Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: A View from My Window

Title: A View from my Window
Author: Sylvia Forrest
Grade: B-

"Pour a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable, and I'll introduce you to some of my favorite women."- A View from my Window
A View from my Wondow is a collection of short stories about women. Sylvia divides the stories into three sections; Womanhood, Motherhood, and Grandmothers. When I initially read the synopsis of the book I was very excited to read it! I love real life short-story collections, like the Chicken Soup for the Soul collection. There line above was the line that grabbed my attention the most. I couldn't wait to read about women at different stages of their life! I poured myself a glass of juice, parked myself on my hammock and was ready for a lazy, summer, afternoon of reading.

I have to say after reading the book, I was a bit disappointed. Most of the short stories in the first two sections was about Sylvia. I had expected there to be a huge variety among authors, but there wasn't. Although there were a couple random author's thrown in, most were about the same person. I do have to say that the last section, Grandmothers, was my favorite. I am very close with my grandmother, so I loved reading about other women that were close with their grandmother's. It was a struggle to get through the first two sections, but I quickly read through the last.

Now that winter is quickly approaching I would recommend this to women who are looking for a nice, easy, snow-day read. It is nice that you can put it down and pick it back up without getting lost.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Deadly Passage

Title: Deadly Passage
Author: Dr. Lawrence W. Gold
Grade: A-
 Synopsis from Amazon
Andy Reiss, a physician, Jesse his registered-nurse wife, and Rachel, their barely teenage daughter, head home on their sailboat, Prophecy, after five years at sea touring the world. They thought they’d dealt with every imaginable experience at sea. When Prophecy comes upon a sailboat adrift, they discover two young Americans, a brother and his sister. After bringing them aboard, both break out with a rash that Andy identifies as a deadly virus.
Soon it becomes clear that they’ve inadvertently rescued two homegrown terrorists intent on bringing a deadly virus to the Miami area. 
Soon the disease is full-blown, sealing the fates of the terrorists and all those they encounter.
Andy, Jesse, and Rachel must deal with the unwanted guests, their disease, the Cuban Navy, an approaching hurricane, and the U.S. Coast Guard turning them away from safety, operating under the influence of conflicting political and operational motivations in the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and the oval office. The shocking and unexpected denouements leave us twisting in uncertain winds reminiscent of On the Beach.

 I have read many of Dr. Gold's books and when I found out he wrote a new book, I couldn't wait to read it! The other books that Dr. Gold has written have been based in a hospital setting. This book was a little it different. Instead of a hospital, the setting of the book was a ship in the middle of the ocean.  I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the Reiss family aboard Prophecy. It was fascinating to read about their day to day life on the ship and their excursions in South America. I think it would be neat to take a year (or 5) and travel the world by sea! Something that is the same in most of Dr. Gold's books is that he weaves several different story lines together. At the beginning of the book I have a hard time understanding how they connect, but in the end they always do.  I did have to go back twice to understand why the American siblings wanted to become terrorists. The subject of terrorism is very relevant in today's society. It makes the reader realize how creative and smart terrorists can truly be. They are not just everyday people. Let me also say that the end of the book was a bit of a cliffhanger. It was be interesting to see if Dr. Gold writes a second book on this subject.

Something I didn't like about the book was the constant references to "ship terminology". When it started talking about "reefing the mainsail" and "furling the jib" I got lost. When these references came up I tried to picture a ship to get an idea of what they were talking about, but I sill struggled. Something that would have been helpful is a list of terms and explanations and possibly a diagram of a ship. I think it would help readers who are not as experienced in the terminology to enjoy the book more.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night

Title: An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night
Author: Joanne McGonagle
Grade B+

Synopsis from the back of the book
An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night is the story of a young toad named Andrew, pondering whether his life would be more interesting had he been hatched a frog. Andrew embarks on his first solo hop to ask his grandpa some questions about what it means to be an amphibian. The story is blended with factual information that compares and contrasts the similarities and differences among toads and frogs. A young reader’s curiosity will be piqued as they consider the unique attributes of the individual creatures that make up a species, perhaps sparking the light of conservation in their hearts and minds.

My first impression of the book was that it was beautifully illustrated. The pictures grab the reader's attention and really make the book pleasing to read. I did enjoy the book but I thought it stuffed a lot of information into such a small book. There was so much information about the difference between toads and frogs, that at some points I was overwhelmed. I, as an adult reader, enjoyed learning about the difference between the two species but I think children, especially younger children, would eventually lose interest because of the massive amounts of information and scientific terms. As a teacher I think this book would be an awesome addition to an upper elementary science curriculum. It is very factual, but presents the information mostly in a interesting way.  Children can learn new vocabulary through context and really come to understand what makes frogs and toads different from each other. I really enjoyed the story of how Andrew learned the importance and the acceptance of being unique. Everyone is special and important no matter what they may look like. In a looks obsessed culture, this is a very relevant theme.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Captain No Beard Series part 2

I was sent two more Captain No Beard books to read and review. The series is about Captain No Beard, his shipmates and the crazy adventures they get into. While the books are fun and definitely a child-pleasing series, each book also teaches an important message. Each story line keeps young readers engaged while also teaching them life lessons. I give the series an A+! You can read my review for two of the other books here. Below is my review for two of the other books in the series:

Title: Stuck in the Doldrums: A Lesson in Sharing
Grade: A+
Captain No Beard and his crew are stuck on  the island because there is no wind. The crew finds different things to do, but the Captain takes over everything. Linus the lion, Polly the Parrot, and Mongo the Monkey decide to look at the clouds, Each fight over the telescope, but Captain No Beard decides he gets to use the telescope because he is the captain. The same thing happens when First mate Hallie and Fribbet the Frog decide to build a sandcastle. Because his friends decide they don't want to play with him any longer, Captain No Beard boards his ship. While on the ship he runs into a problem that he needs his crewmates to help him solve.

I love the message that this book has. Being bossy does not solve problems. Everyone has a part in solving a problem and each part is just as important as another. In my preschool classroom I run into bossyness at least 10 times a day. I think that this would be a super beneficial book to read. It teaches the messages in a fun, but straightforward way that children would understand. I think it is also a great conversation starter. Once again, I love the rich vocabulary the book introduces and the gorgeous illustrations! I think this is my favorite book of the series!

Title:Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience
Grade: A-
A new parrot joins Captain No Beard and his crew in this addition to the series. As Pepper is introduced, Captain No Beard decides its time to run some drills. Captain No Beard has everyone run from one side of the boat to the other. Pepper flies to the opposite side as everyone else and then gets frustrated. Through help from the crewmates, Pepper realizes that he must have patience. The crew decided to change Pepper's name to Polly, and they invite Polly to be a part of the gang.

I don't really think that the title accurately describes this book. To me the book teaches the message to not get frustrated when you do something wrong. When Pepper gets the sides of the ship wrong, she throws herself on the ground and pretty much throws a fit. First Mate Hallie teaches Pepper to not get upset, and tells her to calm down. She also teaches Pepper a neat way to teach right from left. I think that the message of not getting frustrated is a very important lesson to teach children. I can't even count the amount of times I have seen a child get frustrated when he or she can't do something the first time they do it. Once again, I think that this book leads to great discussion points and I think children would really enjoy it. The only thing I would change about the book is the title.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Road to Justice, Path of Revenge

Title: Road to Justice, Path of Revenge
Author: Edward Vogler
Grade: B

Synopsis from Barnes and Nobles
Ed Jenkins is one week away from retirement when a bullet narrowly misses him—and then he learns of his best friend’s tragic accident. He has been looking forward to moving to Florida with his wife Jane, but it seems events are conspiring against his picture-perfect retirement plans. 

Ed and Jane board a cruise ship at Port Canaveral. Ed is attacked and thrown overboard and spends days adrift in the Caribbean. Weak and near death, he is picked up by a boatload of immigrants heading to the States. A Coast Guard cutter intercepts and turns the boat around, which ends up in Cuba. Ed, gravely ill and unable to see, is abandoned on the beach and eventually picked up by a brother and sister who nurse him back to health. They attempt to get a message to Jane, and when that fails, they make risky plans to get him back to the U.S., circumventing the Cuban authorities. 

Back in the U.S., more information is revealed that may tie Ed’s near shooting death with his friend’s death, and a federal court convenes in Ohio to uncover the truth. But no one is prepared for what they find…

I had mixed feelings after reading this book. I was confused at first because I thought it was a true story. Thinking that it was very hard to believe that something like this could happen. When I realized it was actually a fictional tale, I was less confused. The very beginning of the book was a little hard to follow. I couldn't figure out what all this shooting and guns had to do with a man being thrown overboard. I stopped reading it for a few days and once I came back I couldn't remember what happened. Once I got past the first 50 pages, I started to enjoy it. What happened to Ed was crazy! I kept thinking if I were Jane and I "lost" my husband on a cruise ship I don't think I would have been as calm as she was. If the authorities told me I had to wait a few hours before they could officially start searching, I would have gone balistic. The ending had a huge twist and was not at all what I expected which is always a thrill!

I was not a fan of the cover at all. The man on the cover actually kind of scared me and continued my original belief that the story is true. I don't think that the cover portrays the plot at all.  

I think that people that enjoy thrilling, suspenseful book might enjoy reading this. Once you get a third into the book, the plot becomes very interesting, so don't give up reading if you are lost in the beginning.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Welcome to the Brier Patch

Title: Welcome to the Brier Patch
Author: Darrell McMann
Grade: B

Synopsis from the book
Darrell McMann didn't know what to expect when he became a white police officer in the predominantly black areas of Mobile, Alabama. His success came largely from training, luck, improvisation, an indefatigable attitude, and the constant support of his fellow officers. Welcome to the Briar Patch is his true story, a gripping, no-holds-barred journey into the everyday life of a police officer in one of the most racially polarized regions of the country. Exciting, thought-provoking, and with an unflappable sense of humor, McMann guides us into a world that is at once recognizable and completely foreign.

I have always enjoyed memoirs of people's jobs. It is almost like being able to live in someone else s shoes for a few days. Welcome to the Brier Patch was a way to become a policeman. It was very interesting to read about the different people McMann came into contact with during his career. Some of the situations McMann faced were crazy!  He dealt with everyone from drug dealers, to angry gangs. The book also is very much based on the racism that was very real in Mobile. As a white police officer in a predominantly black area, McMann had to add even more to his overflowing plate. He does a very good job trying to get rid of the racial boundaries by making it obvious that race is not an issue in his arrest and by becoming "friends so to speak" with the gangs. He becomes very respected by many of the people in his area and works very hard at what he does.

One of the things I had trouble understanding was the connection between the different sections of the book. The book was obviously written in chronological order, but I had a hard time connecting each section with the one before. The different parts were usually very interesting, they just didn't seem to always go together. It was also a very slow read. As fascinating as the book was, it seemed to take me forever to finish it. I felt like I read forever, and I really only read 4 pages. 

Anyone interested in the criminal justice field would really enjoy this book! It is a way to become a police man for a day!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: If I were me and Lived in...

Title: If you were me and I Lived in... Series
Author: Carole P. Roman
Grade: A++

Carole Roman has written a series for children entitled If you were me and I Lived in... In each book she focuses on a different country, which so far have been Mexico, South Korea, and France. In each book she shows the location of the country on a globe and the outline of the country. Throughout the rest of the book Roman talks about familiar things to children in that country;  things like what you would eat, where you might like to visit, where you would go to school, what you would call your mom and dad, and even what your name might be. At the back of the book there is a pronunciation guide for the different words used during the course of the book.

During my last two years as a teacher I had a very diverse class. Almost half of my students had a primary language other than English. At the end of the school year I planned a unit studying the different cultures of the students in my class. I tried to look for books that were basic enough for preschoolers to understand, but provided facts that pertained to them. I truly wished I would have found Roman's books when I was planning my lessons. They are PERFECT for young children. They talk about things that are familiar to them and are not to long or have to many words. These books give the right amount of information and have beautiful illustrations to go with them. The children on the front cover of the book even change based on the country the book is talking about. The information and illustrations provide great conversation starters and encourage questions from children.

One of my students was from South Korea and I really wished I would have had this book last spring. I looked for a book like this to read to my students and I could not find one.  This would have been one I could have refereed back to during the course of the unit and my students would have enjoyed looking at it time and again. I think that this series is much needed in the world of children's book and is a must have for teachers everywhere!

Happy Reading!

Review: 10,000 Babies

Title: 10,000 Babies: My Life in the Delivery Room
Author:  Dr. Silvio Aladjem
Grade: A+

Dr. Aladjem is a very accomplished obstetrician. He has delivered thousands of babies, many of them high-risk deliveries. This book is a collection of some of the most heart-rendering, to the most unique deliveries over the course of his career. He tells the tales in short stories that are divided into sections. Some of the stories will cause you to laugh,  some may cause you to cry. He also included how the delivery process came to be and how the birth of a child is different, depending on where you live.

I absolutely loved this book. It was a very quick and fascinating read, and I finished it in 2 days. Some of the stories are unbelievable. There are stories where a woman believes she is pregnant, but is really not, a woman delivers twins weeks apart, and a woman who asks if she could throw up her baby. It is crazy how many different people Dr. Aladjem meets through out the many years of his practice. There is not one story in the 237 of the book that is the same. I think it is a book that everyone, especially mothers would enjoy. The facts that Dr. Aladjem includes are also very interesting. One of the facts is that some countries believe that women should eat the placenta because it provides important nutrients. Some cultures believe that thy types of food you crave, can show which gender the baby will be. Never having a baby myself, I would not know.

I think that everyone would enjoy this book. The stories are interesting and just long enough that they keep the reader's attention throughout each short story. It is also possible to skip around in the book and not get lost in the plot. Emotions will also change based on which story you read.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: With Unwashed Hands

Title: With Unwashed Hands
Author: Joanie Bolton
Grade: A-

Joanie and Darrell Bolton are missionaries, who have traveled to Eden (because of security reasons, they can not name the country they are ministering to). Before they even get the chance to spread the Word of God, Darrell is struck with immense stomach pains, which land him in the hospital in an unfamiliar country. The hospital in Eden is not nearly as high-tech, or sanitary as the ones he is used to in the United States. When Darrell's doctor finds out that he and his wife are missionaries from the Untied States, Darrell ends up being in the fight for his life.

I can imagine how difficult it would be to go to a land that is very non-accepting of Christians and where you know almost no one. To add on to the fact that someone gets severely ill, blows my mind. I have been on a few mission trips with my church, but they have always been to places where I can freely share the Gospel without fearing for my life. Joanie and Darrell did not have this "luxury" in Eden. This book is written from Joanie's perspective and it is written so well that it is very easy to imagine that you are Joanie as you read. The details she includes of the different procedures, and the doctors help to visualize the scene of the hospital. This book truly makes you grateful for the amazing healthcare and the freedoms that we have as Americans. The Bolton's include pictures at the end of the book, which adds a special touch.

I thought that Joanie picked the perfect title for this book. It sheds light in two ways on the story that is portrayed. It is unwashed hands that is one of the reasons Darrell gets so sick. It is also with "unwashed  hands" that we come before God each day. The Bolton's were in Eden to talk to the people there about their "unwashed hands".

The one thing I would have liked was to find out if Darrell had any lasting health issues after he came back. I felt like I didn't get much of a closer at the end of the book. I suggest this book for everyone to read. I think that this will show you how fortunate we are to live in The United States.

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: A Nantucket Experience

Title: A Nantucket Experience: A Year in the Life of a Wash Ashore
Author: Shellie Dunlap
Grade: B -

Living on a island is the sun would be a dream for many people. Shellie Dunlap is one of the few people who can call Nantucket Island her home. Dunlap recently moved onto Nantucket and became a year round resident. This book chronicles one year on this gorgeous island, using monthly highlights and photographs. The cover alone will grasp anyone looking for a summer get-away.

I was actually very torn when I finished this book. When I read the synopsis, I was very excited. My family vacations every summer on an island very similar to Nantucket, so I was looking forward to reading about the similarities on life on the island. I did enjoy reading about the unique parts of Nantucket, such as the comedy festival, the Thanksgiving plunge, scallopin', and the beautiful homes. I have to say though that this book did not impress me as much as I would have liked it to. I felt that the book was mainly directed to people that have had the pleasure of visiting Nantucket, not the "outsiders". When Dunlap brought up the different areas of the island, I had no idea where she was talking about. A map at the front of the book would have been very helpful. For someone who had never been to Nantucket, basic facts about the island would have been helpful.

I did think that the title was a little bit of false advertising. When I saw that the book was about Dunlap's first year as a year-round resident, I was expecting it to be more a novel. Instead of talking about her day-to-day life on the island, Dunlap pretty much talked about generic things that happen each year or in years past. There was not a whole lot of Dunlap's personal interactions during that year. I was hoping to get the inside scoop on what truly happens during a blustery winter day on Nantucket Island.

All in all, I think this book is a hit-or-miss. I think that visitors of Nantucket would really enjoy this book because it would help them feel connected to their favorite spot all year round. For those that have never been there, it might not keep your interest.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Ravenous

Title: Ravenous
Author: Heidi Loney
Grade: A+

Synopsis from the Back of the Book
Overpopulation throttles the world’s food supply. In 2050, the government of the Americas introduces the Food Crisis Act—new measures that create a system for growing and rationing food. Calla Ryan is pretty much your average teen, except for enduring hunger every day of her life. One morning, new sensors at her high school determine that she exceeds the weight limit of the State, and they send her north to a “fat camp” or re-education centre. Calla begins to realize the centre holds many secrets. Her counsellor dies mysteriously, and new shipments of recruits are the picture of health. Finally, Calla becomes a guinea pig for a dangerous lab experiment. On the outside, a virus that began overseas has now made its way to the Americas with deadly consequences. Calla must run from her captors, escaping to the far north with help from the facility’s chef and fellow inmates Billy and Madge. And to complicate things, the infected are very hungry

If you have read some of my past reviews, you know that I am a big fan of dystopian books. When I read the synopsis of this book, I instantly knew I was going to enjoy it, but boy was I wrong... I LOVED it! This book had everything  you could ever want in  198 pages; romance, drama, blood and gore, family relationships, mystery, science fiction, crazy government, etc... Loney has created a future where the food people consume daily is tracked by the government. If they exceed the limit many times, they are sent to a futuristic "fat camp". When Calla arrives there, she realizes that this camp is not exactly what she is expecting. She then realizes that every thing she has known about her life is not what it seems. 

I love reading dystopian books and imagining that the world that authors have created can come true. I think that the world Loney has created could really come true.  With the way we treat our natural rescources I could definitely see food, particularly, grown food, become scarce. The only sad part is that the squeal will not be released until 2014. I am dying to know what happens to Calla, Billy, and their future. You can bet I will be buying the book as soon as it comes out! I recommend Ravenous to all dystopian fans and those looking for the total package book!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Kafira

Title: Kafira
Author: John O'Neill
Grade: A-

Synopsis from book cover
Kafira determines her life ambition will be to find a cure form the Ebola Virus. Her life becomes one of continuous frustration, as the cure eludes her. Kim il Sung, of North Korea, wants the moon to belong to North Korea and it's people. He forces a North Korean Biomedical Scientist- Min Shu- to construct a virus that is just as deadly as the Ebola virus, but can be cured. A demand is placed on the United Nations to agree to give exclusive ownership of the moon to Kim il Sung, or he will release the deadly virus. Kafira holds the key to the safety of the world. Will she be in time?

When I initially read the synopsis for this book, I was very intrigued by the involvement of North Korea in this book. I have recently become very interested in the power North Korea holds over its people and the why it cuts itself off from the rest of the world. This book definitely fulfilled my expectations on that aspect. It was very interesting to read how different Kafira and Min Shu work and how different their reasoning was behind developing a cure for the Ebola Virus. My favorite parts were the jumping between the North Korean scene and the American scene. The North Korean government was very meticulous in planning their domination over the rest of the world and had everything planned to a T. It is unbelieveable how much they planned and how precise everything was. For example, all North Korean agents in the United States always carried cyanide tablets so that if they were caught, they stuck them in their mouths and basically commited suicide so that they were not questioned. Unbelievavable!

The only downside of the book was the length. At 539 pages, it was quite long. As I was initially reading I was trying to see if their was anything that the author could cut out to make it shorter, but I couldn't find anything at first. Around the last 100 pages I struggled to be as interested as I was during the first 400 pages.  The end did catch me back though, with a huge twist. Be ready to be thrown for a loop!

I would suggest this to readers who enjoy science fiction and also for those interested in modern Asian history. You won't be disappointed!

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Captain No Beard Series

I recently received 3 children's books, all written by Carole P. Roman, to review. As a preschool teacher, I love reading children's books and am eager to find quality ones. I am very excited to say that all three books are ones that I am super excited to add to my classroom library!  Two of the books were part of a series, so I am going to review them together. Without further ado, my reviews...

Title: Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life
Grade: A

Carole Roman wrote this book as the start of the Captain No Beard series. The series Alexander (Captain No Beard), his cousin Hallie, and their stuffed friends on imaginary adventures on the seven seas. Once Alexander and Hallie board Alexander's bed, they become pirates and their stuffed friends become their crew! In this particular book, they end up in the middle of a storm. This must work together to save their selves and their ship.

The first thing that caught my eye as I was reading was the use of interesting vocabulay. The book is filled with wonderful words, that may be new to children, but can be learned during the reading of the book. Roman describes the shipmates as "hearty", calls the ship a "frigate" and describes the waves as "rumbling". By reading this book, children are being exposed to rich vocabulary. She also includes pirate "lingo", that adds to the fun of the book. I also enjoyed the beautiful illustrations that are sure to catch any reader's eye.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was that some pages did not have any illustration. Instead of having a picture on one page and words on the other, there would be words on both sides. Roman actually changes that in her second book.

Title: Strangers on the High Seas: A Captain no Beard
Grade: A+

This book continues the saga of Captain No Beard and his shipmates. In this book, Alexander is put in charge of his little sister Cayla and must take her on their new adventure. Cayla causes all kinds of trouble until they see a dark ship in the distance. Through their adventure they learn stranger etiquette, and that every person is valuable in his her own way.

I once again loved the use of rich vocabulary throughout the book. and the beautiful illustrations. Another thing I loved about this addition to the series was how it taught several life lessons through the story. Children learn to not talk to stranger or to approach unknown animals. Children can also relate to the relationship between Alexander and Cayla. Like most siblings, Alexander is not happy about playing with his sister and thinks she will be a bother during their adventure. By the end of the story, children will learn that everyone is important. not matter how big or small they may be. This is an important lesson that would be very beneficial to preschoolers because they are often looked down upon because they are young.

I LOVED both books and would definitively be interested to read the other books in the series. I think that kids will be drawn to both the characters and the plot. and  I also love the vocabulary introduced in both book. I recommend this to anyone working with young children!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer TBR Challenge

I am a teacher and  this time of year means summer break! Over the pat few months I have been slacking on reading, which means my TBR shelf has grown immensely from where it was in September. This summer I want to challenge myself to read at least 10 books from my TBR shelf. I have challenged myself to read 50 books this summer, so I think 10 from my shelf is a good start. I am going to post my list of books below and add a tab above and cross them off as I go. After reading my list please let me know if you have an suggestions I should add to the top of my list to read first. Without further ado... my TBR shelf:

  • Sacrifice- S.J. Bolton
  • The Pact-Jodi Pictoult
  • Distant Waves- Suzanne Weyn
  • Girl, Missing- Sophie McKenzie
  • Secrets of my Hollywood Life on Location- Jen Calonita
  • The Shack- Wm. Paul Young
  • Everfree- Nick Sagan
  • H.I.V.E.- Mark Walden
  • Secrets of my Hollywood Life- Jen Calonita
  • Night Runner-Max Turner
  • The Secret to Lying- Todd Mitchell
  • What are you Afraid of? 
  • The Not-so-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen- Mitali Perkins
  • Fire from the Rock- Sharon M. Draper
  • And then there were None- Agatha Christie
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes- Chris Crutcher
  • Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
  • Wicked- Gregory MaGuire
  • The Notebook- Nicholas Sparks
  • Love Sick- Jake Coburn
  • The DUFF- Kody Keplinger
  • My Worst Best Friend- Dyan Sheldon
  • Shimmer- Dallas Reed
  • Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen
  • Nobody Don't Love Nobody- Stacey Bess
  • Pure- Julianna Baggott
  • The Devil Wears Prada- Lauren Weisberger
  • Wrapped in Rain- Charles Martin
  • Son of a Witch- Gregory Maguire
  • Annexed- Sharon Dogar
  • The Kids from Nowhere- George Guthridge
  • L.A. Candy- Lauren Conrad
  • Uncle Otto- Winifred Cook
  • Chosen- Paula Bradley
  • Candor- Pam Bachorz
  • Breath my Name-  R. A. Nelson
  • Pledged- Alexandra Robbins
  • Carpe Diem- Autumn Cornwell
  • Sweet Little Lies- Lauren Conrad
  • What was Lost- Catherine O'Flynn
  • Castaway Kid- r.b. Mitchell
  • Extra Credit- Andrew Clements
  • New Kids- Brooke Hauser
  • The Princess Plot - Kirsten Boie
  • Every Crooked Nanny-  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder- Julie Halpern
  • Snatched- Pete Hautman and Mary Logue
  • Awkward- Marni Bates
  • I am Number Four- Pittacus Lore
  • A Dance of Sisters- Tracey Porter
  • The Smugglers Treasure- Sarah Masters Buckey
  • Under the Sun- Arthur Dorros
  • Broadway Lights- Jen Calonita

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Tortured Memory

Title: Tortured Memory
Author: Dr. Lawrence W. Gold
Grade: A-

Review: Tortured Memory is the newest installment in the Brier Hospital Series. (You can find the review for 2 of the other books on my blog.) Dr. Gold takes on the world of psychiatry is this book. Dr. Abbie Adler is a psychiatrist who specializes in child and adolescent sexual abuse. The book starts out by profiling several of Dr. Adler's patients. Two of Dr. Adler's young patients are found murdered and one is missing. A few months later Dr. Adler is found catatonic in a parking lot. She is taken to the local psych hospital where she is awakened. She has no memory of what has happened before she was found. As she recovers, she starts to have flash backs of what happened to her and it leads her to believe that there is a possibility that one of her patients may have been the murderer. It is a race against time, and her lost memories,  for Dr. Adler to find the killer and save her kidnapped patient.

I have loved the other two books in this series so I was very excited to read this one. I was warned ahead of time that this book is a bit more complicated than the other ones and that was correct. The chapter's in the book are divided into months. Sometimes the chapters would be flash backs, which you wouldn't know if you skipped over the chapter heading. Sometimes I would be confused when the events took place until I went back and read the month the chapter took place. Something that I find very distinctive in Dr. Gold's books is introducing several different story lines in the beginning of the book, that don't seem related at all, but come together in the end. Tortured Memory has this and some of the story lines don't come together until the very end.

This was a quick, edge or your seat read that would be perfect for any thriller-loving reader. It will keep you awake until the very end and will definitely keep you awake. I hope Dr. Gold continues his series, because I for one absolutely love them!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: Alphabet Anatomy

Title: Alphabet Anatomy
Author: Linda Ann and Branson Jones
Grade: A +

As a preschool teacher I am always looking for ways for my students to develop pre-writing and writing skills. Because of the newer demands of kindergarten, children are pretty much required to know how to already write by the time they step foot into their kindergarten classroom. Alphabet Anatomy shows children how to write each letter. On each letter page, the authors give a fun rhyme that describes how to write each letter. For example the page for D says, "D climbs a ladder circles right in a dive, swims back to the ladder and comes out alive. D-Dive." These instructions give children a way to visually remember how to write each letter and states what sound each letter states.

I am very much looking forward to using this book in my classroom. The pictures and the fun descriptions of each letter will even cause the not so eager writer to want to try to make each letter.  I think that this is a necessary addition to all preschool books shelves! Even lower elementary classrooms will benefit from this book!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: The Sixth Sense

Title: The Sixth Sense
Author: Dr. Lawrence W. Gold
Grade A+

Synopsis from the Back of the Book
Arnie Roth, a family practitioner, develops viral encephalitis. He awakens from the near-death experience with a new appreciation for life and an unexpected talent, his sensitivity to smell has increased a thousandfold. The Sixth Sense is highly entertaining, thought provoking, and touching journey through a world that influences us every day, but one that we know too little about

The Sixth Sense is the third book in the Brier Hospital series. Read my review of the first book here. What is nice about this series in that each book as a stand alone book. It has the same underlying theme but you could read each book on it's own and not have to worry about missing part of the story line.

Like the first book, I was completely blown away by this book. Dr. Gold does an amazing job of weaving medical terminology together so that the common person can understand what is going on.  During the first 50 or so pages, there seems to be several stories going on that seem completely unrelated. But, as you get closer to the end, you see how they all weave together. It was fascinating how Arnie's extreme sense of smell is both a blessing and curse. He uses it to help save several patients, but it also is his downfall.I also love the way that Dr. Gold gives each character in his story a complete background, no matter how small a part the character plays. By the end of the book, you feel as if you know each character in real life and are happy for their joys and sad for their losses. Even though the book is long, at over 400 pages, it really was a very quick read and I finished it easily in 2 days. It drew me in and I literally could not put it down. I would suggest this book to anyone who is looking for a suspenseful read that will definitely keep you guessing!

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: A Rose in the Destert

Title: A Rose in the Desert
Author: Chi Emerole
Grade: B

The first thing that struck me about this book was the absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Ryan Durney creates beautiful pictures of the landscape of Sudan, which are almost lifelike,. The story is about Rose's 7th birthday is a refugee camp in Sudan. It goes through her entire day and talks about the special parts of her birthday. It also provides a view of a child growing up as a refugee, which I believe is a very  hard topic to portray in a positive light. Emerole was very successful in doing that.

I actually had a bit of a hard time following the contentedness of the plot. Although there was an underlying back story to the entire book, I didn't feel as if all of the events were connected  The book seemed to jump from Rose's home, to school, to band practice with her friends, etc... I think children may have a hard time understanding the purpose of the book. Is it to talk about a child's birthday, or is it to talk about life as a refugee?  Overall I gave this book a B because although it was a little hard to follow, the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous. You can read more about A Rose in the Desert and Chi Emerole on her website.

Happy reading!