Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review: It's Duffy Time!

It's Duffy Time!Author: Don & Audrey Wood
Publisher: Blue Sky Press, 2012

Anyone who has known or loved a dog will find this relatable. A day in the life of Duffy - wake up, eat, nap. Nap, nap, nap, nap. Play time! etc.

Cute. For the dog-lover in your life.
 

2.5 stars
                 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Hogg, Hogg, & Hog

Author: Margie Palatini
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2011

When an author casts about for an idea, what does she come up with? Three pigs casting about for an idea! What do they come up with? Something silly that everyone around them thinks is brilliant.

'nuf said.
    

 Just two stars for this one. **         

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review: If Only You Knew

Author: Mags Storey
Publisher: Kregel, 2009

This book has been on my reading list for quite some time, probably since I met the author at a writing conference the year it was published. I'm glad I finally got around to it.

As the story opens, we learn that Jo is spending the summer after high school at Silverpoint, a community somewhere north of Ottawa. There she shares an apartment with her older cousin, Kat, while her unreliable mother, married five times and with a long string of past boyfriends, continues to search for true love. On Jo's first day, she meets Kevin and Sam, who both vie for her attention. Although Kevin is not very communicative, Jo finds him really 'hot', and he does seem to care for her. Sam, who has an on-off relationship with the manipulative Traci becomes a very good friend.

When Jo was in Silverpoint the previous summer, she witnessed a hit-and-run/attempted murder involving Nate, a youth leader at the local church. In fact, she was almost sure he had died. So it's quite a surprise to find Nate very much alive, although no one seems to know anything about his accident just last year. Why is it such a big secret? And who are the two creepy guys who seem to be stalking Jo? What are they after? Do they think she knows something?

This is an excellent teen read, with both romance and intrigue, as well as a Christian message that, in my opinion, isn't too preachy. For me, some of the romantic interactions are sappy, but then I'm no longer a teenage girl. For those readers, I'm sure it will be perfect :)  


Winner of the 2010 Grace Irwin Award and recommended for teen girls who enjoy romance and mystery. In fact, I recommended it when my daughter's friend, Eileen , was looking for suggestions. You can read her review here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Review: Not Just a Hearer But a Doer

Subtitle: Deliberately Living Life Devotional Study, Volume 1
Author: Yolanda Shanks
Publisher: Bethany Press International, 2012

From the back cover: "In 31 days, Yolanda Shanks' devotional study...will help you find calls to action within Scripture...and then act upon them. Starting with small things...and working your way up to bigger actions...you'll soon have the tools, desire and confidence to put Scripture into practice. Just as God intended."

What I liked - 
  • Each daily study is brief enough to read, whether at the beginning of a busy day or the end of a long one.
  • Each day begins with a key Bible verse you can memorize
  • The author gives background and context to the key verse
  • This is followed up with interpretation and application
  • Each study concludes with additional memory verses to support the day's theme
  • There is a place for you to write in a personalization of the text
  • The author tries to connect with the reader through the way she 'speaks'
What I didn't like - 
  • The author uses the King James Version, which is challenging for many modern-day readers 
  • The precept upon precept form of analysis is extremely pedagogical and pedantic and conflicts with the writer's attempt to connect with the reader through casual speech and the frequent use of exclamation marks (e.g. "The Bible is full of gracious promises!")
  • The overuse of unnecessary exclamation marks detracts from the text and what Shanks is trying to communicate
  • Occasional glaring typos
Unfortunately, though my list of negatives is shorter than the positives, it outweighs them with respect to my ability to get "into" the material. As a result, I was not able to gain "the tools, desire and confidence to put Scripture into practice", which was the writer's goal. It was a good goal and I wanted to attain it, but this work didn't get me there.

I can only give this book two stars and hope the writer will take this feedback and use it to improve future endeavors.

Full disclosure: this book was received free from the publisher through the BookCrash review program, but does not affect the honesty and sincerity of my review.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review: Bird Box

http://645e533e2058e72657e9-f9758a43fb7c33cc8adda0fd36101899.r45.cf2.rackcdn.com/harpercollins_us_frontbookcovers_648H/9780062259653.jpgAuthor: Josh Malerman
Publisher: Ecco, 2014

Not a big fan of horror, I was a bit afraid to read this book. However, I'd read a review somewhere and because it sounded interesting, I decided to give it a try.

The novel opens with sisters Malorie and Shannon facing an uncertain future. Frightening things have been happening around the world and are getting geographically closer to where they live. People are killing others and themselves in horrifically violent ways, with no apparent provocation. It seems related to something they've seen, but no one seems to know what that 'something' is. Those who remain alive start covering the windows of their homes and staying behind closed doors as much as possible. If they go out, they cover their eyes so as not to see anything provocative.

When something happens to Shannon, the pregnant Malorie decides that she can't go it alone. Led by an old advertisement, she seeks out a home that's supposed to offer safety and sanctuary to any who want it. There she meets a small group of people trying to survive in this strange new world. They work and brainstorm together, but like any family, they have their issues. Don, in particular, has ideas that frequently clash with the others'.

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that in terms of plot. Let me say, though, that although horrifying things happen in the book, my fear of reading a 'horror' was unfounded. I'd rather call this a novel of suspense, or an apocalyptic novel. There was certainly high tension on every page and you care about the characters and what  happens to them.

Very well written; an excellent read for anyone, but especially for those who enjoy horror and suspense. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Inscribing

Today at Inscribe I share my experience of trying my hand at a relatively new-to-me genre, the parody. Read how I transmogrify the much-loved I Hope You Dance song into something far more sinister. -How's that for intriguing?!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

If You Can't Beat 'Em

I can't believe we're already more than half-way through July! The summer is going fast and I am being kept oh-so-busy!

As I was catching up on my blog reading the other day, I saw a post from fellow blogger, Janet Sumner Johnson, who's decided to "succumb and embrace the crazy". That is to say, she's taking a summer break. I had a light-bulb moment: why not join her? I'm sure the world won't come to an end and my faithful readers will still be here when I return in September.

I expect  to do my usual posting at Inscribe on the 30th of July and August and will post those links when I have them.

Otherwise, see you in September - hope you have a fantastic summer!