Peggy M.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-15

Winner or All-time Favorite Loser Again?

Rafe Khatchadorian is doomed in this Middle School book from James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. The Principal of Hills Village Middle School had mandated he survive an outdoor camp for troubled kids before he’s allowed to come back to school. If he fails the test, he’s out for good.

Our favorite screw-up is now going to have to face some of the worst challenges he’s ever come across, including oatmeal. Okay, oatmeal may not sound like a challenge to some of you, but when you were forced to eat it every morning for the first eight years of your life like I did it ranks right up there with alligator wrestling.

Back to Rafe: The counselors are some of the coldest-hearted individuals any kid ever came across. They all must have been First Sergeants in the Army because they push these kids to a point of total exhaustion and hunger. Will Rafe use the experience to learn how to be a real leader or will he weasel out and go back home to mommy?

I loved this story and the inspiration it can give to kids in the dreaded "Middle Years" of K-12!

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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-15

Laughter eases the stigma of disability

Jamie Grimm is a normal middle school kid. At least he used to be before; well, you’ll have to get that from the story. The fact that he’s been forced to move in with his uncle’s family in an unfamiliar town doesn’t dampen his ability to make folks laugh.

What’s a kid in a wheelchair have to laugh about, you ask?

Patterson and Grabenstein have nailed what it feels like to live with a disability. You try so hard to make people laugh while tears are pouring invisibly down your cheek. Jamie enters the “Planet’s Funniest Kid Contest” and suddenly he skyrockets in popularity.

What’s this? Jamie actually believes he won because the judges felt sorry for him in his wheelchair?

This is a great book for middle school kids as it wrestles with the problems kids endure when they suffer from a disability.

Bullies, you’d better beware. You’re beginning to look like idiots to the savvy kids in the hallways who have read Patterson’s book(s).

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-15

Let's Break Every Rule in the Handbook

Get ready for it…Older brothers and sisters can make your life miserable, even when they’ve moved on!

Patterson’s Middle School series features Rafe’s little sister this time. When Georgia Khatchadorian enters Hills Village Middle School (known to the kids as HVMS), she believes things will be a snap. She’s smart and has a track record. That should be worth something.
Rafe has already moved on from Middle School, but his history has not been forgotten. It doesn’t take long for Georgia to learn how to walk in Rafe’s shadow.

I don’t want to provide any spoilers to this delightful stumbling routine through the hallowed halls of Middle School, but this book has it all. The princess brigade, consisting of the most popular girls, and the sudden onset of rushing hormones as boys and girls begin to discover they don’t necessarily carry “cooties” after all.

Bullying is alive and well in the hallowed halls of HVMS, and even Georgia has a bit of a problem embracing a kid who doesn’t quite measure up to the expectations of the in-crowd.

This is a perfect gift for the young girl who is entering Middle School. She may discover her life isn’t as bad as she thought it was. (Well, except for the boogers…What MG book would be complete without them?)

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-30-15

Can Rafe Save His Bacon With A Touchdown?

When Rafe Khatchadorian heads off to “special” classes at Hills Village Middle School, he faces the same challenge kids everywhere do: At the craziest time of life for a kid growing up, we throw them all into a building with only each other as role models. Once K-12 was split up into three separate school buildings, Middle School became much more of a challenge, but Rafe is suddenly finding his direction. Not only will Rafe face Miller the Killer, but he suddenly begins to notice that girls aren’t so bad after all. Rafe faces the challenge of a lifetime when he suddenly catches the football during the most important game of the year. Middle School students will love this book as it covers everything from football to bullying and a very wet first kiss (Okay, it was the dog…but it was still funny!) Patterson has found a way to make “special” classes sound like a hangout for the school’s rock stars and being nice to each other the golden rule of Middle School.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-30-15

You will "Hold Tight" to Those You Love

I have never been disappointed by Harlan Coben's novels. He's a master at weaving seemingly unrelated characters and events into a climax you weren't expecting.

It was fairly easy to connect with Mike and Tia Baye as the story began.

Like most parents today, when the kids begin to act funny we're drawn to do those things we'd normally never do. Mike and Tia don't know exactly what's going on with Adam, but the death of his friend has them determined to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. The "whatever" includes placing spyware on his computer.

While all this is going on, a madman and his female partner are kidnapping women and killing them in barbaric fashion. Coben also interweaves the torment of a father when his young daughter is humiliated by a popular teacher and becomes the subject of aggressive bullying in school.

The search for answers begins at a popular nightclub for kids which includes activities and counseling services...everything a kid might need to entertain and help when life becomes complicated.

How Coben pulls all this together is what makes him one of the current masters of thrillers and suspense!

The narrator took me back to the days of Dragnet and Detective Sgt. Joe Friday. I found it both humorous at times and a bit unsettling because the subject matter was not at all tongue-in-cheek.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-15

Clean Young Adult Romance

T R Lykins has written a clean romance suitable for teens and young adults. I was given a copy of this book as a gift. Alexia is a delightful young girl who enters her freshman year of college as a 20 year-old. A nearly terminal illness prevented her from starting earlier. Phillip is a college senior who is immediately attracted to the incoming student. The book is written in a "He says" and "She says" format. I truly enjoyed hearing the two viewpoints, but there were times when it felt a bit repetitious. This uplifting book will break your heart at time but the one thing it does do is inspire others to think more seriously about organ transplant and illness. The producer did a decent job with the male voices and an excellent job with the rest. I would definitely recommend this read to someone looking for a clean romantic story. A great offering for a first novel!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-15

The Land continues to deliver

If you could sum up Uncharted Inheritance in three words, what would they be?

gripping, enlightening, courage

What other book might you compare Uncharted Inheritance to and why?

This book is so unique, I don't wish to compare it to another. It is a story that reminds me of the Mennonite friends I had as a child and how much I enjoyed sharing their lifestyle. The people of The Land provide insight into what life could be like if we embraced a more simplistic lifestyle and yet some of the same issues of the value of women do arise as we watch some extremely strong women in books 1 & 3 as they come of age.

Which character – as performed by Dara Kramer – was your favorite?

Dara presents the story with so much emotion you don't think about individual voices. Her delivery reminds me of sitting in rapt attention as a dear friend or relative tells a story of a time long-past.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did, but life happened. I did listen to the entire book over a two-day period. I couldn't wait any longer!

Any additional comments?

This was a beautiful 3rd volume of the Uncharted Series, following The Land Uncharted and Uncharted Redemption. Bethany Coburn is finally coming of age as she begins to understand her best friend, Everett Foster is seeing her as more than a friend. We glimpse Justin Mercer again as he continues to search for the invisible or lost island he is sure his friend Connor made it onto when their plane goes down in the ocean. The Land has been shielded from the rest of the world for such a long time that no diseases exist there. Will Mercer's obsession of finding the Village of Good Springs and his friend bring an illness that no one there can survive? Keely Brooke Keith provided a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review. I must say, after reading the first two books in the series, I would have gladly purchased it on my own. You will not be disappointed with this beautiful series and the lessons of good, evil, hope, courage, and inspiration you will learn from it.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-14-15

The Search for Redemption in the Lost Land

Would you listen to Uncharted Redemption again? Why?

I definitely would. The story is captivating and the characters have now become part of my village.

What other book might you compare Uncharted Redemption to and why?

I'm not sure I can compare this to any specific book. The concept of a forgotten land is not new, but this story is taking on an epic quality with ties to Suspense, Romance, and SciFi.

What about Misty of Echoing Praise’s performance did you like?

She has done an excellent job of distinguishing the various characters through voice. Her gentle demeanor with the torment Mandy is forced to endure and the delightful countenance of the elderly Colburn aunt have endeared those characters to me.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The simple and caring culture of a land yet undiscovered is brutally torn apart by a new evil that threatens to destroy the idyllic lifestyle of the gentle and caring inhabitants.

Any additional comments?

This is the second book in the Uncharted series. I was provided with a Review copy of the audio adaptation by the author in exchange for an honest review.I had also listened to the audio of the first book in the series which centered on the outsider Connor who parachutes out of his disabled plane and is blown onto this uncharted island in the very near future. The lifestyle of the inhabitants is minimalist and Connor fell in love with Lydia, the healer of the Village of Good Spring in "The Land."Book two is filled with suspense, danger and romance as we begin to learn more about the Colburn family's eldest son Levi and his torn past with his father. Levi Colburn is a carpenter, building the house every man dreams of giving his new bride. Levi's problems include his father's apparent cowardice which resulted in his mother's death and his inability to secure the affections of Mandy Foster, the only girl on the island he has ever had any interest in.When author Keely Brooke Keith threw in the new elements of missing sheep and the evil Felix and his son Harvey, the action begins to heat up with an evil this culture has only encountered once before. Like book 1, objects from the outside world and reminders of The War again appear on the beach, threatening the very foundation of the idyllic lives of this minimalist society. Book two brings you closer to Levi Colburn and Mandy Foster, while we continue to learn more about Connor and Lydia.I listened to the audio over a two-day period, and hated to put it down the first evening. You won't regret picking up this audio book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-05-15

Compelling story of a land forgotten

Would you consider the audio edition of The Land Uncharted to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but I was drawn to this book about a month ago when I saw the synopsis and knew it was something I wanted to pick up quickly. When the author offered the audio version in exchange for an honest review, I was hooked into an immediate desire to follow my instincts on this being a great read.

What other book might you compare The Land Uncharted to and why?

It had an historical feel, like "Little Women" and a touch of Narnia in a land either lost or forever forgotten.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved the scene where Lydia tried to save the boys from being washed out to sea. It proved beyond any doubt that she was someone who would always put the needs of others above herself...what better attribute for a doctor?

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me extremely introspective about the discourse in our lands today.

Any additional comments?

Keeley Brooke Keith has woven a delightful tale of a land inhabited 7 generations ago by people trying to escape from the war and unrest of their previous lives. Lydia Colburn started studying to be a nurse when she was only 16. Her father, John, one of the village's elders watches over her with a strong sense of right and wrong as she struggles to understand what draws her to the naval aviator who blew onto the island with a magical piece of cloth, that carried him to their shores. Like every good book, there are some evil people who have their own ideas about Lydia's destiny. Between her brother, Levi, and her sister's interactions with the handsome stranger, Lydia is even more determined than ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor with or without the handsome stranger. Connor Bradshaw has his hands full as he struggles to learn the customs of "The Land" and gain favor with the beautiful young healer who rescues him from the ocean's wrath. I loved the audio version and highly recommend this soul-searching story to those who love historical fiction and romance and Christian science fiction.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-15

Doesn't Everyone Want a Horse?

What made the experience of listening to Keeping a Backyard Horse the most enjoyable?

I absolutely loved learning how to take care of your first horse through the perspective of the horse. The excitement in the performance made it a very easy read to listen to.

What other book might you compare Keeping a Backyard Horse to and why?

This is the first book I've read/listened to on the care of horses. It's definitely one I would recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing their first horse as the tips and insights are presented in a manner that is easily understandable...even for those who have never been around horses. I would have to do some research to find other books about horse care,.

What does Barbara Colvin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I loved her strong presentation. The humor came through perfectly, and her delivery was never weak or unsure. I would certainly recommend her to produce your next audio project.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The tips on things to watch for to determine a horse's current attitude are excellent. Listen carefully here so you don't get kicked and so you'll know if something's wrong with your horse.

Any additional comments?

This was an excellent primer for people who have recently purchased a horse, and even more important for those who are contemplating purchasing a horse. It was a delightful listen and jam-packed with the information you will need to know from helping your new horse become familiar with their pen, to how to properly give an injection and check for hoof problems. I strongly recommend this book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful