Monday, August 29, 2016

Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood

Goodreads Summary

The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold. 

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

My Thoughts

So. Good.

I am ready for the next book! Now, it took me a little bit to get into this book.  The beginning felt a little slow.  But then... it hooked me!  I couldn't get enough!

I had the pleasure of receiving the audiobook version, which was great for me because my schedule has been so busy lately.  I was able to listen to the book at times when holding a book and reading would not have been possible.  I very much enjoyed the audiobook!

There isn't much I can say about this book other than READ IT!  You must!  So Good!  Ahhhh!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Kids, Camels, & Cairo by Jill Dobbe

Goodreads Summary

A lighthearted read about my personal experiences as an educator abroad.

Traveling across the globe to work in an international school in Cairo, Egypt, was not exactly the glamorous lifestyle I thought it would be. I cherished my travels to the Red Sea, delighted in visiting the Pyramids, and appreciated the natural wonders of the Nile River. However, I also spent days without electricity or internet, was leered at by rude Egyptian men, breathed in Cairo’s cancerous black smog, and coaxed school work from rich, apathetic students. 

Why the heck did I do it? So I could experience the unexpected, explore the extraordinary, and bask in the thrill of adventure! 

Whether you’re an educator, a traveler, or just a curious reader, you will be astounded at this honest and riveting account of learning to live in an Islamic society, while confronting the frustrating challenges of being an educator in a Muslim school.

My Thoughts

I love reading about a person's life.  The chance to get a glimpse of their world, experiences, and adventures is fun to me.  I've always liked the idea of leaving everything behind and moving off to a completely different place, but I know that I would never really have the nerve to do it myself.

I honestly can't say that Egypt would be my first choice to live, though.  It may be neat to see Pyramids and things like that but I really don't think I would be happy living in the Middle East.  I think I would rather go to Europe or someplace like that.

I enjoyed Jill Dobbe's writing style very much.  She gave just the perfect amount of information without overdoing it at all.  I am very much a fan of being able to picture places and things when I read and she made it easy to do so.  I'm glad that I could experience Cairo, all of the ups and downs, through Jill's words.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 26, 2016

ReejecttIIon: a number two by Daniel Clausen & Harry Whitewolf

Goodreads Summary

By reading ReejecttIIon, it’s likely you’ll discover: colorful short stories, funny flash fiction, hilarious cartoons, riveting reviews, wondrous anagrams and other assorted skits and titbits of under-achieving literary genius.

If you’re lucky, you might come across sci-fi tales about the privatization of words, horror stories about hair and ruminations on indie writing. It’s also possible that you’ll find commentary on the hazards of greedy literary agents and stories about washed up movie directors who receive financial backing from space aliens.

Publisher’s Meekly calls it: “a thought-provoking fable about technological hubris and the hazards of bioengineering.” (*This may or may not be referring to Jurassic Park and not ReejecttIIon.)

Reader’s Indigestion says: “this book quietly stands as one of the most powerful statements of the Civil Rights movement.” (*This may or may not actually refer to To Kill a Mockingbird and not ReejecttIIon.)

But why not read this seriously comical scattergun book and see what you can discover about ReejecttIIon for yourself?

My Thoughts

ReejecttIIon is unlike any book I've read before.  There were parts I really liked and then some parts I wasn't crazy about.  All in all, it kept me pretty entertained.

At times, while reading this book, I wondered what in the world I was reading!  I could myself laughing out loud several times.  There were also times that I was completely confused about what I had just read.  It made for a very interesting read.

I can see why ReejecttIIon has so many great reviews already!  It was funny, confusing, entertaining, weird, and a bunch of other things all wrapped up in one.  Not bad, not bad at all!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hire Train Monitor Motivate by David J. Waldron

Goodreads Summary

The transformational workplace of the twenty-first century is front and center. Are you ready to navigate its twists and turns toward reaching your career goals and dreams? In Hire Train Monitor Motivate, author and veteran organizational leader, David J. Waldron, offers powerful, yet simple techniques that can dramatically improve your organization, team, or individual career achievements in today’s hyper-competitive local and global marketplaces.

This practical book will teach you how to master the art of workplace effectiveness by first making a lasting commitment to placing people first, whether a customer, recruit, staff member, or coworker. Then hire, or get hired for an optimistic mindset; train, or be trained for delivering quality products and services; monitor, or allow monitoring for regulatory compliance; and motivate, or stay motivated for enduring performance.

As a practitioner more so than an academic, Waldron, presents unpretentious, everyday workplace rules that when implemented, or followed, can transform your organization, team, or individual career to one of lasting distinction. Master the proven techniques for playing the game the right way and learn how to practice leadership or teamwork by inclusion toward making your workplace a great place to learn, earn, and grow.

Hire Train Monitor Motivate guides the reader toward recognizing his or her essential role in today’s transformational workplace. A work environment—whether for-profit, nonprofit, or in the public service—that requires an understanding and buy-in to the Millennial Model, the cultural transition of the now predominant generation that, according to Waldron, is fast becoming the new standard in organizational behavior, group dynamics, and individual effectiveness. This horizontal hierarchical model will likely drive the influential organizations, teams, and careers of the twenty-first century as the vertical hierarchy of the Baby Boomer generation did in the twentieth century.

Waldron guides the reader in embracing crucial areas of the modern workplace. Join him as he explores the emerging dominance of the expert economy; the importance of lifelong learning and perpetual career development; and how to be an active participant—as opposed to the spectator—on the precipice of reinventing compensation and worker equality. Plus, why accepting the significance of work/life balance will remain necessary to sustainable career success.

Whether an owner, donor, leader, manager, supervisor, or staff member, make a commitment to your essential role in the transformational workplace. Read Hire Train Monitor Motivate, today, and make your workplace a great place tomorrow. Your organization, team, and career are counting on you. 

My Thoughts

This is definitely not the typical book that I would read.  The author sent a review request to me and I wasn't sure if I should agree or not, since this isn't my area of expertise, but I went ahead and said yes :)

I was a little worried that this would be a boring, hard to read and understand kind of book.  It actually wasn't.  Now, I do not run my own business nor am I in a position where I hire people, but I can certainly see how this book would be a good read for those in a work leadership position.  I think that the tools you learn in this book can be a great help in that area.  Hire Train Monitor Motivate seems like a wonderful and helpful read for those who are in a human resource position.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Exiled Seven by Blake Renworth

Goodreads Summary

When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty. 

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this book!!!  I could tell just by looking at it and reading the bulb on the back that I was going to enjoy it.  But, honestly, I don't think I knew just how much I would love it!

I was so drawn into the story, so wrapped up in each character, I never wanted to put it down!  Unfortunately, I do have a job...I couldn't read this as much as I wanted to.  It really is crazy to me that it took me over a week to finish this book!

Another thing that totally surprises me is just how much I like this book when so many questions were left unanswered!  Usually, I would be so frustrated with the ending that I would give the book a lower rating.  Weirdly, I still loved The Exiled Seven!  It just made me want to read the next book even more.

I loved the cover, I loved the originality, I loved the surprises, I loved the characters!  The Exiled Seven is a book unlike any other I've ever read.  So refreshing and such a joy!  I can't wait to read the next when it comes out!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Adventures of Kid Humpty Dumpty: Humpty Dumpty Meets Shellga by Benjamin Boyd

Goodreads Summary

Young Humpty Dumpty wants to make friends with Shellga, the new girl in town. But every time he works up the nerve to talk to her, Sunny Side Up and Sunny Side Down (the very "anti-boy" Sunny Side Twins) do their best to scramble his plans. 
After his failed attempts to talk to Shellga and getting an "F" on his spelling paper, poor Humpty is starting to feel pretty rotten. But with the help of his grandpa Dumpty and best friend, Eggden, things may not be so hard-cooked for little Humpty after all! 
Follow the adventures of a lovable little egg-boy before he took his famous fall from the wall in this original offshoot from a classic children's tale. 

My Thoughts

The Adventures of Kid Humpty Dumpty: Humpty Dumpty Meets Shellga is a cute little children's book.  I can see myself reading it to my class next week.  It was fun to see that poor Humpty Dumpty has apparently always been a bit clumsy!

This was a nice little story with pictures that kids will enjoy looking at as you read.  I like the message that it gives about friendship.  The Adventures of Kid Humpty Dumpty will be a nice addition to the little library in my classroom.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang

Goodreads Summary

From the author of The Latehomecomer, a powerful memoir of her father, a Hmong song poet who sacrificed his gift for his children's future in America

In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses; extemporizing or drawing on folk tales, he keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes.

Following her award-winning book The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father Bee Yang, the song poet, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by American's Secret War. Bee lost his father as a young boy and keenly felt his orphanhood. He would wander from one neighbor to the next, collecting the things they said to each other, whispering the words to himself at night until, one day, a song was born. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee's mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine.

Written with the exquisite beauty for which Kao Kalia Yang is renowned, The Song Poet is a love story -- of a daughter for her father, a father for his children, a people for their land, their traditions, and all that they have lost.

My Thoughts

This was the third book that I read in a row that was so deep and sad and heart warming all in one!  It was like a love poem from daughter to father and it really was beautiful.

I always find it so interesting to go back in time through a book and read about people's experiences.  My heart aches when I read about war and loss.  I get so emotional when I read about tough life situations!  This book did all of that to me!

It is possible that I should have waited a little longer after reading The Song Poet before writing a review because I'm having a somewhat difficult time finding the words I want to say.  I think I'm sill a bit emotional!  Get it!  Read it!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.