Merchant’s Daughter / by Melanie Dickerson. 7.7.2013

Zondervan (December 6, 2011), ISBN 978-0310727613
HS (Adult)  Rating: 5

Melanie Dickerson returns with an inspired retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale to delight teen and adult readers.

In The Merchant’s Daughter, Annabel Chapman, a wealthy merchant’s daughter, finds her life dramatically changed when her father dies, leaving the family in debt. Her mother and brothers defiantly ignore an order to pay their debt. They pressure Annabel to marry Baliff Tom so they avoid working; otherwise, one of them must work as an indentured servant to Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Lord Ranulf is known for his beastly temper, making the villagers afraid of him. Annabel would rather work for him than marry the baliff. While the baliff continues to make advances toward her when he dines with Ranulf, Annabel is able to see past Ranulf’s harsh exterior that hides his physical and emotional scars. Ranulf, scarred from a wolf attack, is embittered by memories of an unfaithful wife, now dead.

The faith element is evident but not overpowering. Annabel wonders why God has allowed her to be in this situation. She longs to read the Bible, but the local priest rebukes her when she asks to borrow a Bible to read. When Ranulf wants someone to read aloud to him, Annabel is the only servant able to do so. Imagine her surprise when he wants her to read the Bible! Discussing the passages she reads draws them closer to one another and to God.

Dickerson continues to grow as a writer, as she creates an exquisite medieval setting for this historical romance. Her characters are well-thought out and her plot tightly woven. Though one knows the story will probably end happily ever after, the reader is caught up in in the story as it unfolds.

The Merchant’s Daughter, winner of the 2012 Carol Award, was also a 2012 Christy Award finalist.

Carol R. Gehringer , www.worthy2read.wordpress.com

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Starflower (Tales of the Goldston Wood, 4) / Anne Elisabeth Stengl. 7.6.2013

Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012), ISBN 978-0764210266
HS Grades 8-12  Rating: 4

Award-winning author Anne Elisabeth Stengl continues her Tales of Goldstone Wood series with Starflower, a prequel to her first three books. Starflower takes place more than sixteen hundred years earlier, but lays the foundation for the story in Heartless.

Starflower tells how Hri Sora the dragon loses her wings and dragon form. In order for her dragon father to restore her back to dragon form, she must find the Flowing Gold of Rudiobus, securely hidden by the queen of fairies. Hri Sora kidnaps the queen’s cousin, Gleamdren, in an attempt to find the Flowing Gold. Meanwhile, Lady Gleamdren believes an army of suitors will follow in pursuit to rescue her when, to her dismay, only two of them make the attempt: the Bard Eanrin, and Glomar, the Captain of the Guard.

Glomar and Eanrin compete to rescue Gleamdren, knowing whoever reaches her first  wins her favor. On the way, Eanrin comes across a deaf mortal woman, Starflower, under an enchantment. Eanrin takes her on his quest to Hri Sora’s castle. Starflower (or Imraldera as she is called later) is pursued by the Beast (the Wolf Lord) and his Black Dogs, as well as by the Hound. Imraldera gains Gleamdren’s freedom in exchange for assisting Hri Sora in her quest to complete her quest.

In her author’s note, Stengl shares she was partially inspired by the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. Anyone familiar with this poem will be reminded of it. The Hound in Starflower pursues Imeldera, as does the Black Dogs, slaves to the Wolf Lord. One hounds her to life, the other to death.

See also MoonbloodVeiled Rose [and] Heartless, also by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Carol R. Gehringer, www.worthy2read.wordpress.com

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

The Fairest Beauty / by Melanie Dickerson. 7.5.2013

Zondervan (January 22, 2013), ISBN 9780310724391
HS (Adult) Rating: 5

Award-winning Melanie Dickerson pens her third young adult novel loosely based on the story of Snow White.

In The Fairest Beauty, Duchess Ermengard fakes the death of her stepdaughter Sophie, driving her husband, Duke Baldewin, to disappear in despair. For over fifteen years, she convinces everyone the scullery maid Sophie she torments, is only an orphan girl. Even Sophie is unaware of her true identity. A former nurse, the only one left with knowledge of the deception, fakes her own death and travels to Sophie’s betrothed. But Valten is laid up with a broken leg and unable to come. His impulsive younger brother, Gabe, decides to rescue Sophie on his own.

He tells Sophie of her true identity, and convinces Sophie to escape with him because her life is in danger. When Gabe is severely injured by pursuing guards, they take refuge in the Cottage of the Seven. While he recuperates, Sophie and Gabe discover they are falling in love, but they are both betrothed to others. News reaches Gabe that Sophie’s father is not dead but alive, and he leaves to find out the truth. While he is away, the Duchess, in the guise of an old woman, visits Sophie in the Cottage of Seven with the intent of killing her.

Like her earlier books, the faith element is clearly evident. Sophie prays for her stepmother instead of hating her. Both Gabe and Sophie struggle with past hurts needing God’s healing. They also struggle to seek God’s will and act honorably with others.

Dickerson is a masterful storyteller with a carefully crafted plot, richly drawn characters, and detailed medieval setting. The reader is pulled into the story, forgetting it is based on a familiar tale. All of her books are a delightful retelling, but this one is her best so far!

Carol R. Gehringer, www.worthy2read.wordpress.com

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Chasing Jupiter / by Rachel Coker. 7.2.2013

 

Zondervan (December 25, 2012), ISBN 978-0310732938

HS Grades 8-12 Rating:  4

** Pre-Publication Reviewed

Rachel Coker, author of Interrupted, returns with a novel about sixteen year old Scarlett Blaine whose dreams and reality clash as the world around her changes.

In Chasing Jupiter, Scarlett lives in the shadow of an older rebellious sister and a younger autistic brother. Both parents work hard to make ends meet. Their grandfather who also lives with Scarlett’s family, begins to suffer from dementia. It is the summer of 1969 when Neil Armstrong lands on the moon. Scarlett’s brother Cliff announces he wants to be the first person to fly to Jupiter. Scarlett promises to help him by selling peach pies to raise the money to build Cliff’s rocket.  A farmer’s son, Frank, helps Scarlett, and they become close friends.

Scarlett’s mother volunteers her to teach the pastor’s wife to cook one afternoon each week. As they spend time together, Scarlett talks about her desire for God to fix everything in her life, so she would have a (normal) family again. Mrs. Greene tells her “God’s grace isn’t in him solving our problems instantly,” but in the assurance that “he has a greater plan.” When situations arise to complicate matters further, Scarlett’s faith is weakened until she is able to recapture God’s purpose for her life.

Although this is her second novel, Coker writes at a level beyond her years. Her well-written narratives and character development are excellent. The reader is drawn into the middle of Scarlett’s family and each family member’s challenges. Some scenes told after the fact might have enhanced the story if they had been included.

Chasing Jupiter is realistic fiction, historical fiction, and a light romance, all rolled into one. If you haven’t discovered Ms. Coker’s books yet, do so now!

Carol R. Gehringer, www.worthy2read.wordpress.com

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Enchanted Attic, 1) / L. L. Samson. 7.3.2013

 

Zonderkidz (May 8, 2012), ISBN 978-0310727958

MS (INT) Rating: 3

Lisa Samson, author of numerous adult novels, tries her hand at children’s fiction by presenting a classic story within a contemporary story framework.

In Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame, fourteen year old Ophelia and Linus are sent to live with their aunt and uncle, while their parents are on a research trip for five years. The best part of living with their aunt and uncle: they own an antique bookshop, and the twins are bookworms. The twins discover a hidden attic belonging to a mad scientist. In fact, Ophelia is reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame, when its main character, Quasimodo, comes to life. They have sixty hours to find a way for Quasimodo to get back to his own world. A custodian, a priest and a neighbor also help them.  Ophelia and Linus introduce Quasimodo to their world while they are waiting. The mad scientist shows up and tries to prevent them from succeeding.

The book may be intended for upper elementary students, but the author’s many references to literary works that they will study in high school and comments on the art of writing were distracting. It could be appropriate for nine to twelve year olds, especially as a way of introducing the classics to younger students.

The characters were somewhat stereotypical (absent parents allow the twins to embark on their own adventures).  There was no visible faith element, despite being published by Zondervan. This book is the first of the series whose concept of a storybook character coming to life is engaging, but the execution is not smooth (too many asides and references to literature not suitable or age-appropriate).  Hopefully later books will overcome this.

Carol R. Gehringer, www.worthy2read.wordpress.com

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

The Beetle Book / written & illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

 

Houghton Mifflin, 9780547680842

Grades 2-6 (all ages)         Rating: 5

The Beetle Book introduces many varieties of beetles and how they grow, move, live, fight, and communicate. Author/illustrator Steve Jenkins uses his signature cut and torn paper collage technique for which The Beetle Book was deemed a New York Times “Best Illustrated Book of the Year”.

Young readers who are already interested in these insects will find the pages rich with amazing facts and descriptions. Over 75 types of beetles are presented, with fitting common names that kids will relish (“stink beetle”, “dung beetle”, “pleasing fungus beetle”). Endnotes include the Latin name and location of each insect, along with a brief bibliography. There are so many fascinating details in this large picture book that even bug-squeamish readers will be captivated. The oversized color artwork smartly contrasts with the actual-size black silhouettes throughout the book, though some readers may have difficulty with the small font. There is mention of beetles existing 230 million years ago along with dinosaurs, and passing references to mating behavior.

Nina Ditmar, CLJ

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

For the Birds: The life of Roger Tory Peterson / Peggy Thomas.

For the Birds: The life of Roger Tory Peterson / Peggy Thomas.

INT     Grades3-6     Rating 4

As a biography, For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas connects easily with young readers, describing Peterson’s early fascination with nature and birds the way kids would experience them. Readers will be caught up in Peterson’s hikes in the woods and his passion for capturing them in authentic illustrations. They’ll be inspired by the ornithologist’s perseverance to save to buy his first camera at age 14, and to work at a monotonous job while perfecting his art that eventually received national recognition.

Peterson, once a teacher and camp counselor, eventually became known as the naturalist whose art and research came together in A Field Guide to the Birds during the Depression. Carefully detailed illustrations by Laura Jaques add visual value to the text. Children will see how a scientist grows his skill while absorbing plenty of avian facts. Thomas’ subtle humor and upbeat tone are lovely; her use of ornithological terms may intrigue readers, though it seems a bit overdone by book’s end. Peterson’s own sketches adorn the inside front and back covers along with a quaint “Topography of a Birder” diagram. Overall, this well-written biography accents science and art studies and can prompt children to pursue their passions.

Karen Schmidt, CLJ

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Son of a Gun / by Anne de Graaf. 6.30.2013

 

MS     Grades 6-8

Rating 5

Son of a Gun by Anne de Graaf tells the story of two children, Lucky and Nopi, living in Liberia. Lucky is eight years old and his sister, Nopi, is ten. While they’re in school one day, they are kidnapped along with many other children and forced to become child soldiers in Liberia’s civil war, a war that would last 14 years. These children are given AK-47 rifles and told, “This gun is your god. You listen to the voice of your god and go where your gun tells you.” Lucky and Nopi escape, but must continue searching for their family. Once they are reunited with their family, they still have to live with the memories of the horrors they saw and experienced. A great number of children are not so fortunate. Some that survive have lost their families and homes. Others decide that a soldier’s life is the only one they know.

This book is based on true stories of former child soldiers interviewed by the author. It is told from the viewpoints of Lucky and Nopi. It is a very well-written but heartbreaking tale. It doesn’t go into any graphic details, but does adequately describe the pain and suffering of the child soldiers. Unfortunately, there are many other children like Lucky and Nopi. They were robbed of their childhoods and forced into unimaginable situations. The United Nations convinced a lot of the children to turn their guns in for money. However, this was a hard decision for many because their commanding officer had convinced them to never part with their guns, as their guns were their god. The book also includes a section of notes and additional information about Liberia.

Trina Chase, CLJ

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Letters to Leo / by Amy Hest. 6.29.2013

 

INT, grades 4 -6, rating: 5.

Hardcover.

Letters to Leo by Amy Hest contains letters that Annie has written to her new dog, Leo. Annie has always wanted a dog, but her father won’t let her have one. Finally, her dad gives in, and they get a dog. Annie is so excited. Annie loves to write, so she keeps a journal which is actually a collection of letters to Leo.  Annie is an only child, and her best friend is moving away, so Leo becomes her best friend. Annie has so many stories to tell Leo about school, her friends, and just everyday things.  One day her teacher tells them about a contest for young city authors. Each person has to write an essay about an idea for a better New York. Annie wants to win the contest so badly. She already knows where she’ll put the trophy. Annie’s idea for a better New York is to remove all the “No Dogs Allowed” signs and allow dogs everywhere!

This book is a very cute story and well-written. The illustrations look like they were drawn by Annie herself. Children will be able to relate to the story because it is about the ideas of a child. The dramas of fourth grade can be amusing–for instance, Annie  finds a book in the library titled You and Your Elderly Parent: Tips for Getting Along and Having Fun. It is cute when she refers to her father as her elderly parent and lists tips on how he needs to try new things. This story shows the friendship and bond between a child and her pet.

Trina Chase, CLJ

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise / by Jan Pinborough; illustrated by Debby Atwell. 6/19/2013

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise / by Jan Pinborough; illustrated by Debby Atwell

Houghton Mifflin, 978-0-547-47105-1

Grades 2-6 (all ages)         Rating: 5

Growing up in the late 1800s, Annie Carroll Moore dreams of adventure beyond her life in Limerick, Maine. From a young age she aims to challenge the popular view of what children and women ought to do. At age 19 she heads to New York and graduates from library school. Libraries are just beginning to allow children patrons and Miss Moore implements many changes to make libraries more accessible and inviting to the children of New York City. In 1911, the new Central Children’s Room of the New York Public Library features many of Miss Moore’s revolutionary ideas, which will later be copied by libraries throughout the world.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise is an enlightening picture book for young readers who will have trouble imagining a time when public libraries did not welcome children. Author Jan Pinborough introduces the little-known Annie Carroll Moore and tells how the creative vision and determination of this influential American woman led to many of the features children enjoy in libraries today. Debby Atwell’s folk art style illustrations perfectly evoke the time period and wonderfully capture both rural and city scenes from Miss Moore’s life. This would be an excellent book to share during a library story time or as part of a women’s history lesson. Endnotes contain additional biographical information, photographs, a helpful list of sources for further study, and a brief description of five other “trailblazing librarians” from the same era.

Nina Ditmar, CLJ

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.