Monday, September 29, 2008

The Dragonfly Secret


The Dragonfly Secret: A Story of Boundless Love
By Clea and John Adams
Illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson
Hardcover, 32 pages
October 1, 2008
Feather Rock Books, Inc.


The Dragonfly Secret by John and Clea Adams and illustrator Barbara L. Gibson, is a companion book to The Dragonfly Door. The Dragonfly Secret continues the story of Lea, a lovely little dragonfly.

As Lea flits around the garden one day, a cute little boy appears and they begin to play hide and seek. They soon become fast friend. Then one day, the boy presents Lea with a puzzle to solve. He tells her she will need 3 clues to solve the puzzle and help reveal a wonderful secret.
"You have a message to deliver, a promise so true, it can only be carried by a dragonfly like you."

As Lea glides around the garden trying to find the first piece of the puzzle, she meets an elderly couple in the garden. They tell Lea they also know the secret, and they give her the second clue to revealing the secret. In the end, Lea figures out the last clue and is happy to deliver a heartwarming message.

The Dragonfly Secret is a great book that will help young children - and some of us "old" children - realize that our loved ones are all around us, even when they have passed on. When I read this book for the first time, by the end of the 32 pages, I was crying. The depth of my emotions helped me to see this book for what is truly is, a coping tool with a wonderful meaning.

The story is made even better by the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Barbara L. Gibson. The colors are bright and vibrant and they add credibility to the sensitive story.

The Dragonfly Secret is a must for any home library, but it also deserves a place of honor in libraries, churches, and other places where young children congregate. This books would also make a wonderful gift for any young child suffering from a tragic loss.

Also check out the official website: Feather Rock Books.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer (Dragon Keepers series #1)

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer is the first book in a new series - Dragon Keepers #1 - by Kate Klimo. (A Young Reader Book)

This is a wonderful new book for young readers. It's like Harry Potter meets the computer age.

Jesse's parents have left hime in the care of his aunt and uncle while they are away on a mission trip. When his aunt has to leave on a business trip to Paris, Uncle Joe is left to watch over his dauther - Daisy - and Jesse. While looking for rocks, Jesse and Daisy find what they call a "thunder egg" (a geode) that actually talks to them. When a dragon hatches from the egg, the pair have no idea how to care for a dragon, so they do what any modern child would do, they Goggle dragon care. They keep finding references to an out of print book called The Dragon Keeper's Guide. When they Goggle the author's name, their computer becomes interactive and guides them in the care of dragons.

Emerald, or Emmy for short, is a wonderful new character in the world of children's fiction. A cute little dragon that can talk and think, she turns Jesse and Daisy's world upsidedown.

This book is adorable and young children will love its unique and modern twists. This is a great addition to the dragon genre for younger readers and promises to be a wonderful new series.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Way Back Wednesday - Trixie Belden #2


Trixie Belden #2 - The Red Trailer Mystery - 1950

We learned at the end of The Secret of the Mansion that Jim Frayne had ran away. His great uncle's lawyer showed up, revealing that Jim inherited half-a-million dollars and is going to finally be removed from his abusive stepfather's custody.

The Red Trailer Mystery picks up there. Trixie and Honey - along with Honey's governess, Miss Trask - set off in the Wheeler's trailer to find their missing friend. They make a plan to check several boy's camps upstate, since Jim mentioned getting a job there. The problem is, Jim always appears to be one step ahead of them.

On the trip, Trixie and Honey are faced with an interesting obstacle. At the trailer park where they are staying, there is a family living next door in a very fancy trailer. This family does not appear to be the owners of the trailer. They make friends with Mrs. Smith who is a very motherly person, and Trixie and Honey learn that her daughter is missing.

While trying to help this family and look for Jim at the same time, they become entangled in a trailer robbing ring; and there are two suspicious workers at their trailer camp who may or may not be involved. Trixie knows that the mysteries are all tied together and the answer lies somewhere in the nearby forest, if only they could find it.

This book ends on a truly happy note. Once again, Trixie saves the day - with a little help from her friends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is the first book by David Wroblewski.

Edgar Sawtelle was born mute and only speaks using sign language. His perfect life on the family farm in Wiconsin is disrupted by the sudden death of his father. The unexpected return of Edgar's uncle - his father's brother, Claude - turns the Sawtelle home into chaos.

Trying to find proof that Claude was responsible for the death of his father, a grieving Edgar's plans go all wrong. Edgar leaves the family farm with his pet dog, Almondine, and two more of the dogs his family raises and trains. The small group moves to the outskirts of the farm into the northern woods and fights for their very survival.

David Wroblewski is a first time novelist and he has told a heartwarming story of survival and revenge. His prose and descriptions are dead-on and I didn't want to put this book down. It is a true masterpiece and I'm eagerly awaiting the next novel he produces.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Way Back Wednesday - Trixie Belden #1

When I was a little girl, Trixie Belden was my hero. I loved reading these books over and over again. My babysitter's daughter was the one who got me hooked on Trixie Belden and I could lose myself for hours in the adventures of Trixie and the Bob-Whites (a club formed by Trixie, her brothers, and her friends). I owned the original 16 books, the Whitman 1970s hardcover editions, and these were my pride and joy as a youngster.

Because of my love for Trixie, I've decided to start a new segment here on Bobbi's Book Nook and I'm calling it Way Back Wednesday. I'm going to do reviews of the Trixie Belden books from my past. Today I'm starting with the very first book in the series, The Secret of the Mansion.

The Secret of the Mansion - 1948

The book opens with thirteen-year-old Trixie begging her mother for a horse. Her two older brothers - Brian and Mart - are away at camp for the summer and Trixie is stuck on the family farm with her younger brother Bobby. The Belden family - who live on Crabapple Farm - can't afford a horse, so Trixie is trying to save all her money. I could relate to Trixie because I wanted a horse so badly when I was younger, but never had the opportunity to go riding.

Trixie is excited when people start moving into the mansion on the hill - and a horse trailer is seen unloading horses! The Wheelers, a wealthy family from New York City, are moving into the mansion with their teenaged daughter, Honey.

At first, tomboy Trixie thinks Honey is a stuckup sissy, but they soon become fast friends. Trixie realizes that Honey really is a "poor little rich girl." Honey's parents are never home, and she has grown up in boarding schools, camps and with governesses. Trixie helps her new friend overcome these things.

Later in the book, we learn another of Trixie's neighbors has been taken to the hospital. Trixie uses this chance to explore the old man's rundown old mansion. Trixie and Honey climb inside an unlocked window to look around. They are shocked to find a tall, redheaded boy asleep on a mattress!

The boy turns out to be Jim Frayne, the old man's grand-nephew, and he is running away from his abusive stepfather. The three become friends, and the girls start smuggling food up to the mansion for Jim. Local rumors say the old man hid his money somewhere in the house. Honey and Jim are doubtful, but Trixie is sure the money is there somewhere, if only they could find it before Jim's evil stepfather comes looking for him. I can remember having strong feelings of dislike for this evil stepfather. Up until this point, I had only read about wicked step-mothers.

Eventually, the stepfather does come looking for Jim after a newspaper article appeared, telling of a jet crashing near Sleepyside-on-Hudson (Trixie's home town); the newspaper also features the legend of the old man's fortune.

The very night the article appears in the newspaper, Jim's stepfather shows up. Mysteriously, the mansion catches fire and burns to the ground. When Trixie and Honey go to the old house the next morning to visit Jim, they find him gone.

Jim has run away again ... this time with a half million dollars! The money had been hidden in the mattress Jim had been sleeping on all the time! Trixie and Honey are confronted by the stepfather's lawyer who asks them to track Jim down for him. This story is continued in The Red Trailer Mystery.

Full of thrills, chills and mystery, The Secret of the Mansion is the book that started my fascination with the world of Trixie Belden.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More BBAW Contests

Here are links to more wonderful give-aways to celebrate Book Bloggers Appreciation Week:

--Bookish Ruth is giving about the first 3 Percy Jackson and the Olympians books

--She Reads Books - In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed.

Another Great Contest

Literate Housewife is having a great contest to win Philippa Gregory's new book, The Other Queen. Any visitors to this site know I love the work of Philippa Gregory! Check out was Literate Housewife is doing:


On the 27th, my husband is taking me to DC to meet her in person (!!!!!) at the National Book Festival. With Book Blogger Appreciation Week to top it all off, this is so my month! So, to bring two of my passions together, I’m going to host a Philippa Gregory Scavenger Hunt beginning Sunday, September 15. Here are the details:

Between now and midnight EST on Sunday, I will be adding a graphic of my favorite historical fiction author in 10 places on my blog. The first person to email me and correctly identify each place I’ve added her photo will win. If no one correctly identifies all of the posts by 5pm EST on Tuesday, September 16, the winner will be the person who has sent me an email with the most correct locations. If there is a tie, I’ll use Randomizer to select the winner. So, even if you can’t find all of her pictures, submit your entry!

So, what might you get for prowling around my blog looking for Philippa? How about a copy of The Other Queen? I won’t be able to send you the book until the 29th, though. I hope you don’t mind. You see, unless disaster strikes and I can’t make it to DC, I will be bringing this copy of the book with me to have it signed to you by Philippa! What do you think? You’re coming back on Sunday, aren’t you?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Book Blogging Appreciation Week Contests

Here are only a few of the wonderful contests for next weeks Book Blogging Appreciation Week:

--On My Bookshelf is having a book give-away for a hardcover copy of Heart Sick AND an Advance Reader Edition of Sweetheart!

--Caribous Mom is giving away a hard cover edition of The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent. Caribous alway has excellent reviews.

--Literary Escapism has several books to give-away. I love this site because there are always great reviews.

--Writing on the Edge does wonderful reviews, so check out her give-away.

--Traci's Book Bag is also having a give-away. I'm new to her site, but I like what I see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Speaking Out: A Collection of Writings From Mercer County


According to the press release for SPEAKING OUT:

This book, SPEAKING OUT: A Collection of Writings from Mercer County, was prompted by an experience in the classroom where poet Nikki Finny pointed out through her poetry the need for people to take responsibility for their own lives and their experiences by sharing them and refusing to give in to people who would take away our individual freedom to be who we want to be. In that classroom sat a young girl who idolized Ms. Finny, with her statuesque beauty and eloquent poetry. The girl tried to copy everything about this amazing presence: her walk, her hair, her voice, and her writing. However, that same girl walked out of that class, and out of high school as a graduate, only to be murdered by a relative later that summer, a victim of unspeakable sexual abuse. The experience has haunted this teacher: What did she not hear? What did she not understand about her own identity that enabled someone to so completely dominate her? It has remained an unfinished work in this teacher's mind, and the workshops that evinced this anthology were an effort to empower women in particular and all humans in general. We must be sensitive to the plight of those around us, and share our lives and beliefs in our own value so that they too can claim their God-given joy in living.


I am very proud of this book because it is a work from my community. The short stories and poems contained in this book were penned by students, teachers, and other enthusiast writers from my hometown. It is a wonderful collection and a great statement about the caliber of writers from Kentucky.

The Fifth Dimension

A DROP OF BLOOD SPILT IS A UNIVERSE LOST FOREVER


The Fifth Dimension, by Rory Macaraeg, starts out like your typical science fiction story with a space traveler - David - travelling to another planet to do observations. He notes the people appear to be living in the middle ages and he witnesses them tying up a girl and leaving her to be sacrificed to a giant dragon (reminsent of King Kong). David decides to take action and rescues the girl, badly wounding the dragon with his weapon - think of a phaser from Star Trek. This sets in motion a challenge to the status quo between dragon and human and creates a war between the two. As the war progresses, David learns the dragons are intelligent and are driven to what they do by a group of dragon elders. David, himself is being guided by elders from Earth. The rest of the book morphs into a story of David battling in his asteral form, while fulfilling an ancient prophesy told in a book.

This book had a lot of holes, especially the mystery of both dragons and humans speaking David's language and him accepting this without question. Mr. Macaraeg has a very good method of storytelling that holds the reader's interest throughout the book, but the book is obviously written by a novice. I could not find much information on Rory Macaraeg, so I'm not sure if this was is first book. All in all, this was a fairly good science fiction story.

Historical Fiction Challenge


As you can probably tell from my last few posts, I'm trying to gather up all my reviews from the different challenges I've attempted this year. As usual, I didn't realize I had already completed so many until I started counting.



Here are the books I read for the Historical Fiction Challenge:

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Bone Garden

The Boleyn Inheritance

The Queen's Fool

The Virgin's Lover

Feather Crowns

Memoirs of a Geisha

Monday, September 8, 2008

Presidential Reading Challenge

COMPLETED
I have completed level 3 of the Presidential Reading Challenge. The following is a list of books I read and reviewed:

--John Adams

--Laura Bush

--The Madness of Mary Lincoln

--The Truth About Hillary

--Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths

Book Awards Reading Challenge

COMPLETED
I have completed the Book Awards Reading Challenge. The following are the books I have read and reviewed:



--A Kiss of Shadows- 2000 Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature

--Everything's Eventual- 2003 Horror Guild Award

--John Adams - 2002 Pulitzer Prize

--On Writing - 2001 Locus Award for Non-Fiction

--Postmortem - 1991 Edgar Award for Best First Novel

--Shilo and Other Storie - 1983 Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award

--The Bean Trees - 1988 Arizona Press Club Award

--The Other Boleyn Girl - 2002 Parker Pen Novel of the Year Award

--The Poisonwood Bible - 1998 National Book Prize of South Africa

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jinx

Meg Cabot has the formula to writing a teen book down pat. She knows how to plan out her plots well: Girl meets Boy who she, a) doesn't like or, b) is best friends with and doesn't like romantically. Then, Girl finds out she has something extraordinary in her life (either supernatural powers, unknown royalty, or internal strength), followed by denial, denial, denial, a lot of complaining, and eventual acceptance. To finish, she realizes she loves the Boy she either hates or is best friends with. Happy ever after. It may be a formula, but it's a formula that works.

Jean Honeychurch is so unlucky that even her family calls her Jinx. To escape an unpleasant situation with a boy who refuses to let her end their relationship, Jinx moves from Iowa to Manhattan to live with her aunt and her family in their swanky Upper East Side townhouse. It's no surprise that the klutzy, small-town 16-year-old doesn't fit in with snotty, chic cousin Torrance - Tory - and her friends, and she definitely doesn't share their fondness for drugs and alcohol. Tory, who has been practicing witchcraft for some time, soon realizes that Jinx also has the gift and invites her cousin to join her coven. But Jinx knows the dangers of playing with magic and refuses. Tory sees Jinx's snub as a threat and plots against her. Though she wants to leave magic behind, Jinx must learn to harness the mysterious powers that are her birthright before Tory does too much damage. Ms. Cabot creates believable conflict and avoids being too fantastical, as Tory's mental instability is more dangerous than her Wiccan powers.

I found Jinx to be a cute story - in the vein of a milder The Craft story - although it did have a few minor flaws. Namely the title character; Jinx's character was a little confusing at some times. The way she talked about her oh-so-dreaded secret from her hometown made it seem like it was something extremely incriminating, but when that secret was revealed, I didn't find it to be that horrible. Strangely, my favorite aspect of this novel was Jinx's cousin Tory's diabolical character. It kept some surprises and twists in the plot. Jinx is a character who questions herself a lot and does not realize that the BOY OF HER DREAMS actually likes HER.

For the most part, this book was sweet and charming and I spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying the story. If you have teenage daughters, this is a great book with a moral. Even though drugs and alcohol are mentioned early in the book and several times throughout, Jinx turns out to be an excellent role model and a good influence.

If you love heart-warming, young adult fiction, then Jinx by Meg Cabot is perfect for a few hours of escapism reading.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Dark

The Dark is by English horror writer James Herbert. This is not a new book - it was published in 1980 - but I read it on a recommendation from my 16 year old daughter.

Beechwood is a mansion on Willow Road and the site of several mass murders and suicides. The house appears to feed on people who come in contact with it, causing them to perpetrate acts of horrific violence, releasing man's most primal fears and instincts. When Beechwood is demolished, this darkness ventures out beyond the parameters of the house, causing those with whom it comes into contact to act out their basest instincts and destroy those who remain unaffected. This novel engages the reader, as the protagonists in the book try to sort things out and defeat this evil entity.

The Dark is creepily atmospheric and nicely "English" in feeling. At times, however, the story felt like it was overly complicated when Mr. Herbert would jump from scene to scene, perspective to perspective and person to person - often with little rhyme or reason, and sometimes with no apparent cause; the overall story could have been a bit more seamless. I also found the ending to be a bit ... abrupt. There is no explanation given for exactly what happened or why, and we're left a bit unsettled. Then again, that could have been his point.

Well-written and interesting, devotees of the horror genre, as well as fans of James Herbert, will enjoy this book. This creepy book is a great little gem to add to your collection.

This is the first book I read for the R.I.P. III Challenge.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Jolly Good Fellow

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Good Harbor Press; 1st edition (November 26, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 097996380X
ISBN-13: 978-0979963803



A Jolly Good Fellow is by Stephen Masse of Massachusetts.

With just two weeks before Christmas, Duncan Wagner makes the decision to kidnap the son of his most despised enemy, State Representative Win Booker. When he drives into the wealthy Boston neighborhood to carry out his plan, he is surprised to find the boy - Gabriel - hitchhiking. This is where Wagner's quest for revenge begins as he finds himself face to face with a real boy and no clue about how to run a kidnapping. This story captures the true motives behind an unpredictable kidnapping

Gabriel doesn't appear upset by his apparent kidnapping and even after have several opportunities to escape he chooses to remain with Duncan. The boy begins to develop a close relationship with Duncan, and helps him in the kidnapping process. On the surface this sounds like a case of Stockholm syndrome, but underneath you discover a little boy who is only angry at his parents. Mr. Masse's description of the friendship between a young child and a lonely adult is heartwarming. Gabriel is a multi-faceted character, one who loves reading books and tries to eat a vegetarian diet, but he still wets the bed at night.

Stephen Masse does a great job of taking a man and a boy from very different backgrounds and developing them into heartwarming characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good stories with unpredictable endings. A Jolly Good Fellow is the winner of the Silver Medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards.