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I'm a mommy, wife, chauffeur, zookeeper, reader and book reviewer

Monday, March 28, 2011

A new Dr. Doolittle angle

Dogs Don't LieDogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pru Marlowe was training to be an animal behaviorist, until she managed to work herself sick. She then woke up to realize she could hear animals’ thoughts, beginning with her own cat, Wallis. She tried to escape the animals’ voices by heading back home to a small town and told everyone it was because of her ailing mother. When her mother passed away, she inherited her childhood home. Pru was trying to build a business of working with people’s animals, secretly using her ability to hear the animal’s thoughts and get the real story, when she finds one of her clients dead. Charles Harris is brutally murdered in his living room. His throat has been ripped to shreds and the number one suspect is his pit bull, Tetris. Since Pru has been training with Charles and Tetris, Pru disagrees that Tetris would murder her owner. Pru is determined to clear Tetris’ name as well as her own. Only, Tetris tells Pru that she is no fighter and she prefers to be called Lily. Pru seeks counsel from Wallis, as she tries to sort out human motives and animal reasoning. Can she clear Lily’s name and her own? Can she keep her psychic abilities a secret? How does she piece together all the information she receives from the town’s pets? Can she reveal what she knows without telling how she found out?

The character development is fantastic, even the animals. The storyline itself has many twists and turns and I never saw the ending coming. I think Clea Simon has done a great job coming up with a new angle on the common Dr. Doolittle character. I may have to check out some of her other writings as well.

I received this book free from the publisher to read and give an honest review.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's the Cleaning Fairy!

That's what my girls call the icon for FlyLady (flylady.net). It gets me off the "bad guy" hook when I say we have to do this because the Flylady said so.I love her approach of cleaning in baby steps. The mess didn't happen overnight, so it's not going to get clean overnight either. I love carrying a timer around and seeing how much of a project I can get done in 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 15 minutes (though I think she started a 7 minute challenge this year). Her cleaning tools are great, too. I have the rubba scrubba and the rubber sweeper and they do help with the dog fur. Our favorite right now is the water bottle.

Just because I love her approach, I'll admit I don't always follow well. With busy dance and exercise schedules it's hard. Though it is getting easier as my girls get older. This summer I will try to revisit her organization tactics and perhaps discover a way to make the system work better for me. Hmm, now that I am writing this and looking around at my mess of a house, I am feeling a bit guilty. I think it's time to set my timer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Adorable book about Daddys

Thank You, God, For DaddyThank You, God, For Daddy by Amy Parker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, God, for Daddy by Amy Parker depicts a father lion and his cub experiencing typical father/child interactions such as chores, teaching, daddy working and fixing things. Each page has an adorable illustration of the four line poem featured. The words flow easily and cover a variety of father roles that many children should be able to relate to. My daughters loved it as it reminds them of their own daddy. I think I may have to buy this for our own library.

I received this ebook free from the publisher to read and give an honest review.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

A great book on prayer

Obama Prayer: Prayers for the 44th PresidentObama Prayer: Prayers for the 44th President by Charles M. Garriott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Obama Prayer by Charles M. Garriott covers twelve ways in which we can pray specifically for President Obama. He addresses prayer, reverence, direction, wisdom, words, favor, family, truth, protection, justice, mercy, and friends in the twelve chapters. The prologue talks about the purpose of prayer and how we need to have a proper view and attitude toward prayer itself before we can presume to pray for someone or something in particular.

Garriott consistently points back to what the scriptures say about God and leadership instead of trying to find positive and or negative aspects of Obama’s campaign and job as President. God is constant and the scriptures consistent even when we are unsure of man. God is in control regardless of who holds the office of president.

This is not the prayer book I was expecting. I was impressed with Garriott’s presentation and while this book was written specifically with President Obama in mind, the overall concepts can be applied to others in leadership. If you can look past the specific references to Obama to the bigger picture of prayer in general, one could even use this as a guidebook for personal prayer time.

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I received this book free from the publisher to read and give and honest review.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A cute way to introduce science to preschoolers

Meet EinsteinMeet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner is a cute book that introduces what a scientist does and who Albert Einstein was. At the end of the book there are facts about Einstein and some interactive questions. It could be read to preschoolers (I read it to my 5yo) and read by early gradeschoolers (my 8yo read it herself). I could see this book as part of a series on Einstein or other scientists.

While this is a cute book that both my girls enjoyed, I did have a couple minor concerns regarding clarity. The second sentence reads “He is a scientist.” Since Albert Einstein is no longer alive, I wonder why the author used the present tense. It also might be confusing that the author credits Einstein with discovering NEW things about gravity without mentioning Newton’s original discovery. Young children could easily yet incorrectly infer that Einstein discovered light and gravity himself.

We enjoyed this book and look forward to checking out more books by Kleiner and hope there will be more books like this that present science in a fun and simple way.

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I recieved this book free from JKSCommunications, a literary publicity firm in order to read and give my honest review.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why does God allow suffering and evil?

Why does God allow suffering and evil? It’s a popular question. There are scriptures that are frequently used to answer and explain. But I want to look at this logically for a moment.

Are you a parent? Have you ever warned your child: If you do that someone is going to get hurt or something will break? Did they still have to learn the hard way?

Yes, Satan likes to inflict suffering. Yes, we have been warned of personal trials. But I think in the big picture, God created us with a choice and He is allowing all of humankind to make their own choices so that maybe some of us will learn from the consequences that our own ways are not best, His are. If there was less suffering and evil in the world, would we be as likely to seek God and ask Him for help? Would we be as likely to depend on Him for safety and strength?

Psalm 23:4 I will fear no evil, for you are with me, O Lord; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Taking advice from Lord Byron

If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

I'm thinking about spending more time here. You know there is more in my head than reading and writing book reviews ... there's my fitness journey (this high school nerd was recently called "the athletic one"), thoughts on nutrition (I hate the word diet), and a few odd object lesson devotionals (I think Christians and humidifiers might have something in common). Then again, I've heard that no one reads blogs anymore, so I could talk about anything *mischievous grin*.

There is a problem. If this is going to be more than book reviews, I'm going to have to change the name of the blog. But to what? It might not matter if no one is reading this anyway. I could call it "Blabbering Blatherskite" just to see what happens ...