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Archive for January, 2010

Kevin is a hero. He saved Leah from a notorious kidnapper/rapist/murderer known as “The Surgeon.” Everyone loves Kevin. They even give him a key to the city.

Unfortunately Kevin finds out that Hero-Worship doesn’t last very long. A reporter snaps a picture of Kevin throwing away some “Support Our Troops” ribbons. That one mistake ends Kevin’s Hero status.

Everyone assumes that Kevin is anti-America now. The rest of the story is then taken up with the issue of  Freedom of Speech. Kevin maintains that he is patriotic but he doesn’t need to plaster that patriotism all over his car or be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance just because everyone else is doing it. His point being that everyone should think for themselves and not just be a follower.

Barry Lyga has some very thought-provoking scenes in this book. I would be careful who I recommended this book too though because of the language and sexual references.

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Cute book. Poems written by Jack to his teacher. Almost like a conversation instead of poems really. Jack’s dog died, he hates a cat that he sees hanging around in a tree, his mom is deaf, and he gets a cat for Christmas. All of these things going on in Jack’s life he puts into poems that are assigned by his teacher. A quick read and cute.

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Elizabeth’s birth mother was forced to give her up to an orphanage when Elizabeth was two. For almost 20 years her mother has been searching for her.

Elizabeth has gold fever. She is on her way to the Yukon to find her fortune. She is also running from a man who has already harmed her. In search of a man she was told would be a good guide Elizabeth gets lost in a snowstorm. She stumbles onto Noah’s doorstep and by some miracle he is able to breathe life back into her.

Being chased by her past Elizabeth is forced to run away from the man that she loves. Noah is not about to let her go so easily so he follows her to the Yukon. The only problem is that he is not the only man following Elizabeth.

With much heart-stopping adventures and dangers Jamie Carie has woven a very captivating novel. I enjoyed this novel very much and find that it is very appropriate for Young Adults as well as Adult readers.

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My friend, Karin of Karin’s Book Nook, and I have teamed up for a fun blogging adventure.  We love talking about books and sometimes we like the same things, but sometimes we don’t.

I am a very eclectic reader.  I enjoy stories with happy endings, classics, christian fiction, and inspirational novels.  I absolutely LOVE mysteries in all genres.  I am more conservative than Karin, which is good.  We balance each other out.  It really comes in handy when we are working with Middle School students.  It is nice to be able to provide students with a wide range of reading suggestions.

Karin tends to read mostly paranormal, urban fantasy, dystopian novels, and dark, contemporary fiction.

Because our reading tastes are a little different, we decided to use that to our advantage and put our heads together for a new blog.  We’ll both be posting reviews.  I will be posting reviews for books that are Edifying (meaning they will be great stories that don’t contain teens in risky behavior, in other words, they are “clean”). The books Karin will be posting reviews for are considered Edgy and may contain sexual references, drugs, drinking, violence, abuse, and adult situations.

So, help us spread the word. Edifying and Edgy will have recommendations for everyone.  We’ll have reviews for all genres at both ends of the reading spectrum (clean and “edgy”).

Click this link to find out how to enter Edifying and Edgy’s first contest.  You can win a copy of THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB by Heather Vogel Frederick and SWOON by Nina Malkin.  You’ll have the chance for extra entries if you help spread the word about the new blog around the blogosphere.

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Candor by Pam Bachorz

Oscar Banks lives in Candor. Candor is the brainchild of Oscar’s father. Candor is the most perfect place to live. Families pay millions of dollars to live in Candor. Is Candor really all that perfect?

Oscar knows what Candor’s secret is. The music that plays constantly has secret messages inbedded in it. This is how the town remains perfect. Parents bring their wayward children to Candor to make them become perfect children. Oscar is helping those children escape…for a price.

When Nia moves in Oscar and her quickly fall in love. Oscar’s goal becomes saving Nia from becoming brainwashed by the secret messages before he has a chance to plan their escape. Will they escape Candor or will they succumb to the inbedded messages like everyone else?

I enjoyed Candor. I did have an issue with some language and sexual references. There were definate nail-biting scenes in the book that caused my heart to race and my fingers to want to turn the pages quicker. I would say this is definately a more mature-themed book.

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Claudia’s husband Stu has passed away. Claudia can’t seem to part with any of Stu’s things, including a huge bust of Elvis Presley.

Claudia relegated Elvis to the attic for the past 20 years. While going through Stu’s things she finds him(Elvis) along with a note from Stu stating that Elvis needs to be returned to Memphis.

Claudia, her Aunt Rae and Ivy(Stu’s best friend Ben’s daughter) set out from Dallas to Memphis to try to find out where Stu originally got the Elvis bust. Each woman has a reason for being on this trip.

Rae had a relationship with Elvis when she was a young woman. While on this trip she reveals little by little bits and pieces of her life. Ivy has a secret of her own. One that will change her life forever. Claudia has lost her faith in God and is still tied to the memories of her husband.

Will each woman find the answers they are in need of? Will they eventually find where the Elvis bust belongs? Will Claudia find her faith again? Will Ivy make the right choices for her life?

I can’t say this was one of my favorite books to read. I thought it was dis-jointed in parts. I couldn’t tell who was talking to whom or even sometimes who was doing the talking! I thought the spiritual content was pretty weak. There was talk of having faith in God, but never how to have that faith. When the characters visit the “church” that the Elvis bust supposedly came from and talk about seeing “the ghost of Elvis” started the book pretty much lost me. Even with all of that though I did feel a connection and enough interest in the book to finish it and find out what happens to everyone. If you are looking for a deeper spiritual message this is probably not for you.

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Dear Pen Pal is the 3rd installment of The Mother-Daughter Book Club series. A group of girls and their mother have formed a reading group to discuss books that they read throughout the year. In Dear Pen Pal the group is reading Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. This year the mother’s have paired the girls up with another Mother-Daughter book club group. This group is in Wyoming. The mother’s from both groups decide that the girls should become Pen-Pals. When the mother’s say Pen-Pals they do not mean IM’ing, or texting or e-mailing Pen-Pals. They mean actually sitting down and writing a letter and mailing snail mail Pen-Pals. You must read the first two books to be able to follow the characters.

Meet the girls:

Becca: Becca is the newest member of the group. The girls still cannot decide if she is a friend or an enemy. So they call her a “frenemy”. Becca’s mom has decided that this is the year that she is going to “improve herself” all of her outlandish outfits make quite an embarrassing situation for Becca. Becca’s pen pal is Zoe Winchester. Zoe’s mom is the mayor of their town. Will Becca and Zoe hit it off or are they too much alike to ever be friends?

Cassidy: Cassidy is a girl-jock. she loves sports. She is the first girl to be on the all-boys ice hockey team. Cassidy’s dad has passed away and her mother has recently re-married. To add to Cassidy’s disgruntlement with the situation her mother and step-dad inform her and the group that they are going to have a baby. Cassidy is not happy. Cassidy is paired up as a pen-pal to Winky Parker. Winky’s family own a Dude Ranch. Cassidy is not getting along with all of the changes in her life. Will this new little one soften her heart?

Jess: Jess’s family own a farm. They work hard and there isn’t much money to spare. Jess loves her home and loves her friends. Jess is given a scholarship to Colonial Academy. A very prestigious boarding school for girls. Jess doesn’t want to leave her friends at Walden Middle School. In order to please her family she agrees to go. She is placed in a room with Savannah, a senator’s daughter. Savannah is a typical priviledged girl and the girls do not get along. Jess is paired up as a pen pal with Madison Daniels. Jess’s mother figured since Jess loves to sing and Madison loves to play the guitar that the girls should have music as a common interest. Jess likes Emma’s brother Darcy. When Savannah asks Darcy to go to a dance with her the little bit of friendship that Jess felt towards her evaporates. Will the girls ever learn how to get along?

Emma: Emma loves to write. Emma loves to read. Walden Middle School has decided to make students wear uniforms this year. Will Emma find that the “Pen is mightier than the sword” and be able to change the faculties mind about uniforms? Emma has a boyfriend, Stewart is Becca’s brother. Will Emma be the first club member to be kissed? Emma is paired up as a pen pal with Bailey Jacobs. Bailey’s mother owns a bookstore. The girls are sure to get along!

Megan: This year Megan’s grandmother moves in with her and her family. Megan seems to get along better with her grandmother than she does with her own mother. Megan’s mother doesn’t understand Megan’s interest in fashion. Megan doesn’t understand why she is an only child. Why does her mother have to be so different? Megan is paired up as a pen-pal with Summer Williams. Summer sews quilts and Megan sews clothes, it should be the perfect match right?

So far I have enjoyed all three books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series. I am looking forward to the next installment. All 3 books deal with friendship issues and with social issues. These novels are  so refreshing from the novels that deal with drugs and sex. I know that middle schoolers are dealing with those issues too, but there are also kids that aren’t dealing with those darker issues of life. BUT they still are having to deal with acceptance among their peers, family issues, and other growing up issues. Life isn’t all rose-colored glasses, and neither are these novels.

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