Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review of Book Clubs

Belonging to a book club can be a fun and rewarding experience.
Book Club Luncheon Outing January 2020
I have belonged to a book club for the past 17 years.  I always look forward to the next meeting and discussing the books we have read.

Book Club Information Online

I did some research online in preparation for writing this post and found there is really no "one size fits all" approach to book clubs.  

There are book clubs hosted by groups of friends, by libraries, by publishers, by churches, by special interest groups and a multitude of others.  You can find online book clubs, clubs that meet at peoples houses, clubs that meet at public places and library sponsered clubs meeting at the library.

Some book clubs have books selected by the sponsoring organization or person and others have members select the books.  There are book clubs that only read one genre of books such as a mystery book club or a history book club and others that read a variety of different genres.

In looking for some history on the start of book clubs, I came to the conclusion that the discussion of books in groups dates back as far as we had the written word.  In the USA I found references back to 1634 on a ship headed to the Massachusetss Bay Colony and another literary society started in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin named Junto.


My Experience in a Book Club

The book club I belong to has about 12-14 members at any given time. This seems like a good amount of people for a good discussion.  Each month there are some people missing but we still have enough for a lively discussion.

Our club actually started 20 years ago and still has 5 of the original members.  As members have to leave due to illness, moving or other obiligations new members are added to our group. I joined when we moved to the area and a friend invited me to join the group.

We meet once a month at a different members house and that member leads a discussion on the book and provides refreshments for the group.  

We read a variety of different genre's, each book is chosen by the hostess for the month.  The hostess will have given us the name of the book and the date she will host the meeting at the previous meeting.  So we have a month to obtain and read the book.  Some members get the book from the library, some order an ebook online and others purchase a paper book.

We try to stay on topic, but sometimes that is difficult as we have been together for a long time. Sometimes we just need to set some time aside to socialize before we start the book discussion.

For refreshments we might serve wine and/or soft drinks and a variety of snacks.  We usually end the evening with a dessert.  Many of our hostesses will look for a food theme from the book and serve a snack or dessert that fits that theme.

Over the years we have done some fun things with the group.

  • Several times we have invited an author to our meeting to lead the discussion of their book.  It is fun when we find a local author to do this.
  • We have gone on field trips before.  One in particular that I remember was to a historical house in the area where one of our members is a docent.
  • Another time we decided we would try our hand at writing a book.  We each wrote a chapter and then passed it on to a member at the next meeting to write the next chapter.  We did not have a plan ahead of time about where the book would head so it was a surprise to all of us when we got the final story.  It wasn't a particularly compelling book but it did give us an experience of what an author goes through in writing.


Guidelines for a Book Club based on my Experience

Here are some of my thoughts on book clubs.

  • Set your schedules a year in advance ( or at least 6 months).  Before we did this we spent a lot of time each meeting discussing who would have the next meeting.  Now we send around a sign up sheet each January and everyone picks a month.  They don't have to choose the book or the exact date till the month before.
  • The hostess should plan a few questions to help get the discussion rolling.  A lot of times these questions can be found on the author's or publishers websites.
  • Having prepared questions are a good way to get the discussion back on track when someone tries to sideline it.
  • Keep  an open mind to reading types of books you  wouldn't normally choose.  I have read so many books in book club that I would never have chosen, but when I read them they are great.  It has really broadened my horizons in my reading.

Books we Have Read

In the 17 years that I have belonged to book club we have read nearly 200 different book.  I can't begin to list them all in this post but here are a few of the ones that we have read in the past couple of years that I thought you might enjoy.

The first one is the one we are reading for this month.  It is a historical fiction book, which is one of my favorite genres.  This was a very interesting book.

   
The next book is one we read last year.  It was an interesting study involving cooking and the different personalities that took a cooking class.  It was different from others we have read but I found it very interesting.



Here is a list of several other books we have read in the past several months.

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarity
  • Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
  • The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe
  • Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult
  • No Way Back by Andrew Gross
  • Long Road to Mercy by David Balducci
  • A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
  • I've Got My Eyes on You by Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Address by Fiona Davis
  • The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
All of these are books that I enjoyed and would recommend.
Happy  Reading!!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Reviewing Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

Reading on the balcony with my new Kindle.
I received my new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader nearly two weeks ago and I'm loving it! I was very hesitant to upgrade as I don't like change and often have trouble figuring out new electronic devices. I started researching current e-reader options as my original Kindle (a Kindle Keyboard, remember those?) was starting to have some serious malfunctions after all these years. I felt forced to shop for a new e-reader before my old one just stopped working. I have to say that so far I'm very excited about my purchase. My new Kindle is awesome! I like it so much that I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

New 6" Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader 


My new Kindle has a 6" touchscreen. It is slightly smaller than my first Kindle, and easier to pack in a small bag or purse.

This Kindle has built-in lights - no need to buy a separate, external light.

My new Kindle is advertised as having a resolution of 300 ppi. Now, that doesn't mean a single thing to me except that it is easy to see that compared to my original e-reader, the images are GREAT.

I had briefly considered purchasing a Kindle Fire so that I could also read magazines and have color photos. But I'm really glad that I stuck with the Paperwhite for two main reasons: 
My eyes. I am already familiar with how easy Paperwhite technology is on my eyes in general, in the dark while camping, and there is no screen glare when outside during the day. Computer screens strain my eyes. The Paperwhite does not.
Awesome battery. I require the long-lasting battery life of the Kindle Paperwhite. I want to read everywhere I go. That includes camping at The Shack, hiking, and waiting for appointments. There's nothing worse then reaching for an electronic device with a dead battery.

The Kindle I chose:




There are only two things that I'm concerned about so far. Both have to do with the touch screen:
No Buttons. I miss the buttons on my Kindle Keyboard that turned the pages. However, I'm becoming accustomed to turning the pages by tapping the side of the screen. But so far, I still wish for those buttons to turn the pages.
Oops! What Language is That?!  When I unboxed my Kindle I plugged it in to charge and I put it in the cover I bought. During that process, I touched the touchscreen and voila, all of my display turned to a different language! I had the hardest time trying to find anything in the online owner's manual that helped me to visually find the language settings so that I could change it back to English. Finally, with a video review and a lot of guesswork, I was able to make the language change I needed. I think the online owners manual should have more visual aids to go along with the written instructions.

The awesome cover I chose:




My Love Affair with E-Readers


I was aghast when e-readers were first introduced. Who in their right might would want to replace their beloved books with an electronic device?! Oh the horror. You wouldn't be able to read your books outside, or while camping, or while at the beach. What a terrible invention.

Then my son surprised me with a Kindle (3rd generation I think).  I bought a lighted, leather cover to protect it and to help me read it while camping. And I fell in love. I replaced my hoard of books with a single small item. And I found that even at the beach, I just place my Kindle in a gallon sized baggie and it is protected from the sand. Much better than soggy, gritty books after a day at the beach!

The only thing I didn't like about that first Kindle was the images didn't translate very well. Books with maps or drawings didn't always show up well. Or were too small to be read.

I think Kindle e-readers are awesome. They allow me to read anywhere and anytime. I always have my entire library with me. And I'm sure there are plenty of functions that I am not even aware of that others would enjoy. If you've considered buying a new Kindle Paperwhite, I encourage you to do it. I think you'll be glad you did.


Postscript:

Each and every time I've considered updating my Kindle, I've thought of Susan Deppner. She was a Review This contributor and a friend to many. I thought of her as the best Kindle advisor there was. I did refer back to the Kindle Reviews she had written for guidance. 

Susan, you may be gone from this earth, but you are not forgotten. I know you'd be as excited about my purchase as I am.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hobby Time from the Review This! Contributors




hob·by - an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. 

January is known as National Hobby Month.   The contributing writers here on Review This! each have their favorite ways to enjoy a relaxing pursuit and have written many reviews of various how-to books, crafting supplies and DIY tutorials, gardening tips, recipes & kitchen aids for the cook, photography lessons, reading or listening to music, sports, and a host of other hobbies. 

These are but a few of the hobbies enjoyed by the Review This crew. The list of hobbies is almost endless.  If you are interested in looking for what we writers here have reviewed, type in the name of your 'hobby' either in the box in the top left-hand corner of any Review This page, or in the search box down the right-hand side. By looking at the author's name, you won't have any problem figuring out which HOBBY is each writers' favorite! For instance, mine  (Wednesday Elf) is crochet and my hobby is shared by several other contributors here, so we learn and share with each other. A more comprehensive list is shown below.


National Hobby Month




Begun by the Hobby Guild of America in 1955,  National Hobby Month was celebrated in April until 1976, then in October until 1986.  Since then, it has been celebrated during the month of January. 

January was most likely chosen for National Hobby Month as it is the beginning of a new year and a good time to start a new hobby.  Many people have never had hobbies during their working years or while raising a family and begin one in their retirement or after the children are grown.  Others try many hobbies throughout their life before finding one or two that gives them the most enjoyment. 


Hobby Examples on Review This!



Hobbies can be passive (such as crafting, reading, writing, listening to music or watching a movie) or an activity such as gardening, cooking or participating in sports. Many people have more than one hobby and often combine them, such as listening to music while crafting. 

In addition to writing reviews here on Review This!, most of the contributing writers here write for their own blogs and websites.  Writers consider writing to be more work than hobby, so time away from writing is important. That's where the activities done in our leisure time become such a pleasure. It is also interesting to note that the passion we feel for our hobbies is shown in many of the subjects we write about.


  • Barbara Tremblay Cipak (Brite-Ideas) is crazy about country music and frequently writes about the artists and their music she is so passionate about.  She is also loves to experiment with color in home décor. 
  • Dawn Rae does crochet and participates in a group of fellow jeep owners.  She also enjoys gardening and lately 'learning about homesteading'.
  • Cynthia Sylvestermouse is a freelance writer and photographer who loves all different kinds of crafts, including crafting in the kitchen, creating fancy cakes and cupcakes. 
  • Barbara (BarbRad) is an expert on books and loves to read.  She is also a nature photographer who most enjoys photographing her central California area. 
  • Mary Beth Granger (MBGphoto) is a fabulous photographer who continually takes photography classes to learn more.  Photography has become her passion in her retirement, along with traveling.  Lighthouses and beaches are her favorite subjects. 
  • Wednesday Elf loves crochet and needlework, watching baseball and reading. 
  • Beverly Owens is busy researching her Native American Indian heritage and loves to write about spirit animals and the wisdom of her ancestors. She also enjoys crocheting. 
  • Olivia Morris loves gardening and following the fashion world.
  • Brenda Little (Treasures By Brenda) collects coffee mugs and researches the history of vintage cups and other vintage items which she shares in her eBay store.  She also loves reading, great movies, cooking, and pop culture. 
  • Diana Wenzel (Renaissance Woman2010) enjoys an off-the-grid lifestyle where she pursues her interests in animal rescue, wonderful nature photography, and DIY projects. She also loves to read. 
  • Louanne Cox (Lou16) loves reading, 80s music, zombies and dolls, among a host of other interests. 
  • Heather Burns (Heather426) is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. Her hobby is her artistic accomplishments, including the colored pencils she has created for coloring pages and coloring books. 
  • Coletta Teske is a published book author and loves to sew. 

These are just the highlights of hobbies and interests I have observed from the articles they publish and the interaction we have as a team here on the staff of Review This!.  I am sure there are other interests each of them have.  


Quick View Home Page



By clicking on the Quick View Home Page button at the top of any Review This! page, you will have weekly examples of many of the articles your hobbyists here enjoy (plus many non-hobby reviews).  

Stop by the comments section and tell us your favorite hobby or activity. The Review This! staff would love to hear about what gives you pleasure in your leisure time.

(c) Written by Wednesday Elf on 1/20/2018







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review

Why I Love the Books of Patricia Polacco


Patricia Polacco's books aren't just stories. They are connections to the hearts of her readers. You will see why in a moment. Polacco is not just a talented artist with a style that's easy to recognize, but she's a storyteller with heart.


Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review



Patricia Polacco is only a year younger than I, but she led a much less sheltered life. Her parents had divorced when she was only three, and she and her mother had been living with her grandmother in many different towns until her grandmother died. In one of those towns, Union City,  Michigan, they had lived on a farm. Life on the farm with her Babushka (grandmother) provided Polacco with many of her story ideas when she later began to write.

Most of Polacco's stories relate to problems and fears that children have. In some a child has lost a beloved adult -- a grandparent or neighbor.  I have read many other children's books, both fiction and nonfiction, that deal with these issues, but none have made the connection with my heart that Polacco's did. I believe that in almost every one of her books I've read, and I've read lots of them, her own heart and feelings were involved. In others, her love of books and reading connected with me.

Polacco understands the importance of family relationships in both the nuclear and extended family. She understands the value of intergenerational relationships. In many of her books a child and a lonely elderly person make a connection that ends their isolation. Not all children have grandparents and not all widows and widowers have grandchildren. Polacco shows that these intergenerational relationships can be just as vital even when child and elderly person come from different races or cultures.


Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco


In this precious Christmas story, young Patricia and her brother have been living with their mother and her parents on a farm in Michigan. When Patricia's grandmother dies, her grandfather wants to sell the farm and move because the house is so full of memories. Meanwhile, Grandfather has hired a woman who says she is Kay Lamity to look after the children, as their Babushka used to do, while their mother went to work. Patricia's brother, especially, rebels at the thought that anyone can replace their Babushka. Rather than me summarizing the story, I will let you listen to the book be read aloud in this video. You will also see Polacco's wonderful illustrations as you listen, and you will also see what I mean by stories that have heart in this Christmas picture book for children 5-8. I really think it's for all ages.




A Gift for a Child with Dyslexia: Thank You, Mr. Falker


My brother had the misfortune to have dyslexia before anyone knew what it was. Born into a family with a mother and sister who loved reading and read to him all the time, everyone assumed he'd also become a reader. Except he didn't. As much help as he had from a mother who was a teacher and a sister who wanted to help, he just became more frustrated when books didn't make sense to him. Like Patricia, he didn't get help until he was in middle school. Like Patricia, he thought he must be dumb. He never told me what he might have suffered from teasing by his classmates. This is a book every teacher and parent should read -- especially if they have a child with a reading problem. Listen to Jane Kaczmarek read it on YouTube and see if you can keep your eyes dry. I couldn't




If you know a child who needs this book, please get Thank You, Mr. Falker for him or her. I recommend a physical book for all the picture books to enhance the reading experience.



My Favorite Polacco Book: Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

This my favorite because I can't imagine a life without reading.  I've loved reading since I was three years old, and I loved being read to even before that. I've never been a great fan of TV, either. So I can imagine how it would feel to be Eli's Aunt Chip, the Triple Creek librarian, when people stopped reading to watch TV. Television was the center of their lives and they always had it on. Pretty soon even school teachers were replaced by television.

Although Aunt Chip still faithfully showed up to work every day, no one came. Finally the library was demolished and replaced by a giant TV tower, and Aunt Chip took to her bed. She told told the mayor and the townspeople there would be consequences to replacing books with television.

When Eli arrived on the scene, he loved his Aunt Chip. He did think it strange she'd not left her bed since he'd known her, but she told wonderful stories. Finally he asked her one day where she got her stories. She replied, "Some come out of thin air. Some come out of my dreams. Some come right out of books!"

Eli asked how you would get a story from a book. All he'd seen books used for were patching holes in the street, sitting on, building things, and even shoring up the dam. Never for reading. This is when Aunt Chip discovered that not only Eli, but no one else in the town could still read. So she showed Eli the inside of a book and explained about writing.

'Now look at this. Those are words. They tell about ideas, dreams, and feelings. They take you to places far from here....Books are a treasure. All you need is the key.'
Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay, edited on PicMonkey


I don't want to give the story away, but Aunt Chip leaves her bed and the town soon learns the consequences of their rashness in closing the library and replacing books with television. I think the ending will make you happy, and you will love what happens to Eli. This book is not a tear-jerker like the others I reviewed. Give it to anyone who thinks reading isn't important.

I finally found a video of someone reading this aloud, so if you don't mind a spoiler, enjoy the story.


Give a Child You Love a Patricia Polacco Book 

Here are more of my favorites. There's a story for almost any child in this group of books. You can find more detailed reviews of the books below and many others, as well as more about Patricia Polacco's life and inspiration in "Patricia Polacco and Her Books" at Books to Remember.  You will also find study guides and readers' theater scripts for the most popular of her books.




Find more reviews for children's books here at Review This!

***


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review of Lighthouse by Eugenia Price

Marblehead Lighthouse
I thoroughly enjoy traveling and visiting lighthouses and when it comes to reading, historical fiction is my favorite genre.   So, when my daughter found this book about a lighthouse that takes place in the eighteen century it was the perfect gift for me.  


Lighthouse by Eugenia Price

This  book is the first of the Saint Simons Trilogy and after reading it I am anxious to start on the next in the series.




The Setting

This book is set in the early days of the United States. It follows the life of a young man from his home in Massachusetts, to his travels to what is now Maine, Florida and finally Georgia. It starts out talking about Shays rebellion and follows history through the early 1800's.  Although it is a fictional story, the author did a lot of historical research and the main character along with several of the other people in the story were real people.


The Story

James Gould is a young man with a dream that he carries throughout his life.  He is raised in Massachusetts, but longs for the warmer climate in the lands of the south.  His other dream is to someday build a lighthouse.  He has plans that he has drawn for a lighthouse that he carries with him through the years, hoping that one day he can make his dream come true.  In the book you follow James life as he feels responsible to care for his mother and siblings and you root for him as he searches for a way to follow his dream first to the north to Bangor on the Penobscot River where he makes  a living to support his family, then to the south and lawless Spanish East Florida.  Along the way he meets a strong woman with whom he can share his dream.  The characters are very compelling and I found myself thinking about the book and looking forward to picking it back up whenever I needed to stop reading.


My Favorite Parts 

I love the way the author takes real people in history and weaves them into the story. It is also interesting to read about places I have visited such as Savannah and St.  Simons Island and imagine what they were like in the late 1700's and early 1800's.  Of course, I am very partial to lighthouses and the building of the lighthouse and then the care of the structure was the highlight for me.  It is hard to imagine the hardships early Americans struggled with during the beginning of the country.

This book is a real page turner and has my recommendation for anyone who enjoys historical fiction!


My  Visit to St. Simons

I visited St. Simons lighthouse several years ago, but now that I've read the book I'd love to visit again.  I think it will be much more meaningful after I've learned about the builder and his dream of the lighthouse.
Below is a Zazzle card I made from my photo of St. Simons lighthouse.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reviewing the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Series

7 reasons I recommend the Detective Jack Stratton series by Christopher Greyson. A mystery-suspense-romance series review.

Before I came across the best-selling Jack Stratton mystery series, if you would have told me that a series exists that consists of killer plots, characters that I'd care about, murder and mystery, action and adventure, all while maintaining a moral high ground (i.e. a "clean" read), I'd say you must be dreaming. Of course I'd love that combination, but what writer could possibly pull it off?

Author Christopher Greyson did.

In fact, the author pulled off the combination in stellar fashion with the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery series. I've read all six of the current books and look forward to the seventh which is coming soon.

7 Reasons I Recommend the Jack Stratton Series by Christopher Greyson


If you're a reader but are not yet sure that the books will appeal to you, let me explain further why I believe they should be on your "must read" list. Here's my review including the top seven attributes that I appreciate about the Detective Jack Stratton mysteries and why I highly recommend this series to fans of mystery, suspense and, yes, even romance. (Looking for spoilers? You won't find them here.)

1. I care about the characters. I love series books and the key to holding my interest throughout any series is the characters. It took very few chapters of the first book for me to know that I'd be reading the entire series beginning to end. That early assessment definitely proved to be true and now I can hardly wait for the next installment to learn exactly what Jack and Alice have been up to and what comes next.

2. The story lines hold me captive and keep me reading into the night. Gotta love a book that's hard to put down.

3. The military and police connections. I can relate to both as law enforcement and military experience play a major role in my own family. Plus, Jack is around the age of my own sons, so my maternal instincts didn't take long to kick in, even in the first book.

4. Continuity through the series, yet each book stands alone. Read the books in any order that you wish, though if you prefer good chronological order start by reading the most recently published book (And Then She Was Gone) first. Referring to this book as a "prequel" would be accurate and though I read this one first, in some ways I wish I would have saved it for last. I'm currently considering re-reading it while I'm waiting for book seven in the series. (Who says you can't have it both ways?)

5. I like the action scenes. There is plenty of action throughout these books and the author does not spare the details. In fact, many of the fight scenes are described move by move. Frankly, I'm surprised that I liked the descriptive detail, but I did. It didn't bog me down as I read and it offered a clear perspective on the situations and scenes that followed.

6. The venues vary greatly by book. Although most of the stories center around Jack's hometown, you'll find action occurring in Aunt Haddie's foster home, in the dark recesses of a city park, in the bowels of a sophisticated college data and research center, among conflicting crime families crawling with assassins and hit men, in a wealthy jet-setter tycoon's amazing mansion, and even across the battlefields of Iraq.

7. The moral high ground. I prefer "clean" books that avoid profanity and sexual scenes that make me want to look away (or close the book forever). At first I wasn't sure that would be possible with this series, given the murder plots, the seriously-bad bad guys, and the police involvement and military flashback scenes. Let's face it, those topics in real life are usually accompanied by bad language and, in books and movies at least, scenes that involve descriptive sexual exploits. Not so in the Jack Stratton series and I thank the author for that and for the sweet romance that grows with the characters.

Did I mention I can hardly wait for book seven to be released? It's called Jack of Hearts. Watch for pre-order information or choose which book (Kindle or paperback edition) you want to read first from author Christopher Greyson's Amazon page.

If you've read books from the Detective Jack Stratton series, I'd love to read your impressions in a comment below.

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.


Reviewing the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Series by Christopher Greyson
Thank you for sharing!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reviewing Prime Reading

Free Access to Books, Magazines, and More With Your Amazon Prime Membership


If you love to read, Prime Reading is an Amazon Prime feature that you won't want to miss!
Prime Reading is a Feature of Amazon Prime
that you won't want to miss.
If you're an Amazon Prime customer, you probably already take advantage of free two-day shipping and several of the other discounts and freebies available with Prime. But there's one advantage that you might not be aware of. It's called Prime Reading and if you love to read, it's a feature that you won’t want to miss. Here's how it works.

With Prime Reading, automatically included with your Prime membership, you get access to a library of over a thousand books, magazines, and Audible narration recordings, all at no additional cost. While 1000+ books and magazines doesn't sound like much in the big scheme of the Amazon bookstore, the selection is good and, personally, I've saved quite a bit of money borrowing books and magazines from Prime Reading as opposed to buying them. I think it's a great deal!

Do I Need a Kindle To Use Prime Reading?


You might be wondering if you need a Kindle reader to take advantage of this program and the answer is "no," you do not. As with all e-books in the huge Amazon library, each can be read from your phone, your iPad, or your other Android or iOS device using Amazon's free reading app which is simple to download to your device. If you don't own a Kindle reader or Fire tablet, simply look for the "Read with Our Free App" link below the Kindle format of any book to get started. (To learn more, check out my review of "The Three Best Ways to Read Kindle Books.")

What Types of Books Are Available for Prime Reading?  


The Prime Reading library consists of books in many genres from nonfiction to romance to business and money and more. Titles include current bestsellers, classics, and likely books by quite a few authors that you haven't read yet. What a great opportunity to explore new titles when you're on a budget (I'm always on a budget!).

The magazines that are available are current issues of many of the bestsellers on the Kindle Newsstand. While e-magazine subscriptions are very reasonably priced, as far as I'm concerned you can't beat "free" for the cost of a magazine. I'll admit, I'd rather borrow HGTV Magazine or Birds & Blooms or Real Simple and read them for free than pay for a subscription. Borrow it, read it, save it for a while then exchange it for something else, all from the comfort of your own computer. It's even "greener" than recycling, don't you agree?

Where Do I Find Prime Reading?


Find Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle Store.
When you're logged in to your Amazon account, visit the Prime Reading page to see the catalog of what's available and view your personal library. You can always access a link to Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle store, as shown in the photo.

If you're not an Amazon Prime member yet, this is another great reason to join. Currently the price is just $99 a year, very worth it, especially when you take advantage of all the features of the program that you may not even know exist, including Prime Reading. To see the list of what's included or to join Amazon Prime, just follow the link.

So tell me, if you're a member of Amazon Prime, did you already know about Prime Reading or did you learn something new today? I love to save money on books and magazines and hopefully this information will help you save a few dollars here and there, too. Happy reading!

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review of Book Shots by James Patterson


Chase: A BookShot: A Michael Bennett Story (BookShots) 

 

Short Books-Long on Reading Pleasure

Do you love to read, but don't always have the time to finish a full size book?  Do you enjoy mysteries, thrillers and crime stories?  Are you a James Patterson fan?  If you fit into any or all of these categories the series of "Bookshots" by James Patterson may be just what you need.  Bookshots are a bit more than a short story but shorter than a full length novel.  At about 100 pages they give you a thrilling story that you can read in just a few hours.  I find the books the perfect size to stick in my purse and take out to read when I am waiting in line or in a waiting room.

These books are available in paperbacks and also in a Kindle format.  You can purchase them at the link below on Amazon or check them out at your local library.

James Patterson Book Shots

Meet Your  Favorite Characters

Bookshots have books with all your favorite Patterson characters.  If you enjoy reading the Michael Bennett books,  you will like reading Chase.  In this book your favorite detective takes on a case that is not what it at first appears.  This story will keep you turning pages as you follow the fast paced story. The book is just over 100  pages and does not have a lot of character development but the story kept me interested from beginning to end.

Another favorite Patterson character is Mitchum.  Mitchum was rejected by the Navy Seals (he failed the swimming part) and is now happy to live in his small town and do a variety of small jobs and serve as the towns unofficial investigator.  This bookshot is a great read.  I finished it in just a few hours and enjoyed it.  Sometimes when I'm in between bigger books I am just looking for a fast paced easy read and this book fit the bill.


The two books above are the first two Bookshots that I have read, but I'm looking forward to finding some of my other favorites such as Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club in these great little books.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Childrens Classics ~ Book Reviews

Grandson Jacob reading a storybook

The dictionary defines 'classic' as something of enduring significance.  In literature, a classic work is generally considered to be of the highest excellence ~ a work recognized as definitive in its field.

In the field of children's books, there are dozens of stories whose origins go back many years and are still considered favorites today.  


  • If you were to go back to ancient times, probably the most well-known is 'Aesop's Fables'.  
  • In the early 1700s, the most famous stories today remain 'Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, and the Tales of Mother Goose.   
  • Nineteenth century writers brought us more than four dozen stories considered 'classics' to this day, such as The Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Heidi and Little Women.

Here's a few modern children's classics from 20th century authors that are most special to me... and some fascinating facts about the authors.



Winnie-the-Pooh... and Friends!


A.A. Milne's beloved Winnie-the-Pooh character has been delighting children since 1926. The author's son, Christopher, was the inspiration for Pooh Bear's buddy, Christopher Robin.  I loved these stories so much that I even named my first-born son Christopher.

The author began his Pooh Bear stories initially just to entertain his son ... and they became 'words of wisdom' and expressions of love & affection for generations of children. 



Anniversary Edition on Amazon

Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood delighted our generation and that of our parents. Now our children can snuggle under the covers and listen to the timeless adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Christopher Robin!


For nearly 90 years, Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood have delighted each generation of children... and, of course, the grown ups who get to read the stories to little ones...


Winnie the Pooh quotes have become famous.... the one below says it all ~



“Friendship," said Christopher Robin, "is a very comforting thing to have."
                                                   ~A.A. Milne


Dr. Seuss' Favorite Cat! 

 

It's the "Cat in the Hat" of course!




The Cat in the Hat changed the way our children learn how to read with fun rhyming words. 


How the 'Cat-in-the-Hat' Came About


Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote 'The Cat in the Hat' in 1957 at the request of the educational division of Houghton Mifflin publishers who were looking for a more entertaining primer for early childhood literacy because the current ones (such as the Dick and Jane series) were ineffective.


Geisel tells the story of being frustrated with the word list from which he could choose words to write his story, so he decided to scan the list and create a story based on the first two words he found that rhymed. The words he found were cat and hat.

 

Bambi


Of all the classic stories made famous by Disney, Bambi is the best. I watched the Bambi movie as a child, then took my children to see it. Now my children take my grandchildren. Both the storybook and the movie are truly classics.

Bambi Book on Amazon


Since 1942, Bambi and his friends Thumper the Rabbit and Flower the Skunk have been animation favorites, one of the 10 best animation classics of all time.

The story was originally adapted for film from the book "Bambi, a Life in the Woods" written by Felix Salten in 1923. 





The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – 1922

 

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you.'

     ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit   

 

Amazon Editions Available in Hardback, Paperback and Kindle
This is the story of a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real through the love of his owner.  I think it's one of the sweetest fairy tales ever written.

This is a special 75th Anniversary edition of the original story and artwork of a classic tale first told in 1922.

According to an online poll taken in 2007, this book is one of the National Education Association's  "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children. 





Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey

 

=================================================


"This is George. He lived in Africa. 
 He was a good little monkey, and always very curious."


=================================================

With these words, the tales of a curious monkey named George began.....
 
Available on Amazon

Curious George was brought from his home in Africa by "The Man with The Yellow Hat" to live with him in a big city. The first book in the series (Cecily G and the Nine Monkeys) was published in France in 1939.


The story was written by Margret Rey and illustrated by H.A. Rey.  As wartime approached France, the couple fled Paris in June 1940, on self-made bicycles, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them.

The Curious George series of books have been adapted into several television series and films and each book has been in continuous print since first published.



Classic Children's' Tales




Grandsons Tyler & David - reading!
These classic stories of a honey bear, a special rabbit, a curious monkey, a sweet deer fawn and a funny cat are instantly recognized by children today and have become 'classics' in the world of children's literature. 

Whether reading a classic tale or any favorite story, children everywhere love books.  My two youngest grandchildren, David (6) and Tyler (18 months) enjoy reading every day. 


For more reviews of children's books, check out 




(c) Published 11/28/15. By Wednesday Elf




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I Meet Artemis Fowl



Although I didn't enjoy meeting Artemis Fowl, a diabolical twelve-year old, and wouldn't recommend him as a role model, I can sympathize with his having too much time on his hands and not enough constructive attention from his parents.  I normally don't read fantasy, but I have to admit Artemis Fowl held my attention. 


I was immediately lured into the realm of the fairy world by the intriguing plot of this book. It engaged me and kept me wondering what would happen next. I was also intrigued with the characters -- both human and fairy. Each character has a definite personality that humans can relate to. Each character seems to grapple with moral issues, unless it is an amoral character (dwarf, troll). Even in the world of the fairies we see politics at work and those who are politically motivated are willing to destroy others in their attempt to climb to the top.



Artemis Captures Holly



I was able to identify easily with Holly Short, the elf/fairy/leprechaun and protagonist in this book. She felt a bit discriminated against as the first female officer in LEP's (Lower Elements Police) Recon unit.  She was a bit behind in attending to her Ritual.  That meant her magic was not fully there and that she was unshielded and could be seen by humans. Her commander, Root, discovered this while she was tracking a troll and was seen. Root then sent her to perform the Ritual, and that landed her in Ireland.

Unfortunately, Artemis captured her before she could finish the Ritual which would restore her magic. She neded to pluck an acorn where "full moon, ancient oak and twisted water meet. And bury it far from where it was found."  She had the acorn, but had not had the chance to bury it yet. So she was still unshielded and without her magic when Artemis kidnapped her and held her prisoner in the Fowl estate.



The Plot


The plot is complicated and I won't reveal all of it. It is the moral issues in the book that fascinate me. Fowl is a child prodigy who had managed to steal and copy the Golden Book containing the rules the fairies had to follow.  He had found a way to translate the fairy language in which it was written. He did this so he can get his hands on the gold he believes the fairies hoard.  Holly has to abide by the fairy rules, and Fowl uses his knowledge of them to keep her imprisoned. Meanwhile, a fairy Retrieval team has been sent to rescue her.

Besides Fowl himself, Holly is guarded by Butler, Fowl's mammoth body guard, and Butler's younger sister, Juliet, who is not too bright. Holly has a certain amount of sympathy for Juliet, and that sympathy almost gets her killed. Fowl has demanded a ransom of a ton of gold for Holly's release. Holly cannot leave a human house without human permission (according to the rules). Holly managed to pound through the floor of her cell to bury her acorn and obtain her magic and shielding and take advantage of Juliet's laziness and addiction to wrestling programs on TV to distract her  and escape the cell. 

Holly and Fowl know that the house is in a  field where time has been stopped for six hours to buy the fairies a longer night, since they can't handle daylight above ground. At the end of the time field, a "blue rinse" will destroy every living thing in the house --including Holly if she's still there. The idea is to get Holly out, destroy the others, and then go back after the gold, since only living things are destroyed.


A Dwarf and a Troll Precipitate a Crisis


Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Troll Courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain, Modified on PicMonkey


Meanwhile, Mulch, a reprobate dwarf, has been let out of prison to enter the house. He has approached and found the secret safe where the a copy of the golden fairy rule book is hidden. Butler has been sent to the safe room, and is subdued by Mulch, who then realizes an opportunity to escape from everyone, including the fairies who would like to imprison him again. He manages to make the fairies think he is dead.  With Mulch's disappearance, the fairy command makes the rash decision to send in another lapsed creature -- a troll -- to get rid of the humans.

Holly, unaware of this, decides she will cause a lot of destruction in the house until Fowl begs her to leave. Meanwhile, Butler carries Juliet to what he deems as a safe place and hastens to meet the intruder he hears -- the troll.  He tries to shoot it, but his shots have little effect. Instead the troll almost or completely kills him, and then smells and starts toward Juliet. Holly arrives at the scene and sees Julie's danger and tries to save her, knowing that she'll be in trouble for it. She hits the troll with light, but he still topples her and she is hit by a tapestry falling on her. When she falls, her arm lands on the body of Butler, and he regains consciousness, aware that he is alive and fairy magic is healing him. Holly is also recovering and is able to see Butler defeat the troll before he can kill Juliet.

Artemis is still determined to hold Holy for the ransom, in spite of the fact that she has saved both him and Butler. Butler was a man of honor and did not like this. Holly knows they will all be blasted in a few minutes when the time field can no longer hold off daylight. The gold is on the way, but time is short. Holly confronts Fowl, asking him if he's told Bulter and Juliet about the destruction that's about to come upon them.  Although she's not supposed to have empathy for humans, she does for Juliet. Fowl says he knows and that he also knows how to escape the time field -- a feat that Holly can't believe is possible. Butler affirms his faith in Fowl's abilities, even with Juliet at risk. Then the gold arrived!




"A life is a life."



I won't reveal the ending, but it did involve more dialog between Holly and Fowl. We are left with the impression that  Artemis is not quite so sinister at the end as at the beginning. Near the end, Holly tries to prevent her people from detonating the bio-bomb that will kill the humans, intervening for the innocent Juliet, insisting that "A life is a life."

I will leave it there. The ending is surprising. Upper graders who need a lot of action to motivate them to read will probably be willing to finish reading this because of the action and humor. I found the extreme environmental undertones in the book a bit of a distraction. The fairy folk have no good words for the human race, which in their opinion destroys everything it touches.

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Image of Fairy Courtesy of Pixabay
It is sized to share to Pinterest.


Recommendation and Purchase Information


Artemis Fowl should satisfy thoughtful people over the age of ten who want lots of action and don't mind thinking through moral issues as they follow that action. Less thoughtful young people will enjoy it for the action alone. Artemis Fowl books are also available as  graphic novels or you can get a set containing three to eight of the text versions of the books. You choose.   Any of these would make a great gift for a young science fiction or fantasy reader. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret Schindel Sam MonacoSam Monaco BuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X