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9.27.2016

Prince Noah and the School Pirates ~ Review

Prince Noah and the School Pirates
By Silke Schnee
Illustrated by Heike Sistig

When Prince Noah shows an understanding of numbers after helping out in the kitchen, it is decided that he should go to school. But school in Prince Noah's kingdom is very different than school here.

Prince Noah's school was on-board a ship. But everyone was divided onto different ships based on whether they were boys, girls, or had something different about them. Each ship taught something different, but you couldn't go to a different ship you had to stay on the one you were assigned to.

But when all the ships were blown off course into pirate controlled waters all the children and their teachers are in trouble. Thankfully the children work together with their unique skills and talents to save the day, themselves and their teachers.

Being captured by pirates showed the kingdom that each person can have something important to share, but sometimes all the pieces and parts have to be combined to make a real difference. The little prince who saved the kingdom has helped once again to change how people perceive differences. Never again would the children be separated on different ships of learning and each would be able to pursue the talent they were born with.

This is a delightful story in working together and not seeing only the outer layer, but instead seeing the person who is within. This isn't your normal princely tale but one that is invaluable in teaching a lesson that we all can use. Would be a welcome addition to any children's section of the library.

I was provided a copy of this book through Handle Marketing in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:
Prince Noah may be a little slower than others, but he has no less joy in living and learning.



It's time for young Prince Noah to go to school.  In his kingdom, children go to school on sailing ships. There is a ship for girls and one for boys, one for children with an eye patch and one for children with one leg, and one for children who don't learn as fast. No one knows why there are so many different ships, but it has always been that way. 

Then a terrible storm drives the ships into the hands of pirates. The boys and girls realize that they will only escape if everyone does what he or she does best. Through their adventures, they learn that diversity makes us strong and that every person has something to teach us.

This delightfully illustrated fairy tale instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.

9.26.2016

A Time to Die ~ Review

A Time to Die
Out of Time #1
By Nadine Brandes

Parvin Blackwater has a year to live. She lives in a society that syncs a person's life to a clock at conception. There is just one problem with Parvin's clock, she doesn't know if it is truly hers. She and her brother Reid have been sharing one clock their entire lives. For 17 years one of them has been living a lie. One of them has been living without a clock.

Convinced that the clock counting down the last year of life is hers, Parvin decides that she has to live her remaining days so that she can make a difference. Parvin wants to be remembered.

But how can someone from one of the least important cities every rate remembrance past death? Can revealing her story be the path to remembrance? Unfortunately the truth may cost her more than she ever imagined when the authorities learn of it. No one lives beyond the Wall and those who live in defiance of the law are sent to the other side. Parvin is about to meet her fate whether she ready to meet it or not.

The world as we know it has ended. The USA is no more, the west has become a desolate wasteland of instant death. A Wall has been erected to keep those in the east safe from what lies beyond. One can't rise above the life they are born to, though they can fall if deemed a Radical. And Radicals can fall so low that they can be sent through the Wall.

This is a book that will tug at your emotions as Parvin deals with life and all it presents to her. Be warned you may want to have a box of tissues nearby. I highly recommend this moving book - this is a book that both teens and adults will enjoy reading and sharing.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

How would you live if you knew the day you'd die? 

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government's crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

9.25.2016

Can I Really Know Jesus? ~ Review

Can I Really Know Jesus?
101 Questions and Answers about Jesus, Salvation, 
        and Prayer
by Carolyn Larsen

Have you ever wondered if you can truly know Jesus? If you are like most people you have asked yourself this question from time to time. Faith is belief without view-able evidence and it is normal to have doubts creep in and attempt to attack your faith. Asking questions is a chance to learn and grow in one's understanding of Jesus, His gift of salvation, and in how to talk with Him through prayer.

Events from the life of Jesus are explained in simple terms so that one who has not grown up in this type of environment can understand what is being said.  Some of the questions in the first part cover the date of Jesus' birth, why Mary was chosen to be His mother, and whether there is proof of Jesus' resurrection. The second part covers salvation and what that means on a personal level in one's day-to-day life. The third part covers prayer - what is prayer exactly and how one should and can approach this opportunity to speak to God.

This book is hard-covered and has soft colored pages (yellows, peaches, blues, greens) with a few illustrations (at the top of the page by the question number and at the separation between the parts). Each question/answer is followed by a supporting Bible verse. 

This book would make a lovely gift. It would also be a good book to have as part of your family devotional time.

I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:
Knowing Jesus is like no other relationship you’ve ever experienced.

Cheerful artwork with a modern whimsical style wraps around honest, easy-to-understand answers to your toughest questions about the Savior, his invitation to salvation, and the assurance that God really does hear our prayers. Can I Really Know Jesus? will inspire and offer comfort as you grow closer to God and gain a better understanding of why he sent his Son to earth, what it means to have salvation, and how prayer can deeply impact your life. Also serves as a heartfelt gift of love and promise to those who are considering faith or are new believers.
365 Pocket Morning Prayers
Strength and Joy to Begin Each Day
By Dave Veerman

365 Pocket Morning Prayers is a small 316 page book that is perfectly sized to take with you wherever you go. These are short half page to full page themed prayers with a corresponding Bible verse. These can be read through in order becoming a part of one's daily devotional. Or using the index in the back one can pick the prayer by the topic for specific needs.   

The cover is a soft cream and aqua speckle with a carved out light green palm tree, sea gulls and title. The cover has a peaceful appearance that suit the content - prayer. This would be a perfect gift to have on hand for a new believer, conformation, or baptism.  The compact size makes it ideal for a bed side table, purse, briefcase or backpack. The prayers are encouraging and comforting as one faces the day-to-day struggles and joys that are life.

I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:
Each morning when you arise, take a moment 
to talk with God about the day ahead. 

Ask Him to prepare your heart so that you can be ready to face any challenge that comes your way. 365 Pocket Morning Prayers can guide this time of life-changing conversation and help you express your needs and concerns to God. Don’t worry about what the day will bring. Instead, release your troubles and concerns into God’s care by reading and meditating on the prayers featured in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers. Begin your day in joyful anticipation, trusting that God is in control of your life and wants only the best for you.

Ella's Will ~ Review

Ella's Will
By Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee

He'll get his true love to the ball...

Will Hawkins loved Henry Blakeley as the father he had wished he had had. Henry's death brought an end to his employment for the Blakeley family.

Years later Will is shocked to see the situation that Henry's daughter Ella is living in. Reduced to the role of servant in her father's home, Ella's life is one of hard work which Will is determined to ease. But if she receives help her stepmother punishes her, seemingly determined to break her spirit.

When Prince Kenton's betrothal ends he finds himself in need of a wife before his birthday.  To the dismay of the royalty the Prince plans a ball to find the most suitable common woman in the land, whom he will wed. Will both fears and hopes that this may be Ella's chance to rise about the life she is now living. But if Ella weds the Prince, Will will lose the woman he has come to love.

Determined to put aside his own desires and happiness, Will will find a way for Ells to win the Prince and escape the life she has. But can he survive the loss of his heart's desire?

This is the delightful companion to Ella a story in which Ella makes a choice that does not include a happily ever after with the Prince. This story is told entirely from Will's perspective and can be read before Ella if you have not yet had the privilege of reading it. Lovely twist on the story of Cinderella which you will enjoy reading again and again.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the book:

Will Hawkins is just a simple stable boy. How can he hope to woo Ella, his once-wealthy childhood friend who is stubbornly independent, especially when his competition is the prince? Without any magic or fairy godmothers, Will must show Ella that he is her true prince charming in this perspective twist of the Cinderella story.

About the author:

Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee graduated with a BA in English from Brigham Young University in 2004. She loved taking creative writing classes, and was particularly fond of the works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters. She also studied French and the humanities. Jessilyn grew up in the beautiful deserts of Southern California and now resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Saratoga Springs, Utah, with her husband and five boys.

The Second Season ~ Review

The Second Season
By Heather Chapman

Even the perfect match may not be enough to win her heart...

Caroline Hopkins is about to enter her second Season in London and she's not looking forward to it. Caroline prefers the freedom and open spaces of Whitefield Hall to the restrictions of London. The one relief will be leaving behind the Jaspers. Mr. Jasper's attentions to her sister Lucy are becoming unbearable and his mother insufferably arrogant.

Caroline's honest and unguarded comments bring her the attentions of the Duke of Rembridge. Pursuing the Duke is the furthest thing from Caroline's mind, but her mother is determined that this is the match that Caroline was born for.

Determined to protect her daughters from fortune hunters, can Eleanor allow them to follow their hearts? Or is title and wealth the only consideration she will allow?

Get ready to enter the latest season in London - a dangerous scene for the innocent and the unprotected. Broken hearts and ruin are waiting for one misstep or one ill spoken word. Be careful who you trust when your heart is the prize.

The Second Season is more than just Lucy and Caroline's season in London.  It is a look at the Hopkins family as a whole and even the changeable nature of their mother. We are given glimpses of the courtship of Eleanor Davenport and Phillip Hopkins which is an important current of influence throughout the story of their own daughters paths to marriage. This is a sweet story and one in which the hopes and dreams of a few are played out for all of society to see. This is also a second chance at discovering the heart's desire.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



About the Book:

Caroline is not looking forward to this year’s Season in London. Her mother already has schemes for her marriage prospects—and none of them include love, it seems. But when a dashing young duke begins to pursue her, Caroline has second thoughts. Caught between ambition and desire, Caroline may gamble her heart away without even realizing it.



About the Author:

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

9.23.2016

Fifth Column ~ Review

Fifth Column
The Blitz Detective #2
By Mike Hollow

London is caught up in yet another war, a war which some are against.  Rumors of a Fifth Column within England are circulating. And London has become the nightly target of German bombers, so when a young woman is found amongst the rubble no one is surprised. But when evidence points to a personal attack as the case of death DI Jago is determined to find out who and why.

But delving into the past of Mary Watkins proves a daunting challenge. Few knew the young woman well and yet what little was known only raised more questions. Who killed her and why?

As Jago and his partner DC Cradock look more closely at the facts they uncover something they hadn't expected. Where this thread of deception leads them is uncertain but it could very well lead them to the England's Fifth Column.

The Fifth Column is a book of intrigue and suspense.  A murder, an act of betrayal, and the fate of a nation could be in the balance. Someone knows more than they are saying and Jago is determined to bring a murderer to justice, even if he has to untangle all the lies that have hidden the truth away.

Fans of Foyle's War will enjoy this literary series that follows a similar vein - World War II England with a police procedural. Fans of WW2 historical fiction will enjoy this series too. The characters are believable, one can empathize as the air raids take place. Some characters are likable, others are totally despicable. This is a story that one can get into as the case takes unexpected turns that lead to another yet another layer that further complicates the case.

I was provided a copy of this book by Kregel Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

About the book:
The neat row of small, late-Victorian terraced houses 
was punctuated by a gaping space: 
homes reduced to rubble in the night raid...

Detective Inspector Jago investigates, uncovering deception and betrayal 
At first glance, the young woman found in the early hours of the morning where bombs have landed is just another casualty of the previous night's air raid. But when the post-mortem shows signs of strangulation, Detective Inspector Jago is called on to investigate.

The dead woman is smartly dressed but carries no identification. However, a local engineering company reports a staff member has failed to appear at work that morning and the body is quickly identified as that of Miss Mary Watkins.

DI Jago's initial interviews yield little fruit; no one can think of a reason why Mary would be murdered. But as the investigation continues DI Jago begins to uncover a trail of deception and betrayal.