One to Ten by Carole P. Roman

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Squirrel is rushing along a tree limb when she trips, losing all her acorns into the rushing water of the river below. Angry and frustrated, she doesn’t know what to do. Her good friend, Rabbit, lends both a sympathetic ear as well as a solution. Rather than get angry, Rabbit tells her, rate the problem on a scale of one-to-ten. By identifying and realizing the true importance of the issue, the issue may not seem so overwhelming. Adorable forest creatures help the sad squirrel put everything into perspective so he does not to get stuck in a rut over something that may not be a big deal after all.

Review:

Rating our problems will often help us to evaluate how truly important that problem is, and usually upon that evaluation, we may realize that our problem wasn’t as big as we originally thought; this is the premise of our story.

Though I like the thought and originality of One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day, I have to be brutally honest in the fact that I believe the author could have done better. I am a huge fan of Carole’s work, having loved each and every one of her previous books, but in reading this one I had to double check to see if she was really the author.

The way it’s written is cheesy, with all of the characters, except the squirrel, being able to talk in a sophisticated language that most kids won’t even understand(the squirrel just makes noises) and the story is jumping around so much that it’s hard to figure out who is talking (the “word bubbles” aren’t positioned correctly over the character’s head, which makes it difficult to read the book aloud if you’re like me and like to assign each character a different voice).

As I said, I love the idea of encouraging kids to rate their problems to help them look on the bright side of things, but I think that Carole could have really done a better job with this one, and I say that because of the level of esteem I hold for her as an author and for her other children’s books. I give One To Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day 2 out of 5 stars.

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Legacy by Hannah Fielding

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

A troubled young journalist finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth dark secrets from the past.

Spring, 2010. When Luna Ward, a science journalist from New York, travels halfway across the world to work undercover at an alternative health clinic in Cadiz, her ordered life is thrown into turmoil.

The doctor she is to investigate, the controversial Rodrigo Rueda de Calderon, is not what she expected. With his wild gypsy looks and devilish sense of humour, he is intent upon drawing her to him. But how can she surrender to a passion that threatens all reason; and how could he ever learn to trust her when he discovers her true identity? Then Luna finds that Ruy is carrying a corrosive secret of his own…

Luna’s native Spanish blood begins to fire in this land of exotic legends, flamboyant gypsies and seductive flamenco guitars, as dazzling Cadiz weaves its own magic on her heart. Can Luna and Ruy’s love survive their families’ legacy of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?

Legacy is a story of truth, dreams and desire. But in a world of secrets you need to be careful what you wish for…

Review:

Flawless writing and impeccable character building. Legacy takes the readers on a journey through the passions and desires that are aroused from the romantic Spanish culture.

Everything about this book is exquisite; stunningly captured in a way that brings not only the story to life, but also the characters and their feelings with them. It has been a very long time since I have read a book that was written this beautifully, so I am going to be giving it 5 out of 5 stars and simply giving a warning to my followers.

The romance and selective language is extremely high, with intense romance scenes and vivid comments/thoughts from characters, however, this is not an erotica novel by title, just a passionate romance (that does include a sex scene).

Absolutely stunning.

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Coffee Confessions: Choosing to Express Like Espresso -A Guest Post by Author Caroline George

Writers tend to be different. Maybe our abnormality is accredited to the excessive amounts of time we spend with our own thoughts. Maybe we see and understand more than non-writers. Maybe our creativity has fried our brains.

I was and am different.

As a determined, overly imaginative teenager, I decided to spend my seventeenth birthday with my mom at Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta, Georgia. There were two things I wanted for my birthday—a handmade vintage sundress and barista lessons. If the requests don’t convey my weirdness, let me preface by saying I had already published two books and launched my author career by the time I first used a tamp and steam wand. Different described every aspect of my life.

The first thing I learned about working an espresso machine:

Coffee is an art form.

Baristas at Counter Culture are required to complete various courses and training before receiving certification. These classes teach basic espresso machine usage, the chemistry of milk, and much more. All of this information is needed when working in authentic coffeehouses.

How does coffee relate to creative writing?

Writing requires the same amount of knowledge, practice, and skill as pouring the perfect latte. Professional baristas must be so familiar with the coffee-making process, they know when milk reaches the desired temperature, when the espresso is pulled to its prime consistency. Professional writers must also be so well-versed with their craft, they’re able to develop plots and characters with ease, build concise and effective sentences.

I tasted my first espresso shot at barista training—I was required to take multiple shots of espresso pulled at different draw times. My body was buzzed on caffeine as I made lattes, attempted a tulip and art design with steamed milk. The drinks were proof—I was not knowledgeable, practiced, nor skilled.

There are three writing tips I learned from Counter Culture classes.

Knowledge: Acquiring know-how takes effort.

Writing is a constant education, same as working as a barista. To be successful as a writer and author, one must do research, learn about the publishing industry and current market.

Practice: Knowledge is useless without implementation.

Like knowing how to pull an espresso doesn’t mean a barista can work an espresso machine, someone who knows how to write isn’t always a good writer. Once knowledge is gained, it needs to be applied and practiced.

Skill: Time determines talent.

Although some people are gifted with natural writing ability, the best writers gain their skills from utilization and diligence.

We have to make lattes with disfigured latte art before we can pour intricate floral designs. We have to be willing to write not-so-great stories before we can build masterpieces.

I left Counter Culture over-caffeinated, covered in grinds, and more appreciative of baristas. The experience was so inspiring, I made my main character in The Vestige (coming June 30 from Evernight Teen Publishing) a barista—shameless self-plug.

Overall, as writers, we need to express like espresso.

We need to be knowledgeable, practiced, and skilled.

 

About Caroline:

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Caroline George, author of THE PRIME WAY TRILOGY and THE VESTIGE, resides in Nashville where she spends the majority of her time in hipster coffeehouses, sipping lavender mochas and undertaking over-the-top projects. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee, speaker, blogger and writer for teen magazine PURSUE. Caroline studies publishing and public relations at Belmont University and works as a publicist for local artists.

Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge

Facebook/AuthorCarolineGeorge

Twitter @CarolineGeorge_

Website: authorcarolinegeorge.com

 

About The Vestige:

Choose to see the unseen . . .

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.

2nd Layer: What you know is real.

3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

Choose; Fulfill Your Created Purpose by David Brannock

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Synopsis:

God created you for a purpose. Will you choose to fulfill it? High school graduates face a sea of possibilities. Will you pursue a college degree, military service, or job search? As you launch the next step of your journey, saying yes to one option means saying no to other good opportunities. Who is the real you? What do you want? Career and relationship choices are important, but what you decide about Jesus is the most important choice you will ever make. In Choose, author David E. Brannock offers the advice and wisdom he wishes he’d had on campus 200 miles from home. His experiences, supported by Scripture, serve as a lighthouse. May this book steer you away from the rocks he hit and illuminate the course God intends for you.

Review:

Lighthearted and insightful on guiding you as you transition from high-school to college, is Choose, a book written for graduates by an author who wishes that he would’ve had this book during his transition.

It’s a short book but it somehow covers everything  you may have questions about, from how to handle relationships and friendships, to troublesome roommates, to choosing your career, to even maintaining self-esteem in a world that seems to only want to tear you down. It also has some wonderful one-liners that you might scribble down on your mirror!

The author has a sense of humor but is also very real and vulnerable to his audience, making it that much easier to engage with. Plus, he’s not long-winded nor does he repeat his advice constantly as so many other nonfiction writers do.

So, I can honestly give Choose; Fulfill Your Created Purpose 5 out of 5 stars and do recommend it for graduates, especially those of you who aren’t overly fond of reading but still looking for some helpful advice.

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Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are all my own.

The Synopsis:

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.

And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.

Review:

Trying to fit the Gospel into a YA novel, and still have it sell, is very hard to do, and though I applaud Jonathan for trying, I think he may have spent a little too much time on trying to fit the Gospel in than he did to develop the story.

It was very well written and I fell in love with both Jonah and Stormi (Arthur too), I was just left with unanswered questions and was very confused at the ending. Stormi’s gifts aren’t really explained until the middle of the book, the antagonists aren’t dealt with in the end, and honestly, I wasn’t really sure what the plot was as I read.

Now don’t get me wrong, the way it’s written made it impossible to put down and I enjoyed reading it, I’m just left with many questions, but perhaps this is what the author wanted. Regardless, I’m only going to give it 3 out of 5 stars, though I do recommend it to anyone who wants to give this Christian YA a chance, maybe its plot will be clearer to another reader.

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