Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Will have your kids shouting with laughter: "If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T"

about the book....

This unforgettable introduction to a charismatic kid heroine also marks the dazzling debut of an extraordinary new artistic talent!

Note to self: If your teacher tells you to bring something from nature for show-and-tell, she does not want you to bring an alligator! But nothing will stop Magnolia, who's determined to have the best show-and-tell of all--until her reptilian rapscallion starts getting her into some major trouble. Now it's up to Magnolia to find a way to send this troublemaker home--but what could possibly scare an alligator away?

my review....

I honestly can't say who enjoyed this book more - my children, or me! From the moment this book arrived at our house, the children were drawn to the action-packed cover and were clamouring to read it. Soon, they were literally shouting with laughter, and there would have been utter mutiny if I'd dared stop in the middle of the story. Why, you may ask? Let's just say that the combination of the clever (and irreverent) text with the utterly hilarious pictures not only grabbed hold of their attention but set them off into fits of giggles. Every child who reads this book will be able to find themselves somewhere in the midst of the pages, as they imagine themselves in school in Magnolia's shoes (what child HASN'T had some fear and trembling about being called out for doing something in class, and perhaps getting their NAME ON THE BOARD?) And one of the best parts of reading this book with children is that they pick up on things I might otherwise have missed, finding little additions in the drawings that add a whole new level of hilarity to the experience. As a parent, I love that the story sparks in their imagination just exactly what it would be like to walk into school with an alligator (and in fact, after I finished reading the book they proceeded to act out that very thing!). And I'm also happy to find a story that both I and the children can truly enjoy together.

With a highly entertaining storyline and fabulous illustrations that will at a minimum leave your children smiling, "If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T!" is an absolute winner in our household. When I asked my children what sort of rating I should award this book, it was simply unanimous. A 5 out of 5 stars was a must. Well, who am I to argue with their literary expertise? 5 out of 5 stars it is!

Book been provided courtesy of the publisher (LB Kids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group) for the purposes of this unbiased review.

About the author....

Elise Parsley lives in Minnesota with her husband. If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! is her debut picture book.

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From Amazon.com:

Free ebook: "Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story" by Annie Tipton

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story - eBook  -     By: Annie Tipton

Free for download today on Amazon.com. Here's the link:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Will enrich your devotional life! My review of the new "NIV Zondervan Study Bible"

I have been using my current study Bible for years, and so I was hesitant to give this updated version a try. But I am so glad I did! The newest "NIV Zondervan Study Bible" is packed full of amazing features. From colourful maps (over 90!) to hundreds of photos of landmarks and artifacts, to excellent introductions to each book in the Bible, to a comprehensive concordance, the Bible is chock-full of tools that will enrich your understanding of Scripture. At almost 3000 pages, this study Bible provides all you could hope for in one volume. And did I mention that when you purchase the Bible, you also get a free copy of an electronic version of the Study Bible to download?

Even in the relatively short time I've had this Bible, I have found it to be a true blessing. When I do my daily devotions, I count on things like study notes to help me more clearly understand key verses, and the notes in this study Bible are truly excellent. I love how I can often look down to the study note accompanying a verse to see what the Hebrew or Greek word is to help me have a deeper understanding of what the scripture says. The authors of these notes clearly identify the scripture as the inspired word of God, and do a great job at letting the Bible speak truth, even when it may be hard to hear. For example, when I think of the divisive issue of homosexuality in the church today, it is so very helpful to look at key scriptures like Romans 1:26 and 27 that are accompanied by notes that ensure clear understanding of such matters. The background information and introductions to the books of the Bible are also well-written and informative, and help you clearly understand the context and the audience to the words that you are reading. I make it my goal to spend time each day in the Word, and I am so thankful for well-written study Bibles like this one that make that time a richer experience.

Although I was a bit sad to pack away my former study Bible, I just can't say enough positive things about this one. Not only does it contain my favourite version of the Bible, the NIV version, but it offers powerful tools to help me truly grasp the Word of God. I award this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. 

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Booklook Blogging program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Left me eager for more: Trial Run by Thomas Locke

Cover Art

about the book....

Dr. Gabriella Speciale has assembled an international team of elite scientists with one goal in mind--to create and control out-of-body experiences that transcend the limits of time and space. Reese Clawson's mind-bending experiments aim to explode the boundaries of human consciousness--and annihilate the opposition in the process.

When a terrifying discovery and a string of failed tests threaten to dismantle both programs, the key to survival may reside in the mind of a gifted grad student whose unsettling dreams have thrust him into the center of a dangerous battle for control.

As the threads of perception and reality become tangled and time itself twists in unexpected directions, one warning remains clear: what you don't know can kill you.

my review....

Quite simply, "Trial Run" blew me away, from its high-octane pace to its mind-blowing premise. I loved the author's unique take of two different factions being able to create out-of-body experiences that allow their people to impact others outside of the constraints of time or location. Such a concept is both fascinating to consider, while frightening at the same time, because such a possibility would change the world forever. The characters are not necessarily what you'd expect, as you find yourself connecting with certain characters only to find out they aren't the "good guy" after all. Such elements lead to several twists and turns in the story, which some readers may not appreciate as they might prefer a story where the good and bad are clearly known from the beginning. However, I quite enjoyed figuring out who I should be cheering for, and by the final few chapters I found myself simply unable to step away from the action taking place on the pages. Add in some explosive scenes and even a love triangle, and you have something that will appeal to everyone. As per usual, the author has crafted each scene with careful precision, and the writing is both beautiful and action-packed at the same time. I do have a complaint, of course. As "Trial Run" is only the first book in the series, we are left hanging, eager for more and yet having to wait until next year!

Thomas Locke impressed me with his previously published book earlier this year, "Emissary", and so I was looking forward to see what other concepts the author had up his sleeve. While the genre of "Trial Run" may not appeal to everyone, it certainly captivated me, and I found this book to be well worth the wait. I award this first instalment of the "Fault Lines" series a full rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

 about the author....

Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, the award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies. His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. As Thomas Locke, Davis is also the author of Emissary. Learn more at www.tlocke.com.

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