Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom Giveaway Hop !!

My Very First Blog Hop Giveaway!
Welcome to the Freedom Giveaway Hop

I am giving away 2 books to one winner.
Patchwork Dreams by Laura V. Hilton

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Becky by Kathleen Y’Barbo

I have reviewed both of these book and they are both fun summer time reads!
Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win. I am keeping it super simple to sign up to win! One entry per person. I would LOVE  if you would follow my blog through GFC but it isn’t mandatory to enter. If it looks like I review books you enjoy I would love to have you as a follower, let me know if you do .. just for my own kicks :)
I will be using Random.org to select a winner and will announce it on Friday the 8th of July.
Over 200 stops to make on this blog hop for a chance to win!

 
 

Stella the Fire Farting Dragon- J.Aday Kennedy



Stella the Fire Farting Dragon
Written by  J. Aday Kennedy
Illustrated by Jack Foster

As soon as I heard the title of this book from Aday I knew my boys would love it!
Stella has to get ready for a talent contest and every time her nerves take hold.. well, she farts fire and all better take cover. Bagpipes aren’t her forte, so she tries doing a flying skit and her friend has her practice until she is no longer nervous.
The day of the talent show Stella is doing great, eats a blueberry muffin for breakfast and is off to the show after Allen brushes away her blueberry stained teeth and helps to get her ready.  Let’s just say Stella got a bit nervous on her talent presentation, but the blueberries redeemed her!  The crowd thought she planned it.
A funny story about friendship and believing in yourself.  Aday takes a serious case of the nerves and puts a funny spin on it that will be a joy to young boys and girls alike.. though I am guessing boys really will be the ones laughing.
Aday was kind enough to send us a whoopee cushion with Stella on it, and my boys were excited to play along with the story J
What I love about Guardian Angel Publishing and the authors there are the defined morals to the stories they publish. It has been a blessing to review books with several of the authors there.
J.Aday Kennedy is a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic who refers to herself as The Differently-Abled Writer.
Aday has a great website where you can download teachers guides and fun activities to go along with her books http://www.jadaykennedy.com/Main_Home/Downloads.html
She also has a blog you can follow Brain Fart Explosion
Send a SASE to Aday and get a tattoo of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon to
PO. Box 71
Mineola, TX 75773

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How Silver Fox and Coyote Came to Color the Butterfly

A Tale of how the Butterfly got it's colors.
Cute book about a silver fox and coyote who paint flowers. They come together to form a friendship and can combine their colors to make more colors. Teaches young children the color combinations. They go to the moon to look for more colors and decide to come back to earth. They see a plain moth and decide to color the butterfly.
A story told to Dr. Rinaldi by her Algonquin Grandmother, it does include references to Mother Earth.
Written and Illustrated by Dr. Frances Rinaldi

Friday, June 24, 2011

Not A Fan- Kyle Idleman

Not a fan.
Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Kyle Idleman

Published by Zondervan
Source: Review Copy
Are you a Fan of Jesus or a Follower of Jesus? They are not one in the same. Define your relationship with Jesus. Are you ‘an enthusiastic admirer’ sporting the gear to support your latest trend?
We have made our decision to follow Christ, but it doesn’t stop there. To be a follower you need to have a committed relationship with Him, to know him intimately and allow yourself to be known by Him. If you are a follower of Jesus are you following Him or just trying to obey the rules?
Kyle Idleman gives a series of questions to analyze when you are considering whether you are more of a fan or a follower. He uses humor mixed in his examples and gives a sense of lightheartedness to a very serious topic. Kyle takes the topic of sitting on the fence, with one foot in the kingdom of God, and the other foot in the World, to a new comparison of being a fan versus a follower.
Learn to deny yourself and daily pick up your cross and follow Jesus. Profound insight resonates throughout the book. I think all Christians should read this book and make a decision. The world is getting harder and harder, and the believers need to be equipped to become followers through the tough times.
This would be a fantastic study for a small group , or even a church sermon series. Pass the word along and let’s become followers of Jesus rather than lukewarm fans.
Zondervan has provided me  with a complimentary copy of the book

Bombus the Bumblebee- Elsie Larson

Bombus The Bumblebee
Written by Elsie Larson
Illustrated by David and Elizabeth Haidle
Published by Master Books
Source : Review copy
Bombus.. even his name makes him sound large! Big, hungry Bombus loved his nectar and didn’t leave much for the honeybees, he was a bigger guy after all. The honeybees were not at all happy with getting the second best honey so they devised a plan to make Bombus doubt his flying abilities. They tell Bombus “Your body is much too fat and heavy for your wings. You are not shaped right for flight”.  They tell Bombus he must have misunderstood his directions, that he obviously isn’t meant to fly.. he doesn’t fly like the honeybees fly. Bombus gets down on himself and tries creeping along rather than flying.. leaving the best nectar for those pesky honeybees.
God’s voice booms out from the heavens and confronts Bombus asking him, “What made you think you cannot fly?”.  Those jealous honeybees are in trouble now. God tells Bombus, you can fly because I gave you flight. Though they may not be shaped right to fly, God gave them flight and it is His  miracle.
The book has facts about the bumblebee, an activity section, and discussion questions for the kids in the back of the book.
Bombus the Bumblebee is a great book on our uniqueness in God. He created differences in bees, what more difference has he created in us. Fantastic illustrations and great moral message makes this a top notch picture book for children.
 New Leaf Publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stubby's Destiny- Dixie Phillips

Stubby's Destiny
Written by Dixie Phillips
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing

Stubby's Destiny is a about an orphan donkey who wants to be like the great stallions who work for the King. Sly the stallion takes time to work with Stubby on his trot, his stance, his grace. Much stumbling and tears later Stubby realizes he will never be a magnificant stallion. He goes home to the stable with tears in his eyes, feeling he has no divine destiny.
The next morning Stubby is getting a drink at the well and 2 men come up and put a robe around his neck and tell him that the Lord needs his help. Maybe Stubby has a divine calling after all.
A great story for any time of year, but works great for the Easter season and the triumphant entry.
The story was fantastic, my kids really enjoyed it. The illustrations were fantastic.
The only trouble I had with this book is that the writing goes right across the illustrations and is in white print. I didn't care for this layout at all. I felt it distracted from the art work. I personally prefer the words to be on their own page, or at the bottom of the page, to not cover up the illustrations. Just my own personal opinion. The wholesomeness of the book, and the story isn't hindered by it, but I would recommend not using this type of format.

I received a copy of this book from Dixie and I so appreciate the opportunity to review it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck- Kathleen Y'Barbo

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck
Kathleen Y'Barbo
WaterBrook Press


London 1887, Charlotte Beck is visiting her Grandfather along with her stepmother Gennie. Charlotte is making her debut into social society, armed with the social graces taught her by her tutor Miss Pence. Unfortunately Charlotte is not very graceful and falls from the balcony into the arms of Alex Hambly. The two can not stand the site of one another, yet their paths continue to cross all the way back to Denver.
Charlotte may be a 'menace' but has a head for business and desires to go to college and then work in her father's business. Mr. Beck rather Charlotte get married and have children as women are suppossed to do.
Alex's family is in financial despair and Mr. Beck offers Alex a proposal.. literally to marry his daughter and Mr. Beck will rescue the Hambly family estate. Charlotte will be able to attend school for 4 years then they will have to get married for her to take her place on her Grandfather's board.
Agreeing to the proposal, the 4 years go quickly and the day comes to wed. Still neither want to wed but know they must follow through with the promise. They concoct a plan to get an annulment shortly after the wedding so that neither of them are trapped into this forced marriage.
Alex has a change of heart though as he realizes that he has feelings for Charlotte, and a commitment to God to honor his vows. She of course is furious and trys all of her menacing ways to get him to give her an annulment.
Charlotte is one of those loveable characters that make you laugh out loud. Alex is every woman's dream beau, gentlemanly, adorable, and rich.
This is the first book I read by Ms. Y'Barbo and there are 2 others in this series. It was such a fun, light read that I plan to get the other 2 to read. Very enjoyable book!

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for a review.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Noble Journey- Dixie Phillips

One Noble Journey written by Dixie Phillips
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing

We so commonly see the class divisions in our society between the poor and the rich. Dixie Phillips brings that theme to a small English style town where the rich live in the Highlands, and the poor live in the lowlands.  Journey is an orphan from the lowlands and Bella is the Count's daughter from the highlands and they are the best of friends.
They find a racoon in the woods and as they are bringing it out Bella's father the Count sees them and repremands her for being friends with a lowlander. Journey races home to the orphanage where Parson Nelson tells her 'The ground is level at the foot of the cross'.
Racoons are notorious for their curiousity and mishap and that leads into more trouble for Journey and Bella.
Find out how God softens the Count's heart and how 'The Cross always helps us find our way home".

Adorable story showing that though there are differences here on earth, rich and poor.. that we are all equal when we come to Jesus. I loved how the girls against the odds were friends, and through their friendship they were able to minister to others who were set in their ways.
Beautiful illustrations and a great moral to the end of the story.

You can find out more about Dixie by visiting her website at http://www.writing4littleones.blogspot.com/




Sunday, June 19, 2011

Her Daughter's Dream- Francine Rivers


Her Daughter’s Dream is part two in Marta’s Legacy by Francine Rivers. To fully understand and soak in the story you need to start with part one, Her Mother’s Hope.
Part two picks up where one left off in the early 1950’s. Hilde is suffering for a second time with TB and is in a hospital room quarantined from her family. Her husband Trip calls Oma Marta to come and help them so that Hilde can come home to recover and care for the children. Hilde is surprised that she does. Marta and Carolyn form a close bond while Hilde is recuperating, and the relationship between Hilde and her daughter never grows to be the close bond that she desires. 
Years later Carolyn goes to college and soon after her brother Charlie goes to Vietnam. Carolyn drops out of college to protest the war, experiments with the drugs and alcohol of the hippy era. Still close with Marta, but never having felt loved by Carolyn. She turns from the God she once held dear after her brother is killed in the war. Carolyn comes home after all her options are exhausted, pregnant with May Flower Dawn. The cycle continues as Carolyn rebuilds her life while Hilde cares for Dawn. The relationship between Grandmother and Granddaughter overtakes the one of mother and daughter.
This saga is rich in historical data and loaded with well rounded, unique characters. A heavy read about the generational sin of pride and secret keeping. Of not reaching out to the ones you love to make sure that they know you love them.  I had hoped that this second part of the story would bring some redemption as the first one left me feeling sad and not at all satisfied. I cried at the end of this novel and it truly made me look at my relationship with the women in my life.. thanking God for them.

Her Mother's Hope- Francine Rivers

Marta’s legacy begins in Switzerland in the year 1901 as a young girl at the age of 12. With a father who was quick to anger and take his anger out on Marta, and a sickly mother, Marta learns quickly that life is difficult. Papa pulls her out of school at age 12, hires her out to tend bee hives, clean hotel rooms and babysit. He finally sends her back to school.. to become a servant.  Marta meets a variety of people through her employment and continues to hold on to her dreams of running a hotel someday. She gets as far as running a boarding house when she meets her husband Niklaus. They end up living in Canada, then later Calif with their young children. Marta’s daughter Hilde is constantly pushed by Marta, and feels the same unloved feeling that Marta had from her father. Hilde leaves as soon as she can to pursue nursing.. always being a servant as her mom says.
The book is rich in historical facts, ranging different countries and decades. The first in a sage of two parts, I definitely recommend not stopping with part one. The relationships between the mothers and daughters in this novel are always strained. Following the sin of pride and stubbornness, though feeling that they are showing love, they continue to pass on those traits to the next generation. It had sad undertones throughout the whole book and made me want to go and love on my daughter.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Missional Mom- Helen Lee


The Missional Mom
Living with Purpose at Home & in the World
Helen Lee
Being a missional mom means looking beyond the scope of your own home. We need to realize that the culture around us influences so profoundly that we often fall in contrast to God’s plan. One way to stand out is to live sacrificially, to have eyes like Jesus and see the realities of the world around us. Focusing on those in need, those less fortunate than us and those in third world countries is the crux of being missional.
By being a missional mom you can influence and model for you to raise a missional family.  Helen Lee says “God’s calling is for all Christ Followers: Go and love and serve others. Go and make disciples. Go and be missional. Whatever you do, go out into the world and make a difference.” 
I felt the message of the book was great. We do need to go out into the world and make disciples for Christ. We can all engage in the world by spending time reading the newspaper or watching the news to see what is going on in the world. We can pray for those things. We can probe deeper into an area that God may be calling us to. And we can participate in concrete actions by taking steps of faith.
I believe that this lesson is very seasonal .I think that a mom with very young children, with many children, who homeschools and manages a farm… won’t be in this season for many years. To some degree she can still be missional. Pray for those who are hurting around the world, sponsor a child through world vision; help out at church with missions efforts. I think there should have been more emphasis on the seasons, as it wasn’t really mentioned until late in Chapter 11. Being an overwhelmed mom and reading this book would make me feel more overwhelmed.
 I recommend this book for Moms who are in a season where they can seriously consider being missional. I strongly feel that those who are in the younger years are in their mission field by raising their children.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Picture Book Reviews...

I have been reading some picture books to the littles lately so they can earn tokens for the library program. I have found some books I have really enjoyed and wanted to share them with you.
These 3 are excellent books with fantastic illustrations! Check out if your local library may have them to read to your littles, or even to your bigs :)

Adorable book about little Dinny Brown who is eager to get to the county fair. Mama is busy making pies for fair, Dad is chopping wood to sell at fair, Sis is getting her animals ready for showing. Grandma Patty sees Dinny's eagerness and off they go to the fair.
Gorgeous illustrations, full open out page of the whole fair. Maybe I am partial as we show at county fair, but this was a fantastic book about a good ole fashioned fair!

Miss Smith reminds me of Ms Frizzle on the Magic School Bus series. Instead of a school bus taking them places, she reads from her Incredible Storybook, and the stories come alive. They go on adventures of the sea with classics such as The Owl and the Pussycat, Moby Dick, Gulliver Travels and more. Introduces kids to classic sea novels in a fun way. Bright and captivating illustrations!



Simple words, conveying a big message.. All the World is All of us.
Cute rhymes, beautiful illustrations. Fast pasted and holds a childs interest.
Deeper than some kids may get, but meaningful for the parents to read as well.
Very nicely done picture book.

More to come in our quest for the great picture books of the summer!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Reluctant Queen- Joan Wolf

A Reluctant Queen
The love story of Esther
Joan Wolf


The book of Esther in the Bible has always been a book I longed for more of.. more detail, more insight into the times, more depth to the story. Joan Wolf has taken the book of Esther, created a scene rich in history and added dynamic characters to satisfy our imaginations as readers.
Esther had a Jewish mother and a Persian father. Dad was killed early in Esther’s life, leaving Mom and Esther living with Uncle Mordecai until Mom’s death.  Uncle Mordecai and Esther lived together for many years to come
Uncle Mordecai, years later has a dream that “the whole of the Jewish race was doomed to destruction”.  The Jews need to have someone on the inside to catch the King’s ear. Uncle Mordecai requests of Esther that she enter the competition to become Queen, which the King began when he ousted his last king Vashti for her insubordination. Esther would use her lineage through her Persian father and disregard her Jewish heritage for the time being.
After much prepping and time, Esther of course is chosen by the King Ahasuerus, following the Biblical account. Esther though finds herself falling in love with the King, and he with her.. ahh, the love story component.
The life of a Queen is detailed so exquisitely that I could imagine the Queen’s chambers, her beauty, and her love for the King. The historical places and descriptions brought to life the Biblical Esther in a beautiful novel.
I appreciated the authors note on how she came to write this love story. “To turn the book of Esther into a novel, I had to give the characters humanly understandable reasons for acting as they did”.
Joan Wolf also writes “Where the bible story and novel come together is the underlying premise, God has a plan for the world, and He works His plan through the action of humans. The big question is, will we allow God to work through us?”

I received a free  copy of A Reluctant Queen from Litfuse Group to review.
Enjoy other reviews on the tour by clicking on this link
You can purchase a copy here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joan Wolf Giveaway!

To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!



One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 

Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stilts, The Stork by Dixie Phillips


Stilts the Stork
Dixie Phillips
Illustrated by K.C. Snider
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing

Adorable story about a stork named Stilts who is eager to have a family. She finds her first 'egg' on a golf course, builds a nest and waits. She continues to find more and more 'eggs' as the days go by. Content to sit on her nest and wait for her eggs to hatch!
 Stilts is a funny bird in high heeled shoes and determination.
Dixie Phillips uses smooth flowing rhymes to tell the story and make you laugh. Great illustrations of this leggy bird and her new found family.
I was left wishing for more and felt the conclusion was a bit abrupt, surprised when I turned the page and it was the end. I guess the Mama in me wanted Stilts to get her real family !

Thanks to Dixie Phillips for a review copy of this book, it was a pleasure to read to my children!

That's When I Talk to God- Dan & Ali Morrow

That’s When I Talk to God
By Dan & Ali Morrow
Illustrated by Cory Godbey
Published by David Cook
Absolutely delightful book on the intimate relationship with God through prayer.  The Morrow’s present in story form several ways that children can pray to God throughout the day, not just at meals and bedtime.  “You can pray about Anything, Anywhere, Anytime”.  Praising God for his artistry,  thanking Him for friends and family, having a repentant heart, safety, courage and more.  Heartfelt wording and actual prayers to help children see the simplicity in the prayers that they can have.
This was a beautifully illustrated book, nice soft colors with purple calming undertones.
Scripture and the Lord’s Prayer are included in the back along with a letter to the reader from Ali’s father Lee Strobel.
 A 5 star children’s book that is a great addition on any child’s bookshelf.
Thankful to B & B Media Group for the privilege to review That’s When I talk to God, and receive a free copy.

Count Your Blessings by Susie Moore Hillery

Twenty blessings illustrated for the young reader. What is a blessing ? "A blessing is God's favor that brings happiness or pleasure to you" according to author Susie Moore Hillery.

Beautiful illustrations and a wide range of blessings. I liked the concept, however many of the blessings tried to rhyme and I thought they could be written better. Some of the rhymes seemed corny.
Though Ms Hillery in her opening says God is the author of blessings, when she writes the page on Church being a blessing she illustrates it with false gods rather than the church. That was very disappointing to me.
I can give this book a 2 simply for the illustrations and attempt at writing a book on blessings. I personally did not care for it.

 I received a complimentary copy of Count your Blessings as a member of the    
    Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit dorrancebookstore.com
    to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

The Trigger a novel of Revelation by Hon Hoh

 The Trigger A Novel on Revelation
By Hon Hoh
Published by Believers Press
May 2011

Josh the pastor of a large church in New York has been feeling God’s pull on his heart toward worldwide missions, to reach the unchurched and underground churches in other nations. On a mission to China he is arrested and brought to the office of the chief of state security, Chief Yang. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit Josh shares the gospel with Yang and he is delivered of an evil spirit and accepting of Jesus as his savior, having to keep it secret from his country. These two along with Josh’s friend Scott in Australia, are all feeling the call to the Great Commission in Matthew 28 ;18-20. Led by the Holy Spirit and circumstances the trio chooses Yangon a city in Myanmar as their mission field.
Set in 2032, the UN as we know it has repeatedly failed to “respond effectively to the three dominant issues plaguing the twenty first century: international terrorism, world trade, and the global environment”.  The UGF, United Global Federation is started, with the guise of treating these three issues, being used by Satan to bring about a one world order, using the President of France as the Antichrist.
The UGF targets born again Christians as the leaders of terrorism.  The counsel seeks to outlaw ‘religious bigotry’, and put tracking devices into all individuals (the mark of the beast).
The Trigger follows closely along with the book of Revelations, quoting biblical references.  The book jockeys between the setting of heaven and the angels along with the Lamb, the realm of evil and the Dragon and his devils, and the physical earth and the people God has chosen to release the trigger.
I enjoyed the perspective given by seeing the spiritual realm intertwined in the story. To read what the archangels are staying and doing, along with the Devil and his minions. I could see the hand of God on the trio before they knew that He would be leading them. It was nice to have the inside scoop in the story. This was not like other books about end times in that it was not a pre-tribulation mindset. Backed with scripture Hon Hoh writes the novel with Christians living through the tribulation and not being raptured until the second coming of Christ.
The trigger was a fast paced, detailed read that was definite food for thought. The scenerio in the book will hopefully bring Christians to reading Revelation and impacting the world for Jesus.
Hon Hoh's ministry can be found at http://www.livingimpact.org/.
Thanks to B & B Media for giving me a copy of The Trigger and allowing me to review it.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Patchwork Dreams by Laura V. Hilton

Patchwork Dreams
The Amish of Seymour
By Laura V. Hilton

In Jacob’s parents eyes, he is flirting with danger when it comes to his relationship with Susie, Amish, but becoming more and more worldly. Jacob is sent to a distant cousin’s house in Missouri, his parents tell him it is to help out his cousin for a time. Really his parents have sent him there to forget about Susie and bring new Amish blood to the area.
Jacob meets distant cousin Becky and is instantly drawn to her, and takes it upon himself to get her to learn to smile again. Becky feels forsaken by the world and her involvement with an Englisher that had left her shunned for several weeks, and never really brought back into the fold of the church.  Jacob and Becky’s friendship begins and as time goes on they realize there is much more to it than that.
Drama and conflict is thrown in with an elderly widower wanting to woo Becky, Jacob’s Susie coming for a visit, and running into the Englisher who brought so much heart ache.
A novel of forgiveness and redemption, centered in the Amish culture in Missouri, was a beautiful summer read.
I really enjoyed that the setting for this novel was somewhere other than Pennsylvania. I felt a new dimension was able to be added by researching a different group of Amish, and showing us a change of scenery. The characters were well developed and likeable. I often found myself rooting for Jacob, and wanting to shake Becky into realizing how good he was for her!  There really are a lot of amish fiction novels presently on the market, many of them seeming very similar and familiar to each other. I found this one to be different enough that it kept my intrique and kept my fingers turning the pages.

I received this book free from Whitaker House in order to review it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Echoes of Savanna by Lucinda Moebius




Echoes of Savanna
 A Haven Novel The Parent Generation
By Lucinda Moebius
Echoes of Savanna begins in the year 2036 during an outbreak of what appears to be small pox on a Navajo Indian Reservation. Dr. Savanna Taylor a 19 year old doctor specializing in genetics responds to the call that is just the beginning of a slew of plagues, viruses and diseases unleashed on the USA by terrorists.  A leading doctor in the field Savanna researches and tries to develop vaccines for the virus’s that are slightly mutated, unresponsive to the current vaccines.
Her father’s call to return to the safe, superior community he has created called Haven, has Savanna along with her young daughter Raven returning to the sanctity of Haven. Savanna soon becomes in-charge of the operations in Haven, a growing community detached from the rest of the world.
Savanna’s attention when not focused on Haven is in the lab with friend Emily on working with embryos to make them ‘perfect’ for implant. In a world where fewer are able to conceive Emily is determined to provide healthy babies for those outside of Haven, despite Savanna’s concerns.
Attempting to balance the running of Haven, her children, and her love Travis, and her research, her family outside of Haven,  Savanna has to make some hard decisions that will impact her forever.
My Thoughts
The first few chapters of the book focus on Savanna working with the Navajo on their reservoir, helping them with their epidemic. I love her relationship that grows with Chief Etu and the details of the culture and the research that she is doing. How she helped Kai and took her embryo to later implant and become Savanna’s daughter Raven.
 I loved the character development of the key characters as well as secondary ones. They were well developed and relational. You could almost see their facial expressions in some of the conversations they had with each other just from the wording used.
 The details of the running of Haven and all that needed to be done to have a community were excellent and I could visualize how they could form their own little world apart from the destruction happening around them.  Felt cult like in the rule driven and socialistic running of it, but it appeared to work for most of them involved.. a much better option that being out in the war torn USA.
I struggled however with the timing of the story. The first few chapters covered a few days. By chapter five we are covering a few weeks of time passing. Chapter eight we move quickly through 6 months of pregnancy by the 3rd paragraph. And later we cover years at a time very quickly. I tended to get lost in how much time passed. I appreciate that the author was trying to cover a large block of time in a single book, however I would have enjoyed having it put into 2 or 3 books covering the same thing.
There were a lot of details, and some intriguing ideas that I think could have easily been put into a series in of itself rather than rushing through some things. I felt the relationship with Travis was rushed, they were practically dating on the drive to Haven though they had just met.
I needed the timing and the pace to be consistent. Other than that I thought it was a great book, very detailed again. I am not typically one to read futuristic or science fiction books, but this was just slightly in the future by 25 years and was interesting to me.

Thanks to Media guests for allowing me to be on this Book tour and to Lucinda Moebius for a job well done!


http://mediaguests.net/online-tours/echoes-of-savanna/

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Animal Sound Mix-Up by Connie Arnold

Animal Sound Mix-Up by Connie Arnold
Illustrated by Kit Grady
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing


What would happen if animals had their sounds mixed-up? What if a mouse roared or a pig squawked, would we view them differently? Would the mouse appear stronger to us in some way?
A variety of animals are mixed up with sounds in fun rhyming sentences.
Kit Grady has done a beautiful job illustrating the detailed animals, making the scenes very pleasing for all ages.
I love how Connie Arnold ends the book with God making each animal individual in the sounds that they make and that the sounds are how they speak.
I would recommend this book from ages 2-6 though even younger may enjoy the animal pictures and sounds.

You can find out more about Connie Arnold at her blog http://www.childrenbooks.webs.com/
You can purchase her book from the publisher at http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Klutzy Kantor- J.Aday Kennedy


Klutzy Kantor is a clumsy Pegasus who wishes he wasn’t such a klutz. His friend Agra tell him to go and challenge the leprechaun to a battle of the wits, the winner being granted a wish. Kantor trains with some friends of the forest, honing his riddle solving skills, all the while tripping and running into things.
Kantor challenges the undefeated leprechaun to a dual of riddles, sure his determination and riddle practice will help him win the challenge and get his wish. Does he get his wish of no longer being a klutz?

J.Aday Kennedy has made a cute and fun story about a Pegasus named Kantor. She goes above and beyond just writing the book by providing a teacher guide to go along with the book geared for ages 6-10, though I think it would be geared more for 4-8.
http://www.jadaykennedy.com/files/Teachers-lessons/Teache_Guide_Klutzy_Kantor.pdf


She has even written a song for Kantor called “Go Me’ which you can download on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003U345H8/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=braifartexpl-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B003U345H8&adid=1ZW664BP5PFDS9HDFJWR&

Jack Foster illustrates Kantor with bold, colorful pages, rich in personality.

Aday on her website calls herself ‘The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker” She is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, who has written several darling children’s books. It was a joy to read this book to my children and I have more to come on my blog when we look at her latest book!

Friday, June 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts- Ann Voskamp


Ann's story begin with the tragic death of her 18 month old sister Aimee; "that hideous November day that branded our lives". She lived a childhood of distrust in God and His goodness, though a Christian in word, she was not fully alive in Him.
Now as a homeschool mom of 6 and wife to a farmer,(sound vaguely familiar!) Ann desires to live fully and see more of God. Jesus laid the foundation for Thanksgiving "Eucharisteo" in His communion with the disciples. "Thanksgiving always preceds the miracle". Ingratitude was the fall of man in the garden of Eden.
It starts with a challenge from a friend to write a list of 1000 blessings or gifts that God gives. As she starts the list she begins to see growth in her life in thanksgiving and joy. She shares this growing experience with the readers as she quotes key scriptures, sermon notes, and personal reflections.
Ann's writing styloe is lyrical, poetic, and honest. Written in a way that you feel you are sitting with her in the living room with a cup of tea. It pierces through you and moves you emotionally.
Such a simple act "eucharisteo" but so many times choose to ignore it.
I loved how Ann shared with us some of her listed items as examples of what we could put into our own lists.
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time and it is already impacting my life with positive change as I strive to live more fully in Him.
5 plus stars!

I received a copy of this book from Zondervan for free, this has in no way influenced my review.