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 24

What Roni is Reading…

Hi Ya’ll!! I’m having some technical difficulties with changing the images on the “What Roni’s reading” bar on the right hand. So, I’ve decided to just make a post to keep you in the know!  

The book I’m currently reviewing is Pelican Trees by A Grateful Believer. It’s pretty good so far, too!

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!

Jun 13

Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (Audiobook)

 

Title: Wednesday Wars

Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Narrator: Joel Johnstone

  • ASIN: B0013TOX50

Overall Rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 3 of 5

Author Synopsis:

 Holling Hoodhood is really in for it. He’s just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. The year is 1967, and everyone has bigger things to worry about, especially Vietnam. Then there’s the family business. As far as Holling’s father is concerned, the Hoodhoods need to be on their best behavior: the success of Hoodhood and Associates depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? Rats, for one thing; cream puff, for another. Then there’s Doug Swieteck’s brother. And that’s just for starters…. (from Amazon)

 

Roni’s Opinion:

This was a great book, and the narrator does a wonderful job as well! Gary D. Schmidt is a favorite author for our family now! We spent many hours on the road with our last vacation, and this was the first audiobook we popped in to listen to. The story is overall gripping and has characters that are very believable. Family Friendliness is lower because of the nature of this story, and the way the characters interact. It is, in my opinion, suitable for kids past the age of 12 (or younger, if they are able to concentrate for long periods of time). I would not play this one for the younger crowds, though. Overall, a great story!!

 

Mar 01

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Title: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Author: Jean-Dominique Bauby

ISBN: 9780375701214

Available at: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads

Overall Rating: 4 of 5

Family Friendliness: 4 of 5

Author synopsis from Amazon:

In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem.  After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book.
By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father’s voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an “inexhaustible reservoir of sensations,” keeping in touch with himself and the life around him.
Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
This book is a lasting testament to his life.

Roni’s Thoughts:

I read this book as part of a school assignment this week. It only took me a day.  It gives a great picture, I think, into the human side of this condition — for both the patient, and those around him/her. And for those struggling with a similar condition, I would also recommend this book. Having worked with multiple stroke cases, not only in a rehabilitation facility, but also on a few hospital floors, I myself have seen some of the things Bauby talks about. A must-read for medicine-related professions, and a should-read for everyone else, I think this book worthy of an overall rating of 4 out of 5, being only slightly confusing to the reader in some parts of the book. The overall family friendliness is also a 4 out of 5, because there are some things I would deem unsuitable for very young children. That being said, I would recommend this read to teenagers who are interested in volunteering at hospitals, or have been faced with a situation similar to what Bauby describes.

Mar 01

Happy belated 2015!!!

Hi Rosebuz family!! It’s been a while! With the change in careers for Linda, and my final semester of nursing school taking us almost by surprise, we have been WAY too busy! So, I would like to take this chance to say Happy Belated New Year for 2015!!! I hope you guys had a marvelous 2014, and that this year will be even better!!

While book reviews have been slow over the Christmas break, and since the new semester (for both myself and Linda), you can expect to see at least a couple of extra postings this year from me. I will be graduating at the end of April, and then taking on the challenging NCLEX for getting my license. Linda is now a full-time instructor, which is awesome, since that is one of her life’s passions!! Look forward this year to possible book releases from the both of us, as well! In between all this, I will also be looking for admission into a good (and preferably, affordable) RN-BSN school, while simultaneously applying for some employment opportunities! If you happen to know of any good online programs, be sure to drop me an e-mail. ;D (And don’t let the automated declined e-mail message scare you!! As you know, I have been on Sabbatical for some time, and no longer take book requests for the time being…)

There’s also talk of an opportunity for me and some of my family to make a mad-dash, whirlwind-speed tour up and down the middle of the USA as a sort of mini-vacation. If you know of any places that we just can’t pass up on during this possible tour, let me know! I’d love to hear about it!!

So again, Happy Belated 2015! I look forward to reading some more of your masterpieces, and getting out some reviews in cyberspace!!

Warm wishes for all during this lovely cold weather!

- Roni (BETAREADERA at GMAIL dot COM)

Dec 26

I Have Cancer: 48 Things to Do When You Hear Those Words

Title: I Have Cancer: 48 Things to Do When You Hear Those Words

Author: Stan Goldberg, Ph.D.

ISBN: 9780990997009

Overall: 3 of 5

Family Friendliness:  5 of 5

Author Synopsis:

At least once in your life someone will say to you, “I have cancer,” and when these three words are spoken, you may struggle with a response. If a loved one or friend hasn’t already informed you of a cancer diagnosis, it’s just a matter of time until someone will. This ebook will provide you with 48 things to do when you hear the words, since every year fourteen million people worldwide learn they are living with or may die from this illness.
Twenty years ago a good friend informed me she had breast cancer. I didn’t know if I should be upbeat (telling her she would defeat it) or just hug her and say how sorry I was. I did what most people do. I said, “I’m so sorry,” a safe answer but not necessarily a helpful one. Twelve years ago it was my turn

 

Roni’s Thoughts:

This topic was newly pressed on my heart only hours before I received the request to review this book. I am not new to the world of the dying, but as caregivers we all need to have some reassurance that what we do (and how we do it) is correct. So I was very eager to review this one, to deal with the situation I was once again facing.

As a friend of someone who (years ago) lost her fight with cancer, a short-term Hospice volunteer, and a nursing student, I can say that there are quite a few things in this book that can be useful for those unfamiliar with these types of situations…mostly the first few parts, though. There are later parts with which I disagree. Just remember that some types of cancers/diseases/disorders affect people differently than others, and people themselves vary in their responses. Culture plays a HUGE part in patient response, particularly in those cultures that limit the range of acceptable behavior given any situation. An individual’s past experience is also critical to consider. Understand that no book will ever provide you with a perfect list of Do’s and Don’ts, because the author cannot address certain situations that s/he has not experienced/witnessed yet. And no matter how long you practice in any field, there’s always something that you didn’t know/think of. Overall, Dr. Goldberg covered many important topics, and the ease of reading was not too bad, with a overall score of 3 out of 5. Family friendliness is 5 of 5, though some children may find these concepts difficult to understand. Thanks for your submission Dr. Goldberg, and your for service to those who desperately need this type of specialized care!

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