Saturday, March 30, 2013

Banished: A Memoir: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain with Lisa Pulitzer

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church
Before I read this book, I felt sorry for the children in the Westboro Baptist Church because it seemed to me that people in a church that spouts so much hatred must beat their children.
Lauren's father was abusive to her before they joined the WBC - on the advice of the church, but apparently she never saw any of the children there being physically abused. They are, however brainwashed and abused psychologically.
Her story is told in a captivating way, explaining her family's involvement in the church and how it affected her life.
Only after they banished her, did she understand the extent of the brainwashing that she had been through in that church.
The scary thing to me is that the members of that church are very intelligent people. Many of them are lawyers. There is obviously a disconnect between intelligence and religious belief.
Lauren's questioning of their teachings and her natural desires led to her banishment.
According to Lauren, the WBC believes that hatred is God's greatest attribute and it is their job to warn people that the Lord hates them for their sins. This is not to save them because they believe they are not savable, but it is seen as their duty from God to tell people that they are sinners.
Lauren is overcoming her past and still loves the Lord, but her God now, is a God of love, not a God of hatred.
This is an interesting and well written book.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nora has a feeling someone is following her. She sees things that are not there. And this guy Patch has become her bio lab partner and she finds him both scary and attractive. She hears voices in her head, is pursued by a guy named Elliot who was suspected of murder in a nearby county. Her best friend Vee thinks Elliot is the good guy and Patch is the bad guy. What are the strange scars on Patch's back from that are shaped like an inverted "V"? Fallen angel wings that have been torn off? Is Nora loosing her grip on reality?
Plot twists, romance, intrigue and action abound in this book.
I look forward to reading the others in the series.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline
I wanted this book to be interesting. I think the topic is an interesting and important one. However, I found the book to be boring. I checked it out from the library. And re-checked it. Five times. That is the maximum allowed. Ten weeks. I could not get into it. I finally skimmed it. Apparently clothing, like so many other things now days, has become disposable. People may think they are getting a bargain when they purchase a new t-shirt for only $3 on clearance. However, you get what you pay for. Clothing is now made of inferior materials and sewn poorly and we toss it aside both because we want new fashions and because the cheap clothing does not last long. If it were not for textile recycling, we would be up to our ears on worn out clothing. There is way more old clothing than anyone wants or can use and most of it that is given to charities ends up at the textile recyclers where it is sorted for sale as clothing (small percent), to be made into insulation, rags, or other products or baled up and sent off to Africa where even they are outgrowing the need for cheap icky leftover clothing.
The clothing manufacturing process is bad for the environment, working conditions are poor for the workers and we no longer know how to alter and sew our own clothing or even repair it, which is ok since the quality of clothing has sunk so much that it may not be worth it anyway.
That is the gist of what I got out of the book.
I wish it had been written in a way that was more interesting.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

An Angel by Her Side by Ruth Reid

An Angel by Her Side by Ruth Reid
I liked this story a lot and it kept me captivated, but I did not like the parts with the angel and daemon invisibly talking to the people (that part was written in italics.) I think that the point could have been made in a different way without angels or daemons talking to people. It is a nice Amish romance with Katie, a 29 year old school teacher and Seth, a former master builder, who has quit building due to his dyslexia. Their struggles with the Lord as well as those of Amos, Seth's brother-in-law are shown and we see how they learn to trust in the Lord. Elias, the angel, sometimes appears as an old man who works with Katie and Seth as they re-build after the tornado, but at other times, he is invisibly fighting the daemon. I just found those parts kind of strange and distracting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn

Free Souls (Mindjack Trilogy, #3)
Thrilling ending to a well-written trilogy. I enjoyed following the characters and the twists in plot as Kira and Julian try to stop the government from destroying the mindjackers. More romance, intrigue, and action abound in this last book in the Mindjack trilogy.
Kudos to this indie author for having many people and an editor review her book. It reads like a proper, professionally edited book, which is not something I can say for many of the indie books that I have read.

Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn

Closed Hearts (Mindjack Trilogy, #2)

Totally excellent 2nd book in the series.  Eight months after  Kira made the presence of mindjackers known to the public, the readers are afraid of those who are able to control their minds. The government has come up with more anti-jacker technology and jackers now live in Jackertown, a slum area apart from the "normal" mindreading population.
Kira and Raf are kidnapped by Julius and his jacker crew of revolutionaries who want her to help them free all of the imprisioned jackers and stop the government from experimenting on and using and abusing them. Kira still wants to just be "normal". But, it that possible?
Fantastic book! Looking forward to the third one!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tiny Titan: One Small Gift by Ann Yurcek

Tiny Titan - One Small Gift

This is the story of how Ann Yurcek championed for her daughter Rebecca, who was born with Noonan syndrome which includes a host of life threatening problems. Ann became her daughter's advocate, learning as much as she could about the medical challenges that her daughter faced and her daughter, who faced death daily for years, survived and thrived. Ann shares what it is like to parent a severly medically challenged child and I think other parents of medically challenged children will find this book encouraging and helpful. The book would be better if it was properly edited.

Open minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
Totally excellent book! I got this book free on my kindle and was not sure what to expect. Often times the free books are poorly edited and/or just not well written. This book is well written and well edited and is a fantastic story. I have now purchased the second book in the trilogy - something I don't do frequently when I get free first books. In this book, Kira is 16 and in a world of mind readers, she is left out because she is a zero - a non-reader. Ostracized by her former friends except for one - the handsome Raf, she struggles with her desire to be normal. Then she discovers that she has a different mind skill - that of controlling other people's minds - mindjacking - a dangerous skill to have if other people find out about it.
Kira is drawn into a dangerous situation and now she is the only one who can help others. Intrigue, romance and a fascinating paranormal concept make this book one of my favorites!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oddily by Linda Pohring

Oddily (Oddily, #1)

Interesting concept, but too many things about this story were "odd". Who would name a child "Oddily" and why? In what school could a student get locked in a locker for real? And in what school would a high school kid fit into a locker? How big are their lockers? If she was in the foster care system and left her foster family, wouldn't someone come looking for her? What is the deal with her breastlessness? There are too many strange pieces in this puzzle.  I wonder if they are answered in the next books in the series?

Shaken by Susan Hatler

Interesting take on the teen paranormal romance genre - mind reading, kidnapping, family secrets, intrigue and more. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

An intricate, beautifully detailed bizarre tapestry of desire, love, hope, fear, joy, and magic fills the pages of this book. Alice Hoffman can tell a character's life story, in incredible and unusual detail in two pages. She follows the lives of Sally and Gillian who are raised by their aunts, who the townspeople think are witches, after their parents die. Gillian is beautiful and flighty and Sally is down to earth and domestic. Both leave the aunts to make lives of their own far from the peculiarity that is the aunts, yet in the end, they are all drawn together in need and love.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Promise: A Love Story by Kate Worth

The Promise

This is a racy historical romance with an interesting plot. It is well written and a good read

Friday, March 8, 2013

Love, water, memory by Jennie Shortridge

Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
Lucie is found standing in the ocean, not knowing who she is or why she is there. When her fiancé finds her and brings her home, she does not remember him or her former life. Will Grady ever love her as she is? Why did she lose her memory? Only her aunt, who she had said she hated, knows about the past that even Lucie does not remember. In this gripping novel, she begins to come to terms with who she is and who she was.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gift by Andrea J. Buchanan


This is a cute teen paranormal romance. No vampires or werewolves thankfully, just a ghost and a girl with electrical powers.
Daisy has always had electricity coursing through her - like she messes up cell phones and other electronics. Only her best friend Danielle knows about that. Until she gets involved with Vivi, a rather creepy girl, and then meets Kevin, a really cute guy. Then, she learns about Patrick. The ghost. That's when things get even more strange.
Fun and interesting story!

The Truth about Sharks and Pigeons by Matt Phillips

The Truth about Sharks and Pigeons by Matt  Phillips
Hmm, British humor. Zany, nonsensical, and funny. When Bill Posters finds a pigeon stalking him and then talking to him, he is sure that something funny is going on. After being kidnapped and taken to the pigeon headquarters and seeing people fighting in penguin suits, he is sure of it. And now, it is up to him to save the world from the sharks using only his wits and a manicure kit. With Fern helping him, will he be able to save the world? Read this book to find out!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Spark: a mother's story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett

Wow! I was totally blown away by this book!
Jacob Barnett is 13 years old, autistic, and has an IQ that is off the charts and higher than Einstein's. He is working on his own theory of relativity, and his PHD and is writing a book to teach kids not to be afraid of math. When he was three years old though, he was non-verbal and a special ed teacher told his mother that he would never learn to read. Against the advice of the "experts", Kristine pulled Jacob out of the special ed program and began teaching him in her own way, emphasizing his strengths, rather than his weaknesses and helping him to explore things that he was interested in. She also began a night class for other children with autism to help them, along with her son Jacob to be ready for kindergarten. She helped many children with autism to learn and grow and opened a recreation center for children with autism and their families. I am impressed with Jacob's story because he is amazing and I am sure that we will be hearing a lot from him over the years. I am also impressed with Kristine's story and her methods of teaching autistic children. I hope that parents and educators of autistic children will read this book and change their methods of teaching autistic children.

Mr. Peunmbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Secret codes, old books, Google, and the search for immortality.
Mysterious people in black robes, an underground library with giant books chained to tables, recycled artwork, Google, Warlock role playing, and friendship.
Can Clay solve the code with the help of his friends?
What will Penumbra think?
What will Corvina do?
This is a fun book and a good read!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Boy in the Stripe Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
This book is very well written, and disturbing.
I decided to read it because I saw that it was being read in middle school literature classes. Bruno, a nine year old boy tells in his point of view, about his experience during the Holocaust as his father is a Nazi commandant stationed outside Auschwitz.

Scary Mary by S. A. Hunter

Scary Mary by S.A. Hunter
I got this book free on kindle and it was well worth what I paid for it. It is a rather short story. Mary is not so scary. She sees ghosts, talks to them and tries to save a family from a ghost that is haunting their house.  It is kind of interesting, and  not badly written, but not much of a story.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)
Take a college kid romance, add in fighting (between guys for money), gambling, lots of drinking, more gambling, more fighting, romance, arguing between the girls and guys, jealousy, rage and love and you have this book. It is well written and a captivating read.  I am looking forward to the next book.                

Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Oh my goodness! This book could make a fantastic movie! Grace is 9 years old and her mother is a drug addict. Every day that she can't go to school because her mom can't get her there, she sits on the steps outside so that someone will notice her and help her. In her apartment complex in a dangerous neighborhood, no one knows each other and they avoid one another until several neighbors decide to help Grace. Through her friendliness, they become friends with her and one another. At first, I thought it was Grace who did not want to be "let go", but as I read, I realized that each character has something to overcome and by helping Grace, they also help themselves. The neighbors include an agoraphobic man who was once a famous tap dancer, a  woman who has been through the foster care system and does not want to see Grace there, an 89 year old woman with health problems, a man who seems to hate everyone except for Grace, and a man who has been dumped by his girlfriend. This group of people, who had not and would not have become friends on their own, join together and discover the meaning of friendship, love, and care for one another all due to Grace. The book made me laugh and cry and it is just totally awesome!