When God Made You | Picture Book Review

When God Made You

by Matthew Paul Turner

Illustrated by David Catrow

A picture book of verse all about how God made,

and is proud of, the child reading it.

This  book is well written, beautifully illustrated, and just a bit too repetitive for my taste. It felt as though the author had a great idea and then pushed to hard, stretched too far, and made something that should have been beautiful and reassuring into something that felt forced and too long. Had the book been a few pages shorter, we (my daughter and I) probably would have given it 4.5 stars/dragons. As it stands, I give the book 4 dragons for the whimsical and adorable illustrations, and 2.5 dragons for the elongated storyline.

Overall, we are rating this book 3 dragons. It is very cute and an interesting read for young children, but ultimately too long and redundant for my taste.

*I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

Beautiful NonFiction

In a Different Key: The story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker was so much more than, and yet also exactly, what I though it would be. I wanted, needed, to know the history of this developmental difference and what this book provided was a history richly woven together in a well written, entertaining narrative that kept me engaged and learning throughout the massive book.

The narrative writing style almost lets the reader imagine that this is not the factual history of a vastly misunderstood mental anomaly, but instead some sort of historical novel to dive in to. The beginning story of the first (known) autistic child is interesting entertaining, and heart wrenching…and the book doesn’t slow down after that.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 dragons. If you’re looking to know more about autism, I definitely reccommend this work!

*I was provided this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review*

One Liner…Or: the inspiration I get From Work

I know I haven’t posted in a while guys. I am very sorry about that! I keep thinking I’ll get everything scheduled out and be able to be on here more often but…we all know my ability to stick to organization is a bit iffy. However! All hope is not lost!

Today I wanted to talk to you for just a second about the types of inspiration I get at work. See, I am a music teacher for pre-k – 12th grade students. My children’s and Middle Grade stories are fueled through real life experiences and little character quirks of my ever day existence. However, I don’t usually get a lot of inspiration out of my 7th-12th graders. Every once in a while that does change…last week, for example, we were doing a group project in the Jr. High class. When it came time to perform, a couple of groups either didn’t have anything done OR were very obviously only carried by one or two lead girls. I don’t say this to be sexist, it is fact: The boys just didn’t want to do the work and expected their girl folk to carry them. So later that evening I texted this line to myself:

The problem with hiding behind the girls’ skirts so that you don’t have to do the work is that those skirts keep getting shorter, and you do not.

I know it isn’t much, but sometimes the smallest line can start off the greatest story. Maybe this will be that line! Or maybe it will sit here, lonely in its italics. I guess only time will tell.

 

Narrative Nonfiction: My Dental Distress

Have you ever heard of something called “Ludwig’s Angina”? No, No…ANGINA dear, mind out of the gutter please. So have you? No? Neither had I until a few days ago. It can be pretty scary stuff, involving medically cut throats, infections, possibly suffocation…Oh my, you are looking a little pale there. Are you feeling ok hun? Maybe we should try this a little differently: Ok then, what is it that the children say? Oh yes, STORY TIME!

It all started late on Thursday afternoon. As the work day wound down, my mouth randomly started to twinge. I took some ibuprofen and thought no more about it until the following day. Unfortunately, by the end of school on Friday I was drowning in pain killers. At supper I was unable to eat my French fries and I knew that something had to be done…so I got some tooth numbing gel and went to bed.

Saturday morning found me in pain, exhausted, and driving the two hours to my parent’s place so my kid could hang out with them. Though I had just woken up before making the trek, by the time lunch was finished I could barely stay awake.  I passed out immediately upon laying down for nap time, my daughter sneaking out to watch television with her Gaga.  3 hours later I woke up, still exhausted, still in pain, and with a new bout of swelling along my jaw and under my chin. Yes, under my chin. I looked a bit like a bullfrog. Mom immediately kicked me out and sent me to Urgent Care, where I was diagnosed with an abscess and given pain pills and penicillin. A few days later my dentist drilled a hole in the canine causing the problems, tsked at the amazing amount of infection and swelling (SO FAST! I’ve never seen something like this before!) and scheduled a root canal for the following week. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t make it that long.

Not only did the pain and swelling refuse to dissipate, it worsened. My dentist appointment had been on Tuesday; Thursday morning I awoke groggy, running a 100.4 temperature, and with even worse swelling under my chin…which was pressing on my throat and causing difficulty in breathing.

I called the dentist, I called my mother, and I took the kid to school and had them call a sub.  Two hours later, my mother checked the kid out of school, picked me up, and headed us toward a specialist.

With a brief stop to drop them off and swap to my dad driving, I made a 5 hour drive to the specialist. Who, after a cursory inspection, (I’ve NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE!) called an oral surgeon and had us rush across town to the next office.

The oral surgeon (young, adorable…regretfully seeing me at my worst) comes back after his work hours and, when he could not convince me to go to the hospital overnight for antibiotic drip, finally removed the offending tooth. (SIDE NOTE: As he was numbing my mouth, the song “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you” came on. We shared a healthy giggle as the nurse’s looked on with confused worry).

Even after the removal, Dr. Cutie tried to send my to the hospital and it’s IV drips, but I out stubborned him and Dad and I set our wheels toward home. Per orders, and on threat on being taken back in for a tracheostomy if I provoked the swelling any more, I spent Thurs evening thru Sunday afternoon doing little more than sleeping and whining.

Though I probably should have taken more time off, I went on to school on Monday. Those first couple of days we hellacious. My mouth continued to pain me, the extra cuts left open to drain the infection making even the act of licking my lips excruciating. I had to sleep sitting up for a week, and wear a face mask in the classroom for two.

the swelling started to go down about a week after that first trip to the doctor, but even now (almost 3 weeks since it all began) the discomfort lasts.

According to all three dentists and one doctor (All who had “never seen this before”) I probably shouldn’t have been able to wake up that Thursday morning to get into surgery. Ludwig’s Angina  is reasonably rare and can lead to suffocation…if I had arrived to surgery as swollen as I’d been upon waking, a tracheostomy would have been the immediate next step.

I’m just happy to be able to hear a voice near me without the need to cry at the pressure of the vibrations hitting my jaw now.

 

*this has been a true recounting of the insanity that hit my mouth over the past few weeks.*

Review: A Boy Called CHRISTMAS

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Written for Middle Grade Readers (Ages 7-12/Grades 3-6), this book is an origin story, a fable, a history, a drama, a family tale, and much more. In this adorable story we meet and follow a boy who grows up to be Father Christmas.

I read this via the audiobook (provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review) and the story is amazing, grabs you right off the bat and keeps you in its grips…and the narrations by Stephen Fry are so spot on it feels like the smoothest and most natural thing in the world.

There are some difficult issues addressed within the folds of this story: loss of parents, extreme poverty, and violence…but along with that are the trappings of Finnish mythology, the impossibilities of life, and magic (LOTS of magic!).

I am not the biggest fan of Christmas stories, they often seem to be formulaic and cheesy as all get out. This is not one of those stories. This is an adventure, a fable, a legend in the making. This is a story to listen to every year, for all the years. Haig has created a story with a life of its own, and I loved it.

4.75 dragons (stars) to this beautifully written phenomenon.

The Curse of Crow Hollow | A Review

The Curse of Crow Hollow

By Billy Coffey

Published in 2015

Thomas Nelson Publishing

Summary:

With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

“Coffey spins a wicked tale . . . [The Curse of Crow Hollow] blends folklore, superstition, and subconscious dread in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’”

—Kirkus Reviews

 

Review:

I picked this up on Christmas Day, when I was in the mood for a thriller that would sweep me through the story and send tingles up and down my spine. Unfortunately, this was not that type of book. The narrator’s voice was confusing and wandered back and forth in time on a few occasions. The story meandered and took until 3/4 of the way through to really pick up and get exciting. I did, however, enjoy the look at small town beliefs and the type of people who inhabit such places and beliefs.

While the story is slow and slightly confusing at times, I did enjoy the journey and give this an overall rating of 3.25 dragons. If you like books dealing with secrets, lies, and demons…this is something you might want to pick  up!

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: Review

Louise Miller, a pastry chef who knows her way around cooking up words as well, has created a yummy look at small time life and big time choices. Take her delicious descriptions, her cozy set up, and the charm that oozes in layers and add to it the slow melting chocolatey goodness of Jorjeana Marie’s voice and this is an audio book that will have you coming back for seconds!

I don’t often read books in this contemporary, cozy, adult genre but this book drew me in and bade me stay to curl up with some hot tea and a piece of cake. a solid 4 stars to Louise Miller, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

*I was sent this book by Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review*

Besties: Leah Reena Goren

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Ladies, have you ever wanted to try to explain your relationship with that Best Friend you’ve had forever? Well this adorable, bright, and fun picture book does it for you! Or, at least, for me. While I have more than one bestie, and some of them weren’t around for the elementary school snack time, there is a page in this book for every one of them (well…except for my brother. But who needs to count him anyway?)

There are so many important and special things in our relationships with our BFFLs (Best Friends for Life) and this book portrays those for us beautifully. If you’re looking for a heartfelt and quirky gift to hand over to your own BFF, look no further!

 

*I was sent this book free in exchange for an honest review, the opinions stated within this blog are my own*

Blog Tour: Soul Blade by Aaron Hodges

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Title: Soul Blade

Author: Aaron Hodges

Series: The Sword of Light Trilogy

Genre: Epic Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery

Release Week Price: $0.99

Page count: 300 pages

Soul Blade Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Blade-Sword-Light-Trilogy/dp/0473375184/

Giveaway: http://blog.ravenpublicity.com/giveaways/sciencefiction-fantasy-win-3-paperbacks-giveaway-kindle-amreading/

Website: http://www.aaronhodges.co.nz

Soul Blade Excerpt Link: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AiW-Qzg6KJmRgbp3yl1h_Rh42xWgcw

Synopsis:

The Three Nations are crumbling.

Darkness is gathering.

And only Eric remains to stand against it.

 

Eric stumbles through the wilderness, searching, hunting – desperate for sign of his sister. But the girl is gone, stolen away by the power of the Soul Blade. With each passing hour its hold on her tightens, her spirit fading before the onslaught of its magic. If he cannot save her soon, it will claim her soul. And he will have to kill her.

 

Meanwhile, Gabriel is locked in the cells beneath Ardath. The darkness presses in around him, absolute, suffocating. Time, hope, sanity, all have long since slipped beneath the waves of his despair. Only it remains – the unrelenting voice of the demon. It haunts the darkness, tempting him with promises of freedom.

How long can he resist its call?

 

Author Bio:

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School – titled The Sword of Light – and began to rewrite the story. This book, Soul Blade, marks the final conclusion of that epic tale.

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Fans of Aaron can signup for updates and special offers at:

aaronhodges.co.nz/newsletter-signup/

 

 

The Fir Tree – Review

The Fir Tree is a story I had heard before, but did not know well. The sad tale is a cautionary fairy tale with traditional Hans Christian Anderson tropes and an ending that will bring a tear to your eye. In this beautiful green, cloth bound edition, the illustrations of Finnish artist Sanna Annukka elevate the story to new heights of beauty and devastation. Gorgeously rendered and written, this book is definitely worth the read. 4152frzf4cl-_sx282_bo1204203200_*this book was sent to me in exchange for a fair and honest review by blogging for Books*