[Book Review] An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry

One day last fall, this book just showed up in my mailbox. Best day ever, right? I’m assuming it came from the publisher, but I’m not sure? So, thank you to the mystery sender! I hope you enjoy my book review of An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry. And feel free to send me books any time you want to!

Blurb:

“In this riveting new William Monk novel, Anne Perry delves into the diverse population of Victorian London, whose disparate communities force Monk to rethink his investigative techniques—lest he be caught in the crosshairs of violent bigotry.

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London’s Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn’t speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be—a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners—they are well hidden among the city’s ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife—former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders—Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian émigrés, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London’s streets like a clarion of doom.”

 

My Book Review:

I haven’t read a murder mystery in a long time, so I enjoyed this fun change of pace. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed delving back into Victorian London and learning about the Hungarian population there. Monk and his wife Hester seem like they’re very good for each other. It would be difficult to be a detective, especially when a murder is so gruesome. Consequently, having a good support system around you would be a necessity.

Along with the murder mystery comes the story of Crow and Will. Will is the adopted son of Monk and Hester, and he is one of my favorite characters. Will works as an apprentice for Crow, who is a doctor in a clinic. When they need a translator, Will finds Fitz, and he turns out to be quite helpful. I liked both Crow and Fitz as well. They work well together, and it’s fun to see Will learn and gain more responsibility.

At first, all the different characters confused me, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well, was easy to read and understand, and did a good job of grabbing hold of your attention. Ms. Perry developed the characters very well. Although each has a hint of mystery with an uncertain past, I thought that added to the story. The title, An Echo of Murder, fits the story well. It doesn’t smack you in the face, but it doesn’t take a long time to figure out either.

I kept changing my mind about who I thought committed the murder, which is a sign of a good writer. There was a bit of a twist at the end, which made figuring it all out more difficult. I enjoyed this book a lot; it made me remember how much I enjoy reading mysteries.  

 

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13 + (There’s some profanity, and although there aren’t any “intimacy” scenes, there are a few innuendos and things are implied.  There is a little bit of violence, but the thing that warrants the higher rating is that the murder scenes are quite graphic and gruesome.)

Age Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

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

 
 

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The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten  The Last September by Nina de Gramont
 
 

12 Amazing World War 2 Books You Can’t Put Down

12 Amazing WWll Books You Can't Put Down

12 Amazing World War 2 Books

Today I thought I’d switch things up a bit!
(I know, it’s unlike me…spring fever maybe??)
 
 

My 12 Favorite World War 2 Books

Here are my 12 favorite Wold War 2 Books. Some of them are nonfiction and some of them are fiction; I like both–I can’t help it!
(I didn’t put them in any particular order…Click on the Picture to Read My Review)
 
1. All The Light We Cannot See
by
Anthony Doerr
 
 
2. The Boys in the Boat
by
Daniel James Brown
 
 
3.  The Monuments Men
by
Robert M. Edsel
 
(Ok, this may not have been my favorite book, but the story of what these men did was amazing.)
 
 
4. The Book Thief
by
Markus Zusak
the book thief by markus zusak
 
5.  Unbroken
by
Laura Hillenbrand
 
6.  A Woman’s Place
by
Lynn Austin
 
7.  The Diary of Anne Frank
by
Anne Frank
 
(I have read this book several times, but not since I started my blog -gasp!- so I don’t have a review….I’ll need to get on that!)
 
 
8.  The Hiding Place
by
Corrie Ten Boom
 
 
9.  Man’s Search For Meaning
by
Viktor E. Frankl
 
(I have also read and loved this book, but I have not reviewed it….yet!)
 
 
10. When The Emperor Was Divine
by
Julie Otsuka
 
(I didn’t love this book, but it was VERY eye-opening.)
 
 
11.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
by
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
 
12.  The Nightingale
by
Kristin Hannah
the nightingale by kristin hannah
 
Each of these World War 2 books highlights a different aspect of World War 2. Some of them are fiction and some of them are nonfiction, but whether it is true or not, each brings a different piece of the war to light. There are people in internment camps, people trying to hide Jews in their homes, and a Japanese-American family inside an internment camp here in the United States. There is a story about what the women in the United States did at home during the war and how they helped the efforts, and there’s a story of how the war affected a little girl and her family in Germany.
 
I have laughed, cried, gotten angry, and learned so much as I have read these books. I hope they touch you as they have touched me.
 
Do you have any other favorite World War 2 books? Comment below, I’d love to read them!
Happy Reading!
~Monica 
 

This post was originally published on 3/31/16; updated on 2/15/18.

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

[Book Review] The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I have a book review for you of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have read this book a few times now, and each time I learn something new! Believe me, the concept works!

Blurb:

“He sends you flowers when what you really want is time to talk. She gives you a hug when what you really need is a home-cooked meal. The problem isn’t your love–it’s your language! In this international best seller, Dr. Gary Chapman reveals how different people express love in different ways. In fact, there are five specific languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. What speaks volumes to you may be meaningless to your spouse. But here, at last, is the key to understanding each other’s unique needs. Apply the right principles, learn the right language, and soon you’ll know the profound satisfaction and joy of being able to express your love–and feeling truly loved in return.”
 

My Review:

I love this book! I’ve read it several times, and each time I read it I get something new out of it. The first time I read it, I couldn’t believe how accurate it was, and I tried to put the principles into practice. I thought I was. But then my husband kept getting upset about a certain situation every time it happened. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. So, I went back and reread this book. Then it clicked! Oh my. Yes, I’m a little slow. But, once I figured out how to speak his love language, it has been so much better. I knew his love language before; it hadn’t changed, but it took me awhile to figure out how to speak it in his way. It’s so simple, yet so complex. Loving someone should be easy, right? Well, it’s even easier if you know how to do it according to what that person wants and needs.
 
There is a quiz that you and your spouse can take to determine your love languages, and then there is a whole chapter devoted to each love language. It’s well written, and is easy to understand. He uses lots of real life examples of people that he has worked with, and they are very helpful. What’s great is that it takes things that our spouses might “nag” us with, and it puts them into perspective. So, if your wife keeps nagging you to do things around the house, then her love language may be acts of service. Maybe you’ve been bringing her home flowers often and you can’t figure out why she’s still upset; it’s because gifts is not her love language, acts of service is. Does that make sense? I love it.
 
Several years ago my church had this Valentine’s Day activity for all the adults. There was a dance, but if you needed a break or weren’t into dancing, they had a bunch of classes you could attend. The person in charge knew that I had read this book and asked me to teach a class on it. I felt super nervous (my throat was so dry that a nice guy went and got me a drink of water), but I’ve seen so much success using the five love languages in my own life that I said yes. It turned out great, and I treasure that experience because I was able to help people improve the way they loved each other.
 
It’s also great because the same principles apply to our children. You don’t need to give the children the quiz; once you know the languages it’s pretty easy to spot them in your children. For example, I have one child that needs words of affirmation constantly, while another constantly wants hugs. Do you see how that works? That way you can make sure you’re speaking your spouse’s love language and also your kids’ so everyone feels loved in his or her own way. If you are married or in a dating relationship I highly recommend this book.
 

Content Rating RRating: R (There isn’t any language or violence, but it does talk a lot about “intimacy” between husband and wife.)

Recommendation: Adult

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Book Review first published 11/6/14, updated on 2/13/18

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[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity by Al and Ben Carraway

cheers to eternity by al and ben carraway

[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity: Lessons We've Learned on Dating and Marriage by Al and Ben Carraway

I have heard Al Carraway speak twice now; the first time I heard her speak, she wasn’t married to Ben yet. She is such an engaging speaker, so I was excited to read and review this book. I hoped it would be as engaging as her talks are.

Blurb:

“Author of the best seller More than the Tattooed Mormon, Al Carraway and her husband, Ben, remind you that marriage isn’t supposed to be ‘serious and hard.’ A successful marriage is one that you build as a team—emphasizing constant communication, working through hard times together, and (above all) remembering to put God first.

Using a wonderfully open dialogue, the Carraways share the funny, embarrassing, and honest lessons and struggles that have shaped their life together.

Written for singles, newlyweds, and marriage veterans, Cheers to Eternity will help you bring new insights into your relationships, keep life in perspective, and make the rest of your life here and in eternity exciting, amazing, and meaningful.”

 

My Review:

This is a fast, yet engaging, read. The Carraways seem to have a good relationship, and seem to have their priorities straight. I like how they play off of each other, and I like how Ben talks and then Al responds, and vice versa. Sometimes in marriage we see the same situation differently, and you see that come through a few times. There are a few parts where this comes across as very cutesy, bordering on cheesy, but it didn’t bother me too much.

The Carraways haven’t been married very long, and this definitely comes through in their book.  There were a few times I may have rolled my eyes at them; my husband and I have been married just shy of twenty years now, so they don’t have all the experience that comes from time together. However, their marriage has still gone through some difficult struggles, so their opinions are valid. Also, it’s always good to remember what it was like in the early days of your marriage, and to remember what it was that you loved about each other, etc.

Although there isn’t anything in this book that is groundbreaking or especially new, it’s definitely a good reminder. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day grind, and it’s good to remember to take the time to love each other and put each other’s needs first.

            As you move forward with marriage, it will no longer be about “I” and “Me,” but will always and forever be “Us” and “We.” Let’s not let anything come in the way of loving our spouse and putting them before our selfish desires. It is always better to be kind and understanding than to be right. Let’s lose ourselves in them and, no matter what happens, be there for them. Forgive quickly and always. Every day let’s wake up and think of what we can do to make things easier for them.

I like how they start each chapter with a quote or two on the topic they’re discussing. A few of their discussion topics are: It’s Not About You, Communication, Finance, Intimacy, Expectations, Always Have Time For Love, Affection, and Doing Hard Things Together. There is definitely a religious overtone to this book; Al and Ben Carraway are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as Mormon or LDS). They are Christian, and they just talk about how in marriage you also need to put God first.

Even though I’ve been married for many years longer than the Carraways have, it was good to hear their perspective. I may not have learned anything new in their book, but it’s always a good reminder of what we should be doing. If you’re dating or a newlywed then I would definitely recommend this book. If you’ve been married for awhile, like I have, then it’s still a good read. Trying to improve your marriage is never a bad thing, right?

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s no profanity and no violence. However, it is all about marriage, and “intimacy” is a part of that. They don’t shy away from the topic.)

Age Recommendation: Adult 

 

 3.5/5 Stars 3.5 Star Rating

 
 

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the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel  Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN
 
 
 

[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

James Lilley approached me last fall to review his book Overcoming and Avoiding Illness. At the time, my son had been sick for a very long time, and we still didn’t have a diagnosis. I agreed to read his book in hopes of finding help for my son. Before I was able to read his book, however, my son spent a couple nights in the hospital, where he finally received a diagnosis. Although the information in this book didn’t end up helping in that particular situation, James Lilley has a lot of great information about how to overcome and avoid illness; he’s definitely done his research!

Blurb:

“Based on six years of research this is the remarkable story of one man’s obsession to overcome serious illness. When doctors failed him, James Lilley succeeded by applying common sense and an extraordinary level of dogged persistence.

Inside you’ll find the strategies he used to rebuild his own health brick-by-brick. Covering more topics than a Swiss army knife, these techniques are easy to implement and apply to a wide range of ailments.

With an exceptional ability to breakdown the complex, James shares his many insights using a blend of empathy and humor. This is an inspiring story which will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about wellness.

This isn’t just another hyped up health book designed to look good sitting on the shelf, it’s an empowering, comprehensive, problem solving tool. ~James Lilley

In every sense of the word, this is a truly independent book. There was never any slick marketing campaign or big launch date to draw on. It’s actually quite remarkable that you even found this book or perhaps this book found you.”

My Review:

As I stated previously, my son was super sick for most of last year. He’s still not fully recovered, but has come a very long way. Life is almost back to normal, although it is something he will probably always deal with in some way. James Lilley reached out to me in the middle of all of the craziness, so I was excited to read his story and see what he was able to do to overcome his illness. He spent many years researching solutions to his health problems, and it definitely shows; this book is packed with information!

For the most part, I liked his writing style; it’s easy to read, humorous, and casual. He does use quite a bit of profanity, which I didn’t love or think necessary, but that’s just my opinion. Mr. Lilley does have a knack for taking difficult medical terms and procedures, and making them easy to understand. He includes advice that is very common sense like eating your vegetables every day and good nutrition, but then he’ll add something about testing your blood’s acidity levels or detoxifying the metals in your body. There are some very in-depth and technical things that he advises, and a lot of them are things I’ve never heard of.

I liked reading his story. The one about how he was so sick that he had to be in a wheelchair, and now because of these strategies he’s walking again. I wished that there had been more of that story because I felt at times that it was just a huge information dump. It would have been great if he had included how doing each of those individual things had helped him overcome his illness. Something to the affect of, “Doing A helped decrease this…” or “After six months of doing B, I started to see this…” Without those little pieces of information, I was left feeling overwhelmed with all the information.

James Lilley put many years into this research, and there is so much to learn from his book. On the one hand, I trust him because he has read and researched for many years, but on the other hand, he’s not officially a doctor. What I decided to do was to take what he said, and if I thought it would help or I liked the concept, then I would talk to my doctor and research it myself as well.  By doing this, I feel it’s a good compromise.

One little nitpicky thing that annoyed me was the cover. Mr. Lilley put an acronym on the cover. The acronym is: What’s The Formula? Well, as we all know, that acronym is used in texting to say something very different.  I didn’t feel comfortable with that acronym big and bright on the cover of a book that I read in front of my children and took to many different places, so I took a sharpie and covered it up. I know it’s little, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. There is a ton of information; some of it seems great, and other things seem kind of way out there. I wish he had connected the dots more along the way, but if you’re looking for information on how to overcome or avoid illness, this could be a very good resource for you.

Content Rating R

Rating: R (There is a lot of medical jargon and quite a bit of profanity.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

3 Star Rating

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

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[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Blurb:

“Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school English teacher. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a ‘battle of the bands’ book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks: Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance—with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac—that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.”

 

My Review:

I liked this book a lot! The main character, Greta, is a librarian, so what’s not to love? She has a great voice in this book; she’s witty, hard working, intelligent, has a great job, and is young and hip. Greta tries hard, even though she sometimes misses the mark a bit (the little stunt she pulls was not my favorite part). I liked how much she loves and cares for the library. Maybe I liked Greta because I think being a librarian would be fun, but in any case, I think she made a great main character.

One thing that drove me crazy about Greta was that she kind of had the Bella from Twilight thing going on with Mac and Will. They both seem like great guys. She needs to choose which features are more important to her, and she definitely has a hard time figuring this out! Will has been her best friend forever. He may not have the looks, but he knows everything about her, and he’s caring and kind. Mac is hot (according to Greta), but he doesn’t quite take care of her like Will does. He’s a good kisser, though, so that makes it a hard choice.

This book is well written, and I enjoyed it.  I like the writing style because it’s easy to read and it flows well. One part of the formatting that I didn’t love were the whole pages filled with text messages. The text messages weren’t difficult to read, in fact, I read those pages quite quickly.  However, I like reading real sentences–you may disagree. In any case, I enjoyed this book.  It’s a fun, entertaining read. There’s even a hint of a mystery, which added a fun twist.

 
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” (except for some kissing), and no violence. There is one part that has a bit of an edge to it. I rated it PG+ because it’s clean, but it’s not recommended for middle graders.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adults (12-18) and up

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

 
 

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Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden  Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
 
 

[Book Review] Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

[Book Review] Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

 Blurb:

“In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 men sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross Antarctica. Five months later and still 100 miles from land, their ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. When Endurance broke apart and sank, the expedition survived another five months camping on ice floes, followed by a perilous journey through stormy seas to remote and unvisited Elephant Island. In a dramatic climax to this amazing survival story, Shackleton and five others navigated 800 miles of treacherous open ocean in a 20-foot boat to fetch a rescue ship. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World vividly re-creates one of the most extraordinary adventure stories in history. Jennifer Armstrong narrates this unbelievable story with vigor, and eye for detail, and an appreciation of the marvelous leadership of Ernest Shackleton, who brought home every one of his men alive. With them survived a remarkable archive of photographs of the expedition, more than 40 of which are reported here.”
 

My Review:

I love this book! It is an amazing story! Seriously amazing, and I think it teaches wonderful lessons about hard work, determination, working together, and great leadership. It is so well written that it reads as fiction. I love the format with the pictures and the maps. I love to just look at the pictures because they capture the moment so well. I look up to Ernest Shackleton because of his great leadership ability. As you’re reading, you know that no one dies, but you can’t believe it!  These men go through so many trials and hardships, and not one of them dies. It is incredible! Ms. Armstrong did a great job with this book and I highly recommend it! I recommend it as a read-aloud and also as a personal read. This book is one of my all-time-favorite nonfiction reads!
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (It is clean, but they do suffer through a lot of hardships, some of which are not pleasant to read.)

Age Recommendation: Fifth Grade and up. It is a great read-aloud for home or school, and is also a wonderful book for kids and adults alike to sit down and read. Parents may want to read it first just so they know if it is appropriate for their child.


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The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown   1776 by David McCullough  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
 
 
 
*This post was first published on 8/8/12, and was updated on 1/10/18.

[Book Review] The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

[Book Review] The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

Blurb:

“The day Arian Coles stepped into the CUBUS his life would be changed forever. His scores were high enough to thrust him into the world’s greatest and most dangerous competition. But this is no game, the winner will become one of the ten world leaders–a Sage. According to Sage Law there must always be Ten Sages, but the eldest, Kanja, is dying. He must be replaced. Unable to find a suitable replacement among their own people, the Sages turn to the working class populace and institute the Challenger Competition. Through their love of intelligence, athleticism, technology, and extreme sports they have created The Challenges–ten Challenges in the most dangerous locations on earth. Making friends and foes along the way, Arian must be on his guard at all times. He must decipher his feelings between Maria and Ciana and decide if one is his ally or enemy. At the brink of death, Arian will have to prove if he has the fortitude to make it through unimaginable adversity and be crowned a Sage. But is this the end goal for Arian? He must decide what his true purpose is.” 

My Review:

Wow! What a ride! Full disclosure: Chad Rasmussen lives in my neighborhood. It always makes me a little nervous to review books for people that I know. What if I hate it? What if it’s poorly written? Especially with first-time authors, you never know what you’re going to get. So, when his wife asked if I’d read his book, I said, “Yes,” and then I got worried. However, I needn’t have worried. In his debut novel, Chad Rasmussen takes one part Hunger Games, one part The Amazing Race, and one part Olympics, and successfully mixes them all up into one crazy concoction of action, revenge, betrayal, amazing feats, and change for the Cive people. You can’t help but like Arian. He’s strong, determined, intelligent, easy to relate to, and courageous. The Challenges are insane! Racing on snowboard-type boards on sand dunes, capoeira to the death, soccer on water skates, and flying suits. I was really glad that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law introduced me to capoeira so that I knew what they were talking about. I watched them in a tournament once, and it was quite exciting! Here’s a video of what capoeira is. It’s 8.5 min, but you just need to watch the first couple of minutes to see what it is.  

What did you think? Pretty fun to watch, right? Now just picture them fighting to the death using capoeira. On a small platform. Thousands of feet in the air. Scary! Overall, I’d say that this book is well written. The characters are developed well, the story flows well, is easy to read and understand, and it’s full of action. The Challenges are exciting to read about, and the relationships Arian has with Maria, Shen, and Komi add such a great element to the story. I loved how they supported him. I’d say that overall it was a bit predictable, but there were enough surprises along the way to keep me reading. I came to enjoy this sci-fi world that Chad Rasmussen has created. The ending was a bit of a drop-off-a-cliff, so I hope there is a second book to take us off the ledge we’re hanging from.

Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (There was one swear word that I remember, so not terrible there, and there isn’t any “intimacy,” except for some brief kissing. It is quite violent though. A lot of characters die, and some of them quite graphically.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adult and up (12+)

 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and Chad Rasmussen does live in my neighborhood; however, this did not affect my review.
 
 

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[Book Review] Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley and W.J. Humphreys

Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley

[Book Review] Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley and W.J. Humphreys

Blurb:

“Did you ever try to photograph a snow flake? The procedure is very tricky. The work must be done rapidly in extreme cold, for even body heat can melt a rare specimen that has been painstakingly mounted. The lighting must be just right to reveal all the nuances of design without producing heat. But the results can be rewarding, as the work of W.A. Bentley proved. For almost half a century, Bentley caught and photographed thousands of snow flakes in his workshop at Jericho, Vermont, and made available to scientists and art instructors samples of his remarkable work. In 1931, the American Meteorological Society gathered together the best of these photomicrographs, plus some slides of frost, glaze, dew on vegetation and spider webs, sleet, and soft hail, and a text by W.J. Humphreys, and had them published. That book is here reproduced, unaltered and unabridged. Over 2,000 beautiful crystals on these pages reveal the wonder of nature’s diversity in uniformity: no two are alike, yet all are based on a common hexagon.”

 My Review:

Since I woke up to at least six inches of snow this morning, I thought this book would be very fitting for today. I love any nonfiction book that captivates and intrigues the reader, especially if that reader is a child. This book does just that. The text at the beginning is too difficult and technical for my girls (9 and 6), but that has not stopped them from pouring over each and every snowflake pictured in this book. When it was due at the library they begged me to renew it because they didn’t want to let it go. It is fascinating! The beginning text is very interesting, yet a bit technical. It talks about the different types of snowflakes and how they are formed, it talks about how Mr. Bentley painstakingly photographed each and every snowflake, and it talks about different natural phenomena like dew, sleet, hail, and frost. I found it intriguing, but I read through it quickly because I couldn’t wait to see all the beautiful pictures. It is amazing how intricate and detailed some of the snowflakes are! I had no idea that some snowflakes look like columns. Yes, they look like actual Roman columns, 3D and everything. There are many different shapes and configurations. No two in the book are the same. My favorite ones are the ones you think of when you think of snowflakes, with many delicate and intricate details. Frost is beautiful too! After reading this book, I can now look outside at all the snow this morning and not only see, but appreciate the beauty in it as well. This book would be fabulous for science teachers, art teachers, photography teachers, and all teachers looking to introduce more nonfiction books into the classroom. It would also be a great addition to any home library. I highly recommend this book.

Content Rating G

Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone! (For a silent read I would say 5th or 6th grade and up to be able to understand the text, but everyone can enjoy the photographs.)

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong   I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin   Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace
 
 
*This post was originally published on 12/29/14; updated on 1/5/18.

[Book Review] Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

[Book Review] Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

 Blurb (from goodreads.com):

“When “science-fair-geek” Anika goes to live with her scientist father in a town built around his mysterious genetics laboratory, she is determined to prove herself worthy of his legacy. But all preconceptions about her new life are thrown out the window when Anika discovers her father is a megalomaniac living in a town populated entirely by mad scientists. Now Anika will have to navigate her way through a high school filled with vindictive evil geniuses, deadly science projects, and unspeakable human experimentation. Relying on her wits, scientific know-how, and talented allies, Anika fights for her very life, and the lives of her new friends. Will Anika have to become like her mad scientist father in order to save the day?”
 

My Review:

Anika is a fun character. She’s smart, witty, sassy, and doesn’t put up with anything. She’s a good, strong, female leading character. I liked her voice a lot, and thought she was well developed. It’s always good to have a science nerd as a main character. Her mom isn’t in a lot of the book; even though she’s a bit mysterious, you find out more about why she is the way she is as the story goes on. I did think that Anika was a bit quick to disregard her mom after all they’d been through together, but teenagers are never predictable. I liked Billie a lot, and felt so bad for her and the situation she was in. Anika’s father is quite the interesting guy. I didn’t feel like he was developed as much as Anika was, but part of that is the mystery that surrounds him. Anika doesn’t know him very well either, so I guess it’s fair that the reader is also kept in the dark.
 
I liked the story line a lot at the beginning, with the science fair and all that. It was when Anika got to Moreau that the story became a little unbelievable to me (you may not feel the same way). It’s sci-fi, and you know I love a good sci-fi, but this definitely bordered on fantasy, and was a little hard to believe. I liked her friends at school, especially Misty and Sasha, and I did think they were well developed and likable characters. Victor is scary, creepy, and intimidating, but his situation is a bit on the unimaginable side. Well, honestly, a bunch of the characters have sides of them that are unimaginable. On one hand, it gives the story a lot of action. It’s definitely full of action, Anika is a go-getter for sure! On the other hand, some of the scenarios are a tad on the strange/inconceivable side.
 
I liked that the teenagers took matters into their own hands because they really didn’t have anyone they could turn to for help, but at the same time, that included them doing some things that I don’t think teenagers should have to do. I wanted to scream at their parents for putting them in that situation. You never really heard anything about their mothers, either. Where were they in all of this? The ending wasn’t my favorite, either. It just ended. I’m assuming that means that a second book is in the works, but there were still quite a few things that could have been tied up a little better. Overall, the book was ok for me. There were some parts of it that I really enjoyed, and some parts that I had a hard time believing. If you’re a science nerd then you will definitely enjoy this book.
 
Content Rating PG-13

Rating: PG-13 (There is some profanity, and there are times where they don’t actually say the “f” word, but they say a word that is VERY similar, so you know that’s what they mean, which is a tactic I don’t particularly care for. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is a lot of violence. There are a few characters that are killed, and there is a lot of fighting.)

Age Recommendation: 14 years-old and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also, the author is the son of my good friend. 
 

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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card   Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention (Book #1) by J. Scott Savage  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley