Sunday, January 29, 2012

Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie
I had the opportunity to hear Jordan Sonnenblick speak to a group of middle school students last week when I was substitute teaching.  I had already read After Ever After, the sequel to the book Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, but had not read anything else he had written.  I was impressed by what Jordan shared with the kids.  He used to be an 8th grade English teacher and he knows how to talk to middle school kids.  He told the story behind the book Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie, which was very interesting and I decided to read this book. 
This book is about an 8th grade boy whose 4 year old brother gets Leukemia and how that affects him and his family.  Jordan wrote this book because when he was teaching 8th grade, he had a student whose younger brother had cancer and he looked for a book for her about a middle school student with a sibling who had cancer and he could not find any.  The book tells how when Jordan's brother was diagnosed with cancer, it threw his family into crisis mode, he stopped doing schoolwork, played the drums more, and how his parents and family life were affected.  He did a good job of telling the story and I think that this book can help middle school kids to understand how cancer can affect a family.  It is also just a really good story. 
I enjoyed this book and it's sequel and look forward to reading his other books. 
Mr. Sonnenblick's newest book,  Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip , is coming out on March 1 of this year and he says that if people pre-order it, he can be on the New York Times Best Seller List and his mother will be proud of him.  :) 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four Letter Words by Bill Giovannetti

Four Letter Words: Conversations on Faith's Beauty and Logic
I got this book for free to review from Litfuse, and they say they want my honest opinion.
Oh my.
First, here is what they have to say about the book:

"Thou shalt tolerate every opinion... except the Christian's. Today's postmodern "prime directive" leaves many followers of Jesus tongue-tied. In the global village, isn't it unreasonable, and even dangerous, to suggest that the Bible has a monopoly on truth?

The church needs a new breed of Christ-follower. We need Christ-followers who are alert to today's touchy ideas, the truths that fire up more heat than light. We need Christ-followers who can make a clear case for the Bible's worldview; who are ready to help our friends think through their beliefs; who can recognize inconsistencies and challenge them; and who can do all of this with humility, confidence, humor, and love. For more information visit "

This is what they tell us about the author.:

About Bill Giovannetti:
Bill Giovannetti
"Dr. Bill Giovannetti is a professor at A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church of Redding. An experienced speaker and author, Bill informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. He enjoys life with his wife and two kids in northern California. For more information about Bill and his other books, visit and "

And, here is what I think about this book.:
At first, when I read chapter two of this book, I was highly offended.  I thought that this author has just shown Christianity at it's most offensive and he is defending it.  He begins Chapter two, titled "True" with this statement: "1. Some ideas are true and some ideas are false."  That statement annoyed me.  Ideas are opinions, not facts, therefore, they cannot be "true" or "false". The author explains in this chapter why he thinks otherwise.  He also goes on to say that "Christians define truth simply: "truth is reality as God sees it." Yet, he quotes John 14:6 on the first page of this chapter, in which Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life."  Jesus did not say that truth is "reality as God sees it".  Jesus said that He, Himself is truth.  That is not the same as the author's "Christian" definition of truth.

Throughout the book the author defines and describes many different religious and world views and then explains how and why each is one is wrong, and that the Christian viewpoint that he believes in is the one and only true opinion.  Each chapter ends with a list of "Talking Points" designed to help young people - I think high school and college age - to express his their the Christian viewpoint that he believes is the one and only correct view. The book is designed to help young Christians to defend the Christian "belief system" as the author defines it.

After being offended by chapter two, I was prepared to hate the entire book, but I did not.  I found the book to be very interesting and thought provoking.  I agreed with and enjoyed many of the points that the author makes. I really liked the "Wait" chapter and found some of his information about other religions and beliefs very interesting.  There are some things that he shares, however, that I do not agree with.  I think that one reason that I did not despise the rest of the book even after finding the beginning premise so offensive, is that while the author clearly believes that his view of God and Christ and religion are the only correct way to believe, he does not seem to be rude and hateful towads those of us who do not agree with every single one of his opinions. 
This book is QR enabled and has links to his site and other sites that the author recommends. 

Here is a link to the blog tour for this book so you can read other people's opinions of this book as well:
"Bill is celebrating the new Kindle edition of Four Letter Words (for only $4.99)! He’ll be traveling coast to coast over the next few weeks on this virtual book tour and he's celebrating by hosting a great giveaway!
Click here ( to find out how you can win two gift certificates to Amazon (in the amount of $50 and $25) and free downloads of his yet-to-be-released title, Recession-Proof: Living a God-Blessed Life in a Messed Up World."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mornings with Jesus 2012 Daily Encouragement for your Soul

This is a lovely daily devotional book.  Each day starts with a Bible verse, then has a little story by a woman telling her experience that relates to that verse.  Each day ends with a "Faith Step" - a suggestion of how you can also experience and enjoy the Lord that day.  The Bible verses are uplifting and help to start your day with your heart turned to the Lord.  The devotional portion helps you to see how other women are experiencing the Lord in their daily lives.  And the faith steps help give you something to think about and pray about for each day.
I got this book free to review from Litfuse and I am really enjoying it! 

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
This book is a delightful, intriguing, romantic novel that is just tons of fun!  It combines the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses and Beauty and The Beast with Roman mythology and humor and romance.  Thirteen year old Reveka is an apprentice to the herbalist and she dreams of having her own herbarary at a nunnery.  She is now living and working at a castle where the princesses are cursed.  Every night they go to bed and when they awaken, their shoes are worn out.  Everyone who has tried to investigate their curse has wound up either in a neverending sleep that eventually ends in death, or, they just disappear.  Curious Reveka starts out wanting to break the curse in order to gain the promised monetary reward, but she later wants to break it in order to save the sleepers, those who disappeared, and the princesses themselves.  Her adventure takes her to the underworld where she learns the meaning of sacrifice.
Reveka is brave and spunky and fun and I totally loved this book!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis

Product Image for A C.H.A.O.S. Novel #2  : Alienation by Jon S. Lewis
I totally enjoyed this second book in the C.H.A.O.S. series as much as I enjoyed the first book - Invasion.  In this second book, Colt learns that he has been targeted - to be killed!  Together with his friends Oz and Danielle, he heads to the C.H.A.O.S. academy to be trained to fight the aliens - namely the 6 armed, shape-shifting Thule, who are trying to take over the planet earth and get rid of it's current inhabitants.  Colt lives in the shadow of his legendary grandfather who was immortalized in comic books as the Phantom Flier who fought the alien Nazis.  What most people don't know is that the comic book stories are all true.  Colt's teacher, who is also a C.H.A.O.S. agent in disguise (and aren't all teachers really superhero crime fighters in disguise?), goes with them to the academy and proves that she has some good defensive driving skills among other things. Colt proves to be quite the alien fighter and his surfboarding and skateboarding experience help him to be excellent at riding the hoverboard.   Together with his friends and teacher, Colt helps to uncover the plot against him and fight the evil that has been unleashed.  He has learned from his grandfather to rely on strength from the Lord and that advice serves him well.
I loved this book and can't wait for the third one to come out so that I can read it!
I received this book for free to review and I am so thrilled because it is such an excellent book!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu

The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu

This is a very enlightening book. Also a little frightening to me. It gives great ideas on what foods to eat only organic and which things are ok if not organic. It explains why non-organic foods are bad for you - and sometimes I think ignorance is bliss. It is interesting that canned tuna is healthier than fresh - because it is from smaller species w/ lower levels of mercury. This book has made me think about and become more aware of where my food comes from, how it is grown and how it is packaged. The book also discusses proper kitchen ware - the proper materials for pots and pans and food storage, appliances and more.
I was inspired to clean out my pantry, refrigerator, and pot and pan cabinet yesterday. When I went shopping today, I paid more attention to where the food I bought came from. I bought locally made corn chips (ok, I know corn is bad and chips are bad, but I hope the local part helps), and local milk and yogurt and eco-friendly kitchen trash bags. It would take a lot to pry me away from all the plastic in my kitchen - food storage and zip lock bags - although I do use glass jars for many things. Reading the part about getting rid of all plastic made me feel like the rich man in Mark in the Bible:

And she said to her, “author, all these healthy things I am trying to do.” And the author, looking at her, said to her, “You lack one thing: go, recycle all the plastic kitchen items you have and give your aluminum pans to the poor and throw away your non-stick pans, and you will have a healthy, conscious kitchen. Disheartened by the saying, she went away sorrowful, for she had many plastic storage containers and non-stick pans in her kitchen.         

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky

In this dystopian teenage romance, Aria, who has lived her life in a pod enjoying a virtual reality in the "realms" that is "better than real" is suddenly thrust into the "outside" where she teams up with Perry, who has the dual senses of "seer" and "scire". Together they try to avoid the deadly Aether storms and the cannibals as they seek a way to find Aria's mother and Perry's nephew.  Although their relationship starts out quite rocky, they grow to know and love one another and together they change one another as they seek to care for others.  This book is a winner and I highly recommend it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Jinson Twins Science Detectives and the Mystery of Echo Lake by Steven L. Zeichner

The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and the Mystery of Echo Lake
12 year old twins Joe and Debbie put up signs tying to get summer jobs since their mom told them that they are too old for expensive summer camps and that they should go out and earn some money.
Their first, and only, job offer comes from a mysterious old woman who lives in an out of the way, tumbling down house who wants help packing things up so she can move. The mystery comes in when the twins find a map that seems to give clues to where to find her late husband's hidden treasure. They must, however use science to solve the mystery, and, assisted by their friend Mr. Benjamin who runs the local "junk yard", they set out to find the missing treasure. The book is well written and interesting and the added bonus of real science in use makes it all the better.
I got this book free to review from The Library Thing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Kill (The Slayer Chronicles, #1) by Heather Brewer

First Kill by Heather Brewer

This series is a sister series or perhaps brother series or probably the best term might be a cousin series to the "Chronicles of Vladimir Tod" series. I liked all of that series except for the ending, which I thought sucked (it was not really that bad, but the word just fits so well). Anyway, this book tells how Joss first became a member of the Slayer Society and explains a bit how slayers have seemingly super-human type skills - it is genetic apparantly. Joss's uncle Abraham is a slayer and he has been charged with training his nephew in all things slayer. Joss spends a summer with his uncle and a group of slayers going through training and also trying to find a hidden group of vampires that are nearby. The book is suspenseful and well written and I like how it is tied in to the other series. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this new series when they come out.        

Monday, January 9, 2012

Best Forgotten by Paula Vince

Best Forgotten by Paula Vince
This book is a Christian psychological thriller.  In this story, a young man, running away from something is hit by a car driven by a preacher.  When he awakens in the hospital, he remembers nothing,  not even who he is.  The pastor tells him that perhaps in some way, it may be God’s will.  Even when he does find out his identity and he rejoins his family, he still has total amnesia.  He does know, however, that he was running away from something very frightening.  He decides that he does not like the person who his old self was, whoever he was and he begins to try to change himself, hoping that once he does regain his memories, he won’t go back to being the loser of a person who he thinks his old self must have been.  One thing that he does begin to remember is Bible verses. Can the Lord somehow help him?  His mysterious girlfriend is not much help to him in his quest to regain his memory.  He is sure that once he does regain his memory, it will not be a good thing and he struggles to regain his memory while fearing what he will learn.  I enjoyed this book, and found it to be suspenseful and well written.  I received this book for free to review from BookCrash. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

If you mix elements from Oliver Twist, Alice In Wonderland and King Arthur plus a few other fairy tale plots, and then throw in some extra twists and elements, you will have Peter Nimble.
Peter's eyes were plucked out by ravens when he was an infant, and he then survived on his own by nursing on a cat, and learning how to steal food and clothing. When he was 5, he was taken in by an old orphan master who trained him to be an even better thief and forced him to steal for him.
He then meets a mysterious haberdasher, and steals a box from him which contains three sets of what he later learns are fantastic eyes.
Together with Sir Tode, who was once a knight, but has been enchanted and is now part cat and part horse, Peter and his fantastic eyes goes on an adventure that keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. This book is fantastic, creative and fun.          

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams

This is a fun fantasy/sci fi novel for kids. Tyler and his sister Lucinda are sent off to stay with an uncle they never knew that they had on his farm one summer and find that it is populated with odd people, unicorns, dragons and contains a gateway into another realm.
Despite the fact that a witch has a giant squirrel spying on Tyler and no one will tell them what is going on, Tyler and Lucinda find out many things about the mysterious farm and it's inhabitants. This is the first book in a series and I hope that the other books are as good as this one! I look forward to reading them.          

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Lovely book! Cute fairy tale - different version of the Cinderella tale. Cute, charming, funny and a fun, quick read. Too quick. I was going to read it tomorrow but I got started it - and finished it - tonight. I like that Ella is spunky and fun and of course it is fantastic that Prince Char just falls in love with her.
I totally enjoyed this fun, cute book.

And The Bridge is Love by Faye Moskowitz

And the Bridge Is Love

I liked this book.  The many essays share the memories of a lifetime.  Some are funny, some are sad, some happy, and some are difficult.  All are well-written and interesting and thought provoking.  I got this book free to review from goodreads.

Be The Change by Zach Hunter

Be the Change: Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World

Written by a teenager who began a campaign to raise money to help raise awareness and money to help free people from slavery when he was 12 years old, this book is geared towards teens to help them to see that they can make a difference in the world and help in the fight against slavery.  The book has encouraging stories and helpful hints and exercises to help teens learn about slavery and abolition and how they can fight against child labor and slavery and help others.  I highly recommend this book to teenagers and church youth groups.
I got this book free to review from goodreads.