Friday, December 16, 2011

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur

This is Kay Arthur's re-release of her previously published "As Silver Refined" She does an excellent job showing us how our disappointments are really "His Appointments". I really appreciate her practical and realistic approach to life in light of who we are in Christ. She begins the book with a beautiful picture of the Refiner and how he tends his fire to make sure his silver is perfectly refined. I love that picture. Knowing that our Refiner is tending to us just right so that when He looks at us He sees His image.

I enjoyed the real life letters and examples she includes of lives that have been changed by the word of God. The examples didn't always include people who had whatever the disappointment was fixed. In fact, most of them included people who's worst nightmare came true but were walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and depended on God to get them through and recognized the sovereignty of God in it. There is much to learn in this book and am glad there is a study guide at the end. I think you could definitely spend a lot of time on each chapter to reflect on your own life and ask ourselves how well am I handling this disappointment?

I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

First of all, I thought it was a great book and I loved reading Sascha's story. I was drawn into the emotions of what it must have been like to go through the frustrations of dealing with such a corrupt country. I appreciated the history provided to better understand where Russia and the Ukraine are coming from and it truly is a sad story. I though Mr. Taunton did a great job showing us how grace can change people. At some points I was having trouble connecting the two but separately I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the interaction between him and Christopher Hitchens as well as the viewpoints of other atheists around the world. I think this story is well worth the read.
I received this book free from in exchange for my review

Monday, November 28, 2011

Adrift by Steven Callahan

Great book. I love sailing and being on the water and identified with his love. The difference is he set out to sail always! I felt like I was set adrift with Steven Callahan! Find out how Callahan survives, his fears, and if he ever returns to sailing. For those that like inventions, Callahan gives detailed descriptions of how he makes items that help him survive. But they are set in the story in such a way that, if you are only reading for the adventure, the details are easy to skip. Although you may not want to and learn something in the process... never know when you'll need to survive!

Son of Hamas

Son of Hamas is a gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices. Anyone who is interested in or studying Islam or the Middle East and it's conflicts should read Mosab Hassan Yousef's real-life account.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dug Down Deep

I thought this book was great. It describes doctrine in an understandable way. In fact, you wouldn't even know you were reading about all the different doctrines except he tells you. The examples he gives are down to earth and make sense. There's humor as well as humility in the writing. I like that in the end he gives statements of I am wrong but its through faith in Jesus I can be made right before God. I appreciate the message he's getting out in this book. We need to know what it is God wants from us and how else can we do that except to study His word. We need to build a solid foundation and this book helps to understand that. I recommend this book highly.
I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Z for Zachariah

Supposedly ‘middle school’ fiction, the librarian highly recommends this for anyone.  Ann Burden survives for a year alone after a nuclear war destroys the world … until a stranger comes along.  Face the challenges and decisions Ann makes as this new person enters her small world.  Danger, intrigue, suspense!  And then there's the question always present ... what would you have done in Ann's situation?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When Helping Hurts

Review by Brynna Hughes:

I have recently read the book “When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  “When Helping Hurts” is all about how to alleviate poverty without hurting yourself or others.  Simply giving food to homeless people or giving the poor money will not alleviate poverty, often times the people will end up worse than how they began.  Most Americans believe that by giving material things to those in poverty they can solve their problems, but Steve and Brian disagree.  They believe that by giving the people things, we can do more harm than good.  They suggest lack of food, money, and shelter is only the surface of the real problem.  The real problem lies behind all of that in how the community is run, and their relationship with others.  The real way to alleviate poverty is to help the people rather than give them everything, work alongside them and establish a relationship with them; do the work with them rather than for them. This book truly challenged me to contemplate how I do ministry and to take a step back and see the big picture of poverty.  The love that Steve and Brian have for those in poverty became very apparent as I read this book.  He uses lots of good examples that certainly help to establish his point and make it easier to understand. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a heart for ministry and missions.  I guarantee this book will change your view on poverty as you read it, it sure did mine.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis

Invasion is the first book in a science fiction trilogy. Colt is taken on a wild ride finding out things he never believed actually existed. He is a big fan of comic books and never in his wildest dreams did he think that those comic books were based on real events. Not only that, but his own Grandpa is the hero depicted in these comics. Colt and his friends, Danielle and Oz, must fight the evil aliens that are trying to invade Earth and take it over for themselves. I thought this book was full of well done action and I enjoyed the creativity of the science fiction technology and aliens. This is good YA fiction and I look forward to continuing on in the trilogy.
I received this book free from in exchange for my review.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ascent From Darkness

I will admit I was not sure I wanted to read this book. I don't like to read about evil spirits and demonic forces but the fact that it was a true story of one man's life made me want to continue on. I am so glad I read this book. It was very well done. Michael tells his story in a way that you get the severity of what was going on in his life without getting the gory details. He makes it clear the depth of his devotion to Satan and the battle that raged within him. I'm amazed at how his "mission" was to go to churches and Bible studies and disrupt them with difficult questions and basically just try to lead everyone astray. Another great reason why we need to be on guard spiritually at all times. I was thanking God by the end that this man has been freed from the bondage of Satan and that he now is a follower of Christ. The appendix also sheds some great light on the story of Michael from the perspective of those around him. I love how God is using him and his testimony mightily today! I find his passion inspiring and the fact that he can't not share the love of God with everyone he meets an encouragement and challenge to the rest of us.
I received this book free from in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Forever Faithful, The Complete Trilogy by Karen Kingsbury

Forever Faithful is the complete trilogy all in one book. These were 3 different novels all available in one book. It starts off with Hannah's tragic journey of bitterness and anger at losing her husband and daughter to a drunk driver and seeing her go through all the emotions that go with a tragedy like that. In the end she sees that forgiveness is the only to way to let go of the anger and bitterness that is destroying her. There is of course a love story woven in as well.
The second book is about Jade and Tanner who are childhood friends but when life takes them in different directions they thought they would never see each other again. God brings them together and their romance begins to unfold but in a "moment of weakness" they give in to their desires and Jade becomes pregnant. This was a very sad story about life and its consequences but God can still "work things together for good for those who love Him."
The Final book brings both couples together in a friendship and they both go through trials that requires support and faith in God to get you through. I thought this trilogy was well done and Ms. Kingsbury does an excellent job showing that no matter the circumstances you go through you can look back and see the hand of God working. Jeremiah 29:11 was shown throughout the entire trilogy.
I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review

Monday, October 3, 2011

Game On by Emmitt Smith

I enjoyed Emmitt Smith's book that offers a loot at his journey through childhood all the way through his very successful football career and up to today where is a successful commercial real estate investor and builder. I enjoyed the honesty in this book and the admiration he has for his family is quite inspirational. He is very vocal about how his belief in Jesus has shaped who he is now and how everything he does he wants to glorify God. He was very focused and goal oriented and everything he did, he gave his all. I believe anyone who reads this will definitely get something out of it. He does a great job pointing out that you can't go through life alone and the accomplishments you do have are because of the people around you. He gives great examples of this on the football field. His admiration and gratitude for Daryl Johnston actually brought a few tears to my eyes. I also loved the part about when he was in high school and made a touchdown and did a celebratory dance on the field and afterwards his dad came up to him and told him that he was proud of him for his touchdown but not to act like he hadn't been in the endzone before. All in all, a great read and some very good information on how to make your dreams into reality.
I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my review.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

Grace, what a beautiful term and where would man be without it. In this book, Andy Stanley takes us through different characters of the Old and New Testament to help reveal what Grace has looked like throughout the Bible. I thought this book was very well done. It was easy to read and understand. The humor throughout the book was great and well placed. I loved the example of his dog Shadow and how the rules/boundaries they set up for the dog are given after they own the dog, not before. In the same way, God set up rules (Ten Commandments) after the relationship was already established.  I really enjoyed this book and think this is a great book for anyone to read. He really highlights the fact that we cannot earn God's grace by anything we do. It is freely given.
I received this book free from in exchange for my review.

Friday, September 16, 2011

radical together by David Platt

I just finished reading Radical Together and I think it was a fantastic little book. It was straight forward and to the point. I will say that I haven't read Radical yet but I will after reading this one. The concepts are difficult to read about yet the truth that rings through is undeniable. I think every follower of Christ needs to be wrestling with the types of questions Mr. Platt puts before us in this book. I like that he did a follow up to the original that has numerous examples of people who have decided to do something "radical" and the change its made in their lives and community. I am challenged by this book and that seems to be the point. 
I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Indelible is a suspense novel that gets you from the very beginning. I will admit that I was confused through certain parts of the novel with all the different characters but it could have been because I haven't read "Indivisible" yet and that is where these characters first appear. Even so, I really did like this book. It was a great story and I really enjoyed the various characters. I was fascinated with Natalie's eidetic memory and how she expressed her outlet. Trevor's supposed "hero complex" and Fleur's gift as a blind artist. Good read.
I received this book free from blogging for book program in exchange for my review

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inside Threat

This is the final book of the Riley Covington thrillers. Riley is a former special ops turned pro football star but when the woman he loves is taken hostage by a terrorist group he forces his way back to his special ops friends where he comes up with a plan to get her out. I have read the first novel in this series "Monday Night Jihad" so I had some background on how these novels began. I haven't read the second or third so I have missed some of the thrills and the growth of Riley and Khadi's relationship but you get the gist of it throughout the book. I enjoyed the suspense in the book but I have to say it irritates me when it takes half the book to set up what you know from the back cover description is going to happen. Aside from that, i thought it was well written and keeps you engaged for the duration of the book. I would start with book one so you can enjoy the whole series.
I received this book free from Tyndale in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Surviving Your Serengeti by Stefan Swanepoel

Surviving your Serengeti is a fable that takes place in the Serengeti and takes you on a journey looking at 7 different animals and how their strengths make them survive in the wilderness. It was interesting to corelate those different strengths and skills and apply them to our lives and business to become better. I enjoyed the examples and the resulting skills as well as the chapter overview that gives you a breakdown of how to better implement those skills in your own life and business. This is a quick and easy read. I would recommend this book to people who are wanting to understand the different skills we have and how to more effectively use them.
I received this book for free from booksneeze in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

The adventures of the Cahill family begins with a charge from their Grandmother's will to find the 39 clues. Dan and Amy give up their million dollar inheritance to take on this quest to find the clues. It turns out to be very dangerous and very competitive. This was a great adventure book and I have to say I am looking forward to continuing to read the rest of this series.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Out of a Far Country

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this but whatever it was I wasn't disappointed. This book I couldn't put down and read it quickly. Each chapter goes back and forth between Christopher and his mom, Angela. They each tell their own story and how different their perspectives are but each are searching for answers. This was such a good read. The brokenness of Christopher was heart wrenching and the prayerful strength of the mother was inspiring. In the end, the journey led them both to God and He is using them mightily today.

The Seraph Seal

I found this book quite interesting. This is an apocalyptic novel that begins in December 2012 and takes you to year 2048 where we follow the events of the end of the world. I liked the way this book was done with practically each paragraph going to a different character in another part of the world to show the global impact. I found it intriguing and really makes you think about all the technology and where its all heading. I also found interesting that the lack of religion becomes the new "religion". I found myself disagreeing with some of the theology of the book but its not necessarily about the theology more about the technology of the world and where its leading us. In the end, I would recommend this book as a very interesting read and a great book for discussion.
I received this book for free from booksneeze in return for my review.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Praying for Your Future Husband

As soon as I received this book, I realized it wouldn't work in a school library and you'll see why.  So I gave this to my 16-year-old daughter.  She immediately started reading.  What's great about this is it's in small sections so each is quick but thought-provoking.  Each section has the authors' stories along with questions that have room for the reader to answer.  I would definitely recommend this book for a teen or young adult that is waiting patiently for the Lord to bring her the right mate!

(note: i received this book free in exchange for a review; review did not need to be positive.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembered by Tamera Alexander

This is the last in the Foutain Creek series and also was a Christy Award winner for Historical Romance. I enjoyed the characters in this book and thought it was a well done romance. It takes place in the 1870's in Colorado where Veronique comes over from Paris to find her long lost father. She hires a guide to help her find her father and they of course fall in love along the way. This is a great story if you like historical romance.

Mission: Murder by Betty Kerr Orlemann

This book was donated to our school by the author which is also autographed. She is local to our area and the setting of the book takes place in Plumstead Township as well as Philadelphia. I enjoyed that aspect of the book as its fun to read a story that takes place in the area you live in. This is a Hattie Farwell Mystery so there are sure to be more coming. I thought the book was a good mystery with some decent twists and turns. The different characters were interesting and Hattie was an enjoyable character as was her dog. I wish the "almost sex" scene wasn't in the book as it was completely unneccessary and offered nothing to the story except to possibly exclude it from our library. If it weren't for that it would have been a great, clean read.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bride Collector

The Bride Collector is on the loose and it's Brad Raines job to stop him. We are taken on quite an adventure with this story that deals with psychosis and how it affects people and the results. This was a good story that you didn't want to put down. I enjoyed that you saw good guys side and the bad guys side from the very beginning. If you like Ted Dekker you will not be disappointed with this one.

Nick of Time

Nick of Time is a part of the Bug Man Series by Tim Downs. This is the first Bug Man book I've read so I know I don't have all the background story for Nick Polchek but there was certainly enough in the book to give me a good feel for who Nick is. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the humor in it. Nick is a great character with his lack of interest in the human race and not understanding them. "They just aren't logical like bugs are". I thought this was a great suspense/mystery story. The fact that Nick was "missing" but we knew where he was the whole time. I definitely did not guess what was going to happen at least on one plot line. This was a very well done book and thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received this book for free from and was not required to write  a positive review

Monday, May 2, 2011

When Sparrows Fall

A very sweet and romantic book but enough mystery and intrigue to make it not be too sappy!  There are actually a few different mysteries going on during the book which makes you want to keep turning each page to find out more.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Note:  I was given this book free by but was not required to give a positive recommendation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin

The final book in the Refiner's Fire series continues to go through the events of the Civil War but from the slaves perspective. The author takes us on a journey through the war and how it affected slavery. The three main characters are all so different with Delia being steadfast in her faith, Kitty having no self-respect or love for herself and Grady who is so full of anger and bitterness because of all he's been through. A very good read.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Doing Virtuous Business by Thoedore Roosevelt Malloch (reviewed by Bruce Detweiler)

This is a book about capitalism and its relationship to Christian values. I think it gives a good perspective on combining both into a good model for business and life. There are many examples given of the relationship of "spiritual capital" and how it affects business and professionals. I appreciate how Malloch offers the importance of combining your faith and morals into everyday business and the success professionals are having because of it. I recommend this book to any business professional.
This book was provided to me by Book Sneeze (Thomas Nelson). I was not required to give a positive review.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fire By Night by Lynn Austin

Fire By Night is the second in the Refiner's Fire series and I continue to love this series. This book takes place from the Northern perspective. Julia comes from high society and is expected to go out in the social circles to find herself a husband but she is only interested in the Reverand. The Reverand thinks she is too selfish and shallow and when she over-hears him say this she is determined to change his opinion about her. She becomes a nurse and sees more of the war than she ever could have imagined.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

True Light by Terri Blackstock

Continuing in the Restoration Series we continue in the blackout and the lives of the Brannings. A new murder takes place and Mark Green is the most likely suspect. Dani is determined to prove Mark's innocence. A good book with Mark showing great character even when he is being persecuted. I enjoyed.

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

A historical romance that takes place in the late 1800's in New York City among the elite of the city. Clara is about to debut for the season and she needs to "catch" the most eligible batchelor for the sake of her Father and Aunt. I enjoyed the details of what these girls went through to debut in society. I didn't realize how dangerous those corset's were. I thought this was a really good book.

Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson

This is the first book in a series called Yukon Quest. The story is about a girl who father arranges for her to marry a man who she is afraid to marry. She ends up running away to Alaska to escape this marriage. I thought this was a great first book to a series as it leaves you wondering what is going to happen next. I definitely want to read the next book as the adventure is certainly not over yet. Good book.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Departed by Kathryn Mackel

They defined this book well when they called it a "Chrstian Chiller". This was one suspensful, chilling story. If you enjoy that genre, you will really like this one. The plot involves mediums and occult practices and how a small group of Christians try to stand firm in the midst of evil. This book had my heart racing at times but it was well done as this is not an easy topic to write about (in my opinion).

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

A story of Essie, the girl becoming the town spinster and her quest for a man. It was a good read that kept me engaged. It would have been tough to have her personality in the time period she grew up in.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Another book that I read because it shows on the most frequently banned book list. When I first started reading it I couldn't possibly understand why this book would end up on that list but towards the end I guess I could understand...maybe. This is a great story about imagination and friendship. Jess and Leslie become best friends but Leslie ends up dying. Jess is now left without his best friend and he must figure out how to go on in life. I don't agree with the theology in this book but it's the parents job to teach your children. I think when the book does bring up God and what happens when you die it offers an opportunity to continue to teach your children about Jesus and salvation. I loved how the book ended with Jess bringing his sister into Terabithia to continue what Leslie started. There is cursing in the book in a few places but I would let my kids read this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

This book had a couple great mysteries going on at the same time.  The author did a pretty good job developing the characters.  However, I thought the actual writing was choppy at times with sudden changes or lack of description in certain situations that made me reread a page to try to understand what happened.

Overall, as a mystery and intrigue book, it was good.

note: i received this book free in exchange for a review which did not need to be good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Bride in the Bargain by Deanne Gist

I thought this was great. I appreciate the fact that the author based the book around facts. She thoroughly researched the era and I loved that this story was based on an event that actually happened. A sweet romance novel that I would recommend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pujols by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth

Review by Scott K.

This book shares the life of Albert Pujols starting with his birthplace in the Dominican Republic, through his high school years in Kansas City, and on to his achievements in major league baseball.  It also tells of his kindness and thoughtfulness outside of baseball with his foundation and many mission trips to the DR.  He and his wife and foundation are strong supporters of Down's Syndrome as one of their children has it.  Pujols strong faith and religious beliefs show how God is behind all his accomplishments.

"In today's times, it is so nice to read a book about a truly nice person.  He has done well in baseball but continues to give back to people."

(Note:  Required by law to reveal that this book was received free from in exchange for a review.  Review is not required to be positive.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Night Light by Terri Blackstock

The second in the Restoration series, the blackout continues and as the world figures out how to survive the Brannings are trying to make their lives easier in their neighborhood. Crime is rampant and they get involved in a murder case. I really enjoy this series and I am intrigued by the setting of being in a world-wide blackout.

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

This is the first in a series called Refiners Fire. I really liked this book. It takes place in Richmond, VA right before the beginning of the Civil War. The main character, Caroline has a great relationship with her slaves and loves them dearly. When she has to go live in Philadelphia for two years she sees a whole new way of living and gets involved with an abolitionist movement. When it seems the war is going to begin, Caroline goes back to her beloved home in Richmond. The war unfolds and we go through all the hard decisions Caroline has to make to endure this war. I thought this was a really great story and I highly recommend it. I am anxious to read the next in the series.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I don't like science fiction but I'm trying to read the Reading Olympics books so I plowed on!  I still don't like science fiction but this book is well-written, suspenseful, personal, and will keep you reading.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Shack by William P. Young

A controversial book, I initially didn't want to read this because Christians told me it was bad theology.  But, I feel secure enough in my beliefs that I decided to take the risk.  What it boiled down to, for me, is yes ... there are incorrect theological ideas and yes, there are some great ideas that we should be following.

I didn't think it was particularly the best writing I've ever read.  Needed a better editing job.  However, it kept my interest although the middlish parts got a little long.

I thought it spoke very well in talking about reconciliation with God after a horrible tragedy in your human life.  It also dealt very well with the fact that God wants a relationship with us.  He demonstrates that interestingly through the relationship between Jesus, Sarayu, and Papa.  I actually liked the human qualities the writer associates with the 3.  Many fictional accounts of biblical characters do the same.

I did not like that the writer seems to make God's word (the Bible) to be just another way He speaks, along with nature, animals, etc.  He mentions that God doesn't punish sin; that sin is its own punishment, eating us from the outside in.  But God DOES hate sin.

Read this book if you think it's a fictionalized version of encountering God; don't read it if you want accurate doctrine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

I read this book because it is on the list of most frequently banned books. I can see how some parts of this book could be disturbing to some readers. However, it is depicting farm life and that's how it is on a farm. The first chapter starts off with the details of a cow giving birth and how the boy saves the cow. It really does give details. Parts of the book remind me of Old Yeller but all in all I thought it was a really sweet story about a boy and coming of age. I would not recommend this book to young readers.

Winter Haven by Athol Dickson

I read this book because I loved River Rising and wanted to read another novel by Athol Dickson. I was not disappointed. This is definitely a suspense novel with many strange happenings on that island of Winter Haven. I was glad that most of the questions were answered in the end and they certainly are not what I would have expected. Good read!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin

I thought this was a great book and very well written. It takes you on a journey through 3 generations of women and the tragedies of their lives and how it affects the next generation. Kathleen left home when she was 18 and never looked back but when she starts to have problems with her own teenage daughter she begins to look at her own childhood and how that has framed who she is. She realizes that you have to deal with your past not just ignore it. There is healing in it and her daughter could finally understand who she is and why. I definitely would recommend this book.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Until Tomorrow Comes by Robin Jones Gunn

Student review by:  Michael Shelton
Pros or Cons:   Pros: This book takes a while to read.  It is very realistic and interesting.
Summary of Plot:   This book is the fist in the Todd and Christy college years.  Christy is touring Europe with her boyfriend, Todd and best friend Katie.  The three of them have many adventures and become stronger Christians together

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Student review by:  Lauren Hawthorne
Pros or Cons:   Pros: Really interesting at points
                              Cons: Can be boring at other points
Summary of Plot:  
The book is about a man named Chris McCandles who ventures out into the wilderness to start a new life for himself.  However, he finds himself ill-prepared and in desperate conditions and eventually dies of starvation in the mountains of Alaska.

The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer

Student review by:  Hannah Sensing
Pros or Cons:   Pros: very detailed, very in depth
                          Cons: Graphic, language    
Summary of Plot:  
This book is about two children who go back to the eightenth century with Kates father's antigravity machine, not on purpose of course. They are now stranded and are trying to get the antigravity machine back which the Tar Man has stolen.  They meet a man named Gideon who Petler (who is Kate's friend) really learns to love and care for.  Are they ever going to make it back to their families?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Review by:  Mary DeClerico
Who would like this book:     All ages 
Pros or Cons:   Pro- Story line is exciting and the characters are believable.   
Summary of Plot: 
Ponyboy Curtis belongs to a lower-class gang who call themselves greasers because of their greasy long hair. The greasers’ rival an upper-class gang from the West Side of town called the Socs. The story is a fantastic snap shot of a pivotal period in the lives of these boys.  The characters in this story are well developed and very believable.  There are a variety of exchanges between members of these two gangs.  During one exchange, Johnny accidentally kills a soc while coming to Pony's rescue.  Johnny and Pony are forced to run away for a time.  While in hiding, Johnny and Pony save some children from a burning church.  They are commended as heroes but also must return home to face the consequences of their actions against the socs.
 Several key characters in this book die (Johnny and Dally) as a result of the environment in which they have grown up.  The greaser's have to deal with these losses.  Pony and his brothers have to face the reality of their parent's death and begin to learn to rely on one another.  
Ponyboy goes through some physical and emotional challenges throughout the story.  He becomes confused about facts and unable to manage.  By the end of the book, Ponyboy is able to remember Dally’s and Johnny’s deaths without pain or denial. He decides to tell their story .....................but you'll have to read the book to find out how.  I love this book and have since I was 12 years old.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Student Review by:  Julian Leopone
Pros or Cons:   Pros: very detailed, very in depth

                          Cons: Graphic, language    
Summary of Plot:  
John Howard Griffin, a white northern reporter decides he want to know what it would be like to live as a black southerner. He finds a way to blend in as a black man, but what he finds is very startling.

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Review by Mary DeClerico

Who would like this book:     All ages 
Pros or Cons:   Pro- Story line is exciting.  Con- Book contains alot of description with regards to setting.   
Summary of Plot: 
Buck is a powerful dog, half St. Bernard and half sheepdog.  The story begins with Buck leading a comfortable life, but he is soon kidnapped by dog traders, who teach him obedience through cruelty and ship him north to be a sled dog. 
As Buck becomes a sled dog, he continues to be shocked by the cruelty he sees around him. He recovers the instincts of his wild ancestors: he learns to fight, scavenge for food, and sleep beneath the snow.  At the same time, he develops a fierce rivalry with Spitz, the lead dog in the team. Buck begins to undercut Spitz’s authority, and eventually the two dogs become involved in a major fight. Buck kills Spitz and takes his place as the lead dog.
With Buck at the head of the team, they find much success.  The team is turned over to a variety of owners who show little to no regard for them.  A man named Thornton becomes Buck’s master, and Buck becomes very devoted to him. Buck’s love for Thornton is mixed with a growing attraction to the wild, and he feels as if he is being called away from civilization and into the wilderness. 
Thorton is eventually killed by indians and Buck becomes the leader of a pack of wolves. He becomes a legendary figure, a Ghost Dog, fathering countless cubs and the indians fear him.  Every year he returns to the place where Thornton died, to mourn his master before returning to his life in the wild.  I'm glad I read this book but I must say it was a little too descriptive for me.