Nov 12

No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt

 Author: Irene Hunt

Title: No Promises in the Wind

ISBN: 978-0425182802

Available at: Amazon, B&N , Goodreads

Overall Rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 3 of 5

Amazon synopsis: A fifteen-year-old boy struggles to survive and come to terms with inner conflicts in the desperate world of the Depression.

Roni’s Review:

This book makes the reader really think. We read it at family bedtime, since it was an assigned book for my sister. The ending was disappointing in the fact that we wanted to know more. One of those cliffhanger type deals. But I would highly recommend this as a book for people of all ages. The family friendliness score was lower because there are scenes that contain death and destruction, but not in great detail, and certainly not gory. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Great job!

Nov 12

Max the Mighty

 Author: Rodman Philbrick

Title: Max the Mighty

ISBN: 978-0590579643

Available at: Amazon, B&N , Goodreads

Overall rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 2 of 5

Amazon Synopsis: This is the dramatic, heart-wrenching tale of Max (from Freak the Mighty) and Worm, two outsiders who turn to each other for survival.

Roni’s Review:

Okay, so some people love this story…some are not pleased with it. I actually liked it, as did my family. There were some scenes of violence that are definitely unsuitable for little kids, and I would cautions parents against it. Not as great as the first book, freak the mighty, but still leaves one touched by the story. I will continue to read books by this author whenever I have the opportunity, because his writing style is easy to work with, and his characters are always interesting. Thanks for another grand book, Mr. Philbrick!!

Nov 12

Freak the Mighty

 Author: Rodnman Philbrick

Title: Freak the Mighty

ISBN:  978-0439286060

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads

Overall rating: 5 of 5

Family Friendliness: 3 of 5

Amazon synopsis:

Two boys – a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant and a tiny Einstein in leg braces – forge a unique friendship when they pair up to create one formidable human force. (Made into the film, The Mighty.)

Roni’s Review:

This author had my family coming back for more! Initially we had received this book as a gift from one of my sister’s friends. I grabbed it in a desperate hunt for family bedtime story material, and it was a great success. Not only does the humor and frankness of the book appeal to readers of all ages, it also touches the hearts of all that read this quick read. I actually had a hard time not crying while I read…but don’t think this book is sappy! Anything but! Families need to decide whether they want to discuss what murder is, and whether they are okay with scary hostage scenes before reading this with the little ones. Overall, and EXCELLENT read! Good job!!

Nov 12

Hacker by Ted Dekker

 Author: Ted Dekker

Title: Hacker (Outlaw Chronicals)

ISBN: 978-1617952753

Available at: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads

Overall Rating: 3 of 5

Family Friendliness: 2 of 5

 

Synopsis on Amazon:
My name is Nyah and I’m a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn’t exist, but do. Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a genius hacker whose world is unraveling. Deeply scarred from a horrific accident that killed her father and brother, and left her mother with irreparable brain damage, Nyah is barely holding the last shreds of her life together. Now, her mother’s health is deteriorating quickly and Nyah faces the grim prospect of losing her, too. One last ditch hope exists–an experimental brain surgery that could buy her mother more time. But Nyah must scrape together enough money to pay for it before it’s too late. Desperate and with no other choice, Nyah turns her programming skills to cracking the firewalls of the world’s largest corporations. She exposes their weaknesses, and then offers her services to secure their systems from hackers. But when the most dangerous job of her life backfires and forces her to go on the run, she encounters an impossible reality that shouldn’t exist, but does. A hack unlike any other. A hack that will take her beyond the firewall of the human brain itself. A hack, which may be the only way to save her mother now. What if there was a way to tap into the unseen reality that surrounds us all? Would you hack in? How far would you go to find the answers to your deepest questions? The answer lies deep beyond the firewall. Tap in, strap in, and experience the mind-twisting ride with Nyah. What you find waiting on the other side of the firewall might forever change the way you see yourself and the world you live in. ”

Roni’s Review:

Okay, so this was a book I found lying around the house, and decided to read for our family bedtime story. In parts, there was great action, and overall the book was good enough at capturing the attention of the reader. However, at some points it felt like I was reading a book on some other weird religion. There was a lot of non-Christian concepts in there that have leeched into our Christian faith over time. So, not too pleased with it. Other than that, the concept was new-ish, and the characters had great backstories…it just wasn’t Dekker at his best for me. I thus have not picked up the next two of the chronicles, which are also lying around the house. Dad slept through most of the book, and didn’t really seem interested in the recap I offered every night. Blood and death makes this a no-go for the younger kids, though teens should be fine. Overall not a bad story…just not an exceptionally good one either.

Nov 12

What Roni is Reading…

I’m still in the process of reviewing Pelican Trees! That being said, life is busy, and I find my time split with other books as well: Johnny Tremain for school assigned stuff, Answers 1 for my youth group and Nursing Cheats (plus other nursing ones) as I seek to land my first nursing job. So thanks so much for your patience and understanding!

Jul 28

Authors Needed!!

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Hi there dear readers, authors, friends and family!

You have all probably been wondering where I went and what happened with me.  Well, I want to tell you that I’ve not been idle but have been extremely busy in launching my new company, Purple Pixie Studio.

Purple Pixie is a place where authors, illustrators, sound engineers, musicians, and software developers come together to create gNovels.  A gNovel is an interactive graphic novel that you can view on a smart device, such as your tablet or smartphone. We provide the reader with an enriched reading experience as the story is enhanced by visual graphics in the form of 2D static images and utilizing animation sparingly for enhancement. Initial production will focus on the development of romantic suspense and contemporary romance gNovels.

We are currently looking for authors to join us in this endeavor. If you are interested, then head on over to our author page, to learn how you can become one of the first authors to ever produce a gNovel.

Jun 13

The Insignia Series by S.J. Kincaid (Audiobook)

Title: Insignia, Vortex, Catalyst

Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe

ISBN: 978-0062093004, 978-0062093035, 978-0062093059 (respectively)

Overall Rating: 5 of 5

Family Friendliness: 3 of 5

 

Roni’s Review:

These books are awesome! I really wish they make a movie of them as well. Lincoln Hoppe did yet another outstanding job with his narration. The overall rating is 5 of 5, because each one of these books has kept me coming back for more. I’ve even put off starting a Korean drama for this one!! The Family Friendliness is a 3 of 5 because of violence and references to things the younger ears are not yet suited for. Ages 12 and up should enjoy this though, and older audiences might find these books very entertaining as well. I absolutely love the fact that you cannot go more than 30 minutes of listening to these books without cracking a smile at least once! Great job, Ms. Kincaid and Mr. Hoppe. You make a wonderful team!

Jun 13

Survive inside the Human Body Series by Gomdori co. and Hyun-dong Han (Educational Comics)

Title: Survive in the Human Body Series by Gomdori co. and Hyun-dong Han

Overall: 5 of 5

Family Friendliness: 5 of 5

Roni’s Thoughts:

This was a great series. I enjoyed it, even though the story line itself was not very complicated. It puts the anatomy and physiology in such easy terms, and makes it relevant to your daily life. Granted, there is some “millions of years” wording in there, for those concerned about our kids learning evolution as the only scientifically supported idea. But overall, it was a very quick and easy read with plenty of smiles from myself and my teenaged sister (who went through all three comics in one night!)

 

Jun 13

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Audiobook)

Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Narrators: Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd

ASIN: B0078XQPBA

Overall Rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 4 of 5

Author’s Synopsis: 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school – until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.  (from Amazon)

Roni’s Review:

This was a wonderful story by R.J. Palacio that we listened to on our past vacation. The different narrators made it a bit easier to follow the story, as the perspectives for the chapters changes between characters. They all did great jobs. The story itself is gripping, and had all the girls in the car crying at one point (mostly because something similar had happened to us recently, and the author is really good at bringing in that reality into his story). This story also makes you think about those around you – seeing the world from others’ perspectives. The family friendliness is, I think, okay enough for preteens and up, since the scenarios that play out in the story are really things that kids of this age commonly run into. I would actually also recommend this book for middle schoolers, who are often the recipients of bullying. Excellent job!!

Jun 13

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (Audiobook)

Title: Okay for Now

Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe

ASIN: B004V6ARZC

Overall Rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 3 of 5

Author’s Synopsis: 

As a 14-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt.

As Doug struggles to be more than the skinny thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, a fiery young lady who smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubons birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage.

In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival. (from Amazon)

 

Roni’s Thoughts: 

Another wonderful story by Gary D. Schmidt! This one a bit sadder than Wednesday Wars, it still left a wonderful impression. This was the second audiobook we listened to on our past vacation, and the story kept our minds occupied for hours on end. A very gripping tale that makes one think about those around you, and about taking on different perspectives. Again, my family friendliness rating is only 3 of 5, because of the nature of the story, and because of some violence explained. I would say it’s okay for teens, but definitely not for the younger ears… Lincoln Hoppe, the narrator, is by far one of the best I have heard in a VERY LONG time! Good job, gents!

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