Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cute Little Song!

Okay, so I learned a song this summer, and I can't believe I never shared it with you!

It is called (drum roll please)

The Kool-Aid Song!

Yes, Kool-Aid! As in, the interesting pitcher guy.
Note: This is not my image.

It's kind of hard to understand at first because the song is more a play on words. You know "Do-Re-Mi" from the Sound of Music, right? This song uses the same kind of play on words, and it is actually to the same tune. So, sing the Kool-Aid song to the same tune of "Do-Re-Mi".

Ready? :)

The Kool-Aid song:
Do (dough) the stuff, I buy my Kool-Aid with
Re (Ray) the guy I buy it from (thanks, Ray!)
Mi (me) the one, I buy my Kool-Aid for,
Fa (far) a long long way to get some!
So I think I'll have some Kool-Aid (how much?)
La (lots) and lots and lots of Kool-Aid
Ti (tea)? No thanks, I'll have some Kool-aid
And that brings us back to do, do, do, do, do!

And there you have it, folks!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review of Precisely Terminated

Precisely Terminated is the debut book and first in the Cantral Chronicles, a dystopian trilogy, by Amanda Davis.  In a world where slavery is rampant and all people are controlled by cruel, heartless nobles by means of microchips implanted into the skull, there is only one person who is capable of saving them. Monica is a noble who evaded implantation of the microchip after escaping an extermination of her family and city. Now, as a sixteen year old, she must act as a slave and constantly watch her back and trick the system as she searches for a way to decimate the computers that control the slaves' lives. Aided by a mysterious, demanding council and self-sacrificing fellow slaves, Monica is the only person who could ever shut down the computers as she is the only person to have ever beat the system and avoided a chip. But time is running out.

The hints of rebellion are spreading to the nobles, and in their unfeeling condition, they will exterminate all of the slaves with little thought. Monica has little time to act, but her task will demand more of her than she ever thought.

It's rare for an debut published author to have a writing style that can be read easily. This author already has a clear voice that smoothly carries the story. The setting is the shining star of this novel. A dystopian setting is new to me, but I loved the whole eeriness of it all.  A feeling of ohmygoodnessthiscouldhappen! is what I like to see in books. The mechanicalized culture of this novel obviously has a lot of thought behind it, and it is so refreshingly unique. Realistic but fiction enough to be enjoyable. The descriptions aren't as heavy as I'd imagine in such an abstract book, but they are sufficient enough to allow for the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps. This is really one of the best settings I have ever read. There's also an excellent amount of danger throughout the story that helps keep the reader's attention.

That said, I had a very hard time getting into this book. The first few chapters are vital in attracting interest, and although I got an excellent backdrop to the story, I just wasn't "wowed". The theme continues for approximately two-thirds of the book. Monica goes back and forth and meets new people and while it does develop the setting and characters, the plot just dragged on. It wasn't until the last part that all of the pieces fell together and I really started enjoying the story. The only reasons I kept with this book until the end were a) to give an honest opinion, I must fully read the books I am to review and b) I could really see the potential of the story and it only really became evident in the last part of the book. Also, it was hard to relate to the characters, even Monica, although she was the most personable. Granted, this is the first in a series and a first for an author, so I am eager to see the improvement of plot and characters in future books.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~ Paperback: 464 pages
~ Publisher: Living Ink Books; None edition (September 12, 2011)

Note: Thanks to GlassroadPR for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review of Protection for Hire

Protection for Hire by Camy Tang is the first book in the Protection for Hire series. Tessa Lancaster has always been a tough girl. A nonexistent relationship with the dad who abandoned her and a difficult family life lead to a tough attitude that her Japanese mafia ringleader uncle took notice of, and Tessa was made an enforcer. However, due to her involvement with the mafia, she became incarcerated for seven long years for a crime she didn't even commit. In that time, she made the decision to follow Jesus and become a Christian. Now that she's out of jail, Tessa is determined to start over, get a respectable job, stay away from the Japanese mafia, and be different from the woman she once was. A solutions seems to arrive when wealthy Elizabeth St. Amant hires Tessa to act as a bodyguard for herself and her three-year-old son.

But it seems trouble just follows Tessa wherever she goes.

It turns out there's more to protecting Elizabeth. Her abusive husband is very aggressive in getting Elizabeth back and his motives seem unclear. Danger bigger than anything she ever could have expected is lurking, and it will stop for no one. To help Elizabeth out with the legal issues, Charles Britton, up-and-coming lawyer, decides to step in. Tessa is grateful for the help, but she doesn't know that Charles holds a secret that had a huge impact on Tessa's life. Will the two be able to work together for the sake of their client, or will their pasts tear them, and their mission, apart?

I'm a huge fan of the author's books, so this book was a joy to read. I love the author's unique sense of humor and insight into different cultures. I especially found the Japanese mafia aspect very interesting. Tessa's previous ties run deep and are hard to overcome, and her struggle with her past is an excellent addition to this book. The character of Tessa was expertly written. Her motives, personality, and struggles are made very clear, and though most people aren't ex-mafia ex-convicts, I believe she is a very relatable character. The supporting cast also adds beautifully to the story. Elizabeth's southern charm, humor, and grace are an excellent addition to the story, and I loved the subplot of Tessa's relationship with her mother, sister, and niece. Charles's mother Vivian also added charm to the book, and I even loved the minor character of Eddie, Charles's brother. This book left me desperately wanting to read the next book, and the excerpt in the end sold me. I can't wait until #2 in the Protection for Hire series comes out! Bravo!

I will be forthright and say this book is for older audiences. There's one bad word that I noticed and other elements. As for the story itself, I wish the character of Charles was filled out a bit more. The character of Tessa was flawless, but I felt somewhat detached from Charles as I was reading.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~ Paperback: 336 pages
~ Publisher: Zondervan (November 29, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy family, friends, food, and most of all, thank God for all the blessings we have!

Psalm 100

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Review of Reclaiming Lily

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy is the poignant fiction story of redemption, pain, and hope. Dr. Kai Chang is determined to reclaim Fourth Daughter. To find her little sister, who she left on the steps of a Chinese orphanage years ago and who is now living in America as the daughter of a pastor, has been her goal ever since her mother told Kai to find Fourth Daughter, Lily, as her final, dying wish. Dr. Chang is even more determined to do so when she discovers that a terrible genetic disease is ready to ravage the lives of members of her family and realizes that her sister is at a great risk. Kai is determined to help her sister, but will Lily's adoptive family, the Powells, allow Kai into Lily's life?

When family tensions tighten as Lily becomes more and more rebellious, Gloria Powell, the shy wife of a pastor and Lily's mother, decides that Kai would only tear up what little control her seventeen-year-old daughter has left. Different cultures and opinions collide as Kai and the Powells are forced to face the possibility of a terrible disease. Will Kai and Gloria be able to reconcile and do what is best for Lily?

Wow. I love books that inspire and educate. I chose to read this book due to my interest in the medical aspect, but I got so much more than that. As Kai and her sister are from China, we get glimpses into their pasts and their cultural background. Reading Kai's perspective of events from her past brought very clear pictures to my mind. The author masterfully describes Kai's experiences in a way that readers understand but also learn from. The prose style and word choices beautifully describe Kai's culture, and I really appreciate that. I also loved the character of Kai. Her way of thinking and expressing her thoughts was definitely unique but poignant in its own way. I especially loved the quotes from Kai's mentor in dealing with patients. The medical aspect of this book was one of the biggest perks of this book. I love medicine, and my recent studies have been about genetic disorders, the ethics involved, and how they may be treated. It is very obvious the author put a lot of work into this book to make it was realistic as possible. This book covered many issues well, and I really enjoyed reading it.

To be honest, the first few chapters of this book were confusing. I had a hard time getting into it, but I was so glad I did by the end of the book. The beginning of the novel jumps right in with the story of Kai, and the terminology used is somewhat too abrupt for a reader to understand. Kai's mindset is of a different culture, so it was easy to get lost in the beginning. However, as the story progressed, I became more interested in the characters and began to invest my attention into what would happen. The story was lovely, but I believe it could have been even better if the beginning was polished a bit and made more attention-grabbing for readers. Also, there was a backstory of Gloria having a hard past due to her father's unfaithfulness to her mother. It did explain her motives and reactions to things that came up, but there didn't seem to really be any full-on confrontation of the issue. It left me wanting that closure, which I never really got. Finally, I would say I recommend this book to readers in their late teens and up. This book does address some very weighty topics. Some things to be aware of is that a character steals inappropriate things (and is later given the appropriate punishment), some of the medical-related scenes may be uncomfortable to sensitive readers, and one of my biggest pet peeves of a book, strongly hinting at the physical relationship between a husband and wife. Yes, it's perfectly natural and right, but I don't like it when that aspect is given time in books.

All in all, I rate his book four out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 380 pages
~Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review of The Song of Unmaking

The Song of Unmaking by D. Barkley Briggs is the third book in the Legends of Karac Tor series. Four brothers, the Barlows, have been brought from our world to a strange new world that gives them mysterious powers and dangers abounding. In this book, the Goths, a terrible force, have come to invade Rockval. The Vanir, the beautiful widowed ruler must take command of the situation and fight for her people. However, darker powers approach to test the Vanir and her people. A terrible machine for dark intentions is being built to release a terrible thing of legend- the Song of Unmaking. Now that Ewan, one of the Barlow brothers, has lost his power of song; the chances of victory seem dim. As the Barlow brothers continue to develop their powers and Arthur is challenged to become a leader, the good are challenged to face the evil. But who will succeed? And is there grace in deserved justice?

This book was excellent! I enjoy a good fantasy book every now and then, but to be honest, I haven't been dabbling much in the genre lately. This book reminded me why I love it so much. Fantasy has the power of subterfuge, which can be good or bad. It has much capability for symbolism and for influencing readers often without them noticing. The symbolism is present but not overwhelming. The writing style is fresh yet familiar, echoing the works of C.S. Lewis or Tolkien in a new light. I love the idea of a family trying to survive and thrive in a world so foreign to them to the point that they would fight for this world they were never even aware of. The affection between the father and brothers is clear, and I really appreciate that. I also found it interesting that the author wrote this book for his own sons when his family was going through a very similar ordeal as the Barlow family in the books. In all fantasy books, details are essential but have the capability to overwhelm the reader. believe this book was a nice blend of detail and action. I also found the incorporation of historical elements and classical lore very interesting and, again, echoing the voices of the great writers of the past. Overall, very well-written and stylistically excellent.

I would strongly suggest that the reader starts from the first book onwards. I am at a bit of a disadvantage because I was not able to read the first two and this book jumps right into the story. As I haven't read the previous books, I was confused at times and I had no idea if the author recapped the previous books or not. This is not a surprise; I have found it very common in books of this genre. However, it's very hard to not get lost in a fantasy book, and for about half of the book, I was lost. I was surprised that there wasn't some sort of summary of the past two books, a character description, or anything for a reader to understand without reading the previous books. That said, I plan to go back and read the first to in order to catch up.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~ Paperback: 336 pages
~ Publisher: Living Ink Books (October 14, 2011)

Note: Thanks to Glass Road PR and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Review of Wonderland Creek

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin is the Great Depression - era novel of a girl who discovers the vibrancy of life after leaving a life lived in the realm of fiction books. Alice Grace Ripley has lived in a dream world for a long time. Long enough to not realize that her need to read has become more and more like an addiction, causing her to disregard her boyfriend and best friend. When she gets a reality check and her boyfriend decides to break up with her because of her obsession, Alice is left crushed. She also loses her job at the library after cutbacks must be made to alleviate the affects of the Great Depression on the library. Finding her life almost meaningless now, Alice decides to put her efforts into something good, delivering donated books to a rural town in Kentucky named Acorn.

Alice travels from Illinois to Kentucky with her relatives, and she is dropped off, excited at the prospect of helping people get the books they want and staying with the librarian, Leslie McDougal. However, the librarian is anything but what she expected and Alice is soon thrust into a strange world of poverty, joy, family drama, love, corruption, faith, crime, and danger.  Alice soon discovers the life she has been missing out on all of her life, and discovers that true life is much better than any story book.

I absolutely loved this book. In fact, Wonderland Creek is now on my favorite's list. Alice, or Allie, is such an endearing character. There were genuinely funny moments (I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but in this book, I did!), scary moments, dramatic moments, and romantic moments. This book was a perfect blend of history and fiction. My favorite character was an old woman Alice meets while in Acorn. She's kind of like the catalyst that forces Alice to face reality and be bold. She also encourages Alice's faith and was such a joy to read about. I wish she were a real person!

All in all, I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from :
~Paperback: 400 pages
~Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Review of Lonestar Angel

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble is the latest edition to the Lonestar series. It's been five years since Eden and Clay Larson's baby girl was stolen, presumed dead, and never found. It's also been five years since Eden and Clay Larson's marriage fell apart. Now, Eden has found faith in God and is moving on with her life in the city, in a cozy romance dating a guy she may soon marry. However, Clay suddenly shows up in her life revealing that they are still married and that they're daughter is still alive. Still uncomfortable with each other, the two decide to move to Bluebird, Texas to serve as counselors to the youth ranch where their daughter is staying. Little do they know the danger and love that awaits them.

Eden and Clay soon find themselves entangled in a web of drama and family troubles. As they fight against time to discover which little girl is theirs, the couple begins to rekindle their lost romance and discover God's sovereignty in their situation.

Great premise that is carried through all throughout the book. I really enjoyed the lead characters, Eden and Clay, and their situation - their very unique situation. The author's creativity shines through as the reader is lead through mysteries such as who the daughter is and who is behind all of the threats to Eden and Clay. Lonestar Angel is written masterfully, and I enjoyed it so much!

I have no complaints about the plot or story. Something to be aware of, the book strongly hints at the private aspects of marriage in Clay and Eden's relationship. I'm not a big fan of that kind of content.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 352 pages
~Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (November 8, 2011)

 Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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