Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways Final Wrap-up

Thank you all for playing along with my giveaway game. I had a lot of fun and I hope you did too.  Here are the winners for the last few days:

Day 12: Timbra wins Blue Fairy Book. Timbra, tell me how to contact you.
Day 11: Caren won the "mouse" book and a variety of other books.
Day 10: Kim won the Pinocchio and Penderwicks.
Day 9: Carolyn wins the baby picture books, including "Cuddle".
Day 8: Susan won the Agatha Christie book.
EDIT: Day 7: Briana won the princess books!

Thanks again for having fun with me! I will put these all in my car and do my best to deliver them to you in the next few weeks...

And stay tuned for more giveaways. I won't be doing one a day, but I think more are in the works...

Friday, December 17, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12

Today is the last day of the 12 days of giveaways! Everyone has been having fun I hope, and I will announce the final winners of each of the last few days tomorrow.  I had fun and hope that you all have a lovely Christmas season.

Today's book is the Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.

I have many fond memories of reading all of the fairy books at my local library when I was growing up. I loved seeing all of the different fairy stories there were out there.

This giveaway ends tomorrow, Saturday. To enter, simply leave a comment.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 11

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of picture books:
If you give a mouse a cookie
Spiderman comic book
Doctor Dan the Bandage Man
Strange Animals of Australia

These books are perfect for an older preschooler to read with you.

This giveaway ends Friday, December 17.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 10

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of chapter books:
The Penderwicks (reviewed the second book here)
Pinocchio (full unedited version)

These books are perfect for an upper elementary age child to read.

This giveaway ends Thursday, December 16.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 9

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of picture books:
If Big Can... I Can
That's When I'm Happy
Happy Birth Day!

These books are perfect for a little toddler to read with you. They are very sweet.

This giveaway ends Wednesday, December 15.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 8

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is an Agatha Christie mystery:
Passenger to Frankfurt.

I have read many of her mysteries and I can't tell you how enjoyable they are. I love that the surprises are those that I cannot predict.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, December 14.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winners of Hatteras Girl and Days 2-6

Well you all are keeping me on my toes with all on all of your entries! And of course I'm too busy to keep up with you.

Anyway here we go!

Hatteras Girl goes to Caren. Congrats!
Day 2, VeggieTales books, goes to Briana. Yay!
Day 3, no one wanted. Guess we'll just donate that one.
Day 4, chapter books, to Kim P. Hooray!
Day 5, Orson Scott Card, to Becky. I don't know Becky but we'll figure out how to get it to her.
Day 6, learning to read books, to Alexandria. Good job everyone!

All of these books are in my car. I will try to deliver them or you can call me and meet up with me, or something. I will even mail them to you.
More giveaways are coming!

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 7

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of girly picture books:
Alice in Wonderland
Barbie Magic of the Rainbow
These are all very nice books for a nice little girl

This giveaway ends Monday, December 13.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 6

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of I can read books (4th grade level):
My Parents Think I'm Sleeping (poetry)
Horse Heroes: True Stories of Amazing Horses

This giveaway ends Sunday, December 12.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 5

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of Orson Scott Card books:
Women of Genesis: Sarah
Women of Genesis: Rebekah
Women of Genesis: Rachel and Leah
Monkey Sonatas

I really enjoy Orson Scott Card's books, and I enjoyed reading the Women of Genesis series. The only issue I had was that he did, as a Mormon fiction author, take liberties with the Bible stories with details that are not in the biblical account.

This giveaway ends Saturday, December 11.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 4

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of chapter books:
Night of the Twisters (thrilling book about tornadoes)
Missing May (sweet book by Cynthia Rylant)
Skeezer (legend of an unusual dog)

This giveaway ends Friday, December 10.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 3

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a book by Suze Orman "The Courage to Be Rich."

This giveaway ends Thursday, December 9.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Day 1 Winner and Prophecy Winner

The Day 1 giveaway winner was Susan! Congrats! The random number generator picked #1 out of 4.

And the Prophecy winner was also Susan, picking #2 out of 2.

Susan, guess we need to get together.

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 2

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of Veggietales books:
Junior's Colors
How Many Veggies
Bob and Larry's ABCs

This giveaway ends Wednesday, December 8.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 1

In honor of Christmas I am hosting a giveaway each day until December 20. Each giveaway will last until the next giveaway posts, about 1 day each. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post.

Today's giveaway is a set of books about Santa Mouse, an adorable little mouse who helps Santa every year. We have "Santa Mouse" and "Santa Mouse, Where Are You?"

This giveaway ends Tuesday, December 7.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Hatteras Girl

This soul-searching book is a short, pleasant read that covers some serious topics in amongst the story.

You can read my review of it here.

This giveaway will end on December 12! You know you want this book!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

For the Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem

by G. A. (George Alfred) Henty

G.A. Henty authored many historical novels in the 19th century, full of action and adventure.

I have read two or three of his novels on my new Kindle, and I am very impressed with the stories. Too often historical novels published nowadays are full of nonsense and romanticism. These books combine courage and valor with adventure and accuracy and I highly recommend them.

This particular one talks about the time around the Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans. From the perspective of a wholesome Jewish farmer-turned-soldier, we learn all about many historical characters.

One of the things I appreciate most is that Henty injects facts into his writing and makes sure the reader knows what is fiction.  I am looking forward to reading many more books by him.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hatteras Girl

by Alice Wisler

ISBN 978 0 7642 07327

Jackie Donovan is in love with a closed bed and breakfast in her North Carolina town. She also would love to find her soul mate.

This soul-searching book is a little predictable in that I could totally call it from the beginning as to the plot, but it was still an enjoyable read.  The characters were well-rounded and I appreciated some of the less-talked-about parts of being an adult (sometimes you don't like other people's kids, at all) and other interesting parts of the story.

I also thought the topic of "What to do when God doesn't answer your prayers when or how you think He should?" was a good one and I thought her answers were pretty good.


This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! The Prophecy

If horror/Christian is your genre, this is the book for you. Sorta like Stephen King meets Left Behind. Plus angels.

Leave a comment to enter to win, and the winner will be chosen December 5.

Here is my review of the book.

Winner for Kabul24 and Mistmantle and assorted chapter books

Kabul24 goes to Caren, thanks to the random number generator.

The chapter books from the previous week go to Briana, the only entrant. I currently have about 30 books for Briana. Briana, I am home tomorrow morning before 11:00 am. Call me! My house is full of your books!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

John, Paul, George and Ben

by Lane Smith

I am very fond of the books Lane Smith has done in conjunction with Jon Scieszka like Squids will be Squids and The Stinky Cheese Man. I was hoping this one would be as hilarious. Unfortunately it was not. It does teach us just a few facts about our founding fathers in a silly way, but it's not funny enough to counteract the false facts and resulting confusion it creates.


Monday, November 22, 2010

In the Shadow of the Ark

As a Christian I have very strong beliefs about the truth and validity of the Bible. I believe in the historical accuracy of the Bible. If you do not agree, that's okay.

I was very dismayed at the portrayal of the account of Noah's Ark in this book.  I often read books that take liberties with history as far as the unwritten parts go, but this book goes even farther and directly contradicts the Bible in at least two very major points.

If you know me personally you know that I am often fuzzy on the details of things that I have read. Not so with this book.

The two areas that the book directly contradicts the Bible are as follows.

A.  The protagonists are not Jewish but come to the area where Noah is building the ark only to find that he's doing a pretty terrible job. Luckily the father of the protagonist is a shipbuilder and so he sets everyone straight. Sorry, but as a Christian I believe Noah was inspired by God to build the ark and that he knew how to do it correctly with God's help.

B.  (Spoiler) At the end of the book we find that there was a human stowaway on the Ark and also in another ship. I firmly believe that the account in the Bible is true and that there were ONLY 8 humans saved in the flood: Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives.

Because of these major discrepancies I cannot recommend this book.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Woman in the Wall

Have you ever been so scared of people that you wished you were invisible and could live apart and separate from them? This intriguing story of a young girl in that situation is good for teenagers or adults.

Recommended for 13+.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Kabul24

This heartbreaking story of humanitarian Christians taken hostage will give you a new insight into Afghanistan as it was in 2001, before and after 9/11.
Leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Winner will be chosen randomly on November 27.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Her Mother's Hope

by Francine Rivers

This is the first part in a series of at least two books by Francine Rivers. It is historical fiction in that it is loosely related on her own mother and grandmother's lives.

Although I have a huge stack of books to read right now, when I picked this up at the bookstore it got moved to the top of the stack. I have loved Francine Rivers' books since I was in high school, and this one did not disappoint at all.  Taking us from Switzerland to California, the book does a good job of showing why relationships can sometimes be very strained even when love is present.

I know someone who has book #2 and will be borrowing it from them ASAP.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


by Henry O Arnold and Ben Pearson
ISBN 978 15955 50224

Kabul24 tells the story of 8 humanitarian Christians who lived in Afghanistan around 9/11. They were taken hostage and lived for months in uncertainty as to whether they would ever get home to their families.

While this book was sad and hard to read at times because of the events depicted, it was also a good story and gave me insight into a historical event that I didn't know anything about.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homeschooling for the rest of us

How your one-of-a-kind family can make homeschooling and real life work

by Sonya Haskins
978 0 7642 07396

I was really impressed with this book. The author spent a lot of time researching and writing chapters that are well-thought-out and well-balanced.  If you have ever considered homeschooling (or are homeschooling) or would just like some more ideas for how to enrich the time you have with your children, this is a good book for you.

Some of the chapter topics include:
pressure, perfection, and progress
developing positive relationships
the socialization question
routines and schedules
extracurricular activities, support groups, and co-ops
the art of academics
nurturing your child's heart
living in a  (very) messy house
dealing with relatives
homeschooling on a budget
the special needs child at home
following your own path

Basically every question one could ask about homeschooling is answered in a balanced, non-judgmental way, from a Christian perspective.

A lot of the things were pretty simple, commonsense ideas, but the fact that the author took the time to lay it all out in such a respectful reasonable manner was very nice.

I was also impressed with the attitude that she shares. Don't worry if you have a very laid back approach or if your approach is very structured. There is information here for everyone.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to BethanyHouse publishers for providing this book free to review.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winner for beginning to read books

Briana has won the beginning reader books! Briana, we really need to get together so I can give you these books.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Selected Chapter Books

This week we have three picture books.  One is an edited version of "The Secret Garden," and we also have "Urchin of the Riding Stars," a Mistmantle book.  The last one is "The Day of the Pelican."

These would be good for a 5th grader or older.  Hope you enjoy!

If you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on November 14.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Selected Picture Books Part 3

This week is another set of very interesting little picture books.  They are from our church library.  We have included: "The baby born in a stable," "Noah and the Ark," "The rainy day adventure," and "Questions kids ask God."  We hope you like them!

If you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on November 20.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Learning to Read Books

This week we have three books sure to get your little one reading.  They are very interesting and my son loved them.  Included are "Nate the Great and the Boring Beach Bag," "Magic Treehouse Mummies in the Morning," and "Amelia Bedelia and the Baby."

If you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on November 7.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Giveaway Winners

I have to apologize for not posting the winners for the last few weeks. Life has been a bit hectic.

Here are three winners! Congratulations!

Kim P won some picture books!

Mary Beth won What Your Second Grader Needs to Know!

Briana won Premiere on the Runway!

Let me know how you want to get your books!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Selected Picture Books Part 2

These books are from the church library.  They are a motley assortment of picture books.  We don't need them anymore so now you could own them!

Included in this set are "The Story of Jonah," "Stanley the Stinkbug goes to camp," "My little book of Bible Promises," and "Noah saves the animals."

If you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on October 31.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Fault Line and Zeke

These two books are not really related but my mood is weird today so let's go with it.

The first is a spy novel.  The second is some sort of political commentary.  It's funny?  Maybe?

Anyway if you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on October 24.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Selected Picture Books

This week we are doing a group of picture books which used to belong to the church library.  There's nothing wrong with them except that we had to give up a few to make room for new ones.  This group includes "Care Bears:Caring is What Counts," "Daniel and his very good friends," "Just be nice to your little friends," and "Papa Noah built an ark."

If you would like to be included in this giveaway simply comment here and we will randomly choose a winner on October 17.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! What your second grader needs to know

Perhaps your second grader doesn't know everything yet.  Mine certainly does.  :)  That was a joke!

If you would like this book simply leave a comment here and we will randomly pick a winner on October 10.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! The Magicians

This is an adult fantasy/science fiction book.  It was reviewed recently on our site.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, October 3.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Amy and the Sorrel Summer

Amy And The Sorrel Summer
By Laura Fisher

This book was published in 1964 and is a really nice story about a girl who decides to save up $100 with her brother so they can buy a horse at the end of the summer.

If you have ever wanted a horse, or tried to save money for something as a child, this is the book for you.

And the best part is the kids learn a great lesson about being content and thankful for what they have.

Recommended for ages 9 and up

Friday, September 24, 2010


This book was very strange to read.  I can’t tell if the author was trying to make fun of CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (that would be sad) or making a tribute to them (that would be nice).  It was extremely full of sad and hard things and drinking and drugs.  It was not really uplifting at all.  The basic premise is that some students are invited to a special university (hello Harry Potter) and learn lots more about their own world and other worlds.  I didn’t enjoy it very much but was able to finish it.  Won’t be buying any more of that author though.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

100 Days of Monsters

Stefan Bucher started a blog a few years ago that highlighted a new cartoon monster every day.  He eventually has done lots of animations of him drawing the monsters and he published the first one hundred in a book.  The monsters are silly and the stories that go along with are even sillier.

Emlyn's favorite monsters are 32, 37, 22, 84, and 100.  And we may have written some of the stories :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roar! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia

by Heather Kopp

Regardless of the fact that CS Lewis insisted that he did not add as many allegorical references to his books as people see, I am happy to find a book that does draw parallels to Christianity. 

This is a very well done comprehension guide.  Every chapter has a few lessons and talking points from the chapter, with a few Scriptural references to tie in.

I wouldn't do this every night with our reading because part of the joy of reading to my kids is just soaking in the story, but when I have tried it I have had good results with discussing things with my kids.  It's basically the same things I would discuss on my own with them if I weren't so lazy to come up with them.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Complete Book of Illustrated Reading and Writing Activities for the Primary Grades

This book has lots of activities to be used in teaching or reviewing reading and writing.  There is a wide variety of activities and my son seemed to really enjoy them.  As far as I could tell, they are designed to be copied and used in your classroom or at home.  I could not tell for sure if that is the case.

Recommended for teachers or parents who want a little extra to use in teaching.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spindle's End

by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is one of my personal favorite authors.  She has a way of re-imagining fairy tales that takes something you thought you knew, thanks to Disney, and taking it to a whole new level of awesome.

Spindle's End is, at its bare bones, the story of Sleeping Beauty.  A story which I am not very fond of when Disney does it.  But Robin McKinley took this story and made it amazing.

I have re-read this book many times and each time I am glad I read it.  The characters are very well-developed, and the end, which we all know, is even more mysterious and intriguing each time I pick the book up.  In fact reviewing it is making me want to read it again.

Highly recommended for teens and up.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Starlighter

This book was recently reviewed on our site.  It is a dragon fantasy about God, so that’s cool, huh?  Good for teenagers.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, September 26.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest post: Judy Moody Books

Emlyn, my daughter, likes Judy Moody books the most of all.  Her favorite is "Judy Moody Goes to College."

When asked why they were her favorite, she replied "because they're about a girl and her annoying brother." I wonder if that's an indicator of her life right now :)

Unlike Junie B Jones, I am fairly certain that Judy Moody books use proper grammar rather than slang and mistakes kids often make in speaking.

The good news is since these books are recently published, they are easy to find at your local bookstore, library, or Half Price Books.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chapter Books Revisited

A while ago I posted a list of excellent timeless chapter books for children.  I would like to republish the link to it because I still find it to be important to find excellent books for our kids.  I don't want my daughter to start reading fiction without my previewing it yet, and I find these books to be enjoyable and fun for the whole family.

Here's the link.

Go forth and read with your child today!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Elderberry Bush

by Doris Gates


This is a lovely story about two daughters who live in the country.  It is set in the early 1900s.

Some of the adventures the girls experience are: going to the beach for the first time, pretending to be Sacajawea, visiting old relatives, and being kind to other people.

I enjoyed reading about these girls' kind hearts and sweet adventures.  A very timeless and innocent book.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner: Premiere on the Runway

Briana is our winner of Premiere on the Runway. Congratulations Briana!

Fault Line

by Barry Eisler
I read this book because my husband told me to. He said he could relate to the brother in the book who is very good at being a spy type dude. 

So I read it.  It was okay although the characters were very one-dimensional.  There were not many surprises but it was a fairly good action book.

I was a little disappointed at the amount of scenes involving s*x.  There were too many for my tastes.

Recommended for its genre.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Dollshop Downstairs

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Set in the early 1900s, this is a lovely little story about two girls who live above a dollshop.  When the economy changes their family has to come up with a new way of making money.  This book is innocent and perfect for an 8 year old.  Or for her mommy who loves little innocent books.  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

by Betty Birney

This is a lighthearted and optimistic read about a child who is unhappy with where she lives.  She wants to go on adventures and see the Seven Wonders of the World.

She is challenged to find seven wonders of her own town.  So she takes her friends on an adventure in her town and finds that Sassafras Springs is not actually as boring as she thought.  A great book about being content where you are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! The Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones

A happy birthday to me means a new giveaway!

This book has already been reviewed on this site.  
It is a decent fantasy with strong characters.  Good for teenagers.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, September 19.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Prophecy

Wow. If you ever wanted to be dropped right into the middle of a horror story then this is the book for you.  I used to read a lot of horror in high school- started with Christopher Pike and moved on up to Stephen King before I was done with that genre.

I would definitely say that this book falls right in with that category of writing.  The interesting thing is that this is also Christian, supposedly.  At least they talk about God.

Earlier when writing about fashion I mentioned that sometimes it's hard to relate Christianity with secular topics.  This seems to be another one that's hard for me.  If it's so scary with not much redemption it seems counter-intuitive to call it Christian.  I am not finished reading this though so we'll see if the next 100 pages make it a little better.

UPDATE: I just couldn't seem to get through this book. I could only ever read about 2 pages at a time before I was too scared, and was starting to have nightmares. I don't know if my brain just can't handle horror anymore, or if this book was a subset of the genre that I can't read, but for my own sanity I had to stop reading. I wish I had been able to finish it...

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rape of Nanking

This was a very difficult book to read.  Very few people want to read about the mass murder of 19 million people.  I picked this up and read it, though, not because it was enjoyable but because someone needs to be a witness to this in the same manner as we are for the Jewish Holocaust.

During World War II the Japanese Army killed as many as 19 million Chinese.  I did not know this until reading this book.  It is a terrible and sad account of atrocities which were done.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Bryan Davis 
 ISBN: 9780310718369
A dragon fantasy that is trying to teach us God’s timeless truths? Score! This book is the first (I assume) of a series which introduces two fallen worlds. Both of them have ancient legends about how to be saved and how to save the other world.  This first book didn’t have a lot of resolution or hope but I am curious to see how the author connects all the pieces presented in this book.  It would have been nice if some of the lines could have been connected for us in this first book but mostly this just left me wanting to read more.
It took a few chapters for me to be hooked, so I hope the next books start in on the action a little sooner.
Recommended for teenagers.

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing this book for review.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Giveaway: Premiere on the Runway

This week's giveaway is a book we reviewed yesterday, Premiere: on the runway.   

We will be posting a new giveaway every Sunday and we have new book reviews being posted every day. 

As a very practical adult I was not very fond of the book but I think it has a lot of potential for someone who really enjoys fashion or who is a teenager.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner on September 12.

Premiere On the runway

by Melody Carlson
ISBN 9780310717867

Premiere: On the Runway is a Teen Fiction book written from and for a Christian perspective. There are at least two scenes where the kids go to "youth group" and other church functions and these functions are not explained. So it is expected that the target audience knows what's going on.

The main struggle in this book is between two sisters. One, Paige, knows all about fashion and has been asked to host a teen fashion show similar to Stacy and Clinton's show What Not to Wear. The sister, Erin, more calm and down to earth and is invited to help her sister on her show but would rather be in the background.

As a teenage Christian I did not watch reality shows (well they weren't really around back then), read Seventeen magazine, or keep up with fashion, so it was hard for me to relate to the characters. In fact it was hard for me to reconcile the idea of kids who go to church and their parents are okay with them being so superficial as to go on reality shows and the like. Not that a true Christian could not do these things. It was just really hard for me to understand the protagonist.

Supposing that a teenager was in the same or similar predicaments of trying to reconcile her belief system with worldly culture, and to fit in both worlds, I thought the author did a plausible job of fleshing out the characters and plot. It did not really appeal to me but might to a teenager.

The whole book kind of reminded me of the latest Disney movie aimed at teenagers, but with some Jesus mixed in. I was not impressed. On the other hand I am not a teenager who loves fashion, so it was hard for me to understand the proposed audience.

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Redheaded Princess

by Ann Rinaldi
ISBN: 9780060733742

This book is about Queen Elizabeth I before she was queen. It is historical fiction.

This was the first book I had read by Ann Rinaldi, and I was impressed by the way she brings in actual facts into her story in an understandable way. She really weaves them into the plot.

This book was very interesting to me although I did not see very much hope or redemption. The time of Henry VIII was a brutal and sad time, even for the royalty in Europe. There was the Spanish Inquisition as well as poor King Henry killing all his billions of wives. Therefore the book was pretty dark, detailing the troubles Elizabeth had with her family members all trying to scheme and plot to take the throne.

Despite all of this sadness this was a pretty good book. I definitely learned new things about that time period, and bringing in the perspective of a young royal girl helped shed a new light on the topic. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Princess Ben

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
ISBN: 9780618959716

I found this book to be a perfect mix of princesses, magic, powerful women characters, and redemption.

"Ben" is third in line to the throne when her parents and the king are attacked by enemies. She is orphaned and left to learn all about being a queen from the regent queen, her aunt. Ben is upset and confused and rebellious. She has never been properly trained and the queen is afraid she will be unacceptable as heir.

The first few chapters were quite despairing and hardships kept hurting the princess, but I was VERY encouraged by the end. This is really a coming-of-age book and would easily be applied to any young girl who feels that her life is just not fair and that the world is conspiring against her. Thankfully the book reminds us that sometimes we just have to push through and conquer our problems.

Special note: The princess is often referred to as fat, and towards the end does slim down but is still not "skinny" or "slim". I was happy to see the way the author handled conquering a food addiction in a healthful manner, and realistically many girls these days are confronted with self-image problems at an early age.

Recommended for age 13 and up.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Staircase

by Ann Rinaldi
ISBN 0152024301

Ann Rinaldi writes historical fiction for young adults. This particular novel was about a young girl who moves to a convent shortly after the Civil War. She does not want to be there, especially because she is Methodist, but also because she is grieving the loss of her mother and really would rather be on adventures with her father.

The convent was in Santa Fe, New Mexico territory. I was very surprised to see how interesting the culture of that area was at the time. The author portrayed a town full of Mexican, Indian, and Catholic superstitions, culture, and customs. At times the children in the book encountered graveyards, witches, vicious townspeople, and failed prayers. The protagonist has a healthy suspicion of Catholic beliefs and would rather just be Methodist.

I thought that though religion was not always portrayed in a positive light, there were some truths and hopeful characters. It was an engaging story about a real legend from the area.

Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains

by Laurel Snyder
ISBN 9780375947196

Lucy the milkmaid is friends with Wynston, a prince. As she grieves the loss of her mother and solves a mystery surrounding her disappearance, she also goes through a coming-of-age time where she re-evaluates her life and expectations for the future.

On her journey to find her mother she meets new and interesting people and has to use her smarts and abilities to find her way.

Aside from the concerning problem of her running away and not really having any consequences for those actions this was a light, humorous, and tender book. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones

by Alister McGrath
ISBN 9780310718123

Fiction, fantasy, young adult

The Chosen Ones is an allegorical fantasy showing us the battle that people go through when deciding whether to be on God's team or not.

This was the first in a series, and I was glad to see that it did not end in a cliff hanger. The writing was simplistic and unpolished. I found the story to be an okay plot, but I am fairly picky in my fantasy expectations.

Two children find a pool in the backyard of their vacation home and fall through it into another world. They are assigned a quest to save the kingdom and even have a prophecy about them.

There were a few typos and it really wasn't a book that I would read again, but if you are looking for a light fantasy this is a good choice for you.

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Bump in the Road: From Happy Hour to Baby Shower by Maureen Lipinski

I have made the comment recently that I read more fiction than non. After reading A Bump in the Road: From Happy Hour to Baby Shower by Maureen Lipinski, I think I need to clarify that statement.

I don't tend to finish fiction. Why? Because most of what I read is terrible. Bad plots, badly drawn characters, and the worst offense--authors who cannot put their main characters in peril. Fiction is supposed to be cathartic, allow readers to experience things we would be too scared to otherwise or would never have the opportunity to. Nothing irritates me more than when an author is too gentle with the plot for the sake of the main character.

Yes, Stephanie Meyer, I am calling you out.

So lately, I have been gravitating towards memoir because it feels more authentic. However, Jen Lancaster made some fiction suggestions on her summer reading list. Looking for a change, I decided to try some out. First up was Lipinski's book, a story about a young woman in Chicago, still enjoying her marriage's honeymoon stage, who accidentally gets pregnant. The novel follows Claire through each trimester as she struggles with the sudden changes, the morning sickness, managing her life, and coming to terms with the fact that nothing will be the same again.

At first I struggled to get into the book. I found Claire to be silly and unrealistic (really, who can drink that much?), but once she got pregnant, I could relate to her much better. This novel reminded me of my own unexpected pregnancy in so many ways. This novel excels because it has just enough realism and outlandish moments combined.

Now, it's not perfect. There are some cliches, some characters who aren't fully developed (overbearing mother-in-law, perfectionist friend with bad marriage, slutty friend with heart of gold, etc.) But it's good enough for me to look forward to the sequel I requested from the library.

I recommend this book for non-literary snobs, especially women. I don't see guys getting into this. Well, it's not really for them anyways.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

I do not tend to be a big fan of non-fiction, but I make the exception for humor writers. In my opinion, Jen Lancaster is pretty dang funny, but humor writing is a "funny" thing. One person's side-splitter is another person's curled lip and/or eye roll. I am a huge fan of sarcasm and shock (well, not too much shock--I'm pretty modest.) But I love when people can tell the stories of crazy things that happen to them, especially when they can be honest about themselves and their short comings.

Last summer I read Lancaster's Bitter is the New Black and Such a Pretty Fat. It is not necessary to read these books before Pretty in Plaid, but all three books are pretty quick reads. In Pretty in Plaid, Lancaster writes about growing up, using the context of her favorite/most memorable outfits. This book will particularly appeal to those who can relate to 80's fashion, etc. In every story, Lancaster writes about herself with honesty and humor. She has a really strong view of the world, but she is open about her flaws.

I recommend this book for women who want to laugh. This is definitely not a book for the guys and not for children. While Lancaster is modest about sex, she does have a foul mouth and she drops several f-bombs. She is funnier than heck though and all her books make a great summer read. You can learn more about Jen Lancaster on her website http://www.jennsylvania.com.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I have finished Choosing Gratitude Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. What a wonderful book to read at the beginning of a new year!

In this book Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes of the transforming power of gratitude in our lives. Because of the grace we've been given, gratitude should be evident in us. The purpose of this book is to show how we can have a lifestyle of gratitude and how this will change our lives as we become grateful people. She writes about reasons we need to be grateful and how we can show our gratitude. At the end she also includes a 30 day devotional guide to put into practice the things she talks about in the book.

This book was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it to you. I really gained a lot by reading it and want to share it with others. I also look forward to reading other books by this author.

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing this book for review.

Have a day of blessings!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winner of GREEN

Briana won the copy of Green by Ted Dekker. I randomly generated a number between 1 and 5. Congrats to Briana!

Monday, January 04, 2010

In Grandma's Attic

by Arleta Richardson

ISBN: 978 0 781432689

When I wrote my post on quality chapter books I got some more recommendations for books. Among them was the series "Grandma's Attic." I got a couple for Christmas and was wonderfully surprised!

Each chapter in this book is a short story that the author's grandma told her about living in the late 1880s through early 1900s. They each end with a Christian moral and Biblical truths are liberally sprinkled throughout the text. The stories do not come out as very preachy in my opinion but you can definitely sense that the author is Christian and believes in God. I especially like the last chapter where the grandma teaches about appropriate uses of prayer (for God's will to be done, not our own).

There are lots more books in this series and I will be buying all of them. Highly recommended.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook

By Joyce Lankester Brisley
ISBN 978 0 7534 53322

Back when I wrote my post on quality chapter books I got some more recommendations for books. Among them was "Milly-Molly-Mandy". I was able to buy it recently and read it tonight.

I highly recommend this book. The child, Milly-Molly-Mandy, gets to do lots of fun, calm things that a little girl would have done in the 1920s. The AR Bookfind site said it was a 5.2 grade level but I thought the content was quite tame and sweet. I would let my 7 year old read it for sure.

Highly recommended!


by Ted Dekker

ISBN 978 1595542885

Leave a comment here to win this book. I will choose by random selection on Wednesday January 12.

I was interested to see what this science fiction / Christian book was about. I have not read any Ted Dekker books and thought it looked interesting. Green is the fourth in a "circular" series of books. Supposedly it can be read first or last- the whole series refers to itself due to time travel.

I could not finish the book. It alternately bored, confused, and shocked me. Firstly I don't usually like books that refer too much to things in other books. A passing reference here and there doesn't bother me, but when constantly being put into situations where we smugly know what happened before didn't work for me.

I also didn't like the graphic descriptions of violence and rituals. This society was either parallel to ours or an alternative to ours, and there was a lot of violence. I don't appreciate violence in any case but to see it in a book that was trying to show the Christian story was not happy for me. I know the Bible is full of war and sadness but this had a different feel to it for me.

At any rate I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book.

I received this book free to review for Thomas Nelson Book Reviews. I was not compensated for the review except for the free book.