Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013. 272p. (9780307977939)
Interest Level: 3-6 grade ; Reading level: 4.1

I saw this book this spring on another blog somewhere and thought it looked interesting and something that might appeal to the students at my school. The bonus was that I enjoyed it as well and it made a flight across the US pass by quicker.

Goodreads Summary:
In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

A Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm.

My Review:
A fun middle grade story. At the beginning there were some phrases I thought didn’t flow, but either I got used to the author’s writing style or there were just two unfortunate editorial mishaps at the beginning.

The story kept me wondering how it would unfold and how Rump could untangle himself from the mess. Even though I know the classic story.

Very imaginative, enjoyable story. There are some jokes about Rump’s name that middle schoolers would find funny, but the author never let it go too far. This is one I’ll be buying for my school’s library and might consider as a read aloud for 3rd or 4th grade. 3.75 stars



(Prices good as of June 26, 2014 always double check for yourself)

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com or Independent Bookstores use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Stephanie Ricker - Five Glass Slippers Blog Tour

Oh my! What a marvelous ball gown! Stephanie Ricker, author of A Cinder's Tale, is the Cinderella of the Day.

This week is the blog tour (with a fun giveaway!) for Five Glass Slippers, the collection of Cinderella stories that I reviewed a few weeks ago and that released just last week. Here's the link to my review.

And here's the link to the blog tour home page so you can be sure to visit Rachel's other's stops on this tour and to find out her favorite dance song, ball gown, and "Cinderella moment" on the main host blog.

As she is chatting with us before stepping into her space pod she kindly answered the following question:

Your story takes place in the far corners of the universe. Do you have a favorite spot in outer space and a picture of it?

Stephanie: Thanks for your question.  I’m a huge science fiction fan (surprise, surprise), and I’m fascinated by space exploration in general.  I like to browse NASA’s astronomy picture of the day archive, and there are tons of beautiful shots there.  One of my favorite constellations is the Pleiades (also called the Seven Sisters) because on most nights they’re hard to see; you almost wonder whether you’re imagining them or not.  This shot from the Hubble telescope is lovely. Overall, though, I really just enjoy learning about it all, and reading the different fictional representations of life among the stars.

The picture Stephanie sent


About “A Cinder’s Tale” by Stephanie Ricker

It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen's blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

About Stephanie Ricker

Stephanie Ricker is a writer, editor, and tree-climber. She adores the cold and the snow but lives in North Carolina anyway, where she enjoys archery, hiking, canoeing, and exploring with friends.

Stephanie’s fiction has been published in Bull-Spec, a magazine of speculative fiction, and in four consecutive editions of The Lyricist, Campbell University’s annual literary magazine. She was the editor of the 2009 edition of The Lyricist, which won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association Contest. Stephanie’s non-fiction has been published in an assortment of medical magazines and newsletters, and her senior thesis on Tolkien was published in the 2009 issue of Explorations: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for the State of North Carolina.

You can find out more about Stephanie and her writing on her blog: Quoth the Girl.

Giveaway

Here’s your chance to be Cinderella of the ball! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Five Glass Slippers, several Cinderella-themed items (including a bookmark crafted by Belle on a Budget, a journal, and a DVD copy of the Disney movie), as well as special gifts handpicked by a few of the collection’s authors (a glass slipper cookie cutter with recipe, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, and an Apple Tree Inn cup and saucer). This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kindle eBook Sale!
The Five Glass Slippers collection will be on sale for only $.99 in Kindle format for the duration of the blog tour (June 23-28)!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rachel Heffington - Five Glass Slippers Blog Tour

Ooo-lala! Another lovely ball gown! Rachel Heffington, author of The Windy Side of Care, is the Cinderella of the Day.

This week is the blog tour (with a fun giveaway!) for Five Glass Slippers, the collection of Cinderella stories that I reviewed a few weeks ago and that released just last week. Here's the link to my review.

And here's the link to the blog tour home page so you can be sure to visit Rachel's other's stops on this tour and to find out her favorite dance song, ball gown, and "Cinderella moment" on the main host blog.

As she is chatting with us before stepping into her carriage she kindly answered the following question:
'The Windy Side of Care' takes place in both the country and city. Where would your ideal home be?

Rachel: In a similar situation to that in which I live, actually. I live in the country where I have privacy and beautiful and unimpaired views of nature but I'm only forty minutes from a mall, a movie-theatre, and shops while only one hour from a big old city. As for location, it is my dream to one day own a farm in the Lake District of England/Scotland. :)

About “The Windy Side of Care” by Rachel Heffington

Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

About Rachel Heffington

Rachel Heffington is a Christian, a novelist, and a people-lover. Outside of the realm of words, Rachel enjoys the Arts, traveling, mucking about in the kitchen, listening for accents, and making people laugh. She dwells in rural Virginia with her boisterous family and her black cat, Cricket.

In February 2014, Rachel released her debut novel, Fly Away Home, and is excited to collaborate on Five Glass Slippers with her fellow authoresses. She hopes to release her second full-length novel and first mystery (Anon, Sir, Anon) in autumn 2014. For more on Rachel, her current projects, and writing in general, visit her on her blog: The Inkpen Authoress.

Giveaway

Here’s your chance to be Cinderella of the ball! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Five Glass Slippers, several Cinderella-themed items (including a bookmark crafted by Belle on a Budget, a journal, and a DVD copy of the Disney movie), as well as special gifts handpicked by a few of the collection’s authors (a glass slipper cookie cutter with recipe, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, and an Apple Tree Inn cup and saucer). This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kindle eBook Sale!

The Five Glass Slippers collection will be on sale for only $.99 in Kindle format for the duration of the blog tour (June 23-28)!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list

I didn't get around to doing TTT last week and figured I'd to last week's topic since it'll probably be quicker to come up with than this weeks. ;-)

1. Rules of Murder by Julianne Deering
2. Love Makes a House a Home: A Christian Romance by Kimberly Rae Jordan
3. Heaven Sent Rain by Lauraine Snelling
4. When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren
5. Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
6. The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
7. Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden
8. The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
9. Blades of Valor by Sigmund Brouwer
10. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

What books are you going to read this summer?

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com or Independent Bookstores use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Elisabeth Brown - Five Glass Slippers Blog Tour

Oooohh! Would you look at that? What a lovely dress! Betsy Brown, author of What Eyes Can See, is the Cinderella of the Day.

This week is the blog tour (with a fun giveaway!) for Five Glass Slippers, the collection of Cinderella stories that I reviewed a few weeks ago and that released just last week. Here's the link to my review.

And here's the link to the blog tour home page so you can be sure to visit Betsy's other stops on this tour and to find out her favorite dance song, ball gown, and "Cinderella moment" on the main host blog.

During a visit to her castle for tea she kindly answered the following question:
Which European monarch would you want to travel back in time to visit and observe for a day?

Betsy: (This is a play-by-play of me answering your question.)
Me: “Mom? What monarchs do I know of besides Henry VIII and Napoleon Dynamite…I mean Bonaparte?”
Mother, Mother, Best and Dearest of Mothers: “Alfred the Great? Good Queen Bess? Boadicea? Victoria?”
Me: “But I don’t want to meet any of them.”
Mother, etc.: “All the Louises of France?”
Me: “I don’t know a thing about any.”
Mother, etc.: “Cleopatra? Cathrine the Great? Ivan the Terrible?”
Me: “Mom, they’re not even European.”
Mother, etc.: “I don’t know. Ask your dad.”
Me: “Dad, what monarch would you go back and visit?”
Daddy-o: “Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf. “
Me: “He’s not technically a monarch.”
Daddy-o: “Charles Martel?”
Me: “…I’ve heard the name.”
Mother, etc.: “Richard the Lionhearted?”
Me: “He ate his enemies.”
Insert long pause in which I research violently on Wikipedia
Me: “Do you think I can make Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, count?”
Mother, etc.: “Not a monarch.”
Me: “Shoot.”
Insert another pause.
Me: “How about I just write about all the people I didn’t pick and hope it’s interesting.”

Short story long, I can think of boatloads of historical characters I’d love to hobnob with for a while…Menno Simons, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Johannes Gutenberg…but none of them had the good fortune to be born royalty.

Now I’m curious…do you yourself have a monarch in mind? Because for the life of me I don’t know whom to pick. Help.

Me: I think we could allow a visit to Count Zinzendorf, he might not be a monarch but he's nobility. Same with Frederick III. Anyone have some more suggestions for Betsy though?

About “What Eyes Can See” by Elisabeth Brown

Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

About Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown has always loved words. The third of seven children, she enjoyed being homeschooled through her senior year of high school, and is now studying piano performance at Appalachian Bible College. When she’s ignoring the fact that she should probably be practicing more or doing Greek homework, you’ll find her sewing, baking, reading, singing along to basically any musical ever created, hiking through the woods, or laughing at incredibly silly puns.

What Eyes Can See is her first published story, but she also rambles at Stretching the Metaphorical Cello.

Giveaway

Here’s your chance to be Cinderella of the ball! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Five Glass Slippers, several Cinderella-themed items (including a bookmark crafted by Belle on a Budget, a journal, and a DVD copy of the Disney movie), as well as special gifts handpicked by a few of the collection’s authors (a glass slipper cookie cutter with recipe, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, and an Apple Tree Inn cup and saucer). This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kindle eBook Sale!
The Five Glass Slippers collection will be on sale for only $.99 in Kindle format for the duration of the blog tour (June 23-28)!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

School Book Saturday: Multi-cultural Rice and Electricity

Everybody Cooks Rice
by Norah Dooley ; illustrations by Peter J. Thornton. Carolrhoda Books, 1991. 30 pg. (9780876145913, 0876145918)
Dewey: Fiction
Reading level: 4.4, Guided Reading: M, Fountas & Pinnell: M
Interest level: K-3rd

Publisher Description:
On her way to find her little brother for dinner, Carrie samples each family's dinner in her neighborhood. By the time she tracks down her brother, Carrie has discovered a world of rice dishes in her own backyard.

My Review:
I like this book. Carrie's neighbors are from Barbados, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, India, China, and Haiti while Carrie's great-grandmother came from Italy. Each family makes their rice dish a bit different. The author's introduce all the different dishes while telling a story familiar to any big sister - finding her brother.

Some of the words might be hard for early elementary kids to read for themselves but not to understand. I think it would make a good read aloud at school or at home. But especially at home since the recipes for all the different dishes are included at the back.

Find it at a library near you; Buy it from AmazonBuy it from Barnes &NobleBuy it from ChristianBook; Buy it from an Indie Bookstore near you



The Shocking World of Electricity with Max Axiom, Super Scientist 
by Liam O'Donnell ; illustrated by Richard Dominguez and Charles Barnett III. Capstone Press, 2007. 32 pg. (9780778729563)
Series: Max Axiom
Dewey: J537
Reading level: 4.8, Guided Reading: V, Fountas & Pinnell: V
Interest level: 5th-8th

Publisher Description:
Follows the adventures of Max Axiom as he explains the science behind electricity including how it is produced and how electricity is distributed. Written in graphic-novel format.

My Review:
The Max Axiom series does a good job in introducing different science topics to late elementary and middle school students. The story is engaging and the opening scene of Max getting shocked by a doorknob after shuffling on the carpet is something most kids can relate too.

Electrons, protons, neutrons, renewable energy, batteries, the electrical grid and saving energy are all addressed in this action backed book. At the end is a 'More About…' section, glossary, book suggestions, and internet sites (but first you have to go through Facthound.com, which has a curated list of links that should be accurate, age appropriate, and current).

An aspect that I especially like since I work at an international school in Africa is that the main character is not Caucasian. My library has four books in this series and I've already ordered this and several others for next school year.

Find it at a library near youBuy it from Amazon; Buy it from Barnes & Noble; Buy it from ChristianBooks; Buy it from an Indie Bookstore near you

~~~
Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com or Independent Bookstores use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WoW #46: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
Zondervan November 2014

About
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot

Why I want to read it
I have really enjoyed this author's other forays into the world of retelling fairy tales. My favorites of hers are The Healer's Apprentice and The Merchant's Daughter. Her other two books which are also very good are The Fairest Beauty and The Captive Maiden. I'm excited that this book continues the tale of the inhabitants of Hagenheim Castle!

Pre-order it:
Amazon ($9.66 / $5.12) and ChristianBooks ($9.99 / $5.99) and Barnes and Noble ($9.66 / $5.99) and An Independent Bookstore near you
Prices are good as of June 14, 2014 for pre-ordering the paperback/ebook edition. Please double check for yourself.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

School Book Saturday: Aztecs & Antarctica

As a school librarian I buy, skim and shelve a lot of non fiction for children and youth. One benefit to being in the States during the summer is that I can borrow stacks of books from the library to evaluate them for my school.

So I decided to start a (hopefully) regular feature focusing on elementary, middle school and high school non fiction. If anyone else is interested I could even figure out how to do a link up thingy (a very technical blogging term ;-)

I'd love feedback and opinions! How many books should I write about in each post? Should I group books by topic, by age range, by series, all or some of the previous?

You Wouldn't Want to Be an Aztec Sacrifice!: Gruesome Things You'd Rather Not Know (Revised Edition) 
by Fiona MacDonald, illustrated by David Antram. Franklin Watts (Imprint of Scholastic), 2013. 32 pg. (9780531271049)
Series: You wouldn't want to be...
Dewey: J972
Reading level: 5th grade and up
Interest level: 3rd-6th

Publisher Description:
You are a young man of noble family in the Central Valley of Mexico. Your city is about to be visited by your overlords, the Aztecs: fearsome warriors who practice human sacrifice. Will you be one of their victims? This new extended edition includes a map and a timeline of the Aztec civilization, and a selection of chilling facts.

My Review:
This is from a fun series that ought to appeal to kids. However, the students at my school are more drawn to the topic than the fun illustrations. We don't have this book but we do have the Pony Express one and Ninja Warrior. There is absolutely no interest for the pony express, but I've had lots of boys and a few girls ask where the book is about ninjas.

A few observations I jotted down after reading this book:
- There's no bibliography.
- It does have a timeline, index and glossary.
- How do they know some of that stuff?!
- Makes light of human life / murder / sacrifice. [And it's rather gruesome]

"Walking slowly up the temple steps, you are grabbed by five priests and flung on your back across a sacrificial stone. You see no more..." pg 24
"You die quickly and with little pain, but the sacrifice is not over yet. the priests cut your heart from your body and raise it high toward the sky to show it to the gods.  ... Next, they cut off your head and display it in a skull rack along with hundreds of others. ... Finally, your blood is poured down the temple steps, and your limbs are tossed to the crowds of worshipers below. The warrior who captured you collects the limbs and takes them home. He cooks and eats your sacrificed flesh." pg 26 

Several grades study the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs which is why I was considering this book. However, since this is a period in history I'm less familiar with and it's not one that we have a lot of easily understood written records of, I would have liked a bibliography to prove that the authors know what they're talking about.

Aside from the gruesome description of the human sacrifices, I don't like how the texts portrayed human sacrifice as a perfectly acceptable ritual. In a way it's actually good that it's gory because it shows how terrible human sacrifice and cannibalism is.

Find it at a library near you; Buy it from AmazonBuy it from Barnes &Noble


The Antarctic Habitat 
by Molly Aloian, Bobbie Kalman. Crabtree Publishing Company, 2007. 32 pg. (9780778729563)
Series: Introducing Habitats
Dewey: J577
Reading level: 3rd
Interest level: K-1st

Goodreads Summary:
This detailed description of the snow- and ice-covered continent of Antarctica features birds, seals, and whales of the Southern Ocean.

My Review:
I thought the reading level was more second grade. Most sentences have about 6-8 words. Unfortunately there is no pronunciation guide, especially for 'phytoplankton', 'photosynthesis', 'herbivore', 'carnivore', and 'omnivore'. But all other words and terms should be somewhat familiar to kids.

Some words are in bold but there is no glossary at the end with definitions, just an index of where those words are found in the book. The words are defined in the text.

"Millions of tiny plants grow in the Southern Ocean. They float near the top of the water. These ocean plants are called phytoplankton."

The photos and illustrations are all nice and enhance the text. But I wish some scale had been provided as it's impossible to tell just how huge the blue whale really is (a full length photo is included) nor how wide the wing span of the albatross is.

I like that this book doesn't combine the arctic and antarctic regions, the amount of material covered and the illustrations. I'll take a look at the other books in the series and will keep this in mind if/when we need some habitat books for the younger grades.

Find it at a library near youBuy it from Amazon; Buy it from Barnes & NobleBuy it from an Indie Bookstore near you

~~~
Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

1. Five Glass Slippers by five different wonderful authors
2. Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
3. It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren
4. Happily Ever After by Susan May Warren
5. A Promise in Pieces by Emily T. Wierenga
6. Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
7. Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer 
8. Captured by Love by Jodi Hedlund
9. The Truth Seeker by Dee Henderson (Actually the whole O'Malley series was great!)
10. Princess in Peril by Rachelle McCalla (Loved the whole Reclaiming The Crown series)


Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Sunflower Blogger Award

Melanie over at Christian Bookshelf Reviews, tagged me for the Sunflower Blogger Award! How fun and what an honor! Thanks Melanie!

The Rules:
1. Share 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions the previous blogger asked
3. Tag 11 bloggers and ask them 11 new questions

11 Facts
  1. I don't like hot drinks because I (almost) always burn my tongue.
  2. I have a master's degree in library science.
  3. I live less than 150 miles south of the Equator
  4. I am a school librarian at an international school in an African country.
  5. I get to come "home" to the States in the summers.
  6. Three things I love about the States (not necessarily in order): there are cheese varieties, toilet paper that doesn't shred, and libraries.
  7. I like reading a book straight through.
  8. I've lost a lot of sleep because of #6.
  9. The sun sets around 6 pm year round near the equator and it's hard to adjust to a 9 pm ish sunset!
  10. I am trying to learn French.
  11. I should read more non fiction books.

11 Questions from Melanie
  1. What's the last book you bought? The last book that I bought for myself is 'Love Makes a House a Home: A Christian Romance' (Series: Home to Collingsworth Book 3) by Kimberly Rae Jordan. But this week I bought some books to give to a friend but I can't tell you which books because she might read this. :-)
  2. What's the last movie you watched? A lousy on so many levels, 1994 movie called 'It Could Happen to You' staring Nicolas Cage. It had promises of being cute until his character had an affair. 
  3. What's your all-time favorite book cover? Hard question. I do love the covers for the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.
  4. What's your favorite summer activity, besides reading? ;) Seeing friends and family that I don't get to see all year.
  5. What is one of the worst/most-boring movies you've seen? I don't have a good memory for all the movies I've seen (when answering #2 it took me a while to decide if my sister and I had watched a movie yesterday or only watched TV shows on Netflix). And I have an even worse memory for bad/boring movies. So...I'll skip this one.
  6. If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Hawaii - they've got lots of national parks and cool places to explore.
  7. Sneakers or sandals? Sandals
  8. The beach or the pool? Beach
  9. What's the last book that made you cry or laugh-out-loud? I definitely cried during 'The Healer' by Dee Henderson.
  10. What's your favorite candle scent? It's been a while since I went candle-sniffing. (Btw, ever sniffed men's deodorant at Walmart at 11pm with a group of girls? Very fun and hilarious.) 
  11. Do you have a favorite B&W movie? Hmmm, favorite B&W TV show is Robin Hood staring Richard Greene. And Andy Griffith. Movie though... Longest Day is good, so are the Abbott & Costello comedies, The Artist... yeah I don't have a favorite. There are lots of other great classics though - too many to list.
11 Bloggers
2. Abbi at Christian Novels
4. Clara at To Find a Castle
5. Rebecca at A Christian Worldview of Fiction
6. Julie at Second Grade Style
7. Miss Elizabeth at Elegance of Fashion
8. You in the comments
And I know that's not 11, but it seems most bloggers I follow regularly have already been tagged and posted their lists. And I just want to get this posted.
Plus, I'd really love to hear what some of your answers are in the comments

11 Questions for them (and you)
  1. If you could travel back in time and be the proverbial fly on the wall, where and when would you go?
  2. Favorite genre?
  3. Favorite aspect of blogging?
  4. Least favorite part of blogging?
  5. If you could swap places with a book character who would it be (and for how long)?
  6. What's the longest you've stayed awake?
  7. What are the next three books on your to read list?
  8. Where do you get most of your books from?
  9. Favorite place to read?
  10. You've been invited to a literary costume party. Who will you dress as?
  11. What is the most memorable thing you've learned from a book?

WoW #45: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
Series: Castle Glower, #3
Bloomsbury October 2014

About
Having been dropped by Castle Glower into the middle of a strange forest, Celie sets off to solve the mystery of the Castle's past and what's causing it behave so erratically now. Accompanied by her pet griffin Rufus, her brother Rolf, sister Lilah, and their friends Pogue and Lulath, Celie will have to face deceitful wizards, wild griffins, and the truth behind the Castle itself before she can find a way home.

Why I want to read it
I have read the first two books in this series, Tuesdays at the Castle and Wednesdays in the Tower, and really enjoyed them. The last one ended on a bit of a cliff hanger so I'd love to find out what happens.

Pre-order it:
Amazon ($12.16) and Barnes and Noble ($12.05)
Prices are good as of June 10, 2014 for pre-ordering the hardback edition. Please double check for yourself.


~~~
Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

cover of Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer shows a brunette in a green dress standing in front of a man with his hands on steam engine controls
Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer. Bethany House, 2014. 348p. (9780764209673)

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while and finally was able to read it this week. When I first heard that Karen Witemeyer’s next book was not going to be about an Archer brother I was saddened, but I quite enjoyed this book.

Goodreads Summary:
When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole’s plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a few fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?

My Review:
steam boat exploding at the dock
Photo credit
This book has a more historical fiction feel to it than the author’s previous books. While the characters are all completely made up the reader still gets a good picture of the dangers of steam engines before the Steamboat Act of 1852. Exploding boiler engines isn’t something I’ve ever thought of.

Perhaps I have Beauty and the Beast on my brain from the recent Rogglewood Press contest announcement, but Darius Thornton definitely had a bit of beastliness about him in his rough temperament, ill-kempt appearance, and haggard looks from lack of sleep. Nicole is quite the stubborn character and I love her penchant for math and science. Today the author posted about the woman who received the top score in the Cambridge University mathematics tripos exam - the most prestigious mathematics exam in the world.

The danger surrounding the Renard family and the dagger served to get Nichole out of town but I found that her interactions with Darius is what kept me turning the pages. Not any concern over the Jenkins brothers – well, except of course during the dangerous part. Darius is the perfect hero – flawed, passionate, sensible, strong, and has the right background.

My favorite characters though were the butler, Wellborn, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Wellborn. Both wise people who know exactly what is best to do and say in just about any situation.

If you enjoy historical fiction with strong female characters, analytical male characters, love at almost first sight (took barely a week or so) and danger, than this is a book for you.



Go read it! Find it at a librarynear you; Buy it from Amazon ($10.62 / $9.99); Buy it from ChristianBooks.com ($9.99 / $9.69); Buy it from Barnes & Noble ($10.62 / $9.99)
(Paperback / ebook prices good as of June 5, 2014 always double check for yourself)

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Glass Slippers

Five Glass Slippers by by Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson. Rogglewood Press, 2014. 464p. (9780989447843)

I love fairy tale retellings and this was a delightful collection of five versions of Cinderella. Last year author Anne Elisabeth Stengl hosted a writing contest and the result was this book. Just this week the fairy tale for the next Rogglewood Press writing contest was announced. And if the quality of the Cinderella stories is anything to go by Five Enchanted Roses will be a fabulous collection as well.

I’ve interspersed my initial reaction to the story jotted down right after reading each story and a short review on each tale after the summaries of each one.

Goodreads Summary:
ONE BELOVED STORY, FIVE EXCITING WRITERS
A COLLECTION TO CHERISH

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!


WHAT EYES CAN SEE: Elisabeth Brown
Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

My Reaction:
How fun! I do like the twist that the stepsisters and mother are nice. Though I wish we could have heard more of Arella’s thoughts.

My Review:
Elisabeth Brown does a great job giving us the classic story, but with a twist. Arella is painfully shy and does not want to marry the prince. I could almost imagine the story taking place in the settings of Disney’s movie but with a master editor rewinding and speculating ‘what if…’


BROKEN GLASS: Emma Clifton
The slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.

My Reaction:
Loved the ending! Especially the epilogue. This quote stuck out: “It does take more than one dance to find your soul-mate.” I really like that this story and the previous one both emphasize that fact.

My Review:
Emma Clifton mixed magic and steampunk together and came up with a story that has some of the harshness of the original Grimm fairy tales but also the characters to love and admire. I hope Emma continues writing stories set the land she created as I’m quite curious as to what happened to Ophelia and of course the epilogue is a perfect teaser for another fairy tale retelling.

The editors did a great job picking out stories that complimented each other because this one is a perfect bridge between a more traditional story to the political intrigue of the next tale and the outer space setting of the one after that.


THE WINDY SIDE OF CARE: Rachel Heffington
Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

My Reaction:
What a light hearted piece of fun and political intrigue! And a great “fairy” godfather!

My Review:
Rachel Heffington did a great job completely reimagining Cinderella has a charming political schemer who is actually a disinherited princess. The dialogue was witty and very well written.


A CINDER’S TALE: Stephanie Ricker
It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen's blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

My Reaction:
Delightful. Nice to have a change from romance being the focus (though I’m sure a sequel would have plenty). Great riveting action and danger.

My Review:
Stephanie Ricker put Cinderella in a space suit in a far corner of the universe and crafted a very exciting tale. I especially liked that she used the names Jaq, Gus and Bruno for Elsa’s friends. Though I did keep picturing the dog when I read Bruno. His is a story I would love to read more of. The clones with their unique outfits were a great way to tie in the traditionally ill-dressed stepsisters.


THE MOON MASTER’S BALL: Clara Diane Thompson
After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley’s Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can’t refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.

My Reaction:
Thrilling. Spooky. I do wish the word limit had been a bit longer since while the story is excellently told, the climax felt very rushed.

My Review:
Clara Diane Thompson painted an eerie scene and kept the mystery front and center. The sudden appearance and disappearance of the Circus reminded me of the Twelve-Year Market from the Tales of Goldstone Wood. Much has been written about the impracticality of glass slippers – and whether they were mistranslated and should be fur slippers, but in this story they finally had a purpose and a point.


All in all, this is an excellent collection of Cinderella stories. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings or any of the genres included than I highly recommend reading this book. 



Go read it! Pre-orderit from Amazon ($10.93) It will be available June 14, 2014! Add it on Goodreads – plus there’s a giveaway on Goodreads through the 24th!
(Prices good as of June 4, 2014 always double check for yourself)


Disclosure: I received this book from the editor for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WoW #44: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
Series: Whispers on the Moors, #3
Thomas Nelson, October 2014

About
Willowgrove Hall is full of secrets, but soon everything hidden is brought to light.

Cecily Faire has a secret—and she intends to keep it. But when she arrives at Willowgrove Hall to serve as a lady’s companion, she comes face-to-face with the only person who knows the truth about her past.

As the steward of Willowgrove Hall, Nathaniel Stanton is dedicated to serving those around him. Nothing escapes his notice—including the beautiful new lady’s companion. He is certain the lovely Miss Faire is hiding something, and he determines to uncover it. But Nathaniel has a secret of his own: he is the illegitimate son of Willowgrove’s former master. Falling in love was not part of his plans . . . until he meets Cecily Faire.

When Willowgrove’s mistress dies, everything changes. Fear of exposure forces Cecily to leave under the cover of darkness, embarking on a journey to finally find her long-lost sister. When the will is read, Nathaniel’s inheritance makes him question his future plans. Cecily and Nathaniel are forced to make decisions that will change the course of their lives. Is their love strong enough to survive?

Why I want to read it
I read the first book in the series, The Heiress of Winterwood and enjoyed it. That book is the author's debut novel so I'm looking forward to seeing how she's progressed as a writer. Book two in the series has been on my TBR and now this one is joining it on the list. Plus the mystery is quite intriguing.

Pre-order it:
Amazon ($11.95 / $9.99) and ChristianBooks ($11.99 / $9.99) and Barnes and Noble ($11.95 / $9.99)
Prices are good as of June 4, 2014 for pre-ordering the paperback/ebook edition. Please double check for yourself.


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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

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