Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Venom and Song

As an avid fantasy lover, I was thrilled to receive a copy of VENOM AND SONG by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, from Thomas Nelson, ISBN 978-1-4003-15062. It is the second novel in the series entitled the Berinfell Prophecies. This young adult novel involves seven Elf Lords who must stop the Spider King, who wishes to kill them. Perhaps due to the fact that I have not read the first book, I found the beginning chapters to be very confusing. Many characters were introduced at once, and it was challenging to keep track of who had what special ability. The world was also difficult to imagine at times, and I wished for more details in order to form a more concrete image in my mind while reading. Once I managed to keep the characters straight in my head, the novel became exciting. Each character is fully realized. Dialogue is snappy and realistic. Before the novel begins, the authors have included a list of places and names, which helps, but it becomes tedious to constantly flip back and forth. The cover is shiny, complete with a castle, a giant red beam, and people riding on huge birds and insects. Certainly, this is the kind of cover that will attract young adults. The characters are also very relatable to today’s teenagers. Since there is such a wide variety, the reader will certainly be able to connect with at least one. Despite flaws, the heroes are wholesome, perfect for teens to root for!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Girl's Guide to Life

I was unsure of what to expect from A GIRL’S GUIDE TO LIFE by Katie Meier, from Thomas Nelson. The back of the novel, however, sums it up perfectly. The book shows teenage girls how they can be the best person they can be. There are three parts: Mind, Body, and Soul. Amongst those parts are chapters, which cover everything from self-esteem to family. The book also affords pop quizzes so that the reader is not only reading, but also participating, therefore making the chapters seem more relevant and alive. There are short blurbs in colored boxes that display common myths and the truth behind them, such as “Skipping meals will help me lose weight.” Every issue mentioned in the book is real, something that all girls go through and struggle with; the book will help them to see the light of facts and really consider what they are doing to their bodies. The purple print is catchy, so girls won’t shy away from the book thinking it’s “un-cool.” I had expected a little more religion, in the pages, however. Something that really upset me about the book occurred in the Religion chapter. The author discusses different religions – which was informative. The author then went on to say why Christianity is the best. Everyone has different beliefs, and for them, that belief is the best. By saying that Christianity is the best, the author was not allowing girls to decide for themselves, which should be a main focus of everyone’s life – deciding which religion is best for them and why. Overall, I would recommend this book to teen girls. It could really make a difference in someone’s life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love on a Dime

The cover of LOVE ON A DIME by Cara Lynn James, from Thomas Nelson, won me at first glance. A young woman holds a book entitled DOROTHEA’S DILEMMA, using a corner of it to hide her mouth. Once opening the book, the reader comes to realize the significance. Lilly, the main character, is the author of DOROTHEA’S DILEMMA, as well as other dime novels. Despite praising God, her dime novels are considered scandalous by the wealthy society she grew up in, and so she writes beneath the pen name of Fannie Cole. Her father suffers from a lung ailment, and removes his family to Newport for the summer holiday. While there, Lilly is courted by the dashing Harlan. Her mother is convinced that he will soon ask for Lilly’s hand in marriage. It will bring greater wealth and prestige to the family, as well as gain a prosperous job in Harlan’s company for George, Lilly’s older brother. His wife, Irene, spends and gambles away her husband’s wealth, and even forces Lilly to beg needed cash from Harlan. Lilly is also in dire need of money, for her favorite Christian charity is losing sponsorship and may have to close its doors. All proceeds from her books go to the charity for helping immigrants, but Lilly knows it will not be enough. Then, her past lover Jack reappears in her life, hoping to not only win her back, but also locate the secretive Fannie Cole – for Jack has recently purchased Fannie Cole’s publishing company. Lilly is horrified that Jack will discover her secret, as well as jeopardize her relationship with Harlan. The story ends on an uplifting note, and is part of a series entitled LADIES OF SUMMERHILL.