More jungle noir, please! More, more, more! So yes, it's safe to assume that I loved "watching" Jake G. Panda in The Case of the Cursed Dodo. The bookMore jungle noir, please! More, more, more! So yes, it's safe to assume that I loved "watching" Jake G. Panda in The Case of the Cursed Dodo. The book is written in movie/script format. Which could just have easily failed as succeeded, but, in this case worked quite well.
What did I love about The Case of the Cursed Dodo? Well, I loved, loved, loved the writing. More specifically the descriptions.
Ernie's the hotel driver. A thick-skinned pachyderm with a chip on his shoulder. He lost his tusks in a hunting accident. And he's not the kinda guy to quickly forget. But I had a soft spot for the big fella. He had a lead foot and worked for peanuts. (21)
So the premise if you haven't guessed it is that the hero is a detective. Jake G. Panda is "in the protection racket. I'm the Last Resort's house dick. The hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep the guests safe and outta harm's way" (9). The first case involves a missing hare (Professor Harry), a mysterious long-buried suitcase, and a 'cursed dodo.' Plenty of action and humor. Just a treat to read. ...more
I loved many things about Jesus Unmasked. I loved the clear presentation. Readers will learn who Jesus is, why he came, and why it matters--why it wilI loved many things about Jesus Unmasked. I loved the clear presentation. Readers will learn who Jesus is, why he came, and why it matters--why it will always matter. This book centers on Jesus Christ as revealed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is a book ABOUT how the Bible is ALL ABOUT Jesus from cover to cover. Chapter by chapter, Friel illustrates how the Bible reveals Jesus to be the way, the truth, and the life.
I loved how rich it was in Scripture. I loved how it celebrated the Bible. I loved how informative it was. I also loved how every chapter ends with an appeal, a clear call to repent and believe the gospel.
From the introduction
If you take the time to read this book, you will learn: *What Jesus believed about Himself *Why Jesus' contemporaries wanted to murder this "good teacher" *What the Bible is actually about. It will make sense, whether you believe it or not. If you take the time to read this book, you can draw your own conclusions about the most influential man in history. (14)
From chapter two
Prepare to see Jesus revealed in the Old Testament. Prepare to take a whirlwind tour through the Bible and see the perfect, brilliant harmony that proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is indeed, the Truth. (25)
I loved the focus of J. Ryan Lister's The Presence of God. The book promises to trace God's presence through Scripture, to reveal how our God is a GodI loved the focus of J. Ryan Lister's The Presence of God. The book promises to trace God's presence through Scripture, to reveal how our God is a God who draws near to His people, and draws near in order to redeem. God redeems us in order to have fellowship with us. How did he redeem us? By becoming one of us--the incarnation.
I love, love, love the book of Revelation. I do. And Revelation 21:3 is one of my FAVORITE verses. It reads, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." Lister writes, "This objective, though, is not only prevalent at the story’s end, but also woven throughout Scripture’s plot line."
The Presence of God is a book designed to help readers understand the Bible, to help readers see the big picture of the Bible. The presence of God is the unifying theme of Scripture, Lister argues. And it's hard to deny for the case he presents is a strong one! Lister covers books from the Old Testament and the New Testament. Does he cover each and every book of the Bible? I'm not sure that he covers all 66 books of the Bible--at least not equally. But. He covers the whole story--each major section of Scripture. (Law, prophets, wisdom books, etc.) Readers spend time with Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. By the end of the book, readers will have something to grasp--a way to understanding the Bible and the gospel story. In great detail, he traces his theme. God longs to be near to the people He has chosen. God hates sin, for not only is sin offensive and repulsive, it keeps us apart from Him. God draws near in order to redeem us, to restore us. He wants to be with us! He wants us to be with him for eternity!
Read The Presence of God If you are longing for God's presence If you are wanting a deeper understanding of Scripture If you want to grasp the 'big picture' of Scripture If you're looking for a simple but comprehensive way to make sense of the gospel...more
After Sophie's father dies, her step-mother sends away two of her sisters. Sophie she keeps on as an apprentice in the family's hat business. Sophie tAfter Sophie's father dies, her step-mother sends away two of her sisters. Sophie she keeps on as an apprentice in the family's hat business. Sophie trims hats. While she's trimming hats and arranging them, she finds herself very often talking to the hats, supposing what kind of person will buy the hat, etc. The shop begins to do well--really well. One person--one witch--notices and decides to act. Poor Sophie finds herself under the witch's spell! Sophie leaves her old life behind, without a word, and goes on an adventure of sorts. Life certainly becomes more challenging for Sophie! But she soon finds a new place to belong, a strange place, an odd place, but a place that begins to feel oddly enough like home. Sophie makes friends in unexpected places.
I loved rereading Howl's Moving Castle. From start to finish, this fantasy novel proves delightfully charming. I loved the characters. I especially loved Sophie and Wizard Howl. I loved the world-building. I love the storytelling. I loved Jones' descriptions. It's just a fun, fun adventure story with heart.
Here's how it begins: "In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes. Sophie Hatter was the eldest of three sisters. She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success!" It hooks readers from the very beginning. It certainly hooked me!
I would definitely recommend this one! I just love it! ...more
Did I love the twenty-second Elephant & Piggie book? I did! You know I did! I adore Gerald and Piggie!!!
In this addition to the series, Piggie haDid I love the twenty-second Elephant & Piggie book? I did! You know I did! I adore Gerald and Piggie!!!
In this addition to the series, Piggie has a surprise for Gerald. But it is a surprise that can't be given or shared right away. Which means that both Gerald and Piggie have to wait...and wait...and wait. Piggie, at least, knows why. But Gerald, well, he doesn't. And the suspense is torture for this oh-so-emotional elephant!
What I love best about the series is the expressiveness of the illustrations. Spotlight on Gerald!!! I love watching his expressions on every page of Waiting Is Not Easy. I think my favorite is Gerald's groaning. (p. 20/21, 30/31, 38/39).
The story is fun and playful. It is oh-so-easy to relate to Gerald's impatience and frustration!
Note: This one will be Cybils eligible next year (2015)! Don't forget! ...more
It should come as no surprise that I loved, loved, loved Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War That Saved My Life. It's my kind of book. It's set in BriIt should come as no surprise that I loved, loved, loved Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War That Saved My Life. It's my kind of book. It's set in Britain during World War II. (To be honest, it could be set practically anywhere during World War II, and I'd want to read it.) It reminded me of Good Night, Mr. Tom which is a very good thing since I loved that one so very much!
Ada's existence before the war was bleak. Because of her club foot, Ada is verbally and psychically abused by her mother. She's restricted to staying in the family's one room apartment, and she's discouraged from even looking out the window. She hasn't been outside ever as far as she knows--can remember. Her younger brother, Jamie, may not be as abused as his older sister. But neglected and malnourished? Definitely. He at least gets to leave the house to go to school, even if he isn't leaving the house clean.
When London's children begin to be evacuated days before war is declared, their mother agrees to send Jamie off to the country. She has no plans of sending Ada, however, telling her that no one in the world would want her--would put up with her. Ada, who has secretly been teaching herself to stand and even to walk, sneaks away with her younger brother. The two of them need to be together.
Susan reluctantly takes the two children into her home. It's not anything against Jamie and Ada, she says, it's just that she doesn't feel adequate enough to take care of anyone else. If truth be told, she sometimes struggles to take care of herself. Since Becky died, she's been isolating herself, often depressed. But Susan finds herself caring for these two children very much. Could it be she's found her family at last?
Ada and Jamie are difficult, no question. Ada is not used to being treated decently let alone kindly. She doesn't know how to respond and react to love and tenderness and respect. And the fact that Ada knows that it's temporary isn't helping. But Ada will slowly but surely be transformed by the war. One thing that helps Ada tremendously is Butter, a pony. (Butter belonged to Becky, a woman readers never actually meet, but, Susan talks about her often with much love and affection.) Ada teaches herself to ride, and her confidence increases almost daily.
Ada, Jamie, and Susan are all well-developed characters. I cared about all of them. Readers also meet plenty of other villagers. The story has plenty of drama! ...more
What a fun book! I'm My Own Dog is a funny, playful book about a dog and his pet human who follows him home one day. The first half of the book establWhat a fun book! I'm My Own Dog is a funny, playful book about a dog and his pet human who follows him home one day. The first half of the book establishes his independence, and the second half focuses on his new relationship. The book ends with a sweet confession.
As I said, it's fun, playful, and a good read-aloud choice. Especially for dog-lovers. I found the text to be quite clever.
I put El Deafo on hold at the library non knowing it was a graphic novel. In a way, I'm glad I didn't know. I don' t read many graphic novels, there aI put El Deafo on hold at the library non knowing it was a graphic novel. In a way, I'm glad I didn't know. I don' t read many graphic novels, there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. El Deafo is a coming-of-age memoir in graphic novel format. I loved it. I really loved it. It surprised me in all the right ways.
It begins simply, "I was a regular little kid. I played with my mom's stuff. I watched TV with my big brother, Ashley, and my big sister, Sarah. I rode on the back of my father's bicycle. I found caterpillars with my friend Emma. And I sang. 'We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine--' But then everything changed." A childhood illness at the age of 4--meningitis--leaves her deaf.
The memoir covers many years of her childhood, from the age of four through her sixth grade year in school. In a way it is about her growing up deaf, growing up different. But in many ways, it is about so much more than that: it's about family and friendship and belonging and struggling to belong. It is about her wanting and needing a 'true' friend. It is about her mishaps in friendships. There are a few untrue friends before there is the one that is true. It is very much about identity: how she sees herself, her struggle to be comfortable with herself, to accept and love herself. Another aspect of El Deafo which I very much enjoyed is Cece's first crush.
In her imagination, she's closer to being there, in that place. She imagines that she is a superhero, El Deafo, the super-hero self stands up for herself to her friends AND her family. Her super-hero self lets others know what she's feeling, when she's mad, when her feelings are hurt, etc. Her superhero self is brave and courageous letting others know that she doesn't need people to talk really loudly or really slowly. Her superhero self lets people know that she hates it when they call her "my deaf friend" or "that deaf kid."
El Deafo is set in the 1970s, I believe. There are plenty of cultural references to place it in that decade. I really enjoyed the scenes where she was watching TV.
So, yes, El Deafo is in my opinion about so much more than growing up deaf. This book is easy to love and oh-so-easy to recommend.
I loved, loved, loved Jody Hedlund's Love Unexpected. It is the first in a new series, Beacons of Hope, a series about lighthouses. The book is set inI loved, loved, loved Jody Hedlund's Love Unexpected. It is the first in a new series, Beacons of Hope, a series about lighthouses. The book is set in Maine in the nineteenth century.
In some ways, it reminded me of Love Comes Softly. (Two strangers marry for convenience. The marriage occurs soon after a funeral. The groom has a child already. The bride has no idea how to cook. Appreciation of coffee, check. Burnt biscuits, check. Toddler with temper tantrums, check.) But there are also plenty of things that set it apart and make it unique.
Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, are shipwrecked, in a way, stranded due to the work of pirates. Her brother is able to find work and a place to stay. But there really isn't any work for Emma to do, and, while she might find a family kind enough to let her stay for a day or two. She doesn't feel like she'd be welcomed and at ease.
Patrick Garraty has just buried his wife. He has no idea how he's going to tend the lighthouse and take care of a toddler at the same time. His lighthouse duties keep him on duty all night long. And during the day, he needs to go fishing and do general work around the house. (Not to mention getting a couple of hours of sleep at least.) Josiah needs plenty of supervision when he's awake, and, he can be intense at times. He IS a full-time job.
So when the traveling preacher--who knows and loves Patrick--suggests that he marry Emma, the stranger he rescued the night before, he sees that it might just work.
Emma has always wanted to marry, to have a home of her own. Josiah needs a mother.
So. I loved almost everything about Love Unexpected. I loved Emma. I loved Patrick. I loved watching Emma learn how to do everything. I loved seeing the relationships develop between Emma and Josiah and Emma and Patrick. The romance was nice. It was perhaps a bit more mature in nature than Love Comes Softly. But it wasn't horribly inappropriate either--for adults. I also loved the author's note!
I received a review copy from Bethany House. ...more
Max and the Won't Go To Bed Show is a delightful picture book. The hero, Max, who is not tired and does not want to go to bed--at least not yet--is p Max and the Won't Go To Bed Show is a delightful picture book. The hero, Max, who is not tired and does not want to go to bed--at least not yet--is putting on a show for his family. The show also involves the family dog, Brian. Brian, well, he's not quite as magnificent as Max himself. The text is lively and clever. I love the descriptive language and the playfulness of it. It is a bit over-the-top, but, in a good way. For example,
And now prepare to be SHOCKED and AMAZED. You are about to witness the seldom seen FLOATING PAJAMA TRICK. Max will cause his pajamas to float off the chair and across the room. And, perhaps the most difficult part of all, he'll attempt to put them on. Audience, be warned, this trick can take up to half an hour to perform...though, luckily, not tonight.
I also love the illustrations. I do. I loved Max's expressions. Overall, this one is oh-so-easy to recommend. (This one was originally published in the UK.)...more
I loved, loved, LOVED Angie Smith's For Such A Time As This. I really did. What did I love about it? I loved the balance of text and illustration. TheI loved, loved, LOVED Angie Smith's For Such A Time As This. I really did. What did I love about it? I loved the balance of text and illustration. The stories felt full, or, I suppose a better word might be rich. Some story books are so concise that all stories are made to fit on a two-page spread. The stories feel complete, whole. Each one just the right length. And the illustrations, well, I think I loved them!!! Breezy Brookshire's illustrations may be my favorite out of the story book bibles I've read the past few years. At first, I wasn't sure if I "liked" how some of the illustrations are done in black and white and some are in color. But. After reading and rereading, I think I like it just how it is.
What else did I love about For Such A Time As This? Well, I loved the format itself.
I loved, loved, loved the prayers!!! I love how Scriptural they are. I love how practical they are.
And did I mention I love, love, love the storytelling? Angie Smith is a gifted writer. She has a way with words. She pulls out the importance and significance from the passages, always helping readers see the big picture. It was just a joy and a delight to read her stories.
For Such A Time As This is perfect for mothers and daughters to read together. (Though dads and daughters could read as well!!!) The book is subtitled "Stories of Women from the Bible, Retold for Girls." But honestly, I think parents could read it/share it with sons and daughters....more
110 devotions on Psalm 119!!! Over two-hundred pages sharing zealously why YOU should read the Bible. The Psalm 119 Experience IS a devotional book fo110 devotions on Psalm 119!!! Over two-hundred pages sharing zealously why YOU should read the Bible. The Psalm 119 Experience IS a devotional book focusing on Psalm 119.
Since Psalm 119 is in itself a psalm solely focused on God's Word, this devotional book could very well be described as a book celebrating and exalting the Word of God.
I love, love, love the concept of this one. I think it would make a great devotional. One could read it for 22 weeks, having 5 devotional times per week. One could read it for 22 days, reading 5 days' worth of devotionals per day. I wouldn't recommend reading it faster than that, however. (I rushed through this one in a week for review purposes. I still appreciated the message, the heart of the message, but I wasn't able to SAVOR the devotionals as much as I would like to have. I think if I liked devotionals more in general, I would have liked these devotionals more.)
John Kramp opens the book with his own experience. He challenged himself to write 22 songs--one for each section of Psalm 119--to help him memorize Psalm 119. The book is NOT about him wanting readers to memorize Psalm 119 for themselves. He's not challenging readers to memorize it, or, to write their own worship songs inspired by the psalm. The book is about wanting readers to read the psalm and take it seriously. Or perhaps I should say, taking the Bible seriously, or more seriously. The Bible is RICH, so very, very rich. It should be read and loved and treasured and proclaimed and praised.
If you'd like to listen to the worship songs, there is an album available. I've only listened to the samples. There are also podcasts which complement the album and the devotional book. (As of November 15, there are 14 podcasts.)...more
I found The Red Pencil to be a mostly fascinating read, even if it was written in verse. (Do remember that I've said many times that verse novels arenI found The Red Pencil to be a mostly fascinating read, even if it was written in verse. (Do remember that I've said many times that verse novels aren't exactly the best match for me personally). In fact, I found the verse to be strong: that is very well-written. The book itself, though perhaps a tiny bit slow in the first dozen pages or so, was emotional and compelling and hard to put down. The strength of the poetry actually helped me connect with Amira, the twelve-year-old narrator of The Red Pencil. What I didn't enjoy quite as much, perhaps, are the illustrations. Part of me knows that to the character, Amira, drawing is essential. She expresses herself through drawing: she draws with a stick in the sand/on the ground. Throughout the book, this is just an important part of who she is, how she sees her world, how she copes. So I could see why the book is illustrated. But even so, I personally didn't "love" the illustrations.
So. What you should know. The Red Pencil is set in South Darfur, Africa, in 2003/2004. Readers meet Amira, her mom and dad, her sister (Leila), her best friend, her neighbors. (Particularly Old Anwar and Gamal.) One gets a sense of place and community. Readers come to know that what Amira wants, really wants, is an education. To learn to read. To learn to write. Readers also know that her mom is very opposed to the idea. (Her father is not opposed.)
Life does not stay the same for Amira and her family. Upheaval is coming. Her life will be disrupted. Things will be forever changed with the war--the unrest--the coming of the Janjaweed. Soon Amira finds herself a refugee living in a refugee camp....
The Red Pencil is a book to be experienced. I found it to be well-written. Is it as informative and as thorough as a nonfiction book would be on the subject? Probably not. The book focuses on an emotional connection, which I believe is just as important. It gives one a reason to care, a reason to look for more information, seek out more stories. ...more