Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Be Still My Soul - Joanne Bischof


Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof
On sale October 2, 2012

Welcome to my first post for Blogging for Books, a program through WaterBrook Multnomah. On the occasional Wednesday, I will be posting my thoughts on books I receive from them - sometimes for children and sometimes for adults. I receive books in exchange for my honest feedback. 

My first book that I randomly picked, Be Still My Soul, not only kept me up late at night when I wanted to read “just one more chapter” but also brought tears to my eyes throughout the last chapters. I owe that to the amazing storytelling abilities of Joanne Bischof and her keen sense of details and her character’s emotions. I’ve come to know Joanne in the last few weeks through the blogosphere and can honestly say that she is quite an author and a kind soul. Stop by her website and find out more about her and her writing.

Be Still My Soul is the story of Lonnie and Gideon, two young residents of the Appalachian hills in the early 1900's. Brought together by a first kiss and an unplanned and unwanted marriage, the two begin a life together. Their marriage is one that is filled with uncertainty by Lonnie, anger by Gideon and the lack of love by both. But as Gideon determines to find a fresh start, they journey far away from home, only to discover an older couple who sees in them what no one else could. Only time will tell if Lonnie’s faith and Gideon’s fresh start can bring their hearts together as one.

Be Still My Soul truly is a story of forgiveness and redemption. The trials and joys that Lonnie and Gideon face are very realistic and their reactions to what life throws in their paths are what makes this book such a page-turner. Joanne doesn’t mince words and shows exactly how cruel and harsh the world can be, but at the same time also shows how the hard times help us grow and mature and come to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the good that happens in life as well.

I can’t wait for the next chapter in Lonnie and Gideon’s life, and luckily I won’t have to wait for long. The next book in the Cadence of Grace Series, Though My Heart is Torn, will be released this spring.

Currently two different giveaways are running where you can enter to win a copy of Be Still My Soul.  Click on the book in Goodreads and enter the giveaway drawing or visit Joanne's Author Facebook page and enter to win her giveaway package.

Other links of interest
Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Glory Be

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!  It has been a few weeks, but I'm so glad that you've stopped by to see my pick for today.

GLORY BE
By: Augusta Scattergood
Scholastic Press 2012

First I would like to mention that the copy of Glory Be I read is actually a signed copy that I won from my good writing friend, Barbara Watson.  When you're done reading my post, go on over and see what book Barbara has featured today!

Glory Be is an historical novel that takes place in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. For middle school children who don't know much about this time in history and the upheaval found in America, it definitely gives them a sense of the issues our country faced in a simple yet meaningful way.

From Goodreads:
A Mississippi town in 1964 gets riled when tempers flare at the segregated public pool.

As much as Gloriana June Hemphill, or Glory as everyone knows her, wants to turn twelve, there are times when Glory wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Jesslyn, her sister and former confidante, no longer has the time of day for her now that she’ll be entering high school. Then there’s her best friend, Frankie. Things have always been so easy with Frankie, and now suddenly they aren’t. Maybe it’s the new girl from the North that’s got everyone out of sorts. Or maybe it’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.

Augusta Scattergood has drawn on real-life events to create a memorable novel about family, friendship, and choices that aren’t always easy. 


I found it very interesting to read about the racial issues found in Hanging Moss, Mississippi through the eyes of Glory. Written in first-person, I felt like I was there with Glory feeling her anger at the pool being closed, her confusion as to why and her sense of duty to express her opinion in the only ways she could. The sense of how important family is was a thread woven throughout the novel and really brought all the characters together.


I hope you will add Glory Be to your to-read list! For my favorite MMGM links, check out the list to the right. Have a great week! 

One more note that I need to add.  The amazing Shannon Messenger, who started the idea of MMGM (Marvelous Middle Grade Monday), is soon to be published. Her debut middle grade novel, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, will be released on October 2nd.  On her blog this past Friday, Shannon shared an amazing pre-order offer for the book that enables you to receive a signed hardcover, book swag AND have another copy of the book donated to Kids Need to Read. To find out more about this amazing offer, check out Shannon's blog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Giraffes Can't Dance


Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I’m so glad to be back after the summer hiatus. I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.


GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE

Written by: Giles Andreae and Illustrated by: Guy Parker-Rees

Orchard Books 1999
Fiction for ages 3 to 8

Themes: individuality, dancing, animals

Opening and brief synopsis:
Gerald was a tall giraffe
whose neck was long and slim.
But his knees were awfully crooked
and his legs were rather thin.

It’s time for the annual Jungle Dance in Africa. Poor Gerald is sad because he can’t dance like everyone else. All the other animals laugh him off the dance floor. As Gerald walks away a friendly cricket shows Gerald that all you need to dance is the right kind of music and the willingness to try something different.

Why I like this book:
The first reason I like it is that my thoughtful husband brought it home for me as a gift from the bookstore. He picked it out all by himself! Secondly, the rhymes in this book are outstanding! I also love the theme to be yourself and listen to your own inner music.

Resources:
Plenty! I found a number of videos on YouTube, just search “Giraffes Can’t Dance.” I also found two websites with lesson plans: Plan 1 and Plan 2 and a bingo style story game.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill. For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Acts of Publicity 2012

Random Acts of Publicity was created by author Darcy Pattison a few years back. For 2012, we will be starting Conversations about Books or as Darcy's likes to say BLLuRT it out (Blog, Link, Like, Review or Talk about books).

What can you do to BLLuRT about books?  Blog about your favorite authors/books, Link to websites, Like them on Facebook or Goodreads or Amazon, post Reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc or just Talk about books in any place you feel comfortable.

Today I would like to share some of my current favorites:

Picture Books
Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Anything illustrated by Marla Frazee

Middle Grade Books
The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Tracing Stars by Erin E. Moulton

Now, when it comes to YA, I really don't read that much of it, so I can't really give favorites. I am looking forward to reading Tracy Bilen's What She Left Behind.


And, just to show my vast reading interests, I stacked up the to-read books I have at home right now. What do you think?Unfortunately I don't have many picture books in these piles, simply because many picture books I read I get from the library and I need to make another trip.  Almost all of these books I have received as gifts or won from giveaways. I'm starting to make a dent, though!

I hope you enjoyed looking into my favorites and please take a peek at the books and authors I have mentioned.  Feel free to BLLuRT about them all!

And I have to give a small shout-out to my favorite women's authors: Debbie Macomber and Robin Jones Gunn.  Both of these writers have inspired me to keep on writing and writing and writing!  Their writing careers both began because they worked hard and didn't give up. That's my goal too!