Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Black Ice

Black Ice
by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published October 2014
Read November 2014

400 pgs
9 CDs

"Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there…and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target..." - Simon & Schuster

Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush series made me fall in love with young adult novels. Yet again, she created a great storyline with well developed characters that make the reader feel ensconced in the story.   Every scared, fearful moment that Britt endures, and every carefully thought out situation that occurs is felt on each page. From young love to a strong case of Stockholm Syndrome, Becca Fitzpatrick carries the reader through a complete journey of emotions until the shocking finale.

I also want to say, the narrator of this audiobook is fantastic. I remembered Jenna Lamia's voice from previous audiobooks and she really knows how to bring a story to life!

Thank you to Lauren Pires at Simon & Schuster Audio for sending me a copy of this novel! Loved it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Vision of Fire

A Vision of Fire
by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

Published October 2014
Read October 2014

304 pgs
9 CDs

"Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father—a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels—but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work.

In Haiti, a student claws at her throat, drowning on dry land. In Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. Animals, too, are acting irrationally, from rats in New York City to birds in South America to ordinary house pets. With Asia on the cusp of nuclear war, Caitlin must race across the globe to uncover the mystical links among these seemingly unrelated incidents in order to save her patient—and perhaps the world." - Simon & Schuster Audio

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that my favorite X-Files character wrote a book.  I've been a fan of Gillian Anderson for years, so it would only make sense that I read her work as well as watch it!

Caitlin turns out to be a very likeable character.  At first she seems aloof and unsure, but as the story plays out, she becomes charismatic and determined.  As a single mother, her nurturing instincts roll over into her working life.  When a friend asks for a favor, she is brought into a world wholly unknown from the general population.

I love the idea of a supernatural force at work in the midst of a real world situation.  Sounds straight out of the X-Files right?  Actually, the authors put it all out there in a true-to-life scenario reminiscent of X-Files, Supernatural, and House.
Thank you to Lauren Pires at Simon & Schuster Audio for allowing me to listen to this novel!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Map Trap

The Map Trap
by Andrew Clements

144 pgs/ 2 CDs

Published:  July 2014
Read:  August 2014

"This map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning!  Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. Regular “point A to point B” ones, sure, but also maps that explain a whole lot more—like what he really thinks about his friends. And teachers. Even the principal.

So when Alton’s maps are stolen from his locker, there’s serious trouble on the horizon…and he’ll need some mad cartographic skills to escape it.

From “a genius of gentle, high-concept tales set in suburban middle schools” (The New York Times), this stand-alone story is off the charts." ~ Barnes & Noble Overview

My son and I loved this audiobook!  Alton Barnes is a very lovable character.  The reader can't help but root for him throughout the book.  My favorite part was the overall take-away from the entire concept.  It's a great lesson on kindness, feelings, and how you should treat other people even when no one is watching.  Each character has something different or unique about them.  This teaches children that it's ok to be different from each other.  I love that!  Mr. Clements has written many books, and I will definitely be checking them out after reading this one.
Thank you to Lauren Pires at Simon & Schuster Audio for sending me this audiobook to review!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Break...

Time goes too fast.  I remember hearing my mom say that time and time again, and I never believed her.  Until now.  When you're a kid in school, that school year just seems like forever!  My son will be in 1st grade in a week, and it feels like I was just dropping him off for kindergarten yesterday.

My own journey through school has a way of making time fly.  The only thing my sisters need to learn from me is to do it right the first time. College, the second time around, is nothing like the first.  It's harder, more time consuming, more complicated, and more electronic.  Nothing was turned in online the first time, now it seems like my entire day is spent sitting around a computer turning in assignments and reading files.

So these last few months I've been trying to do some things that I love while also spending time with my family.  We've attended weddings and birthday parties, gone on vacations, lost a few more teeth, made lots of cupcakes, donated our books,  rearranged a few rooms (another post!), taken swim lessons, pampered ourselves at beauty parlors, had play dates with cousins, and eaten at some of our favorite places.  Needless to say we've been pretty busy!

Kindergarten was not much fun for my little man, but I have high hopes for first grade! New teachers, new friends, and new experiences.  I am at the point in my life where I remember my mom at my age, and I remember myself at my son's age.  It's really eye-opening, overwhelming, and amazing how life and experiences are passing by so quickly.  We are trying to enjoy every moment, but when someone finds a pill that slows time down, please let me know!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Family of Jesus

The Family of Jesus
by Karen Kingsbury

304 pgs/ 5 CDs
Published July 2014
Read August 2014

"America’s favorite inspirational novelist offers a fictional view of six of the family members of Jesus, all anchored by Scriptural truth, creating a life-changing and unprecedented emotional connection to the Bible.

Through The Family of Jesus, readers will develop an emotional connection to the family members of Jesus, learning about their lives and falling in love with Scripture along the way. Bible studies and devotionals abound, and in churches everywhere people gather to seek a deeper understanding of God’s word and its application to their lives. But too often these studies engage only the analytic approach to Bible learning.

In The Family of Jesus, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Karen Kingsbury will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately care more deeply about the Bible by helping you grasp the truths in Scripture not just with your mind, but with your heart. The characters in these short stories were among those closest to Jesus—Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. Each has a compelling tale to tell. Kingsbury intersperses fictional, emotionally gripping details anchored in Scripture with historical and theological insights and questions that will guide soul-searching and reflection.

The Family of Jesus not only provides a deeper understanding of the relatives of our Savior, but also helps readers acquire tools that will draw them closer to Christ, to the Scriptures, and to each other." ~ Barnes & Noble overview

When I'm in church listening to a sermon, the priest talking about Jesus, or reading a bible verse about Him, I don't always remember that Jesus was once part of a family just like you and me.  New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury re-introduces us to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, James, and John the Baptist.  Each section reads like a short story and captivates the reader from the beginning, continuing the story with each next section and family member.  Starting with Joseph and ending with Mary, Kingsbury captures the life of Jesus through the eyes of the people he loved and who loved him the most.  We hear how Jesus affected the lives of these individuals, as well as, how their lives affected Jesus and the choices he made.  This novel is a fantastic read for anyone who wants to know a little bit more about the people surrounding Jesus.  The study guides that accompany the novel make it all a little easier to understand.  I loved this book for how it re-focused my spiritual self.

Thank you to Lauren Pires at Simon & Schuster Audio for allowing me to listen to and review this novel!