This is an adorable children's book that is just perfect for Christmas. It was part of our 25 days til Christmas book countdown.
One Little Christmas T...moreThis is an adorable children's book that is just perfect for Christmas. It was part of our 25 days til Christmas book countdown.
One Little Christmas Tree by Rusty Fischer is about a Christmas tree named Alfred. When the book starts out Alfred is one of the smallest trees on the farm. Next to him is his friend, the very large Christmas tree Mr. Phipps. Mr. Phipps is very wise and he tells Alfred that one day a nice family will come to the farm and inherit him. When the families come, Mr. Phipps is inherited, but Alfred is left behind. He worries that he will never have a a family. Years go by, and still Alfred isn't chosen. During that time though, he grows bigger and taller. Finally, Alfred spots a boy that he knows would be just perfect for him. He decides to do something special to try to convince him that Alfred belongs with his family.
This book was really cute. The only thing that I would caution against, is that while they say it is a picture book it really isn't. There are a lot of words on each page, so it is more appropriate for a read-aloud for ages 3-5 and a book that kids can read themselves at around age 6. Just my opinion, based on what I know about reading levels. This is just the first book in the series, and I look forward to the next. The book is available on amazon as both a paperback and an e-book. (less)
Like most historical fiction books, I find the first chapter or two hard to get into. This isn't really a reflection of the book. You just have to put...moreLike most historical fiction books, I find the first chapter or two hard to get into. This isn't really a reflection of the book. You just have to put your mind into another time and way of life to better understand the book, and that can take a bit. Once I had adjusted, I fell absolutely in love with Lily Young. She was completely selfless and caring. She had the gumption to stand up to horrifying men when even the manly lumberjacks around her did not. She put herself into danger time and time again, with only the intention of helping out those less fortunate than herself.
I loved that the relationship with Connell took time to develop. She didn't just swoon and fall into his arms the first time she met him. Like in real life, you meet someone, you find them attractive, you get to know them, and sometimes that can lead to love. Both Lily and Connell are human, flawed characters so that made them very relateable. There was a slight message of purity and how it is better to wait for the right person that swept under the entire book, but it wasn't at all heavy-handed. Knowing the type of person Lily was, it made sense that her virginity would be something that she would hold precious. As an orphan who had absolutely nothing, she knew that her own body and mind were the only thing that she could truly call her own.
The side characters were also well-fleshed out. I particularly like Oren, Lily's adopted father. I don't even know how many times he threatened to kill someone for looking in Lily's general direction, but it was hilarious. I would love a prequel, starring Connell and his brother Tierney. I would love to see how exactly their relationship became what it was in this book.
This book isn't all romance and love and happy go lucky. There are some serious issues here. The lumber business was a huge boom in the late 1800's. The business did drive up the number of brothels and saloons. Women really were bought and sold into "white slavery" as prostitutes. While reading this book, you will get a bit of a history lesson. What I learned from this, is that even in the most destitute of times, there are good people who will always do the right thing.
So all in all, I really liked this book. On goodreads, I gave it four stars. I would recommend it for people who like romance, Christian fiction or historical fiction. I wouldn't say that the book is Christian fiction, but it is definitely safe for those of you who prefer that. (less)
If I read one more book where a female has never been noticed by anyone, moves to a new city and is magically the most popular girl in existence, I mi...moreIf I read one more book where a female has never been noticed by anyone, moves to a new city and is magically the most popular girl in existence, I might kill someone. Having said that, this book was pretty good. The mythology aspect was really well done. The romance was eh. I've read worse, I've read much better. Overall it was an ok. I don't see it being anyone's favorite but it'll do.(less)
The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin is a really hard book to define. I found myself struggling while trying to tell my husband what it was about. But I...moreThe Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin is a really hard book to define. I found myself struggling while trying to tell my husband what it was about. But I guess I have to try in order to write this review. The Darkening Dream is about a young Jewish girl named Sarah, who is growing up in Salem MA during the turn of the century. Some strange things start to happen after a young boy is found murdered and Sarah experiences a series of strange dreams and visions. When a young man moves to Salem from Greece, Sarah starts to learn about her past and question what her future holds. Oh, and there are vampires, Egyptian gods, angels, demons, witches, and pretty much every other paranormal entity you can think of.
I honestly can't tell you what genre this book is. It is definitely paranormal, and there is just the right amount of romance, and it would definitely appeal to YA. Yet I don't think it should be strictly defined as a YA or paranormal romance. It is way too much more to be defined by any of those genres.
Andy definitely did his research with this book. He managed to get almost every major and minor religion in there without it being overkill. There were Egyptian deities, Judaism, Christianity, Greek gods. All of it done in a way that wasn't over the top, but somehow managed to mesh together and actually make sense with the story.
I love books that are set in Salem MA since that is where I was born. Most books set there are either set during the witch trials in the 1690's or are contemporary. I loved that this book was set just after the turn of the century in 1913. It was the perfect time period to use to show the blending of the old world and the new. It was really interesting to read about some of the places that I've been that are very old now, but were brand-new during this setting.
I was absolutely shocked by the ending of the book. I am usually really good at predicting the end of books and I honestly did not see this one coming. I got a little worried because I was nearing the end of the book and I didn't feel like things were going to get resolved. Then BOOM it all got resolved in a crazy way that I never would have guessed. It'll shock you. Seriously. There had better be a sequel, that's all I'm saying.
I highly suggest this book if you like paranormal books, horror, or just are looking for something new and different.(less)
The Magic Warble is a new MG novel by Victoria Simcox. The main character is 12 year old Kristina Kingsly. She is an average girl with not a lot of fr...moreThe Magic Warble is a new MG novel by Victoria Simcox. The main character is 12 year old Kristina Kingsly. She is an average girl with not a lot of friends but an awesome pet rat. The day before school break, her teacher gives her a gift in a small box. Unfortunately, neither Kristina, two bullies on the bus, nor her mean babysitter Davina are able to get it open. Kristina eventually tosses it in disgust.
Later that night, Kristina is woken by a loud buzzing noise. She searches all over until realizing that the noise is coming from the box, which now opens easily. Inside is a mysterious object, which Kristina picks up...
And finds herself outside in bright daylight lying in a pile of leaves. She sees a small, odd-looking man who seems to be gardening. She soon learns that he is a dwarf, and he's the leasy crazy thing she is about to learn. Kristina finds out that she is now in the Land of Bernovem and that she is the "chosen one" destined to return the Magic Warble to its proper place.
Kristina next meets a not-so-nice fairy princess Clover, her brother Looper, and a not-so-charming prince named Werrien. These three are going to help guide her to return the Magic Warble. Unfortunately, the evil Queen Sentiz will do anything to stop her, including sending her son and her monstrous zelbocks after her. To make matters worse, everyone who touched the box, including the bullies on the bus, her babysitter Davina, and her pet rat Raymond, have also been transported to Bernovem. How can Kristina get them home safely while also saving Bernovem?
This was a really cute fantasy novel with touches of Narnia, Hogwarts, and Lord of the Rings in it. Victoria has created her own fully fleshed land with all manner of creatures in it - both familiar and not. I have to say my favorite thing about the novel were the gorgeous illustrations. They really made the story come alive for me. I know that my young cousin is very reluctant to read anything without illustrations, so this book will be right up her alley. My only criticisms are that sometimes the children's speech was a little awkward for their age and that the bullies didn't get enough of a comeuppance for my tastes. All in all, this was a very enjoyable read. I wanted to sit and read it all at once, but unfortunately the baby had his own opinions on what I should be reading and when. There is no real violence or any profanity, so I would recommend this book for 5th graders and up. It would also make a great read-aloud with younger kids.
Thanks so much for Victoria for giving me this book to read, and for being so patient with me when my review was continuously delayed. (less)
Quickie Review: Aurelia is the princess of Tyralt, and heir to the throne. Unbeknownst to her, someone is out to kill her. Her childhood friend Robert...moreQuickie Review: Aurelia is the princess of Tyralt, and heir to the throne. Unbeknownst to her, someone is out to kill her. Her childhood friend Robert returns to investigate. From there, the adventure begins.
I don't want to go into a lot of detail because it will give away the plot. There are very obvious red herrings, and I did figure out who the bad guy was pretty early on, but it was still a fun adventure. The book has the perfect amount of everything, romance, adventure, mystery. It is a great quick, not-much-thinking-involved book. I think it is actually YA, but I still enjoyed it immensely. Definitely recommend. I gave it four out of five stars (less)