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. 

Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher

Reading Olympics book.

An easy read but very interesting to see the characters develop and learn about each other.  But the most interesting was to see what the kids do when there is no one to tell them what to do.  As I read, I wondered "What would I do?". 

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen

This book is about a girl who longs for bigger and better things outside her small town and her father's apothecary shop. She gets the opportunity to live for a time in London and spends time trying to find a husband. But when she learns of her father's illness, she goes back to her father's shop to help run it while he is sick. I enjoyed this book and I love reading about this time period. Of course she gets in big trouble because she is a woman and isn't allowed to do the things an apothecary is supposed to do. There's also a sweet love story woven in. I thought this was a good read.

Last Light by Terri Blackstock

This was an interesting book as it starts out with planes crashing out of the sky and all communication is halted. It seems that some sort of EMP has curbed all technology and everyone is forced to figure out how to live. I enjoyed how it really made me think about what would I do in this situation. How I would make it if there were no cars, no running water, no communication.

Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

I have to admit it took me a little while to get into this book but once I figured out what was happening I did enjoy it. I especially enjoyed all the food references since I love to cook it was fun to read about a chef and his cooking although I know this was a very small part of the book, I enjoyed it. The two main characters, Lance and Rese each have their own secrets that they keep from each other until they fall in love and the game changes. Although we find some answers there are still unanswered questions in end that we must read the sequel to find out.

Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren

I thought this was another sweet story about the Kane sisters. Maggie Rose travels to New York to work with orphans and then falls in love with the Reporter doing an article on the orphans. I didn't realize that they had orphan trains where they traveled to different cities to place the children.

Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren

In the 3rd book of the Daughter's of Jacob Kane we learn all about Abbie Ann, the youngest daughter. It is similar to the other books in that there is a little bit of danger and of course falling in love. It's a sweet story and an enjoyable read.

Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock

I thought this was a good suspense story. There is a murder on the small island off the coast of Georgia and there are no good leads to a suspect. It was well written and character development was good to set us up for the rest of the series. It had a good twist in the end. It did make me want to continue to read the next book in the series.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze

If you like Ted Dekker, you should like this one!  Intrigue, suspense, murder, escape are all here!  I like how Ms. Hinze weaves biblical verse and spiritual struggles throughout the book.  And while there is romance, it does not take over the main storyline.  Lots of action!

I did not think this book was particularly well written.  In the beginning, we are slammed with the names of tons of characters (all take part in the story, I'm just not sure we needed a list of them in the beginning) so that was overwhelming.  The characterization of some people seemed to contradict itself throughout the novel.  And some of what happens is unbelievable.  I know some bizarre situations happen in real life but these got a little far-fetched.

However, it still made for interesting reading so give it a shot and see what you think!  It was worth sticking with it.

Note:  I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. 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’s 16 CFR, Part 25.