Thursday, 9 June 2016

Snowboard Showdown by Matt Christopher

Synopsis:
Out-of-control competition leads to disaster. When Freddie Ruiz and his brother, Dondi, compete, it's like two mutts wrestling over the same bone-neither one is willing to give an inch. Unfortunately for Freddie, older, stronger, better-looking Dondi usually comes out on top in every contest. Except in one area: snowboarding. Here, Freddie is clearly king of the halfpipe. So when Dondi finally pushes Freddie too far, Freddie cooks up a snowboard showdown to make Dondi look foolish and himself the star. But will Dondi take the bait, or will he somehow turn the tables on his brother yet again?
Product description; Goodreads

What did I think?
The book is full of conflict and competition sure to entertain young readers, but I did have some concerns with as to whether or not I could recommend it.

There are 2 storylines that drive this book:
1.         Freddie’s competition and rivalry with his brother Dondi.
2.         Freddie trying to impress a girl.

There is a lot of anger and fighting in this book between the brothers, and the conclusion seems to be that this is normal between brothers. I don’t think that’s great advice.
Freddie desired to impress a girl whom his brother Dondi has taken an interest in, and Freddie will do whatever he sees necessary to accomplish this.
You can’t expect great maturity from a young guy in grade 7, but Freddie did not prove to be a great example for the kids reading this book I don’t think.
There are some redeemable aspects to this book such as Freddie’s father being involved in helping Freddie on his journey, the value of good friendship, and showing initiative from kids to work hard for something.
Saying all of this, I struggle with a recommendation. The book might connect with a kid in grade 7, but having a heated rivalry between brothers and desiring a girl because she looks good isn’t something I can recommend.

Author:
Matt Christopher is the writer young readers turn to when they're looking for fast-paced, action-packed sports novels. He is the best-selling author of more than one hundred sports books for young readers.


You can learn more about Matt Christopher at his website.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Synopsis:
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too.
Recommended for ages 10+.
Product description; Christianbook.com

What did I think?
Where the Red Fern Grows was one of the first novels read to me; and was immediately a favorite. Years later, I am still impressed by the story.
Not only am I impressed by the story, but I am more impressed with how faith in God is included in this novel. I never took notice of Billy Colman’s prayers or the prayers of his mama the first time it was read to me.
I believe this book is best if it is read by a parent to their children over a long period of time. I don’t find it’s a typical novel that makes you flip page after page, but you are still interested to see how the story will play out. A chapter a day with your kids could be just great.
There are great lessons in this book for people of all ages. It’s possible some people won’t be interested in the middle of the book where we see Billy’s hunting adventures, but if  a kid’s parent is reading the book; they’ll enjoy it. 
There are lessons that will last for life. What an endearing story it is.

Author:
Wilson Rawls grew up on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. There were no schools where he lived so his mother taught Rawls and his sisters how to read and write. He says that reading the book The Call of the Wild changed his life and gave him the notion that he would like to grow up to write a book like it. He shared his dream with his father, and his father gave him the encouraging advice, "Son, a man can do anything he sets out to do, if he doesn't give up." Rawls never forgot his father's words, and went on to create two novels about his boyhood that have become modern classics.


You can buy Where the Red Fern Grows at Christianbook.com

Friday, 27 May 2016

Rebel Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

Synopsis:
At 17, star defenseman Craig McElhaney likes his chances of making it as a pro hockey player. Yet, a string of recent "accidents" threatens to knock his team out of the playoffs and ruin his promising career. Craig has begun to question how many "accidents" can happen before they become more than a coincidence. But it's not a good time for questions. Not in the spotlight of high-pressure hockey. Not when the team needs him most. And not when he has some important lessons to learn about life. For Craig, however, there is no choice. Unless the questions are answered, the team's season and his promising career will surely end.
Product description; Orca Books.

What did I think?
I remember reading Rebel Glory when I was in elementary school and doing my first ever book report on it. It was a great book that contributed to my love for reading. 
As a kid I focused on the hockey aspect of the book a lot, but realize now that the mystery in the book was very captivating.
I highly recommend this book to your hockey loving kids.

About the author:
Sigmund is married to songwriter recording artist Cindy Morgan. The couple and their two young daughters divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee. As a novelist, Sigmund loves going to schools to get kids excited about reading, reaching roughly 80,000 students a year through his Rock&Roll Literacy Show.

If you want to learn more about Sigmund, check out his website.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Chief Honor by Sigmund Brouwer

Synopsis:
Lauren Cross is the first female player on a WHL team—goaltender Joseph Larken's team, the Spokane Chiefs. For Joseph, the prospect of a season in the publicity shadow of a new female goalie promises to be a nightmare. Hiding behind a carefully built wall of anger, Joseph is relieved when a scandal knocks Lauren off the team until he begins to believe she was framed. 
Product description; Orca Books.

What did I think?
Chief Honor might’ve been my favorite book growing up. Any young hockey player would love this book (along with the rest of the Lightning on Ice series).
You will be entertained by some hockey action, and quite the mystery that must be solved. Brouwer does a great job integrating back story into this book, and also has some great, non-preachy points on faith.
I highly recommend this book to your hockey loving kids. I’m an adult and I still enjoy reading this book. It’s truly a great read.

About the author:
Sigmund is married to songwriter recording artist Cindy Morgan. The couple and their two young daughters divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee. As a novelist, Sigmund loves going to schools to get kids excited about reading, reaching roughly 80,000 students a year through his Rock&Roll Literacy Show.

If you want to learn more about Sigmund, check out his website.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl by Jase Robertson

Synopsis:
The straight-faced funnyman of Duck Dynasty has his own story to tell---from his first "fake date" with Missy to frog hunting! Tying lessons of faith to his personal experiences, Robertson opens up about his life, pointing out what worked and what didn't---so that you can find the courage and strength to overcome the challenges in your life. 256 pages, hardcover from Howard.
                   
CBD product description

What did I think?
Good Call is a great read. You get to learn a lot about Jase Robertson’s life, and will also be encouraged as you see examples of him living out his faith.
The book ranges Jase's entire life in an honest and true way. You see the trials that Jase and the Robertson family have gone through to get where they are. You get lots of funny stories and learn a lot about Jase, but most of all you see a man trying to live for Christ and bring Him glory in the way God has gifted him.
The book is an entertaining and meaningful read, and I plan to read it many more times. I was encouraged by seeing how Jase has lived out his faith to this point in his life, and I’m sure you would be as well.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Authors
Jase Robertson is the second oldest Robertson son and one of the favorite stars of A&E®’s Duck Dynasty®. Jase has been involved in the family business making duck calls since he was a boy. He graduated from Bible college after high school and worked part-time in ministry for two years before becoming Duck Commander’s first paid employee in the mid ‘90s. Now, family, hunting, and helping the family business succeed consume most of Jase’s time. Jase runs the manufacturing part of Duck Commander, making sure that every call is hand-tuned to be the best possible call. He and his wife, Missy, live in West Monroe, Louisiana, with their children and the rest of the Robertson clan.
You can follow Jase on twitter

Mark Schlabach is the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling books, Happy, Happy, Happy, Si-cology 1, and The Duck Commander Family. He is one of the most respected and popular college football columnists in the country. He and his wife live in Madison, Georgia, with their three children.
You can follow Mark on twitter

You can buy Good Call on CBD

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

Setup:
“In  the pages of this fascinating memoir, Tony Dungy reveals the secrets to his success­-principles, practices, and priorities that have kept him on track despite overwhelming obstacles, including firings, stereotyping, and the tragic loss of a child. His thoughts on leading, succeeding, and attaining true significance will inspire you to take a long hard look at the things that really matter in your own life.” Quiet Strength, Back cover

What did I think?
Quiet Strength is a great read. I’ve read this book many times over the past few years, and each time it is more enlightening.
It is great to be able to look at the story of Tony’s life, and learn from it. You will get a chance to learn a lot of lessons about integrity, respect, and hard work. 
The book is very interesting for sport fans, as they get to learn a bit about Tony’s coaching philosophy, but I enjoyed seeing Tony live out his faith in these moments of trials the most.
            This book was an encouragement to me to be a better man and work harder for the glory of Christ. I’d highly recommend it. 


Tony Dungy was a long tenured NFL coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis colts; winning the Super Bowl in 2007.

To learn more about Tony Dungy, check out his website.

Nathan Whitaker is a Harvard Law Graduate whose firm represents NFL and college coaches and administrators.

To learn more about Nathan Whitaker, check out his website.

Feel free to buy Quiet Strength on Amazon.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Rook by Steven James

Setup:
“While investigating a series of baffling fires in Dan Diego, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue where nothing is as it appears to be. With a character on the loose and one of the world’s most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught in a race against time to stop a criminal mastermind’s trap before it closes around the people he loves.”        The Rook, Steven James, back cover

What did I think?
The Rook, was a good follow up to author Steven James’ first book in this series, The Pawn.
It’s amazing how James keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire novel. I couldn’t put it down, and kept flipping pages into the late hours of the night.
It’s such an interesting mystery, but we see the personal struggles of Special Agent Patrick Bowers, and other characters throughout the novel.
A lot of truth is spoken in this book, to go along with a lot of big questions being asked by the characters. It might make you think about some questions in your own life.
The Rook, was engaging, intriguing, and exciting. James put a lot of work into this novel, and if you’re a fan of suspense, thriller, or mystery novels; this one is for you.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10

 Steven James is a critically acclaimed author and award-winning storyteller. He has written many collections of short fiction, scripts, and inspirational books that explore the paradox of good and evil. 

To find out more about James, please visit http://www.stevenjames.net/



Monday, 9 May 2016

The Pawn by Steven James

Setup:
“Called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, Bowers finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again. It will take all of Bower’s instincts and training to stop the man who calls himself the Illusionist.” The Pawn, Steven James, Back cover.

Violence, sex, drugs, other:
  • The book deals with mature themes and wouldn’t target people before their teens.
  • One character cuts their wrists.
  • No foul language.
  • Romance interest, but no sexuality.
  • Gruesome crimes discussed.


What did I think?
The Pawn, was a great read and wild ride. Author Steven James does a great job keeping the reader guessing at each step of the way. Whenever you think you have something figured out, another layer to the character and story is revealed.
Special Agent Patrick Bowers of the FBI is up for a big challenge in this novel.
James is very persistent in his writing, and creates a realistic and intriguing plot that’ll keep you flipping pages.
I enjoyed this novel, and was interested to see where James might take the series.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Steven James is a critically acclaimed author and award-winning storyteller. He has written many collections of short fiction, scripts, and inspirational books that explore the paradox of good and evil. 

To find out more about James, please visit http://www.stevenjames.net/




Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Linspired:The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Lin, by Mike Yorkey

Synopsis:
“Linspired” shows us Jeremy Lin’s journey to becoming the first Asian-American player to play in the NBA. Right from his parents immigration to America, to the phenomenon of “Linsanity” that took place during the 2011-12 NBA season.
The book includes conversations with tennis’ Michael Chang, Lin’s pastor, Stephen Chen; and Pat Williams, senior vice-president of the Orlando Magic. There are also multiple interviews with Jeremy himself.

Notable Excerpts:
  • He [Lin] would listen to his coaches, work on his weaknesses, and play hard. (p. 72)
  • Lin: “It’s definitely out there if you want it [temptations], but I choose to take it out of play. Once you take a stand for something at the beginning, everybody respects that, and they don’t bother you about it.” (p.77)
  • “I picked up some good ideas [from conversation with Michael Chang], like having a consistent devotional time and a prayer team behind you. So I formed a small team that I sent e-mails to every once in a while with prayer requests and praise reports.” (p. 130)
  • Lin:  “They [Jeremy’s parents] make sure I have the right attitude, that I don’t yell at my teammates or the refs and that I’m always under control. They make sure I have a godly attitude and when I don’t, they call me out on it and make me accountable.” (p. 151)
  • Lin: “I want to be able to be able to sit back when I’m done with my career and say that I gave everything I could and that I did it for God’s glory.” (p. 153)

Violence, sex, drugs, other:
  • It’s referenced how some women are looking to be impregnated by NBA players.
  • The tempting life of the NBA is discussed. 

What did I think?
“Linspired” is worth the read if you’re a sports fan or a fan of the underdog. You get a good look at all of the hard work Jeremy put in to be able to make it to the NBA. In the same breath, you see that Jeremy’s priorities are not being a great basketball player, but his relationship with God.
Not only was Jeremy’s story very interesting, the interview with former tennis star Michael Chang was full of great advice for Jeremy, and all Christians for that matter.
I’d recommend “Linspired” in a heartbeat. It won’t take you long to read, but it’ll leave you motivated to go and work harder where God has called you.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

“Linspired” is authored by Mike Yorkey. Yorkey, author and coauthor of over 75 books, has written on sports all his life.
To learn more about Mike, check out his website: www.mikeyorkey.com