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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Storyteller's Daughter


Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms

Storyline - You think you know the story of Shahrazad. But you were wrong. That is how our story begins. As a young girl, she was not liked by the other children because her mother was different which made her different. So she hid herself from the world. But when the king changes after his late wife finds a lover and conspirates to kill him, Shahrazad knows it is she who is meant to save him. But will her plan to help him be taken as a plot against him if he learns of it? And what of the brothers of the king's late wife who now wants revenge? Will the king and Shahrazad find love before it is too late?

Author - Cameron Dokey

Age Group - 15 and up

Positive - The characters displays many good morals and the stories that were told taught great lessons that I feel are not always promoted in other books. Even though the stories were new and not from the original Arabian Nights, which this book is based off, they were great, interesting, thought provoking stories.The line between good and bad was very clear.

Negative - There was some light magic in the stories. Shahrazad would read a cloth and tell the story within it. When it was finished, the cloth would usually turn into something else. That was pretty much the magic in the book.

Writing - The  words the author used and the sentence structure was like what you would read in fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson. Even though it was a little different, it was appropriate for the story and was rather interesting.

Personal Opinion - For being a secular book, it was good. Clean and decent and I enjoyed the story. The retelling of this old tail was new, interesting, and very clean. I will be giving other books in this series (especially the ones I am interested in the most) a read when I can get my hands on them. If interested in the Arabian Nights story or fairy tales, this is a very interesting book.

Links - No website but you can find info on the book at the publisher's site at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Storyteller's-Daughter/Cameron-Dokey/9781416937760 .

Special Notes - This book is part of a series called Once Upon a Time, which has about four contributing authors. You can read the other books' titles and the authors at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time_(novel_series)  .

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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blood of Kings

Bookworm's Ranking - 5 Worms

Storyline - Book 1 - By Darkness Hid - Achan is a nobody who has nobody. So when a legendary knight of the past offers him a squireship, he is confused, especially since strays are not allowed to serve in the Kingsguard anymore after the king was murdered and half the land went into darkness. When Achan's training is discovered, Sir Gavin disappears and Achan's life takes another unexpected tern. Things start to become confusing and dangerous. But, when the prince goes to the Counsel to receive the kingship, what will be discovered there will turn everyone's world upside down. Something more is going on here then anyone ever expected. Meanwhile, Vrell, a noble girl, is pretending to be a boy to escape the evil prince who wants to make her his queen, even by force. But when two Kingsguard come to take her to a new master for her rare gift, she has no choice but to go and try to continue to hid the truth. But as she starts learning to use her new skill of Bloodvoicing, she sense a powerful one who seems not to know what is going on and is in trouble. Everyone wants this one's gift but how is Vrell suppose to help him? And how long will she be able to keep her secret? And what will become of Achan as his world take an unexpected turn?

Author - Jill Williamson

Age Group - 15 and up (because it is meant for an older age group and it is quite large, intimidating younger people or just making them think "How am I going to read that?" or they might think they will get bored)

Content - The characters portray good traits. Achan does something to save a friend even though it is something that will not make him happy (sorry for being so vague but anymore detail will make it a big spoiler). Vrell tries to help Achan and protect him from those who would use him. Both are willing to help others. The distinction between good and evil are clear. Achan does wish others ill a few times. Vrell is lying about who she is but wants to do the right thing. The bad guys are creepy (but what do you expect). A few things are hinted at that makes this book more appropriate for teens and older.

Personal Opinion - What a great book. I can't believe I took so long in picking it up and read it but, when I did, I was shocked at how fast I went through it considering its size (10 pages short of 500. One of the longest books I have ever read. That is, outside of textbooks). There were a couple of times I thought it was going to get slow or I wanted to be reading about another character but then I would start reading and, within a paragraph to a page, I was hook on what was going on right there.  It took a little while for the Christian analogy stuff to come into the story but the parallels the author made were great but there are still things to learn because one of the characters knows very little of The Way. The characters themselves were wonderful and you really got interested in them and their situations.The pacing keeps the book moving nicely and is not hard to understand but still has great descriptions and well made back stories. I can't wait to read book two and see what happens to the characters and uncover the mysteries that you were left with in the end. This book deserves the award it won. A book I will highly recommend to my friends (one I will also want to discuss and debate with them on).

Awards - Winner of the 2010 Christy Award (http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/by-darkness-hid-wins-christy-award/)

Links - Learn more about the book series and the author at: http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/the-blood-of-kings/ (you can also take a look at some trailers for the books at: http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/book-trailers/).

Other books: Book 2 review - http://bookwormreading.blogspot.com/2011/10/blood-of-kings-to-darkness-fled.html
                    
Book 3 review - Coming Soon

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Soul Surfer

 
Bookworm's Ranking - 3 Worms
Storyline - Bethany Hamilton was a great surfer. She was like any other kid, homeschooled, hung out with friends, loved God and family, until one day a shark took her arm. But she wouldn't let that keep her down. She wanted to surf and get back in the water and fulfill her dream of being a pro surfer. With her friends, family, and God, she would make the journey to return to the sport she loves.

Author - Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, and Rick Bundschuh

Age Group - 13 or 14 and up

Positive - Bethany placed her trust in God, even when things looked really bad. She also didn't give up on her dream. It seemed hopeless that she would ever surf competitively but she was determined to "get back in the water."

Negative - Nothing was really negative but there were a couple of things she mentioned doing as a kid that I just shook my head at.

Writing - The book was mostly in a telling format. The organization could have been done a little better and more info on the peoples' feelings and specific situations would have been better. It would sometimes talk about the attack and then the next chapter would be something about before the shark such as things she did with her friends. I think this was to see what life was like before but there was just a little too much information and I didn't always see how it pertained to the rest. It was still pretty interesting though to read and hear what it is like to live in Hawaii, surf, and about how important God is to her.

Personal Opinion - I thought it was a good book but it wasn't the best autobiagraphy I ever read. It talked a lot about her life in the past (what she liked to do, family and friends, and surfing) but I thought there would be a little more about the attack and her recovery after. Also, I don't think the organization of the book was done very well. There were stories but they were told in more of a general way then any specific cercomstance and I didn't really feel or identify with them much (there were a couple that were nicely told but it wasn't the norm). It was written more in a way a magazine writes a story but it was longer. She just told you about things or how she felt but, then again, she does say that is who she is; just tells it like it is. That is fine and all but it made it hard to get into the story. I liked the journal at the end about the making of the movie which was cool. It was a pretty good book and I still think her personal story is great about overcoming adversity but I didn't really learn more than what I was already told.

Awards - Has been on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Links - Learn more about this book and the author at: http://bethanyhamilton.com/ .

Special Notes - This book includes information about the making of the movie Soul Surfer. You can read my review of the movie at: http://bookwormreading.blogspot.com/2011/04/soul-surfer-movie.html

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Case for Christ

Bookworm's Ranking - 5 Worms
About - Lee Strobel has a degree in law and journalism and was a reporter for the Chicago Times. But when his wife turned to God, he went into an investigation to see how reliable the gospels were or if they were fake and/or riddled with myth. He sees expert after expert, challenging what the gospels say and what others say to get to the truth about Jesus. After a two year investigation, what he finds leaves him with the ultimate decision. Believe or not.

Author - Lee Strobel

Age Group - Teens and up (just because it is a deep topic and the language used and concepts might be hard for a younger person to grasp)

Writing - Each chapter started with some sort of legal case that the author had covered or knew about and then related that to what he was going to do next in his investigation on Jesus. All the chapters covered something important to show that Jesus is real and that the gospels are true. The book moved along at a good pace, covered each topic completely, and came to moving endings.

Personal Opinion - Wow. This book was great. I knew that people didn't believe in God but I didn't know some of the things they used to discredit the gospels or defenses they used to explain it away. I also never heard a lot of the challenge questions or beliefs before until the author asked them of his expert. But I am excited how the gospels and what is in them was defended by big scholars with PH. D.s and personal investigations. The chapters that moved me the most were the ones on the crucifixion, the Jewish convert's story, and the authors decision in the end. The author also gives good advise about if you are wanting to do some investigation of your own. It works well for a defense for any denomination of the faith on Jesus. There were a couple of spots I disagreed with but the only one coming to mind at the moment is how they kept saying that Jesus had a brother named James who was sceptical of him until after the Resurrection. The problem is that Catholics don't believe Jesus had any immediate brothers or sisters but someone would be called one if they were a close cousin. So James could have been related to Jesus but a cousin. But the book was really good and it defended the Christian faith beautifully. I borrowed this book from a friend and now want to get my own copy. With this book, I know more about Jesus and am even stronger in my own faith because of the things I learned.

Awards - The Gold Medallion Book Award

Links - Learn more about the author and book at: http://www.leestrobel.com/ . You can also learn more about the book at the publisher's site at: http://www.zondervan.com/cultures/en-us/Product/ProductDetail.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan&ISBN=0310226465 .

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Praying for Your Future Husband

Bookworm's Ranking - 5 Worms

About - Every girl thinks about "the One." What will he be like? When will my prince charming come? But, there are some important things to remember when thinking about your future husband. Will he be a God Lover? Will he be loyal and faithful? How do we go about finding good men with these qualities? Robin and Tricia give insight on these questions by giving example with their relationships and advises what to look and pray for in a future husband. They even talk about how to prepare yourself during the time before "the One" (or prince charming) comes.

Authors - Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer

Age Group - Teens and up (this book is a little more subjective and I'll let you know why this is in the 'Personal Opinion' section)

Writing - The personal stories of the authors, and other women, helped  breach the topic of that chapter and gave good insight into what to look for in a man. The authors told it like it is and they gave helpful advice and examples to those wanting and waiting for their future husbands. Specific things were also mentioned to pray for and the Bible verses were very helpful and thought provoking. The book moved at a good pace and kept me wanting to read more. It was well put together and the questions at the end really helped to dig deep into what to pray for and what needs to be worked on in your own life.

Personal Opinion - This was a really helpful book. Considering I need to remember to pray for my future husband myself, this book helped me think of things to pray for and made excellent points about relationships and things to pray for in a husband. The reason I recommend the teen age group is because there is a chapter about intimacy in it (it is not graphic or inappropriate or anything, it more or less just says that it is good to wait so you can give yourself only to your husband) and one of the authors did make some bad decisions in the past but, again, not detailed. The book isn't about just praying for him to show up, but it is about praying for him, for God to help him in his temptations or struggles and for him to develop certain qualities that would be good in a husband. It was really insightful when these women talked about their past and the choices they made, which were drastically different from each other, and the consequences of those choices. The questions at the end of the chapters helped me think about my praying for a husband (which I usually forgot to do) and what things I should pray for. It also helped me make my "list," which I have also put off (but I did brake the rules and put down 14 things instead of the 10 as they suggested). I am planning on getting a copy of this book for a friend of mine as a gift. If wanting to pray for your future husband or just want one in the future, this book is really good and would recommend.

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

Links - Learn more about the book and authors at: http://triciagoyer.com/index.html and http://www.robingunn.com/index.html . You can also check out an excerpt at the publishers site at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601423481 .

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Upcoming Books This Year

Hi all. Sorry there isn't a review up this Sunday but I was having some trouble. You probably don't need, or want, all the details (because it might be confusing if I tried to explain it) but I should have a review up on Tuesday. Until then, read this post about books coming out this year that I would like to read eventually. You might find something interesting yourself.

So, I was on this author's blog (it might have been his website) for a book of his that I heard about through an author I like and he was asking for help in advertising his book that is coming about this year. I thought, "I can do that." I am interested in his book so I thought I could share what the book was about. But then I thought that there are other books coming out this year that I am excited about so I should share those too. All the books below are books I am interested in reading and will try to get my hands on at some point but don't know when (there is one that I don't know when, what it looks like, or too much about so I can't share too much today. I will keep you updated though). Let me know what you think of them as you take a look.

First up, we have The Quest for the Truth: Taken by Brock Eastman. I heard about this book through the Miller Brothers back when it was self-published and had thought about getting it at the time but for some reason never did. It is now being republished by P & R Publishing on July 1 and I found out the author works for the company Focus on the Family which I really like. So here is the cover (got it off of the author's site) and what it is about (had to get this off lulu.com [the original self-publishing site] because I couldn't find it anywhere else. I'm also pretty sure the content hasn't changed).
What would you do if men broke into your house in the middle of the night and took your parents? Oliver Wikk has just returned home from his first year at the Academy. He was expecting to go on a summer long archeological dig with his parents, sister and two twin brothers. Instead he is thrust into the role of protector and rescuer. He must now lead his siblings on a mission to rescue his parents from a powerful but little known society called the Übel. As they unravel clues about their parents' recent discovery, they begin to understand that the Übel are up to much more than finding some ancient artifacts for money. Join Oliver, Tiffany, Mason, and Austin as they trek from place to place hoping to find the clues to a secret covered up long ago and rescue their parents from a dark organization that threatens to ruin their lives forever.
I heard about this book through Family Fiction and it sounded really interesting. It is out now but I don't have the money to get it and I have to see if my library does. It is called How Huge the Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn. Got the picture off amazon (can you tell?).
Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.
Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair. Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death. Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.
(Got this info from amazon.com)
Well, I was on amazon (where I also go this picture) and I saw that John Grisham has a new book for Theodore Boone coming out. I wrote a review on his last book about this kid last year (you can take a look at that review here ) and thought it might be fun to read this one. It is coming out June 6. 

 Theodore Boone is back in a new adventure, and the stakes are higher than ever. When his best friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night, no one, not even Theo Boone-who knows April better than anyone-has answers. As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it's up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April. Filled with the page-turning suspense that made John Grisham a #1 international bestseller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone's trials and triumphs will keep readers guessing until the very end.
(Got this info from amazon.com)

When I signed up for goodreads, I saw book 2 in there giveaway section and thought it sounded very interesting. Now, I haven't read book 1, Knightley Academy by Violet Habadasher, and my library does have it so I will be making an effort to borrow it. Book 1 is out (which is shown below) but book 2, Knightley Academy: The Secret Prince, will be coming out June 28.
From Booklist
Henry Grim is an orphaned servant who studies in secret, hoping to rise above his station. He gets his chance when he is allowed to sit for the Knightley Academy entrance exam and becomes the first commoner admitted. This prestigious school once trained knights for combat, but combat was outlawed when the Longsword Treaty brought peace to the Britonian Isles. If Henry excels, Knightley could open its doors to commoners for good, but vicious sabotage threatens his triumph. On the hunt to identify his saboteurs, Henry discovers a plot to break the treaty and start a war. Haberdasher embraces the Harry Potter comparison with in-jokes, but this series debut doesn’t rise above the comparison. Knightley Academy has disappointingly little to do with actual knights-in-training; it is more like an elite boarding school, and what knights do in this alternate history is unclear. Yet Henry and his outcast friends are an appealing group with great chemistry, and it’s easy to enjoy their fast-paced adventures as they navigate classes and thwart bullies. Grades 4-8. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
(Got this info from amazon.com)

Another one I am excited about is the last book in a series I have been reading for the last couple of years. It is called The Final Hour in the Homelander Series by Andrew Klavan (you can read the review of the other books in the series on this blog). It is do out on July 26.

The Homelanders are attacking-and it's Charlie's last chance to stop them. Charlie West was an ordinary high school kid who went to bed one night and woke up in the clutches of terrorists and wanted by the police for murder. He also woke up with no memory of the events of the last year. His memory is returning now and has brought the terrible realization that he knows when the terrorists are going to strike next. Whatever it takes, Charlie knows he can't give in or give up until they're stopped . . . even when the final hour is ticking away. (Got this info on amazon.com)

I read the first book of this series below a while ago and was beginning to wonder if book two was going to ever come out. But, then, the other day, I decided to look it up and found out that book two was going to be published this year (in the UK. Bummer. I will have to find out when it will release in the US). I should re-read book one and write a review but here is the info for Max Cassidy: Jaws of Death releasing in August (in the UK).
 Max continues his search for his missing father. This takes him to Sweden and the jungles of Borneo, where his life is once again put in jeopardy. He must summon all his courage and skill to escape....
(Got this info from the author's web page).

So, a couple months ago I put up a review for the books in the Dragons of Starlight Series and here is book 3 coming out on August 30. I will have to update that post when I read this book.
The Mysteries Unfold As a Starlighter, Koren knows her destiny is to save her fellow human slaves from the dragons' bondage---but by following the orders of the smooth-talking dragon king, Taushin, has she in fact doomed her people and herself? As Koren struggles over her choices, Elyssa discovers a new aspect to her Diviner gifts when her pendant begins to unlock mysteries surrounding the stardrops from the Exodus star. Soon Elyssa, along with Jason and his father, also discover new truths behind the dragons' prophecy and learn that Randall has teamed with Magnar and Arxad to wage battle against Taushin's followers. With a major war imminent and talk of a new Starlighter in the air, confusion and uncertainty reigns---something Taushin may have planned for all along.
(Got this info from amazon.com)

Lastly, (I think) is the next book by Melanie Dickerson, The Merchant's Daughter. This will be coming out November 29 (man, I have a ways to wait). I am following the author's blog and she hasn't shown what the cover is yet but I found the same cover on goodreads and amazon but, if it is different, I will let you know.
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.
(Got this info from amazon.com)

Well, this is most of the books I would like to read but are not out yet (if I added what I do want to read but are available, this post could go on for a long time). I don't know when I will be able to get some of these because several things need to happen before I can read them. 1. Some become available through some of the programs that I review for, 2. Some become available at my library, 3. I get a job and can afford to buy some, or 4. I get some as a gift. Also, where ever I said "got this info from" I also got the cover image from. Enjoy and drool with me over these books that are yet to be released.

Fish