MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780804140881?width=125&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif
ISBN: 9780804140881
Publisher's Synopsis:
 "Vastra and Strax and Jenny? Oh no, we don't need to bother them. Trust me."

Marlowe Hapworth is found dead in his locked study, killed by an unknown assailant. This is a case for the Great Detective, Madame Vastra.

Rick Bellamy, bare-knuckle boxer, has the life drawn out of him by a figure dressed as an undertaker. This angers Strax the Sontaran.

The Carnival of Curiosities, a collection of bizarre and fascinating sideshows and performers. This is where Jenny Flint looks for answers.    

How are these things connected? And what does Orestes Milton, rich industrialist, have to do with it all? This is where the Doctor and Clara come in. The Doctor and his friends find themselves thrust into a world where nothing and no one are what they seem. Can they unravel the truth before the most dangerous weapon ever developed is unleashed on London? 

MrsK's review:
Dr. Who? Who doesn't know Dr. Who would be a better question. Fans of  Dr. Who (Whovians) or Comic-Con enthusiasts all have had marathon moments with the Doctor. Even though I may have been in front of the t.v. (way back when), it wasn't until my children began (forcing) me into their Dr. Who marathon weekends that I began an involvement with the Doctor.

Science fiction has always had an alluring aspect for readers and Sci-Fi "nerds." There is guaranteed gadgets, odd personalities, some form of techie travel, and other-worldly experiences. So when the newest Dr. Who book was ready for preview, well I knew I had to read it. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of enjoyment I would experience reading Silhouette. Not only are the characters so quick-witted, you can "see" their expressive "tells" during the dialogue. The "unfolding" storyline keeps you turning the pages, way past your bedtime. Of course the nemesis will have unfair advantage, at least for awhile. The Doctor will need a "dose" of humility before he can conqueor the villainous scheme. The world will need the Doctor to end the threat of a mind-altering crystal.

In the beginning you will meet Marlowe Hapworth, a very extraordinary-ordinary man who happens upon the Frost Fair along the Thames. Why would this insignificant man be of value to the Carnival of Curiosities? What in the world could possibly tie Marlowe to an eccentric industrialist? Madame Vastra will need all of her "charm" to outwit the evil that is taking control of so many around her. 

Are you wondering what allures the Doctor to this time period? Even though Clara was hoping to visit with King Arthur, an unknown power spike in the late 19th century set the Doctor on edge. There should not be any post-nuclear power supplies in the middle of London during that time period. Madame Vastra or even Strax would not be so careless, so the Doctor must bring the Tartus back to London... again!
"I have never been more embarrassed in my entire life," Clara told him as they walked away...."
"Yes you have."
"Yes I have,' she admitted. 'But I was probably with you at the time."

So readers, here is your quest... you will need to discover what the power source is? You must discover why a master puppeteer would be so valuable to a man who can buy anything he wants. Why was Hapworth  so interested in a paper crane when he died? What is the attraction for Madame Vastra that might cause her demise? Could a series of coincidences lead to the failing of the Doctor's intelligence?

If you know someone who is a friend of Dr. Who's... well this is a perfect bit of travel for them,
MrsK 

 
Great moments for all... especially if you are waiting for the next Dr. Who installment!
Justin Richards JUSTIN RICHARDS has written for stage and screen as well as writing novels and graphic novels. He has also co-written several action thrillers for older children with the acknowledged master of the genre Jack Higgins. Justin acts as Creative Consultant to BBC Books' range of Doctor Who titles, as well as writing quite a few himself. Married with two children (both boys), Justin lives and works in Warwick, within sight of one of Britain's best-preserved castles.

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Blogging For Books

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer

Playing by Heart
ISBN: 9780764210655
Publisher Synopsis:
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.
With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!
Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.
However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.
With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!
Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.
However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.
With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!
Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.
However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

MrsK's Review:
As an educator, I knew I had to take this journey with Lula:
"I sucked in a breath, my back snapping as straight as a lob-lolly pine,
my cheeks stinging hot.
Not a new slur, to be sure, 
but no student had yet dared be insolent to my face."

Meet Lula a newly hired Mathematician for an Oklahoma university. Her hopes were high, her frustrations with certain students would not stand in her way. She was planted firm in her position and faith, that is until the untimely death of her brother in law. What she thought would be a trip home unfolds into a new path. Does God really want her to leave her college position, her father's joy in one child becoming a professor? Just as her goals were in sight... her family would challenge her determination.

Just because Lula is the youngest, unmarried, and "free" to move home to help her older sister Jewel raise her children... does that mean it is what she should do? Why would God request her to become the organist at their church? Why would the local high school be in need of a music teacher? All Lula knows is that she must follow God's lead, especially when:
"Her heart felt shredded, like a piece of silk beneath unwieldy scissors... I knew I'd chosen correctly."

As Lula chooses to walk through the opened doors of the high school, she has hopes that maybe she could switch job positions with the math instructor: 
"Principal Gray, perhaps you have a more qualified music teacher already on staff? I'd be happy to switch places..."
"I have no other options for a music teacher, Miss Bowman. God obviously sent you to fill this spot...
Actually, the position does come with another responsibility..."

Never did Lula expect that she would be teaching music let alone be the girl's basketball coach. She knew nothing about sports, would a manual really help give her enough insight for these girls? Will she need someone to help her make sense of the game?

Meet Chet, a man who has stayed at home instead of enlisting in the service. With one son already shipped out, he knew his place was in taking care of his mother. As a high school math teacher and boy's basketball coach he has the perfect plan for getting a gymnasium built for their school, their students, and their community. What he could use is a bit of help for a few of his players.
"A bell clanged inside the building... I charged inside, determined to reach my classroom before the final student did.
I glanced over at Giles. his eyes went wide. 'Look out!' I slammed into something. Someone."

Once Lula begins her music position, she realizes that "teaching students to recognize the arrangement of notes on the page was similar to teaching mathematical formulas."  What would prove beyond her grasp would be guiding the girl's passion for the game on the floor. For that Lula will need to make a deal with Chet. A deal that is only about basketball moves and math tutoring... or is it?
"I've often had to stand on the firm ground of my convictions when others thought I ought to be doing differently."

Can Lula open her heart and learn about the true treasures that are being offered or will her convictions keep God's offerings out of her grasp? With a storyline that is meshed between two characters, you will find a delightful glimpse into this couple's world. Their community is filled with endearing characters both young and old. The setting is at a time when such hardships of war caused so many to feel that hope would never return. Each and every detail is completely crafted to ensure a joyful excursion beyond your daily hustle and bustle.

If you are ready for a quiet retreat, don't overlook this journey with Lula,
MrsK       

A journey's break worth taking. Lula's story will delight the Book To Dine book Club!
 Anne Mateer  Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.

"I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review."
http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/miracle-in-a-dry-season/349651

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

ISBN: 9781601425195
Publisher's Synopsis:
On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises. 
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.

In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.” With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.

This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

MrsK's Review:
When the publisher offered this journey, I recognized a small voice within my heart that whispered... you must read it to know, read to understand, and read to get this in someone's hands.

 "I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. 
Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, 
and only one came home…."

How often does a book's forward really begin your journey? Glennon Doyle Melton began my journey with this heart-warming prayer of understanding and hope:
"Help them. And please help me find the strength and faith that they have.
Help me mother like Anna does. Help me to believe like she does.
Help my son learn what her son knew. Help my daughters trust God and persevere like Anna's daughter does."

As a reviewer, I too have glimpsed the essence of Anna's heart. This memoir is a gift so beautifully wrapped, so eloquently composed, and so truthfully exposed that my spirit trembled with a desire to bring honor to this woman of faith. If you have ever wondered how Christians walk through the tough times of living, this is the journey that will resonate deep within your heart and soul. Christians are not promised a life "free" from hardships, moments of doubt or anger, weakness, heartache, or gut-wrenching truth. Christians are promised that they will not walk alone! This journey will inspire a kinship with Anna. It will unveil a mother's love. It can strengthen your resolve with your personal path. Most definitely, it will bring about a clarity to everything you are experiencing at this moment in time.
For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37 
This was Jack's special Bible verse. This verse provided a promise to "cling" to, a hope that Anna would not be forgotten in her sorrow. A sorrow that began on a rainy day, on the day that their creek became a raging river. As a mother my heart began pounding when I read Anna's words, memories reminded me of my small son's face as he walked in the shallows and quickly disappeared beneath the water. My life was changed and I knew that Anna's would never be the same as I read of her frantic search for her beautiful son. Even though my son had a blue haired angel that dove in for him, Anna's story is filled with moments that Heaven was watching out for all of them. Moments in which her faith will give her the boldness to "reveal" the anguish within her soul. Moments in which her answers from Heaven will be in a song, a text message, and through the dreams of others.

For I know the plans I have for you...
Jeremiah 29:11 
 Within our pain and brokenness, our humanness seeks His goodness. Anna's faith is strong enough to ask the hardest questions of God. Questions that so often we try to quiet because we are trying to fit God's wisdom into our grief. What Anna taught me is that God is big enough to handle our anger, and that He is true to His word...His promises. We do not walk alone!

"Are we so rooted in the here and now that we treat Heaven just as some insignificant, distant reward?"
 Anna's struggle with God's plan for Jack is an inspiring moment of truth between a mother's heart, soul, and aching desire to know that her son is in a better place than here with her. As Anna's honesty pours forth, we are given the opportunity to experience grief as it longs for comfort. In no way will this beautifully crafted conversation leave you with a heavy heart, you will know the peace of His understanding.

My words can not portray the beauty of this woman's heart, soul, and motherhood. I can only hope that I have given you enough courage to take this journey for yourself, for your loved ones, and for your friends. 

Take a moment to experience this gift and then share it,
MrsK  
golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
  A journey for your heart. A must read, share, and discuss.
Excellent for book clubs, definitely will be shared at the Booked to Dine book club.
 Meet the Author:
  Anna Whiston-Donaldson holds a master's degree in English from Wake Forest University. She taught high school English and photojournalism for six years. Currently, she is popular blogger and manages a Christian bookstore. She lives with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Margaret, in suburban Washington, DC.

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
 http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/reviews/view/33084
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