Monday, March 14, 2011

Book - Dr. Texas

Dr. Texas by Debbie Macomber
In trade for getting some of her student loans paid down, Dr. Jane Dickinson agreed to a three year stretch as a clinic doc for a small town in Promise Texas. Big City California doc had lots to learn about small town Texas, but after talking to her, Cal Patterson soon realized she was a good sport and willing to try to fit in. Riding a horse, dressing the cowgirl part and listening to Willie Nelson all with a sense of humor that even got Cal to loosen up

Book 4 …. Normally I am all about reading a series in order, man an exception this time because I have already read these (long ago). Obviously not the first in the series, there are many characters in this town, some of them have already gotten married, while others are newly engaged, some are still dealing with situations that have taken place in previous books. Still this book gives enough of the background information to understand how and why it relates to this book and this couple (I still plan on re-reading the rest of the series at some point). As usual with Debbie Macomber books, it had a little fun, a little adventure, a little suspense, a little love, a little family, a little friends and lots of emotions from all the characters. This book was a bit slow, but I was in the mood for a slow gentle romance, so I enjoyed it.
3/14/11 4****

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book - Wicked Lovely

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Always having had the ability to see the fae kind, Aislinn Foy knew she was being followed by them. Not knowing what they wanted from her was the problem and figuring out how to tell the person (Seth) she had com to depend on was another problem she faced. Would he believe her, would it put him in danger too. There was something special about Aislinn, Keenan had felt that way about others, but being the Summer King and getting more desperate to find his Queen, he was considering taking more drastic measures to assure that Aislinn took the Winter Queen’s test.

Book 1 ….. Took a while to get interested in this one. I understand the author wanting to draw out the suspense before reveling all the secrets and circumstances of the story, but it took a long time to get there. I liked most of the characters (really liked Seth) and found myself a little sad with the ending but it was intriguing enough that I will search out the next book of this series (Ink Exchange). - note: Everything that I find on this book labels it a Young Adult. I would caution, not to young. There are a couple uses of a “bad” word.
3/12/11 4****

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book - Sherbrooke Bride

Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter
Feeling the families pressure to produce an heir, the Earl of Northcliffe, Douglas Sherbrooke finally decided on taking a beautiful women he had known years before, Melissande Chambers. Getting a personal request from his country for help, Douglas had few options. Heading to France on a mission himself and leaving his cousin Tony Parrish, Lord Rathmore to marry for him by proxy. On his return he discovered that Tony had married Melissande as well as her sister Alexandra Chambers.

Book 1 ….. I have read all (so far) of Catherine Coulter’s FBI series, but this is the first of her historicals that I have read. While it has many elements that are consistent with the stereotyping of historicals and it is ,oh so predictable, but the combination worked well for me. Really liked Alex and even found myself liking the arrogant Douglas eventually. Will continue with this series as soon as I locate The Hellion Bride.
3/10/11 4****

Book - Master of the Night

Master of the Night by Angela Knight
Revenge, justice, her job, it didn’t matter what title was put to it, Erin Grayson wanted the persons responsible for the death of her partner and love to pay. After so many years as the American Magi (vampire) champion, Reece found that one special law enforcement officer, that turned out to be a latent (mage descendent), had power over him. Controlling their feelings was something else, especially if they were destined to be trapped in battle with themselves, each other and true evil.

Book 1 ….. Finally I read a full length novel of the Mageverse series. The novellas were good, but the full size included much more of the origins and back stories. As first in a series books usually are, this was a lot of information. I liked some of the characters (really liked Reece). Already started my search for the next full length book - Master of the Moon.
3/8/11 ****

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book - Please Explain Anxiety to Me

Please Explain "Anxiety" to Me! by Laurie Zelinger, PhD

Ever wonder why we get nervous, worried, stressed, distressed or anxious? Most people do feel that way at some point, but it is not the same for everyone. For children it can be even more difficult to deal with and understanding the reason why may be the first step to helping them get through it. Identifying with a dinosaur, learning that they possibly had the same reactions to worries may help a child understand that they are not the only one. Learning the whys of anxiety are not enough, children and adults alike that suffer through this fear need a way to cope, something that can help them through the worst of the symptoms. Getting certain breathing techniques or exercises that can help to calm yourself may be enough, but knowing you have someone to go to can also help.

In story book fashion, Laurie Zelinger , PhD breaks down the whys of anxiety in easy to understand ways. There are real psychological terminology used as well, but the words are explained in a concise and appropriate ways, and the word is also given phonetically to make the pronunciation easier to get. The large pictures make the dinosaur story feel like a regular picture story book. The story is worded so that it is easy to ask the questions like - “have you ever felt like that” several times which does make the comparison with the dinosaurs more realistic. The helpful suggestions for reducing anxiety and relieving some of the symptoms are easy to understand and feels more like a game than a calming tool, but if it works, even better. The closing rhymes are fun to say and fun to practice. All this information, so much of which was common since, the story was good but not great and the pictures were at times distracting from the “anxiety” topic of the book. Great concept to help children learn to cope with anxiety, I just expected and wanted more.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book - 13 Days: The Dark Circle

13 Days: The Dark Circle by K. Lippi

A teenagers game show putting sixteen teens on a deserted Island that once was the St. Clara Asylum. The teens arrive in teams made up of brothers, sisters, cousins, best friends and dating or engaged couples. The building had even more history than just as an asylum, it was reported to be haunted long before the massacre that caused the hospital to be closed down. The search for a suitcase full of money and the clues to find it while the sixteen contestants are locked into this castle with video cameras on them 24/7 “Big Brother” style. The twists start right away with the disappearance of one of the contestants, then another. While the rest are left wondering if this is a “Survivor” style elimination or if the history of the manor has ghosts that are truly taking control of the game.

This is a unique writing style, it is all in the first person, but the first person changes often. Seeing the events unfold and knowing not only what is said, but how it is heard and what is thought about it is different. So many points of view, it did get confusing occasionally. I liked the big brother, survivor, mole game concepts but together with the ghosts, horror stories of the past and the supernatural abilities of a few of the contenders. Not so sure if I enjoyed the first person rotation type of narration. Some of the wording was awkward for me to follow though, the whole chant as each of the “trespassers” were taken was one, and there were several grammatical errors that after a while distracted from the story line. I don’t think this is really a good young adult book, it may be supposedly about teens, but with the pregnancy, the hooking up and the partner switches that went on in the thirteen days they were together (not that any of it was graphically described, more like implied), it seems more about and for the twenty somethings. There was also several things that were not explained very good, I read paranormal / supernatural stories a lot, so I think I get it, but the changes in some of the characters personality, names and overall disposition were not well explained. I would have like more of the who, why and what happened next of the two main couples after the games ended.

3/6/11 3 stars ( ★★★ )

Book - Multiply & Divide w/ Sticks & Steps

Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps by Maureen Stearns

The concept of book is to simplify multiplication and division so that regardless of whether or not a student can memorize the times table, they will always have a strategy that helps them to be able to figure out the answer, how to get it and why that number makes sense. This method of counting tally marks help to reduce errors in counting and increase confidence in mathematics.

There are large diagrams that help to explain the reasoning of multiplication and this method of multiplying. The vocabulary used is also broken down and made easier to follow allowing this method to be taught to any child that has mastered addition. The concept of this method is easy to catch on to and resembles the traditional tally mark way of multiplying with the exception of the “steps” which is the reason for the ease and accuracy of this strategy. The method is then taken to the next level to show how it can work for division.

The addition of quotes and proverbs provide encouragement and inspiration for the readers while the larger print on large pages leaves no doubt about how easy this method is to learn. Tested the method and concepts on my own children and discovered that having this tool in their reach took the stress of memorizing the times table away and actually allowed them to start to remember their times table quicker. The old adage about learning for yourself will stick with you longer than just being told something really stands up to the test when it comes to multiplication and division. Knowing how and why that number is the right answer makes it easier to remember what the number is.

This method is so simple to teach and easy to use that I find it surprising that it isn’t already widely used, maybe it is in some areas. I do know that the ease of use alone has allowed my youngest the confidence to make a great improvement in the math scores brought home from 3rd grade. The confidence alone has increased the scores, but the method behind it also helps with those tricky problems.

2/25/11 4 starts (★ ★ ★ ★)