practiced, she is still feeling nervous about it so she goes to her family to see if they can help her prepare better for the recital. Asking her brother Aaron, he offers her to play his drums, but the sound is just too loud and not quite right for Amy. Maybe her sister Stephanie has a good idea. Stephanie plays the piano so well, but when Amy sits down she discovers that she plays the violin better than she could play the keyboards. Realizing that she just needed the confidence that might come with practice, Amy gets back to it. Finally the night of the recital comes around and with her mom in the wings, the rest of the family in the audience, Amy takes the stage and finds her nerves go away after she starts to play the violin piece that she had been practicing.

An inspirational story about being able to overcome nerves and follow through with a task that might scare you. Spending the time to learn the violin then to explore other instruments only to realize that she was better off with the violin. To follow through with the whole process of learning it and then being part of the recital really showed her courage. Even as scary as that thought was, she knew she had prepared for this night. The since of pride in herself in the end seemed to be worth all the practice time and even the nerves helped her to push through the practices. Practice and patience are really great lessons for anyone, this story is geared for young readers or for reading aloud, with it’s plain wording, large print and great pictures. This would be a great addition to any youth library.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book - Sophie & Carter

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Having seen the worst of each others deep dark secrets, it was no wonder that Sophie Hartman and Carter Jax had become the best of friends. Living next door to each other for so long, they each had a perspective on the others lives that most never saw. After being beaten for so many years by his own father, watching his mother take the abuse also, Carter had finally become strong enough to stand up for them both but only after the scars had been left and his mother had paid a high price - her sanity. Raising her siblings while at young age herself, Sophie found the strength to confront her own mother in the uncomfortable atmosphere of a strip club but with the support of Carter she could find a way to ask for the money her and the kids needed. Through out high school, Sophie and Carter kept their acquaintance and their close friendship a secret, only talking to each other in the privacy of their homes and yards. With each acting the adult of the households, it was only a matter of time before they realized the feelings they held for the other was more than just plain admiration.

Short and sweet, this one took me by surprise how much I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this one far exceeded anything I was looking for. The book is set up with 2 different type fonts, one for Sophie and another for Carter, the format is set up somewhere between a journal entry and a “he said, she said”. I have read others that have been set up like this before and found that this one is really well done. The flow between the two points of view is good and you don’t seem to lose continuity like can sometimes happen in this format. What a wonderfully encouraging and inspirational story about young adults that have been able to take on so much and still came out of it as really good people, it is sad that this is probably not far from truth for some kids. I have never read Chelsea Fine before, but I will be sure to look for other books by her. I am giving this book a 4, but it does lean toward the 5 star category. Great book, I am so grateful that I was given the chance to receive this book as a free reviewers copy.
****

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Reel Cool Summer by Martha Rodriguez

Bored on a hot summer day, Joey, his brother Danny and sister Jacqui want something to do. They want a pool, but mom says it cost a lot of money. Finding a flyer on the mail box for a movie competition with the reward of money is what gives Joey a great idea. Getting right to works on props, costumes and filming because they have only a few hours till the deadline. After a couple false starts, things seem to come together till the kids are happy with what they have done. Seeing some of the other entries at the library was fun too, but they really wanted to win. Placing third might be alright after all though.

Just the creation of the movie was something fun for the kids to do. A Reel Cool Summer is full of imagination as well as inspiration of things to do. Play acting is entertaining for the kids and so time consuming that they didn’t even realize how quickly the day went by. A great idea for a short or even a long summer project. Quick and easy to read for it’s intended age group (6-9 year olds) although the lines of words would have been easier to follow if they would have been in a more traditional block arrangement instead of being staggered like it sometimes was. Fun ’paper cut-out dolls’ style of illustrations with muted colors that just seemed to pop out the right way with a story telling power of their own. ( )
flagSep 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Do You Use to Help Your Body? by Jewel Kats

Exploring what makes some people different than others is a good way for kids to learn about disabilities and the way to adapt a lifestyle to accommodate those disabilities. Noticing a difference and learning how they deal with it is not the same thing. Lucky for Maggie that her momma has an idea about how to help her understand more. Walking down the street they encounter several individuals that have had something that makes them different. Something they have had to deal with, overcome or work around. Realizing that a hearing loss doesn’t mean they can’t hear anything, the loss of a leg, or the use of both legs does not keep them inside. Even finding ways to be understood if they can’t talk make Maggie understand that her own eye patch was helpful to her.

The concept of this book is one that needs to be explored more (in my opinion) with kids today. While the main point of “What do you use to help your body?” is to understand how things can help, it does briefly touch on the sensitivities of the disabled. Even for such a young age group as this one is targeted for, there could have been more. I have had to explain disabilities of a relative to my kids several times in past. The best part of books like this is that it opens up the topic to discussion and hopefully reduces discrimination while promoting acceptance. This was a good introduction to special needs of people around us. ( )
September 10, 2011

Amazing Grace by Danielle Steel

Review to come, hopefully before to much longer.

September 8, 2011

Fairy-Tale Detectives

Review to come - I hope I get the time to do this one soon.

August 25, 2011

Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Far from home and the strongest memory she has is of a warrior she had met in her dreams. Needing to find out what had happened in her home of Elden, Breena stumbled through the woods till she found a cottage. Hungary and tired she entered and found food and a bed. Waking up to a bear of a man standing over her with his two younger brothers, Breena was amazed to find that he was real. The girl in his bed was the same girl that he had been dreaming about, Osborn just didn’t know how to treat her in real life. The berserker in him seemed to want to keep her but he refused to stray from his own path of protecting his brothers, Bernt and Torben. A berserker was just the type of warrior Breena needed, somehow her parents had instilled in her the desire to avenge and survive, with the help of her dream sharing warrior Osborn, she might be able to do both. Teaching her to protect herself and then leaving her to fulfill her own destiny was the plan. As she learned to fence, gained more of her magical powers and the control over them, Osborn and his ber spirit were becoming less sure of his place in her life. If only Breena could convince him to help and find someone to trust.

Book 2 ….. Lord of Rage has just the right mix of Goldilocks and the three bears fairytale and supernatural romance. Osborn is so much gentler than expected as a berserker which gave the heroine Breena a shining spotlight to be the student and teacher of their relationship. The interaction with the brothers is great and the additional information about what had happened in the attack on Elden was really interesting. Totally enjoying this idea of 4 authors getting together to write a paranormal romance version of fairytales. Really eager to see what the fairytale is and how the next author (Jessica Anderson) handles the next sibling (Dayn) in the next book (Lord of Wolfyn) of the series.
I was extremely luck to have received this book as a reviews copy, Lord of Rage is due out September 20, 2011. ( )
September 7, 2011

Wayfinder by C.E. Murphy

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Finding the magical ivory staff in the mortal world may not be the toughest part of her quest to help fix the part of fairyland that the Truthseeker in Lara Jansen was coming to know as Annwn. Returning to the land of the fae only to find out Ioan ap Annwn truly believed that Dafydd ap Caerwyn may be dying from the wounds he sustained helping her. To find Hafgan, the Unseelie King, who was in the same place in the Drowned Lands that Ioan had left Dafydd to either heal or die. Facing all the trials to get to the memorial gardens with the help of only Aerin, the tall beautiful Seelie warrior that Lara had to trust and that had to trust Lara in return. If they expected to head off Emyr’s impending attack on his enemy, keep Hafgan from taking revenge, heal the Drowned Lands and the Barrowlands, they may have to ask for help from more places than they ever expected to.

Book 2 ….. Enjoyable from the fairytale beginning, middle to the end. I really enjoyed the progression of Lara’s powers, the interactions with Dafydd, Ioan, Aerin and Kelly was so much better in this one than the first one was. Going from the tailor’s apprentice to a magical truthseeker that learns to control her power as it grows into a wayfinder, a worldwalker, a worldbreaker, and a gatekeeper. In the first book I struggled with Dafydd as the prince of his people, but his redemption (in my mind) was easy, gentle and complete in this one. There are so many characters, but since it is the second book (and it seems to be the end), it is easy enough to follow the characters through their adventure, conflicts and triumphs. Really liked the interaction between the worlds, royalty, goddess and each other. I was lucky enough to receive this as a reviewers copy, but I am very interested in reading more of C.E. Murphy’s books after this great reading experience. ( )
September 5, 2011

Darkwoods by Marta Stahlfeld

The death of Oracle Scythe would be felt all across the land. Scythe was the one Oracle of the Darkwoods Foxes that was against warring with the other creatures in the surrounding area of the Darkwoods. With Scythe gone, the other Foxes had no more opposition to their plans of conquering all of the area, so they started their campaign to take control. Not knowing the resistance they would encounter along the way. Of all the creatures, the Wraith Mice with their magical abilities and their determined Princess Zuryzel would be the toughest to get past. Along with the other talents she possessed, Princess Zuryzel has the ability to stand as a leader for all of the animals that are put in danger by the Foxes.

Written by a seventeen year old, what a great accomplishment at such a young age. The use of the animals as the characters made visualizing each of them easy. Learning each of the tribes strengths and each person, or more to the point, characters special abilities made for an interesting adventure in itself. Learning their names and tribes and relations within the tribes was a bit laborious at first. Once the adventure started it was just as easy to forget who and what they were than it was to continue to struggle to remember it all. There was just so many characters, to many often unnecessary characters and sometimes to many details that seemed more of a tangent than important to the storyline. I had a difficult time getting into the story because of the amount of characters, but after I stopped trying to figure out how they all connected, it got a little better. The adventure and suspense of the story was interesting, the use of the animal tribes or clans made this one unique and the storytelling ability to put it all together was fairly well done. ( )
August 30, 2011

Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Still in the process of recovering from a devastating and fatal car accident, Jane Parker lived a secluded life, by choice. Strange dreams of a male vampire in chains kept haunting her dreams and then she received a book. Knowing vampires were real after the research she used to do in her ‘before the accident’ life, she was curios about the desire she felt for the man in her dreams, then he wasn’t a dream anymore. Finding a way to get her to help him escape the prison he had been in, the Dark Seducer (Nicolai) had only to draw Jane to Delfina by casting a spell but even that he couldn’t remember doing. Having had his memory taken by the witches, all Nicolai had was the need to escape so that he could slay the King of Elden. Once freed, his memories started to slowly returned enough to make him question why Jane would willingly stay and help him find the people responsible for his families lose and separation.

Book 1 ….. So much happens in this, the first book oaf the Royal House of Shadows. As the dark and brooding character of Nicolai opens up, seeing the real him left no doubt about what a great family they are. Jane seemed a bit ADD at times with her over analyzing and flakey daydreaming, but the set up for this series is great. The magical scattering of all four of the siblings by the mother, while the father spelled them to seek revenge. I am excited about this series, the concept of these four wonderful authors coming together to bring the paranormal version of fairy tales ~ who came up with these great ideas?! Gena Showalter did fabulous (she is one of my favorite authors to begin with) starting this series with her vampire version of Alice in Wonderland, complete with the Queen of Hearts. I am eager to find out what Jill Monroe does with Princess Breena in ‘Lord of Rage.
(I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book) ( )
August 20, 2011

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Four years since they last saw each other, Cat had turned to Don and his group of demon hunters but, Bones finally found her. Now they knew where the other was whether for good or for bad, and it wasn’t like they could just pick up their relationship were they left it. There had to be some explaining done, some considerations to be made and protections in place, for Cat. Bones was just happy to know where she was and to be in her life again, no matter what else that included.

Book 2 ….. Once again, Bones was fabulous when it came to the fighting and to the loving. The childishness of Cat got to me though. Yes, Bones is quite a bit older and he does actually have a past. She seemed to take him to task for some of the most petty reasons I have ever heard. Her tantrums caused the majority of the conflicts and while the fight scenes were well written, they didn’t make her all that much more likeable (for me anyways). After the colossal mess she made with yet another of her idiotic actions, you can bet I am going to read the next of the series just to see if she ever grows up. Next up it is ‘At Grave’s End’ ( )
August 14, 2011

Love Slave by Michelle Houston

Way to short, almost like just a love scene cut out of a regular book (it is only 7 pages).
Not to bad for what it was, it could have had so much more - not just the number of pages but the scene itself seemed to be lacking something. ( )
August 18, 2011

Merciful by Casey Adolfsson

As a librarian Acacia Moirgetes knew who she was, until she started disappearing into another world. Arriving to find a stranger who seems to know more about her life than she does. As her Pyroskia (protector), Blaise and her goat like mentor Amal explain her life as the daughter of gods, as the sister of fates. Acacia does slowly start to have flashes of memories o the life. The more she learns about her life on Mt. Olympus, the more she wants to understand just what happened to her and why. Having time travel abilities, empathic feelings and visions are the powers she uses as The Moirgetes (Bringer of Fate). Since there is really no one more powerful, everyone fears her and some even hate her enough to try and get rid of her for good. Learning all of the pieces of her life has just as much of a chance of destroying her as her enemies do.

Mt Olympus, Atlantis ~ Titans, Greek Gods, they are all here (ok, maybe not all of them but a lot), I should have taken a refresher in Mythology. No, the Mythology lessons aren’t really needed if you are interested in a good adventure with a romance. The questions to figure out who she is and why she can’t remember herself leads Acacia to learn of herself with the help of others, mainly Blaise. I liked Blaise a lot, I had a bit of trouble with Ash (her other Pyroskia) even after he went through the bond share. What a fun adventure and re-introduction to mythology. Had a rough start with this one, slow to get going, but after awhile, I got to a point where it just flew by and I didn’t want to put it down until I found out what the mystery memory was, what Blaise was hiding and then it was over. Didn’t like the ending, it made me sad but luckily I have found a post that claims Casey Addolfson is planning on making this into a trilogy ~ looking forward to the next installment and finding out what will happen next with Blaise. ( )
August 13, 2011

The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

- White Knight Christmas by Lori Foster (read 8/15/11) ****
Overworked Detective Parker Ross just wanted some down time and to forget about the Christmas season (bah hum bug). Neighbor, sweet little Lily Donaldson was just the cheerful, spirited sort of person he wanted most to avoid. But Lily was the type that is too difficult to ignore, especially since he had been admiring her for several months now.
**** Short, sweet, hot, cute ~ what a combination. It’s only 61 pages long so, as with most anthology stories, it felt rushed to reach a final conclusion quickly. Not the conclusion I was expecting either, more of a touching, inspirational, feel good story with a bit of play in the middle, and all of it rushed. ( )
Aug 15, 2011
More to come after the other stories have been read.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

Tracking a serial killer that turns out to be Ted Bundy’s daughter (Kirsten) while still reeling from her fathers recent death bed confession, Agent Lucy Carlyle and Agent Cooper McKnight are the targets for kidnapping and murder. The few moments she has off, Lucy spends trying to decipher her fathers words, until one night she discovers the remains of what can only be her own grandfather in the attic. While Lucy is dealing with her family matters, Coop takes on Kirsten while Agent Dillon Savich looks into a series of attacks on a local grocer and Agent Lacy Sherlock helps out any way she can. The CAU (Criminal Apprehension Unit) is known for being the best, will the best be enough up against so many cases at one time.

This one is all about the suspense. While it is great to see Savich and Sherlock working cases more directly again, there was almost too much work. Three cases all vying for Agent time and talent - the attacks on the grocer almost seems to be more of a distraction for Savich and took time away from the good cases and any romance brewing between Lucy and Coop. It was almost like “love at first sight” except they had worked in the same office for a while but never as close as they have to for the Kirsten case. The romance just happened too quick, too easy, almost felt more unnatural than Lucy’s personal discovery. Liked the suspense of Bundy’s daughter, the whole father / grandmother / grandfather story was great but I was left wanting just a tad bit more of the romance that seemed to have all happened off page. I will still read any more of the FBI series that Catherine Coulter writes, I just hope that the romance comes back. ( )
August 4, 2011

Where Do We Go? by James F. Weinsier

After the death of family, friend or even a pet, most kids have questions, they just might not know how to ask them. This book asks those questions about where they go, what it is like for them, the weather, smells, holidays, games, colors, magic or if those of us left on earth can feel or see what they are doing. There is no answer for each of these questions, but the overall, simple answer is “in the hearts of all those who love you”.

After a recent death in my own family, my kids started asking some of these questions again. While they are a bit older than the age group that this book is intended for (I would estimate as young as the 4-8 age group), the same concerns are there at all ages though. The words were in a sing song rhythm of poetry that can make it almost fun for children to explore the different options and questions they have. The curlicue font was not as easy to read as it is pretty to look at but the illustrations (by Cliff Beaman) are fabulous in a way that almost tells the story and asks the questions without the words. Since the book doesn’t give an answer (probably for the best since that allows people to input their own beliefs), this is the perfect book to help allow kids to open up and start that discussion that they might not even know they wanted to have. Simple ending with a simple concept and a great conversation with the kids that have experienced loss. ( )
August 11, 2011