Fiction; Young Adult/Middle School3 starsOlivia is a master at trivia. So when the opportunity arises for her to be a part of Jeopardy! Kid's Week, she jumps at the chance! Her only setbacks are her weakness in Geography and a neglectful father who divorced her Mom and then moved away with his new wife to the other side of the country and has seemingly forgotten Olivia and her brother, Charlie exist.Written in the style of the Jeopardy show, there are fun trivia facts that the books young adult readers are sure to enjoy. As the main character, Olivia is dealing with many issues throughout the book and I think her brother Charlie was an excellent addition to complement the storyline. His character presented some good comic relief during the 'heavier' moments of the book.I enjoyed reading this book. I think the author is right on target for this books intended audience and those who pick it up will likely enjoy it as well.
Fiction; Christmas/Three-in-One stories3.5 stars'Twas the Night is an entertaining blend of characters penned by three different authors. Rather than three separate stories like an anthology, this book is presented in a round-robin style that flows together nicely in to a fun storyline.When a winter storm interrupts travel plans for three long-time friends (Sam, JD and Stan) on their way to the wedding of a friend/mentor George Garrison, the three men end up together on the goodwill intended, senior-citizen Santa Brigade Bus. From there, the shenanigans begin and laughter abounds.As each author takes their turn telling their story, you cannot help but fall in love with these enduring characters. With a little humor, some self sacrificing and a few steamy love scenes, this book is definitely one wild ride you won't soon forget.
Non-Fiction; Biography4.5 starsKatie is not your average girl. She feels a calling much greater than maintaining a relationship with her high school sweetheart and attending the college of her dreams. This 18 year old, Tennessee native walks away from her near perfect life for one as a missionary in Uganda, Africa.With a heart full of faith and compassion, Katie takes her readers on her journey through the orphanages where there are many needs among the African children. Along the way, she endures heartache and a feeling of being overwhelmed by it all, but relies on God to use her servants heart and hands to truly make a difference in the world.I really enjoyed this book and was amazed by the strong character that this young woman has. It was a true blessing to be invited in to her world. She is very brave to go against what we consider 'normal' society to follow her dream. Her service and dedication is truly admirable. This book will definitely make you step back and analyse yourself and your own faith. Could you do what she has done? Would you give up your own life to be of service to others? I know what my answer would be. Read this book if you want to find out yours.
5 stars/Non-Ficton; PhotographyBeyond Snapshots is a great book for anyone who has invested in a new digital SLR camera only to be overwhelmed by all the modes, functions and lens choices.Each chapter of this book highlights an individual feature of the camera and then gives instructions for when, why and how to use it in your own photography. With plenty of great images and encouragement, Devine and Mazey open the door to understanding and utilizing all the creative options the camera is capable of so you can finally capture the images you seek with confidence.This is definitely a "must-have" book for all digital SLR beginners or those wanting to improve their own photography.Highly Recommended.*As a side note: I have both the paper and digital copy of this book. Because of the improved photo quality and ease of use, I prefer the paper version.
Fiction; Juvenile2 starsFour girls brought together for a "bookclub" arranged by their Mothers. The idea was good but the execution was lacking. The story was rather hum-drum and not what I expected at all. Lots of stereotyping in the characters made for a plot that seemed un-original and weak. I felt no real bond with the characters or even between the characters for that matter. (As I read the book, I began to wonder if that was something the author was trying to attain or not)I did enjoy how the author laid out the book using the word/definition format at the beginning of each chapter. While it did give me a brief sense of hope for the book, overall the story was uninspiring and rather boring. It had the makings of a good book, unfortunately it left a lot to be desired.