Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Different Day, A Different Destiny (book review)

A Different Day, A Different Destiny, by Annette Laing, is the second installment in the story of three children and a time-traveling professor. Nothing has ever been the same for Alex and Hannah Dias, or their friend Brandon, since they moved to the small town of Snipesville, Georgia. At first glance Snipesville is an ordinary place, but ever since their chance encounter with Kate Harrower, professor of history at Snipesville Colledge, the kids' lives have been anything but ordinary. Kate Harrower, or the Professor, has conquered the ability of time-travel, and she's dragged them along with her! They thought World War II England was difficult enough, but this time they've been dropped off in three different locations in 1851--a Southern cotton field, an English coal mine, and a Scottish factory. And they'll have to use everything they've got if they ever want to see their families again.

This was a very good book; I enjoyed it even better than the first. It was very informative while also fun and exciting to read, and I can't wait for the next in the series. However, I would recommend reading the first book, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When, before this one, as it bases heavily on the first volume.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Affluenza (book review)

Affluenza, by John De Graff, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor, is the story of Americans nationwide, who are suffering from a wide variety of "conditions" such as credit card debt, stress, and obsession with shopping. The authors of this book have compiled all of these and much more into a single "disease" called affluenza. Affluenza is, essentially, the craving for more material possessions. The authors of this book show that when given a choice, America chose money over time--higher wages over a shorter workweek, and how that has turned into a giant tangle of greed, materialism, and consumerism. Affluenza is affecting nearly all aspects of life, disrupting communities, alienating family members, and turning citizens, even neighbors, against one another.

This was a great book that can really open your eyes to the truth--that people spend MUCH more time spending money than they do socializing with other people, their friends and family. It is a very moving and convincing book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Child of the Wolves (book review)

Child of the Wolves, by Elizabeth Hall, tells the story of the young husky pup, Granite. Rebellious from the start, Granite flees his home after a mysterious man attempts to "kidnap" him (he is in fact being sold to a dog-sledder, but he doesn't know this). Lost and alone in the forest, Granite nearly starves to death until he wanders into the territory of a wolf pack. The pack welcomes him, to some degree, but Granite can tell that if not for the female leader's kindness for him, they would shun him. He struggles to please the pack, but despite his eagerness to learn the ways of the wolf, the other wolves either bully or ignore him. It will take a disaster and the near-death of all the wolves for them to realize exactly how valuable Granite is to their pack.

This book was okay. The end was heartwarming, and overall the story was cute, but the plot was a little simplistic. It seemed that whenever Granite got into a bit of trouble, something magically occurred to get him out of it. For example, in one instance, an angry grizzly bear mother was about to maul him, when she suddenly veered off to chase something else. There is no explanation of this. Sure, it's a children's book, but it's marketed to older children, ages 10 and up. Surely they can handle a bit of suspense! I would, overall, recommend this for young animal lovers ages 7-10. I think they would really enjoy it. And I did like the fact that it was very scientifically accurate, providing young readers with information on the feeding habits, behavior, and lifestyle of wolves.

This book is for the What's in a Name Two Challenge.