Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review: The Innkeeper of Bethlehem by Scott Roloff

The Innkeeper of Bethlehem: The Story of Santa Claus
By: Scott Roloff
Genre: Christian/Children/Fantasy
115 pages
Publication Date: September 2013
* Book Source- Complimentary copy from author in exchange for an honest review.

This book will permit families to enjoy Santa Claus and the other secular customs of Christmas within the Christian celebration of Jesus’s birth.  For little children, Santa Claus becomes a real person delivering presents to them from Jesus.  The tale begins with Shai and Adi, the childless owners of an inn in Bethlehem.  When Shai rents out their bedroom, they must sleep in the stable.  During the night, Joseph and Mary arrive and Adi helps Mary through a difficult labor.  They bond, and when an angel appears telling Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, Shai and Adi go with them and become Jesus’s uncle and aunt.  The book then tells of Jesus growing up with his friends Mary Magdalene and John, his ministry, and his death and resurrection.  These vignettes teach the lessons of life and the Bible through Jesus’s experiences.  The book concludes with Shai and Adi following the Lord’s Star to the North Pole, where angels have built a palace.  Jesus wants Shai and Adi to raise the baby angels there until they reach adulthood.  The baby angels, or elves as the grown angels derogatively refer to them, are a mischievous lot.  Shai becomes known as Santa Claus when a baby angel mispronounces “Shai, Uncle of Jesus,” claus being the angelic word for uncle.

I thought the author wrote a creative book blending Jesus's birth with that of the origin of Santa Claus. The story within a story was paced well and flowed nicely. I also thought it was nice how the innkeeper's roles were expanded. I thought, however, the execution was a little awkward but I think this would be an enjoyable book for young children. So I'm giving it...

  1/2 teacups

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Lisa





 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review of The Deep End By Julie Mulhern


Country Club Murders # 1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press, February 2015
255 pages




The Deep EndThe Deep End by Julie Mulhern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars





Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.
It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.
As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

* Book Source: Complimentary copy via netgalley

This is a good first novel. The plot flowed well, the characters were colorful and likable. The mystery kept me interesting and I liked the year it was set in. I think this is going to be a fun series.



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About the author:

Julie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean—and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is—she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. She is a 2014 Golden Heart® Finalist. The Deep End is her first mystery and is the winner of The Sheila Award.

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Lisa

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Guest Post: Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day By Jenny Milchman

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day
A.K.A
How to Build Literacy, Support Community, & Make Magic Happen
All in One Day

In 2010 I had two young children whom I was bringing to story hour at our local bookstore almost every week. After all, what better activity to do with kids? It was enriching, fun, even relaxing. I didn’t have to feel guilty when I drank that 700 calorie butterscotch latte from the coffee bar. I was running back and forth between adult fiction and the flower-flocked children’s section—working off the calories for sure.

My kids probably didn’t realize it was as much of a treat for me as for them. Which started me thinking—were other parents in on this secret? How many children knew the pleasure of spending time in a bookstore?

I frequent the mystery listserv, DorothyL, and a more avid group of readers you couldn’t hope to find. When I floated the idea for Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, bloggers on the listserv spread the word. My husband designed a poster, a website, and bookmarks, and we designated the first Saturday in December as Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. This would coincide with holiday gift giving, hopefully giving people the idea that books make great presents. Just two weeks later, 80 bookstores were celebrating.

That summer my husband and I loaded the kids into the car and drove cross-country, visiting more than fifty bookstores. (You can tell he’s a supportive guy). In 2011, the second annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day found over 350 bookstores celebrating in all 50 states. Some planned special celebrations—children’s book authors, puppet makers, singers, even a baker who led kids in a gingerbread cookie decorating activity—while others simply hung a poster in the window. When 2013 came around, and the number had risen to over 600 independent bookstores, and one major chain, we knew that word was getting out. Kids + bookstores = magic.

And maybe something even more than that.

There’s a cultural wave behind Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. The word locavore isn’t just for a Dr. Seuss story anymore. Supporting your local community and the resurgence of Main Street are goals that more and more people recognize as important to build strong citizens as well as strong readers.

You know that old ad campaign, “Orange juice isn’t just for breakfast anymore”? I hear that now as, “Bookstores aren’t just for reading anymore.”

And by that I mean more than the fact that you can also buy toys, cards, gifts, or have your butterscotch latte at a bookstore. Bookstores are places where people come together over ideas and engage in a cultural conversation. That concept is so important I have to say it again. They are places where people come together. And booksellers are a group who know how to zig while others are zagging, so impassioned are they by their life’s pursuit. Their stores are places of physical interaction in an increasingly virtual world.

When you take a child to a bookstore, you stimulate his mind and all five senses. (If taste seems a stretch, just let her have the whipped cream on your latte). There’s a tactile dimension to the experience that seems rare these days. You also make that child a crucial part of the place where he lives, supporting it and helping it grow.

Best of all, these things happen in a guise that to the child is sheer magic. On the shelves of a bookstore sit gateways into whole new worlds. Children go into bookstores—but they come back out having journeyed somewhere else entirely.

This Saturday, December 6, 2014 is the fifth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Whether you take your own child, a child you know, or the child inside yourself to a bookstore, together let’s build literacy, support community, and make magic happen.

Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist and mom from the Hudson River Valley who once drove past Disney with her children en route to the nearest bookstore.















Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Review of Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower

Andi Under Pressure
Andi Boggs # 2
By: Amanda Flower
Genre: Children's Mystery
176 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz, September 2014

Twelve-year-old Andora 'Andi' Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn't be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp's curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks---missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he's acting suspicious, she can't believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk's dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

 Source: Complimentary copy via BookLook Bloggers.

This is the second Andi Boggs mystery and it was just as entertaining as the first. Andi is spunky and the rest of the characters are engaging as well. I loved Nancy Drew as a kid and these books remind me of her. I think this would be a good series to introduce kids to mysteries. But it's also very suitable for adults, too.



 


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Lisa








Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Review: The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

The Ship of BridesThe Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.

In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever. 


Source: Complimentary copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

An engrossing novel based on historical events. I felt I was traveling on the ship with the women and was emotionally engaged with them. An enjoyable read.



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Lisa

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review of The Faded Trilogy by Chloe Miles

I received all three books from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Faded Trilogy is a YA paranormal romance series.

Series Overview:

You only live once ... unless you're Hunter Emmerton.

A half-spirit girl. An irresistibly charming ghost. The beginning of a timeless first love. A town terrorized by evil ... and dark forces who will stop at nothing to tear them apart. But how can they be together if they can’t even feel each other’s touch?

Faded
The Faded Trilogy # 1
392 pages
Published: 2012

When seventeen-year-old Savannah Fraser and her three friends are killed in a car accident, they are given a second chance at life by a group of century-old earthbound spirits who need their help.

Savannah learns she is a Chosen One, which means she can switch between human and spirit form, heal people, and control the weather—and she is also now invincible.

The Chosen Ones are the only ones who can defeat The Forces—a trio of evil half-spirits who are slowly destroying the perfect little town of Fort Everwick with violent storms and not-so-natural disasters—and stop them from harming everyone they care about.

The Forces are set on destroying everything Savannah knows and loves, but they also have a more sinister plan—they want a new member to join them. They won’t give up until they get the one they want—and they have Savannah firmly in their sights.
 
But what Savannah didn’t count on was falling in love with Hunter. She’s never loved anyone the way she loves Hunter, and she knows he loves her, too. But how can they be together forever if he no longer exists and she’s the only one who can see him?

Will Savannah have enough belief in herself to defeat The Forces, or will they be able to lure her to the dark side and turn her against her loved ones—and tear her and Hunter apart?
 
Book Links:
 
 
The Faded Trilogy # 2
350 pages
Published: 2013


“You could have perfect vision and still not see the evil in someone. Well, at least not want to see it, anyway.”

The enthralling story that was built in Faded continues in exciting and unexpected ways in this action-packed sequel in The Faded Trilogy.

Are Savannah’s dreams predicting the death of someone close to her? Or is it someone even closer than she thinks? Can Savannah save one of her best friends—and stop another from suffering the same fate?

Savannah will need more strength than she ever has before if she is to defeat The Forces for good, and with Hunter’s love and encouragement to believe in herself, she finds the confidence she never knew she had.

However, while The Chosen Ones become more confident in their roles as protectors of Fort Everwick, The Forces only become more evil—and prove they will stop at nothing to win.

What will Savannah do that will change everything and determine her position of power over The Forces forever—and prove to them that she just might have it in her to beat them at their own game?

But while becoming their biggest threat, it also reinforces Savannah’s position as Gwen’s most cherished target.
 
Book Links:
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Faded Trilogy # 3
462 pages
Published: 2014

 
One of Savannah’s friends is hiding a secret that will change her life—forever.

In this heartbreaking yet heartwarming conclusion to The Faded Trilogy, Savannah is facing an epic final battle with The Forces—and the possibility of losing Hunter forever.

If Fort Everwick no longer needed protecting, and Hunter was free to cross over, would he stay with Savannah as he promised—or leave her to live the normal life she deserves?

Savannah can’t imagine her life without Hunter, but does he love her truly enough to let her go?

Until then, The Chosen Ones only have one thing on their mind—defeating The Forces. But they are stronger than ever—and not prepared to go down without a fight.

Will The Forces finally be defeated once and for all? And can Savannah and Hunter really live happily ever after?
 
Book Links:
 


While I found the first book a little slow at first it grew on me. This an enjoyable trilogy with interesting, likable characters. Especially Hunter. The author has a good voice and this is a good addition to the good vs. evil story lines. It's suitable for young adults and older adults. So I'm giving the series...
 
 
 
 Lisa
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review of Mortom by Erik Therme

MortomMortom by Erik Therme

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Genre: Mystery/Thriller
294 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace, February 2014
 
 
Mortom: population 986.
 
On the outskirts of town, 33-year-old Craig Moore is found drowned in the lake. A loner and town eccentric, few attend the funeral.

One week later Andy Crowl arrives in Mortom, still stunned by his cousin's death and equally confused why everything was left to him. The two hadn't spoken in years and shared little outside of fierce childhood competition.

But Craig hardly did him a favor. The estate amounts to little more than a drained bank account and a property overridden with junk. When Andy finds a dead rat under the refrigerator with a key in its mouth, he thinks it's some sort of sick joke. Then he finds the letter left by Craig, written two days before his death . . . detailing the rules of "the game."





Book Source: Author

A mystery with many twists and turns. It certainly was an interesting read. I did not like Andy but I did like his sister Kate, the ending was a little disappointing but overall it was a good book.



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Amazon/ Author Site


Lisa