Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Barefoot Queen ~ A Novel



::From the back of the book::
Spain, 1748. Caridad is a recently freed Cuban slave wandering the streets of Seville. Her master is dead and she has nowhere to go. When, by chance, she meets Milagros Carmona—a spellbinding, rebellious gypsy—the two women become inseparable. Caridad is swept into an exotic fringe society full of romance and art, passion and dancing. 

But their way of life changes instantly when gypsies are declared outlaws by royal mandate and their world as a free people becomes perilous. The community is split up—some are imprisoned, some forced into hiding, all fearing for their lives. After a dangerous separation, Caridad and Milagros are reunited and join in the gypsies’ struggle for sovereignty against the widespread oppression. It’s a treacherous battle that cannot, and will not, be easily won. 

From the bustle of Seville to the theatres of Madrid, The Barefoot Queen is an unforgettable historical fresco filled with characters that live, suffer, and fight for the lives of those they love, and for the freedom they can’t live without. 



::My Thoughts::
I must say I have mixed feelings about this book. While I liked it I also found it to be heartbreaking. There is so much tragedy mixed in here. It is an excellent work of historical facts mixed with fiction that brings those days more to life than we could have imagined. At the same time this is not a read for the faint of heart. There is a lot of tragedy, murder, rape, misfortune, etc. There is also strength, characters overcome obstacles with a will power you wouldn't believe, and there will be times when you find yourself on the edge of your seat. Of course during the time frame this book is set in that shouldn't be a surprise as slavery was big back then and unfairness to African Americans and Gypsies was no secret sadly. It's much different reading about it with a story that makes it come more to life than you could imagine.
I found myself frustrated by a lot of the characters, however. Especially Milagros, a young gypsy girl who despite what her family warns her against decides to take matters of her love life into her own hand. This of course leads to misfortune on her part as you soon find out. I won't go into details as I don't want to spoil anything, but if you give this book a try you will see what I mean. I felt a lack of emotion on the characters parts. I was frustrated that most of them just seemed to take their lot and accept it regardless and there was little felt by them. It was hard for me to continue reading this book. At times I was drawn in by characters or circumstances, and at other times I was disgusted and couldn't read on. I felt there was little passion from the characters when there needed to be during certain scenes which made it harder to visualize. But I do recommend giving this book a try if your interested in history. There are some interesting facts in this book mixed up in the fiction, and it's definitely worth a try. I did not completely dislike the book, I just seen a lot of places for improvement. The last section of the book is where it really got good so I'm glad I stuck with it. I am glad I read it even if it was harder for me to get in to.



::Product Details::
  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (November 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804139482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804139489



::This book is also available in...::
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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a Blogging for Books member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change - Little Fox and Little Seed Series



::From the back of the book::
In the end, it will be okay because God is always with us.
Whether we like it or not, growing up brings change. For many children, this conjures fears that are sometimes real and sometimes imagined. How can kids learn that even when they face new and unfamiliar situations, they don't have to be afraid?
Little Seed and Little Fox are facing changes and brand new circumstances-and they don't like it one bit! Through this unlikely friendship, children will discover that no matter how new or fearful their circumstances, God is always with them. The whimsical art by Natalia Moore will put a smile on kids' faces and put their minds at ease. Just as Little Seed and Little Fox learn to trust that the Farmer is good and kind, children will also learn to trust God.
Written by New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst, It Will Be Okay will help kids discover that the end, it really will be okay because we have a God who is good and kind and always with us.



::My Thoughts::
We all go through change whether we want to or not, whether we are ready or not, it just happens. And for kids this can mean a variety of things: moving to a new home, getting a new sibling, starting a new school, beginning a new grade, making new friends, trying something new, etc. The list is never-ending. It's nice to see books that show that when change comes about we have to trust God and do our best to be brave. Being scared is an inevitable feeling, but even if we are scared we can be brave. This book shows just that. Little Seed is afraid to be planted but he just shoulders through and before he knows it he is a great plant! Little Fox is scared to be without his friend, but gets him back in a whole new way. And through it all the two characters see how well the Farmer cares for them through it all. Even when they don't see the Farmer or what he does to care for them they both slowly begin to realize that he waters them, plants food for them, makes shelter for them, etc.
I did think the book had a bit too much going on and could have went into a bit more detail about the Farmer or included the Farmer a bit more, but all in all I was happy with this book. Both my children ages 7 and 3 understood it. We took time to talk about each page after reading it, I asked them questions, and not only did they answer but they understood! That is a huge plus for any book we read to our children that they understand the meaning behind it or take something positive away from it.
The illustrations were also very well done, colorful, and captivating. I would recommend this book. It's great for any age really, and I am eager to check into more Little Fox and Little Seed stories.





::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Series: Little Seed & Little Fox
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140032419X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400324194



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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Home For Christmas: Stories for Young and Old


::From the back of the book::



::My Thoughts::
Most Christmas stories you come across are based on Santa, Reindeer, Elves, etc. You do occasionally get the Christmas miracle stories which are also great to read. Sometimes though we just want a bit more. This is one book that takes some of the classics and puts them all together into an insightful, spiritual book that readers of all ages can enjoy. I actually had not even heard most of these stories myself so it was nice to get to read them. And each story you read will make you think and count your blessings! It's great for the whole family.

I love the way this book is set up also. Each story different, and a reader can take it at their own pace. You can read a story a day, or even more if you choose. Read aloud as a family or silently to yourself. If there's some stories in here you have already heard you can either re-read them or read the ones you haven't heard.

I love reading Christmas stories that make you think. All of the stories I read in this book are eye openers. They are heart-felt, insightful, spritual, and they can really get you thinking. Filled with kindness, peace, and goodwill after reading this book you'll be left with some great Christmas stories you won't soon forget.




::Product Details::
  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House (October 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874869242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874869248



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for free from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Star for Jesus ~ Book Review



Let me start off by saying that not only is this an ADORABLE book but we really loved it. How refreshing it is to find children's stories about Jesus. Especially books with such a powerful message! How simple of a reminder that all we need to do is look at the stars and think of Jesus. Another reason why I love books such as this for my kids, especially as we are now in the Christmas season, is because it's a great reminder at what the season is all about. Not gifts and such, but the birth of Jesus and celebrating Him.

This book is excellent for children in many ways. The words rhyme often and are very easy to understand. The illustrations are vivid and very well done. It will capture your small child's attention. Especially for the really small ones. This is a board book and easy for them to hold with no worries on ripping pages! I would highly recommend it to any of you parents out there with young readers. It's a good lesson to be reminded of how the three wise men followed the star to where Jesus was, and how we can remember to worship Him today. My children loved it. Especially my toddler he has had me read to it to him almost every night since we got it. So parent and kid approved in our house I am glad to say. We hope you will check it out! :)



::From the back of the book::
"God made the stars and put them up high to shine down on earth from up in the sky." But long ago God made a special star. He put it in the sky to send a message: "Jesus our Savior has come …" We can look at the stars at night. And we can remember that a long time ago, Jesus' star shone among them.


Would you like to purchase this book for your little reader?
Board Book      Nook


::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Board book: 14 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310712165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310712169



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Prayers for the Stolen ~ A Book Review



This book definitely grabs your attention from the first page. When Ladydi's mother is trying to make her ugly and make her look like a boy I knew this book was going to have me hooked. I wasn't wrong in my prediction as it was an extremely hard book to put down, and it was riveting. Just when I thought there was going to be a part that would drag or be something I would predict I was wrong.
Ladydi lives alone with her mother in a two room house with dirt floors. There are deadly scorpions, tarantulas, giant red and black ants, poisonous snakes, etc that are a part of their everyday lives. They eat very little and have very little. What they have has either come stolen or as gifts. Work is hard to find, and being out in the public eye is even harder. Ladydi lives on a mountain in Mexico where girls are to be hidden or else they will be taken. From birth until they can't hide it anymore these girls are made as ugly as possible and made to look like boys. Mothers dig holes in the ground and cover them with leaves so when the drug traffickers come to steal a girl to sell the girls can hide in a hole in the ground and perhaps have more of a chance to be saved.
This is a world where prostitution, kidnapping, murder, and drugs is a part of their everyday lives. Nobody blinks an eye to find a dead man in the desert, nobody asks questions when they stumble upon a drug field, and everyone knows better than to call the police when a drug trafficker comes knocking on their door armed with guns searching for a pretty girl to take and sell.
It is extremely heartbreaking to read such stories, but it's a reality in this world all over that such things do exist. If you do your research it's a serious issue that has gone on for years.
This book puts these issues in a story from a perspective of a young girl growing up in such a lifestyle. In Ladydi's world you will experience all of these and more. But this book is also heartbreaking and I wish I could have learned more about what happened to the characters later on to see how some of them ended up. I also wish some more information on big events would have been given in the book to understand some things a little better.
I still think this is a powerful, brutally honest, eye-opening read and I definitely recommend it.



::This book is available in::
Paperback   Hardcover   Kindle   Nook



::Product Details::
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080413880X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804138802




::About the author::
Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

Clement is the author of the cult classic memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat) and two novels: A True Story Based on Lies, which was a finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Poison That Fascinates.
She is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton's Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems. Her prize-winning story A Salamander-Child is published as an art book with work by the Mexican painter Gustavo Monroy.

Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature 2012. She is also the recipient of the UK's Canongate Prize. In 2007, she received a MacDowell Fellowship and the MacDowell Colony named her the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellow for 2007-08. Clement is a member of Mexico's prestigious "Sistema Nacional de Creadores."


Jennifer Clement was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012. She lives in Mexico City, Mexico and, along with her sister Barbara Sibley, is the founder and director The San Miguel Poetry Week.




Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book, as a Blogging for Books member, in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Noah: A Wordless Picture Book




Noah is an excellent children's book. It's a great new way to bring Bible stories to life that children can really get into. Especially ones who love pictures, considering this is a picture book. Usually I don't find a lot of picture books around targeted at older children so it's nice to find one with colorful vivid illustrations that help spark that imagination and vision, but this one does a good job of that.
If you are reading this to younger children there are a couple of dark photographs, and you have to be able to tell them the story since this is a wordless picture book.
For older children that are familiar with the story of Noah then they shouldn't have a problem getting through it. It will actually give them more time to look in depth at the pictures as they go and be able to visualize more.
I think all in all it's a great book. I hope the author will continue to make more children's wordless bible stories like this as we all enjoyed them very much.


::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 2 - 18 years
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House; SEW edition (October 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874866391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874866391





Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Their Name Is Today - Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World




The title couldn't be more perfect for this book in this day and age. In today's world it is violent, unpredictable, and can be damaging for our children. One of the main problems is how parents handle their children in this world. Rather than teach many parents are just letting their children go. Children, teens, etc., are just allowed to do as they please with little or no regard from their parents. There is hardly any guidance or structure anymore. Sadly, love, seems also to be absent. It's a heart-breaking thought and yet a true reality.
What parents don't realize is now more than ever our children need our love, strength, teaching, and guidance. This world we live in is not an easy one, and rather than ignore it we need to recognize and overcome.
Life can get so hectic that we often realize what the most precious and important things are in life. Our ultimate treasures, our children. Our children need our time, attention, love, and respect. They are little people and they want what we all want with love and respect.
This book is something that any parent, grandparent, family member, teacher, etc., should read at least once. It includes countless wonderful advice on raising, loving, and respecting our children. From limiting TV time to dealing with difficult children this is a handy tool to read over and over again.
I highly recommend it, and even if you don't agree with some of the advice/answers in this book you will still be glad you read it. I believe there's something for everyone within these pages.




::From the back of the book::
There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide. Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom. Arnold takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.




::Product Details::

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House (September 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874866308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874866308



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    ::Purchase this book::

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    ::About the author::
    People have come to expect sound advice from Johann Christoph Arnold, an award-winning author with over 1.3 million copies of his books in print in more than 20 languages.

    A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years. His books include Their Name Is Today, Why Forgive?, Rich in Years, Seeking Peace, Cries from the Heart, Be Not Afraid, and Why Children Matter.

    Arnold's message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, C├ęsar Chavez, and John Paul II. Together with paralyzed police officer Steven McDonald, Arnold started the Breaking the Cycle program, working with students at hundreds of public high schools to promote reconciliation through forgiveness. This work has also brought him to conflict zones from Northern Ireland to Rwanda to the Middle East. Closer to home, he serves as chaplain for the local sheriff's department.

    Born in Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, 44 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

    To learn more visit www.plough.com



     

    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
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