Friday, November 28, 2014

Amy's Review of Duty by Rachel Rossano

Duty: A Novel of Rhynan by Rachel Rossano
Genre: Historical Fiction
Content: Clean
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release date:  February 2013
Number of Pages:  352
Book Summary/Teaser:
Duty to King Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman. Duty to Others Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage  to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier? Duty to Each Other Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.
My Opinion:
I don't remember the last time I have read a book in this time period and setting.  It was refreshing to read something different than the current popular genres.  I enjoyed the characters and the plot, it is always fun to read something that is so different from what you are used to, it felt more like an escape.  It was interesting and intense and it had good morals of duty and honor.  I could see this being made into a movie, it would be great!  Try it out, you will like it!
 Rating: *****

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Amy reviews Mom made Us Write This

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer by Ali Maier

Genre:   Fiction
Content: Clean
Publisher:  Erie Island Media; 1st edition
Release date:  October 2013
Number of Pages: 208

Book Summary:
A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh.

This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share!

Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life - a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book that inspires kids to read and write, and captures the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is recommended for 2nd – 6th grade students.

Parents, kids, and teachers will love this book. Parents will welcome the emphasis on strong family relationships. Teachers will appreciate the classroom extension opportunities. Kids will enjoy the laughs, lessons and the “me too!” connection.

“Positive, creative and fun for classrooms and families!”
-Mrs. Jane Jagielo, 4th Grade Teacher

My opinion:

I had fun reading this book, I think kids would REALLY enjoy this one.  It is journal entries written by ten year old twins, they have fun sharing their opinions and teasing each other.  It is cute and clever the way it was done.  I did have a hard time believing that it could be written by ten year olds though.  I have a nine year old and an eleven year old and it just doesn't fit.  Their sense of humors are too mature, and their ability to express themselves with clear, coherent, and entertaining ideas is also too developed.  I really did enjoy it, and I think the idea of it is very fun.  My only complaint was that it didn't seem realistic.  But maybe that's why it would be best for kids! 
Rating: ****

 Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ali Maier

Thursday, November 20, 2014

24 Magical Christmas Journal Prompts for Kids

Parents, be prepared for interaction. These prompts are designed to get your kids thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. They will need to understand the word symbol.
Adapt for younger children by breaking the drawing prompts into smaller pieces and spread them out.

Day 1--Draw a Christmas tree with a star on top, lights all around and presents underneath.

Day 2--Answer in your journal why we use evergreens for Christmas trees? Hint: it's symbolic. You might need to ask an adult.

Day 3--What does the Star at the top mean? What about all of the twinkling lights?

Day 4--Why do we give each other presents? List each member of your family and what you would like to give them this year.

Day 5--Red is known as the first color of Christmas. Why? Why is green the second color of Christmas?

Day 6--Write the lyrics of your favorite Christmas hymn or Primary song. Why is it special to you?

Day 7--Down the left hand margin of your paper draw Christmas bells, a candy cane, and a wreath.
To the side of each one write down what they symbolize.

Day 8--Draw a picture of Baby Jesus in a manger, with Mary and Joseph at His side.

Day 9--Write about your picture from day 8.

Day 10--Draw the biggest star you can fit on your paper.

Day 11--Who did the star guide?  What or who is your guiding star?

Day 12--Draw the stable with all of the animals.

Day 13--Write a story about what you imagine each animal gave Baby Jesus.

Day 14--Draw a picture of the Shepherds watching over their flocks being surprised by the Heavenly Host of Angels singing.

Day 15--Pretend you are one of the shepherd's children tending the flocks that night. Write about what it was like to hear the angels singing. What do you feel? What do you do next?

Day 16--Draw a picture of the 3 wise men seeing the star from far, far away.

Day 17--Pretend you are one of the Wise men. What would you do to prepare for such a long journey? Hint: it took them about two years to reach Baby Jesus.

Day 18--The Nephites who believed the signs of Jesus' birth would come were threatened with death. Would you be one of the believers? Why or why not?

Day 19--Draw a Nephite child seeing the star from Zarahemla. He or she is a believer.

Day 20--Imagine you are that Nephite child. Did it take great courage to believe? How did you feel when you saw sun set but it didn't get dark. What did you fell when you saw the star? How did the wicked Nephites feel when they saw the signs?

Day 21--The Wise men reach Bethlehem when Jesus was about two years old.They asked King Herod where Jesus might be.  Draw a picture of the wise men visiting Jesus and His family.

Day 22--What gifts did the Wise men bring? Write about what each gift symbolized.

Day 23--Draw a picture of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escaping Bethlehem at night.

Day 24-- Herod ordered all of the babies two years old to be killed. Pretend you are Mary or Joseph. You have been warned to flee. What do you take? Are you frightened or calm?

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Amy's review of Michael Vey Book 3: Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans

Genre: Fiction
Content:  Some intense scenes with mild violence
Publisher:  Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink;
Release date:  July 2012
Number of Pages:  320

Book Summary/Teaser:
Michael, Taylor, Ostin and the rest of the Electroclan have destroyed the largest of the Elgen Starxource plants, but now they’re scattered across the Amazon jungle. The Elgen have joined forces with the Peruvian army to capture the Electroclan, and only Michael has managed to remain free. With his friends due to stand trial for terrorism—a charge that may carry the death penalty—Michael will need all his wits and his abilities if he’s to save them.

 E.S. Ampere—the super yacht the Elgen use as their headquarters. With the Elgen fleet now under his control, Hatch heads back to Peru to pick up his army and then begin his quest for global domination.

Can the Electroclan win the battle of the Ampere? Or has Michael’s luck finally run out?

My Opinion:
This is Book 3 in the series, I was seeing a lot of repeat themes and ideas in this book.  It is still intense and fun to read, but it seemed a bit more predictable.  The way it left you hanging for book 4 I can assume we are in for some more "Michael Vey" type adventures.  Hopefully there are some new ideas and twists in the upcoming books.  I said it before, good books for the younger crowds!

Rating: ****

Book 4 Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon
released 16 Sep 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Amy reviews Michael Vey Book 2: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Genre: Fiction
Content:  Some intense scenes with slightly disturbing violence
Publisher:  Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink
Release date:  July 2012
Number of Pages:  352

Book Summary/Teaser:
I rolled over to my back, struggling for breath. The pain continued to pulse through my body—a heavy throb followed by a sharp, crisp sting. 
The man said, “Trust me, there are worse things in this world than Cell 25.”

Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan have escaped from the Elgen Academy in Pasadena and are headed back to Idaho to plan their next move. But what’s waiting for them there will change everything.

After using their wits and powers to narrowly escape an Elgen trap, a mysterious voice leads the Electroclan to the jungles of Peru in search of Michael’s mother. Once there, they discover that Dr. Hatch and the Elgen are far more powerful than anyone realizes; entire countries have begun to fall under their control. Only the Electroclan and an anonymous voice now stand in the way of the Elgen’s plan for global domination.
But is the voice that Michael is following really an ally, or is it just another Elgen trap?

My Opinion:

This is the 2nd book in the Michael Vey series.  I knew what I was getting into with this one and I was much more pleased.  The book keeps your interest the whole time, and it is a really quick read.  I began to become attached to the characters in the story and found myself slightly invested.  My complaint would be that it was a little gross.  *Spoiler Alert*  They have electric rats that feed on live flesh, including humans at times.  I thought that was a little bit gory and morbid.  Other than that, I liked this book. 
Rating: ****

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Amy reviews Michael Vey Book 1: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Genre: Fiction
Content:  Some intense scenes with mild violence
Publisher:  Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink;
Release date:  July 2012
Number of Pages:  352

Book Summary/Teaser:
To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special—he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens—and through them, the world.

My Opinion:
I loved the beginning of the book.  It was real life, real problems, real people.  And then it changed.....into magical powers and rich bad guys.  Honestly, I was disappointed in the change of direction.  However, it is written very well and it keeps you entertained.  It is an enjoyable read, and I went on to read the next two books in the series.  But I probably never would have started these books if my 11 year old hadn't asked me to in the first place.  This would be a great series for teenagers and youth. 

Rating: ****