Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy

Storyline - Grady is an orphan who has only known the life of show business as Floyd passes him off as a fabled creature known as the feechie, which the boy believes he is for most his life. But as people stop believing in such things, Grady learns he isn't the wild creature and the two have to find a new way to support themselves. As they go from one idea to another, the finally land on an idea to bring back the feechie trade. They have to make people believe that feechies are beginning to attack the towns and villages. But as the feechie trade returns, something big is about to change in Grady's life.

Author - Jonathan Rogers

Age Group - 14 and up (it can get a little slow sometimes which might cause a younger age group to lose interest quickly)

Positive - Some good points in the book are that it doesn't matter what you look like to be loved and that the truth makes Grady feel good. Barbary, a friend of Grady, defends him and cares about him for who he is unlike Floyd who doesn't show Grady much kindness or approval unless he does something to make his life better. Also, Grady once defends Barbary even at his own risk.

Negative - When Grady and Floyd start making people believe that feechies are going to attack them, the boy doesn't see that he's hurting people when he tricks them. Instead, he believes that they are responsible for how they react to his actions and it is their fault for believing it is feechies. He also reasons that the things he and Floyd do are show business and it is an art instead of tricks and playing off of people's beliefs and fears to get money. Grady never seems to see this though in the book.

Writing - Jonathan Rogers wrote an funny tale about a boy who doesn't know who he is. But the story didn't seem to flow that well from one event to the next. It seemed a little disjointed and choppy. The storyline was a little weak with Grady mostly just telling how the feechie trade ended for him, the thing that happened with different trades until the rebuilding of the feechie trade, and what happened when the two had built up a scare. Grady, though, describes things in a funny way such as what "leaving them wanting more" is like which puts a smiles on the readers face. But Grady doesn't seem to learn any important lessons such as playing off people's fears is wrong. Perhaps he learned something when he was betrayed by his only friend and realizes he was a charlatan but it wasn't entirely clear. The ending, though, had a nice sentiment to it. Whether or not I read the next book about Grady is uncertain.

Personal Opinion - The book was okay. Not bad but not great either. It did have moments of cute and sweetness that made me giggle and smile. But there was a lot of telling what was happening before it got to a tale of a particular event. I think that is what made it so choppy and even slow moving and perhaps why I think it is only okay. It did give a good lesson on how we stick with things just because we know them like Grady stayed with Floyd when he had a chance to get out and have what he wanted. It also showed how, if we believe a lie long enough, we begin to believe it or how, if we tell enough lies, we begin to get good at them. Like I said, the book is okay but if someone told me they were going to read it, I wouldn't tell them not to. Someday, if I re-read it, I might have a different opinion after finding something I didn't see the first time.

Links - Learn more about the book and author at: http://www.jonathan-rogers.com/ . And take a look at the first chapter and other stuff at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307458223 .

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

To read, comment, and rate this and other reviews, stop by http://bookwormreading.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Healer's Apprentice

Storyline - Rose, A woodcutter's daughter, becomes an apprentice to a healer which will keep her from being forced to marry (even though her mother has different ideas). She is a little squeamish of blood but tries hard to do her best. Then one day, the oldest son of the duke, Lord Hamlin, is hurt and she is the only one who can help him while her mistress is away. From there, love sparks between them but, because of their different stations and Lord Hamlin being betrothed, nothing can happen between them. Can they find a way to be together or will they always be kept apart? And will Lord Hamlin be able to find Moncore, the man after his betrothed? And is Lord Rupert's, Lord Hamlin's younger brother, affections to Rose sincere or is his motives distasteful?

Author - Melanie Dickerson

Age Group - 15 or 16 and up

Positive - The main man, Lord Hamlin, is chivalrous and honorable and is even willing to give up what he wants to honor a vow. Rose is caring and determined. Both are faithful and try to do the right thing. They pray often and listen to God to find their way. The resist temptation and fight evil (Rose even walks away from a boy she likes because he suggests something inmorale). They portray wonderful role models for teens of this day and age for both girls and boys (even though this is somewhat a historical book).

Negative - There is a lot of talk about what men thought about women during the middle ages and what women were wanted for but the book never goes into detail about that stuff (that is what make this book more appropriate for teens). There is a spot where a girl almost gets attacked but it doesn't go into any graphic detail. Lord Rupert is hinted to have missed used women in the past. Lord Rupert is once offered the Bishopric of their town even though he has no religious background and only wants it because it means lots of money (unfortunately, lay men where given religious offices back in that time so this situation is actually somewhat truthful). Also, 'wench' is used on occaision in the book but mostly as a description.
Writing - Melanie Dickerson wrote an enchanting love story about two people who can't be together but I did have a little difficulty seeing how this story was suppose to be based off the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Also, how Moncore was supposed to try and cause demons to haunt Lord Hamlin's betrothed was strange for me but it gave a great lesson on what can be done in Jesus' name. The book is romantic and every girl would love a romance like this. The morals and lessons were wonderfully captured. The writing held one captive, wanting to know what would happen next until the end. This story was thrilling and the author is one to watch to see what comes next.

Personal Opinion - An enjoyment through the entire story. Rose was a fun person as she learned to love, follow God, and do the right thing. Lord Hamlin was an excellent role model for guys in chivalry and honor. I can't wait till the next fairy tale based book by this author comes out. This tale kept my attention and made me want more as it went on.

Links - Learn more about the book and the author at: http://www.melaniedickerson.com/index.html . You can also watch a book trailer there. Check out the author's blog here: http://www.melaniewrites.blogspot.com/

Awards - The author has won awards but I do not know if this book has.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Archives of Anthropos

Storyline - Books 1-5 - The Sword Bearer, Gaal the Conqueror, Tower of Geburah, The Iron Septre, Quest for the King - This series is an allegory of children from our world who are called to another, Anthropos, to fight evil and grown in character and morals. As they are in Anthropos, they learn truths, about themselves and others, and learn how to defend themselves and trust in someone who loves them.

Author - John White

Age Group - 11 and up

Positive - The series promotes morals and fighting of evil. They also teach not to give into evil when it gets tough or seems hopeless. Also, they show forgiveness when the character does wrong, even when the character thinks they can't be forgiven or back to Gaal (the figure who depicts God or Jesus), he takes them back and tells them he loves them.

Negative - The characters do some naughty things but these are used to show that they are wrong things and what happens when you give into them. The children are also shown that you can still be forgiven of the bad things they do and can turn away for them. So they are necessary for the storyline so the characters can grow. Some of the things the characters do are listen to evil and turns their back on Gaal or the Changer, one joins a witches club and tries to do spells (no spells are chanted or told in detail in the story), and depend on themselves. In book 5, one character is jealous because his brother can see this blue smoke that is leading them somewhere but he can't. He knows he shouldn't be jealous but he says he can't help it. How this is solved is that he than can see the blue smoke. (There might have been the use of the 'a' word a few times but I can't remember too well)

Writing - John White wrote a interesting allegory of the Christian faith but is not the most intreging I have ever read. Don't get me wrong, I'm still glad I read them and would love to borrow to friends but I have read better. Sometimes you know that a particular character was in this group but now have no idea where they are because the author just stopped talking about them. Also, books 1 and 2 are very well written with wonderful storylines, are well told, and captivating. But books 3 and 4 are not the best of stories or as well told as the others. Book 5 was fine but I wished the ending had been a little better. The religious truths were wonderfully put together and shown in the books.

Personal Opinion - A series I enjoy reading and would like to read again and/or borrow to a friend. It is not the best series I have ever read but it is certainly not the worse either. The character are well developed and the storylines are interesting but, sometimes, the putting together wasn't so good.  I am looking forward to the last book in the series, The Dark Lords Demise, which I have not read yet. If you can get your hands on this series, read them.

Links - There isn't a website for the series but I found some links that were interesting. This one (http://www.lamplighterpublishing.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AOA) has information about each book and this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archives_of_Anthropos) is wikipedia information.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dragons in Our Midst

Storyline - Book 1- Raising Dragons - Billy is a regular kid, with a regular family, with regular problems. Or so he thought. One day he finds out he is really part dragon. But that is not the only problem, a dragon slayer has come to kill them and the other part dragon kid Billy has become friends with, Bonnie. Will they be able to defeat the slayer and survive? And what exactly happened to the dragons?
Book 2 - The Candlestone - Bonnie's father has resurfaced and wants her back. But when she returns to Montana, her friends finds out that he isn't being completely truthful and go after him. Turns out, Bonnie's father has the candlestone and found a way for them to enter it. Can Bonnie's friends arrive in time and what is in the candlestone?
Book 3 - Circles of Seven - Billy and Bonnie have to enter the Circles of Seven to find the lost dragons. In the Circles, the are tempted and tried and have to defeat Morgan and Devin. Can they get through the Circles in one piece or will one pay the ultimate price? And what are these demon creatures that are in one of the Circles?
Book 4 - Tears of a Dragon - The final battle is near. There is just one more thing Billy and Bonnie have to do. They must go to where the dragon's spirits have been waiting to be freed and free them. Simple enough. But with Morgan on the loose and going after Billy's friends and the demons, the Watchers, getting ready for battle, the clock is ticking and everything is at stake. Also, the place where the dragons are is a strange place and not all the dragons believe Billy and Bonnie. Can they save the dragons and convince them to help them in this battle or is everything doomed?

Author - Bryan Davis

Age Group - 13 and up

Positive - The characters are honorable and self sacrificial. They fight the evil that is not only coming after the dragons but also the world. The characters grow in faith and trust as they are tempted and tried. Billy has to grow the most to believe in God, his father, and an ancient prophecy that causes much mystery throughout the series until the end. Bonnie caries the most trust and faith and helps her friends, especially Billy, to gain that trust. She also sacrifices herself to save another who had be held captive in one of the books.

Negative - There isn't much negative things in the books and, after re-reading the first one in the series, there are only a couple of things in the book that I don't like. A side character, Adam Lark, is a bully and mean to Billy and Bonnie. But instead of trying to understand him, even when it is hinted that his home life is not good, he is only pictured as a bad guy but he does puts himself in line with Devin because his family was threatened. He was only depicted and shown as something bad and not shown at all as a lost kid. The end battle scene in book one at one point was a little much for me in the description (lets just say one character gets hit in the head with a sword and, even though it is not really that graphic, I cringed). Plus, I see a mother letting their kid go off to meet a dragon slayer on their own, even if it is to help a friend.

Writing - Bryan Davis' writing is captivating and his storytelling original. The characters are good and try to do the right thing and the books tell and promote good morals and lessons.The wording and depictions are captivating and imaginative. This is an enjoyable author who is worth the time to read.

Personal Opinion - I find the books entertaining and interesting. The characters develop well over the series and the hummer within the books are funny and not inappropriate (even though Walter burps in at least one book but that is about as bad as the hummer gets). They can get a little strange for my taste once in a while, but when a new Bryan Davis book comes out, I want to read it. I personally like Tears of a Dragon the best but I am not sure why.

Links - Learn more about the series at: http://www.dragonsinourmidst.com/ and check out the author's blog at: http://dragonsinourmidst.blogspot.com/.

General Note - If you liked this series, check out the continuation series, Oracles of Fire, and just coming out this year, Children of the Bard. (I have not read Oracles of Fire so I can not rate how they are or talk about what is in them)

Awards - Not sure if this series won any awards but one or more did in the Oracles of Fire series.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari

Storyline - Roger the turtle and Padraig the dragon are camping out and having an adventure to see wonderful animals. But as the night sounds get more mysterious, so do the ideas of what caused them. Trying to make it through the night is difficult and scary but when something needs there help, they go to them. Eventually, they decide to go Home when something great happens.

Author - Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark

Illustrator - Vincent Nguyen

Age Group - 3 and up

Positive - The dragon and turtle face their fears and comfort each other when one of them is frightened. They also rescue a kitten-er-leopard even when they didn't know what would happen outside their tent. At the back of the book, it gives ideas on lessons from this book to emphasis with kids when read to/by them. It also has a Bible verse that relates to the story well.

Negative - There was nothing negative in this book.

Writing - Cute. Adorable. These writers make a wonderful story about a frightened dragon and turtle who learn to face their fears. The illustrator's pictures go great with the story and are cute. The pictures also cause giggles as they reveal more of what is going on in the story such as what really made the noise. A book I can't wait to share with a child.

Personal Opinion - A cute, tongue-in-cheek book that will put a smile on your face as you read it. It has good lessons and a helpful guide in the back as to what to talk about with kids when they hear this story. A book I could see myself giving at the next baby shower or kids birthday I attend. I wish there had been a little more description in the book but, none the less, a charming story with a dragon and turtle.

Links - There is a contest for the book at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/2011/01/10/contest-the-dragon-and-the-turtle-go-on-safari/ and its regular page is here: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307446459 and read an excerpt here: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307446459&view=excerpt .

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

To read, comment, and rate this and other reviews, stop by http://bookwormreading.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Year End Book List

At the beginning of 2010, I wondered how many books I could read in one year. With that, I recorded ever book I read that wasn't school related or anything like that. It was really fun and interesting as the numbers went up and up. So, I am going to share that list with you and the number of the total books (This doesn't mean that I recomend all the books I read or thought they were good. Interested in any on the list, post a comment about it or look at my shelfari to see if I gave a short review on it).

Young Adult:
Max Cassidy: Escape from Shadow Island by Paul Adam
The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker
The Berinfell Prophecies book 1:Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper
The Berinfell Prophesies book 2: Venom and Song by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper
The Kingdom Series book 5:Kingdom's Quest by Chuck Black
The Kingdom Series book  6:Kingdom's Reign by Chuck Black
The Shakespeare Stealer book 1 by Gary Blackwood
The Shakespeare Stealer book 3: Shakespeare's Spy by Gary Blackwood
The King's Thane by Charles Brady
Robot Wars book 5:  by Sigmund Brouwer
The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
How to Train You Dragon book 1 by Crassida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 2: How to be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 3: How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 4: How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 5: How to Twist a Dragon's Tale by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 6: Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon book 7: How to Ride a Dragon's Storm by Cressida Cowell
Dragons in Our Midst book 4: Tears of a Dragon by Bryan Davis
Dragons of Starlight book 1: Starlighter by Bryan Davis
The Fairy Tale Novels book 1: The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman
The Fairy Tale Novels book 2: Black as Night by Regina Doman
The Fairy Tale Novels book 4: The Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman
The Fairy Tale Novels book 5: Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cybertheives by Regina Doman
Dragonsdale: Riding the Storm by Salamanda Drake
Santa Paws book 1 by Nicholas Edward
Santa Paws book 2: The Return of Santa Paws by Nicholas Edward
The Wall book 2: Beetle Bunker by Robert Elmer
The Wall book 3: Smuggler's Treasure by Robert Elmer
Ranger's Apprentice book 6: Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Outcast book 1: The Un-Magician by Christopher Golden & Thomas E. Sniegoski
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
The Chronicle of Young Dastan by Catherine Hapka
The Worst Wish by Lissa Halls Johnson
Trapped by Peg Kehret
The Homelander Series book 2: The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan
The Homelander Series book 3: The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavin
Girls Only (GO!) book 2: Only the Best by Beverly Lewis
Girls Only (GO!) book 3: A Perfect Match by Beverly Lewis
Girls Only (GO!) book 4: Reach for the Stars by Beverly Lewis
The Codebearer Series book 2: Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire by the Miller Brothers
The Codebearer Series book 3: Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends by the Miller Brothers
Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman
The Star Trilogy book 1: The Dragon Boy by Donald Samson
The Youngest Templar book 2: Trail of Fate by Michael P. Spradlin
The Youngest Templar Series book 3: Orphan of Destany by Michael P. Spradlin
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

More for Grown Ups:
Petra: City in Stone by T. L. Higley
Reclaiming Nick by Susan May Warren
Taming Rafe by Susan May Warren
Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren

Love Insperational:
Dreaming of Home by Glynna Kaye
Covert Pursuit by Terri Reed
Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley
Secret Agent Father by Laura Scott

Trevor's Song by T. A. Beam
C. S. Lewis: The Man Behind Narnia by Beatrice Gormley

In total, there are 58 books on this list. Some series I re-read during this year (which accounts for the strange numbering for some), other series I was starting, and some I was finishing. Like I said, any questions or comments about any of these books, feel free to leave a comment. Now, bring on 2011!