Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Ten For Me" Written by Barbara Mariconda Illustrated by Sherry Rogers ~ Review & Giveaway

My thoughts:  Children love to be entertained and part of that is being read to from cute picture books. Couple fun entertainment with learning and you have a deliciously grand win-win situation. In Ten For Me, we have two children catching and releasing butterflies. They are involved in a competition to see who can catch the most butterflies.

On day one, Ed catches 10 and Rose catches only 1. But that still adds up to 10. As the days progress, they each capture a different number of butterflies but the total is still 10. The story of their little contest is told in delightful rhyme that flows beautifully. Now don’t count on this being classic, Robert Louis Stevenson, poetry; but it is very well done. The words and cadence are good.

Being such, it enables the story to capture the attention of the child to whom it is being read more readily. It also teaches, by example, the beautiful use of words, rhyme, rhythm, and cadence.

There are two primary focuses in this little children’s book.  Addition up to 10, and butterflies and that which pertains to butterflies.  Each two-page spread presents a salient bit of information about butterflies, especially pertinent to those butterflies on that page. And then at the end of the book there are several pages of information about butterflies and some number fact pages, too. All in all, a very entertaining and educational book replete with bright, funny, and colorful illustrations.

I can heartily recommend this for the home, school, and public libraries.

* Who Will Win Their Own Copy? *
Begins June 25 & ENDS July 17
@ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open USA addresses only.

Author:  Barbara Mariconda (Ten for Me and Sort it Out!) is one of those people who has done it all! An educator (K-6), a mentor teacher, an adjunct professor of Children's Literature and Process Writing, Barbara has also written a wide variety of musicals, songs, and books. She has worked with Children's Television Workshop and Cherry Lane music on the creative staff of the Sesame Street Music Magazine. In addition to writing workbooks and beginning readers, her middle grade novel, Turn the Cup Around, was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award for best children's mystery. 

Illustrator: Sherry Rogers spent twelve years as a corporate graphic designer and artist before “leaving it all behind” for the freelance world of illustrating children’s books. Through illustrating The First Fire, Sherry remembers her own ancestor, Na Ni, a Cherokee woman from the mountains of North Carolina. Some of Sherry’s other Arbordale titles include The Penguin Lady, Ten for Me, Hey Diddle Diddle, Newton and Me, Moose and Magpie, Paws, Claws, Hands & Feet, and The Deductive Detective; as well as her award-winning titles: Sort It Out!, Kersplatypus, Burro’s Tortillas, and If You Were a Parrot. 

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of Ten for Me by the publisher, Arbordale Publishing, in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review. The giveaway copy is also provided by Arbordale and will be shipped directly to the winner.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Short Walk to the Edge of Life by Scott Hubbartt

ISBN: 9781601426048
About the book:  "They say I'm crazy. That's OK. I'm just curious and determined." —From Scott Hubbartt's diary, November 2, 2011

How Could He Possibly Make It Out Alive?

It was supposed to be a simple day hike. Scott Hubbartt was a military veteran with years of survival training. Everyone who knew him considered him an expert adventurer.

But Scott’s trek into the treacherous backcountry canyons of the Peruvian Andes turned into a desperate fight to survive after he became hopelessly lost. As his eight-hour hike lengthened into days, Scott faced dehydration, hunger, and exhaustion. And that’s when his true journey began.

Chronicling the failures and miracles of a remarkable physical and spiritual passage, A Short Walk to the Edge of Life is the gripping, true story of a man who had to come to the end of himself before he could find his way home.

Review: This was a good book and a quick read.  I had trouble putting it down because each chapter left me hanging wondering what was going to happen to him next.  The book is an autobiography of an event in the author's life.  His wife is from Peru, and he became fascinated with the land, culture, people, and especially with his wife's family history and genealogy.

In researching his family history, he learned of some of the different cities that his wife's grandfather lived in.  He also learned that this grandfather owned a gold mine at one time.  Armed with this information, maps, compasses, and supplies, the author attempted a hike from one of these villages to the other.  This hike should have only taken about five to eight hours, but from the beginning he took the wrong trail and became lost.  His compasses did not work because of the metals in the mountains.  Ultimately he would wander 40 miles off course and would be lost for five days.  His greatest need would be for water as he only had about a liter to start with.

This amazing adventure would be used in his life by God to draw him closer to Himself.  The author relates how his first prayers were really selfish prayers and could easily be understood why they went unanswered.  Along the way, he would let go of his own intelligence and experience and just trust God to meet his needs and to be rescued.  It was a wonderful, tragic story of faith and placed in a book, now becomes something that all can share in and grow from. (reviewed by B.Lyles)
We received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 978-1-61626-0408
About the book: Captain Dean Watters keeps these parts of his life in laser-like focus. So when hackers threaten both his mission and his team, Dean's Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Ten military super-secure computers are missing-which if opened, would give America's enemies a blueprint of US military intelligence. Failing to stop the hackers isn't an option.

Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. She's also a target. Her expertise in quantum cryptology makes her an unwitting pawn in the hackers' deadly game. They're coming for her, and Dean and his team must stop them.

Before the team can get to Zahrah, she disappears. Now Dean must race to rescue her and stop the hackers from unleashing terror on millions across the globe. But to do so, Dean will be forced to crack open the steel box around his heart-a move that might come at the highest cost.

Review: This is an interesting story that is centered around a Green Beret Special Forces team. The team is working in Afghanistan. The author did a great job in making the action of the story feel very real. She even helped describe what life is like there and the tensions between Afghan people and American soldiers. 

The plot centers around the theft of a super computer that contains information that can be used to bring down the American military and wreak havoc on the nation. A half American half Afghan woman who is the daughter of a retired American General is kidnapped. She has the expertise to hack into the stolen computer, and her captors will stop at nothing to get her to give them access to the computer. There is a love story between the leader of the Special Forces team and this woman. 

A sub-plot to the story involves one of the members of the team going back to the states to spend the last days of his newlywed wife suffering from cancer.  

Scattered throughout the novel are elements where different people reveal their personal walks with God. Plenty is found in this story to show people’s dependence on God. 

The language is very clean considering the dialogue of soldiers. This would be a great book for teenagers interested in fictional stories centered around military operations. It is a good read and a quick read. At first, I had trouble keeping up with the many characters introduced almost all at once. Often, the author uses military acronyms, but she includes a glossary at the front of the book to understand them all. The book ends openly revealing there are more books to follow within the series. (guest reviewer, B.Lyles, teacher and band instructor)

GIVEAWAY: A copy has been provided by Litfuse for one of our readers to win. Begins June 10 & ENDS July 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open for US addresses only.

About the author: Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children and a Maltese Menace in northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at and on FacebookTwitter, and GoodreadsPurchase a copy:

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for a review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Deeper Than Red (Book #3 in Red Returning Series) by Sue Duffy

  • ISBN-13: 9780825442674
About the book: Twenty-year-old Tally Greyson isn’t consumed with her own education, social life, or career goals like most young women her age. Instead, she’s trying to save her mother from the grasp of a seductive cult. What Tally doesn’t realize is that in this community, there’s a far greater danger than any she can imagine—and she and her mother aren’t the only ones in its sights. There are plots brewing here that will threaten the fate of the world.

Concert pianist Liesl Bower has put her own dangerous past behind her, and in her Charleston family home, surrounded by those who love her, she’s preparing for a world concert tour with her dear friend, violinist Max Morozov. She thinks she’s safe; the man who tried to kill her is dead, his coconspirators have been rounded up, and no one knows she had anything to do with saving the world from a new revolution.

That is, until a world leader is assassinated on the other side of the globe, setting events into motion that could kill the U.S. president, destroy Washington—and take everything and everyone Liesl loves with it. A madman is at the controls now. Even with the backup of the CIA and the dubious protection of a former KGB agent, this time they may all be too late. The heart-pounding final book in the Red Returning trilogy, Deeper Than Red goes further into the world of espionage and action than ever before, delving into the very worst powers of darkness, and pitting them against the light of faith, love, and forgiveness.

Review: This book would be great for anyone who loves adventure or spy thrillers.  There was much going on, with several different scenarios at the same time.  The book has several settings in America, as well as Europe.  The author did a very good job of telling about the characters and the back story behind each of them.

The main character is a pianist, Liesl, who was brought into the spy world by accident.  She is a very brave heroine and does what she can to stand for what is right.  She is a Christian and often prays for those around her.

One of the characters is entrenched in a spiritualist camp and her daughter is desperately trying to save her.  Even though this is a fictional book, I know there are people who believe in psychics and have séances and this part of the story is very real.  There is a Christian man in the camp who is watching out for the daughter and tries to get her to see the Light and help her save her mom.

The international ties in the book are between the president of the United States and his half brother, a Russian, who was an illegitimate son of his father.

There are many other characters who add to the excitement of this book.  Two of my favorites are the father of Liesl and her husband's grandfather.  They are a pair and do what they can to help protect Leisl.

I really enjoyed this book and want to go read the first two in the series! (reviewed by T.Lyles, teacher)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Kregel Publications in exchange for our review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was for this review.