The Door book giveaway Winner!

seventh-dimension

Congratulations to Chaos-XD! You are the winner of the book giveaway! I’ll be sending you your copy of the book this week.

Thanks everyone for liking the review. Please forward it to any one that might have a young adult reader or who would be interested in the story. It is a good read and what a great way to help out a fellow author.

Here is the link to it on Amazon! Seventh Dimension – The Door

Book Review – Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

 

rumblefish

Our oldest son, Max, was assigned The Outsiders to read for his high school English class. Soon after, that prompted us to buy the movie and watch it as a family. Since he enjoyed the book, the following Christmas, I bought the book Rumble Fish for him. As I was laying in bed, I saw the book sitting on the bookshelf next to all of the other books we have bought for the kids over the years. I remember reading The Outsiders when I was in high school, but I don’t remember reading Rumble Fish. Decided it was a good time to read it. Like The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton writes another powerful YA coming of age story from the perspective of kids growing up in a small south western town in gangs.

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Rumble Fish

Author

S.E. Hinton

Type of Book

YA

Background

S.E (Susan Eloise) Hinton wrote her first book, The Outsiders when she was in high school. She based it on the division of her classmates into two social groups. This book was published when she was a freshman in college and it became an immediate hit. She wrote her books from the kids’ perspective and it made it very relatable to the YA audiences. This book along with Rumble Fish were both made into movies.

Summary of the story

Rusty-James is the toughest kid in junior high. His older brother, Motorcycle Boy, used to be a well-known gang leader. Rusty-James longs to be like Motorcycle Boy while Motorcycle Boy is trying to back out of the whole gang thing. While living with his alcoholic father, Rusty-James gets into a lot of fights and trouble while trying to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Little does he know that this path may not lead to as a great of place as it seemed to with his brother.

Reactions to the book

Hinton writes another powerful YA book. For being a quick read, the story itself was a little hard for me to understand. There were things in the story that I had to put together as I was reading it, so a little more connecting detail may have helped me to enjoy the story more. There was a lot of violent activity with Rusty-James wanting to be the tough guy. This may be an issue for a more sensitive reader. I did like how Hinton took a different look at teenagers growing up in a more on the street type setting. I did enjoy the book.

If you interested in learning more about the author, you can check out her website S.E. Hinton

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com Rumble Fish

Book Review – Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Fantasy by Lorilyn Roberts

Special Message: Check this book review for a special giveaway!

Now we are onto a YA Fantasy novel review. Fantasy writers create alternative worlds where their characters either go on a personal journey to learn about themselves or to be a hero in the other world. There are many fantasy types of novels out there. Some are dystopian in nature and others are apocalyptic take overs of what we know our world to be now. Like the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, this book is a great start for this series with the main character, Shale Snyder, being led to the door of the parallel universe by a stray dog.

seventh-dimension

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Seventh Dimension: The Door

Author

Lorilyn Roberts

Type of Book

YA Fantasy

Background

Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes for the young and young at heart. The Door is the first of four published books in the Seventh Dimension Series. Roberts is currently working on the last book of her five-book series. It has been the finalist of four different book awards and was the winner of the 2014 Book Goodies Best Cover Contest Winner, YA category

Summary of the story

Shale Snyder is a fourteen-year-old girl who feels all alone in the world. Due to an event that happened when she was twelve, she continues to be shunned by the kids she calls friends. One day, she meets a stray dog, Much-Afraid, who leads her to a door in the woods. After she goes through it, she is in a whole other world, the seventh dimension.

It is a coming of age story. When Shale arrives in the seventh dimension along with the stray dog Much-Afraid, she meets Cherios the rabbit, Baruch the donkey, Lowly the pig and Worldly Crow who all help her on the journey where they meet Shale’s dad and the King.

Reactions to the book

Shale’s journey to the seventh dimension happens so she can deal with her demons and learn about the power of faith to help her forgive herself. She’s introduced to the idea of a king who I believe represents a higher spiritual power. Roberts does a great job of weaving the Christian themes into the book and not make it feel like a religious book. I would recommend this book for middle grade and YA readers, but it could also be enjoyed by adults as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out her website Lorilyn Roberts

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com The Door

The author, Lorilyn Roberts, has offered a free copy of the book we just reviewed, The Door. I would like to do a giveaway to one of my followers on social media who comment on this review. I will randomly pick a winner from all that comment and will announce the winner on next Monday Morning’s Blog. Be sure to check out the author and Amazon links to learn more about the author and the book! 

Book Review – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This was the first one of James Dashner’s books I have read. It just happened to be sitting on our coffee table because our high school sophomore had it as an assigned reading for his English class. It has been on my reading list for a while, but my to-do list had a couple of things left to finish before I could start it. As I finished up those tasks, I kept seeing the book and longed to sit down in my comfy chair and read it. When I was finally able to pick it up from the coffee table, I had a hard time putting it down.

thircgmhl3

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Maze Runner

Author

James Dashner

Type of Book

YA – High School level reading – dystopian science fiction

Background

20th Century Fox released a film adaptation of the book in September of 2014

Summary of the story

Thomas is brought to a place called the Glade with his memories of the past wiped clean from his mind. It was a place where a group of teenagers, all brought to the Glade the same way Thomas was, already lived. Where they lived is found in the middle of a maze the teens have been trying to find their way out of. The story is of the group coming together to figure out the puzzle and to fight off creatures called the Grievers who lived in the maze and kept them from getting out.

Reactions to the book

I really enjoyed the book. I had a hard time putting it down. The characters were engaging and I found Dashner’s writing style easy to read.

The story is like The Hunger Games trilogy in the survival of the fittest and dystopian themes found in both books. I liked the premise of the teens being challenged to find their way out and were forced to when their world started to change. They didn’t sit around like a lot of teens have done if they were faced with challenging circumstances. It was inspiring.

Being a writer myself, I understood the ending was written the way it was to set up the sequel, The Scorch Trials which I added to my reading list. I think the way it was written took away from the punch that the actual story gives you at the end. Many books have done cliffhanger endings to provide suspense for their next book. In this case, the ending seemed to be the beginning of book two, where I think it could have been written as the beginning of book two instead. Probably just his style and a different way of doing it. I would recommend the book as a good teen read.

If you are looking for more information abut the writer, here is his website James Dashner .

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is the link to it on Amazon The Maze Runner

Book Review – Race for the Sky by Dan Gutman

After years of planning and experimenting, Wilber and Orville Wright finally got the powered Wright Flyer off the ground on December 17, 1903. Look where we are one hundred and thirteen years later. According to Wikipedia, in 2016, an average of ninety three thousand commercial flights originate from nine thousand airports daily. And Boeing has a 787 Dreamliner which seats up to 335 passengers.

Race for the Sky is told to us through the diaries of fourteen year old Johnny Moore, a kid who lived in Kill Devil Hills at the turn of the twentieth century. He watched the Wright brothers create the Wright Flyer and he wrote about it in a journal that his mom gave him.

As a pilot myself, I love to read books about aviation. I visited Kill Devil Hills with my aunt and saw the place where powered flight began. I love going to the places where these things actually take place and imagine how it really happened. Reading this book added to my knowledge of Wright Brothers and how the Flyer took flight that day.

 

race-for-the-sky

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Race for the Sky

Author

Dan Gutman

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

The book was published November 1, 2003 just in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the first flight.

Summary of the story

Fourteen year old Johnny Moore is given a journal as a gift from his mom to ring in the new century (1900). She said he didn’t have to go school if he wrote in this book every day. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon for kids to not go to school. They would stay home and help with things around the house or go to work and earn money for their families. While he did fish to earn some money, Johnny wound up getting his education in a little different way, he spent time watching the Wright Brothers build the Wright Flyer.

The Wrights weren’t the only ones trying to build an airplane. The race to put a flying machine into the sky was being attempted by men all over the world. The Wrights even had visitors come to see what they were doing. Some were truly curious, but others acted as spies and were trying to steal ideas so they could be the first to built one.

Reactions to the book

Just like Dear Mr. Henshaw, this book is written in epistolary style, from the main character Johnny Moore’s point of view through the use of his personal diary. This style makes the story more personal by showing how Johnny feels and what happened through his eyes. I really enjoy that for middle grade reads.

Gutman does a great job of writing an engaging novel to describe one of the great moments in history. Reading stories like these are a fun way for kids to learn about these significant historical events. Having been to the site and reading this book brings the significance of the event full circle for me. I would definitely recommend this book.

To find out a little more information about the author, Dan Gutman, here is a link to his website Dan Gutman’s website

If you are interested in purchasing the book, here is the link to it on Amazon Race for the Sky

 

Book Review – Wish by Barbara O’Connor

I have been reading more middle grade and YA books lately. Not only to see what other authors are writing about, but because I genuinely love the stories. I went looking on Amazon.com the other day and I loved the cover of this book when I first saw it. A picture of a girl and her dog touched my heart. It reminded me of how special my relationship is with my dog Maggie. I was drawn into the book not just with the idea of a girl and her dog, but also by the title, Wish.

Also on the front cover, she has the statement, With a little luck, you can get what you wish for printed across the top. Just one more thing I was drawn in by. It instills a feeling of hope that anything you dream about can come true. What an inspiring message for young readers.

 

wish-cover

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Wish

Author

Barbara O’Connor

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

Junior Library Guild Selection, American Book Sellers Association Best Books of the Year 2016, Parents Choice Gold Award

Summary of the story

Charlemagne (Charlie) Reese felt like a child out of place from a broken family with her dad in jail and her mom dealing with depression. When her parents were unable to care for her, she moved from Raleigh, North Carolina to live with her aunt and uncle in Colby, North Carolina. Charlie relates her story to us about being the new girl at school, making friends with unlikely kids and finding her dog, Wishbone. Throughout the book, she believes in wishes coming true and was always looking for situations to make them. Like finding a four-leaved clover or wishing on a star. She tells the reader that she always wishes for the same thing every time. We don’t learn what her wish is until the end.

Reactions to the book

For middle grade reads, I think that having the stories written from the child characters’ point of view helps to make the story relatable to the audience that it has been written for. The same story told from an adult point of view, loses some of the feelings and innocence of being a kid. O’Connor does a great job of capturing the feelings and thoughts of the main character, Charlie Reese.

It is an inspiring read for any middle grade reader. The characters are easy to relate to and the story being told by Charlie is very real. Charlie shows us through her compassion for people and animals that all beings are worth caring about, even if they are stray or different.

I read in O’Connor’s bio that she grew up in South Carolina and that she mixes some of her personal experiences into her stories. Mixing those experiences in added depth and feeling to the reading experience of the book for me. I would definitely recommend it.

If you would like to learn more about the author, Barbara O’Connor, here is a link to her website Barbara O’Connor

If you would like to order a copy of the book, Wish, here is a link to it on Amazon Wish

Book Review – The Accused (Theodore Boone #3) by John Grisham

I have quite a few writers that follow my blog which is great. Since I am planning to become a middle grade author, I want to bring some YA/Middle Grade readers, parents, teachers and librarians on to follow my blog. To make that happen, I decided that I would need to come up with some different content for my blog posts. Topics they would genuinely be interested in and want to come to my blog for.

As I worked through the WordPress workshop I was involved in last month, I brainstormed some new ideas. One of the ideas I came up with was book reviews. Not just any book review, but a review of either a YA or a Middle Grade book. That way, I could draw in those readers for a new book to read and also write the review for the parents, teachers and librarians to help them decide whether the book would be suitable for their young readers. It would also help me to read the books that my soon to be published one, The Hard Way, will be found on the shelf with.

So, I decided to start with a monthly book review this month. For the featured book for July, I went into our family bookshelf and looked at the books that the boys have read. I found one, Theodore Boone – The Accused by John Grisham. I was intrigued by the fact that it was a middle grade novel written by Grisham. I like his style in the adult novels I have read so I thought that I would try this middle grade novel out.

A book review is just one person’s view of what they read. So I will give it a shot and share my thoughts with you about this one. Check out what I have to say about The Accused in the book review below.

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Accused (Theodore Boone #3)

Author

John Grisham

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

This is the third book of a series. After reading the book, I learned that it can be read and enjoyed without having read the first two books in the series.

Summary of the story

Theodore Boone (Theo), an eighth grader at Strattenburg Middle School, falls into in a stolen goods situation at school. As the son of two lawyers, he uses his knowledge of the law and interest in investigating and takes the case. He has to fight through being the one accused of the crime, to work on the case with his Uncle Ike and his friends.

Reactions to the book

Couldn’t put the book down. It was a very engaging read with characters that would be very easy for any middle grade reader to relate to. I have read many of Grisham’s adult fiction novels and I am a fan. The same writing style is found in his middle grade series. The idea of reading a mystery at that age, reminds me of the Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene. I had fun reading those books as a young girl and enjoyed trying to figure out how it was going to end. I found that reading this book was the same way.

Theo seems to be an above average kid in his knowledge of the law. He must be really interested in it to take on his case and other people’s cases like he does in the book. The other kids seem to want to help him out with it, which brings in kind of teamwork and friends helping each other theme into the story.

If you enjoy a good kid sleuth solving a mystery story, I would definitely recommend this book for any middle grade reader out there. It was even a pretty enjoyable read for this adult reader.

 

A Book Report

As I sit here writing and looking out of my deck door, I see a beautiful day coming along. This morning the sun is out and the blue sky is showing itself with no clouds. They say it is supposed to be almost 60 degrees here in Minnesota today. That is rare for this early in March, but I’ll take it. I think I’m ready to be outside again, without a heavy coat and boots on.

I’m still reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It is a longer book, but it is also taking me longer to read. I think I’m just in a busy life period lately. Or maybe I have a lot on my mind. After blogging last month about black American people who made some great things happen in the history of our country, I think I got a little heavy hearted about how they were treated. Even as I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I feel sympathy for the characters and how they didn’t have many choices. They were split up from their families with no regard for their feelings. They were killed if they were caught escaping with no consideration of why they had to leave. Many did escape and become free, but it wasn’t an easy journey. It was pretty stressful not only for them, but also for the people who were helping them get away from slavery.

Thinking about the title A Book Report, I remember the book reports that we did in school. It made me go back into my archive files to look through some papers that my Mom had saved for me from grade school and high school. I saw some poetry that I had written in fourth grade. I saw the awards I got for reading books in the Bookmate Program in fifth grade. I have memories of walking into our library at my elementary school, which I think was actually called a media center, and going to the posted list of Bookmate books. I wish I had a list of the books I read, it would be fun to see what kind of books were of interest to me then. I know at home I was reading Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie. My Godmother also gave me some books from Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. This books were similar to Little House on the Prairie in setting, but was more of a Christian romance story.

So, after looking through those papers I wondered how would I write a book report about Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Well, first off, I should probably finish the book to have the full story to work with. Back in the school days, I wonder how many students did write their book reports without finishing the story. I know that some kids were watching the movie and writing their reports based on that version, which the teacher would always catch them at. Nowadays, kids can go right onto the internet and find reviews and even videos about the book to write the report from. How about Cliff Notes? I know that I received some help from copies of those to write my English papers. Are they even still available? I just googled it and they are still out there.

With another google search, I found out how to write a book report on wikihow.com

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Book-Report

I think the first paragraph is great advice to how to get started. This information could have been helpful to me when I was assigned this task back in the day.

Most students will have to write a book report. But writing a book report isn’t always easy. It is best to enjoy the book and not think about the report until you have finished reading. Now, absorb and think about what it was you read. Get up from your chair, walk around, then sit down at the table and start to write.

wikihow.com talks about the process to write the book report

Method #1 – Before you write the report

  1. know the requirements of the assignment
  2. read the book an annotate
  3. Outline main ideas and sub ideas of your book

Method #2 – Form of your report

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion

Method #3 – Final Copy

  1. Reread your report
  2. Edit your report

The process sounds familiar, but I don’t think I had it spelled out like this for me before. As I look through the steps, I would say that I probably did them all, but maybe not as in depth as I could have. I am not sure if I did any annotating or outlining while I was reading the book then, but it may have helped in writing the report. The form of the report is how all reports and research papers are set up. I remember the teachers talking about that format a lot, not just for a book report but other research papers too. Then there is the reread and edit phase. I think I was so happy to get the thing done, I may not have did such a great job at the proofreading part. Now, as a writer of blogs and manuscripts, I do this step a lot before I post or publish. Oh, how my writing process has changed since then!

A book report is a paper about what the book is about that is usually written for a class assignment. How about a book review?  I have seen them as articles in the newspaper that are like a mini book report. On the other hand, the ones that I see posted on Goodreads and Amazon.com, tend to be little blurbs about what the reader thought of the book. They are usually accompanied by star review, one star being dislike and five stars being liked a lot.

Authors like to receive reviews from their readers and reviewers, either good and bad. One of the things that I have learned over my years of writing is that not everyone is going to like what you write. It is just like with people, some are going to like you and some aren’t. That shouldn’t be your motivation to write. Your motivation to write is that you enjoy writing and to get your voice out there. Any feedback that we can get from the readers is a gift. They took their time to let us know how they felt about what we wrote, good or bad.