Sunday, October 28, 2012

Touching Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, #1)Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Touching Spirit Bear is one of those books that you pick up in the early afternoon because you don't have anything else to do, but then you get so lost in the plot that you can't go to sleep until 1 a.m., when you've read it cover to cover. It had been way too long since I had read another book like that.

This book was already one that I was going to have to read for a class, but since the reading is at our own pace, I decided to get a head-start. At first, the title bothered me. This story was going to be deep, I could tell that, so my first thought was- BORING! But first impressions are usually incorrect, and it wasn't long into the story that I realized that was the case. As you can tell from the synopsis, the story is about a juvenile delinquent, who was forced to choose between jail and time on an Alaskan island. He chooses the island, but gets way more than he bargained for, with a bear encounter he will remember forever. Whenever the main character of a story has some spunk,you're in for an interesting, and quite humorous story. Humor between Cole, his parole officer Garvey,and the Tinglit Indian, Edwin, keeps the story light enough through all of the heavy themes discussed. I found myself laughing out loud at times.

At the beginning of the story, Cole is stubborn, and thinks his manipulating people is the only way for him to keep power. Throughout the book, however, though the Indian rituals that he used to mock, he learns things like how false that power really is. If you're looking for an example of a dynamic character, Cole definitely fits the bill. I won't say how, but by the end of the story, you can definitely tell a difference.

This book is very gruesome at times. Keep in mind that Cole gets mauled by a bear and is taking desperate measures to stay alive. But I don't think that this is anything that even, say, a ten year old couldn't handle, so don't let it stop you from reading it! It doesn't take away from the story at all, and if anything it supports how Cole is feeling. If this doesn't make any since now, just trust me. It will when you read the book.

I will be honest and say that as a teenager, this year I have found very few books that I would spend my whole day reading, and have trouble putting down. Most were a chore to read at times, and I would gladly take the end of a chapter as an opportunity to take a break from it for a while. With this book, I would see that I was on chapter 9, then next thing I know I'm starting chapter 17! And these were pretty reasonably-sized chapters.

Coming out of reading this book, I can definitely say it was a feel-good one. Though there were many trails Cole had to face, you find yourself proud of what he accomplishes, and wonder if the island could do anything in your life. It's one of those books that you have a hard time imagining viewing the world the same way afterwards. I am so glad I was required to read Touching Spirit Bear, because I'm almost positive I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. It's one of those books that you just wish you could show everyone. I didn't know how much I needed one of those books until I read it. And I'm so glad I did.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flightless Goose by Eric D. Goodman

  Truly heartwarming story about goose named Gilbert, who learned to live with a terrible injury, even though it made him different.  With the help of his friend Charlie, a little boy that is also physically impaired, he becomes the biggest hero of all.  I think this uplifting story has all a children's book needs.  The copy I have came with a CD, where the story really comes to life, with the perfect readers and vivid sound effects.  My younger cousins kept begging me to play it again so they could here the "creepy" part with the bad guys.  But not only were they entertained by it, but I could really tell that they understood the valuable message being told.  So really, the way the theme is presented is wonderful to help young children grasp the lesson.  In this way, I feel like it would be a great resource for a guidance counselor to use when teaching a lesson about bullying or diversity, without the ideas feeling forced.  It would also simply be a good babysitter's companion, to keep the kids busy.  So I give this a 5, for the illustrations, CD, and most importantly, the essential message of the story, that you can thrive even with your differences, and overcome whatever is holding you back, because that can make you stronger!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Voyage On The Great Titanic (Dear America)Voyage On The Great Titanic by Ellen Emerson White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

     The story of the Titanic has been told in many ways, from many perspectives. Yet, no matter how many times I hear the testimony of a survivor, their stories of love, and loss, I can't help but be pulled in by the haunting event. This book brought tears to my eyes, and made me feel for Margaret, because by the end of the book, I felt like I really knew her. For an author to create a character that makes you feel that way, is just amazing!

      This book is not long, or complex, but it contains the intriguing story of a girl who by chance, gets the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime on the Titanic, which, of course, takes a turn for the worst. You see the luxury and beauty of the Titanic through the eyes of a girl who would never have dreamed of gaining passage on it, especially not on First Class. This story has the perfect mix of humor, a surprising dash of romance, and sadly, when it came to it, tragedy. And it was so realistic!

      I've been reading books from the Dear America and Dear America Royal series for years, and they will not stop striking me with their historical charm and feeling of girl power in every story. Two thumbs up to Ellen Emerson White, who continually amazed me in this tear-jerking spin on the mysterious tragedy that affected so many.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let's Face It

Let's Face ItLet's Face It by Jodi R. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

      First off, I would like to thank Jodi R. Moore, for sending me a copy of Let's Face It to honestly review. I love getting these kind of opportunities! Now, about the book...

Let's Face It is a humorous, inspiring story about teenage Kaylin, whose had enough of empty promises of "smooth, even-toned" skin from many facial cleansing products on the market. She's tired of products that might hide blemishes for a while, but don't stop new ones from popping up overnight. All she wants is a cure, and a permanent one. Kaylin feels so strongly about this that she is even willing to work a few weeks at Tomlin & Tomlin, a company that has come out with so many products that she knows first-hand don't work. All the while she's left wondering how Sean, her long time crush, actually feels about her, but is he actually worth it? Or is there someone else that will appreciate her more for who she is?

      This novel is surely like no other, and from the first page, you won't want to put it down. With so many paranormal books out there (which are still awesome, just common), this book is really something different. It is realistic, and that's what makes it so compelling. It's what makes you want to join Kaylin, and help her reach the cure with her. And also, it's what keeps you rooting for her till the end. For me, well, it's what made me stay up all night reading it to find out if Kaylin reached her goal.

      If you want a book that will encourage you, inspire you, and provoke so much emotion while staying quick and light, read Let's Face It, and discover how much you can achieve.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Six Weeks to YehidahSix Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started this book, I expected a simple story about a little girl with talking animal friends that grows up to get everything she wanted. The End. Boy, was I wrong! This book is so much more! You meet Annalise, who soon finds herself in a land that can hardly be named. She is taken many places, all the while finding her way through obstacles, and meeting people or rather, beings. Annalise learns about the person she really is, and her connection with the world around her. Like any good story, this one ends with a twist; the surprises aren't over until the end.

I will admit, sometimes I had to take this book a chapter or two at a time, since it has such a deep dose of philosophy, which you sometimes have to let sink in. But, by all means, do not let this scare you away. In fact, by the end of the book, there is almost a calming feeling about it, and you feel like Annalise, with your mind opened to thoughts that will keep surfacing long after you have finished the book. This is why I would definitely recommend this book to anyone; pre-teen to adult.

Really, I couldn't finish this review without putting in a good word for the author. Melissa Studdard sent me this book to review on my blog, and she has been so kind since. I am so glad that I can meet people like her in my blogging, and I would be happy to review any book for anyone (contact information is available at my blog). That being said, whenever I review a book for someone, the opinions in that review are mine, and I am not told to write a certain thing.

So, if you are looking for a unique book that will open your mind to new thoughts, give Six Weeks to Yehidah a try!

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