Monday, July 18, 2016

A Night Divided


A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

Blurb:

"With the sudden rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, are unable to return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens, watching for any sign of escape. Gerta, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city. But one day, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side of the wall, pantomiming a peculiar dance. She concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?"

My Review:

Wow! Because I enjoyed The False Prince series by Jennifer Nielsen, I was excited to read this historical fiction novel. I hoped that the writing would be just as engaging and addicting as The False Prince series was. I was not disappointed. This book is so great! It is written very well; I love her writing style. It's engaging, it flows well, it's so real, and even though it's a fictional story about a real event that happened long ago, it's very personal. The characters are well developed and they feel like the next door neighbors you've known your whole life. I especially liked Gerta. Her courage is amazing. Fritz too. I loved the father's personality. I liked Anna for most of the book. What's is so great about this book is that it is just like real life; there are times when you like the characters and times when you get a little bugged by them. There are times when you are afraid for them, and times when you cheer them on despite the danger. There would be times when I'd be reading and suddenly realize that I'd been holding my breath, for who knows how long, because of the events taking place. I'd be so worried or I guess I felt like I was there with them. This book is fiction, but I swear it must have really happened because it seemed so lifelike. I'm a rule follower. Everyone knows that about me. I often wonder what I would have done if I'd been alive during the American Revolution. Would I have stood up for freedom or would I have followed the rules under English rule no matter the cost? As I read, I found myself thinking about what I would have done in Gerta's place. I don't know. I follow rules and I'm not good at taking risks. But I love freedom. I hope I would stand up for freedom. I loved that this book allowed me to see a different side of some characters. I think we often times get caught up in stereotypes and the blame game. We forget that we are each actually real people with real families and struggles, and with real hopes and dreams. A guard may not believe in the cause he guards every day, but he may do it because it keeps his family safe. A mother may not want her family to stay inside the wall, but she stays because at least her children are alive and safe. Do you choose safe and a good job behind a wall guarded by men with guns or do you choose to take a risk for something better, even though it may cost you? I love that this book gets you thinking. It's written for a middle-grader/YA reader, but it is relevant to adults as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I think it is a book every child who learns about WWII should read. It is a great way to get these kids away from themselves and thinking about the world around them.

There isn't any profanity or "intimacy." There is some minor violence with the way the Soviets treat the people and there are a couple of characters that die. 

Rating:PG+ (There isn't any profanity or "intimacy," but there is some minor violence with harsh treatment of the people and some fighting. It is post WWII Germany, so it is not the happiest of environments.)

Recommendation: 5th and 6th grades and up (A knowledge of WWII and the Berlin Wall would be very helpful. This book will not make a lot of sense if the child does not have that basic knowledge. My daughter is going into fifth grade this year, and I would be comfortable with her reading it after we discuss the prerequisite knowledge. I'm definitely going to have my ninth and eighth grade sons read it.)


Friday, July 15, 2016

The Christ-Centered Home



The Christ-Centered Home by Emily Belle Freeman

Blurb: 

"Imagine Jesus came to your doorstep. How could you prepare to welcome Him in? In the hectic scramble of a world that asks us to do everything, be everyone, and make it all look easy, we often lose track of the experiences that really matter most--quiet moments in our homes with our families when we feel the peace of Jesus Christ. The lessons Jesus taught in the homes of His followers were simple. They were basic. And the were--and are--essential. In The Christ-Centered Home, you will discover how to fill your family's hearts with the principles Jesus taught in the most sacred of classrooms: the home. There is a humility that comes when we invite the Lord into our most private spaces. Within the hush we hear the gentle whisper of His voice, we experience the touch of His hand, and we feel the prompting to rise. Invite Him in, and experience the added measure of peace, strength, courage, and hope that comes when Jesus Christ becomes the central focus of your home."

My Review:

I'm always looking for ways to improve my family. As a mom, I want my children to be healthy and happy. I also want them to be good citizens, do well in school, and be kind and caring. Something else that is very important to me is that they have a strong foundation of faith built on Christian morals and principles. I want them to know and understand the scriptures, and live their lives knowing the Savior. When I was contacted by the publicist of this book I couldn't refuse. I had to see if there was anything in this book that would help me achieve these goals; anything that would help me to do better. I am so thankful I agreed to review this book. I don't often review spiritual books, but this one is definitely worth reviewing. This book is not written for any specific religion, it is based on principles found in the New Testament and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is written for Christian homes. I love the format of the book. I know that sounds strange, but I enjoyed looking at the different doors that accompany each chapter. They are beautiful. And very symbolic. The book is set up so that families can take one chapter a month and study the lesson. They're not long, but they are packed full of insight and great ideas. There are questions you may ask yourself, and places to write your reflections. There's a recipe with each chapter so that while your family studies they may have a yummy treat, which always helps with kids! The verses the stories are taken from are listed so that you may read the story straight from the Bible. On her website Ms. Freeman also has some beautiful printables that coincide with each chapter so that throughout the month you may hang the printable and remind your family what it is you're working on. 
I loved this quote: "Perhaps our gratitude to God is best expressed through action rather than words. When our actions become the expression of our gratitude, then our time, our sacrifice, and our obedience become gifts rather than duties." (pg. 145) And, "Maybe this month, we could focus on performing our assigned household duties as a gift rather than a chore." (pg. 147) Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't it be great if our children learned to help around the house by giving it as a gift of thankfulness rather than an unpleasant chore to whine and complain about? Hahaha.....we are far from that ideal, but it's definitely something to work towards! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't stop and share with my family because I needed to finish it to review. However, we're going to start this week! One lesson a month I can do, right? I'm excited to see what happens. Maybe I'll report back in a few months to let you know. If my children start saying, "Mom, please give me more chores because I'm so thankful you're my mom" or "Dad, you work so hard to provide us with a nice home! We're so thankful! Please give us more weeding to do so we can show our gratitude" then I'll let you know! :) This book is easy to read and implement. It's well written with stories that are easy to relate to, and with lots of examples. She has given it a lot of thought and has some wonderful ideas. I highly recommend this for any Christian family that would like to improve their faith, gratitude, and unity. 

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  

Monday, July 11, 2016

I Am David



I Am David by Anne Holm

Blurb:

"David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly concentration camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. Sensing his enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crumbs of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?"

My Review:

I cannot even imagine being David in this scenario. Wow. What a brave kid. What a great example of determination, courage, and heart. At first I thought he was in an actual WWII concentration camp, which didn't make sense in the context of the story (Why were the people of Italy so happy and unconcerned?). At my book group I learned that it was a post war camp. I was told it was a Stalin work camp, but I searched all over today and could never find that actual detail. Just know that it is post WWII, and it will make a lot more sense. Although the writing is simplistic, and it would be all-but impossible for his journey to take place, this book portrays so much emotion and teaches many lessons. I loved watching David as he experienced new things. Imagine not knowing what an orange is! Seeing common, everyday objects through his eyes was so fun.On his journey David comes across the worst and best of people, and the contrast is huge. The lesson of being kind and compassionate to others is one that permeates the story. This book is not a religious book, but David prays to "God of the green pastures and still waters." I found that very interesting; even in his darkest times he had faith in a power greater than himself. As I said previously, the writing was simplistic, but it was full of emotion. David's emotion is real and jumps off the page. You could feel his fear, his curiosity, his courage, his hunger, and his pride in his accomplishments.  I love how he always tried to do the right thing, even if he didn't really know what that was sometimes. It wasn't only a physical journey, but also a journey to find himself and to learn about the world outside the camp. I think this is a great upper elementary/YA read. There are many lessons to be learned, and it is always good for kids and YA to get out of their little bubbles and see the world through someone else's eyes. I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it.

This book is clean! There isn't any profanity or "intimacy." There is some minor violence when a character is burned in a fire, and there is some brief fighting. There are also some people in the book that do not treat David kindly.

Rating: PG (No profanity or "intimacy," but some minor violence-a girl is burned in a fire, brief bullying, and people who treat David unkindly.)

Recommendation: 5th or 6th grade and up (A knowledge of post WWII and a map of Europe would be very helpful.)


Friday, July 8, 2016

Dragon Slippers (Book One)


Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Blurb:

"Do you collect, um, windows?" I said. It would be an odd thing indeed, if this cave-dwelling creature hoarded chapel windows. But no more odd, I thought, than the dragon Theoradus hoarding shoes he could never wear. "Yes, I do collect windows," this dragon said testily. "And that one was particularly fine." Then his gaze sharpened on me. I took a step back, feeling the rough stone wall behind me and wondering wildly where the entrance was. "Do you not assume that I hoard gold?" I lifted my chin. "You are not the first dragon I have conversed with," I said in lofty tones, hoping to impress this one with my experience. "I am well aware that dragons napping on piles of gold are the stuff of old grannies' tales. Why, just the other day I was admiring the shoe collection of Theoradus of Carlieff, and he gave me this pair as a gift." I raised my skirts to show off my blue slippers. A gout of flame issued from the gold dragon's snout as it gave a loud roar. I only just managed to leap out the way as my bed of ferns and moss was torched by the blue-white dragonfire. "By the Seven Volcanoes!" the gold dragon swore. "Where did you come by those slippers?"

My Review:

I loved this book! It is unique, fun, and so creative. You know me, I like unique books. I get sick of the same-o, same-o, and this book does not disappoint. Creel is such a great character! She is quirky, feisty, and a strong female character. She is easy to like and relate to. She is aware of her skills, but is also down-to-earth. She has a great voice in the story. Ms. George did a great job writing her. Ms. George also did an excellent job writing this book. I enjoyed her writing style a lot. It is somewhat simplistic, yet I just got sucked right into the story line. I loved the dragons and their individual hoards. What a fun detail! Luka, Marta, and Ulfrid were my other favorite characters. Ms. George definitely wrote Derda, Larkin, and Amalia well because I disliked them from the start. Amalia is a brat (and that is putting it nicely)! I thought each of the characters were developed well and were realistic. I loved all the little embroidery and sewing details and thought they were a good touch. There is a slight friendship/budding romance that is sweet and very innocent, and I thought it was perfect for the age group the book is geared toward. There is action in this book too! Sword fighting, dragons, a war, and maybe a cat-fight or two. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I just learned that it is book one in a trilogy, so I'm super excited to start book two!

Do you know what I really loved? This book is clean!! Yay! I love it when great books are clean! There isn't any profanity and there isn't any "intimacy" except a small and sweet kiss. There is some violence, but it is not overly graphic. There is a war going on, and so there is some fighting and a few characters die. I am handing this book over to my soon-to-be fifth grade daughter, and I think it is perfect for her age group. It is definitely more of a girlie book. My 14 year-old son asked if he'd like it because he likes dragons (think Eragon), and I laughed. Nope, it's definitely more for girls. :)

Rating: PG (There isn't any profanity or "intimacy," except a small kiss. There is some war violence and a few characters die.)

Recommendation: 5th grade and up, definitely more for girls.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Back In The Wagon



To all my amazing followers and readers, I have obviously been absent for awhile. I was in charge of a camp for all the girls in my church ages 12-18. It was a four day camp for 24 girls and 13 adults. So, it was kind of a big deal. For the last couple of months, if it didn't say camp on it, it got ignored. For example, my husband, my kids, my yard, my house, and my blog. Yep, one month of summer break is over, and we haven't done anything; my kids have been completely ignored. However, the camp was last week, and it turned out great. The girls did well, the weather cooperated perfectly, and we had a lot of fun. So, it's back to life now. Yay! My kids and I are going on a hike this morning, and I'm posting a review later today. I'm sorry I haven't posted, but I have been reading, so I have a few reviews coming in the next little while. I'm back in the wagon, and can hopefully get back into the swing of things! Thank you for your patience!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Evolution of Thomas Hall


The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill

Blurb:

"Susan Cassidy's face flushed crimson. "You have unusual talent, Mr. Hall," she said, "but you're wasting your talent on most of what you do. I don't think you've begun to plumb the depths of your real capacity." "Look. I appreciate your confidence in me and in my art, but, uh..." The artist searched for a delicate way to say it without crushing the prospects of seeing this woman again in a different circumstance. He smiled his charming best to soften the blow. "I'm afraid I've got to pass on your project." Her look was a mixture of sadness and anger. "Have you considered the possibility you might be passing up the one project that will define who you are? Who you are destined to be?"

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I loved the descriptions, the writing style, the characters, and the color words. I loved the color words in this book, even though I may have had to actually look up what a few of the colors were, because they were unusual and very descriptive. I liked how Thomas thought in color because he saw the world through his artist eyes. At the beginning of the book I really didn't care for Thomas as a character. He was rude, arrogant, uncaring, and self-absorbed. As his "evolution" occurs, though, he becomes a much more likable character. There are some great characters in this book; they were each well developed and real. Susan was probably my favorite character. I thought she was classy and yet down-to-earth. I also liked Sargeant Ray Evans and thought his aspect of the story brought in a different level of depth. Even though I disliked Hawker, I thought he was well developed and I definitely would not want to work for him! Christina was such a sweetheart, and my heart just hurt for her and her circumstance. The story evolves so naturally and you see how attitudes, beliefs, and values change throughout lifetimes. This is a story of an agnostic man who experiences things in his life that open his eyes to the possibility of God. After he sees things, he can't un-see them, and his life begins to change. I loved being able to see inside Thomas' soul and feel his doubt, indifference, and apathy turn into something else completely. 

There is some profanity in this book, but not a whole lot. In fact, I really liked what the author did. He showed the profanity by having others react to it. So you knew the character swore, but you didn't have to read it. It was a great way to show the character without subjecting the audience to the actual language. There were some innuendos, but no "intimacy" scenes. There were a few yelling matches, but no violence other than that. I liked this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone with the above warnings. 

Rating: PG-13+ (Some profanity, a few innuendos, and some minor violence)

Recommendation: 16-17 and up. I think it's still too much for my 14 year-old, but should be fine for older teen-agers. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Who Do You Love



Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Blurb:  

"Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. Rachel grew up in an affluent Florida suburb; Andy grows up in inner-city Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent for running. Over the next three decades, Andy and Rachel will meet again and again--linked by chance, history, and the memory of the first time they met, a night that changed the course of both their lives. A sweeping story of love across time, Who Do You Love is an extraordinary novel about the way people change and change each other, and one that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page."

My Review:

This is a shereads.org book of spring. I'm a little late in posting. All that end of school year stuff is crazy!! Field day, book swap, awards, recitals......and on and on. So anyway, I'm just now getting to my review. I liked this book; it is perfect chick-flic material! Both of the main characters are developed well. They're so cute in the beginning. Each has had to deal with hard circumstances, but completely different. I loved the scene in the hospital when they met, it was so sweet. As time goes on and they get older, Rachel and Andy's personalities, attitudes, and priorities change. It's an interesting dynamic because they both went through stages where I'd love them one chapter and dislike them the next. Rachel at college drove me crazy. However, Andy during intense training drove me crazy. And then their circumstances would change, along with their attitudes and priorities, and I'd like them again. Both characters seemed authentic and real. I liked Ms. Weiner's writing style, and I couldn't put the book down. Her style grabs your attention and pulls you into the story. It's easy to read, but not simplistic. I did have to flip back to the chapter headings a few times to remind myself what year I was in, but it got easier as I continued reading. The book was a little predictable, and sappy, but isn't that what we love about chick-flics? I liked that the characters each learned life lessons along the way, and that they weren't static, but that they grew along the way. I enjoyed getting caught up in Rachel and Andy's story; it was sweet and fun with some twists and turns along the way. 

There is some profanity in the book, but not a ton. There isn't any violence, but there is a lot of "intimacy." There are scenes that are quite descriptive, innuendos, and discussions about. It was a bit too much for me, honestly. I would have enjoyed it more if it would have been toned down a bit. I did enjoy this story and would recommend it with the above warnings.

Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for YA or younger readers. There isn't any violence, but there is some profanity. There is a lot of "intimacy," and some of it is quite detailed and descriptive.)

Recommendation: Adult



     

Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Fit

Are you looking for something for your kids to work on this summer so their brains keep active? Well look no further!  Summer Fit Workbooks are great!


Summer Fit Workbooks

People ask me all the time what homework I give my kids over the summer. I have used the Summer Fit workbooks for a few years now, and I LOVE them!!! They have a level for each grade in elementary school, which is great. The workload is the perfect amount. Each day there is a page of reading and a page of math. It isn't super hard, but it is hard enough to keep the kids from forgetting everything over the summer. I love the Friday material. Every Friday is a value (compassion, determination.....that kind of thing), and it highlights a person who exemplifies that value. The kids do activities surrounding that value and person. Also, each day has an exercise for the kids to do. It's not hard, but it gets them up and moving. And the great thing about these books is that it eliminates all the mom-work. There's no searching the internet or printing off individual worksheets, it's all right there in the book. It makes mom's job so much easier!!!T hey even have a book for 7th and 8th graders, which is great because I never know what to work on with my boys.  I highly recommend this product!!!



Rating: G (clean!!!)

Recommendation: Pre-K-6th grade


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

All of Us and Everything


All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher

Blurb: 

"The Rockwell women are nothing if not...Well, it's complicated. When the sisters--Esme, Liv, and Ru--were young, their eccentric mother, Augusta, silenced all talk of their absent father with the wild story that he was an international spy, always away on top-secret missions. But the consequences of such an unconventional upbringing are neither small nor subtle: Esme is navigating a failing marriage while trying to keep her precocious fifteen-year-old daughter from live-tweeting every detail. Liv finds herself in between relationships and rehabs, and Ru has run away from enough people and problems to earn her frequent flier miles. So when a hurricane hits the family home on the Jersey Shore, the Rockwells reunite to assess the damage--only to discover that the storm has unearthed a long-buried box. In a candid moment, Augusta reveals a startling secret that will blow the sisters' concept of family to smithereens--and send them on an adventure to reconnect with a lost past...and one another."

My Review:

This book is one of the SheReads.org books of spring!

Talk about a wild ride! This book takes you up and down and all around. You'll be laughing one moment and crying the next. The characters in this story are fascinating, and it was so fun to get caught up in their world. Augusta, who is the mother, is so unique that as a reader you're constantly trying to figure out if she is sane or not. The sisters' lives are each pathetic in their own way, and yet  it's so interesting to see why they become that way. When they try to overcome their upbringing, they forget to live in the now. They forget how to live in the present. It's strange because they think they are living in the present, but really they're just hiding and running away. Each of them is so different, and they each have their own set of problems and circumstances. Their definition of family is very different from what most people think of family. In short, the whole family is a train wreck. However, as the story unfolds it's so fun to see where they go and how everything changes so quickly. The sisters bond together after years apart, in order to see how it will all unfold. There are quite a few twists and turns in the book, and it definitely keeps you turning the pages. It's well written and very clever. I love how unique this story is. The transitions from past to present are fairly easy to follow. There are quite a few characters involved, and it's a bit of a trick at first to remember who is who, and what time frame they fit into. By the end of the story it's not an issue though. 

There is quite a bit of language in this book, and there are several "f" words. Boo. Why? I'll never understand it. It's so distracting. There is some minor violence, and there is some "intimacy." There's at least one scene, and there are innuendos as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I found this little peak into their lives so fascinating. It made me feel like a good mother, daughter, and sister. :)

Rating: R (Profanity, including several "f" words. There is some minor violence, and also "intimacy," including at least one scene and some innuendos.)

Recommendation: Adult (This book is not appropriate for YA or younger readers.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  





Thursday, May 5, 2016

I'm Possible


I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin

Blurb: 

"The sun's rays filtered in from the partially opened shades of the plane. They lit up the world in front of me and warmed my soul, knowing I was almost to my destination. The beautiful golden light replaced the grey and hazy cobwebs from my eyes, revealing the most spectacular scene I had ever seen in my entire life. I looked out the small seven-inch window and witnessed something that I'll never forget! I beheld something in this magnificent world that the majority of people never get to see. I was looking out at Mount Everest, the world's highest peak! I was at the tail end of a three-flight journey with two layovers in between, nearly logging twenty-four hours of flight time. I hadn't gotten any real sleep in the last thirty-six hours. My bloodshot eyes were heavy, my mind was slow and sluggish, and my body was even slower in response. How did I get here? I thought to myself. Am I d-r-e-a-m-i-n-g? As Lao and Confucius once said, "A journey of one-thousand miles begins with one step." My story is about inspiring you to take your own journey one step at a time. It's about dreaming and accomplishing the impossible. It's not only about aiming for the sky and reaching for the stars but enjoying the journey along the way. Begin your personal journey today, press forward to the top, and don't you ever stop. As you move toward your dreams, there will be obstacles and setbacks along the way; don't be afraid. You can get to the top of your world by following the signs and guide posts within these pages. You can do it with others! You can do it with me! We can do it together, one step at a time!"


My Review:

Wow. What a story! The story of Jeff Griffin from his accident to his lengthy recovery, and to his life since, is pure inspiration! He has overcome more obstacles in his lifetime than many people even dream of, and yet he still has a positive attitude. I can't even imagine. Truly, it's remarkable. Reading about Jeff's accident was so scary. I kept picturing his fall. Over and over. I couldn't read the hospital parts where he was describing the different surgeries and procedures; I skipped those because I didn't want to pass out on my couch. Ouch! Even during those difficult days in the hospital he tried to find the positives in the situation, and that would be so hard to do! I like that he not only points out the things he did right, but he also shows that he isn't perfect and that even he threw a little pity-party one day. I like the way the book is set up with mile markers as "chapters," and little bits of advice with goals you can set for yourself. Jeff has a good voice. It's easy to follow and understand, and he pulls you in with his humor and easy-going attitude. If you need a pick-me-up, this book is for you! It helps you put your problems into perspective, and give you a little push to do better and try harder.

The one thing I had a hard time with in this book was the grammar. There are many grammatical errors, and it was a bit distracting. Hopefully those will be fixed in following editions. It is clean, but there are discussions of adult issues like having children when you're paralyzed. It doesn't go into great detail, but be aware that it is there. There isn't any profanity or violence, but the scene of the accident is difficult to read. There is a Christian slant to the book, but it is not preachy and people of all faiths (or not faiths) will enjoy it.





The Following is an Interview With the Author Sent to Me by the Publicist

Author Bio-
Jeff Griffin is a wheelchair athlete who earned his Master’s degree in Education and knows how to win.  He played in the 2004 Athens Olympics, holds a Guinness Book of World Records, and is a four time NWBA All-Star MVP.  He enjoys mentoring youth, distributing wheelchairs, and providing Peer Training Materials through his humanitarian efforts with LDS Charities.  He is passionate about progress.

1.) What inspired you to write I'Mpossible? –  My book is all about accomplishing the impossible and the journey we must take to fulfill our dreams.  When I got to college the professor had all 150 of his students write a paragraph on a certain topic and hand it in.  The next day he called six students names in the classroom and had them go to back of the room.  They were told in semi-private terms that they needed to take a remedial class so they could get caught up.  I was one of those six! I didn’t know it at the time but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I learned the basics of writing. I had a personal experience with a professor that cared about what I had inside my mind and heart.  He was someone who wanted me to learn how to express and share my own ideas and stories.  He taught me that the impossible was possible.  He helped plant a seed of hope in the field of stories.  I now love to lounge around in the world of words!  This class and professor helped liberate me from the chains of doubt and discouragement.   In return I hope to inspire millions to take their own first step towards their own dreams and desires with my personal story from trying to tragedy to triumph.  My joy and happiness comes from helping others break free and see there is more to life than what we see!   

2.) What is the main message of your book?  The main message of I’mPossible is that we are all faced with a mountain of trials and more often than not, we listen to those around us and think that our personal trials are too big or too tough to overcome.  That is just not true.  In the introduction of the book I write, “I understand that more than likely you don't have the same problem as me but I believe we all have a handicap or a Mt. Everest to climb in some area of our lives.  Nobody is perfect, no matter how much you want to believe it!  Your handicap could be a mental disability that pains you beyond comprehension.  It could be something that we have been suffering for days, months, and or even years.  It could be a social handicap that paralyzes us when we're out in public or inside our private walls.  It could be a physical handicap like my own where others can instantly see what our problem is without being able to hide it.  Unlike other disabilities that are more personal which can be kept from others and hidden for a very long time.  Your Mt. Everest could even be a spiritual handicap that we refuse to acknowledge.  Or perhaps it could be something we have been struggling with for a very long time and we are having a very hard time overcoming it.  Whatever your individual handicap is, it can be conquered!  These disabilities can be either debilitating or liberating. They can hold us back or lift us up.  They can remain our weakness or they can become our strengths.  I hope by sharing my story of big dreams, grave disappointments, and euphoric triumphs it can help in some small way to lift you closer to the light that lifts.  With each passing mile marker along the journey we can learn from our experiences or be lost for them.  I have found peace in the pain and joy in the journey.  I hope you can find some too, as you embark on your own journey within the pages of this book.  Remember; there are no excuses when it comes to success!  You'repossible!” 

3.) How can your message help other people?   I understand that my message will not resonate with everyone, but I do know from experience that when I see or read about someone else who overcomes great odds or challenges it gives me hope.  I’m motivated to be better, to do more, and to give more.  It shows me that if someone else can do hard things then I too can overcome hard and impossible things.  Not only that, but that life can be cherished and enjoyed even with hardships and heartache.  My message is a raw exposure to my heart and soul.

4.) What makes your book different than other motivational books? – I tried to make my book a little different by not only telling a heroic story but also giving some obvious and not so obvious clues on how to climb and overcome your own challenge of life.  Whether it is physical, mental, social, or intellectual I believe there is a way to accomplish the impossible.  There are guide posts instead of chapters and there is an invitation for every reader to think about certain areas of his or her life, and other places to take action with those thoughts.  The invitations are not overwhelming and may seem too simple, but if followed, they will change your life.  I tried to make it clear and simple but powerful! 

Rating: PG+ (Graphic accident scene and discussions of having children while paralyzed)

Recommendation: 12 and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.