I use both a Nook and Kindle so if you see a book you wish to borrow just let me know and let's be

January 30, 2014

Book 5 of my 2014 Goal

Discipline without Shouting or Spanking: Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior ProblemsDiscipline without Shouting or Spanking: Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior Problems by Jerry L. Wyckoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am always interested in ways to improve my relationship with my grandchildren so I do read a lot of these self-help or how to books for that reason. I came across Discipline without Shouting or Spanking: Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior Problems by Jerry Wyckoff PhD & Barbara C. Unell and figured I would see what they suggest. Truthfully, I wasn't holding a lot of hope for practical solutions because just as the tons of other books I read, they just didn't have anything practical for a real world situation. They drown you with data about this study and that one but it really don't mean much to me because the study itself is faulted and set up from the beginning to slid one way or another. What I wanted is a common sense solution, and the know how to execute any discipline in a real time, real life situation. Lets face it, children can and will act up in a store, on a bus, on the sidewalk, just about anywhere and everywhere so techniques where you have to run home and sit them in their time out chair in the corner with the egg timer is just not practical. Somewhere out there, there has to be something that works and can be used and I found this book to be one of the best.

I thought it was fantastic that they remind the parents that they operate on a different timetable then their children and each child's ability to learn is different. This to me is a very strong statement and one all parents need to understand. As well as parents must model the behavior they want their child to understand. So basically, if you want your child's behavior to change than you may need to start with your own. After all, if a child sees you screaming and hitting every time you get mad, they will imitate you and do the same. A very undesirable outcome. However if you have empathy and explain that you are sorry that little Joy choose to hit. Explain how it hurts when someone hits and that there were better ways to handle the situation such as sharing the toy, then it would have been a better solution. Even praise Joy for sharing the toy. Which is one of the examples in the book.

The book does cover quite a few circumstances Preschoolers do and explains the best was to handle it. Naturally depending on the behavior, depends on how to handle it. But I was glad to see it was something that can be used at home or even if your out at a picnic.

It even covers the problem we are going through right now which is my grandson getting out of his bed in the middle of the night and prolonging bedtime as well. He'd want to go to the bathroom, get another drink of water, etc. Then about 3 in the morning he would leave his bed and run into his mom's and dad's room and try and hop into bed with them.

The book itself is written without typos (or if there were any, it certainly didn't take away from the information) and the behaviors are in chapters so you don't need to flip through all the pages to get to "Talking Back", you can just flip to that chapter and read. It is easy to understand and written without a bunch of scientific terms.

Will the book help everyone? Probably not, everyone is different and maybe some can't or won't respond to this but it is sure worth a try. As I said, I didn't expect much out of this book but was pleasantly surprised and I will be using some of theses suggestions myself.

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January 25, 2014

Book 4 of my 2014 Goal

Top Free Kindle Fire Apps: An Introduction, Plus Tips & TricksTop Free Kindle Fire Apps: An Introduction, Plus Tips & Tricks by The App Bible
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really don't use apps other than what came on my Kindle Fire. I know nothing about them and always shy away from downloading anything for fear of a virus or crashes or whatever else can go wrong but I was curious when I saw 'Top Free Kindle Fire Apps: An Introduction, Plus Tips and Tricks' by Andrew Middleton (The App Bible). Although I still don't use any apps it is a nice way to save time if I did want to use any. The book is easy to use and rates the top ten free apps in areas that are important such as if it crashes, how well it interacts with other apps, if it is easy to use, and so on.

Another nice feature is that all the apps are in chapters of their kind. For example: game apps, kid's apps, and productivity apps. Then there is a chapter for 'Tips and Tricks' which I found interesting and you can use some of the information no matter if you use apps or not such as how to conserve battery life on your Kindle Fire. If I did use apps I would definitely be reading the "How to avoid accidental In-App Purchases" again as well as a few others.

Other features of the book are there are links to other books written as well as links to the apps mentioned in the book. I don't know if all the links work since I have no use for them however as with everything in this digital age, I imagine some links are no longer valid but at least the name is still there so you can look it up on Amazon to see if it is still available if it is something you are interested in.

I know a lot of research and trials went into the writing of this book and although I didn't find it really useful for my situation, I am sure those of you who do use apps will find it much more useful. It is a good introduction to the top ten apps, what they do, what order to load them (I didn't know you had to load apps in a certain order), without having to load them and trying them all out yourself. The rating system is explained and easy to understand and also how turn off the ability to make in-app purchases.

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January 21, 2014

Book 3 of my 2014 Goal

The End of the LineThe End of the Line by Jim Power
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The End of the Line by Jim Power is a powerful romantic novel that has some historical overtones. I won't recap the story, you can read what the author wrote for yourself however I will tell you that even if your normal genre is not romance, don't discount this novel because I just couldn't put it down. It is written in such a way with all the layers that come into play in this romance not only captures your mind but it captures your heart as well.

The main Characters, Latesha (African-American) and Peter (white) are developed fully for the reader to understand the novel without having to know every little detail about them since the day they were born. The author managed to convey this in a way that doesn't stall the progress of the story or fill it with unnecessary information which kept the story flowing nicely. I found that I had a connection with the main characters but more so with Latesha and throughout the story can feel her pain and turmoil as well as her happiness and excitement.

The secondary (main character's parents) and other characters (basically two communities) are developed just as well in the story and the author pulls this off without the reader having to remember a whole town full of people and who did what and who thought what. As the reader, I knew exactly who was who and where they stand as well as what they felt without having to flip back into the story to try and remember where this person came from or what s/he did. The author's ability to do this made for an easy read, flowing story that gets the 'points' across without having to complicate the story with a bunch of characters or names.

Being a romance this story had many bumps and turns along the way which covered realistic subjects still prevalent today. The most dominant ones being prejudice, racism, and belligerence. Of course there are also personal hurdles that both main characters' families must get over in their own lives. Peter's high society mother who thinks that money and social status is everything and even uses the threats of cutting Peter out of her will has a very interesting lesson to learn. Then there is Latesha's father who in reality is dealt a hard hand of cards when he was hurt on the job. Unfortunately these cards only reinforces his less than favorable view of whites. He still is holding slavery (although he wasn't a slave, his ancestors were) as fuel for this 'against whites attitude' so this more recent event only adds more timber to that fire.

I also want to add that although there is no denying that this is a romance, the main layer of this story is about Latesha's and Peter's developing love for each other and the most interesting thing I found is there is no sex in it. The most that happens is kissing but in no way does this make it any less romantic. In fact, because of the way it is written and the tone it sets, sex would have been totally out of place and cheapen the characters in my opinion. I thought this was a gutsy move on the author's part and he pulled it off perfectly.

The historical aspect in the novel is about the underground railroad and "The End of the Line" being in Canada which is where this novel takes place. Although the underground railroad (which was not underground nor a railroad) came up from southern states through the northern states to Canada. The northern states were 'free' states but slaves still could be caught and transported back to their owners (or killed) however not so in Canada. Any slaves that made it to Canada were free. There is a real significant reason this event is the undertone of this novel. Not only because of the obvious reasons which the book is named for (some I can't say due to writing spoilers) but because of the sacrifices made by whites to aid in hiding and transporting these slaves until they can get to freedom which is often a fact that is overlooked.

Then again, maybe the book isn't named because of the last stop on the underground railroad known as "The End of the Line". Maybe it is because both main characters are only children, the end of their family line. Or maybe because it is through these characters that racial barriers are cast aside and it is the end of the line for both these families living with prejudice and discrimination. Then again, maybe it is all these reasons. It really doesn't matter which it is, it is a beautifully written novel which made me all the better as a person for reading it. I highly recommend it for everyone.

*I received a free copy by the author for my honest review. This free copy did not affect my review in any way.

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January 18, 2014

Book 2 of my 2014 Goal

Loose Ends (Mary O'Reilly, #1)Loose Ends by Terri Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loose Ends (Mary O'Reilly #1) by Terri Reid is a paranormal mystery with some romance, crime, and even a few laughs. It is the first in the series and is an easy read (not a very complex story). Mary, the main character is a really fun, witty, and well developed character. Oh yeah, she sees ghosts too.

I won't tell you what the story is about as you can read what the author wrote for yourself but what I will say is I really felt a liking/connection with the main character, Mary. (No, I don't see ghosts.) She is so strong willed and a fighter with morals and just someone who you can tell 'cares' about people (living and dead) and what is right and wrong. The other characters are all developed nicely too and it doesn't interfere with the flow of the story.

The pace of the book is good and there is something happening with every turn of the page. I wouldn't really call it 'action' as it may just be the development/relationship between characters which is important to the story line but there is plenty of 'action' in it too. It kept me turning page after page to see what happens next. (I did know who 'did it' early in the story but it didn't matter or interfere with the story.) The romance in it is just developing and so there is very little of what I would call real romance but I have a feeling it will develop more-so in future books. I also hope to see more of this kind of comedy in future books too. Due to the relationship between characters it makes it even funnier. (I can just picture Mary rolling her eyes after he grabbed her leg or was going to shot him without a gun.)

Even the cover of this book screams paranormal and the story don't disappoint. Definitely a good read for those who enjoy paranormal type mysteries.

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January 4, 2014

Book 1 of 2014my Goal

Lost and FoundLost and Found by Brandon Meyers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been putting off reviewing Lost and Found by Brandon Mayers & Bryan Pedas for weeks because I am at a loss how to do it without including spoilers or repeating what the authors already wrote. Let me start by saying I am not a professional reviewer (up until a few weeks ago I didn't even know they existed) or a writer, I am simply someone who enjoys reading. With that being said, lets get to it.

The book is in two parts, part one takes place decades before part two so each part has different main characters. These characters are not developed to the point where you know a whole lot about them prior to what happens in the book however they are developed enough where you understand the who, the what, and the why, that happens in the story. Because of this, I felt no connection with any of the characters and it was like the story played out in front and I was an outsider looking in. It is totally possible the authors intended it this way, I really don't know. I am not saying it wasn't entertaining, what I am saying is it is different than most books where I at least feel some sort of a connection with one or more of the characters or I am transported right into the setting of the story sometimes even feeling like I am a part of it or in the same room as the characters.

Some of the lines in the book seemed a bit 'off' and the one that really bothered me was, "He stepped out into the lobby like a zombie, arms waving slowly in front of him as he made his way to the front desk." Where did that come from? There are no zombies in this book. It would have flowed much nicer if he used different terminology or by simply saying he was trying to feel his way through the darkness. Other than this (which I should add may be just due to my personal taste) the story flowed through each part and I had no problem switching from part one to part two.

The story itself I thought was quite interesting. It had me turning page after page and what I thought was happening isn't what really happened. I was quite surprised a few times about the turn of events and I just loved the way it all came together from the different times and perspectives of the characters. The pace was good, slow in parts but it needed to be and not so slow that it came to a screeching halt. The length was good for this novella (a little over 100 pages) because it told the story and wasn't full of fillers, it stayed to the plot. Even the cover of the book has significance and once you read it, you will see it for yourself. The ending was fantastic!

So to sum it up, I would rate this as a good ghost/paranormal story, I liked it and feel it is definitely worth reading.

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Children's Book Worth Reading!!!

Corey the CalfCorey the Calf by Patty Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Corey the Calf by Patty Johnson is a very cute children's book that I read to my grandchildren ages 4 & 6. It has pictures at the top of some of the pages of Corey. The pictures are big enough to see easily yet don't take the whole page. They are colorful and really grab the interest of young children. The story is in simple language with just a few lines on each page. It is enough to tell the story and keep the children interested while the words are simple so they don't get tired or bored with it. The thing I really love is that the story has a lesson to be learned (in this book it is honesty) with tips and suggestions for discussions with the children at end of the book. The children loved the story and they loved the discussion just as much. It is a great way to explain values while opening thoughts and communication as well as spending some quality time with the children. For all these reasons I stated, I highly recommend this book.

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January 3, 2014

2013 in Review

We are well into the new year and I still have not posted due to personal and health matters but things are getting back to normal so I am taking this opportunity to review my reads of 2013. Unfortunately due to ill health I was not able to make my challenge of 60 books but I was blessed with reading many great works from outstanding authors. So in a glance here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

1. A Body Displaced (Lansin Island #2) by Andrew Butcher is a great read that I just couldn't put down. It starts where book one left off. Although you could possibly read this book without reading book one since there are references to what happened in book one (which is great because it refreshed my memory), I still suggest you read book one first (A Death Displaced which I reviewed in 2012) otherwise you would be missing so much. Both books are excellent!

2. Purgatory Reign by L.M. Preston is a Young Adult Fiction book but I would go further and say it is a Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense with some Action and Adventure thrown in for good measure.

3. The Bones of Others (A skye Cree Novel - Book One) by Vickie McKeehan is a fictional story about pedophiles and human slave trafficking of young girls which sounds like something I wouldn't want to read since it is so negative but it also deals with survival and even a little bit of revenge. What I found so memorable is the way that the young girls are abducted. It is so real, so scary and as a parent I don't think I would ever look at a picnic in the park the same way again. As I said it is fictional but it is very realistic and believable as far as that goes.

4. Mayan Interface by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin is a great read. Once I started it, I hated when I had to put it down. It is not packed with action scenes nor is it a boring history book but it has both action and history in it and so much more. It is a mystery that has me looking at history a little differently and makes me wonder, what if? It is also about the spiritual with the Uay and mystical with the Zaztum and so much more.

5. Kaylee's Ghost by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is far from a typical boring 'soap opera' story. The plot is great and has so many twists and turns it kept me guessing who was going to do what next. I didn't read "Miriam the Medium" and was not at a loss as this book stands on its own.

6. Above by Mackie Burt is a truly enjoyable fictional read that I wish was on every high school 'to read' list. The plot it is about life after death in a different sort of way. Certain people are so special that they become Guardians and have to go to school only this school is not like high school, the first book here is your life's story or to be more accurate, all the mistakes you made during your life. It is called The Book of Mistakes. Callie, the main character is one such person. She first needed to accept she was dead and then she as well as others in school tell about their lives. Much of the learning here is intense and experience can bring the reader to tears so have a tissue handy. It is extremely interesting about the lives they lived and the mistakes they made as well as the 'looking in' on those they left behind. 

7. Redwood Violet by Robin Mahle is one of those books you should not open unless you have time to read it because you won't want to put this book down. From page one I was hooked on this fascinating mystery/crime solving read. 

8. Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle by Marie Harbon is unlike any other science fiction, paranormal, fantasy I have ever read. It mixes actual historical events which not only help establish the timeline, it it is used to help validate the paranormal/science-fiction activities in the book. It also uses actual events to question what we perceive as reality all the while questioning and trying to answer fundamental questions, such as "does my life have a purpose?" Many of the questions asked throughout the story are ones that have been asked throughout time and scientists still try to prove today. Although this part clearly is not unique to only this book only, the way it is presented is. Including extensive talk of physics or should I say quantum physics, which was easy to follow. Clearly the author did extensive research before writing this book.

9. Seven Point Eight: The Second Chronicle by Marie Harbon is a very long story that fits into so many different genres/sub-genres I am not even sure where to put it. It is a fiction for sure but it also fits into: romance, mystery, sci-fiction, action, fantasy, horror, thriller, and I am sure many more. It sounds overwhelming but believe me, this author really worked it all in to create a glued-to-your-kindle type of story. With each turn of the page she had me wanting to know what was going to happen next because there are so many twists and turns and "where did that come from?" moments that I wasn't able to predict many of the outcomes at all. 

10. Death Never Sleeps by David Grace is an excellent detective story that is captivating right from the beginning of the story with a wood chipper murder and stays just as interesting right until the end. (This is the same author who wrote The Concrete Kiss which I reviewed in 2012, another great read!)

Don't let this mislead you, I have read many great books including Paper, Scissors, Death (Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery #1) by Joanna Campbell Slan is the first full length book I read by this author and it won't be the last! Plus for all of you moms and grandmas out there with young grand/children, Corey the Christmas Calf (there are others too) by Patty Johnson is a children's book. I don't write reviews for every children's book I read, I write them only when I come across an exceptional one and this one really deserves that title. There are many more too so don't be shy and look back to my posts to find some great reads you will enjoy.