This book took a critical look at education in the US, Finland, Korea, and Poland, mostly through the eyes of three foreign exchange students. I expecThis book took a critical look at education in the US, Finland, Korea, and Poland, mostly through the eyes of three foreign exchange students. I expected it to be dry and more of a chore to wade through than a pleasurable read, like most of the non-fiction books I've been reading for class. I was very pleasantly surprised, not by the topic but by the readability of the book. The narrative flowed easily and the concepts were presented clearly. One idea led to the next in a logical, easy to follow manner.
The author's findings left me more than a little agitated, not because she's wrong but very, very right, in my opinion. Our school systems have major issues and the trends I see trouble me deeply, one of the reasons I'm pursuing a graduate degree in educational design.
Her conclusions boiled down to two major concepts for me - First, change the teachers. Good teachers who know the materials and demand high performance from the students are the most effective at teaching. Start by changing the requirements to be admitted to teacher training programs. Make it more rigorous. Make them accountable to actually know and understand the material they will be teaching. We require it from doctors and lawyers and even electricians. Why not teachers?
Second, change the schools. Schools focus on sports more than anything else, to the detriment of education as a whole. I'm not saying take out sports entirely, kids need play-time and exercise and recess. Kids learn good things from playing sports, but not everything they need to know in order to succeed in today's world.
This was a great book. Anyone who wants to understand why the US is lagging so far behind in academics should read it. It doesn't have all the answers, but it goes a long way to uncovering some of the things other countries have done that might improve our own educational system. Those that can learn from others and from the past will make better choices for their future. Kids are our future. They deserve a better education. ...more
If you're looking for a spy novel with no swearing, naked scenes, or gore, this is a great one. I found it refreshing to read an intrigue story that cIf you're looking for a spy novel with no swearing, naked scenes, or gore, this is a great one. I found it refreshing to read an intrigue story that could make a PG movie and still be grown-up and fun. Jordan does a great job keeping the suspense going all through the story....more
I picked this book up as a diversion, thinking I could put it down anytime and not expecting much. Instead, I was fascinated. The feel is not the normI picked this book up as a diversion, thinking I could put it down anytime and not expecting much. Instead, I was fascinated. The feel is not the normal Tolkeinesque high fantasy. This book has all sorts of intriguing cultural things going on. There are lots of layers to the emotions and the story. I found it to be a complex, different story than most fantasies.
If you're looking for something unusual, give this story a chance. I'm very glad I did....more
I found this book wedged into the wrong shelf at the library. It looks like a cute little kids' book, but it isn't. It's dark and twisted and so wrongI found this book wedged into the wrong shelf at the library. It looks like a cute little kids' book, but it isn't. It's dark and twisted and so wrong on so many levels. I loved it. It was the perfect pick-me-up for a bad day. My day was so much better than theirs, because all my friends are NOT dead or mentally unstable or incapable of emotion.
If you like weird and twisted and just wrong, you'll enjoy this book.
Fargo is a Freerider, kind of like an interstellar ship-hopping hobo. He came across as an older teenager in the first few chapters. When he's describFargo is a Freerider, kind of like an interstellar ship-hopping hobo. He came across as an older teenager in the first few chapters. When he's described as middle-aged later, it was a bit of a shock to me. I was expecting a YA novel. This isn't one. Fargo gets pulled into negotiations between aliens and humans. Most humans, especially those of the Pan Humana, want nothing to do with aliens. They want them banned from human worlds and restricted from trade.
I finished this book over a month ago. For some reason, not much of the story stuck with me. I just never clicked with it. If you like science fiction, give the author a try. You might love this book.
3.5 stars, PG mostly for language and some sexual situations...more
I "met" Jacqueline Lichtenberg through the Twitter chat, #scifichat (Fridays at 2 pm EST, they're a lot of fun, you should join us). Her comments inteI "met" Jacqueline Lichtenberg through the Twitter chat, #scifichat (Fridays at 2 pm EST, they're a lot of fun, you should join us). Her comments interested me enough to track down some of her novels to read. This one is my new favorite by her.
Kyllikki, a powerful telepath, has left her family and position behind in a quest to escape from her domineering cousin and her power games. She gets caught in the politics between the Empire she's left and the government she works for when her ship is attacked. With the help of Zuchmul, a luren (think alien bat-vampire type people but not really), and Idom, human but a genius with numbers, Kyllikki rescues Elias, a bonded Dreamer. It gets complicated from here. Dreamers help telepaths keep sane and also act as spies, reporting everything they do, say, and hear through their dreams. The story becomes a desperate race to end a war, thwart Kyllikki's blood-thirsty cousin, save Zuchmul from death and worse, save the space-time continuum, and uncover the real truth behind FTL drives.
This book kept me turning pages until long after my bedtime. Isn't that enough of a recommendation? My husband picked it up as soon as I finished. He couldn't stop reading, either.
4.5 stars, PG-13 for some suggestive scenes and for using sexual desire as the propulsion for space travel, but it's handled discreetly. It's a romance, you have to expect at least some of that kind of stuff....more
Kayla Blackstone wasn't always a slave. At one time she was a highly sought after Bounty Hunter. She never questioned what she carried, never cared, sKayla Blackstone wasn't always a slave. At one time she was a highly sought after Bounty Hunter. She never questioned what she carried, never cared, so long as the pay check didn't bounce. But everything changes the night the Mage Hunters come, the night her entire life is stolen.
Now she's been given a second chance, a run for her freedom. Keaton offers her a deal--she delivers a package before midnight and he'll let her go free. Unfortunately for Kayla, nothing is ever as simple as it appears.
The writing and characterization are a bit uneven, but since this is a new author, I cut her slack for it. The story is engaging and the characters intriguing. The worlds she builds are fun to explore. I'm interested to find out where book 2 will be going with the story. The author leaves enough ends hanging loose to suggest a sequel.
This was not the story I was expecting when I started it. I was rooting for Darcy, the knightly hero. I wasn't sure what to think of Arabella when sheThis was not the story I was expecting when I started it. I was rooting for Darcy, the knightly hero. I wasn't sure what to think of Arabella when she was introduced. And Brianna? This book is full of weird twists and turns and reversals that I didn't see coming.
If you're expecting the usual D&D campaign crossed with something sort of like the Shannara books, you're going to be disappointed. If you're looking for something very different but still high fantasy, this is a great read. I don't want to say too much, because I hate when people spoil the surprises for me and I don't want to spoil it for you. Just take my word that this is a fun twist on the old stereotypes.
I found a lot of typos and misused words in my version, so if that really bothers you as a reader, don't read the book. The violence got more than a little graphic at times, but not in a gory way, it felt more like a superhero battle where even though they were destroying buildings and smashing mountains, no one really got hurt. The book also has a few detailed sex scenes, but they came across almost boring, mostly because the viewpoint character was bored. Her inner dialogue was almost funny in those scenes. I'm not sure if the author was writing a comedy or not. Either way, I really enjoyed the story, although I want to strangle him for the last scene. Is there a book two or not? (It's a little bit of a teaser.)
4.5 stars, PG-13 for violence and some sex ...more
I have a basic, bottom-end Kindle. When I go browsing on it for new books, I don't get much of a cover view. I didn't realize this book was science fiI have a basic, bottom-end Kindle. When I go browsing on it for new books, I don't get much of a cover view. I didn't realize this book was science fiction romance until I was well into it. Not that it's a bad thing, I don't mind a bit of romance in with my rocket ships and galactic empires. If I'd seen the cover, I would have known exactly what I was in for.
The Catalyst is a great tale of a space marine tangled up with the good-looking and good-at-heart bad boy who isn't really a bad-boy. I enjoyed the twists of plot. I've been reading SF for many many years now and it was refreshing to see a new angle on things. Nova Whiteside is supposed to be on a routine delivery mission - get the cargo to its destination safely without letting on she's a marine. A pirate attack destroys her cargo, leaves her injected with an alien poison and on the ship of her former boyfriend, Seth (the bad boy not-quite-a-pirate character). In the course of finding a way to cure the poison, they uncover lots of deep secrets and plots to destroy a distant planet's indigenous sapients.
The book was a little rough in spots, but overall it was a fun read. That's saying something. Most of the newer SF I've tried has been downright depressing and bleak. It's nice to find a book about a future that is hopeful and progressive. I loved the author's alien squid, very unique. I did skip several paragraphs in places, mostly because I really don't want the sexual plumbing lessons. There is a little profanity in this book that I found very jarring, mostly because it wasn't necessary and felt forced. The author also seems to have an addiction to exclamation points!!!
4 stars, PG-13 for intimate sex scenes, some mild violence, and a few f-bombs...more
I'm a fan of Frances Pauli. But to be clear, I don't rave over all of her books, just most of them. This is one worth raving over.
If you like fantasyI'm a fan of Frances Pauli. But to be clear, I don't rave over all of her books, just most of them. This is one worth raving over.
If you like fantasy with elves and fairies and the sidhe and magic and all that jazz, but you're tired of Tolkien-esque worlds and stories, try this book. Satina, a goodwife, is on the run. She's trying to find somewhere she will fit in, somewhere where her magic won't turn her into a target of either the magic-hating humans or the magic-seeking gangs. What she'd really love is to be part of the Old Kingdoms where magic ruled. But all that is left are the pockets, pieces of the Old Kingdoms accessible by those with the right gifts of magic and sight.
I enjoyed the story. The settings were evocative and rich with hinted culture and stories yet to be told. The use of magic was balanced and believable. The characters were well-developed and some took surprising turns. I'm happy to say that book two is on its way and promises to be every bit as fun as Unlikely.
This is a great cookbook. If you want to learn how to use spices and herbs in new ways, track down a copy and try out the recipes. The cookbook is oldThis is a great cookbook. If you want to learn how to use spices and herbs in new ways, track down a copy and try out the recipes. The cookbook is old enough it uses real ingredients, not mixes. It's got one of my family's traditional Christmas cookie recipes - Nutmeg logs....more
If you're looking for a entertaining book for a 10-12yo girl, this one is worth trying. The story is interesting, involving ancient magic in a modernIf you're looking for a entertaining book for a 10-12yo girl, this one is worth trying. The story is interesting, involving ancient magic in a modern setting. I'm only giving it three stars for several reasons. First, the characters are not well-defined until late in the book. How old are they? The author never tells us. At first, they seem to be late teens, but as the story progresses, they get younger and younger, ending up as typical nine or ten year olds. Second, the story skips around a bit and gets very confusing at times. Third, it's fairly slow at the start. But once the pace picks up, it becomes much more enjoyable and the story flows.
Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the story and I'm looking forward to the next installment. This is one book I'll hand over to my own almost 10yo daughter....more
Frances Pauli revisits her universe of space mercenaries, the one she introduce in Roarke. That book was my introduction to Frances Pauli. I'm glad shFrances Pauli revisits her universe of space mercenaries, the one she introduce in Roarke. That book was my introduction to Frances Pauli. I'm glad she's returned to the same universe in Man on Fire.
The story starts with Amanda being woken up early from stasis to meet her new commander, who is, of course, a really hot guy. This is romance, after all. He turns out to not be the guy she thought he was, which leads to some interesting conflict.
It's a short read. Don't expect a full novel. But it's still worth your time, especially if you enjoy sci-fi and romance mixed together....more