Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

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Book Review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson

When I was in high school, I took AP history from an amazing teacher. Her name was Kristie Pitts. Because of Mrs. Pitts, I passed the AP history test. Not only did she teach me about American history, she served as an example of an amazing woman. Mrs. Pitts was intelligent, engaging, compassionate, and caring. After I took her AP history class, she opened a new class. I am proud to say that I attended the very first Women in History class at my high school. It was an amazing class! We spent hours reading about the accomplishments of women in American history. There were women I had never heard of that accomplished so much. I loved that class, and I still look back at that time with fondness. I wish we had had this book back then! It would have been a great addition to the class. If you’re out there, Mrs. Pitts, this book review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson is dedicated to you!

Blurb:

“Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes—women.

North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant—the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side.

This book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman’s experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in the country during this time period.”

My Book Review:

I have always loved learning about history, especially American history. The Revolutionary War is my favorite, but I also enjoy learning about the Civil War. I haven’t ever read a history book devoted solely to the contributions of the women of that era. When I heard about this book from the publicist, I immediately jumped in. Yes, of course I’ll review it!

I’m so glad I did. It is such a good book! I read it almost all in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I found it fascinating to learn about each of the women portrayed in the book. Although some women helped in conspicuous ways, others served in the background, never gaining recognition for her service. Some women worked as nurses and tended to the wounded, and others sacrificed their homes to the armies. I found it fascinating that women disguised themselves as men and fought on the front lines.

This book is very well written. The stories are engaging, and the women come to life on the page. There are some well-known women like Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, and then there are lesser-known women like Anna Ella Carroll or Cornelia Peake McDonald. I love that women of all backgrounds, colors, and sides are discussed. It doesn’t matter whether the woman is from the North or the South, is black or white, or is Native or an immigrant, each played an important role.

I learned so much from this book! It was fun, and yet sobering, to look into the lives of each of these women. The amount of research Ms. Monson must have done is staggering. This book is well thought-out, well researched, and well written. Women of all kinds are highlighted, and there’s no judgment regarding her viewpoints.

I highly recommend this book for all junior high and high school American history classes, and for personal libraries. It’s important to remember the past so we don’t repeat it. And it’s important to hear voices from all sides. I loved hearing from these women! I’ll end with a quote from Ms. Monson because I think it sums everything up quite nicely:

…people on every side often need, more than anything else, an opportunity to be heard. They need to be heard even if they don’t look like us, think like us, and especially if they disagree with us. They particularly need to be heard if the dominant discourse tends to ignore their voices.

Sometimes, I think one of the most important acts of kindness we can do for one another is to listen—really listen—to each other’s stories.      

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (No profanity and no “intimacy.” This is a book about the Civil War, so there are stories of atrocities, death, disease, fighting, etc.)

Recommendation: YA and older

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nRA9wr

 

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1776 by David McCullough Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
 
 

Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War by RF Kuang

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Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I had heard a lot about this book from other book bloggers, so I put it on hold at the library. It took awhile, but I was finally able to pick up the book. This book had such high ratings from everyone, so I was excited to read it. What did I think? Did it live up to the hype? Check out my book review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang to find out.

Blurb:

“When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to study at the academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who always thought they’d be able to marry Rin off to further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was now finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in the Nikara Empire—was even more surprising.

 But surprises aren’t always good.

Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Rin is targeted from the outset by rival classmates because of her color, poverty, and gender. Driven to desperation, she discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over her powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For even though the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied the Nikara Empire for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people in the Empire would rather forget their painful history, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away.

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god who has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her her humanity.

And it may already be too late.”

My Book Review:

So, what did I think? Well, honestly, I have very mixed emotions. I kept reading. I kept turning pages, so that means something. The writing style is engaging and it sucks you into the story. I thought the character development was really good. The characters come to life on the page, and that always makes a book better because you’re invested in the characters. At the beginning, especially, I found myself routing for Rin. I understood why she wanted to do well on the test.

I’m not sure why I didn’t put this book down. It was intriguing, but more in a watching-a-train-wreck sort of way. There were many things in the content that I just didn’t like; I especially didn’t think they were appropriate for teens to be reading. While Rin was studying she would harm herself; she said the pain helped her. As a mom, I definitely don’t want my daughters or sons reading that and thinking it’s ok to self-harm. No, no, no, no.

I got that it was a military training facility, and so I understood the fighting and practicing, but what I didn’t like was the use of opioids (hence, The Poppy War). We have enough trouble right now with people being addicted to opioids; I don’t think our teens need to see fictional characters using them to find gods. I just didn’t like that whole premise, and it’s a huge part of the story.

When I read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, I finished and felt sick to my stomach. I just felt yucky. That is also how I felt when I finished this book. It’s not happy or inspirational–it’s dark and disturbing. I was intrigued, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I especially don’t think it’s appropriate for YA. This book definitely wasn’t for me. However, if those things don’t bother you then you’ll probably enjoy it.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including dozens of “f” words. There isn’t an “intimacy.” Violence including war atrocities, rapes, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of many characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 2.5/5

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OM3tQF

 

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Jade City by Fonda Lee Twisted Prey by John Sandford  DEAD OF NIGHT by Michael Stanley
 

Book Review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar

Kitty Stuck by Emma and Beth Pullar

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Book Review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar

Even though my kids are older and I’m not teaching first graders anymore, I still love children’s books. My niece and nephew came and stayed at my house this week. It was so fun! My nephew is four and my niece is two. They are adorable! My kids had a lot of fun playing with them. We went to the lake and played in the water and sand, and we spent hours swinging and jumping on the trampoline. Night time was super fun because each of them chose a picture book to read before bed. I was in heaven! I’m still reading The Princess Bride to my kids—it’s taking us forever to finish—and that’s fun, but it’s not the same as the picture books! So I was excited to join the blog tour for Kitty Stuck. I hope you enjoy my book review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar.

Blurb:

“Here kitty kitty…
Kitty is a calamitous cat who keeps finding himself in sticky situations. Luckily, his loving family helps him get unstuck.”

Kitty Stuck is Emma Pullar’s second children’s book. Her first, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by New Zealand Post. Upon her return to the UK, Emma shifted her writing focus to writing dark novels for adults. Recently, when inspired by her 12 year-old daughter Beth’s drawings of the family cat Rupert, she took up her pen and wrote Kitty Stuck.

Beth, a talented and dedicated young illustrator, hopes to use her royalties to develop her work by investing in art supplies, software and education.

A Spark in the Sand is dedicated to encouraging young people to pursue their dreams, both by publishing works created by young people and through books which engage their imagination and inspire them to ‘Dream Big and Work Hard’. Kitty Stuck, being illustrated by 12 year-old Beth, was a perfect fit for the publishing company’s ethos. We hope to encourage more young people to pursue their passion in this way.”

My Book Review:

I think it’s darling that a mom and daughter duo wrote this book! How fun! Wouldn’t it be exciting at 12 years-old to tell your friends you’re a published illustrator? Kitty Stuck is a cute story about a cat that keeps getting stuck. He gets stuck in so many places! I would get frustrated if I had to keep getting my kitty out of sticky situations, but not this family! They calmly pick him up, unwrap him, untie him, and get him out of wherever he’s stuck. They all seemed patient except for Dad. He did yell, “Drat!” at one point. That’s more realistic.

My favorite place he was stuck was in the bowl. That illustration is super cute. The illustrations and words are very simple, but they’re cute. My daughter loved finding the little mouse on every page; she thought that was a fun idea.

I didn’t love reading the book on my Kindle, though. Children’s books are 100 times better to read when holding a real book. You’re in luck! I checked on amazon and this book is out in paper, so hooray! I’d get it in paper for sure. The littles will love the cute pictures of the kitty.

This is a cute book that little children will enjoy!

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean…unless you count the muck they have to clean off the cat–haha!)

Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Kitty banner

https://www.asparkinthesand.co.uk/

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest revew.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OoCcne

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

What are You Thinking by Valerie Ackley Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis  Laura's Star by Klaus Baumgart
 

 

 

 

Book Review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley

DEAD OF NIGHT by Michael Stanley

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Book Review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley

I don’t know anything about rhinos! I’ve seen them at the zoo, and I know they live in Africa. That’s about it. Oh, and I know they have horns. I know that people take elephants’ tusks for the ivory, but I didn’t realize that rhinos’ horns are also in demand. Who knew that rhino horns could be sawed off and regrown? Interesting, right? I hate to admit that I learned a lot about rhinos from this fictional story! It’s quite the story too! I hope you enjoy my book review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley.

Blurb:

“When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But, within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything.
 
Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…
 
Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…”
 

My Book Review:

Wow! What a ride! I got sucked into this book from the very beginning! Crys is one tough chick! And she’s brave…or stupid. I’m still not sure which. When she doesn’t hear back from her hopefully-more-than-friend Michael, she starts to worry. She calls into National Geographic and they haven’t heard anything either. So she goes to Africa to finish the story and to hopefully find Michael.

She should have stayed home. Going to Africa proves difficult, and puts her in a lot of danger. She has some amazing adventures, and then she has some terrifying experiences. Crys is a great character. She’s written and developed well, she’s relatable, and mostly realistic. Crys tends to act and then think, which proves detrimental in many instances, and it made me cringe. I like that she’s a strong female character. She’s smart and tough.

When she gets to Africa many other characters are introduced. They are also well written and well developed. Most of them have a hint of uncertainty about them; you’re constantly wondering if they’re the good guys or the bad guys. Sometimes they may even be a bit of both! I liked that, though. It adds a hint of mystery and tension that keeps you reading. Just be prepared—the bad guys are scary!

One of the things I liked most about this book was learning about the situation with the rhinos. I’d never really thought about rhino horns being sold on the black market. And I had NO idea that you could saw a rhino horn off and it would grow back! I learned a lot! I don’t know how much is true and how much is fiction, but it did shed some light on the topic for me. It’s sad how integrity is lacking in some people. They’ll do almost anything just for the dollars attached.

This book is fast-paced and action-packed. Crys gets herself into several sticky situations, and somehow she always ends up where the trouble is. I liked the writing style a lot; I enjoyed the descriptions of the African landscape, and thought the dialogues were realistic and unforced.

The thing I didn’t like in the book were the torture scenes. There was one scene that was brutally graphic. It was disgusting, and reading it made me sick to my stomach. I skipped some of it because it was way too graphic and detailed for my taste. There was at least one other torture scene, but it wasn’t quite as bad.

I couldn’t put this book down! It may or may not have been the wee hours of the morning when I finished this book. One.More.Chapter. I’m not sure if we’ll see more of Crys, but I hope we do! And as a side note, the authors are male. Many male authors do not write good female characters. I didn’t feel that way in this book; I thought they did a good job.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including innuendos and references to rape and specific male body parts . Violence including graphic murders, fighting, a graphic torture scene, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Dead of Night blog poster 2018 (3)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2vxtxI6

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Jade City by Fonda Lee Twisted Prey by John Sandford 
 
 
 

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse cover

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Book Review of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell

There are lots of picture books out there, and I love a lot of them! Some are funny, some are soothing, some are cutesy, and some teach lessons. This book falls in the last category. I love the lesson it teaches; it’s a big one! I hope you enjoy my book review of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse  by Marcy Campbell. 
 

Blurb:

“Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.
 
But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?
 
The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. 
 
Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.” 

 

My Book Review:

I love the illustrations in this book! They are beautiful! This book was illustrated by Corinna Luyken, and I love her style. It’s part whimsical, part old fashioned, and part childish (in a good way). The people have great expression, it’s full of bright colors, and the illustrations fit perfectly with the story line. I am very impressed with her work.

The story line is reminiscent of The Hundred Dresses  by Eleanor Estes. It shows how mean and judgmental children can be, but also how forgiving and loving they can be. Sometimes we need to help children get out of their small world and show them that there are all kinds of people out there. We need to show them that everyone has a story, a history, and a desire to be loved. Children need to know that each and every person is unique, important, and has divine worth and potential.  And sometimes, parents need to learn those lessons too. 

It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how big your house is. It doesn’t matter where you grew up or where you live now. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive or if you wear the latest fashions. What really matters is how you treat people and how you live your life. Do you have integrity? How do you treat your family members, your neighbors, your co-workers, or those who may have less than you? Is someone worth less because their net worth is less than yours? Do you work hard and try to make the world a better place or do you put others down to make yourself greater?

These lessons are deep for a children’s book, but they are poignant and important. Lots of amazing bedtime chats will stem from reading this book. I love books that entertain, are beautiful, and teach an important lesson. This book does all of the above. I highly recommend this book! It would be perfect for either a home or classroom setting. Ooooo…this would be a great way to start the school year! 

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2MbwFCI

Adrian Simcox Blog Tour

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Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy the hundred dresses  The Nantucket Sea Monster by Darcy Pattison
 
 

Book Review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

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Book Review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

I graduated from Utah State University—Go Aggies!—which is located in beautiful Cache Valley, Utah. It really is beautiful. There are mountains on both sides of the valley with many fields and lots of open space. It has grown significantly, even since I attended school there. My husband and I wish we could have stayed, but there weren’t enough jobs. When Ryan Nelson contacted me earlier this year about reading his book, I had a long list of books I had already scheduled to review. Knowing it was about Cache Valley, though, I couldn’t resist. It’s taken me awhile, but I finally read it. I hope you enjoy my book review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson!


Utah-State-University-aerial-small  Utah-State-University-Old-Main-vertical-small  

 

Blurb (from Goodreads.com):

 

“When FBI Agent Alex Travis receives an anonymous phone call on a September morning in 1954, with a tip concerning the now cold case of the Cache County Bank robbery, it has his undivided attention. The tip leads Travis to the top of the secluded Green Canyon in Logan, Utah, where a young man named Jack Pepper proceeds to tell a story. It spans the two years from the time of the robbery, when he and his girlfriend, Kate Austin, stumbled upon the crime of the century for the Cache Valley. Travis must decide if he is dealing with the suspects or the victims of one of the largest bank robberies in U.S. history.

To get the answers, it will take one more trip up the canyon, to the entrance of the Spring Hollow Mine, where the daylight ends and the cold dark begins.”

 

My Book Review:

This book hooked me from the beginning. Agent Travis of the FBI receives an anonymous phone call. The caller says he has a tip about the Cache County Bank robbery, which is Travis’ case. The caller doesn’t give any information except to tell him where to meet this mysterious person. Agent Travis is perplexed. Should he trust this caller? Does he need to take back-up or is he ok to go alone? In the end, he decides to go alone.

I like Agent Travis’ character. He seems like a good, hard working, decent guy. His character is well developed and likable. I did think the part in the beginning where he is telling his wife the history of Sardine Canyon (the canyon you drive through to get to Logan from Salt Lake City) was cheesy and unnecessary. When Agent Travis meets Jack, the whole thing is still a bit mysterious, which I liked. As a reader, you don’t know if you should trust Jack or not.

Jack’s character is a bit more mysterious to start off. As you learn his story, you begin to trust him. However, in the back of your mind you’re still wondering if you should trust him or not. I liked how he was written in that way. Then later, when Kate comes into the picture, you start to see more of the full story. I liked how the plot unfolded like that. I also liked Kate a lot. Her character is also well developed, likeable, and realistic.

The whole plot line seemed mostly realistic. There were a couple of parts that I thought were a bit of a stretch, but they made it more exciting to read. I liked how it all came together in the end; everyone kind of ended up where they should have.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about the canyons; it made me want to take my kids up there and do some exploring! And if you’re ever up on the USU campus, make sure you get some Aggie ice cream; it’s the best!!

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s some violence, though. It includes murder, an almost-rape, fighting, and the death of at least one character.)

Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2LTAsVt

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown  Twisted Prey by John Sandford
 
 

Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City by Fonda Lee

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Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

On Twitter a few weeks ago, I read a tweet by someone who said that Jade City was a life changing book. Wow! How could I not add it to my TBR pile? I want to read it if it’s life changing! So I pushed aside a few books that I should have been reading, and picked this up. I liked it, but was it life changing? Read my book review of Jade City  by Fonda Lee to find out.

Blurb:

“Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.”

My Book Review:

As I stated above, someone on Twitter posted that they thought this book was life changing. That’s quite a statement. To me, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was life changing, and I find that hard to beat. But I thought I’d like to read it to see for myself. It starts off right in the action. A couple of boys decide they want to steal some jade off of a man in a restaurant. Right from the beginning you know how valuable jade is.

As the story goes on, you get to meet the main characters. Lan and Hilo Kaul, although brothers, are very different. Lan is the leader of the clan, and Hilo is the one who keeps the peace—pretty much by showing a strong arm of violence. There are a lot of characters, and it took me awhile to figure them all out. The names are not difficult, but different, and it would take me a minute to place some of them.

Lan and Hilo have a sister. Her name is Shae. She has chosen a different path than they have, and has chosen not to wear jade or be a part of clan leadership. There are other characters, but these are the most important characters. I thought the author developed the characters very well. They each had individual personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. You could tell they were family, yet they were their own selves. I liked that they each had their own voice.

The story felt a bit confusing at times, but overall it flowed well, was exciting, and very unique. I haven’t read a book with a similar story line, and I always like that. It does take a minute to figure out the workings of the clan and the layers of leadership, but once you figure it out you’re good to go. Although there was a lot of fighting, there was also strategy and smarts behind the clan’s actions.

Part of the story reminded me of a line in The Incredibles. It’s when Syndrome has Mr. Incredible cornered, and he says, “I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. ‘Everyone’ can be super! And when everyone’s super…’no one’ will be.” That same philosophy comes into play in this book—only with jade. If everyone can safely wear jade, then what will happen to the clans? Will they be needed or important? Will they still hold the power they now do? I found that aspect to be quite interesting and thought-provoking.

Did I find this book life changing? No, I didn’t. I did enjoy it though. I liked the characters a lot, especially Shae. Hilo was a bit too intense for me, but I also liked Lan a lot. Anden was also an interesting character. I felt bad for him, but I also didn’t. It was weird. He’s in a difficult place, but at the same time, he has a hard time accepting who he really is instead of where he’s come from. That whole thing was also quite thought-provoking.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including scenes, innuendos, and prostitution. Violence including war atrocities, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3.5/5 (I lowered my rating from 4 because of all the profanity and graphic “intimacy” scenes.)

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Oujuvi

 

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the book thief by markus zusak   Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
 

The Golden Plates #1: Escape From Jerusalem

The Golden Plates 1 Adapted by Michael Allred

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Book Review of The Golden Plates #1 Escape From Jerusalem

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are sometimes known as Mormons. The reason for the nickname is that we believe The Book of Mormon to be a companion scripture to the Bible. We believe The Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and we believe that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. I’m not generally a comic book fan, but I had heard about the comic book adapted from The Book of Mormon, and I have to say that I was curious. When I was approached to write a book review of The Golden Plates #1 Escape From Jerusalem I agreed out of curiosity. What did I think? Keep reading to find out!

Blurb:

The Golden Plates is an illustrated adaptation of the fifth best selling book of all time, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which has sold over 120 million copies. This graphic novel/comic book adaptation was first created in 2005 by award winning artist Michael Allred. The Premium Edition has replaced the full text originally included in the first edition with simplified and edited text, making the story easier for younger readers to follow and also showcasing more of the stunning artwork. It has also been converted to digital form for enjoyment on phones, tablets, and desktop devices through Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. New printed editions have also been released through Amazon.

​The first 6 issues cover the first 145 pages (27%) of the Book of Mormon, from 1st Nephi through the Words of Mormon. This adaptation is a fun and enthralling to way to help older children and teens understand and enjoy the Book of Mormon in a format more advanced than simplified children’s stories or scripture readers meant for young children.

My Book Review:

So what did I think? Well, my first impressions were definitely skeptical. As I said, I’m not a huge comic book fan. They’ve never interested me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first glance, the cover art includes a picture of an angel, and I think the angel’s a little creepy looking. I think it’s consistent with the comic book art, but it is a little disconcerting. Other than that, the art is very well done. It’s well drawn and colored. I think it does a good job depicting the characters—except the angel, as I stated previously. I also liked the use of all the different colors.

The story is taken from scripture, and I know it quite well. For those who may not know the story, it’s laid out well and is easy to follow. Instead of quoting The Book of Mormon verbatim, it tells the story. It’s accurate in its depiction and adaptation. There is some made-up dialogue, but it follows what I think the people would say in those circumstances. There are different color text boxes or comment bubbles to help the reader figure out who is talking. This is just a small piece of the whole story; there are more comic books in the series to continue the story.

Overall, I was impressed. I worried beforehand that having scripture in comic book form would feel sacrilegious or not serious enough. We already have picture books for the small children that tell the story, and I think this fulfills that same purpose for the older children and YA. It is not intended to replace actual scripture study, but to help the older children and YA learn and connect with the story. They will then have an easier time reading and understanding The Book of Mormon later on.

Although you may miss out on many of the scriptural lessons and knowledge, reading The Golden Plates comic book will help you learn the story. For those older children who struggle to understand scriptural wording and language, I think this will help them a lot. I think I would just make sure to differentiate between fictional comics and this one, which tells a true story.

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From My 10 Year-old:

It’s really good, but it just has a lot of extra details. The picture of Adam and Eve made me a little uncomfortable, and the angel is a little creepy. I already knew the story really well so it didn’t really help me understand it better. Toward the end when Laman and Lemuel are fighting with Nephi, I got confused with who was who.

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From my 12 Year-old:

The characters were all kind of creepy. Also I got confused on who was who. But it has good shading and color. I also liked the use of texture. Another thing I liked was the map on page five.

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(FYI: These are not my kiddos. However, I WANT this book shelf! Isn’t it amazing??)

From my 16 Year-old:

I thought that this comic book does a great job of simplifying the sometimes confusing Book of Mormon. This is a great tool that will help children learn to love and understand the Book of Mormon. Overall, I enjoyed this comic book. Peace and love.

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s some minor violence.)

  • I debated whether or not to even rate this. It’s scripture. Do you rate scripture? I don’t know really, but we’ll stick with this for now.

Recommendation: Everyone

  • I always try to explain the scripture stories to my kids in an age appropriate way.

My Rating: 4/5 (For the adaptation and the artwork.)

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OfGb6d

If you’d like to purchase the set of the first six books, click here: https://amzn.to/2LjUloW

Click HERE to find out more about The Golden Plates.

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How To Host A Neighborhood Book Swap

Neighborhood Book Swap

How to Host a Neighborhood Book Swap

Do you get the eye roll when you ask your kids to go read? Do they whine because they’ve read the books in your home library at least twenty times? Are you going to scream if you have to read the same bedtime story one more time? I’ve been there. It’s a struggle. What can you do about it? Well, you could go purchase a whole new home library, but that’s a little out of reach for most of us. The next best thing to do is host a neighborhood book swap.

What is a neighborhood book swap?

What is a neighborhood book swap? Well, it’s quite simple. You and your neighbors get together and trade books. Then you all go home with a new set of books. Great, right? It’s a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to get new books. The kids love picking out new books!

So how does it work?

  1. Advertise your book swap.

Let your neighbors know what it is, when to bring the books, and when to pick up the new books. Click HERE to download your free copy of this flier:

Neighborhood Book Swap Flier2. Collect the books on the planned day.

There are two ways to do this.

1. The really easy way where everyone brings the books and you collect them. You don’t keep track of anything; they need to remember how many books they brought and pick up that same number of books. This works, but I have found that people will bring 10 picture books and pick up 10 chapter books, so there aren’t enough chapter books for the people who brought chapter books.

2. Print off two colors of Book Bucks (One set on red paper and the other set on blue paper). Those who bring in picture books get one color and those who bring in chapter books get another color. You get one Book Buck for one book. The hardest part is cutting out the Book Bucks, but kids are great helpers. It’s ok if they aren’t cut perfectly. Click HERE to download your free copy of Book Bucks. 

Book Bucks

3. Lay out all the books.

On the pick-up day, lay all the books out on tables, chairs, or even the dry cement. I’ve found it best to put picture books together and chapter books together.

4. Collect the Book Bucks as people choose their books.

Collect the Book Bucks as people choose their books. Just make sure they have the correct number and kind of books.

5. Have fun chatting with neighbors and discussing books.

 

That’s it! Easy Peasy! If you want to have a treat like popsicles or cookies you may, but it’s not necessary. To make it really easy for later, save the Book Bucks. You could all take turns hosting too–just pass the Book Bucks around. I hope you have a fun Neighborhood Book Swap!

Book Review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

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Book Review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

I have so enjoyed reading the Proper Romances. Yes, some of them are a bit cheesy, but I like not needing to worry about improper situations popping up. It’s refreshing to read stories without the distraction of the profanity as well. This is a fun one; I like the steampunk twist to it. I think it adds a fun and different angle. And you know I love a good retelling of the fairy tales! With all that, I hope you enjoy my book review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen.

Blurb:

“Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a deep sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, she will fall asleep forever. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is a steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla’s death-like sleep becomes permanent.”

My Book Review:

I’ve always loved Sleeping Beauty, and this book is a fun twist on that well-beloved story. I like the writing style of the book. It flows well, is easy to read and understand, and is a fun, entertaining read. The characters are well developed. I thought the author did a good job of making them realistic. They each have their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and talents. I liked that there was a hint of mystery in each of them at the beginning, and that you learned more about them as the story went on.

The steampunk aspect of the book adds a fun twist. I liked the descriptions of the airship, the telescribers, and the automatons. If I could really have my way I’d have a Samson to clean my house, do my laundry, and drive my kids everywhere. Haha! Wouldn’t that be amazing? It’d be like having your own personal butler or something. I’m all for that!

I liked the story line as well. It was creative and unique, which I’m always glad about! I thought Isla’s curse could have been a little worse, but I understood how it affected her job and livelihood. It still could have been a few more hours or something, though. I thought it was sweet how Daniel worried about her so much. The side stories with the other characters were interesting, and the twist of how they fit together was a bit surprising. It’s comical that all the men fall for Isla. You feel like you could mop the floor with their drool. Come on boys! Pull yourselves together! I liked that Isla is a strong female character, but she also has her vulnerable moments.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s a fast, easy, entertaining read. It’s not going to solve the world’s problems, but it will give you a few min of respite from those problems. It’s a bit cheesy in a few parts, but I love a bit of cheese with my romance, so it’s fine. If you’re looking for something deep and mind blowing, this isn’t your book, but if you’re looking for a fun beach or summer read, look no further!

Content Rating PG+Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity in this book. There’s no “intimacy” except for some kissing. It does include some violence as they fight a massive shapeshifter.)

Recommendation: YA and up

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2KK4U4A 

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