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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Willa Bean's Cloud Dreams review


Most cupids have soft straight hair, rosy cheeks, and silky white wings. Not Willa Bean! She has a crazy mess of hair, a million-bajillion freckles, and bright purple wings with silver tips. And lately those bright purple wings with silver tips have been giving Willa Bean an awful lot of problems. They won't fly! Cupid Academy is starting soon, and what if she's the only cloudbound cupid there? Nope, nope, nopeity, nope. Willa Bean just has to make her wings behave!

My Review:

Willa Bean's Cloud Dreams is an adorable chapter book for little girls in mid to late elementary school.  Willa, our main cupid in training, just doesn't look like everyone else, which she seems to have no problems with.  What she does have a problem with is the fact that her wings just won't listen to her and FLY! 

I have not read Cecilia Galante's young adult titles, but after reading this book I intend to search them out.  Her writing is engaging (not only for the intended age, but I enjoyed reading it also.  Especially the character of Harper who often spouts out with "wizzle-dizzle-dodad", or "tooby-looby-skadooby" when she is surprised.)  Her story line reminds the reader that we aren't perfect, not even cupids, we sometimes make bad choices, we sometimes have to deal with things not going out way, but "the very best way to spend your day is to try to be kind, all the time".

Galante left a lot of growing room for this series.  With Willa just entering Cupid School she still has to learn how to fire an arrow, meet a human child, help a human child, learn to deal with Vivi (the cupid that just seems to rub Willa the wrong way), and hopefully see Vivi learn to be not such a "meanymouth".  I look forward to reading more in this series!

The Bone House Review

One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the furture turns deadly.

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he's on the run-and on a quest-trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse. Survival depends on staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map-but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent who, from the shadows, are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Those who know how to use ley lines have left their own world behind to travel across time and space-down avenues of Egyptian sphinxes, to an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide-in this, the second quest to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.

My Review:
You may have read my review of The Skin Map, the first book in this series, and if so you realize that the first book was just "okay" for me.  I felt like Kit was under developed and Mina was over developed for a secondary character.  The Bone House  fills in a lot of Kit's personality, although Mina still shines.

Lawhead's writing skills seem to have improved and as a reader I feel that the story lines are beginning to come together a little more than in the previous book.  There are still questions,  how did the Skin Map come to be? (How did he find his way around) but there are a few possibilities that are vaguely hinted at.  You get a history of Burliegh (founder of the Burley men), a trip back to cave men times, adventure, mystery, and a much improved story.

If you skipped the first one, with the addition of this book, it is worth going back and reading.  While you can follow the story line of The Bone House on its own, The Skin Map gives background that makes it much more interesting.  IMHO, give it a read!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gabby, God's Little Angel Review

This first book in a delightful new series offers a comforting message for young readers-God loves you very much and is always watching over you!

What little girl wouldn't love her very own guardian angel? Parents and children alike will be won over by this humorous tale of Gabby, a guardian angel in training who has much to learn about taking care of God's little ones. Her new assignment is to protect a young girl named Sophie, but Gabby soon realizes that watching after Sophie is a bigger challenge than she had expected! After a close call while riding her pony, Sophie learns what the Bible says about guardian angels: "He will put his angels in charge of you. They will watch over you wherever you go" (Psalm 91:11 ICB).

My Review:
Having read Angel Song, also by Sheila Walsh, I was intrigued when I had the opportunity to review her children's book.  I am pleased to say that I wasn't disappointed. 

With just the right amount of humor (" a playground," Raffles said...."They're playing with the ground.....really?" Gabby said.) and beautiful illustrations (thanks Marina Fedotova!) your little girls is sure to love this as much as you will.  Written for children ages 4-8, it engages the reader/listener with a story every girl will want to hear, with ponies, and angels, mishaps and protection.  Not only is the plot appealing, but the way the words move and swoop across the page keeps them reading as well.  Most important, God is kept at the center of it all.  Gabby is quick to point out that her purpose is to show Sophie how much God loves her by protecting her.  Ms. Walsh even makes sure that the story includes mom reading scripture to Sophie to reassure her that God has provided her with her own gaurdian angel as well as providing the scripture at the end of the book.  I love that!  We all need to be reminded that truth lies in scripture and that we should be willing to verify what we are told about God. 

So if you are looking for a book for your preschool through early elementary child, check out Gabby, God's Little Angel, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Night with a perfect stranger review

Night With a Perfect Stranger: The Conversation That Changes Everything

Six years ago, businessman Nick Cominsky encountered Jesus the old-fashioned way—in a face-to-face meeting. And the Christian life seemed a breeze . . . for a while. But now, having done everything he knows to grow spiritually, he wonders where his closeness with Jesus has gone. Burned out and hopeless, Nick wails his complaints to God during a late-night interstate trip. Then suddenly he runs out of gas—and finds Jesus along the roadside carrying a gas can.
Jesus hops in the truck and offers answers Nick never heard in church . . . and a nighttime of adventures ensues beyond anything Nick could have imagined.

My Review

This is the sequel to Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering
(you can read my review here). Most Christians encounter a period on their walk with Christ where they feel like they have drifted away.  This book addresses that in such a way that you feel like Jesus is talking to you.  While it makes a great sequel, it would also be a good stand alone book.

I think this title is much better than the first, addressing many of the things that we struggle with.  Does God loves us even when we sin?  Why were we created if not to serve? This book reminds us that we are a PART OF JESUS.  Not only is he part of our life, but we are part of his, joined to him.

The author does a tremendous job of getting us to understand through these characters just how much God truly loves us and just how much our own hang ups are responsible for any separation we may feel between us and Him.  David Gregory reminds us to let Jesus lead, even when we don't see Him in the circumstances. 

Truly an inspired book and well worth the read!  It won't be available until March 2012 but I am already recommending it to friends!  Sound interesting?  You can read chapter one by clicking here.

When God Whispers Your Name Review

Book Description

Do you find it hard to believe that the One who made everything keeps your name on His heart and on His lips? Did you realize that your name is written on the hand of God (Is. 49:16)? Perhaps you've never seen your name honored. And you can't remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. In this book, Lucado offers the inspiration to believe that God has already bought the ticket-with your name on it.

My Review:

If you haven't figured it out by now by perusing my reviews, I really enjoy books written by Max Lucado.  The way he writes helps me to see a different aspect of God in every book, from childrens, to fiction to study.  This book lives up to that, so much so that I have suggested it to my women's group at church.

There are 3 sections, the Song of the Minstrel, The Touch of the Master, and the Guest of the Maestro.  Each section has short chapters that can easily be read in a short amount of time (waiting for dinner to cook, waiting for the kids to come out of school etc) but they are really powerful.  The discussion guide at the end of the book includes questions for each chapter that will help you to reflect on what you read, gives you scripture to guide you into digging deeper and even suggests which chapters to read together due to a common theme.

I laughed out loud, I cried, I had "ah-ha" moments, but most of all I was reminded just how present God really is in our lives if I just hush up and look for Him!  Another Lucado winner!