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Monday, August 26, 2013

"She's Twelve Going on Twenty" by Kim Camp

Divided into three main sections--body, mind, and spirit--this book tackles the many ways in which young women struggle to find their identities.  Each chapter covers an interesting topic from both a spiritual and a real-world approach.  There are even stories thrown in to give the reader more depth into each circumstance.  Things such as fashion, friends, influences, media, video games, relationships, and more are expounded upon.  There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter for daughter and mother to go through either together or separately.  Also interesting is the fact that the author touched upon divorce and how that can impact young women.  Food issues are also discussed.  While this book is intriguing enough to be read on its own, I would recommend it more as a reference for mothers.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"What Once Was Lost" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Set in the late 1800s, this story revolves around many interconnected lives that are quite fluid.  Relationships blossom and relationships become distant.  But I'm not just talking about romantic relationships--I also mean friendships and business acquaintances.  Sawyer did an excellent job of fitting the others characters in.  You had just enough to know how they felt but not so much that you were distracted from the protagonist.  Also, there was not much romance in this book.  There is some, and the protagonist does end up marrying the other leading male character in the book (come on, is anyone surprised?).  However, what Sawyer managed to pull off was making the reader really fall in love with the people in the book.  Instead of some frilly historical fiction book where the characters act all 1800s flirtatious, her story was laced with plausible life circumstances, real life emotions, and not so pleasant travesties.  But the book felt real and you could feel yourself immersed in the story, in the small Kansas town.  I also enjoyed how the life of a little blind boy was tied into the plot.  The spiritual connections drawn based on his are truly deep and will hit you when you get to them.  I could go on, but, in essence, I highly recommend this book.  I had an advanced reading copy.  The only thing I was not too fond of was the protagonist would often say she felt things "in her breast."  I'd prefer the expression "in her heart," but that's just me.  Other than that, I enjoyed the book.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Icing on the Cake" by Janice A. Thompson

There’s an overweight baker who happens to catch the eye of a muscular heartthrob.  Baker Scarlet may consider herself too fat, but Armando’s cultural background causes him not to view her as heavy (to him, she’s “normal”).  Also, Scarlet has another gentleman caller in her life called Kenny.  This book gives a good lesson to girls that their weight won’t necessary keep guys away.  That isn’t to say women shouldn’t strive to stay healthy and eat their vegetables.  Readers learn from Scarlet’s life how true diet and exercise are better than any “crash diet” out there.  Girls who may not be a size 2 will know that they can still be viewed as attractive.  Another interesting part of the book was how real life events—from other characters—were woven into the story.  This wasn’t just some cute love story with 2 characters being the center of the universe.  No.  In Thompson’s book, we learn about the struggles and joys of Scarlet’s friends, her extended family, and even Armando’s family.  This makes the book more connectable to the reader.  Not everything in the book is realistic, but there’s just enough plausibility to make you want to keep turning the pages.  J     

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Sticking Points" by Haydn Shaw

As someone who works with a variety of coworkers from different generations, this book stood out to me.  I found it interesting how Shaw broke up most people into a couple generational groups and then delved deep into what makes those people who they are.  Shaw focuses on what he calls ghost stories, which are essentially historical events that shaped each generation.  From financial changes to terrorism to technological updates, this book explains how and why each generation is different than the others.  Shaw also gives readers steps for overcoming generational differences, along with stories of both good and bad examples of conflict resolution.  This book is great for companies, managers, employers, and just readers in general.  Besides being applicable to the workforce, this book will also help friends and family better understand each other.  As you will learn from this book, we're all speaking the same language.

Monday, August 5, 2013

“Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” by Carole P. Roman

“Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” by Carole P. Roman is a delightful book about learning and overcoming difficulties in life.  Out of all of Roman’s pirate books, I have to say that this one is my favorite.  Besides being full of great artistic pictures, this book really hits home on handing emotions.  Pepper the Parrot doesn’t know his left from right.  This subsequently gets him embarrassed in public.  Then, he gets frustrated, angry, and even cries.  Now, adults may know their left from their right, but we can all identify with not knowing something and getting embarrassed / upset over it.  The book also emphasizes kindness in teaching others, along with some humor thrown in for good measure.  There is even a tip included for little ones to remember their left from their right.  All in all, this is a great book. 

"Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" by Carole P. Roman

"Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" by Carole P. Roman is the introductory book in the Captain No Beard Series.  It introduces the main characters—animal and human alike.  Those familiar with Roman’s books will notice a slightly different style of art in this book.  It looks less like watercolor paint and more like marker.  However, the art is still detailed and nice.  One picture is even repeated twice in the book.  This book has good literary lessons for children.  Besides using alliteration, there is a scene where the characters look up a word in the dictionary and appear to be having fun doing so.  In terms of teaching kids the value of chores, there is also a part in the story where the “crew” works together to clean the pirate ship.  Towards the end of the book, there is a part where the children eat cookies before dinner.  How early before dinner is not specified, but I can only hope is it in the afternoon during some sort of snack time as opposed to directly before supper. 

"On Distant Shores" by Sarah Sundin

“On Distant Shores” by Sarah Sundin is set in the World War II era.  Georgie is a nurse, and Hutch is a pharmacist.  Both have fiancés—“sweethearts”—back home.  However, while both are away from their significant others, they develop a relationship with each other that starts out as friendship and grows into something more.  Georgie misses Ward but is frustrated when he doesn’t support her goals.  Hutch misses his fiancé but is frustrated when she seems too distant.  Both remain loyal to their fiancés until drastic events in the book take place.  What drastic events are these?  Read the book and find out for yourself.  The detail in this book was sufficient for a historical fiction novel taking place in the 1940s.  Readers will see the sights of Rome as they follow the war torn characters.  There is a bit of astronomy discussed, along with Greek mythology.  Both characters are religious in the book and religion comes up every now and then with regards to quoting Bible verses and trusting in “the lord.”