Saturday, April 17, 2010

Missing by Rhonda Gibb Hinrichsen

A BYU-Idaho choir tour in British Columbia turns out to be anything but ordinary when soloist Stacie Cox spots a kidnapped child from Rexburg during a performance. Before Stacie can alert the authorities, the little girl disappears. Stacie vows to find and rescue her, a choice that forces her to deal with her guilt-ridden past and another little girl that haunts her dreams. When the handsome Matt Brennan helps Stacie in the search, she tries to resist the attraction she feels for him. Yet as he gains her friendship and trust, her resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. And after a series of harrowing events, Stacie must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her life - and a possible future with Matt - to save a stranger.

This book is Rhonda's first! Impressive!
Rhonda did a great job weaving suspense, romance and historic sites through her story. The main character, Stacie, was trying to doing something she believed strongly in and trial after trial kept her from her goal. But she didn't quit. Even when adults were telling her to.
"Missing" was a good, clean quick read that I had a hard time putting down because I wanted Stacie to win and be vindicated and the bad guys to lose.

Rate PG
S: None
L: None
V: A couple of scenes of fighting

Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I'm always in the background—it's a family joke, actually, that us Schwenk kids could go to school naked on picture day, we're all so crazy tall. But I mean I was returning to the background of life. Where no one would really notice me or talk about me or even talk to me much except to say things like "Nice shot," and I could just hang out without too many worries at all. But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who's keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway... What's going to happen if she lets these people down? What's going to happen when she does? Because let's face it: there's no way, on the court or off, that awkward, tongue-tied D.J. Schwenk can manage all this attention. No way at all. Not without a brain transplant. Not without breaking her heart.

I really like the main characters voice. D.J. is such a teenager but more mature than some her age because she goes through many trials and becomes stronger.
And she's human. She loves basketball but thinking about playing in front of thousands of people and letting them all down makes her nauseous.
D.J. takes the time to think through her life and is down-to-earth enough to admit when she makes a mistake or when she's being stupid or that she still likes her first "boyfriend."
The author doesn't let D.J off the hook very much but that's what shows us, the readers, her growth.
D.J. isn't the only one to learn and grow. I enjoyed watching her family and friends grow as well!

PG 14 (I'm rating this book PG14 because the material is something teens would understand better than younger kids.)
S: Kissing
V: None
L: None

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

This was an interesting book. I liked the chapters titles. I wasn't really sure how everything was suppose to weave together unless it was all about the "laughing man." And friendship, I guess.
I figured out the mystery early on. I really wanted to know about the outcome of the $20,000 Pyramid!
Each character had their own voice and were easy to identify through the story.

Rated PG
S: Couple of innocent kisses
V: Boy being punched for no reason; kids scared of bullies
L: Name calling

The Thorn (The Chronicles of Gan #1) by Daron Fraley

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ’s birth on an unknown world - Earth - is about to appear in the heavens. During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe named Rezon - a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others. In the end, Pekah’s selfless bravery is the means by which all the tribes are united. But there are dissenters, and Rezon escapes a well-deserved fate. When the promised heavenly signs appear, will there be peace at last, or will the malefactors once again threaten the safety of them all?

The Thorn is full of rich descriptions. The author has a great handle on helping the reader "see" the countryside, towns and the characters.
I must admit, I was a little confused at the beginning of this book about the religion. But as I got more into the book, I understood what Daron was doing.
The story takes place on a planet called Gan where three tribes were warring against the other, each wanting to rule, and many believe owning The Thorn is the key. But not everyone wants bloodshed.The Thorn is symbolic.
Daron mixes conflict, romance and religion in a clear way. I clearly "saw" Gan thanks to Daron's descriptions. The mountains, towns, forests and even tents were clearly defined.
Each character had their own voice and personality. I really wanted Daron's main characters to succeed at the same time wanting the bad guys to lose and lose big.
Good, clean, uplifting book.
I'll be waiting for the second book, Daron!

Rated G
S: none
V: none
L: none

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Love Your Body by Brook Parker R.D.

Are you tired of dieting and feeling unsatisfied with your appearance? In this book, registered dietitian Brooke Parker shares secrets for developing a positive body image and creating your own customized eating plan. You'll also learn how to replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive, motivating thoughts. With the tools you master in Love Your Body, the scale, the media, and your "skinny jeans" will no longer have the power to determine your mood or your life!

For anyone tired of diets and everything else that the world has given us to try to lose, this small book is a breath of fresh air.
It is not a diet book.
Each chapter is easy to read and understand. The chapters are also short and not overwhelming.
Ms. Parker adds something at the end of each chapter that I really like: a real life example of the principles taught in the chapter AND a short worksheet to help reinforce those principles.
This book is worth reading not only for dieters but also for anyone who may have a self image issue. Which would include almost everyone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job

The day Stephanie Roberts met Jared Wakefield, she didn't realize they'd met before. Running from an abusive marriage and trying to safeguard her children, she turns to Jared for support, but he needs more from her than she might be capable of giving. With her abusive husband looming in her past, the difficulties they must overcome to be together seem insurmountable. Is it possible for love to conquer all? I'll Know You By Heart is a timeless romance that explores the possibility that relationships span the entire realm of eternity. A story about abuse, hardship, and betrayal, it is ultimately a story about the healing power of everlasting true love.

'I'll Know You by Heart' is a story about abuse, heartache, faith, forgiveness and love. Stephanie is an abused wife. She finally gets the courage to leave him when he hits one of the children. I was so frustrated and angry with the husband. Humans should not treat hurt each other let alone their spouse or children. I felt for Stephanie as she tried to find a job and a home, keep everyone safe emotionally and physically and take the next step in getting away from her husband.
When she meets Jared, she realizes men an treat women with respect.
Jared is kind, sensitive and thoughtful. He went through his own trials with his wife and is trying to safe guard his daughter against further pain. He didn't expect to fall in love. I wanted Jared and Stephanie to live happily ever after, but life isn't like fairy tales. There are hardships to overcome but those are meant to make us stronger.

Kimberly did a superb job in getting me emotional invested in the story. I smiled, laughed and a couple of time, cried. I developed even more empathy for women trapped in an abusive relationship. I feel for the children as well.
This is Kimberly's first book and a great start of her career.
This book is a good, clean romance.

Rating: PG
S: None
L: None
V: abusive husband hurts wife and two children.