Thursday, September 29, 2011

Throwback Thursday (1)

I was talking with my wife the other day about all the cool posts that people do on different days of the week and she said that I should come up with my own. I told her that I wanted to do one on classic books, so she said, "Hey, you could call it "Throwback Thursday". So, without further ado I present to you the very first "Throwback Thursday", in which I will talk about classic books that I have either read already or want to read and why.

I have always been fascinated with the character of Dracula. I have seen a lot of the contemporary Dracula adaptations and some of the older stuff as well. I have recently started reading this book on my Kindle (thank you Amazon for the free classics!) and can't get enough of it. So far it's been a wonderful read and I can't wait until I can get to the end of it.

What's your throwback?

If you feel so inclined as to create one of these posts yourself please fill out your name and link below so we can all share in your "Throwback Thursday".

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review: Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

*Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. As tension builds and Eon's desperate lie comes to light, readers won't be able to stop turning the pages...

 *Excerpt from Goodreads

I found Eon to be a very fascinating book. Alison Goodman does an amazing job of painting a vivid world that you get sucked into as you follow the main character, "Eon", through the story. I've read a few reviews of this book that were less then complimentary about the quality of the story and the writing. I would say that I have to disagree with these reviewers on their feelings about this book. I found it to be a fairly easy read that had plenty of action to get you through the book. I will say that there were a few points in the story where you were kind of "willing" the story to move along a little quicker, but it wasn't terrible at all. 

Eon is a great lead character because "he" doesn't always have the answers and spends a lot of time worrying about how things are going to work out. I like that in a main character because it is like real life. No one has everything together and we all worry about how things are going to pan out for us. Needless to say, Eon, has plenty to worry about as the story moves along. There was the constant worry of connecting to the dragon, dealing with Ido, and hiding all of "his" secrets from the world at large and from friends. (We all know how hard it is to keep things from our friends)

The plot was well thought out and kept you guessing throughout the book. The other characters in the book were well rounded and Goodman didn't spend an unnecessary amount of the book describing them. She did enough to let you know all the details that were important for each character. Some authors "over do" some of their supporting characters and that annoys me to know end. I don't want to spend 100 pages talking about characters that the story doesn't ultimately revolve around. 

Having said all of that; I feel that Eon is a book that is well worth the time to read. The story is engaging and the author leaves you on the edge of your seat for the second book. I can't wait to pick it up to find out how this wonderful story and power struggle come to an end. 

Overall: 4/5

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
My Pick this Week:

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.
And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.
With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.
A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!
It almost seems too good to be true.
And it is.

*Excerpt taken from Barnes and Noble

Book Details:

Title: The Litigators
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Adult Fiction
Hardcover: 400pp
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Release Date: October 25, 2011
ISBN: 0385535139
ISBN-13: 9780385535137 

Why I'm Waiting:

I'm a John Grisham nut! I can't get enough of his books or his writing style. I read many of his books before I started this blog, that's why you don't see any reviews of his books up on here. I can't wait for this book to come out! Grisham has a way of writing that just pulls me in and makes it hard for me to put down his book. The only problem I have with Grisham books is that I don't get enough sleep when I get a new one.

What are you waiting for?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

IMM (1)

This is a very exciting post for me! This is the very first arc I have ever received for review! Thank you to the fine folks at The Pinkston Group and also Thomas Nelson publishing. I look forward to diving into this book. It comes out on October 4th so please check back then for my review of this book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher

Warning! this book is one that is useful for my job. It may not be for everyone so if you aren't interested in hearing about it you can stop reading now.

Youth Ministry 3.0 is a very insightful book for anyone interested in what is going on with youth culture right now. It talks about three very distinct times in the "life" of youth ministry."Marko", as the author is called, talks about the different youth culture fixations, cultural influences, key themes, drivers, and theme verses for each of the 3 "versions" of youth ministry through the years.

Youth Ministry 1.0 is the original. Here is the breakdown for you:

Youth Culture Fixation: Identity
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Language and Topics
Key Themes: Evangelism and Correction
Driver: Proclamation
Theme Verse: Matthew 7:13-14

Youth Ministry 2.0
Youth Culture Fixation: Autonomy
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Models and Success
Key Themes: Discipleship and Creating a Positive Peer Group
Driver: Programs
Theme Verse: Matthew 28:19-20a

Youth Ministry 3.0
Youth Culture Fixation: Affinity
Cultural Influence on Youth Ministry: Contextualization
Key Themes: Communion and Mission
Driver: Not Driven, but Present
Theme Verse: Acts 2:44-46a and John 17:18

This is just a brief overview of what is covered in this book. If you are someone that works with kids for a living, in any setting, you need to pick up this book and give it a read. It is one of those books that really makes you look at what you are doing in your ministry. I know that it has prompted me to change some of the ways that I do things.

**Information for the breakdown was taken from: Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher, Youth Specialties, Copyright 2008

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this Week:


Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider, was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.
The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaƫsia? And if so, at what cost?
This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle

Book Details
Title: Inheritance
Author: Paolini
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Hardcover: 800 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date:November 8, 2011
ISBN-10:  0375856110
ISBN-13: 9780375856112

Why I'm Waiting
While I have had some issues with how slow these books move along I have to know what is going to finally happen to end this series. It has taken Paolini forever to get this book ready for print and I'm ready to see it out on shelves. The story line is good and the characters are fantastic so, despite the issues I have had I am still wanting to get my hands on this book. 
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: White Cat by Holly Black

As I watched bookshelf tours on Youtube this book seemed to be on a lot of shelves so I decided it must be worth the read. I must say that I wasn't disappointed at all. I found White Cat by Holly Black to be a very well written book with a very original story line.

I like the way that she developed the characters. Some authors seem to feel the need to over-develop their characters and that gets tedious and boring for me as a reader. Black, however, does a marvelous job. She makes the characters believable, well as believable as "workers" can be. You find yourself sucked into the world of Cassel and all of his "friends".

The only criticism that I have for this book is that it was somewhat hard to follow in the first few pages. Once I figured out what was going on though I had a hard time putting this book down. There are many twists and turns in the story line that keep you guessing from the beginning to the end. You have kind of a hard time figuring out who really has the upper hand in the story, which makes for a great ending. I can't wait to get my hands on the second installment of this series.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something a little different than the vampire and werewolf books that are so popular these days.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller and John Macmurray

This is the third book I have read by Donald Miller. The other two are Blue like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What. I am a big fan of the way Miller writes. His books make me laugh and they also make me contemplate. He has a way of writing that makes it feel like you are having a conversation with him.

This book is about growing up without a father and the affect that can have on your life. My father was an active part of my life, but in my line of work with youth at our church I run into kids who don't have an active father figure. So, I thought this book would have some valuable insights for me on a professional level.

I was right about the valuable insights. There are a few statistics that are of interest but the best part about this book is hearing Miller talk about his thoughts on not having a dad around growing up. It's a good perspective to hear since I don't have a frame of reference for that kind of thing. This book also talks about the struggles Miller had with accepting God as a father figure. I had never thought about that aspect of things before. I can see now how you would struggle with the notion of God as a father figure if you didn't have a good benchmark of a father in your own life. Throughout the book Miller talks about little things along the way in life that brought him a little closer to the idea of God as a father. It is a very thought provoking book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that works with kids or has had trouble with father figures in their life. It is a great read and well worth the time spent.

Overall Rating: 5/5