Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crazy Dangerous

"You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you're definitely going to want to hear about that."

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

I can say without a doubt that Crazy Dangerous is the most unique, crazy ride I a book has taken me on. I wasn't sure that I wanted to request a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but decided I needed a different book than I normally read. This certainly was different from my regular genres! I don't want to provide any spoilers, so I'll say that the plot was enough to keep me guessing where the author was going until about 50 pages from the end. It definitely feels supernatural throughout most of the book, and if you enjoy sci-fi this book is probably for you. Be prepared for a unique writing style, which captures Jennifer's illness very well and a bit of violence. All in all, I enjoyed the book and found myself staying up late to figure out what was going to happen.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Grandma & Me

My Grandma and Me is the book every grandmother wants to share with her toddler-age grandchildren. Each devotion includes a scripture, a rhyme explaining the theme of the verse, and an interactive song or prayer. In addition to the fun yet faith-filled words, children will enjoy the sweet full-color art throughout the book that has a nostalgic tone for Grandma. The book closes with additional scriptures grandma can use to pass along her faith: the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, 23rd Psalm, Beatitudes, and a special prayer for her grandchildren. This delightful book will not only become Grandmother's favorite, but it will leave a lasting and important impression on the faith development of many toddlers.The introduction of the book also gives grandmothers who are far-away from their grandkids tips on using the book via phone or Skype.

I requested a complimentary copy of My Grandma & Me through the Tyndale Blog Network's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. 

Although this book is exactly what it says it is; a short Bible verse, poem, and either a song or prayer on each two page spread, I was a little disappointed in it overall. I think I was hoping that it would be a bit more than every other preschool "devotional" already on the book store shelves. Personally, I didn't see much difference from all the others I've seen. Besides the title, there is nothing connecting it specifically to a grandma and her grandchildren, with could be good or bad depending on what the reader is hoping to accomplish with the book. The illustrations are beautiful, and add a lot to the overall book, but the individual devotionals can be read in less than a minute.  I started reading it to my daughter when I received it, and we read three of them before she lost interest and asked me to skim the books for another song. The songs are set to the tune of familiar songs such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," which I found hard to accomplish and kind of ended up making my own tune. All in all, if you don't already have a preschool devotional, this one is cute but it's not any different from the rest on the shelves.

Be Still My Soul

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
 
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

 

I received a complimentary copy of Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof through the Multnomah Publishing Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. Be Still My Soul will be available for purchase on October 1st, 2012. 

Despite having three children and a full time job, this book entranced me enough to finish the whole thing in just two days. As I laid down to go to sleep, the characters roamed my mind, forcing me out of bed to discover the next chapters of their lives. I cannot recall a book that has evoked such emotion from me. From anger at Lonnie's dad and the way he treated her, to disappointment in Gideon and the beginnings of their marriage. Sorrow over their trials, and joy over their triumphs, I was taken on a roller coaster with this book, and I loved every word of it. I am overjoyed that this book states it is "book 1," promising more from this new author. I cannot wait for the next in this series.