180 Movie - An Eye Opening Documentary

Friday, 12 November 2010

Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless by Melody Carlson

Struggling 17-year-old high school senior Adele has a secret . . . she's homeless.

With absent parents, overdue rent, and no one to turn to, Adele is forced into the hard, cold world of homelessness. While striving to maintain the pretense of a “normal” life, Adele attempts to finish high school—all the while concealing her secret. Adele enjoys being with the "nice kids" in the church youth group, but she has more in common with the young people who live on the streets. Is she strong enough to keep up the act?

Forgotten, the first book in Carlson's Secrets series, was a very strong book. You don't find a whole lot of YA books about the harsh reality of homelessness.

I've read reviews that said this book was "unrealistic", "doesn't talk about real life", "Can life really change THAT fast?"

Um. That blows my mind. I work with a lot of kids one step away from homelessness. I remember picking up kids from a this terrible motel to take them to church, and seeing a young woman trying to squeeze all her belongings into her trunk. That was all she had left. Her stuff and her car.

I could tell you story after story. But let me get back to the book.

The short summary above really wraps the whole book up. I thought it was written very well, it drew me in from page one. It's my favorite book by Carlson yet. Lots of people said the ending was too abrupt, and I sorta agree. I just didn't want the book to end.

Basically, this is a book you either love or don't like at all. It pinpoints Jesus as our only Savior, and that just rubs some people the wrong way. But for the ones who loved it, it opened their eyes and changed their hearts.

Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul

A New Quest Begins...

A dragonkeeper of Paladin, Kale is summoned from the Hall to The Bogs by the Wizard Fenworth to serve as his apprentice and tend his newly hatched meech dragon, Regidor. But Kale isn’t going alone. The Hall is sending a student to monitor her performance and report back to the scholars. Worst of all, it’s Bardon–an older boy Kale finds irritating, but who at least can hold his own in a sword fight.

Meanwhile, the Wizard Risto has seized another meech dragon, bringing him dangerously close to gaining the power he seeks. So with only a motley band of companions, Kale sets out on a desperate quest to rescue the second meech, to free those dragons already enslaved, and to thwart Risto’s devious plans. It’s up to Kale to lead the search and to embrace the role that’s rightfully hers. But will her efforts be enough to save the land of Amara from the dark future that awaits at Risto’s hands?

I liked DragonQuest, book two in the DragonKeeper Chronicles, even better than DragonSpell. For one, the cover is awesome. Makes me think of Hallmark's Dinotopia. Great movie. Four hours long, but still a great movie.

Second, the story threw all the characters from the first book into a whole new adventure. Bardon was an especially interesting character. You'll have to read the book to find out why though...

Third, more dragons! Paul did a wonderful job creating a world where dragons and people (er, not exactly people) coexist. It seems so natural throughout the whole story.

All in all, this book surpassed the first one with flying colors. I can't wait to get my hands on DragonKnight, the third book in Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles. Now where did I put my library card...

Donita Kathleen Paul is a best-selling contemporary Christian fiction novelist. Best known for her fantasy DragonKeeper Chronicles series, she won a finalist medal in the Christy Awards for the first installment of the DragonKeeper Chronicles, DragonSpell. She has also written romances and juvenile novels under the name Kathleen Paul. Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Paul now lives in eastern Colorado.

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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Check out that cover! Gorgeous! (My sister thinks its creepy. She's not at all into fantasy.)

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir. Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

I picked up this book expecting it to be good, but not great. Like eating a bland dinner without all the tasty seasonings and spices.

Boy, was I wrong.

Heartless, book one in Tales of Goldstone Wood, started out like a fairytale with two children playing by the woods, and then jumps ahead a couple years. I was enraptured throughout the whole story, poking my head out of the book everyonce and a while to gaze about the bookstore wondering how much time had passed, just to dive right back in.

To me, a good book is one where I have NO idea what is going to happen next. I hate it when books are so predicatable.

To my delight, I had no idea what was going to happen next. And I happily kept reading until I found out.

It is an allegory, and I've read a couple reviews where people thought it came on too strong at the end. I strongly disagree with that, but it really is a matter of opinion to the reader.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, NC, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, and a passel of cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, studies piano, painting, and fencing, and generally leads a busy life! She studied Illustration at Grace College and English Literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

She is happy to take reader questions at her email address: aestengl@gmail.com. Of the two planned sequels, Book 2, Veiled Rose, is scheduled to hit the shelves in summer 2011.

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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul

Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

A small band of Paladin's servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect...

Okay! Quick question! Did anyone notice the shadow on the egg? Ha, now you're looking at it again, aren't you? That is so cool! I think it totally makes the book cover.

One prob though. That scene you just checked out, of the girl creeping up on a dragon? Not in the book.

The pretty cover turned out to be a fake, but did the rest of the book turn out that way?

*duh-duh-duh-da-duh-duh-duh-da-da-da-da-DA!-da-da-da* (Um, hello, Jepordy theme song going on.)

The answer is: No!

Dragonspell, the first book in Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles, was an adventrous book filled with quirky characters like the Wizard Fenworth. It had me giggling and flipping pages rapidly as the story progressed. I'm not a big fan of drgaon books, but this one had me spellbound. Er, Dragonspell-bound.

Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.”

She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.

“God must have imprinted 'teacher' on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.”

Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh.

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Monday, 1 November 2010

NaNoWriMo...starts TODAY!

What is this "NaNoWriMo", you ask?

National Novel Writing Month!

Of course you knew that though. Uh-huh.

November is the national writing month! In the month of November, you are supposed to write write write like crazy until you have a novel!

Wait, what? You don't know what a novel is either?


Just check out the website. It explains. Everything.

(P.S. The website will be really slow the first couple of days because of all the people getting on it. Be patient!)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Kindle Freebie: Cool Beans by Erynn Mangum

Don't have a Kindle? You can download Kindle for your PC for FREE and get awesome books like Cool Beans that show up on the top 100 FREE bestsellers list a couple times a month.

I did, and I say it's totally worth it!

Want to read my review on "Latte Daze", the second book in the Maya Davis series? Click here!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Interview Link with Wayne Thomas Batson

A short and sweet interview with Wayne Thomas Batson about "Venom and Song" and the third Berinfell Prophecies book.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

I just love, love, love the title. Don’t you?

Now, we’re talkin’ bout Nancy RUE’S book, not Nancy Drew.

Okay, now that 1) you know I love the title and 2) we’re talkin’ bout Nacy RUE, here’s what the book’s all about.

In the first book of Nancy Rue's new Real Life series for teens, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher has ADHD and often uses her bubbly charm to cover up her problems. But when her biological father appears from nowhere and tells her she'll be spending time with him in Florida, Jessie finds she'll need more than charm this time. In fact, a mysterious book might be the answer to her problems

If you’ve finished the Sophie series by Nancy Rue, you probably moved onto the Lily series. And if you’ve read the Lily series - this is one step up.

From page one, Rue throws you into fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher’s ADHD mind. And she doesn’t stop there. The whole book is filled with oh-mi-gosh moments and lovable characters.

As Jessie learns about Jesus through a mysterious book and works through her ADHD, the book follows her through it all. The series is appropriately named: Real Life. When I finished the book, I felt like I had just stepped out of her mind back into the real world.

To sum it up: I loved this book because it was true to life.

Nancy Rue is the best-selling author of books for teens and adults, including the Christian Heritage series and the Lily series. Nancy has been an English teacher, a public speaker, and a contributor to several publications. Her books have sold more than a million copies. She and her husband, Jim, live in Tennessee.

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Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Maya Davis Novel: Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum

Should life really be this complicated?

Maya Davis already has many titles—Christian, barista, maid of honor (new), possible girlfriend (newer), aunt (newest)—and her life is about to become even more complicated. Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, her ex-boyfriend proposes to her roommate and best friend, Jen. It’s not long until their apartment becomes Wedding Central. As if that weren’t enough, Jen’s obnoxious mom moves in to help plan the wedding, and Maya’s genius brother and sister-in-law announce that they're expecting. Then to top it off, there's the whole matter of Jack—is it love? Who wouldn't need a coffee break!

Latte Daze was a delightful book filled with wacky, lovable characters and filled with regular life issues. Example: To eat the ice-cream, or to not eat the ice-cream?

Well…that’s my issue in life. Maya’s roommate solved that one by getting the low fat kind.

Okay, back to the book. Characters. We have a barista, a zoo keeper, a health freak, a controlling mother, another mother who just started texting and doesn’t use vowels (I agree with Maya, that is VERY annoying), a new coworker who is not a Christian, a best friend who is engaged, and a pregnant sister-in-law. Nuff said on that last one.

That’s a lot going on in one book. But Mangum handled it all beautifully and wrote a story filled with laughs and surprises around every corner. You’ll either finish the book with a strong desire to 1) pop in the movie Pride and Prejudice and snuggle up on the couch with a cup of coffee or 2) read it all over again. I recommend both.

Erynn Magum is the author of Miss Match, Rematch, Match Point, and Cool Beans (TH1INK/NavPress). She is a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice and Journeyman programs. She is also a major chocoholic and loves chick flicks, coffee, and cold winter days. Erynn is married to her best friend, Jon O’Brien, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Friday, 15 October 2010

Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies Book 1

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle.
Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

To sum it up: Elves from another world on a mission to find the Seven lost Elven Lords hidden among billions of people on Earth at birth - before the bad guys do.

I. Loved. This. Book.

Together, Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper created a fantastic read. It had everything - Adventure, humor, suspense, battles, and delightful characters.

31 main characters to be exact. Don’t let that number scare you. The authors included a “Principal Cast” in the front of the book you could flip back to if you forget who is who. With so many characters, tons of readers said they found one/or a couple they could identify with.

(Artwork by fan)

To quote Batson himself: Spider King takes the traditional "portal fantasy" and turns it on its head. Rather than just sending a few kids into a fantasy world, we ask, "What would happen if the fantasy world came to us?"

And here are the two people who brought us COTSK! (Left:Batson; Right: Hopper)

And this is them at their book signings.


Wayne Thomas Batson is the author of five best-selling novels: Isle of Swords, Isle of Fire, and the Door Within Trilogy. His books have earned awards and nominations including: Silver Moonbeam, Mom’s Choice Silver, Cybil, Lamplighter, and American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year. A middle school teacher in Maryland for more than eighteen years, Wayne tailors his stories to meet the needs of young people. When last seen, Wayne was tromping around the Westfarthing with his beautiful wife and four adventurous children.

Christopher Hopper is a recording artist, published author, motivational speaker, and teen & college pastor. He travels internationally each year speaking and performing for schools, conferences, and churches with a message of hope for his generation. His various business interests, as well as his role as president of the Dibor Discipleship School, perpetuate his desire to have a positive impact on world culture, inspiring people to lead meaningful lives and affect culture. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and three children in the 1,000 Islands of Northern, NY.

What more info?

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