Discover America by Julie Olsen
This patriotic book if full of beautiful illustrations that accompany the text to the hymn "America the Beautiful." The illustrations tell the story of the journey of a little red balloon. A little boy lets the balloon go in California and the balloon makes its way across the country to the Statue of Liberty in New York. The book can be enjoyable for many ages, as the bright red balloon and captivating images will interest the toddler set, while the older set will enjoy guessing in what state various scenes occur. My three-year-old has already made me read this one over and over again.
A wonderful website has been created to accompany the book. There are book quizzes, lesson plans, coloring pages for each state, videos, and an interactive map activity. I can imagine using the book to introduce a lot of different aspects of American culture, history, and geography.
Thanks to Shadow Mountain for sending a book for me to review. To read more about the book visit www.discoveramericabook.com.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.
Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.
So, I was sort of thrown for a loop with this one. I thought it was a pride and prejudice retelling, but after having read it I don’t think it really was supposed to be. Sure the characters did do the whole pride vs prejudice character conflict thing, but it didn’t really have any Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen vibes. The author is just doing her own thing and not channeling Elizabeth and Darcy. So, I was a bit confused there for a bit, but the read ended up being enjoyable. Has all the beats of a sweet romance, and had a fulfilling ending.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons by Zandra Vranes and Tamu Smith
You’ve read the title, and now you’re scratching your head, wondering if this book is for real, right?
It is. Yes, the authors are bona fide Mormons. And hilarious, too! They call themselves Sistas in Zion. Did we mention they’ve got enough faith to move mountains? Well, they haven’t moved any mountains just yet, but that’s not stopping them from keeping right on praying and believing and knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it. Their unique perspective on their own diary entries will have you laughing one minute and exclaiming “Amen!” the next. They talk about personal experiences and lessons they’ve learned about relationships, sisterhood, standing up for what you believe, embracing diversity, and dealing with adversity—what being a Christian is all about. The Sistas’ humorous and poignant outlook on life will strengthen your faith and remind you of the joy to be found in living a Christ-centered life. You’ll soon realize that the authors aren’t mad-mad—they’re crazy-mad, funny, and inspiring! (cover summary)
Two Mad Black Sisters explores general gospel topics with a upbeat, urban, voice that is fun and engaging to read. I felt like the diary aspect of the book come across a little awkwardly and made the organization of the topics really random, but the read was still fun anyway. I most enjoyed the engaging and funny personal stories that the authors shared about their life growing up, which they used to illustrate gospel topics. The book was lighthearted, humorous, and a real quick read. I liked reading about the testimony and experiences of these two sisters and enjoyed their stories.
Deseret Book is hosting giveaway as part of this blog tour. Check it out below!
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Friday, May 2, 2014
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
So, I read a review of this book at bloggin bout books and thought it would be the perfect match for my tastes. I chose wisely because I really enjoyed this steampunk novel. Katherine Tulman is sent by her aunt to commit her crazy uncle to insane asylum. When she arrives at the family property she discovers that the estate is much more that it appears on the surface, employing an entire village of people, who build her uncle's brilliantly designed machines. Her aunt is right, though, there is something wrong with her uncle, but underneath his odd ways lives a mind that is brilliant with numbers and engineering. How can Katherine put such a mind into an asylum and how can she destroy the livelihoods of people on the estate? Yet, to disobey her aunt is to ensure a tortuous future for herself. Unable to make a decision Katherine spends the summer on the estate getting to know her uncle, and enjoying every last moment of precious freedom that she has left. Yet, it appears that she may have more in common with her uncle than she thinks. Does she also belong in an asylum? As her mind grows more disordered and forgetful Katherine fears what it means for her future.
This was an awesome book from a point-of-view/characterization stand point. I think the author did such a marvelous job showing the character through how she thought about things. It was really interesting to read a Victorian--themed novel whose main heroine had an affinity for numbers and logical thinking. It really made her feel different and unique. Her Uncle also had some form of autism probably, which also made him an interesting character. In the end you are rooting for Katherine to protect this vulnerable and brilliant man from those that would cast aside his brilliance because it was abnormal. I highly recommend this one.