A very skillfully written historical fiction. If you are a fan in any way to historical fiction, this one is a must read! Slant of Light is written inA very skillfully written historical fiction. If you are a fan in any way to historical fiction, this one is a must read! Slant of Light is written in the years just prior to and the beginning of the Civil War. A group of individuals take the writing of James Turner - Travels to Daybreak - and use it as a model to establish a "Utopian" society addressing the common good - all of this while the rest of the country is full of conflict and strife.
The whole story is based on this social experiment. James Turner meets his wife, Charlotte, while he is out on a lecture tour for his book. Also while on tour, to his delight, Turner gets asked to lead the establishment of this society when George Webb offers them land for this purpose. Turner sets off to get started, with plans to come back and get his wife. However, his wife decides to join him early. And, at a very opportune time, Charlotte is provided a chaperone from her father - Adam Cabot. Adam is an abolishonist that her father had saved from getting hanged. These are just a few of the many integral characters in this intricate novel. Wiegenstein masterfully created plot that involves many individuals, and was able to interweave these characters in such a way that all of them were very important to the story-line. He was able to describe each in a way that did not detract from the story, but add to it.
I am a lover of historical fiction written in the time of the Civil War. Weigenstein has taught me so much about this time in such an entertaining way. I go so wrapped up in the daily lives of the characters that I could not put the book down for long. The novel is very thought-provoking, and I found myself thinking about it even when I was not reading. I am still sifting through my thoughts on this one. I think I will carry this one around for quite some time. To me, that is a sign of a very adept author and a wonderful novel.
I loved that the author was able to not only tell a story about this society, provide it's interactions with the outside world in a time of struggle, but was also able to provide us with a well-written romance - a love triangle. This part was so fun to read. I felt tugs on my heart strings with Charlotte and Adam. In many ways I found that this romance was a necessary part of the novel - featuring the moral standards of the society. It demonstrated both the strengths and weaknesses of the society and its members.
I would definitely pick up another novel by Steve Wiegenstein. His writing is very easy to read, and appears straight forward. However, he always leaves you with something to ponder. ...more
The Rifts of Rime is a very cute and fun book. I am not usually one who likes stories with a bunch of talking animals, but this one I truly enjoyed. IThe Rifts of Rime is a very cute and fun book. I am not usually one who likes stories with a bunch of talking animals, but this one I truly enjoyed. In some ways it put me in mind of Watership Down by Richard Adams. Both dealt with adventuresome animals and included great battles and triumphs, as well as a good moral background. My mother read Watership Down to me as a child, and it still pulls some strings on my heart. So, to relate The Rifts of Rime to that book really means something to me.
I fell in love with many of the characters: Pinecone, Leafe, and even The Tail - Klish - and these by far are not the only ones. I found it fun to read about the interactions of the many "quickened" animal species - wolves, squirrels, marmots, ants, etc. These chosen animals are those that are intelligent in some way. All the interactions were tied to their beliefs in the lore of the Wealdend and The Book of Quickening.
The whole storyline revolves around a power hungry gray squirrel that tries to overthrow the current sacred leaders. He does so in such a way to make it seem like those he is overthrowing have either died or have done something against the Wealdend - so that it appears that he is a "hero" and the rightful new leader. However, he underestimates some very strong individuals who stand up and demonstrate their intelligence and faith in the Wealdend. Although the true followers of the Wealdend are lesser in number than the followers of the betrayer, their united front is very strong and something to be reckoned with.
The message behind this story is quite powerful and very smart. Steven Peck is very creative, and writes a tale that I feel most middle school students could relate to on some level. In sharing some of the story with my students, many perked up and were asking questions - I think it would make an awesome read-aloud, not only to middle grade students, but to upper elementary as well.
Again, thanks to Cedar Fort for offering up a wonderful book, and allowing me to take part in another wonderful blog tour. Be sure to check out their many wonderful titles....more
This book has everything that I love about historical fiction / romance novels! Sandra Byrd is now one of my favorite authors! I absolutely loved herThis book has everything that I love about historical fiction / romance novels! Sandra Byrd is now one of my favorite authors! I absolutely loved her writing style - so very easy to read. She has an obvious expertise in the Tudor time period. The book was so rich in historical facts, but not so much that it took away from the narrative. I have not read the first book in this series, but I know now that I will - as a matter of fact, I just ordered it!!!
Juliana St. John is a fascinating heroine. I loved that the author did not paint her to be perfect - rather showing her flaws / weaknesses. Juliana had the gift of prophesy, which was very dangerous in this time period. She had her share of both friends - some of which were quite controversial - and enemies - adding to the danger. Juliana became part of Kateryn Parr's household, prior to her becoming queen. During this time, Juliana became close friends and confidant to Kateryn. This allowed Juliana to take part in most everything - even the most intimate events. Such detail was provided throughout for the characters and events that I often felt as if I were actually there - taking part! The imagery was amazing!
I fell in love with both Juliana and Kateryn. Both women were very generous in character, in ways beyond wealth. It was a shame that not everyone loved them - although many did. Their relationship was very complex, and so different than the bitter, jealous women of that time. The love interests of both women were very intriguing. The motives behind the interests in these men, quite captivating. There is definitely no comparison to today's world - quite a difference. There is an obvious difference in the roles of women at the time, no matter what your status.
I must say that I have learned quite a bit about Henry VIII. I had learned a lot in school about him, but this put a new perspective on the time and person - and the novel was quite accurate to any of the historical accounts that had ever read or been exposed to. Kateryn's love, Sir Thomas Seymour, sure had some ups and downs. I both loved and hated him. The plot twists involving him and Juliana were quite surprising!!!
I was immediately attracted to Juliana's love interest, Jamie. Although at first, I was not sure they would have a chance, he was very persistent. The romantic story-line the author created was very enjoyable.
This is a very cleanly and accuratley written historical fiction, that I would would recommend to anyone who loves this genre, and especially those that like this time period.
**I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own."...more
What a compelling and heart-tugging story that Terry Helwig tells of her childhood!! She allows us a glimpse into her tumultuous life. She is raised What a compelling and heart-tugging story that Terry Helwig tells of her childhood!! She allows us a glimpse into her tumultuous life. She is raised in a dysfunctional family, with a troubled mother, who moves them around more often than not, wherever and whenever it provides her with some gain. She basically raises her many sisters in the homes of her various fathers and/or grandparents.
As opposed to many memoirs, I found Helwig's writing to be very refreshing and honest. Although her life is a roller-coaster, she tells it as it happens, and does not paint her self the victim. She writes her story as a way of showing how her childhood made her who she is. She triumphed and did not let everything overtake her, rather it allowed her to grow and become strong because of it. She introduced us to those that made an impact on her life. Although her mother caused much of the struggle in her life, rather than resent her, she painted a picture of a child who loved her mother very much.
As a teacher, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to read this book. Many times, we have students moving in and out, often not considering what they are going through. The story Terry Helwig shared of changing schools almost yearly, and sometimes a few times a year, opened my eyes to the possible needs of such students.
I want to commend Helwig for the strength it had to take to write such an emotionally charged memoir. Thank you so much for sharing your story!...more
Fairy Metal Thunder is a very original story – unlike anything I have ever read. I read it in one sitting, and had a blast reading it. I found it to bFairy Metal Thunder is a very original story – unlike anything I have ever read. I read it in one sitting, and had a blast reading it. I found it to be very creative and a different spin on a Faerie tale.
Jason is a not so popular junior in high school who has started playing in a garage band as a guitarist. This band gets more time playing in the garage than any paying gigs. And to top it all off, his parents do not want him to hang out with or be part of the band. So, what does Jason really gain from being part of the band? He gets to spend time with the lead singer Erin. But, Erin has a boyfriend – how does he compete with that?
One evening while watching his little sister, something really strange happens. He is introduced to the Faerie realm, and in the end, he has the answer to the band’s problems. He finds some amazing instruments that turn their world around. The problem is, he did not come across these instruments honestly, and they have their own set of issues. Will it be worth it in the end?
This was a very quick read, and very enjoyable. It was anything but predictable. You have a high school mish-mash band trying to catch a break, a burger joint where the high school kids hang out, over-protective parents, and then throw the Faerie world into the mix. I just found it fun, fun, fun!!! ...more
This one is a very light / quick read - it was fun, and an excellent clean read even for middle schoolers - even if the characters are in high school.This one is a very light / quick read - it was fun, and an excellent clean read even for middle schoolers - even if the characters are in high school. If you like paranormal books, this one is a cute take on fairies - or a half-faerie!!! It does not involve good vs. evil, but a faerie coming of age, and coming into her powers. Very cute!
Shayla is very believable as a half-faerie, figuring out not only her faerie half, but also her human half. She has always been home-schooled, but now in her junior year is starting her public school experience as the new girl! She struggles to connect with the "right" clique. However, she does find friends in both circles. As she becomes more comfortable in her high school life, she is finding strange things happening in her faerie magical realm. As the story progresses, she discovers the inter-connectedness of both worlds.
Jace, the jock, is a character that I thought I would hate in the beginning. I found myself falling for him as the story developed. He is such a great guy! Not only is he the popular football quarterback, but he is a genuine nice guy. Jodi and Daniel are true friends to Shayla. They are there when she needs them, and provide her guidance, not only in her human life, but also often providing much needed advice for her faerie life.
You've got to read this great story to see how things sort themselves out in the end. I did hate to see the story end. I want to read more about what happens to Shayla, her family, and her friends. I hope there will be a sequel for this one....more
This book was such a fun, quick read. The PDF was only 65 pages! The whole story was about 3 boys who had crushes on 3 cheerleaders. The boys go to scThis book was such a fun, quick read. The PDF was only 65 pages! The whole story was about 3 boys who had crushes on 3 cheerleaders. The boys go to school on a Saturday in hopes to see the cheerleaders who are practicing, and end up getting snowed in by a freak snow storm. Their dreams had come true.
I really enjoyed the fact that the story was told from a boy's point of view. So many young adult contemporary novels are told from a female's perspective. I liked the change up! The boys were the typical teenagers - having dream fantasies about going all the way with the unattainable girls. When they are put in situation of being snowed it with them, they are forced to forego their insecurities and interact with the girls as if they do it on a regular basis. The six students come together and deal with the ordeal as a team.
While being snowed in, the students share deep secrets. Some struggle more than others to share those secrets. In the end, their relationships grow, but not necessarily in the way that is expected! I appreciated the unpredictability of the story.
If you enjoy young adult contemporary books, this one is worth your while. ...more
This is a very unique fantasy story, one in which I enjoyed reading very much. In the beginning, I was scratching my head and wondering if this was foThis is a very unique fantasy story, one in which I enjoyed reading very much. In the beginning, I was scratching my head and wondering if this was for me, not sure what was going on, but it didn't take long, and once I got into it, I just couldn't put it down.
Perkins did an excellent job with the characters. Each character was so fleshed out, I think they could have walked out of the pages at any time. It would be so easy to create a movie based on what she created. In addition to the characterization itself, the interactions and relationships between them was fascinating - not what was expected - and indeed complex.
The story-line was anything but simple. There were so going on - the heresy of using magic on a human body, the motives that Quentin had for doing so, and the ethical ideas that were brought to the forefront. I found this book to be a real page-turner. Even when I was getting tired, I wanted to read "just a few more pages".
The end of the story was not what I had expected, but I do understand that there will be another book. I am looking forward to reading more about this world - and just more from Gwen Perkins. I think she is a master at her craft!
Cobble Cavern is a very fun, adventuresome book! I feel that there is something to be found in the book for most middle grade students. There is a fieCobble Cavern is a very fun, adventuresome book! I feel that there is something to be found in the book for most middle grade students. There is a field trip to Ireland, an earthquake, getting trapped underground - ultimately, under the ocean, various underground creatures, and the search for a way to get out.
The visual / sensory descriptions are amazing. Erik Olsen did an excellent job in putting you right in the setting. I could feel the earthquake and see what was happening, as it occurred. The views of the ocean from underneath, how powerful. My favorite view was of the momma and baby whale! I would love to experience that in real-life. The creepy creatures that Flin and his classmates encounter, WOW! As Principal Vespar put it near the end "It's like a fairy tale down here." I couldn't put it better myself.
I found Flin to be a very strong character. He is not your typical boy, but not all that far off either. He has a "different" family life, with a lot of history and heritage - that which is tied into the whole adventure. He handles all the obstacles that he comes across quite casually, dealing with them as they come. The abilities he adopts are not much of a challenge to him - he learns to use them rather than fear them. He tends to be a leader and helps others through it. He is a quick thinker, and often saves the day.
My favorite characters are Fezzy, Heppel, and Inger. I would love to stay in the cathedral with them. They see so sweet and welcoming. I would hate to leave them, just as Flin and his classmates hated to do so.
The end was totally unexpected, it most definitely leaves you wanting for more. I was unaware until I was done reading it, that it is part of a five book series called Flin's Destiny. I am very excited about the prospects of reading more about Flin and his classmates.
I have found another book to share with my students, and knowing that it is a series is even better! I highly recommend this book to everyone!!!...more
I still have this book and the characters rolling through my mind! This book was AMAZING!!!!
When I first started this book, I was totally unaware ofI still have this book and the characters rolling through my mind! This book was AMAZING!!!!
When I first started this book, I was totally unaware of what I was getting into. I actually struggled to get through the first couple of pages. The language was a little rough for me at first. I had even considered giving it up. But that was just the first 2 or 3 pages. I couldn't give up though. I kept telling myself - just one more page! Once I got through those pages and got accustomed to the language, I was hooked!!! I am so absolutely glad that I did not give in. The book was much more than what I expected, and I am hoping to find more by this author!!
Kait is such a strong character. She is strong-willed and stubborn. She does not let her culture or any man get in the way of what she wants. I think at times, that this surprised her as well! Eamon is a selkie man. He is very attractive - alluring!!! He, like other selkie men have a "lure" over women, and Kait was no exception. Their relationship starts out as one of revenge, but becomes one of love - even beyond!
This is the first book I have read of this type, so that is what originally attracted me to it. The Scottish setting was wonderful - so beautifully depicted. As I stated above, the Scottish language / dialect is what threw me off in the beginning, but I worked through it. The folklore of the selkie was told in such a way that I really believe I learned a lot about it, and even want to read / learn more. The author definitely has done her research or has an intimate background that allowed her to put some much forth - very well done!!
There is some sexual content to this book, but not very explicit. The nature of the sexual content is very much related to the lore of the selkie - so necessary. If I had one complaint about the book, it is the cover. My own images of Eamon is so much hotter!!!! I must say, the boy pictured on the cover is just a "pup" like the story describes. However, I did picture someone even more attractive. Just a little funny - I did not even pick up on the skin on the cover until I started into the book a ways. That part of the cover is great!!
I would highly recommend this book to others. And, I will be looking for more to come from this author, as well as more of this genre....more
I thoroughly enjoyed The Rock of Ivanore. I started this book last night and finished today - and I had to work today too! My free time was spent withI thoroughly enjoyed The Rock of Ivanore. I started this book last night and finished today - and I had to work today too! My free time was spent with my nose in this book - well, my iPad anyway!
I found the writing style of this book very easy and enjoyable to follow. I think even my struggling readers will easily be able to pick this book up and find success and pleasure. The story is fast-paced and very engaging. The adventure started from page one and continued to the final sentence. I am hanging on, waiting for the sequel. I am so glad that the beginning excerpt of Book II of the Celestine Chronicles: The Last Enchanter was included at the end. I got a feel for what to expect - even if it was just a taste!
The characters - they young boys on the quest - Marcus and crew, along with Jayson, Zyll and those they meet along the way make the story what it is. Each character has their own endearing qualities. I think my favorite character was Xerxes - the walking stick. He was so fun - a very original character.
I will say that the ending was not at all what I expected. The author pulled a real twist in the end - and a great one at that. You will not be disappointed at all if you pick this one up. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy. I will definitely be picking this one up to share with my middle school students. It will be a great addition to any classroom library!...more