Thursday, September 25, 2014

Amy reviews Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson


Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Genre: Fiction
Content:  mild violence
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release date:  2012
Number of Pages:  264

Book Summary/Teaser:
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.
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My Opinion:
I really liked this book!  After reading some "heavier" material it was nice to read something light and fun.  This book was perfect for a quick escape.  I love reading books set in this era.  Donaldson made her characters believable and real, I got sucked right in from the beginning.  My only complaint is that it was over too quickly, I want to read more!  Read it, you will enjoy it!

Rating: *****
You can find it on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Edenbrooke-Julianne-Donaldson/dp/1609089464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405192284&sr=8-1&keywords=edenbrooke

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kim reviews The Watchers by Deirdra Eden



The Watchers: Book One, Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden

All the training in Heaven couldn't prepare me for the war on earth, nor for the love, loss, or loneliness humans feel. There are things worse than death, and every last one of them is hunting people like us. Even though we all feel human at times, we must remember, we are not them, we are their watchers.

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series; has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, the Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah. The Watchers are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden's; The Watcher's Series; is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl's discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

What I thought of this book:
This book covers a lot of information and several years of Auriella's life, so a lot of the details of every day life are left out, making room for the most remarkable and meaningful pieces of the story of the Lady of Neviah.  This is the first book in The Watcher series and definitely leaves you curious as to what will happen next.  The story is well written and the imagery makes it easy to picture the story unfolding page by page.

This book was a very interesting coming of age of a young lady who happens to be a member if another race known as the Neviahans. This race comes from another world. There are shadow legions that are fallen beings that were exiled from Neviah, which seek to destroy the human race; and the warriors of light, who are great celestial warriors on earth to protect the humans from these fallen creatures.

In the beginning Auriella does not know what she is, but the shadow legions do and they are trying to capture her. Auriella escapes the shadow wolves only by the aid of a witch, who is just as evil as the shadow legions.  She keeps Aurelia hostage for over a year where she is basically the witch's slave. She eventually escapes with the aid of a fairy and a dwarf who become her companions.  This is just the beginning.

I'd give it ****

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review of "American Ride" with Stan Ellsworth

American RideHost of AMERICAN RIDE, Stan Ellsworth breaks the mold of the stereotypical High School history teacher. Former history teacher Stan Ellsworth tours the country on a Harley Davidson for the television show “American Ride.” Ellsworth’s approach to American history in AMERICAN RIDE removes the “bow tie and sweater vest” of history professors, puts on the “skull rag and denim vest” and breaks down stereotypes. His adventurous spirit and love for the United States is contagious and engaging. His approach is more like an invitation to walk (and ride) with him through the footsteps of history. He hopes the stories and “postcards” from the highways and byways of the country will make American history relevant to today’s audiences, and motivate them to take an active part in the preservation of the values this country was built upon. Now in the sixth season, Stan takes you across the world to see how the clouds of war gathered once again and what led America to enter WWII. New episodes air each Monday 9PM ET/ 7PM MT on BYUtv. If you've missed any episodes, you can catch up with all of the previous seasons online anytime at www.byutv.com/americanride

I've watched this show on and off for years. I absolutely love it! Stan Ellsworth is not your average History teacher. He makes History come ALIVE! It's not just a bunch of dates and names and places, Ellsworth fills in the background, giving you the why's and the wherefores'. History is a lot of cause and effect lessons and Ellsworth gives you the little-known tidbits that make History personal. He opens my mind to the sacrifices made and the hardships endured that help me feel truly grateful for America's heritage. You won't be sorry if you spend time with Mr. Ellsworth.

The episode I watched for this review was "Bloodied, but Unbowed" referring to American heads (metaphorically). The events at Pearl Harbor 1941 crippled US, but we didn't give up. Our fathers fought and struggled and many paid the ultimate sacrifice. This program is so worth your time!

StanABOUT STAN ELLSWORTH The 6’ 2”, 300-lb muscle-clad Harley Davidson-riding host of BYUtv’s acclaimed American history program, American Ride, would like nothing better than to inspire the next generation of George Washingtons, Susan B. Anthonys and Thomas Jeffersons. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised in the Carolinas, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Ellsworth was steeped in the landmarks and stories of American history throughout his formative years. His family lineage includes such historic luminaries as Revolutionary War patriot Ethan Allen; both Generals of the Cival War, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant (also the 18th president of the U.S.); and American folk heroes Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Ellsworth’s goal—both when he was in the classroom, and now in his weekly television program—has always been to “wake people up” to the stories of our founding fathers and mothers, and to the sacrifices they made in creating this nation. In his gruff baritone voice, he speaks eloquently of our heritage and extols the wisdom and bravery of those who came before. “LET’S TAKE A RIDE” ~ Stan Ellsworth
  American Ride Tour Blog Tour Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/2/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kim reviews The Delilah Dusticle Adventures Book 1 and 2 by A. J. York


















The Delilah Dusticle Adventures
by A. J. York

Book 1 – Delilah Dusticle
66 Pages (Including preview of Book 2, 45 pages of actual story)

Book 2 – Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure
124 Pages (Including preview of Book 3, 116 pages of actual story

Genre: Youth Fiction
Publisher: A.J. York
Release Date: 2013

Available on Amazon.com and Goodreads.com
Book 3 – Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest - Coming Soon!

*****
These books were quite charming.  I found them entertaining, but they also taught some very important lessons for young people.  These books were meant for a much younger audience but I found them to be a good read as an adult as well. 

The first book starts off with Delilah working for a family at a large estate. She is secretly in love with the son and heir to the estate.  Delilah is the chief dust-eradicator; she has a very special gift for this, and can eliminate any and all dust from even the toughest places.  After going on a trip abroad, the man she is in love with, returns with a fiancé. Delilah is crushed and her self-image is too.  She is asked to leave her position, as she is leaving dust everywhere she goes instead of removing it, due to her melancholy.  Delilah is left to find another place to live and work.  The only place she can find work is tending a cemetery and its gardens. 
One day when she is sitting at a pond near the cemetery, a woman comes to visit with her young son. She finds a friend in her, who appreciates her for who she is and treats her kindly, thus renewing her own self- worth and her powers.  The friendship results in a promising new business and partnership that saves more than just Delilah and her powers. 

The lesson being that a healthy self-image can affect more than we know, and kindness toward others can make a world of difference.  We do not know what others are truly going through in their lives, but if we are simply kind to those around us, we can make a big difference.
In the second book Delilah and her business of traveling maids are invited to Transylvania to aid a certain Count Dracula in readying his castle for his annual Halloween Ball.  This job is somewhat different than others, in that the castle is already spotless, and Delilah is put to the job of adding dust and cobwebs to the castle instead of removing them.

 The Count is an energetic and extremely cheerful person, who likes bright colors and wants his castle to be spotless.  Each year, during tours of the castle, the Count is burdened by having to dress with a cape and make his castle appear run-down and filthy.  When asked why he does this, he informs Delilah that this is what people expect, due to the unfortunate behavior of his ancestor Vlad.  Although it is quite costly, and he would prefer a glamourous ball instead of the gloomy ones he puts on, he feels it makes others happy to maintain this charade.
While working for the Count, he and Delilah have some very enlightening conversations about the dust-eradicating powers that Delilah is gifted with.  Delilah finds out that she is a Brownie, or a Dust Fairy; blessed with the gift of controlling dust.  This is how Delilah is able to decorate the castle as the Count has requested.  Delilah is very shocked to learn all of this information and her head is filled with the idea that she certainly is quite special.  When the guests arrive, the Count informs Delilah that she may want to try to keep her gifts under wraps, as she may be in danger if any of his guests discover what she is.  The Count turns out to be right, and Delilah is kidnapped by one of the guests, a woman consumed with making people believe that she is well liked and famous.  Delilah’s friends now must figure out a way to get her back safely and unharmed.  They come together and make quite a miraculous rescue.  It turns out that the kidnapper has spent all of her money on making herself appear to be adored and famous, and she wanted Delilah to use her powers and make them appear to be her own, which would really make her special. 

This never ending need to make herself seem more important has left the kidnapper friendless and people actually find her to be quite boring since the only thing she ever talks about is herself and how wonderful and beautiful she is. In the end when all is solved the Count comes to the realization that he doesn’t care what people expect, and from now on he will be throwing parties that really shows who he is, instead of what other people think or expect him to be.
 The lesson of the story is to embrace your unique gifts instead of conforming to what others want you to do or to be like.  Your life is your own, and you will only be happiest when you are true to yourself.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  I would place these books at the same level as Amelia Bedelia. I used to love those books as a kid, and Delilah Dusticle would have been right there along with that series if it had been around at that time. I think these are extremely entertaining stories with plenty of adventure as well as a bit of silliness and fantasy.  The lessons these stories teach just make them all the better.  I would definitely recommend these books to any of my friends who are looking for something wonderful for their children to read.
*****

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Amy reviews Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent by Veronica Roth
Genre:  YA Fiction First in the Trilogy
Content: Some disturbing violence, mild language
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins Publishers
Release date:  May 3, 2011
Number of Pages:  487

Book Summary/Teaser:
This first book in Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy is the novel that inspired the major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet. This dystopian series set in a futuristic Chicago has captured the hearts of millions of teen and adult readers.

Perfect for fans of the Hunger Games and Maze Runner series, Divergent and its sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, are the gripping story of a dystopian world transformed by courage, self-sacrifice, and love. Fans of the Divergent movie will find the book packed with just as much emotional depth and exhilarating action as the film, all told in beautiful, rich language.
One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.
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My Opinion:
There seems to be a lot of new books set in a "Dystopian" society.  I was a little bored with the idea of this book when I started reading it.  The main character is living in a very controlled world where they are given very little freedom.  There is something different about her, something secret, that will no doubt be the key they need to fix everything.  Sound familiar?  I have read too many books like this to be surprised by much of it.  It was, however, much darker and scarier than some of the other books that I was comparing it with.  It is written very well and you identify quickly with the characters.  I enjoyed the book enough to finish reading the series, but just a little disappointed with the 'all too common' story line. 

Rating: ****
You can find it on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Divergent-Veronica-Roth-ebook/dp/B004CFA9RS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396986635&sr=1-1&keywords=divergent