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!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Love Life

Love Life
by Rob Lowe

Published April 2014
Read May 2014

272 pgs/ 7 CDs

"When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery.....Throughout this entertaining book, you will find yourself in the presence of a master raconteur, a multi-talented performer whose love for life is as intriguing as his love life."

I don't normally like biographies but I was pleasantly surprised by Rob Lowe.  I don't know much about him and I didn't read his first book.  I'm not a connoisseur of all things Brat Pack, so I didn't grow up watching him either.  And.....I never watched the West Wing (**gasp**) I know.  I read this book with an open mind and no idea what I was going to be reading.  I loved it!  This was an audiobook read by Rob Lowe.  Audiobooks read by the author always seem a little more real to me.  The sincerity comes through best when he speaks of his children and his family.  Mr. Lowe seems down to earth and the sort of man you'd like to be friends with. I enjoyed this little glimpse into his life.

 Thank you to Lauren Pires of Simon & Schuster Audio for allowing me to review this audiobook!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I've Got You Under My Skin

I've Got You Under My Skin
by Mary Higgins Clark

Published April 2014
Read May 2014

320 pgs/ 7 CD

"When Laurie Moran’s husband was brutally murdered, only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father’s killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy’s dreams. Laurie is haunted by more—the killer’s threat to her son as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn . . .”  Now Laurie is dealing with murder again, this time as the producer of a true-crime, cold-case television show. The series will launch with the twenty-year-old unsolved murder of Betsy Powell. Betsy, a socialite, was found suffocated in her bed after a gala celebrating the graduation of her daughter and three friends. The sensational murder was news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting and with the cooperation of the surviving guests that night, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when the estranged friends begin filming, it becomes clear each is hiding secrets . . . small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too . . ." ~Barnes & Noble Overview

Mary Higgins Clark never disappoints me.  I love her characters and her story-telling plots.  Most of the time I am surprised by her endings, which is the way I think a mystery should be told.  Too often, we are able to predict the endings well before the final quarter of the book, especially if you tend to read more of this genre than others.  I hope Ms. Clark continues to write for years to come, she's the perfect combination to a cup of coffee or a beach chair.

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