Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Evie is a teenager who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She works for the IPCA because she has the unique gift to see through the "glamour" that creatures put on to trick us humans. Vampires may look beautiful on the outside, but under the glamour they look like walking corpses. Evie's job is also to "tag and bag" paranormals with the help of her pink, rhinestone encrusted taser named "Tasey."
Evie is a normal teenage girl: watches the latest teen TV show religiously; drools over the main character from said show; has a BFF; has a crush; wears zebra print with pink heels (well, I didn't wear that as a teen. I wore ties and hounds tooth). 
But Evie is a protected employee at IPCA, she doesn't leave the facility except for her missions and isn't allowed to go to high school. How she wishes she could see a real locker! 
Lend is an unknown paranormal who gets caught in IPCA. He has the ability to shape shift into anyone. While he's incarcerated at the facility, he and Evie become friends and of course, develop a crush on each other.
Did I mention yet that Evie's BFF is a mermaid which lives in a tank and acts like a secretary? And Evie's ex-boyfriend is a hot faerie?
I liked the love triangle in the book because it really wasn't one. You'll just have to read the book to find out more. The scenes of first love were handled very well and sweetly.

Evie is funny, smart, sarcastic, uncertain and naive to the outside world. She has to overcome the way she views herself to safe herself and others. I really liked her character. 
There were many paranormals in this book and Ms. White did a good job of making them unique. They seemed a little wimpy and easily controlled though. 
I liked the budding romance with Evie and Lend. I would've liked to see more depth in Lend. Also, the villain wasn't scary to me but I'm not saying she didn't have issues.
The author left readers with a few loose ends for the second book. 

 One HUGE plus to this read is it is totally clean! LOVE IT! 

This book brings out a good question: why are we afraid of what's different than us?

S: No
V: Paranormals are being murdered but no weapons are used so no bloody bodies.
L: No

Page 69 test:
"...head and wasn't some sort of feire freakiness. She had never felt the warmth, felt it sneak in and surrounded her her at, felt it consumer her, She didn't know. she couldn't. And I was sick of her acting like I was some sort of stupid ittle girl, still made over an ex. "Whatever," I snapped. "I'm going to bed.
I turned and stalked out of the room without saying good-bye to Lish. She would sympathize I knew, bu she still just didn't understand
o one understood. Well, that wasn't true--Reth understood. Everything And he was right, too. U was completely alone and it sucked. When U got to my unit, I went straight to my bedroom and dug around under my bed until I found the three-pound dumbbells I had stolen from on of Bud's training sessions  They were iron, the best protection against faeries. Or at least, I was pretty sure they were iron. Okay, I really, really hoped they were iron, because my only other option was to sleep with my knife in my chest. Images of impaling myself during a nightmare flew through my head the dumbbells is was.
putting the weights on either side of me, I closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.

I woke up late the ext morning; half-formed memories of a woman's voice calling to me tickled the edge of my memories. Both dumbbells were still in place, tangled up in the covers, and my heart was still mine. The night appeared..."  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M.Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school - but no one knows it. Most people - her teachers and doctors included - don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again.
If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows... but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.
Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind - that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice... but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

This is a great story that every 5th grade and up should read. It's a story of compassion, understand, inner strength and love.
Melody is eleven years old and has never talked. Really, she's never walked or crawled or rolled over because she has cerebral palsy. She has a loving mom and dad who are her advocates. An amazing neighbor helps Melody become more educated.
The story is form Melody's point of view, what's going on inside her head.
It's a story that will stick with you for days.

Rating: G
S: No
L: No
V: No

Page 69 test:
"...she jumped up and threw her would body against the door, making loud thuds. She'd bark, then thud. Bark, then thud. Mom couldn't ignore all that racket.
I'm sure it was only a few minutes, but it seemed like longer. Mom came to the door, looking groggy. Her hair was all messed up. "What's going on in here?" she began. Then she saw me. "Oh! Melody, baby! Are you okay?" she ran to me, sat down on the floor, and lifted me onto her lap.
She checked everything--my arms and legs, my back, my face, my scalp, even my tongue. I wanted to tell her I was fine. All she needed to do was put me back in my chair, but she had to do the Mom thing and double-check.
"Butterscotch, you're a good, good girl!" she said as she petted the dog and hugged me thigh. "Doubles on the dog food tonight!"
I'm sure Butterscotch would have preferred a nice thick bone instead, but she can't talk either, so both my dog and I get what they give us. om carefully put me back in my chair and made sure my seat belt was latched correctly. Butterscotch curled up right in front of me, making sure, I guess, that if I slid out again, she'd be there to soften the fall.That dog is amazing.
Mom restarted the video from the beginning, but somehow that yellow brick road had lost some of its..."

Friday, September 10, 2010


Publisher's Description

These are difficult days in our world’s history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let’s live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did.

This is a good book with stories to illustrate how we can live our lives better. And more. It's a book about service, how we can be used for good in the world, and get out of our comfort zone to help others. Full of good stories, ideas and advice.

Rating: G

Page 69 test:
"Let's be the people who stop at the gate.Let's look at the hurting until we hurt with them. No hurrying past, turning away, or shifting of eyes.No pretending or glossing over. Let's look at the the face until we see the person
A couple in our congregation lives with the heartbreaking reality that their son is homeless. He ran away when he was seventeen, and with the exception of a few calls from prison and one visit, his parents have had no contact with him for twenty years. His mm allowed me to interview her at a leadership gathering. As we prepared for the discussion, I asked her why she was willing to disclose her story.
"I want to change the way people see the homeless. I want them to stop seeing the problems and begin seeing mother's sons."
In certain Zulu areas of South Africa, people greet each other with a phrase that means "I see you." Change begins with a genuine look.
And continues with a helping hand. I'm writing this chapter by a dim light in an Ethiopian hotel only a few miles and hours removed from a modern-day version of this story.
Bzuneh Tulema lives in a two-room, dirt-floored, cinder-block house at the end of a dirt road in the dry hills of Adama. Maybe three hundred square feet. He's painted the walls a pastel blue and hung two pictures of Jesus one of which bears the caption "Jesus the Goos [sic] Shepherd." During our visit the air is hot, the smell of cow manure is pungent, and I don't dare inhale too deeply for fear I'll swallow a fly.
Across from me, Bzuneh beams. He wears a Nike cap with a crooked bill, a red jacket (in spite of furnace-level heat), and a gap-toothed smile. No king was ever prouder of a castle than he is of his four walls. As the thirty-five-year-old related his story, I understand. Just two years ago he was the town drunk. He drank away his..."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts – no home, no family, no plan. After her mother’s early death, Iris’s father focuses on big plans for his new shoe stores and his latest girlfriend, and has no time for his daughter. Unbeknownst to her, he hires Iris out as housekeeper and companion for a country doctor’s elderly mother. Suddenly Iris is alone, stuck in gritty rural Missouri, too far from her only friend Leroy and too close to a tenant farmer Cecil Deets, who menaces the neighbors, and Iris suspects, his own daughter.

Iris is buoyed by the warmth and understanding the doctor and his mother show her, but just as she starts to break out of her shell tragedy strikes. Iris must find the guts and cunning to take aim at the devil incarnate and discover if she is really as helpless - or hopeless – or homeless - as she once believed.

I won this book in a contest. The author signed it and left me a gracious note. I opened the book and was immediately drawn into the story of Iris.

All the characters in this book are well drawn, from the ones I liked to the ones I was uncomfortable reading. I not only came to care for Iris, but also the two people she lived with and the dog!
The writing was beautiful, too.
This story has tender, funny and heartwarming themes. Home and family come through very strongly as do love and loyalty.
No story or character would grow stronger without some grief, loss or pain. And Iris gets to deal with all of it in one summer.
Plus! There is a love interest which is handled well.

My copy is dog eared because of the quotes then I found I was marking tons of pages and had to stop.
There were two lose ends for me: Didn't really find out who Dr. Nesbitt's lady friend is though I have my suspicious; I would have liked someone to point out to Iris one good thing her dad did (like sending her away because she ended up with a good family). Maybe it was in the book and I just missed it.

Rating: PG
S: No
L: A few swear words
V: Yes in the form of a leering neighbor and angry daughter

Instead of a page 69 test on this book, I want to give you some great quotes:
"I count her shoes-black pumps, black boots, tan and white, brown with high heels and elastic sides, gray, and ivory with buttons. All six pairs are here-one for every year since I was born." Page x1. (Isn't that a great way to tell age?)

"As we crest a hill I feel the earth release us, then hug us tight going down. Emerald corn fields rustle under the scalloped telephone wires. I hear rivers of clover hum the same soft pink note. Everything is moving, talking, touching above and rooted below. I slow to let a garden snake show off his swivel dance across the dusty road." Page 85

"The sunflowes watch us turn around. Sun aprks off the weather-polished gate like a lighning strike. A choir of locusts tunes up.
We're alltogether too. Heading back north.
Homeward bound." Page 183

Friday, September 3, 2010

THE RED QUEEN by Philippa Gregory

The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

The writing was really good.
I just couldn't connect with the main character.
Or the story.
I'm so glad I didn't live as a royal in those days portrayed in this book! Treachery, deceit, self serving men, connyving women and relationships are used for gain.

PG 17:
V: Fighting
L: No
S: Refernces to
Page 69 test:
'...so trustworthy about the steady darkness of his gaze that I step forward and hold outmy hand. the big head comes down, the wide mostrils sniff at my glove, then fently, he lips at my fingers.
"I shall walk beside you, and Arthur wll go quietly," Jasper promises me. "Come here and will life you up into the saddle."
I go to him and he lifts me p and helps me to sit astride. When I am safely in the saddle, he pulls down the hemof my gown so it falls evenly on either side of the horse and covers my botts. "There," he says. "Now keep your legs still, but gently pressed against him. That way he knows you are there, and you hold yourself steady. Take up the reins."
I life them, and Arthur's big head comes up, alerted by my touch.
"He won't go off, will he," ask nervously.
"Only when you givve him a gentle kick, to tell him you are ready. And when you want him to stop, you make a gentle pull on the reins." Jasper reaches up and moves my hands so the reins are threaded through my fingers. "Just let him walk two steps forwards so you know that you can make him start and stop."
Tentatively, I give a little kick with both heels, and I am startled by the first big rolling stride forards, and I oull on the reins. Obediently, he stops at once. "I did it!" I say breathlessly. "He stopped for me! Did he? Did he stop because I told him?"
Jasper smiles up at me. "He will do anything for you. You just have to give him a clear signal so he knows what it is that yu want him to do. He served my father loyally. Edmund and I learned joust on him, and now he will be your tutor. Perhaps he will live long enough and baby Henry will learn to ride on him. Now walk him out of the stable yard andinto the courtyard before the cdastle."
More confidently, I give Arthur the signal to start, and this time I let him go on. His huge shouldes move forwards, but his back is so braod that I can sit firmly and steadily. Jasper walks at his head, but he does not touch the rein. It is me, and me alone, who makes the..."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ONE HAND, TWO HANDS by Max Lucado Illus. by Gaby Hansen

A delightful way to show little ones how their hands are a blessing from God that they can use to do help others. Written in rhyming text and illustrated with the charming art of Gaby Hansen, this simple message of God's blessing of hands not only entertains . . . as it teaches what wonderful things our hands can do from scratching, latching, and petting a pup ...more A delightful way to show little ones how their hands are a blessing from God that they can use to do help others. Written in rhyming text and illustrated with the charming art of Gaby Hansen, this simple message of God's blessing of hands not only entertains . . . as it teaches what wonderful things our hands can do from scratching, latching, and petting a pup to washing dishes with mommy and putting toys in a box . . . but it also conveys the important message: We can use God's gift of hands to show our love for Him by helping others. The book ends tenderly with a prayer of thanks to God for hands and asks Him to use them again: One hand, two hands, Five fingers, ten. God, thanks, for my hands. Please, use them again.

Cute children picture book! We read it together as a family and talked about service and how we can serve each other, friends and neighbors. It's a great way to start a discussion on service and compassion.