Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book with a View Part 2

More book reviews sent in by readers this month!

Alphabet Meditations for Teachers: Everyday Wisdom for Educators
Nancy Oelklaus, EdD
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690880
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (3/09)

Alphabet Meditations for Teachers contains twenty-six poems that cover topics, from A through Z, which teachers will relate to. Each meaningful poem has a colorful photograph to accompany it. The author did an awesome job of finding topics which every educator will find meaningful. As a community college instructor of students with disabilities, I found myself totally understanding the topics that were covered. I feel that they reach beyond the K-12 level.

Reading this book reminded me that we are here for our students, not vice versa. Being from a variety of backgrounds it is important for us to accept them no matter what their socio-economic status is. As educators we have to love them and believe in them no matter what. Dr. Oelklaus’s words really touched my heart. Reminding me to replace fear with love and to accept change as it appears, makes the education world a more exciting, adventuresome place.

Mi>Alphabet Meditations for Teachers: Everyday Wisdom for Educators by Nancy Oelklaus would make the perfect gift for any teacher, especially if they might be feeling burnout. It will inspire them to remember why they chose to teach. It also would make a perfect gift for a brand new teacher. As they begin to experience the good and bad things that come with the profession, it will let them know that others have had the same thoughts and feelings.


Billy Had To Move
Theresa Ann Fraser, CYW, B.A.
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690873
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (age 8) for Reader Views (4/09):

This is a story about a boy named Billy. Billy was sad because his Nana had died. Billy had to live in a foster home now because they couldn’t find his mother. Billy was worried who would take care of his cat. He had been sad for many days.

I thought this book was very sad but had a happy ending for Billy. This book made me feel kind of weird because I didn’t know that kids had to live with strangers. I feel lucky to have a caring family. I learned about how there are people to help take care of kids who don’t have parents to take care of them. I found out about lots of people like Social Workers and Therapists who can try to help you when you are sad, angry, scared or confused. I think kids like Billy should read this book because it would show them what to do if they are sad.

Note from mother: I had a hard time reading this book with my children; I was choking back many tears throughout the story. They were both very interested and had a lot of questions and compassion for Billy. I think if a book that to us was “fictional” had such an impact, surely it would be an outstanding tool for a child experiencing these feelings. It seems to me it would really open-up a dialogue at the least. I think Billy Had To Move by Theresa Ann Fraser would be a wonderful book for any library and that all school-age children would benefit from reading, either identifying with Billy or by presenting a way of life they may not have known about before. We certainly share a lot of different things about society with our children, but this really illustrated how hard life can be for such a young person. My only critique would be to add more artwork to break-up some of the very text intensive pages. Perhaps editing out some of the text might be helpful as well depending on the target age. We broke the book up over three days because it was such a “heavy” subject.


Author: Jack Kilborn
ISBN: 978-0-446-53593-9,
Pages: 384,
Hachette Book Group, a Division of Grand Central Publishing; April 2009
Soft Cover, Thriller, Horror

Jack Kilborn will make your flesh creep and your blood turn icy-cold in his debut fiction novel, Afraid. Be Aware: Only the brave should read this book!

There is a military secret emerging in the small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin, population less than 1,000, where there is virtually no excitement. The lights go out, the phones die, and there is only one road in and out of town which is blocked keeping the residents isolated. The town folks are unaware of the terrifying events that are about to happen after a helicopter crashes into a ball of fire over Big Lake McDonald. What comes from inside is an abomination, as superhuman soldiers infiltrate the town and people die, one by one, by one.

Three ordinary heroes evolve a fireman, an aging sheriff, and a single mom with her young son, whose courage is unyielding as they help others; their will to live is astounding.

An amazing excerpt from the book shows a brave mom’s remarkable will to live:

“…the current pulled her under. She thrashed and kicked…, the blackness of unconsciousness mingling with the darkness…she broke the surface, gagging and coughing and vomiting water…she needed to get out of the water…her body temperature was falling…. She stood on the river bottom…sand sucking at her feet…and slithered onto land…. Dirt dug into her wounded foot…branches tore at her knees…she crawled up the embankment…until she reached the top…when she…saw the large man in the dark uniform standing on the road, staring at her.”

Another excerpt to scare you:

“The sheriff of Ashburn County…steeled himself as best he could, pure will forcing emotional detachment, refusing to be swayed by the horrors that he would witness. Then he went into the bedroom. There was blood. A lot of blood…,… thrown across the bedspread, the walls, the carpet....But there were no bodies.”

Kilborn vividly reveals the mind set of trained maniacal killers who have no moral conscience showing how regular people who care about others have the strength to survive.

A must read for those who really like to be scared! Jack Kilborn will have another horror-packed thriller coming in winter 2010, called Trapped, and is previewed at the end of his novel.


Hope Springs Eternal
Author: Ginger Simpson
ISBN: electronic download -978-1-926647-62-3 print (Amazon) 978-1-926647-70-8
Publisher: Eternal Press, April 2009
Reviewer Byline Teagan, for

Hope Harrison is dreading going to the new doctor that has taken over for her retired one. It’s bad enough to have to undress, but it makes it so much worse when it is someone you have never met before. In for the shock of her life, Dr. Jerrod Carlson is a hunk of the first order and Hope can’t believe her luck when, he shows an interest in her after hours. Widowed for three years, Hope never dreamed she would find another man that could make her feel the way that Jerrod does, and though she knows he has feelings for her, she isn’t sure he feels as deeply as she does. Especially when an unexpected occurrence has her questioning everything.

Hope Springs Eternal is a heartfelt, realistic, page-turner. I am thrilled to read about a more mature relationship with all the nuances of love and respect. The realistic approach that Ms. Simpson uses in her writing brings her characters to life and draws the reader into their thoughts and feelings. The sweetness of the feelings that Hope and Jerrod have for each other, spoke to the romantic in me. The expressive use of words painted the story in my mind’s eye. Hope’s first visit to her new doctor and the description that was given was so dead on that it even had my nerves frayed. Women, you will completely understand what I mean when you read this wonderful story. Ms. Simpson has a talent for telling a tale and hitting the nail right on the head. I felt as if I was right there with Hope throughout the story. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a sweet, heartfelt romance. Keep your eye on this talented author.

Patriot Acts
Author: Steven Clark Bradley
An Intense, Fast-paced Modern Day Thriller
Reviewer: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

April 1, 2009 Hidden away in an Alaskan prison, serving time for a crime he never committed, Colonel Fisher Harrison thinks of revenge. His government forsake him and his Special Ops buddies and no one was meant to survive. If Fisher gets out of that hellish place, the man who put him there is going to pay. But, that man is now President of the United States and seemingly untouchable; until the Islamic Republic of Iran and radical American militia groups join forces, and President Christopher Tate knows that Colonel Harrison is the only man who can stop a planned covert nuclear attack. Will Fisher help the government who forsake him? And if he does, will he make it out alive?

Patriot Acts by Steven Clark Bradley is an intense, fast-paced modern day thriller that leaves you clinging to the edge of your seat. Bradley's wealth of experience comes alive in this story of a covert nuclear attack planned by two deadly forces. Having traveled to thirty-four countries and having been a freelance journalist in Iraq, Israel and Turkey, Bradley creates a realistic and scary portrait of potential terrorism issues home and abroad.

Strong and complex characters fill this novel. From Fisher Harrison to Christopher Tate, from radical militia leader Len Garret to Jamie O'Rourke, the President's Chief of Staff, every player is alternately sympathetic and despicable, likable and easily hated. Bradley has done an excellent job of creating multi-faceted characters whose actions move this story along at a fast clip.

Patriot Acts by Steven Clark Bradley will be a hit with military fiction fans, lovers of fast-paced thrillers, and anyone interested in the War on Terror. This is definitely a book worth checking out.

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