Thursday, September 22, 2011

Follow Friday

This week's question is:

Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it.

Here are my favorite series I will read over and over: 
1) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montegomery - because the series takes me back to my childhood
2) Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris - mostly to keep up with the differences with True Blood haha.
3) Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper- snark fest and it is set in Alaska 
4) Mist of Avalon Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley- I fell in love with it years ago and still think it is magic. The series may just be called Avalon. I'm not certain.
5) Hannah Swensen Series  by Joann Fluke - I especially like reading these over in the winter months, maybe for the cookie recipes? I don't know. But I truly do love this series. 
 Here are covers from the first book of each series:

Anne of Green Gables: All Aboard Reading Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #1)

The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1) Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)

If you would like more information on this meme please stop by the host sites:  and

Please leave a comment. I appreciate hearing from you!

Theme Thursday - The Choice

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event hosted by Reading Between Pages that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. For the rules please go to Reading Between Pages at the above link.

This week's theme is sound/music.

I am taking my snippet from the book The Choice by Lorhainne Eckhart

The Choice

 “Who are you?” Marcie couldn’t breathe. The air stuck somewhere beneath her stomach, she choked. This sultry kick ass woman didn’t answer. She just aimed her index finger and thumb like a loaded gun, a direct line of fire, straight at Marcie. The eerie sound of metal grinding jarred the marrow inside her bones. Then the strange woman laughed a deep throaty chuckle, tossed her head back, and strode around the trailer to the old woodshed, hidden in plain sight. 
Panic licked the back of her throat. She didn’t know how she moved. All she knew, no one could go near the shed. Heat closed around them. She became deaf to everything, but the drumbeats filling her head. Shivering, and haunted by nothing but darkness, the padlocked wooden shed, and a crazy dead woman. Marcie felt very much alone.

 The Choice (Kindle Locations 731-737). Lorhainne Eckhart. 

What is your pick this week? Leave me a comment, please. 

Review Kindergarten by Susan Case

Kindergarten: Tattle-tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents
by Susan Case

* I received this book for review from the author. No promise of a good review was made. No compensation was received. The review is based on my honest opinion of the book.*

This book can easily be read and understood by both teachers and parents. It touches on many subjects dealing with children preschool to kindergarten age, (although I am certain you could go a bit beyond). The author was a teacher both in regular education and special education, as well as being a mother, (one of her children is a special needs child). She brings her education and experience  together in an exceptional book.  I loved reading of happenings in her classroom. I know from dealing with my own children and now Junior, you need to be very clear with what you invite a child to do at, or bring to, school. 
In her first chapter she spoke on "Show and Tell". This was a concept  Junior first heard of on a television program. He was very into it. When school started he was excited to have the opportunity to put this in action. Fortunately, he told me what he wanted to show and tell, ( he was into potty jokes at the time and had decided his naked butt would be hysterical and even had a dance worked out), and we were able to shift it to a book he enjoyed. I'm certain the teacher appreciated the book more, (although I am equally certain his show would have been talked about for years). 
In chapter 2 she takes us through Holidays and celebrating life. Some of the stories were tearjerkers. She shares some wonderful ideas in this chapter that can be used in the classroom or at home. A few would work especially well with homeschooling children of various ages, (here in Alaska home school is common in some areas). I especially like the one that joins older children with younger ones to make Holiday cards for the military. Imagine how difficult it is to be so far from home during the holidays and then throw in the stress of the job. I'm sure the homemade cards from children cheer up many of our men and women, ( for more information on this program please go to Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. It starts this year on October 3rd). She even has ideas for a Splash Day. We all know how much fun that is for children. 
Chapter 3 is an excellent one for parents of younger children. Some important things a child needs to know before going to school is discussed here. Things like how to prepare for the first day of school, (start a schedule a few weeks ahead of time), manners, communication and play skills as well as one I think is important regardless of a child's age, Family Time. In addition to make sure we eat dinner together, my children grew up with Monday night being family night. Having fun together as a family is the object here. As my children got older they could plan it, (which helped keep their interest), and it was never given as an option. That night was mandatory participation, (illness exclusion permitted). 
Chapter 4 looks at something I and I think most of you agree on - the importance of reading. She shares a touching story in this chapter with Hugs from Seaver. Topic here include when a child is ready to read, bonding through books, reading time, reading groups, favorite books, statistics, websites that offer worksheets and activities, educational tv shows, a blog site, and sites that donate books. Here in Alaska we take part in Dolly Parton: Imagination Station Library at Parents are encouraged to sign their children up at birth and the child then receives a book each month until age 5. It is an amazing program. The first book Junior received was the Little Engine That Could. He still loves that story. 
Chapter 5 looks at Science. One of Junior's favorite things to play with is found here...worms. Any kind of worm will catch his attention. He can spot a worm from great distances. It is amazing to see, (yes that is a laughing sound you hear from the woman who would rather leave the worms alone). Ms Case shares some delightful stories about bugs and worms. She shares about the 5 senses , gardening, making rock candy, ( a favorite of my children), butterflies, ants and owls. I think all children are naturally drawn to some aspect of nature. 
Chapter 6 brings us to discipline. I was happy to see this included. I think young children need to have consistency with discipline across the board. It is confusing for children, (especially special needs children who may come in contact with several different adults each day: service provider, respite, teacher, teacher aide, bus driver, bus aide, parents), to have everyone using different methods of discipline and rules. Some are necessary and fine but I do think a majority should be consistent. Ms Case opens this chapter with a story I loved. She had asked the question why do you come to school? One of the children gave the answer, " So you won't be some silly maniac kid." Priceless. I like her ideas of KISS, TX Bear, the Marble Jar. Behavior Charts, Rewards, Choices and, one I employ often,  Pick Your Battles. I have said this over and over to young parents, babysitters and caregivers. It is way less stressful to pick your battles. If you have been consistent from the start this one is easy to incorporate. For me the majors are issues of respect, health and safety, (both for themselves as well as others). Just about everything else I will weigh with Junior's age and reasoning. He knows fairly well which rules he can test and which ones will get him shut down when he has barely begun the test. She also speaks of when to seek help, patience, forgiveness and the fine art of letting it go. She shares the need for us to be responsible role models, (you can tell a child something 100 times but if you are showing them something different, you can count on them mimicking you), and what teachers hope to get from parents. 
Chapter 7 dives into the world of Special Education. It is a chapter not everyone will need but it is important to a number of parents. The walk through the special ed maze can be confusing and difficult. When she speaks of documentation she is speaking to teachers but as someone who has been around the maze more times than I care to remember I am advising parents to document too. Make a file on your child. Write down your observations. It will help you not only in getting the educational needs of your child met but will also help your doctor and therapists meet your child's needs. Ms Case also shares tips for the ARD's, (those admission, review meetings that pop up every year). Your documentation will be extremely useful in getting your child's services and goals correct. She also includes a section on autism and a personal note regarding being a parent of a special needs child.
Chapter 8 is a fun chapter.  It is the list chapter. I loved it. If you deal with children on a regular basis you want to check this chapter out. It is short and direct. 
Chapter 9 is filled with fun and delicious recipes to have your child help with. She takes you through the alphabet with them. One of  Junior's favorite's is the Volcano Cake recipe. It is easy and I love it too - it's chocolate - enough said. 
Chapter 10 is about random acts of kindness and teachers, parents and children as heroes.  I think of it as the heart of the book.

I really love this book. I have recommended it teachers and to caregivers that have worked with Junior, particularly those who are in school to get degrees to work with children. I also recommend it to parents and expectant parents. It is a book you will come back to several times, (if for nothing else than being stressed out and needing to laugh at one of the author's classroom stories). I consider it a must have book for anyone who wants to do their best for a child or children in their lives. 

Kindergarten is widely available in both print and e copy. I recommend the print copy just because it is easier to flip to an exact page. 

The author Susan Case has a blog:
Her twitter name is @susancasetexas

Please leave your comments below. I appreciate hearing from you. You brighten my day and help make my blog what it is.

Review of Shifter 2040 by Ami Blackwelder

The Shifters 2040
Ami Blackwelder

* I was given a copy of this book by the author for review. No promise of a good review was given. I received no compensation for this review. The review is my honest opinion of this book.*

Aliens have been discovered in the United States. They have been perceived to be a threat and the military has been success in annihilating them. There last known holdout is Alaska. Dr Melissa Marn is a scientist working in a lab at the SCM (Shifter Counterinsurgency Military) Base. Being a part of the military is important for Melissa as her father is a military man. So even though she does not agree with the experiments being conducted on the Shifters and their children she still conducts them.
General Raul is insistent that they learn everything they can about the Shifters. He says it is for safety reasons but really he is power hungry and has beliefs that, to me, run a lot along the lines of Hitler. As a matter of fact through much of this book I thought of Hitler and his plan to eliminate Jews and others he found to be less than his idea of perfection. General Raul is so power hungry he will even plan and execute the murder of his superior to be bale to take his position.
Dr Bruce Wilder is also a scientist who works along with Melissa on understanding the DNA of the Shifters. From the onset we know he does not agree with the experiments. However he also still conducts them, even though he tries to help the Shifters, aiding some of them to escape. He stays because he is in love with Melissa.
The Shifters know they are dying out. In hopes of carrying on their race they are mating with humans and creating secret hybrids. The host mothers do not know the fathers of there children are Shifters. The Shifters allow the humans to raise the hybrids as human for 19 years when it is expected they will be able to shift into their species. The Shifters believe being able to mimic humans and stay in human form longer is the only way their children will survive. They keep watch over the hybrids until the time comes that they can take them back.
One night Melissa goes to a bar wanting to escape from all thoughts of the experiments and the military. There she meets Brendan and decides to have nameless sex with him. Too late she learns that he is a Shifter. Weeks later she discovers she is pregnant. She seeks an abortion but cannot go through with it. She tells Bruce about it and he is, naturally, angry and hurt. However he decides to help Melissa hide her pregnancy in the hopes that she will marry him and they will raise the baby. Melissa however decides to give her twins up for adoption. She chooses the Governor's wife to be their mother thinking they will be safe with her. The night before the Governor and his wife can take the twins home, there is a break in. One twin is taken and the other is in danger of being discovered as a Shifter's child.
General Raul is getting more and more aggressive. He has succeeded at making Shifter/human type clones but wants to experiment more on the children. He has been conducting secret experiments on soldiers as well as Shifters and Hybrids, resulting in many deaths. Being drunk with power and seeking more power, the deaths do not bother him.

I found this to be a compelling read. The story line is exciting and contains many elements to make it believable. You can tell that the author has done her research well. She writes her characters well and elicits much sympathy for the Shifters and Hybrids. You become invested in the welfare of the Hybrid children. You understand Melissa and Bruce even though I felt frustrated by her decisions. She is like the abused wife that you beg to leave her husband. You can see the train wreck coming but she refuses to .
There is love and romance in the book. The Shifters show a beautiful love for their children and each other. Melissa is torn between Bruce and Brendan, the Shifter father. Brendan loves his wife Joelle but is torn by his feelings for Melissa. The sex scene between Melissa and Brendan was written well and is okay, (in my opinion), for the YA crowd. Their are other romances going on, Diamond, (one of the first Hybrids), and Keenan, (a Shifter/human clone who is a soldier n the SCM) as well as General Raul and Captain Lane. The feelings of the Shifter fathers for their children was beautiful to read. There is also jealousy, power induced madness and action in this book.  I enjoyed this book very much and am going to be starting Hybrids soon. As this is book 3 you can choose to go forward or backward in this series. I have to know what happens to the children. I am unbelievably invested in them. I will probably go all the way to the final book before returning to the beginning. We shall see.  I highly recommend this series. It is very interesting. I give this book 5 stars.

* An apology to author Ami Blackwelder for the delay in the review. I had planned an earlier date for it but due to life throwing me curves I am off track.*

For more on Ami  and the series please go to Ami Blackwelder on Blogspot.
Ami can also be found on Good Reads Link

Be certain in look for the review of Hybrids, a special Halloween excerpt from Ami and a giveaway of Shifters Evolution  all coming in October!

Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you. Ami does check in and I am sure will answer any comments you leave for her.

We Have Power.

We are up again. :)

Thank you Jenn for letting everyone know what was going on. I appreciate it. This has not been my week. LOL. I am working on my review of Shifter 2040 so it should be up later today. I am also writing up some other reviews and working on some happenings for October.

I have invited authors to share in some Halloween fun for the month of October. Several authors have been sending in Halloween themed post for you all to read during October. I am expecting it to be a lot of fun. There will also be a giveaway happening during the month and The Darkside Book Tour! I will be reviewing books by Stacey Kennedy and A. Jacob Sweeny for the tour. I also have planned more book reviews and the memes I enjoy so much. I love Halloween and I hope you will all enjoy everything I have planned..

Review: Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...