Book Review: Motherless

Motherless
by
Erin Healy

I don’t quite know how to summarize what this book was all about, so I let the description from booklookbloggers.com do that for you.  Here’s their wrap-up:

Guilt may be the most dangerous motive of all.

On a rainy night seventeen years after his wife’s presumed suicide, Garrett Becker sees her walking down the street. A car accident snatches him away from this world before he can reach her.

Marina has spent her whole life mothering her brother, who suffers from an anxiety disorder. After their father’s accident, they face losing their home-the only place Dylan’s fears are held at bay.

Crushing debt is just one of their father’s secrets. Old keepsakes lead Dylan to believe their mother is alive and lives nearby. Sara Rochester is a successful chocolatier who doesn’t dwell on her past and never expected the resurrection of its ghosts. But after Dylan confronts her, Sara consents to parent the only way she knows how: with money, chocolate, and a gross deficit of experience.

Sara’s hesitant presence divides Marina and Dylan. Marina doesn’t believe that Sara is their mother. The woman’s paper-thin lies suggest she might even be responsible for their mother’s death. When Marina’s suspicions spark an investigation, no one is prepared for the tragic truth or the powerful redemption that Marina’s actions expose.

Narrated by a storyteller with more to lose than any other character, Motherless is a richly layered mystery about the power of perception-and deception-among people seeking forgiveness for irreversible sins.

My Thoughts

Days after finishing this book, I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the story contained.  Reading it was sort of like being on a roller coaster, blindfolded.  Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading, it took some random turn and totally threw me for a loop.

It took me a couple chapters to really get into this book and understand the point of view the author used.  It was an interesting concept.  I got a bit confused toward the middle of the book when she added another narrator and it wasn’t always clear which narrator was speaking right away. This made really getting into the book tough at times.

While the story was interesting, I was often confused with how it was told. I’ve read some of Erin’s other books and enjoyed them, but this one was tough for me.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: Draw-a Saurus

Draw-A-Saurus
by
James Silvani

My kids love to draw, so I was stoked to have the opportunity to review this book! The fact that they really enjoy learning about dinosaurs sweetened the deal even more. :)

James Silvani has created a fun book that includes dino facts, easy to follow drawing instructions and tons of dino humor, including a drawing of a dino that looks a bit like Nemo. Haha.

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Some of the drawing techniques might be a bit advanced for younger artists, but it gives them a great opportunity to try their hand at drawing something using more than just stick figures.

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The book starts by introducing different kinds of dinosaurs and how to draw their basic shapes.  In the following pages, readers are given tips on how to make the basic shapes into other dinosaurs with similar body styles.

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As the books progresses, it gets into more advanced techniques and styles, including combining shapes and adding texture. The book also has a very durable cover and binding, so it should last quite a while.

My kids (ages 8 & 9) are loving this book even though they haven’t attempted any of the drawings yet.  I have a feeling it won’t be long before they’re covering the walls with the dino creations!

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: Food: A Love Story

Food: A Love Story
by
Jim Gaffigan

If you’ve ever watched any of Jim Gaffigan’s comedy shows, you know he has quite the obsession with food. His bit on Hot Pockets has got to be one of his most popular rants.  After the success of his first book Dad is Fat, Jim quickly jumped into writing his latest masterpiece Food: A Love Story. This book is full of his take on food and all things food related.  From dividing the US into sections based upon their signature foods to his take on Kale, this book will have you laughing out loud …and nodding in agreement many times. :) Reading this book is like watching one of his comedy routines, but actually having the time to digest each piece before moving on to the next (pun intended.) I enjoyed laughing my way through this book just as much as I enjoy laughing my way through his routines on DVD.  If you’re a fan of Jim’s comedy, this book is a must read!

Read an excerpt here.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: Kidnapped by the Taliban

Kidnapped by the Taliban
by
Dilip Joseph, MD with James Lund

Kidnapped by the Taliban is the account of Dilip Joseph, a doctor working for a non-profit organization as a medical humanitarian.  On a routine trip to Afghanistan, Dilip and two of his co-workers are stopped on a remote road by a handful of young men with automatic weapons. The three men are kidnapped and forced to walk many miles with the captors, resting in shacks located along a trail running through a very rural area. Though they have been kidnapped, the treatment they receive is nothing like they’s expected.  The young Taliban members often make threats against them and discuss executing them, but they treat their captives with the same respect and hospitality they would treat any other visitors. It’s this treatment that astounds Dilip, while being held captive he begins to see his captors as broken young men going through things that many young men face around the world; he sees them struggle with their religious calling and the lifestyle they lead. The relationships he begins to form make him want to stay in touch with these men even when he is rescued. Just when he begins to wonder if he will die here with these men, in swoops SEAL Team Six to rescue him.  This book tells his story of being help in captivity and having to deal with the aftermath of that experience as well as his rescue in which many lives, including that of a Navy SEAL, are lost.

This was a very interesting book to read; it’s not a story of torture and suffering, but of understanding and relationships. I was in awe at the way the Taliban treated their captives, almost like they would treat family. It really got me thinking about the motives behind actions like this one. In this story it was clear that this particular was about money, not about hatred.  I really enjoyed reading Dilip’s story and like him, struggled with my current understanding and attitude towards this particular group of people. Dilip’s story helped me to understand that many members of the Taliban aren’t just full of pure evil, they’re people who are dealing with some of the same struggles that the rest of us face every day.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: Pound Foolish

This review is part of a blog tour.  To see what others are saying about Pound Foolish, click here.

Pound Foolish
by
Dave & Neta Jackson

Pound Foolish gives readers a chance to catch up with some of their favorite Windy City Neighbors.  In this book, we get to spend some time getting to know the Singer family. Greg Singer has a well paying job coordinating boat shows for a major company; the job pays well but puts strain on his marriage. When he is suddenly laid, Greg is faced with having to find a new job in a bad economy. When it seems he has no hope of finding decent emplyment, he comes across a couple of opportunities that make him think he’s finally hit the big one.  Unfortunately, these opportunities end up being money wasters rather than money makers. When he finally hits rock bottom he wonders if he’ll even be able to earn his family’s trust again.

I enjoyed getting to catch up with the characters from the Windy City again. I love that Dave and Neta Jackson are not afraid to approach taboo topics in their books, including gambling and emotional affairs, it makes their characters very easy to relate to.  Once again, the Jackson’s have written a book that lets the reader feel as if they are fly on the wall in the house of a family facing struggles much like their own. I can’t wait to see which characters I get to “hang out” with next. :)

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Quilts of Love: Swept Away

This review is part of a blog tour, to see what others are saying click here.

Quilts of Love
by
Laura V. Hilton & Cindy Loven

About the Book (from quiltsoflovebooks.com):

Sara doesn’t think she wants love. But her grandmother has other plans.

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter.

Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

My Thoughts:

Even though this book was a bit predictable, I enjoyed reading it.  The struggles the characters faced were quite realistic and easy to relate to.  I especially enjoyed the character of Sarah Jane’s grandma and found myself laughing at her antics. I’d never heard of a ballad quilt before, so it was interesting to learn  more about this specific style.

Check out the first chapter here.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

A Can’t-Miss Black Friday Deal from Adventures in Odyssey

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Christmas time is nearly here, and the excitement is in the air. But rather than waking up before the sun on Black Friday or having to fight the massive crowds, you could get a special present for your kids or grandkids from Adventures in Odyssey: a subscription to their online Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC)!
Offering 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey episodes, the club is a safe and fun environment where children can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth.



When you sign up between 11/26 and 12/1 (promo code: BLKFRDAY) not only will you receive a special introductory price of $5.00 for your first month of club membership, you’ll also receive a special gift worth $50, including:

  • Imagination Station #12: Danger on A Silent Night book (mailed to you in December)
  • A Family Christmas Volume 1 of Timeless Classics on CD (mailed to you in December)
  • Radio Theatre: A Christmas Carol digital download
  • Radio Theatre: Traveling Home For Christmas digital download
  • 101 Surefire Ways To Strengthen Your Child’s Faith ebook

Membership provides:

  • 24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
  • A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine delivered to your mailbox.
  • A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month’s episode.
  • On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
  • Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner relief organizations such as Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

This Christmas, give a present that will not only entertain throughout the year, but will provide a lifelong spiritual foundation.