Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap Up

I started this blog in order to participate in the 52 books in 52 weeks blog.
I read a total of 160 books that I reviewed according to the 52 book blog guidelines.
I read other books, but they were shorter than the requirement so I did not include them in this count.
I read 74 young adult/ middle grades fiction books,
12 memoirs,
28 non-fiction,
20 religion,
25 fiction,
and I missed one in my counting somewhere.
I learned about heaven, polygamy, astronomy, metaphysics and quantum physics, modern day slavery, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, autism, memorization techniques, social groups in high schools, Christian Science, 911 and blindenss, Poland under communism, and meditation - among other things. 
My favorite genre is young adult fiction if you could not tell, and some of my favorite books in that group that I read include: Enchanted Glass,  Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror, everything by Shannon Hale and James Patterson and Alex Flinn, The Monsters of Morley Manor, Un Lun Dun, Alcatraz versus The Evil Librarians, Beauty Queens, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children , Thirteen Reasons Why, and The Son of Neptune.
As a result of this blog, I joined Goodreads, which is great!, and I get free books to review from them and booksneeze and some other groups. 
I look forward to continuing this blog and to continuing reading!
Happy New Years!

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
A really good book is one that you don't want to stop reading once you start.  It is worth staying up way to late to finish reading it.
I read this book late last night.  Loved it! 
Eleven year old Cecelia's parents are the king and queen of Castle Glower, which is alive and changes it's floor plan upon whim - usually on Tuesdays.  The castle chooses it's kings and while her older brother Rolf is the crown prince, Cecelia is the castle's favorite person.  When her parents leave to attend their oldest son's graduation from wizard school, they are attacked by bandits and presumed dead. Young princes from two rival countries come in to "pay their respects", and one of them tries to take over the country and the castle.  But, the castle has a mind of it's own, and it protects Cecelia and her brother and sister as they try to help the castle to eject the evil prince.  This is a delightful, fun, magical tale!  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Learning To Breathe by Priscilla Warner

Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life
Like Priscilla's first book, this book also made me think.  I found the book to be well-written, interesting, funny in parts, sad in parts and open and real.  Priscilla shares her story of her yearlong quest to find tranquility and a cure to the panic attacks that she has suffered from all of her life.  She shares her experiences with meditation, yoga, different therapies, massage, Buddhist teachings,and getting to see the Dali Lama.  I find it encouraging that she was able to use these various techniques to overcome her anxiety and become a calmer person.  I think that other people may find it encouraging too.  It sounds like her quest lead Priscilla to meet some fascinating people and to have some interesting and memorable experiences.  I like the acronym for the word "sigh" meaning "Sitting in God's Hands" that her therapist shared with her.  When I was in college, I took a philosophy class and I learned that Buddha's great enlightenment was that "all is suffering" and I just thought "duh - of course everything is suffering - but where does acknowledging that get us and how on earth does that help anything?" As I have grown older, I have realized even more that everyone and everything is suffering - even though we may not see their suffering.  We all want to find calm and peace from our anxiety. Priscilla explored and shared many ways that she has found to find a sense of calm.  It reminds me of some of my favorite Bible verses - "Philippians 4:6,7 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."   I love those verses because it does not say to pray and God will give you stuff.  It says to pray with thanksgiving, and that God will guard our hearts and our thoughts and will be our peace. We are all on a journey to find peace.  I am glad that Priscilla shared hers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cemetery Girl by David Bell

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)
This book is totally Riordan's best book so far! Although gorgons acting as Bargain Mart greeters giving out tasty samples of Crispy Cheese'n' Wieners try to destroy Percy, he escapes to camp Jupiter to join the Roman demigods and fulfill his destiny. Joined by Frank Zhang, who can be anything he wants to be, and Hazel, who has died and lives again, Percy's adventures take him across the US with a few detours, like the one with the screaming and the weed whackers, through the headquarters of which is of course, run by Amazons, to Alaska, where the gods have no power, to kill a son of Gaea, restore death and - oh, by the way, the gods now have i-Pads and skype - and to save camp Jupiter from an assortment of monsters and grain spirits and another son of Gaea. This is a fantastic and rather funny adventure and I really think it is Riordan's best book that I have read yet. I look forward to the next book in this series!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Eight Keys
When Elise starts middle school, a mean girl bullies her, kids make fun of her best friend, Franklin, and her life does not change automatically when she turns 12.  Her Aunt Annie and Aunt Annie's baby Ava move in, and Elise begins finding keys to the rooms above the barn.  Each room was prepared for her by her father, who passed away when she was 3.  He has left messages for her in the rooms that help her to learn more about him and her mother, who had died when she was born, and, she also learns more about herself, makes a new friend and learns that she can make what she wants out of her life.

Mason Dixon Knitting by Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner

Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann Shayne
This is a nicely written book with beautiful photographs. It is funny and I got a few good ideas from it. I have been knitting for several years, but am still at the beginner level and perhaps a bit above that. The patterns in this book look too difficult for me for the most part, although I do like the rug ideas and I want to try them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

how to save a life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life

Jill is a senior in high school.  Her father, who was her best friend,  has died and now her mother wants to adopt a baby. After some e-mailed conversations, Mandy, a pregnant teenager, move in with them until the baby is born. Jill is suspicious and wonders if Mandy is lying to them. She is. Jill works through her grief for her father and begins to put her past behind her. Mandy has been abused and does not seem very intelligent. I understand Jill's character, but am not too sure about Mandy. I liked the book though and read it in a day and a half. The author is a very good writer. I look forward to reading more of her books.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos - and a free book giveaway!

Night of the Living Dead Christian: One Man's Ferociously Funny Quest to Discover What It Means to Be Truly Transformed
Matt is the only member of his Neighborhood Watch group.  He meets a robot and a mad scientist and learns that his neighbors include a werewolf and a vampire.  In an attempt to help his friend Luther Ann Martin, the wife-beating werewolf redeem himself and restore his marriage, Mike takes the werewolf to church and finds that it is full of zombies – the living dead.  The zombies sport giant study Bibles and believe everything that the study Bible’s author says, thus making it easy for them to continue being dead while having the appearance of being living. They “think they are following Jesus but are actually following a moral system. “  Vampires suck the life out of others, only caring about themselves.  Mad Scientists run around trying to help everyone else while ignoring their own families.
This book is funny and it points out some interesting things about the Christian religion. 
I received this book free to review from the Tyndale Publicity Team
I also received a certificate for a free copy of this book to give away to a follower of my blog! 
Please follow my blog and leave a comment to enter my drawing for a free copy of this book! 

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu is a master story teller. With references to Narnia and fairy tales, Hazel goes into the woods to rescue her best friend Jack after a sliver of glass falls into his eye freezing his heart leading him to go off with the White Witch. This is a delightfully slightly creepy tale. Hazel reminds me a bit of Charlotte from the Chronos Chronicles, especially as she trudges through the cold on the way to the castle. The story is fun and well written and I really enjoyed it a lot!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly by Alex Flinn

This is a totally fantastic, wonderful modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Kendra, a witch, who is the Forrest Gump of fairy tale land, has changed the handsome, rich, self-centered Kyle, whose parents are equally self-absorbed, into the beast that he is inside. He has two years to find a girl who will love him as a beast and who will kiss him to remove the curse or else he will stay a beast forever. Punctuated with chat room dialogues of people who have been transformed including a frog and Snow White - "no, not that Snow White", and Mr. Anderson, whose initials must be H.C., this modern day fairy tale flows seamlessly and is a fun, sweet romance filled with the love of books, as Beauty and The Beast should be.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble

Twelve year old Noah has lived a secluded life traveling through space and time with his family collecting two of each animal from various time periods on earth to repopulate the planet once it again becomes habitable and to save the animals from the extinction they once went through.  On their time traveling space ship, the Arc, they encounter trouble from Haon, a nefarious man who kidnaps Noah’s mom and thwarts them at every turn trying to destroy the animals and to allow the humans who are living on Venus to repopulate earth rather than saving earth as a wildlife habitat.  With unexpected twists in the plot, the addition of a brilliant cave girl, parallels to Star Wars and The Hitchhiker’s Guide, this was a book that I could not put down!  I read it in two days and enjoyed it thoroughly!  I look forward to reading more books by this author!
I received this book to review as a part of this blog tour

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Bewitching (The Kendra Chronicles)
I got the book Bewitching free to review through Goodreads. It is a fantastic book! I totally loved it! It is well written and filled with humor, fantasy and a bit of romance. Kendra Hilferty, a witch, tells how she found out she was a witch and how, kind of like Forrest Gump, she has been around for most of the major events in history. Remember the witch who made the gingerbread house? Kendra knew her. While telling how she helped Ella, a modern day non-wicked stepsister to deal with her rather wicked poor stepsister, Kendra also tells a few other twisted versions of tales we all know. The plot is filled with unexpected twists and funny events and is just a joy to read. I always feel kind of sad and empty when I finish reading a really good book, because it is over, and I have to leave the world that it created in my mind. Luckily for me, this author has written other books and I have not read them yet! I look forward to reading more of Alex Flinn's books

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief
I felt like this book was telling two different stories.
The author begins by letting us know that he is friends with Christopher Hitchens and that they discuss and debate Christianity vs. athiesm together. Then, he goes on to tell the story of his family adopting a little girl from an orphanage in the Ukraine.
He tries to sell the point that the Ukraine is an unfriendly corrupt country due to the influence of athiestic socialism - which may be true, and that the US is a friendly, loving, non-corrupt country due to the Christian influence. I think that might be a debatable point to many people.

I really enjoyed his story about his daughter's adoption and all that they went through in order to adopt her.
I found his version of Ukranian history interesting and humerous - especially the part where Prince Vladimir crossed his legs after hearing about the Jewish practice of circumcision, decided not to chose the Muslim religion since they did not allow vodka and picked Greek Orthodoxy since he could keep his nether regions intact and drink vodka and because he had heard tales of how beautiful the Haigia Sophia was.
I also thought it was funny that they have a bumper sticker with a high heeled boot on it on cars with women drivers to warn other drivers in the Ukraine.

The book is well written and interesting and I enjoyed his story about adopting his daughter, but I think that there are many people who would disagree with his concept of the "Grace Effect" of the Christian religion on society. I don't think he gives much support to that concept.  If being a Christian nation makes us less corrupt and more polite and caring, then what about what happened in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit - how horribly people behaved, compared to how civilized and polite the Japanese were during and after the recent earthquake and nuclear meltdown?  I don't think that the "Grace Effect" helped the Americans to behave well and the Japanese who behaved so much better are not Christians.  I am not sure that the US government is any less corrupt than that of the Ukraine - they just admit it and have it out in the open and we hide it.  I don't think that the "grace effect" has eradicated slavery and treating other people badly in the US - we just hide that better too.  There are plenty of slaves in the US; most of them picking produce and most of them don't speak English and are not here legally. We don't see them or know about them so that makes it ok.  And our whole society is built on products that are made by people who live in slavery or sub-standard conditions in other countries.  But since we don't know about it, we don't feel responsible for it.  That "grace effect" just seems to hide things, not make them go away.
I got this book free to review from Booksneeze.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Free-Range kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy

Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)
This is a funny book full of serious advice about child raising.  Today's parents have become overly cautious about our children fearing that they will be abducted at any moment, largely due to the media frenzy that surrounds such rare events, and we have become so over-protective that we do not allow our children the freedom to become responsible and mature on their own.
Despite the increase in media coverage, there has not been an increase in child abductions since I was a kid and I was allowed to run and bike ride all over the neighborhood by myself with no cell phone - they were not invented yet - and my parents had no idea where I was and I survived.  Do I let my kids do that?  No way.  And, according to the author of this book, I am stiffling them and harming their future and self image and independence which will lead them to a lifetime of therapy.  Or maybe not.  But, there is hope for me and my children!  The author has filled her book with free range baby steps, brave steps and giant leaps to help us to give our children the independence that they need.  This book is funny and practical and I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa

This is the first graphic novel that I have read. I thought I would read through it quickly, but it took me longer to read than a regular book because I enjoyed looking at all of the pictures.  It is a memoir, Marzi's story of growing up in communist Poland during the last 10 years of communism.  She shows what it was like to live under the communist regime from the viewpoint of a child.  She tells about standing in long lines at stores when they got one product in, and hoping that they did not run out before it was her family's turn to buy it.  She wonders about the constant grumbling of the adults and their unhappiness due to the political situation.  They had to sign in with her parent's bosses and march in the Labor day parade and smile and pretend to be happy. It was very frightening for her when her father went on strike with his company and did not come home for many days.  She illustrates her day to day life in Poland as well, of going to the family garden plots and orchards and harvesting produce and bringing it home and selling it.  She tells of visiting relatives and playing games and going to school and trying to find out what solidarity was and what it meant to her country.  She describes the quiet end to communism in her country followed by the others of the soviet bloc and the falling of the Berlin wall. 
I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!  I think it could be used in schools and that students would relate to Marzi and it would make history more real to them.
I got this book to read and review from Goodreads.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

Throw away the reading logs, novel reading unit activities, and reading comprehension worksheets.  Do not require your class to all read the same book at the same time.  Forget book reports. 
Allow your students to read books that they want to read and they will become life-long readers and have higher reading comprehension test scores.

The author of this book requires that her 6th grade students in a Texas school read 40 books in a school year - with a requirement that there be a certain number of books from selected genres. 
They do book commercials and write their own teasers for the books and communicate about their reading with the teacher through a journal and frequent book talks.
The author shares her enthusiasm for reading with her students and they share their enjoyment of reading with one another. 
It sounds so wonderful!
I really enjoyed this book! I think that the author is totally correct in her assertion that students should be allowed to read books of their own choice in reading class and should not have to answer meaningless questions about them and read class sets of novels that they may not be interested in.
I taught middle school in Texas for 13 years. For the first 9 or so years, I taught reading - 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I also taught some remedial classes for students who had failed the reading portion of the state test. I was successful. Those students all passed the test after my class except for one who raised his grade from a 27 to a 57, which is still pretty goood. But, I did it by drill and kill. I was not allowed to let my students just read books the way the author does. I had a certain number of worksheets that my students had to do each week and I had to document it. One year, I was told that I could not even assign reading for book reports until after the state test - in May.  I finally begged to be allowed to teach social studies instead of reading.
I taught that for a few years before quitting to stay home with my own children.
I am currently substitute teaching in two Texas school districts.

I was amazed that so much of the research that the author cited that proves that students need to read actual books to improve their reading skills is from from years and years ago, yet none of the schools that I have been in have ever allowed teachers to do what the author does in her classroom. The author repeatedly states that she is sad that other teachers don't encourage free choice reading the way that she does. I think that she is in a unique situation to be allowed to do that. Her situation works well also because she only has 55 students. In middle schools if Reading is taught as it's own class rather than as part of Integrated Language Arts, teachers have about 130 to 180 students. If it is taught as part of Integrated Language Arts, they have about 80 to 90 students or so. That makes it a bit more difficult to do some of the things she does.
The author also has a huge classroom library of books that she has bought mostly with her own money.  I used to do that too.  It makes me sad to walk into a reading classroom that has very few or no books in it.

I wish that principals, superintendants and curriculum planners would read this book. I think it would be fantastic if all reading classrooms were libraries where children could choose their own books to read and learn to love reading and share it with one another.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

This is a wonderfully creepy psychological thriller paranormal murder mystery romance.  Mara's best friend died in a terrible accident that Mara survived unscathed - and she does not remember any of it.  As we follow Mara, she tries to cope and go on with her life, but she sees people and things that are not there - or are they?  She is psychotic and suffering from PTSD after the accident, and Noah, the most desirable boy at her new school is very interested in her.  But, is she too damaged to fall in love?  What is real and what is not? 
I totatlly loved this book and read it in two days. 
I hope that the next one is as good as this one is!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Death Cure (Maze Runner Trilogy)
Sometimes I am dissappointed with the ending of a series, but this time I was not.  This is the third book in the Maze Runner Trilogy. The book was action packed with lots of twists and interesting and unexpected plot developments.  We get to see more of the humanity of the characters in this book and that Thomas and his friends are, despite all they have been through, just kids who have been manipulated by a bizarre system.  Is WICKED good?  You will have to read the book to find out. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

The Mostly True Story of Jack
This story is truly captivating. It is suspenseful and well written and unique. It is the story of Jack, who has been ignored and felt invisible for all of his life, until his parents split up and he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Iowa. Suddenly, people notice him. A lot. He makes his first friends and learns that magic exists and he is a part of it. The setting and characters are richly and well developed and the story draws you into it just as the children are drawn in as well.
We follow Jack and Wendy and Frankie and Anders in this town where magic erupts in certain places, such as that of the old schoolhouse where many children disappeared in the past and Jack's Aunt and Uncle's house which warms to Jack's touch and where vines grow into his bedroom. They must stop Mr. Avery, who really is not a bad person, he only wants to save his own son. In the end, it is all up to Jack.
I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this story. So many fantasies have the same plot line. This one is pleasantly different.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
In this book, AJ describes 9 different experiments that he did to write about either for Esquire or for this book.  I enjoyed the chapters on outsourcing his life to India, and radical honesty.
My very favorite was when he spent a month doing everything his wife told him to. 
I want my husband to read that chapter. 
I would also love to be able to outsource parts of my life. 
The book is well-written, funny, and thought provoking.
The rationality project and acting like George Washington were quite interesting as were his attempts to unitask.
I highly recommend this book - and I especially highly recommend the last chapter to my husband.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Diary of a Mad fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl

30 year old Ace teaches art at a southern high school and has broken up with Mason, the love of her life since they were 11 years old, once again.  Her best friend Lilly has a "mysterious gentleman" friend who is taking up her time and their friend Chloe, the school counselor has a rich, but verbally abusive husband who finally becomes physically abusive.  Chloe and Lilly make up their differences in order to help Chloe get dirt on her husband so she can divorce him.  Lilly befriends a handsome young police officer and the women gain the assistance of the town's richest old widow who has many tricks up her sleeve.  With a lot of who is sleeping with who, the girls dressing in drag, bar fights and the hot biker dude, the book is really funny.  I did not love Ace's character - I found her to be rather whiney and unlikable, and the biker dude's character is not developed well at all.  Despite all that, if given a good cast, I think this could be a great movie. I laughed out loud while reading this book and found it to be a really fun read. I received this book free to review through goodreads. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birth Marked by Caragh M. O' Brien

Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy)

400 years from now, the earth is hot and dry and 16 year old Gaia lives outside of the Enclave near unlake Superior and is learning to be a midwife from her mother.  Then her parents are arrested and Gaia becomes embroilled in the politcal quandry that surrounds the business of taking babies from outside of the Enclave in order to try to stave off the hemophelia that is increasing due to inbreeding there.  Gaia has been lead to believe that life inside the Enclave is wonderful and that the babies who are chosen to live there live wonderful lives, but she soon learns that things are not as she was taught.  Though she is scarred and believes that she is ugly, one of the guards finds her to be beautiful and helps her as much as he is able to. 
I had a difficult time putting this book down and read it in two days.  It is the first in a trilogy and I look forward to reading the other books as well!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

The Encounter: Sometimes God Has to Intervene

This story was written to be a parable, to illustrate a religious lesson.  It is the story of Jonathan Rush, a wealthy CEO who has anger and resentment issues because he was abandoned by his mother when he was 4 years old.  At the urging of his pastor, after 3 failed marriages and a suicide attempt, he has gone to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he lived as a child to try to find out something about his mother and put his anger and resentment issues to rest.  He meets a good looking woman reporter who helps him to search for his mother and learns that he must forgive her in order to find her. 
I found the story to be a bit too predictable and the characters to be too simplistic, but it was still a very good and well written story. 
I really liked the author's notes at the end of the book about the truth behind the fiction, the real stories that this one is based on. 
It shows a beautiful picture of the Lord's love and forgiveness towards us and how we should love and forgive others.
I received this book to review from booksneeze.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


Melinda spends her freshman year of high school lonely and depressed due to an incident at a party which led her to call 911 and now the other kids are angry with her for doing that. She speaks little, but shares her thoughts about school and life in the book. A little over halfway through the book we find out why she is depressed and finally she tells other people about it and must fight back and begins to heal.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

thunder dog: The True Story of A Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Turst at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

This book is Michael Hingson's story.  It is the story of how he and his guide dog Roselle survived and escaped from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 after it had been hit by a hijacked airplane.  It is also his story of growing up blind in a world designed for sighted people.  When I got this book and began reading it, I realized that it is the first book that I have read about the events of 911.  Ten years after those events, I finally opened up myself to a book about the events, because it was also about a dog.  I realize that I have avoided watching tv coverage of all of the memorial events surrounding 911 for the past ten years.  I just found it too unpleasant and traumatic and I preferred not to think about it.  Michael's story not only taught me a lot about blindness and guide dogs, but also helped me to examine and come to terms with some of my own feelings about 911.  People are often more open to a dog or, in this case, a dog story.
The book is well written and insightful and educational and I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
I received this book free to review from goodreads.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is a dystopian thriller that centers around a sixteen year old girl named Beatrice. In the city that she lives in, there are five different factions of people and at age 16, they must decide which faction they will belong to. The factions are "each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent)."
Beatrice has been raised in Abnegation, the selfless group which is also the seat of government since they put the needs of others before their own. She has never felt selfless enough though, and when she is tested, she is found to be divergent, carrying traits from at least 3 groups, which is seen as dangerous. She joins the Dauntless group and we follow her through the dangerous initiation process in which she has to fight others, jump onto and off of moving trains and undergo psyhological training to overcome her fears. She learns about and helps to stop a plot by one faction to overthrow the others and has a romantic relationship with a boy named Four.
The story is well told and interesting, but many parts of the plot are not well developed. Like, why are they locked into the city?, Why does no one care that they are locked in?, what is going on in the rest of the world?, Who is driving the trains that run through the city that the Dauntless jump onto and off of and why couldn't they just have stops for the train?, Where are the trains coming from and going to and why?, and What are the trains carrying?

A Love that Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work

In this book, both Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar take turns sharing about their lives as parents to 19 children.  This is a sequel to their book The Duggars: 20 and Counting!  I read that book a couple of years ago when it came out.  This book talks about their life in the past few years since the first book was published.  In it they tell about the premature birth of their 19th child, Josie who was born 3 and a half months early, at 12 inches long, weighing 22 ounces.  This was because Michelle had gallstones and kidney stones and pre-ecclampsia - life threatening high blood pressure which is an incredibly dangerous complication of pregnancy.

Michelle and Jim Bob say that they do their reality TV show (which I do not watch) and have written these books as a form of ministry to share their beliefs with other people. They believe that this is what the Lord wants them to do.  I don't really remember everything that was in their first book, since I read it a few years ago, but it seems to me that this book has a lot more endorsements for other programs, books, and seminars than the first one did.  I just don't remember that in the first book, but perhaps it was there.

I found some of the things that are shared in the book to be very good sounding and helpful.  I substitute teach and there are about as many students in an elementary school classroom as there are children in the Duggar family and some of the principles that they use in their family apply equally to teaching in a classroom.  For example, Michelle states that we need to be consistent in letting children know what behaviors are not acceptable.  If we ignore the little incidents, then the children will continue with more and worse misbehaviors.  If we stop them immediately at the small misbehaviors - often just by looking at them and telling them to stop, we can keep the misbehavior from escalating into something worse.

There were many things, however, in the book that sounded odd to me and a bit creepy.  As I examined them, they all seem to stem from the teachings of Bill Gothard, whom they highly endorse.  On their website they recommend Gothard's seminars and teachings and claim to receive no compensation from him, but when I looked as his website - their book is sold on his website.  It seems like Gothardism is their religion and it affects every part of their lives. Some of Gothard's teachings include that a woman should not work, but should only stay home and take care of and homeschool her children.  Children should be homeschooled and should not watch tv to protect them from the world and worldly views and they have found a way to extend this even into the college years with a homeschool college program.  Women should submit to their husbands in every way and it seems that they only want their children to marry other people who also subscribe to the Gothard viewpoints and who attend his conferences.  His teachings sound icky to me and I hope that people who admire the Duggars won't drink the Gothard kool-aid.

The Duggars seem to be a nice, well-meaning, and large family. Michelle is now pregnant with their 20th child.  Since she is 45 years old and has had such serious issues in her last pregnancy, this is a very high risk pregnancy for her.  I hope that she and the baby will be ok.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Invasion : A C.H.A.O.S. Novel by Jon S. Lewis

Invasion (C.H.A.O.S., #1)

When Colt McAlister is 16 years old, his whole world changes.  He is attacked by something large and tentacled while surfboarding, and then when he gets home from the hospital, he learns that his parents have died in a car accident.  After moving in with his grandfather, Colt learns that it was not an accident that killed his parents, the aliens from his favorite comic books exist and are trying to take over the world, and it may be up to him to stop them.  Together with his computer hacker friend Danielle, and OZ, whose father is the head of C.H.A.O.S, Colt tries to stop the evil Trident company, which is really run by aliens who want to take over the world, kill off the humans and live here themselves. There are jet packs, flying motorcycles and red-eyed, computer controlled assassins.  This is a fast paced thriller and is the first book in the C.H.A.O.S. trilogy.  I got this book for free to review from Booksneeze.  I think it is a fantastic book and I look forward to reading the other two books in the series!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler

The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel

Sometime in the post-apocalyptic future in upstate New York, in Washington County, which is cut off from the rest of the world, a world without electricity or gasoline or telephone or cell phone service, a county that is now sparsely populated after the Mexican flu had killed off a large amount of the remaining population,  lives an 11 year old boy named Jasper who is learning how to be a doctor from his father.  When a horse kills his dog, Jasper poisons the horse and runs away.  The horse belonged to Brother Jobe, the strangely powered leader of New Faith, a Christian cult  that has moved into town which has a fat, epileptic woman who can see the future when she has seizures as it's "Precious Mother".
Jasper runs away after poisoning the horse and is forced to travel with a young insane bandit who calls himself Billy Bones and kills a lot of people.
Jasper's father and brother Jobe and others search for Jasper and we follow his travels with Billy. 
Somewhere around the middle of the book, we are introduced to the "witch of Hebron" who is either a prostitute or a witch or both.  She does not play a large part in the story and I am not sure why the book is titled after her.
I found some of the characters to be underdeveloped  - such as the "Precious Mother", and Brother Jobe's strange abilities are never really explained.  The character of the "witch" is also not really developed well either.  The author uses a lot of words that I had never heard of such as "ineluctable", "putative", "pentimento", and "pronking". 
I found several parts of the book to be distasteful and disgusting. 
I received this book free to review from Goodreads.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

I was reading this book and was carrying it around while I was substitute teaching in a high school class today.  Several of the girls saw the book and recognized it and told me that they thought it was a great book. I agree. 
At the beginning of the book, Clay, a high school student receives a package in the mail.  It contains audio tapes.  He finds a tape recorder and begins to listen.  The tapes are of a classmate who recently committed suicide.  She says that if he is listening to the tape, then he is one of the reasons why she is dead.  He spends the night following her map through the town listening to her tapes that explain why she committed suicide.  Through her eyes we see how each little incident added up to big problems in her mind.  It is intended to make people think about how they treat one another, which is something that high school students need to think about. 
I like the dual narration style of the book and found it to be very suspenseful.  As I read it, I felt like I was Clay, looking around to see if other people realized what I was reading.  I had to stop reading and take breaks from the book a few times because it is just so sad. 
I am glad that some of the high school girls told me how much they enjoyed the book.  I think that it is something they can relate to.  I hope it makes high school students think.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy by Dorothy Allred Solomon

Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy

In this revealing memoir, the author tells her story of growing up in polygamy.  She describes her family's history in the Mormon religion and polygamy, how polygamy was outlawed in the US, and yet, through studying the Mormon scriptures, her father decided that living according to the Principal of polygamy was what their religion dictates.  When she was growing up, her father had 7 wives (there was one more prior to those - his first wife, but she took her kids and left him when he started marrying more women) and they had to move often due to religious persecution.  Her father and some of her mothers were put in jail for polygamy and she learned to lie about her family life to protect them all.
This beautifully written, heartbreaking tale decribes the abject poverty that her family lived in due to the fact that they had to move and hide to avoid being arrested.  She describes her father as a loving, kind man, a healer and a doctor, who was eventually shot dead on the orders of a madman who wanted to take over his family and group of mormons.  She also describes the darker side of polygamy, which she did not often see, but which many of her family members suffered including physical and sexual abuse.  She tells about their many moves around the country and to Mexico to avoid being found out.  Her father became a leader of their polygamous group and after she was an adult, he was pressured to marry more women because the other men in his group could not have more wives than he did.  He eventually had 16 wives. 
Although the author opted out of polygamy, she remained in the Mormon religion and formed a group to help others. This is an intriguing story about a very large family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

This is a wonderfully creepy book!  Jacob's grandfather had shown him photographs of the peculiar children that he lived with in a children's home during WWII.  He told Jacob that the children had unusual abilities - such as the ability to levitate or be invisible, and that they had lived on a beautiful island protected by a hawk who smoked a pipe.  When Jacob grew older, he no longer believed his grandfather's stories about the peculiar children and the horrible monsters that were after him.  Until, when he was 16 years old, his grandfather died and Jacob saw the monster who killed him. 
     After going through therapy, and after finding a mysterious letter that had belonged to his grandfather, and with the encouragement of his therapist, Jacob goes to the island off of Wales where his grandfather had lived in the children's home.  His father goes with him to observe and write about the birds that live on the island.  There, Jacob learns who and what he is, travels in time and fights the monsters as well. 
     This story is illustrated with authentic vintage photographs, which is an unusual and fascinating way to write a story.  The story is a fantasy with mystery, suspense and intrigue. 
I totally enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens
OMG, this book is so hilarious!  I have not laughed so much while reading a book in a long time.  "An airplane full of beauty queens crashes on a deserted island."  The bad guys - The Corporation - have a hide out in the volcano.  The Stashe-off beauty cream and hair remover is apparantly explosive and will be sold as weapons of mass destruction.  Miss Texas goes insane and the survivor beauty queen girls learn that they can do anything they want to do - even if they have to eat grub worms.  When the reality show pirates' ship crashes on the island, the trans-gender contestant finds herself a happy pirate friend and Miss New Hampshire, wild girl, falls in love with one of the displaced indiginous natives.  Punctuated by commercial breaks for Corporation TV shows and beauty products, this book definitely wins "breast in show". 

You Will Call Me Drog by Sue Cowing

You Will Call Me Drog (Carolrhoda)
This is a cute book for children in grades 4-6 or so.  Parker, a 6th grader picks up a hand puppet that he finds at the dump and puts it on and it talks to him and tells him that it's name is Drog and it will not let him remove it.
So, Parker spends several months with the puppet on his hand, which causes some problems and he is sent to counseling and starts attending aikido lessons. 
He starts to work out some of the problems that he has with his father, who had divorced his mom and moved out several years before. 
Parker learns some lessons from Drog and from his aikido Sensei. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiGamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie
My 9 year old daughter is currently reading some dog books and I saw this one and thought she might like it.
I think she will.  In this book, 10 year old Opal is being raised by her dad, the preacher, since her mother left when she was 3. They have just moved to a new town where she does not yet have any friends.  She goes to the Winn-Dixie grocery store and there is a dog there who is enjoying himself and causing chaos in the store.  She brings him home and names him Winn-Dixie.  Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes friends with several interesting people including the libraian, the man who runs the pet store, an old woman who lives alone, and several children.  Because of Winn-Dixie, she is able to talk to her dad about her mom and learn more about her.  Because of Winn-Dixie, all of her new friends get to know one another and become friends too. Everything happens because of Winn-Dixie.  This is a terrific story and I really enjoyed it.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

I found this book in a high school ESL class that I was subbing in this week.  It is a good book for middle school and high school age.  In this book, Leo falls in love with Stargirl, a new girl at his high school.  She is totally different, a free spirit who is not afraid to be herself.  Stargirl plays the banjo, sings happy birthday to everyone on their birthdays,  cheers for whoever make a basket at ball games and meditates in the desert.  Her schoolmates go from not liking her to loving her to shunning her and Leo is along for the ride.  I enjoyed Stargirl's character and individuality and found it to be a well-written, fun book.

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

A Year Without Autumn

This book reminded me a little bit of some of the old Twilight Zone shows that I used to watch when I was a kid. 
A vacation resort.
A broken old elevator that gets fixed. 
And when 12 year old Jenni rides up a floor on the elevator, she goes a year into the future.
In this future, her best friend Autumn is very different.  Autumn's brother is in a coma and her family is devastated.  Jenni finds that she can go back to the present but the accident that put Autumn's brother into a coma has happened anyway.  She finds that for each floor that she rides on the elevator, another year passes.  Is there any way that she can go back and change the past/present/whenever it is? 
This is a fantastic, riveting tale of friendship and creepy time travel.  You won't be able to put it down until you find out what happens!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Blindness (Harvest Book)
After pg 109 or so, I gave up due to the totally horrible punctuation and just skimmed through the rest of the book.  The concept of story itself is interesting - an entire country is struck by an epidemic of blindness and the story follows some of the first people to be struck blind - a doctor, and his wife, who never does go blind, and some of his patients.  There are no question marks or quotation marks in the book and most of it is written in run-on sentences punctuated by commas with an occasional period thrown in here and there.  Apparantly that was done on purpose, but I really don't know why and I think it makes the book very difficult to follow and for me it was so annoying that it just was not worth the effort. Anyway, the people who go blind are dehumanized and quarrantined and they act like animals and steal food from one another and rape the women and live in filth.
If you don't care that the story is horribly punctuated and also has some words misspelled, is that done on purpose too, and if it does not bother you that I did not put a question mark after the word too, then you might want to read the book, otherwise, you may want to just skip it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir by Michele Norris

The Grace of Silence

Michelle Norris tells two stories in this book.  One is the story of her family. The tale of how her father had been shot by a Birmingham policeman and her investigation to learn more about that incident forms the backbone of much of the story.  The other story is that of segregation in the south and what life was for black people - at least for her family and others like them, and what it was like for white people living in the south during that time. 
I found it very interesting and I learned things that I did not know.
I got this book free as a goodreads review book and I highly recommend it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World (Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award (Awards))
Wow.  Just wow.  Katherine tells a rich, touching story about Ida B, who is a creative happy, free spirited girl who enjoys being homeschooled by her parents and communing with nature.  When her mother gets cancer, Ida must go to public school, which she decides that she will hate and she sets her heart to be unhappy.  Ida struggles with anger, unhappiness and sorrow and shares her feelings in a way that readers can enter into and understand.  The story is told in a beautifully descriptive way bringing Ida and her emotions to life and drawing the reader in as well.  This is an incredibly well told story for children in grades 4-6 and beyond.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

True (...sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

True... Sort of by Katherine Hannigan
Oh so sad.  But, a very well written story.  Delly was a happy girl who just could not seem to keep out of trouble.  By the time she was 11, she had begun to believe what other people said about her - that she was bad.  She stopped being happy and just kept on being trouble.  Until she knew a surpresent was coming.  Instead of getting a surpresent, she met Ferris Boyd, a girl who looks like a boy, and does not talk and runs away if she is touched.  Delly, her brother RB, and a boy named Brud, all become friends with Ferris.  But why would a child not talk and fear touch?  Delly turns out to be a good friend and helps Ferris to get help. 
This book is a well-written, excellent book.  It says it is for ages 8-12, but child abuse is a sensitive topic, so parents should be aware of the topic of this book so that they can talk to their children about it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Crossing by Serita Jakes

The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes

10 years ago, Claudia, daughter of a prominent pastor, witnessed the murder of her best friend and teacher,BJ, on a bus full of high school students after a football game. She had gone on with her life until she suffered a miscarriage two years ago and is now suffering panic attacks related to the murder. Her husband, an assitant District Attorney re-opens the 10 year old case when new evidence is brought to his attention. We follow the struggles of Claudia, and Casio, who had been a football player and was shot on the bus during the same incident and is now a police officer who occasionally beats his girlfriend. I was drawn into the story and followed it, interested to find out who the murderer was. I thought some of the foreshadowing was too overt and there were too many connections between people. The bad guys were too evil and the good guys were too good and all of the sinners suffered due to their sins. I found it a bit too neat and tidy, but it is an interesting story and I did enjoy reading it.
I received this book free to review from Goodreads.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America

This book contains 25 short essays on different topics on which the author shares his view of how that topic relates to Christian morals.
I found some articles very interesting and others not so interesting. The chapters that I enjoyed were "Needed: An Exit Strategy from Public Schools" in which the author discusses the changes in public schools over the years.  I also liked the articles titled: "Are We Raising A Nation of Wimps?", "The Challenge of Islam", and "The New American Family."
I received this book free to review from Goodreads

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
I decided to read this book because I was substitute teaching in a high school recently and ate lunch with the English teachers and they were discussing whether they had to teach using exerpts from this book or not.  It is apparantly included in their curriculum, but some of the teachers feel uncomfortable teaching it in class because then they feel that means that they are recommending and condoning the book.
One teacher said that they are allowed to use alternate materials sometimes and that is what she wants to do.
So, I wanted to read it and find out what was so controversial.

Now I know. 

I would not want to teach this as a novel in high school classes because of the sexual content.  I would not be comfortable teaching it to a class full of adolescent boys and girls. They would get too silly about it.  However, I would not mind teaching exerpts from it if those exerpts did not include the sexual content.  And I don't mind recommending the book to high school students to read on their own.

I thought the book was realistic and raw and well written. 
It addresses a lot of tough issues especially that of alcoholism in the Native American Indian population.  I think it addresses all of the issues well in an interesting and thoughtful way in a realistic story.

In this story, told with cartoons similar to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid genre, Junior is a 14 year old cartoonist who lives on an indian reservation.  Sensing the dead endness of the rez, he decides to go to the white kids' school in a nearby town.  That leads to problems with his friends on the reservation.
I read this book in less than a day.  I really liked it and I think that teenagers would like it and relate to and understand it too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

Rarely, if ever, has a book made me this angry.  I had no idea that today, here in the USA, in Florida, people are being held against their wills as slaves, beaten, subjected to cancer causing and birth defect causing caustic chemicals, living in horribly disgusting substandard conditions, sometimes locked up and killed, and we have all eaten tomatos that they picked.  Our country, the land of the free, is not adequately protecting migrant farm workers from horrific abuse and working conditions and substandard pay. 

This book brings these issues to light and they are issues that we all need to be aware of.  Migrant farm workers who come to this country illegally are not trying to steal jobs from Americans.  They are just trying to earn a living and are willing to work hard in conditions that legal Americans would not put up with and that we should not allow to exist in our country.  Even though it is legally not supposed to happen, tomato pickers are routinely forced to work in fields where pesticide is being sprayed causing them to have respiritory problems and skin rashes and to have babies born with no arms and legs and other, often life-threatening and deadly birth defects.  One man walked through what he thought was water as he worked and when he went home and showered, all of his toenails fell off. 

Not only are we eating tomatoes that have been grown in and routinely sprayed with these poisons that we may be ingesting, but the workers who plant and pick those tomatos are getting all kinds of horrible illnesses from the pesticides that our country allows to be sprayed on our food. Is it worth that cost to eat tasteless tomatoes? 

This book also chronicles the different types of tomatoes that are grown and shows that it is possible to grow tasty tomatoes organically and in safer conditions for the workers.  The author tells about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which is assisting the migrant farm workers to earn at least minimum wage and to prosecute those tomato farmers and field bosses who are engaged in human trafficking.
Here is their website:

I personally won't buy tomatoes from Florida any more.  I realize, however, that the Florida tomato fields are not the only part of our agricultural industry that incorporates slave labor.  We all need to become aware of the injustices and horrible abuses of human rights that are going on in our country and we need to do something about it.  This book was a real eye-opener for me and I hope that others read it and are touched by it and moved to action against these abuses as well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vanishing Acts by Phillip Margolin and Ami Margolin Rome

Vanishing Acts

As Madison Kincaid starts 7th grade, her best friend is nowhere to be found and her father, a busy attorney is working on a murder case that is missing the body. Madison struggles with mean girls on the soccer team, while missing her best friend, and makes a new friend who is a boy! Together they investigate the mysteries of her missing friend and the murder case that her father is working on. This is a fun children's mystery book recommended for ages 9-12 and I highly recommend it.
I got this book as a goodreads first read to review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace by William Lobdell

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace

In this open and honest memoir, Billy, a newspaper reporter, explains how he became a born again Christian and grew in his faith and prayed that he could get a job reporting on religion.  He got the job and believed it was an answer to years of prayer.  He enjoyed learning about religion through the stories that he reported.  As he grew in his faith, he moved on from the evangelical church he met with to a Presbyterian church and then began attending a Catholic church going through a one year catechism class in order to convert and join his wife in her faith.  Then, he was assigned to report on the Catholic church priest sex scandals.  He was one of the first reporters to learn about it as the first stories came out.  He continued in his faith, believing that the problems he was reporting on were confined to that one parish.  As time went on, he went to meetings w/ the survivors of the priests' sexual abuses (which were disgusting and horrifying), and he interviewed priests and biships and he learned just how corrupt the Catholic church really is.  At the end of the year, he could not join the Catholic church.  He then was given more investigative religion stories and met Ole Anthony and interviewed Benny Hinn.
After all that, it is no wonder that he lost his religion. 
Sadly, he lost his faith in God as well, believing that what religion teaches and what he saw of the religious institutions was what God is all about. 
This book is well-written and very interesting and thought provoking.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Has God Spoken?: Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration by Hank Hanegraff - Host of Bible Answer Man

Has God Spoken?: Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration

I had such high hopes for this book.  The title sounds so promising.  Especially the subtitle - "Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration".  I was excited to read it and find out what the proof was.
Instead, I found the book to be SAD.
It is a
S upercilious
A rrogant
D iatribe

If you like acronyms, then this is the book for you.  It has 9 acronyms and subacronyms in which Hank gives his "proof of the Bible's divine inspiration."  He also rants against Bart Ehrman, President Obama, Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others.  Even when I agree with some of Hank's statements, I am appalled at how rude, unkind and judgemental his language is. When he attacks the people that he disagrees with, he also attacks their beliefs, most of which are shared by many other people.  Hank is basically calling anyone who disagrees with his understanding of scripture "benighted" (p. 151) - which means " in a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance, typically owing to a lack of opportunity."  Basically, if we don't see things the way he does, we are stupid and wrong and possibly heretically dangerous. 

Hank especially hates Ehrman whom he accuses of "spiritual terrorism", misinterpretation, attempting to "make the language of scripture"walk on all fours" ", (I still have no idea what that is supposed to mean), setting up a "rigged game", "regurgitated sophistry, selling sensationalism and an unhealthy dose of Scriptortutre" and a lot more.

I did learn a few new things from Hank's book that I had not heard before that I found interesting, such as his deliniation between "predictive prophesy" and "typelogical prophesy".  I understood the difference but had not seen them defined so nicely.  I wish that Hank had explained where his understandings of prophesy and typology came from rather than just saying that "the student of Scripture well knows" these things.  Hank documents thouroughly the words of those who he sees as his opposors which include an episode of the TV show "West Wing", but he does not document all of his Biblical "facts", rather saying that anyone who is a Biblical scholar should just know these things - intimating that if we don't just know that stuff, we are uneducated and stupid. 

I liked Hank's MEALS acronym, but for the most part, I was disappointed by Hank's openly hostile attitude towards Bart Ehrman and anyone else who has views about the Bible that differ from his own views.

I received this book free to review from Booksneeze.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

a stolen life by jaycee dugard

A Stolen Life: A Memoir

This is a heartbreaking tale told by Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at age 11 and was held hostage for 18 years.
She shares openly about the abuse that she suffered - sexual, physical and mental.  She tells about depending entirely on her kidnapper for everything and how he assisted her as she gave birth to their two daughters.  Philip, the man who kidnapped her and his wife, Nancy, were drug addicts and total nutcases.  He heard voices and blamed things that he did on what the angels told him. 
Jaycee and her daughters are survivors and they are learning to live in the real world and are trying to help others who are in difficult situations as well.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alcatraz versus The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz #3: Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia
Alcatraz Smedry is awesome.  Really.  And you should buy this book.  In fact, you should buy multiple copies of this book.  If you read it, you will find out why.
In this third book of the series about Alcatraz, he once again battles the evil Librarians and their thugs and uses his awesome Smedry powers to do awesome things.  His father ignores him, he finds out that his mother really does not hate him, and he goes to Nalhalla and meets his cousin Folsom, whose Smedry talent is to dance badly and he learns that he is royalty - sort of and a popular hero - sort of.
Things explode, heros fight, and Alcatraz, of course, saves the day.  Sort of.
Fantastic book for all those who support the battle against the Evil Librarians worldwide. :)