Saturday, September 25, 2010

"DragonSpell" by Donita K. Paul

Kale is a lowly servant girl from River Away who has found a dragon egg. She is immediately sent to the City of Vendela to see the rulers there. Kale is excited to enter the city as she has never seen anything like this before, but during an attack is drawn into a cave and to more dragon eggs. She soon discovers that she is expected to go on a quest with Leetu and Dar to find a meech egg. She is the mighty "Dragon Keeper," although she doesn't believe it. Through their travels they meet good dragons, the kimens, some Urohms, and Wizard Fenworth, as well as a three-headed monster and other evil beings. She also discovers that the evil Risto is out to defeat her and her companions. Will the strength of Wulder and Paladin be enough to help her? Will she discover the meech egg? What other dragons will hatch and share their powers with the company?

This fantasy is interesting, colorful, and drew me in immediately. I enjoyed reading about the different races and peoples, with characters realist and life-like. Donita K. Paul has a wonderful way with words. It was especially neat to read about the birth of each dragon and find out what their special gift was. My favorite quote is found on pg. 237. "Frightened," Leetu continued. "Well, it is a lie to face scary things and pretend you are not frightened. Just as it is deceitful to look at the beauty of that scene" --she nodded toward the mountain range-- "and pretend the grandeur does not stir your soul. Perhaps not false, but folly, to take in with the eyes and deny with the heart."

"Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick

Am I being stalked? Who is after me? Am I imagining this? These are just a few of the questions Nora needs to find answers to in "Hush Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick. A change of partners in class forces Nora and Patch together unleashing the powers of a possible high school crush along with denial. Nora's best friend, Vee, is used against her, luring her to seedy places. But which, if any, of these people is out to hurt Nora? Is it Patch, Jules, Elliot, Marcie, or someone unexpected? The answer awaits you in the pages of the book.

I enjoyed this book, even though parts of it were predictable. It is similar to other young adult novels I have read lately, but it contains its own twists and turns, which encouraged me to continue turning the pages. I didn't want to put it down and look forward to reading the sequel, "Crescendo."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"The Nativity Collection" by Robert J. Morgan

Six wonderful Christmas stories are included in this book by Robert L. Morgan; stories that you will want to share with your family and friends during the holiday season.  How can losing your car, or forgetting your lines, or impending tragedy, or a honeymoon, or a carver and a cradle bring out the true meaning of Christmas? You will need to read the book to find out! Each story points the way to the true meaning of Christmas and how to make the beauty of the season shine through words, giving, and celebration. The characters are real and the stories easy to identify with. The wonderful photography adds texture and realism to each tale.
I really enjoyed reading this book. From the first page, the stories captured my attention and I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished.  This is a book I will share with my family during the holidays, and will purchase as gifts as well. These are stories that will remain with me throughout the year, not just the holidays. I want to thank the Booksneeze program for the opportunity to read and enjoy this book!

Monday, September 20, 2010

"The Wake of Forgiveness" by Bruce Machart

“The Wake of Forgiveness” is a complex story of several families living in Lacava County, TX, somewhere around 1900. Through the eyes of the author, we are able to glimpse the hard life endured on the farms, and the struggle to establish business and industry. But more than that, it is the story of a father and his four sons; a story filled with anger, fighting, abuse, and maybe even some love. The two main families are the Skala’s and the Villasenor’s. The main character, Karel Skala, is the youngest of the sons and was born on the day his mother died. How he grows, marries, and deals with life’s situations will keep readers interested and wanting more.
I had a hard time getting into this book because of the graphic violence. But, once I got to the second section, I wanted to know more. Bruce Machart has delivered a book that will be a success! Thank you, Barnes & Noble First Look, for making it possible for me to read the book before it comes out! It was well worth the initial struggle! This is a great book for discussion groups.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado

Outlive your life? What does that mean? In this book, Max Lucado, provides answers and examples to help and encourage everyone to live life to its fullest, in turn, touching the lives of others. With chapters like, “Calling Mr. Pot Roast,” and “Let God Unshell You,” it is easy to see that each person can make a difference. Actions don’t have to be out there for everyone to see, but can be simple, everyday things that encourage people as they pass along our path. God uses the simple things to get our attention, and normal, average people to accomplish his plan. Will you be one who will “Outlive Your Life?”
This book made me think of the song, “Brighten the Corner  Where You Are,” and I have been happily singing that for days. It has been an encouragement to me, and I encourage everyone to pick up this book and let it make a change in your life. You should also find it useful in a book discussion group. It is especially wonderful to note that all of the author’s royalties will be donated to benefit children and families around the world.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"The Butterfly Effect" by Andy Andrews

"The Butterfly Effect" repeatedly makes the point that what you do matters, not just today, but far into the future. Mr. Andrews illustrates this point with the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a Colonel in the Union Army. It was July 2, 1863, in Gettysburg, PA. Colonel Chamberlain and his men were attacked over and over and are down to almost nothing when he tells them to charge. The results of that charge are amazing! Then, there is the example of Norman Borlaugh and his work with hybridized high yield, disease resistant corn and wheat for arid climates. It has saved millions of people. But, was it really just Norman?

There is an actual "Butterfly Effect," and I enjoyed reading how it went from something scientists thought was laughable to a scientific fact called, "The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions." It is a quick read that will change your philosophy about the seemingly inconsequential things in life. I am thankful to the Book Sneeze program for having the ability to read and comment on this book. This is great reading for everyone, and I recommend the children’s companion, "The Boy Who Changed the World."

"The Boy Who Changed the World" by Andy Andrews

Does what you do really matter? Even when you are a child? Yes, each life matters. "The Boy Who Changed the World" is a wonderful story for children showing how each person affects others around them. Norman Borlaug was a normal young man who loved to play in the cornfields. But, there was something Norman didn't like and that was knowing that someone didn't have enough to eat. His plan was to grow special seeds to grow super plants and try to stamp out hunger. Norman studied and succeeded, but was Norman the only one responsible for this success? You will need to read the book to find out!
This is a great book to help children understand that they can make a difference. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and make the story come alive. This is the children's companion to Andy Andrews' "The Butterfly Effect," which I recommend to adults. I was privileged to read a preview copy of this book through the Book Sneeze program from Thomas Nelson, and plan to buy it for my grandchildren.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"One Hand, Two Hands" by Max Lucado

"One Hand, Two Hands" is a delightful book filled with easy to learn rhymes and wonderful illustrations. The principles of using our hands to be helpful and thankful are not preachy, but rather catchy rhymes that children will love to hear and then use. There is an emphasis on using hands with kindness (petting a dog), creativity (making a card), and love (giving a hug). Toddlers will love having it read to them, beginning readers can easily use it to practice, and older children won't mind reading this one out loud.

I enjoyed reading this book while thinking about the children in my life who would love it. The illustrations made the reading so delightful, and I loved its ending of folding hands in prayer! It makes a great baby shower or birthday gift, and a great addition to any home library. Thank you to the Book Sneeze book reviewer's program for the opportunity to have a copy.