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!