Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Prologue: The Brothers (The Great and Terrible #1)

Before the Great War, before so many sons of God turned away from their Father and walked knowingly into the dark, there was a choosing, a sifting, a contest of ideas and a battle for souls. Brother fought brother. Families were torn apart. Some fought to protect their homes, their freedom and peace. Others fought to destroy everything they had once held so dear. And as the battle between good and evil came into each home, all God's children had to chose which side they were on, which principles would they fight for, and what price would they pay. In this contest before the Great War, each of us learned the first lessons of life. The great ones may fall. The wicked can change. The weak and the foolish can be made the strongest of all. And when the contest was over, we also had learned the greatest secret of all: the children of God can defeat their adversary, for they have fought him before. I'm not just reviewing this one book. There are 6 books in the series. I am in the middle of book #2. I plan on reading them all. I hope you will as well. Book #1 gave me food for thought. These books are worth reading.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Your Happily Ever After by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sometimes we need a reminder that life was never all sunshine and roses for fairy-tale princesses. Before the true love's kisses and happily ever afters, there were poisoned apples, spindle pricks, and impossible tasks. Speaking to the princesses of our Heavenly King, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf compares our challenges to those faced by famous fairy-tale heroines. Recounting Belle's captivity, Cinderella's servitude, and the miller's daughter's sacrifices, President Uchtdorf emphasizes that each princess had to overcome adversity before she reached her happily ever after. Beautifully designed and illustrated, Your Happily Ever After is an inspiring and uplifting message that will encourage latter-day daughters of God to focus on His plan, to find happiness in service, and to fully embrace the blessings of the gospel. What a delightful little book. I love how President Uchtdorf writes. He has an interesting perspective. I think this would make a fantastic gift for any woman in your life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson, Fumi Kosaka

Can one good deed from an ordinary girl change the world?
It can when she's Ordinary Mary--an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to ordinary house--who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others--one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage--one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people--including a man named Joseph who didn't have enough money for his groceries--and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.

It's a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!

Loved It! Great moral story. Just a tip to make it even better: Add your name (or that of your kids) in the place of the character's names. Fabulous!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

oh I love happy accidents.
I often put my name on the longest hold list on the library - just for fun.  This was one of those.  While I waited through 400 something other people to read it I went on reading just about everything else.  I had never heard of Cassadra Clare or of the Mortal Instruments.  However, during my several month wait a friend introduced me to City of Bones and I finished the series quickly.  
The Infernal Devices are prequels to the Mortal Instruments and just when I was hungry for more shadowhunting my name came up!!!!  See... happy accident!  Clockwork Angel is my favorite so far!!!  Maybe because it was set 130 years ago and I kind of like that era, or maybe because I was already hooked.  When first reading I wondered which series would have been better to have read first.  I've decided it really doesn't matter.  Each alludes to the other but not in a way that depends on one another.  I am dying for the next one to come out.  There are so many secrets still left to be discovered!

First Line: The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Summary: Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The Infernal devices
Book #1 Clockwork Angel 2010
Book #2 Clockwork Prince 2011
Book #3 Clockwork Princess 2012

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Ape House is a nice quick read about six bonobo apes at a facility where scientists are studying their language and communication abilities. These apes are the best characters in the book- their personalities seem to be better developed than those of the human characters; though the book is mainly narrated by their loving caretaker, Isabel Duncan and a news reporter, John Thigpen. It focuses less on animal and more on the personal lives of the humans.

I'm not sure if this book was really written to its full potential- it seems like because Water for Elephants was so popular they assumed they didn't have to try as hard on this book...it is a little shallow. While it's not life changing or epic, the book is probably worth your time since it probably won't take too much of it. (**If you are squeamish about sexual references beware- reference,though not explicit, is often made to the bonobos' frequent natural behaviors.)

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

The Story Sisters is about three sisters who live in their own world and speak a secret language created by the oldest, Elv, after she endures a traumatic event. Over time Elv begins to change her story and the sisters eventually grow apart through a series of twists and turns. The author's storyline is riveting and unpredictable. There was a little bit in the middle where it seemed to slow down, but immediately something happens that changes the course of their lives entirely.

I'm not sure if I'm ok with the ending or not, it's a little hard to explain. Most of Hoffman's endings are different than you'd expect with something a little off about them; you have to learn to accept what happened. This ending was different because is a little bit more tied-up and complete.

Alice is one of my favorite authors, she is always good for some modern fairy-tale goodness. She reminds me of Brothers Grimm in a way since her stuff always has a darker (but not too-dark) whimsical vibe. There is always romance too...but not too much of that either.

All in all this book was one of the best I've read in a long time- refreshing and exciting compared to the "blah" I've been mucking through lately.

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