The Chicken Encyclopedia

The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference by Gail Damerow comes out in a couple of weeks. As the title implies, it’s written in encyclopedia/dictionary format with topics alphabetized. It may seem strange to sit down to read an encyclopedia for entertainment puposes (unless you share genes with me), but I found the book to be quite informative and enjoyable to read. As someone interested in raising our own chickens for both eggs and meat, to live more sustainably and to have healthier food, this was a great place for me to start. I knew quite a bit about chickens to begin with, but I quickly realized there were many fascinating things I hadn’t known. With beautiful full color pictures and an easy to read format, the book is a must read to the new chicken fancier.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Free Range Chicken Gardens

Jessi Bloom’s Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard, available at the end of January, is the quintessential book for chicken owners and gardeners alike. Chock full of information for the chicken novice, Bloom’s book makes a compelling argument for allowing chickens to free range in your garden to create a symbiotic environment benefitting plants, chickens, and their human counterparts. With pertinent and practical information, this inspirational book will have the urban or suburban (or even rural) gardener or chicken owner making the cross-over to a mutually beneficial and sustainable free range chicken garden.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Secret of Rover

Twins Katie and David haven’t always lived a charmed life. Until recently, their family has struggled in poverty. However, life as been looking up since their parents invented Rover. When their parents fly overseas to adopt a new baby girl, the children’s excitement quickly turns to fear as they find themselves in the middle of a sinister political plot. Unsure of whether or not they will ever see their parents again or meet their new baby sister, their immediate goal is to make it out alive.

Rachel Wildavsky’s new book, The Secret of Rover, is a captivating novel for children. With well developed characters and an appealing plotline, the story allows children to experience a fantastical mystery with action and adventure.

Disclaimer: A copy was provided by the publisher.

Hereafter

Tara Hudson’s new novel, Hereafter, promised to deliver an enticingly unique young adult book, different from the rest of the watered down love stories on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

Amelia, a ghost who doesn’t remember anything except her first name and parts of her death, wanders around aimlessly, as do the first 50 pages of the book. I forced myself to continue reading, waiting for the book to pick up and deliver the fascinating read that would have me on tender hooks. After finishing the 400+ page book, I’m still waiting. The story seemed contrived and lacking, although the book cover is hauntingly appealing.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by HarperTeen.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Heir to the Everlasting

Family means something different to every person. The strings that bind us to others vary in strength, length, and color, but they pull us to some extent, nonetheless. In pullitzer nominated author Janice Daughtery’s Heir To the Everlasting, we see the ties between the strong women of the Alexander family throughout their century long reign. Through marriages, deaths, births, trials, and triumphs, the women at Big Eddy continue on with a love and strength that not only allows them to continue on through life but to also stand for what they believe despite what society or the men in the family say. While the second half of the book meandered and dragged a bit, the beautifully rich characters and story in the first half carried teh book through to the end.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Lost Voices

Sarah Porter’s new book,  Lost Voices, seems depressingly lost. Addressing the abuses of young girls at the hands of the people who should love them and take care of them, the book missed a great opportunity for empowering the young readers who may look to it. While the writing is beautifully descriptive, it rambles along on tangents which serve to detract from the story, which is lacking to begin with. The characters are shallow and add to the depression of the book, which ends abruptly without bringing any closure.

I would love to see someone pick up the theme and write a fantastic fictional book for young girls.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Harcourt Books.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Goddess Test

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Bearded Women Stories

Dehumanized by a world  which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of women cause us to examine our own thoughts and challenge the big top freak spectacular.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Sleepwalkers

Caleb’s life is all set. He has his plans laid out for after high school graduation until the arrival of a letter from an old childhood friend. Shortly after, he sets out on a road trip with his best friend, Bean, to find out what is going on. Arriving at his old hometown, he finds that secrets have been kept there for years.

J. Gabriel Gates’ The Sleepwalkers brings a new scene for teen horror. Reminiscent of Stephen King and John Saul, the story is artfully written and skillfully suspenseful. While I found I had many questions about some of the story’s end, it merely added to the disquieting feeling of the book.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

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