BrodartVibe

Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Make “Green” Your Favorite Color: Earth Day 2014

We celebrate Earth day on April 22, 2014 but every day should be Earth Day!  Preserving our environment should always be a priority. Browse this list of titles covering everything you need to know about sustainability, alternative energy, conservation, climate change, recycling, and going green.  We all need to do our part to save our wildlife, resources, and our planet. View the entire list here.

Plastic Purge by Michael SanClementsPlastic Purge

Ecologist Michael SanClements provides helpful and easy-to-follow advice on how to use less plastic every day.  Plastic is all around us and the author details the affects that it has on our bodies and health. He helps you to recognize the harmful, as well as the helpful, plastic products in your life. Learn more and order here.

Chasing Cheetahs by Sy MontgomeryChasing Cheetahs

As part of the Scientist in the Field series, this title takes readers on a journey to the Namibian Savanna where Laurie Marker founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund. You join an expedition to find and rescue cheetahs and learn of their vital role in the ecosystem.  Learn more and order here.

Blessing the Hands That Feed Us by Vicki RobinBlessing the Hands That Feed Us

Author Vicki Robin explains her challenge to eat only local foods from within 10 miles of her home. Her dedication to 100% sustainable eating taught her about food, community, and our place on Earth.  Includes recipes.  Learn more and order here.

Brilliant! by Michelle Mulder Brilliant

Check out this positive introduction to the world of alternate energy!  Our current uses of fossil fuels, and their disadvantages, are discussed and kids are encouraged to look around them and find new, sustainable ways to provide power to the world.  Cool, innovative examples of alternate sources of energy are provided like cars that run on French fry grease.  Learn more and order here.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

To Rise Again at a Decent HourPaul O’Rourke is a dentist, a Red Sox fan, and confused, in that order. His identity’s been stolen – but not by your average hacker.  He’s been duplicated online as a mystic and part of an obscure sect.

Paul is a nice boy with a very well-regulated routine, a lovely ex-girlfriend who works for him, and a successful practice. He isn’t looking for more complication in his life. He barely tolerates technology – but then one day discovers that a website has been created for his practice. The website begins to change daily, posting religious quotations from obscure texts. Paul researches, complains, threatens lawsuits, but to no avail. Someone somewhere is pretending to be him and saying some very curious things…then that person begins to tweet. Paul starts receiving e-mails from unlikely places, and then things begin to get wilder.

Paul embarks on a journey questioning everything he thought he knew, the relationships he has with those around him, and ultimately, himself and his place in the world. Along the way, he meets some true characters – the billionaire who can’t stop looking for God, a curio dealer who knows everything, a hygienist who is a moral compass, and several people who really ought to floss more.

Although religion and identity theft don’t sound like they make for light reading, under Ferris’ deft touch, the absurdity in the situations he creates does ultimately lead to laughter.  I found this book amusing, a great read for traveling. The characters are cheerfully drawn, the action is mainly conversation-driven, and there are no off-puttingly preachy moments.

- Stacey

Order in Bibz.

The Keillor Reader by Garrison Keillor

The Keillor ReaderGarrison Keillor, the pulse of Midwest America, has long entertained us with his wry, folksy brand of storytelling.  Best known as the creator of A Prairie Home Companion, his range of talents is far-reaching. The Keillor Reader is a wonderful amalgamation of the author’s best and most well-loved pieces running the full gamut with stories, essays, poems, and general observations about everyday life—a true encapsulation of what makes this author a national treasure.

There is a wide assortment of his most famous works with a good majority of highlights from his radio show – pieces that have stood the test of time and are loved by audiences nationwide. I enjoyed many laugh-out-loud moments, especially My Life in Prison (aka Tomato Butt) and Pontoon Boat but my favorite passages are the ones where Keillor offers commentary on the simple joys of life, the love he has for his ancestors, and coming clean with his list of Useful Things I Can’t Do.

These samplings whet my appetite to go forth and cull more gems from Keillor’s prolific back catalogue. I know I definitely want to spend some more time in Lake Wobegon with its quirky yet endearing cast of characters.

If you’ve never taken the opportunity before to enjoy Keillor, either via print or radio, now is a perfect opportunity to experience one of America’s finest writers and social commentators.

- Susan

Order in Bibz.

Flight School by Lita Judge

Flight SchoolI’m not sure what it is about me and being drawn to children’s books featuring animals that aren’t “normal”.  In my last review, I read about a crocodile who didn’t like to swim.  In Flight School, it features a penguin who longs to fly.  Maybe I just want the poor little things to succeed and never give up on their dreams, just like our children.

Penguin finds a flight school that teaches birds how to fly.  When told that he’s a penguin, he acknowledges it but says he has the soul of an eagle.  The teachers let him stay and flight class begins.  After several weeks of practicing, all the birdies were cleared for their first flight.  One by one the birds took to the sky.  Try as he might, penguin just can’t fly.

He leaves, head hung low.  As Penguin leaves, one of his teacher’s has an idea and hollers for him to wait.  They wrap Penguin in wire and feathers.  As he begins to flap his wings, he begins going up, up, up.  With a little help from his teacher, he was able to soar above the clouds like he always knew he could.

The end of the book especially made me chuckle.  I sincerely hope that there will be a follow up as I’m sure it will be just as enjoyable as this one.  Fans of Judge’s other works Red Sled and Red Hat, will surely love this book.

- Amanda

Order in Bibz.

Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro

Cutting TeethLate in the summer, a group of “mommies’’ and a couple of the dads decide to take a trip to the beach together with their children. Each of them has issues, either in their personal lives or in their marriages, but they all put on a front.

Nicole suffers from severe anxiety. Her husband is not happy about her phobias (which are many!) and is constantly asking her if she needs to go back to the doctor or if she is taking her meds. She lies to him; she quit her medicine weeks ago, but struggles to keep it together for the sake of her son.

Susanna and Allie are the only two-mommy couple along on the trip. They have twin boys, are about to have a daughter, and should be extremely happy with their lives, but there are major issues brewing between them that are not being addressed.

Rip is the stay at home dad in the group. All the women love him and treat him just like another mommy. Rip is desperate to have another baby, but cannot get his cold as ice wife to agree.

Tiffany is the sanctimommy of the group, but is also the wildest and most outrageous of them all. After a few too many drinks, nobody knows what is going to come out of Tiffany’s mouth.

Leigh is the calm one of the group and Tiffany’s best friend. But, when they start fighting over Leigh’s nanny, things take a turn for the worst and the weekend is anything but pleasant.

The dynamics between the group will explode over their vacation weekend. Will they be able to push past the things that are said and done and stay friends or will their friendships end forever?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the characters. It’s a step away from the suspense thrillers I usually read, but I would recommend it to anyone.

- Tina

Order in Bibz.

A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell

A Season of ChangeAs the seasons change in life, the older you get, the more you realize things change. 

The Millers, Jacob, Zeke and Rebecca, are a young Amish family.  Reeling from the loss of his wife, Hannah, and child that died in child birth, Jacob takes the children to Pinecraft, Florida to visit Jacob’s grandparents.   While there, Rebecca is struck by a car.

While in the hospital recovering, Rebecca and her family meet Natalie Bennett, a former circus performer who is volunteering at the hospital as a clown to bring joy to the children.  Natalie has her own family drama.  Her father is remarried, living in California and is too busy for his oldest daughter.  Her mother, whom she just found out was raised Amish, recently passed away from cancer.

As Natalie finds herself with questions about her mother’s background, she also finds that this family has a hold on her heart.  As the young Miller family now takes up residence in Pinecraft as Rebecca heals, will their hearts heal as well?

While this is the first book in the Seasons in Pinecraft series and the first book I’ve read from Sowell, with the well-crafted, emotion filled story, this will certainly not be the last.  With Amish and Mennonite fiction being more popular than ever, I would add this new series to my shelf today.  Amish fiction fans will love this new story as much as I do.

- Becky

Order in Bibz.

The Dominion Key by Lee Bacon

The Dominion KeyJoshua Dread is no longer the nameless heroes, so on the last day of summer vacation, Josh is with his friends, Milton, Sophie and Miranda at the mall looking at the back to school sales. When they are attacked in the food court, by Grifter and Lunk, two of nFinity’s newest goons, it becomes clear they are no longer safe.

It’s not long after this attack that it is decided that the kids will be sent to a special school, the same school that their parents went to. The Alabaster Academy is the country’s oldest and best boarding school for Gyfted youth.

After a lengthy trip to get the Academy, which includes a ferry ride, they arrive to a rain drenched island in the Atlantic. The Academy, even with top-notch security and all the gifted kids, is eventually attacked.

One of the professors, along with a mechanical duck, helps them to escape.  Hoping to hang out and relax a bit, at the professor’s cabin, they are confronted by nFinity and his gang of bad guys.   A mysterious key, that will enable complete world domination for whoever possesses it, is their only hope for survival.

The Dominion Key is a very interesting book. Anyone looking for a bit of adventure will enjoy this. I look forward to what trouble will find Josh and his friends again and to find out if they will be safe.

- Ellen

Order in Bibz.

I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora & Libby Martinez and Illustrated by Patrice Barton

I pledge allegianceThe Pledge of Allegiance is something we all learn at an early age and continue to recite.  I read this book with my four year old and was amazed at how well she knew the Pledge of Allegiance. She told me that she says the Pledge of Allegiance every day in Preschool and that her teacher taught the class to recite it.

Based on the real life of Ygnacia Delgado, I Pledge Allegiance is told by Libby. She is very excited that her Great Aunt Lobo, as her family calls her, will be taking her citizenship test to become an American. The greatest part is she is eighty years old.

Libby has been telling her teacher Mrs. Adams and her class about her great aunt and everything she has been learning to pass her citizenship test. They have been practicing the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Mrs. Adams teaches the class the history behind the Pledge of Allegiance and how it is a promise to be a good citizen and the meaning behind the words that we recite.  As this will be a very important at the special ceremony that Lobo will be participating in as part of becoming a United States citizen.

This book is one that is a must have in every Library, Elementary school, and Preschool. As you read the story, you have this wonderful feeling of what it is to truly be a United States citizen and what the Pledge of Allegiance means to all of us.

- Jodi

Order in Bibz.

A Season to Remember by Carson Tinker

A Season to RememberI’ve recently entered the college football world.  I have some dear friends that love LSU, Oklahoma State, and Penn State, so when I saw A Season to Remember, I was intrigued.  How did Alabama win after such devastating loss just a few months earlier?

All of us have losses in life and Carson Tinker experienced tremendous loss on April 27, 2011 when a horrible tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa.  He lost his girlfriend, his home, everything but the clothes on his back and his pickup truck.  He would have to battle back to being a snapper on his team.

Carson shares the stories of others around him and how win by win, on and off the football field and filled with a positive attitude and plenty of heart, not only the Crimson Tide but all of Tuscaloosa, came back.

Since Carson’s faith is a huge part of this book, I would definitely classify this as Christian Nonfiction.  However, Carson’s love of football and the strength exhibited by him and his teammates will appeal to anyone who loves a story of perseverance.

- Becky

Order in Bibz.

The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan

The Lovely and the LostWhat an amazing story. I wish I had read the first book in the series not because you need to read it to understand the book, but because this is just a good read.

This family is so full of surprises. There’s the twins, Grayson and Ingrid, who have been given angel and demon blood soon after birth.  Their younger sister Gabby who wants to train to become a warrior to protect those she loves and the streets of Paris. Then there is their mother who has come to accept what has become of their children and their father who joins the family in Paris but refuses to accept the unusual things his family is going through.

The most incredible thing of all is the gargoyles that protect them all. Unfortunately, darkness follows the Waverlys. Darkness though, can come in a form that is trusted the most.

I believe I will have to get a copy of the first book just to find out how Grayson, Ingrid, and Gabby came to discover what they were and what they can do.

- Ellen

Order in Bibz.

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