Friday, January 30, 2015

Prudence Pursued by Shirley Raye Redmond(Book Spotlight AND GIVEAWAY!!!!!)



About the Book:

At the advanced age of twenty-seven, Prudence Pentyre is on the shelf. Content to occupy her time by attending meetings of Mr. Wilberforce’s Abolition Society, Prudence is resolved to see that her younger cousin Margaret, shy and plain, does not share her own unmarried fate.

Despite her best efforts, all of Prudence’s matchmaking attempts fail. Margaret proves reluctant to accept Sir James Brownell’s marriage proposal, and fears being “bovinised” if she undergoes the controversial cowpox vaccination he recommends. And the dashing baronet—with his sunburned skin, eye patch, and unfashionable attire—seems more concerned about the plight of headhunters in Borneo than Margaret’s stubborn refusal of his offer.

Prudence, on the other hand, finds herself unexpectedly smitten with the man. Can she trust that God’s plan for her life is richer and more rewarding than the one she had planned for herself?

Excerpt from Prudence Pursued:

“You should not wear that to the pox party,” Prudence Pentyre said, indicating her younger cousin’s dress of light green Italian silk. “I recommend something with short sleeves which allows you to expose your forearm to the lancet.”

Margaret shuddered. Her plain face, pale and lightly freckled, appeared downcast. “Oh, Pru, I wish I didn’t have to go.” She stood, slender shoulders drooping, in front of her open wardrobe.

“Truly, Meg, there’s nothing to worry about,” Prudence assured her, slipping a comforting arm around her cousin’s slim waist. “Papa had all of us vaccinated with the cowpox when we were still in the school room—and the servants too. I’m quite surprised my Uncle Giles didn’t do the same.”

A glint of disapproval flashed in her soft brown eyes. Silently, she fumed. Uncle Giles had held too many old-fashioned notions. Such an old stick! He was dead now, having suffered an apoplexy two years ago. Her mother, if she knew of Prudence’s unspoken condemnation, would have reminded her not to speak ill of the dead. This dictate had never made sense to Prudence. Why were some of life’s most unsavory characters deemed to be saints after their deaths? Not that Uncle Giles was unsavory, but he had been shamefully old-fashioned.

“Look, Meg, there’s not even a scar.” Prudence held out a white arm for her cousin’s perusal. “Mr. Jenner’s procedure is almost painless and quite safe, much safer than buying the smallpox and enduring the dreaded disease.”

“Papa didn’t believe in it. He said it was God’s will some people should die of the smallpox,” Margaret said, turning away from her to examine an array of dresses hanging in the wardrobe.

“God is not so cruel,” Prudence insisted.

“Some say the vaccination will cause one’s facial features to resemble those of a cow,” Margaret ventured, her forehead creasing with anxious wrinkles.

Prudence laughed. “Neither John or Patience have any cow like features, and you can see for yourself I do not.” Slightly unsettled by her cousin’s close examination, Prudence shrugged.

“Yes, look at me, Meg! Do I resemble a cow? I can assure you I don’t have a cow tail hidden beneath my skirts either. None of us have bovinized, as you fear. I believe Mr. Jenner’s procedure to have been God-inspired. Truly. Papa has preached this same opinion from the pulpit. Mr. Jenner took notice how milkmaids and dairy farmers did not succumb to the deadly smallpox plague when there was an outbreak in their village. It was because of their exposure to the harmless cowpox. It was an amazing observation which will benefit us all.”

Like her parents, Prudence was an ardent admirer of Edward Jenner. In fact, her father, the Reverend Henry Pentyre, was a member of the Royal Jennerian Society and helped to raise money to give free vaccinations throughout England. Prudence enjoyed accompanying her father when he rode out to the rural areas to administer the vaccine himself to those members of his parish willing to undergo the procedure.

“But what if you should marry and have children?” Margaret hinted, unconvinced. She clutched her hands at her waist. Prudence, noting the slight tremor, realized her cousin was trying not to reveal her agitation.

“Both John and Patience are married with children, and none of my nieces and nephews look like heifers, I assure you!” Prudence insisted. She gave Margaret a reassuring pat on the shoulder “You’re making a great fuss for nothing.”

With a sigh, Margaret retrieved a short-sleeved muslin gown from the wardrobe and held it up before her. As she considered her image in the mirror, Prudence stepped up behind her, peering over her cousin’s shoulder. Smiling at Margaret’s reflection, she noted the similarity of their features. They were much the same height—too tall and thin to be in fashion. They had dark brown hair, pert noses, and generous mouths, much too wide to be considered beautiful. But each had soulful brown eyes, heavily fringed with thick, dark lashes.

Prudence considered her eyes her best physical feature. They were large and expressive. When she had been much younger, an infatuated suitor had once written a poem for her, referring to the subject of his adoration as the, “lovely, ox-eyed Prudent Athena.” Smiling, she recalled this bit of poetic nonsense, but decided not to mention the particular compliment to Margaret. At least not until after the girl had been vaccinated with cowpox and quite recovered from her current state of anxious misery.





About Shirley Raye:

An award-winning nonfiction writer and former columnist for The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Shirley Raye Redmond has sold 27 books and over 450 articles to a wide variety of publications, including The Pacific Stars and Stripes and Cosmopolitan as well as Highlights for Children and The Christian Standard. Two of her nonfiction children’s titles have sold more than 200,000 copies each.

Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Pigeon Hero! (Simon and Schuster) won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. Patriots in Petticoats, Heroines of the American Revolution was named one of the best children’s books of the year.


Connect with Shirley:

Website

Facebook

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Purchase Link:

Prudence Pursued

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Random.org chose comment #1, so Mrs. Pedersen is the winner! Congratulations!! :)


Giveaway:


I'll make it easy for y'all! Would you like to win a kindle copy of Prudence Pursued? Just leave me a comment with an email address, and you're entered.

Extra Entry: (You can leave your entries all in one comment or separate, whichever is easier for you.)

-Advertise this giveaway in any way you'd like(Twitter, blog post, Facebook, etc.), and you'll get another chance at winning.

Good luck! :D

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

TombQuest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop



Scholastic Inc. (January 27, 2015) 208 pages

Description:

From the team that brought you The 39 Clues and Spirit Animals comes a brand new epic Egyptian adventure!

Nothing can save Alex Sennefer's life. That's what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it's not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells, five evil ancients--the Death Walkers--are also brought back to life.

An ancient evil has been unleashed. Mummies are awakening. New York is overrun with scorpions. And worst of all for Alex, his mom and the Lost Spells have both disappeared. He and his best friend, Ren, will do anything to find his mom and save the world . . . even if that means going head-to-head with a Death Walker who has been plotting his revenge for 3,000 years.

Read the book, then continue the adventure online! Build an Egyptian tomb of your own, hide treasure and protect it with traps, then challenge your friends to play through!

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Thoughts:

TombQuest is the first book in a series, and while it does have an ending, there's still a cliffhanger. You know without a doubt that there is more coming, and there are loose strings left untied.

Alex suffers with horrible pain. He doesn't know why, though he's been through so many tests, he hates the thought of going back to the hospital. He's dying, and no one knows how to help him. His mom has a secret that could save his life, but all good things come with a price.

I enjoyed the Egyptian theme within this story. Alex's mom works at a museum and it was fun to learn a bit of history. It's definitely fantasy, with moments of action and suspense. It's a book that I can easily recommend for younger middle grade readers. It has plenty of corny moments, but it's a fun and quick read. I read a great deal, so I don't feel guilty saying that I think I would enjoy it more as a movie, though.

*I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

**I recommend reading the review for this book at This Kid Reviews Books, too. He goes more into detail concerning the game portion of the book, which I didn't explore.

Purchase Link:

TombQuest Book 1: Book of the Dead



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart



Scholastic Press (January 27, 2015) 240 pages

Description:

The debut of a phenomenal new middle-grade talent.

In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day.

But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier--even if it's the last thing he ever does.

The Honest Truth is a rare and extraordinary novel about big questions, small moments, and the incredible journey of the human spirit.
My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Thoughts:

My review is full of spoilers. Due to wanting to warn parents about certain areas, it's really unavoidable.

SPOILERS!!!!!SPOILERS!!!!!SPOILERS!!!!!!

Grab some tissues before you settle in with this one! The main character, Mark, has cancer. He's just discovered that the cancer has came back, and he's sad and angry, and he makes some horrible decisions. He runs away from home, so that he can climb Mount Rainier. The Honest Truth is the story of a boy and his little dog, Beau. Beau might just be the best dog there ever was! This is truly a beautiful book, in certain aspects, but I'm torn. I appreciate what was happening within it, but as a parent, I just had so many issues with it. Please understand the huge impact and influence that books/movies have on children. I can say that from experience!

Mark's goal to climb Mount Rainier is a suicide mission. He doesn't plan to return. His friend, Jessie, knows this, but she doesn't tell anyone. Mark is her best friend, and she wants to keep his secret. I don't want any child to ever think that's a secret they need to keep. This book makes the vow of secrecy blurry, in my opinion, and while I'm not saying that it will teach a child to keep such a secret, it MAY. Therefore, I'm a little concerned about it. Knowing someone is planning a suicide is *never* a secret to keep. Period. Also, the whole "I can do this alone" was a big factor. It's okay to depend on people, especially those that love you! There would have been nothing wrong or less special about the whole mission if Mark had got his dad to come with him, and made it NOT a suicide mission.

There's also an adult within this story that knows Mark has run away from home, and that he's sick, and that he's about to head up a mountain in the middle of a horrible snow storm, with nothing but a backpack and a little dog. He just drives his truck away, leaving Mark to finish his mission. Even if the man struggled with the decision, he made the wrong choice. As a parent, I would have a hard time forgiving such a decision if it was my child in such danger(or any child for that matter!!). I understand that a little boy was on a mission and he wanted to prove something, but there was some very stupid decisions made in this book, and Mark's life was put on the line *many* times, along with his precious little dog's. Beau deserved better. Ultimately, it was due to Beau that Mark lives.

Don't get me wrong! I flew through this book. I enjoyed it, and I cried, and I cheered Mark on, in a "go home" kind of way, but not so much a "keep going" kind of way. I could never, ever cheer a child to commit suicide. This just wasn't a mission that should have been attempted alone. I appreciate the whole "determination" factor, but I say put that determination to better use!

I understand Mark was working through anger, and he wasn't sure how to handle it, but for the targeted age group, I don't think this book is the best idea. For adults? Absolutely! I wasn't sick as a child, so I don't know how accurate the feelings expressed were, but I imagine they were realistic. Mark is sad and angry and determined. He just forgets or doesn't care who he hurts along the way. It doesn't matter how sick someone is, it's not okay to forget loved ones. For adults, it will absolutely pull on heartstrings, and the love of a little dog will pull the tears out of you.

So, overall, I don't recommend it for the target age group, but absolutely for adults. Just be prepared to be a little angry about some of the decisions made.

*I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

The Honest Truth


Monday, January 26, 2015

NKJV Note-Takers Bible



Description:

Finally, a hardcover Bible that has plenty of room for taking notes during public or private worship, small group fellowships, or any other time or place you feel the need to make comments on the Bible. No more cramped writing in tiny margins—the NKJV Note-Takers Bible makes it easy to stay organized and neat. Personalize the text of God's Word to your life as never before, and treasure this record of your spiritual journey. Includes the complete text of the popular New King James Version

Features:

•Deluxe wide margins for note takers
•Complete NKJV text
•Double column text for easy reading
•Words of Christ in red letter

My Thoughts:

I've been attempting to simplify my Bible study. My goal has been to greatly limit the amount of non-fiction books I read, as far as Biblical topics go, and simply rely on God's Word. There are exceptions, because I greatly value mommy encouragement, and I DO need a certain amount of guidance. That's why I greatly value my Study Bible with background information on people and places, even though I don't always agree with what they think. I don't think I could ever completely remove non-fiction from my life. Still, there's no encouragement like God's Word, and I find myself discouraged more and more at the amount of opinions and "feelings" that are at work in non-fiction books, and the disregard of what is truly in God's Word.

I've been greatly enjoying various Bible marking topics within my Bible. In case you don't know, Bible marking is where you write a topic in the front of your Bible, with a verse. When you turn to that verse, you will write a brief note, and an arrow with the next Bible verse. And, then keep going, doing the same. This means that with nothing but my Bible in hand, I'm always ready for a brief devotional, when motivation is especially low.
I like comefillyourcup.com for Bible marking guidance. They are simply guiding you through the Bible, keeping opinions to a minimum. Aside from Bible marking topics, they also have lots of Bible studies. (You don't need anyone to create your own Bible marking topics, but I do like using some of their suggestions!) I also like apologeticspress.com for Bible study guidance. When I do search out Bible guidance, I mainly depend on them right now.

All of that to say, my Bible is getting more and more crowded with my notes, and I thought this Bible would be a good option. It turns out that it's not, unfortunately. The print is tiny. I think it will even be an issue for those who aren't so picky about font size, like me. Also, the space for note-taking wasn't quite as much as I imagined it would be, though there is a great deal more than the average Bible. (It's also *not* lined, in case that's important to you.)

I've been hanging onto it, trying to decide what I want to do with it, and honestly, I'm still not sure. With the space for note-taking, it IS beneficial, just not as a full time Bible for me. Within the top two main options I've been debating with is the wedding present Bible. I've saw recommendations for these kinds of Bibles to write notes and memories and give it to a child at a certain age, or even as a wedding present. I'm also considering using this Bible for the sole purpose of "child training" time, particularly to go along with our "virtue cards" and Bible learning time. I would write each virtue in the front, along with various Bible verses to go along with it, so I could easily locate the best verse to help with whatever lesson/discipline I happen to be working on at the moment. In the note-taking area, beside the verses, I could write songs, poems, activities, and even crafts ideas to go along with the lesson I'm working on passing through my little ones' minds(whether it's discipline time or simply Bible lesson time). With this method, I could still gift it to a set of parents down the road, after my children are grown. I dream of a simplified organization for our family, and I feel like this Bible has potential to help with that.

I know this is a lot of rambling. Imagine the jumbled state of my mind! This is just a sample. ;) I DO want to stress how much value this particular Bible could have, despite my disappointments for its intended purpose, though.

As a side note, this is a hardcover Bible, with a dust jacket, but there is an imitation leather edition available, too.

As another side note, I *highly* recommend Pigma Micron 01 pens for Bible marking/note taking!

Do you have any ideas for a note-taking Bible? I'd *love* to hear them!


*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

NKJV Note-Taker's Bible



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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, with Illustrations by Emily Gravett



Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (October 23, 2014) 240 pages

Description:

Rudger is Amanda's best friend. He doesn't exist, but nobody's perfect. Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend - until the sinister Mr. Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr. Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumor says that he eats them. And he's sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn't there survive without a friend to dream him up? A brilliantly funny, scary and moving read from the unique imagination of A.F. Harrold, this beautiful book is astoundingly illustrated with integrated art and color spreads by the award-winning Emily Gravett.
My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. But first, a little warning. I encourage you to take the comparison to Coraline seriously, as far as the creepy factor goes. I've saw lots of "for all ages", and that concerns me. I loved this little book, but there's not a chance in the world I'll read it to my children just yet. There's mainly one part that I thought was creepy, but depending on how sensitive your child is, the whole thing could be pretty dramatic for them. The scene involves a lightning storm, a blackout, and a creepy girl. There's a picture of the scary girl placed at just the right/wrong moment to look extra creepy, and *could* cause some nightmares. I'd read it before either reading aloud to a child or handing it over to children prone to nightmares, though. A bedtime story might not be the best use of this book.

This book is a precious shout out to the world of imagination. There are limitless worlds out there to travel and people to meet with the use of imagination. My oldest little one has lots of imaginary friends, and that made this book extra special for me to read. I imagine it will tug on the heartstrings of adults more so than the targeted age. It was fun to see the support of some people concerning imaginary friends, the overreaction of others, and everything in between. There was one precious part that had tears flooding my face, and I enjoyed the way certain things tied together. That part just made me want to hug the book.

With the touching, even if creepy, story, lovely illustrations, the cover, AND the extra little doodles on each page, this is a book worthy of treasured book space. I was provided an ARC, but I plan on adding a final copy to our shelves!

*There are 10 full color illustrations, along with more black and white illustrations throughout the book. My ARC had a sample with 7 of the illustrations. (A 2 page spread of one big picture counts as 2 pictures, by the way.)

**I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

The Imaginary





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Escape from the Lizzarks(Nnewts) by Dan TenNapel



GRAPHIX (January 6, 2015) 192 pages

Description:

A little hero faces big challenges in the first book of this totally unique fantasy-adventure series.

The first book in the Nnewts series follows the story of Herk, a lovable Nnewt who longs for stronger legs, something his mother and father wish they could give him. When his quaint village is attacked by the reptile Lizzarks, he's forced to flee his home and leave behind the only life he's ever known. Now, all alone and on the run, Herk navigates a dangerous world filled with strange creatures and mysterious wonders, where friends are few and an evil lord is in hot pursuit.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I've finally accepted the fact that I actually really like comic books and graphic novels, even if I sometimes don't know the difference between the two. ;) Of course, I'm very, very new to the world!

This is an odd little book! It's a good thing that I'm typically drawn to oddness, because I actually liked it as long as I didn't think too much about some of the ridiculousness that was happening. If your mind isn't open to the odd side of the world, this might not be the best pick for you.

My copy was an Advance Reader's Copy. There were only a few pages that were color, and then the rest of them dropped to black and white. I'm assuming that the final copy will be in full color, but if not, I would be greatly disappointed. The colored pages were beautiful and brought more depth to the book, actually making the book worthy of precious and limited shelf space.

I was disappointed to see that there was no ending at all. I was met with "To Be Continued" on the final page. Since I don't know when the next book will be released, I'm left hanging. If that drives you as insane as it does me, I'd recommend waiting until all of the books are released.

Overall, I enjoyed the unique oddity of the book, but I wish I already had the rest of the series in my hands!

*I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Escape from the Lizzarks (Nnewts)



Monday, January 19, 2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen



Bethany House Publishers (December 2, 2014) 464 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I've grown to love Klassen's writing! I get to lose myself in a Regency romance, with a big dose of mystery, and that just makes me happy. I've been enjoying mysteries more and more as my reading days progress and the little challenge to my brain they produce. There were many secrets and layers within this story, and I appreciated how complicated it was, providing a more difficult mystery to figure out. (I didn't figure out the secrets concerning Pembrooke Park before they were revealed, in case you're curious.)

I loved Abigail's character. She's strong and sensible and sweet. She's described as not being the prettiest girl around, but she keeps her chin up and makes the best of life. Her sister is a beauty, and demands the attentions of those around her. I loved how Abigail handles those difficult situations.

Here's where I'll complain just a bit. There are scenes of "edginess" within the story, in regards to the two main characters. I'd just rather that kind of stuff not be in there. I know there are single, Christian young ladies reading books like these, and I imagine it's pretty impossible to keep a pure mind while reading such scenes. The older I get, the more those kinds of scenes annoy me. Those scenes make this a book that I have to be more careful about who I recommend it to, where otherwise I would freely recommend it.

Overall, despite my complaint, I still loved this story, and I'm still marking it as a favorite. It was a lovely mystery and I enjoyed it!

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

The Secret of Pembrooke Park



Friday, January 16, 2015

Draven's Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl Cover Reveal(with GIVEAWAY!!!!)

I'm always thrilled to see a new cover for one of Anne Elisabeth's books! Today, I get to join in the cover reveal for Draven's Light. I won't keep you in suspense.

The cover:





While all of Anne Elisabeth's stories have a darkness to them, this cover hints at an even darker story. As always, I can't wait to read it!



About the Book:

In the Darkness of the Pit
The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source ofthis evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needsto face the darkness?

Coming May 25, 2015


About the Author:



ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit: www.AnneElisabethStengl.blogspot.com

Read an Excerpt:

Excerpt from
DRAVEN’S LIGHT
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
(coming May 25, 2015)

He heard the drums in his dreams, distant but drawing ever nearer. He had heard them before and wondered if the time of his manhood had come. But with the approach of dawn, the drums always faded away and he woke to the world still a child. Still a boy.

But this night, the distant drums were louder, stronger. Somehow he knew they were not concocted of his sleeping fancy. No, even as he slept he knew these were real drums, and he recognized the beat: The beat of death. The beat of blood.

The beat of a man’s heart.

He woke with a start, his leg throbbing where it had just been kicked. It was not the sort of awakening he had longed for these last two years and more. He glared from his bed up into the face of his sister, who stood above him, balancing her weight on a stout forked branch tucked under her left shoulder.

“Ita,” the boy growled, “what are you doing here? Go back to the women’s hut!

”His sister made a face at him, but he saw, even by the moonlight streaming through cracks in the thatch above, that her eyes were very round and solemn. Only then did he notice that the drumbeats of his dream were indeed still booming deep in the woods beyond the village fires. He sat up then, his heart thudding its own thunderous pace.

“A prisoner,” Ita said, shifting her branch so that she might turn toward the door. “The drums speak of a prisoner. They’re bringing him even now.” She flashed a smile down at him, though it was so tense with anxiety it could hardly be counted a smile at all.

“Gaho, your name! ”The boy was up and out of his bed in a moment, reaching for a tunic and belt. His sister hobbled back along the wall but did not leave, though he wished she would. He wished she would allow him these few moments before the drums arrived in the village. The drums that beatof one man’s death . . . and one man’s birth.

His name was Gaho. But by the coming of dawn, if the drums’ promise was true, he would be born again in blood and bear a new name.

Hands shaking with what he desperately hoped wasn’t fear, he tightened his belt and searched the room for his sickle blade. He saw the bone handle, white in the moonlight, protruding from beneath his bed pile, and swiftly took it up. The bronze gleamed dully, like the carnivorous tooth of an ancient beast.

A shudder ran through his sister’s body. Gaho, sensing her distress, turned to her. She grasped her supporting branch hard, and the smile was gone from her face. “Gaho,” she said, “will you do it?”

“I will,” said Gaho, his voice strong with mounting excitement.

But Ita reached out to him suddenly, catching his weapon hand just above the wrist. “I will lose you,” she said. “My brother . . . I will lose you!”

“You will not. You will lose only Gaho,” said the boy, shaking her off, gently, for she was not strong. Without another word, he ducked through the door of his small hut—one he had built for himself but a year before in anticipation of his coming manhood—and stood in the darkness of Rannul Village, eyes instinctively turning to the few campfires burning. The drums were very near now, and he could see the shadows of waking villagers moving about the fires, building up the flames in preparation for what must surely follow. He felt eyes he could not see turning to his hut, turning to him. He felt the question each pair of eyes asked in silent curiosity: Will it be tonight?

Tonight or no night.

Grasping the hilt of his weapon with both hands, Gaho strode to the dusty village center, which was beaten down into hard, packed earth from years of meetings and matches of strength held in this same spot. Tall pillars of aged wood ringed this circle, and women hastened to these, bearing torches which they fit into hollowed-out slots in each pillar. Soon the village center was bright as noonday, but with harsh red light appropriate for coming events.

Gaho stood in the center of that light, his heart ramming in his throat though his face was a stoic mask. All the waking village was gathered now, men, women, and children, standing just beyond the circle, watching him.

The drums came up from the river, pounding in time to the tramp of warriors’ feet. Then the warriors themselves were illuminated by the ringing torches, their faces anointed in blood, their heads helmed with bone and bronze, their shoulders covered in hides of bear, wolf, and boar. Ten men carried tight skin drums, beating them with their fists. They entered the center first, standing each beneath one of the ringing pillars. Other warriors followed them, filling in the gaps between.

Then the chieftain, mighty Gaher, appeared. He carried his heavy crescent ax in one hand, and Gaho saw that blood stained its edge—indeed, blood spattered the blade from tip to hilt and covered the whole of the chieftain’s fist. Gaher strode into the circle, and the boy saw more blood in his beard. But he also saw the bright, wolfish smile and knew for certain that his sister had been correct. The night of naming had come.

“My son,” said the chief, saluting Gaho with upraised weapon.
“My father,” said Gaho, raising his sickle blade in return.

“Are you ready this night to die and live again?” asked the chief. His voice carried through the shadows, and every one of the tribe heard it, and any and all listening beasts of forests and fields surrounding. “Are you ready this night for the spilling of blood that must flow before life may begin?”

Gaho drew a deep breath, putting all the strength of his spirit into his answer.
“I am ready,Father.”Gaher’s smile grew, the torchlight flashing red upon his sharpened canines. He turned then and motioned to the darkness beyond the torchlight.
The sacrifice was brought forward.


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Preorder Link:

Draven's Light






Thursday, January 15, 2015

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reading to Know - Book Club


To Kill a Mockingbird was the December read for the Reading to Know Classic Book Club, picked by Annette @ This Simple Home.




I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, but that's been so long ago that this seemed like the first time I'd read it. The court scenes were the only parts that were even vaguely familiar. Since I did vaguely remember the court scenes, I had in mind that this book revolved around those particular parts more so than they actually did. I was surprised about how much of the book simply revolved around the life of a little girl, named Scout. (Of course, it's obvious there's so much more going on than that!)

As I first started the book, I realized that this could very well end up being a favorite read of mine. As I finished it, I realized it's probably not a book I'll ever read again, even though I DO appreciate it. I can't help but admire the fact that there's so much going on within the story that I could always be learning something new with each read. That's where the major debate in my mind has started. Will I reread it? I'm still not sure. A black crayon does an amazing job of marking out words I don't care for.

The language is probably my biggest issue concerning the book. There are a couple of words of religious profanity, which is usually enough to make me immediately put down a book. Due to the way it was used, I kept reading, though. (I don't claim I made the right choice, but it is the choice I made.) There was also the constant use of the "n" word. Mercy, how hate that word. I know that it's used in a "true" fashion for the times, but I still hate it. I live in the South. It's still used here. (Since I've never lived outside of the South, I don't know how much it's used in other parts of the world.) If you were to go into a Southern nursing home and let the residents tell about their past, I can pretty much guarantee you'll hear that word, and it's always an uncomfortable position to be in if you dislike the word as much as me. Its use is not limited to elderly folks, though. There's still racism, in many forms, for many skin colors/religions/beliefs. I'm thankful we've came so far from what is in this book, though. I've been reading other books lately about the prejudices towards Jews and anyone with any form of deformities, even birthmarks, during the time of Hitler, Japanese and Mexican Americans during WWII, and Native Americans. I fear for the future of Christians now.

I know perfectly well that eyes are rolling at me for the fact that some of the language *might* keep me away from this book again! For memory's sake, I want to make note of the huge debate that's been happening in my mind, both while reading the book and after I finished it. There's the uncomfortable feeling when reading/watching something that's a good thing...a challenging thing, and there's the uncomfortable feeling that bothers my conscience. I don't claim to always make the right choices, but when my conscience is bothered by something it's time to stop. That's not always an easy choice! (The Chronicles of Narnia is a perfect example right here, because I WANT to finish reading them so badly, but I don't feel right about it, so I don't. The Help is another perfect example.)((Please know that I'm *never* judging someone else for reading/watching something that I don't/can't....unless it's similar to a certain series with a number in it....there might be some judgment there, unfortunately.)) ;)

Here are some things I did like about the book.

SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing that I appreciated was how Lee made it so obvious that Tom was innocent. At first, I kind of sneered at that very fact, but as the story progressed I realized what she had done, and I realized the brilliance of it. I'm saddened that racism was ever that bad. I also appreciated the tie in to Hitler and the Jews at the end. More brilliance!

I also liked the school parts, concerning education. It drives me insane when schools or even doctors change their minds and adapt new methods with every little test/survey/study that comes along with different results. I'm not against public school! I have several nephews in public school, and I know many wonderful teachers that do their best to make sure their children are learning the best way they can, while still trying to work within the boundaries they've been given(and don't care for). Reading this book made me realize that issue has always been around. The whole "common core" change is really nothing new. There will always be changes.

And, Boo! I wish more was told concerning him. Was he social phobic and/or mentally challenged? Was this due to something that happened in his past, or was it just the way he was born? Was he pale due to being cooped up in his house all day, every day, or was he "albino"? This is where I realize how much a reread would do me good, because I feel like I may have missed little details that would give me answers. And then there may not have been answers. Boo just left me wanting more information concerning his life, though. (This is the issue with reading a kindle edition. It's much harder to "flip" through and reread specific parts.)

END SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!

Once again, I'll say how much I appreciated this book, BUT it's a difficult read due to the subject matter. I'm glad I read it again. There are many parts to give one "food for thought"!


Make sure you check out the round-up post for To Kill a Mockingbird discussion and thoughts. And, please let me know your thoughts on this book if you've read it! I'd love to hear them.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf by Caldric Blackwell with illustrations by Emma Phillips



About the Book:

Six-year-old Byron Woodward is a werewolf who can’t howl. Determined not to embarrass himself after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony, he embarks on a mission to learn how to howl. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.


My Thoughts:

When I was approached about this book, I didn't realize it was a book about werewolves. That's just not a topic I've ventured into with my children. Based on the reaction I've encountered from them concerning a zombie science kit that entered our home, I decided to keep werewolves an unknown topic for them(at least for awhile).

That said, I really appreciate the message of the book. I wish I'd read more books like this when I was younger. I was social phobic and the weirdest little kid you'd ever dream of meeting. School was horribly painful to me, and I cared too much what other people thought of me. Anything that could have let me know I wasn't alone would have been appreciated. I'm still pretty weird and still social phobic, but thankfully, I'm not near as bad as I was. I see my little Firefly leaning into my childhood, though, and I'm working on preventing him from the same kind of "social pain" that I went through. I plan on reading this book with him in the future, and more books like it.. I want him to know that he doesn't have to worry about what others think of him. I like books that help push a point I'm trying to pass to my children!

This is a sweet little book, with an inspiring message for children.

Purchase Link:

The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.



About the Author:



Caldric Blackwell realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten.

Exposure to a host of great authors while studying at the University of California, Santa Barbara inspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he eventually migrated to writing children’s books. His debut work is an early chapter book titled The Enchanted River Race. His second release is a picture book titled The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf.

Outside of writing, Caldric enjoys hiking and playing the mandolin, banjo, and guitar. Caldric currently resides in California.






Thursday, January 1, 2015

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Room Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti (With Photographs by Ivan Terestchenko)



Potter Style (December 2, 2014) 288 pages

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful coffee table type book. It's bigger than the average book, with thick glossy pages. There are extra pretty details, including a two colored "tape" along the spine(with a third color for the title) and matching inside cover details.

Inside there are lots of photographs of homes and rooms that have been decorated with the inspiration of various books. I enjoy looking at decorating ideas and I love books. How great is it to combine the two?! It's fun to see the creativity of other people. The great thing about this book is the fact that there are all kinds of tastes and imaginations at work, so while one might not have inspired me(as beautiful as it may have been), the next one did.

Throughout the book, alongside the photographs, there is constant talk of books and d├ęcor. There's also lots of quotes from various works of literature, and even decorating tips. Seeing a book come to life through someone else's decorating mind simply warms my heart. I've been greatly enjoying browsing this book, and seeing all the little details that brought about a room or space.

This is a warm and cozy book for the book lovers out there.


Purchase Link:

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature


*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.