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!

Oct 14

Roni’s Taking a Sabbatical!!

As nursing school is only one and a half semesters from finished, Roni has opted to take a break from book review for the time being. If you’ve submitted work to her, DON’T WORRY! She’ll make sure to review your work; however, for the time being, she will not be accepting new requests. Roni feels that you’ve put a lot of work into your novels, and that they deserve enough time each for a proper review! Thanks, Rosebuz fans!

Oct 11

Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti novel Book 1 by Gail Carriger

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)Author: Gail Carriger
Title: Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel Book 1 by Gail Carriger
Available at: Amazon, and Goodreads.
Rating: 5 of 5
Family Friendliness: 1 of 5

Synopsis by author:

“First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?”

 

 

Linda’s Review

A gothic romance novels, with vampires, werewolves and parasols. Gail Carriger has created a rather unique world where vampires and werewolves are accepted by the British and even leveraged for army and intelligence. The story is told from the perspective of an English woman and does not disappoint in bringing forth all the niceties of old England customs and niceties. But don’t be fooled Alexia Tarabotti, although raised as an English lady is so much more, she’s the only one of her kind in England, and thus everyone is after her. She falls in love with a werewolve, and watching their relationship unfold was quite the spectacle to behold. The book is filled with action, yet the pace is excellent and leaves you wanting for more.  However, this book is NOT child friendly, as there are some erotic scenes that are best left unheard by young ears.  Definitely written more for the young woman in her twenties.

Aug 29

Winning numbers: An Introduction to the Riley Family by Randall Franklin

 

Author: Randall Franklin

Title: Winning Numbers: An Introduction to the Riley Family

Available at: Amazon, Goodreads

Rating: 3 of 5

Family Friendliness: 2 of 5

Author Synopsis:

“He is a scientist, secretly winning major lotteries. Russian mobsters want him dead. She is a single parent on the run from Mexican drug smugglers. Nobody in law enforcement believes her story. He and she find each other, falling in love as predators around the globe unite against them. Soon one-in-ten-million lottery odds look more manageable than staying alive — unless, of course, you’re a Riley.”

Roni’s Review:

I made it through about 30% of the book before giving up. No doubt the action sequences and multiple-story plot will appeal to some readers, but it just didn’t work for me. I will say, however, that the book is well written for a new author. I do remember thinking during my skimming of the last few chapters that the characters were a bit on the corny side. That added a bit of fun to the book for me. Overall score is 3 of 5 because it didn’t keep my attention, and family friendliness score of 2 out of 5 because of violence and weapons.

Aug 29

Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques by Rebecca Welton

 

 

Author: Rebecca Welton

Title: Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques

Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodread

Overall Rating: 3 of 5

Family Friendliness: 4 of 5

Author Synopsis:

“As a parent, what do you do if you are suffering sleepless nights but don’t want to let your baby cry it out? Most families are left just trying to weather the storm. Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques: Alternatives to Controlled Crying offers families a new approach. The book provides effective options for helping parents teach their babies to happily settle to sleep on their own and sleep through the night – without leaving them to cry alone.
Mother-of-two, Rebecca Welton, knows all about sleepless nights. At five months, her youngest was still waking 8 to 10 times a night. With little information available to help, Rebecca set about devising a settling technique that worked for her baby and her family. Now qualified child sleep practitioner, she has brought together the best tips on how to get your baby to sleep better and for longer. Rebecca delivers five different Trust Techniques, including one for co-sleepers, that build on the trust between you and your baby by ensuring that you always respond to their needs and never leave them to cry alone.”

Roni’s Review:

This book is a quick overview of some of the ways to help you get your baby settled for the night, and through the night. I think parents can appreciate the effort taken into making a quick-read book when they barely get any good rest themselves. However, I do have my issues with this book. One thing that irritated me was the author’s repeated comments on evolution. Not only does she offend people who may very well be turning to God in their stressed situations, but she’s also wasting the reader’s limited time. The author uses her own personal experiences, which I think add value to the book. She also addresses subjects not usually covered in popular books, such as the effects siblings suffer during the first few months. This book would not be my recommendation to parents-to-be, who still have some time to read books that go a little more into detail.

 

Aug 29

Keeping Up by Sharon Sieja

 

Author: Sharon Sieja

Title: Keeping Up

Available at: Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Goodreads

Rating: 4 of 5

Family friendliness: 4 of 5

Author Synopsis:

“Something big and dangerous may be stalking you.
The escape record at the Caroland Zoo had been clean since 1992. Now suddenly, in three months’ time, there have been six escapes. In every instance, the keepers insist the animals were secure when they last checked on them.
Julie Landon, head bear keeper, is convinced someone is intentionally releasing animals. And she thinks she knows who is responsible. She just has to prove it before another keeper is injured. Or worse.”

Roni’s Review:

This book is very well written, and is very clean as far as I have read. But, the story took too long for me to develop. I read about 45% of the book, including the 15% that I skimmed, before I finally put it down. I think that this story can be very gripping to others, especially when they’re in the mood for suspense. And I can sense that there will be an even greater amount of action and suspense beyond the point that I’ve reached. Although I’m not planning on returning to this one in the near future, I will keep it in my library for when the mood strikes me. Overall rating is 4 out of 5, only because it couldn’t keep me flipping the pages. A Family Friendliness score of 4 out of 5, since the story involves tranquilizer weapons and frightening situations during animal escapes. Overall, a job well done, Sharon!

Aug 16

When the lion feeds by Wilbur Smith

When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1)Author: Wilbur Smith
Title: When the lion feeds
Available at: AmazonAudible and Goodreads.
Rating: 4 of 5
Family Friendliness: 1 of 5

Author’s Synopsis:

“‘Something always dies when the lion feeds and yet there is meat for those that follow him.’ The lion is Sean, hero of this tremendous drama of the men who took possession of South Africa in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Sean and his twin-brother Garrick grew up on their father’s farm in Natal. The first part of the book deals with his childhood and youth and his longing to become a successful farmer and hard-hitting fighter like his father.

The tough life of cattle-farming is brusquely interrupted by the Zulu Wars, when Sean and his brother see fighting for the first time. Wilbur Smith vividly recreates the excitement of the war for the young men-their hope of winning their own cattle, the horror of the massacre at Isandhlwana, the heroism of the defence at Rorkes Drift.

‘Witwatersrand’ is the name of the second part of this book and it tells the story of Sean’s fabulous success in the gold rush and his rich life with Duff Charleywood and the beautiful Candy in the new town of Johannesburg, where huge fortunes were made and lost in a morning’s dealing on the Exchange.

The atmosphere of this feverish, violent time is brilliantly drawn: the heavy drinking, the elaborate houses, the ruthless abandonment of the failure. Sean and Duff are caught at last in a trap laid by their rival, the sinister and clever Hradsky, and leave Johannesburg for the wilderness to seek their fortunes once more.

And now the book moves to its climax. At last it seems as though Sean will settle to a quiet married life – but fate has other plans for him. They return to Johannesburg and tragedy strikes quickly. Sean finds himself alone once more…

Filled with action scenes in war and the early heady days of the gold rush, and adventure among the vast game herds of the African wilderness, this novel is dominated by the towering compelling personality of Sean, whose life story is continued in The Sound of Thunder and A Sparrow Falls.”

Linda’s Review:

Having grown up in Natal, South Africa, I had a special appreciation for this book. Although I grew up in a much different era than Sean, a lot of the scenery has not changed much over the years, and so I enjoyed all of the descriptive writing. This is also the first book that I’ve ever read by author Wilbur Smith. At times it was rather exciting, with a lot of action and intrigue going on. I was amazed at how well Wilbur Smith was able to characterize all the different people and stay true to their natures. The book is definitely driven by characterization, and so I’ve been able to learn a lot by how Wilbur Smith writes and how his characters come to live. To the point where one can almost laugh and cry along with them. At times though, the story dragged on for to long harping on one point or another, or seemingly took a tangent to the main story line of Sean. Only in the middle to later, did the story solely focus on Sean, and I enjoyed that tremendously. It got rather boring, whenever the book focused on secondary characters whom I really did not care much for. This book is clearly intended for a mature audience. Most kids and even teens will not enjoy this book.

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