Thursday, December 21, 2017

Catholic Review: To Light a Fire on the Earth


To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age by Bishop Robert Barron with John L. Allen, October 31, 2017. 260 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
The highly anticipated follow-up to Bishop Robert Barron's hugely successful Catholicism: A Journey to the Faith

Robert Barron is the #1 Catholic author in America. He has a dedicated fan base and his Word on Fire ministries is the most powerful Catholic ministry in the United States. Barron has 815K Facebook followers. His organization Word on Fire has 240K members on Facebook, bringing the total to over 1 million social media fans.

This book, a conversation between Barron and Vatican journalist John L. Allen, Jr., will cover topics such as Jesus in the 21st century, prayer, spiritual life, the fate of Catholicism in modern times, and many other issues. For those looking to understand the Church in the contemporary world, as well as for those seeking guidance on how to intelligently embrace their faith, The Word on Fire will resonate with Catholics from all walks of life.



I really wanted to like To Light a Fire on the Earth, but the formatting and overall-ness of the book just made it an okay not great read.


  • Honestly, I was not expecting it to be a biography about Bishop Barron based on talks he had with the journalist John L. Allen. Yes, he spoke, occasionally, about evangelizing to the secular world and how to bring the Gospel to those who are not of the faith (or who have fallen away), but it just felt flat. Even though a broad range of topics is discussed throughout the book, it felt as if they barely scraped the surface of the topics discussed. 


  • When I selected this book for review, I was hoping for a book that would be spiritually fruitful. But that was far from one I got. Considering some of the books I have delved into this year concerning the Catholic faith, this one was a feather-weight lacking the substance that I was hoping to find enclosed in the pages. While it is not a terrible book, it would be more suited for those who are new to the Catholic faith or those who want to learn small pieces of the faith.
  • I probably would have enjoyed it more had it been formatted differently. The way it's written, with dialogue from John L. Allen speaking about Barron interspersed with snippets from Bishop Barron, was just so awkward to me. It made the narraitive feel like it bounced around from topic to topic without really going too deep into anything. Like I said, it seems to be more geared towards bringing in the reluctant then anyone else. The content that is covered is good reading though. 

Final Verdict: To Light a Fire on the Earth-  I was hoping for, well, not a biography. Good content, just not enough depth for me to really enjoy it. 

To Light a Fire on the Earth earns



A copy of this book was received through Blogging for Books for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I Want to Read It (84): Devils and Thieves



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Devils and Thieves (Devils and Thieves, 1) by Jennifer Rush, October 3, 2017. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Power corrupts. Magic kills.
Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael is surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn't help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe—the dangerous and enigmatic leader of Hawthorne’s kindled motorcycle gang, the Devils’ League.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor spreads that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.
Why

I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on Devils and Thieves but I'm still sort of curious about it. I have not read anything by Jennifer Rush before and the synopsis is intriguing. While this one is not at the top of my "Want to Read" list, I would probably give it a chance should I run across it at the library (who knows, I could be pleasantly surprised).

What say you- Should I stay away from it or give it a chance?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Monster


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participof Sate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Monster


Monster by Walter Dean Myers, adapted by Guy A. Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile, October 20, 2015. Published by Amistad. 160 pages. Source: Borrowed from Library.
A stunning black-and-white graphic novel adaptation of Walter Dean Myers's Michael L. Printz Award winner and New York Times bestseller Monster, adapted by Guy Sims and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions the ordeal as a movie. Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist.

Now Monster has been adapted into a graphic novel by Guy Sims, with stunning black-and-white art from Dawud Anyabwile, Guy's brother.

Fans of Monster and of the work of Walter Dean Myers—and even kids who think they don't like to read—will devour this graphic adaptation.
First Sentence
Most people in our community are decent, hardworking citizens who pursue their own interests legally and without infringing on the rights of others...But there are also monsters in our communities...people who are willing to steal and to kill...People who disregard the rights of others.



I totally meant to write my thoughts on this one back in October, before NaNoWriMo but was not able to finish it in time. So, here I am two months later trying to get my thoughts on this one out (oops).


  • While Monster is not the first Walter Dean Myers book I have read, it is the first I have spoken about here on the blog. Even though I have not read a lot of his books, nor remember what I have read (it was before I joined GR, you know), I do remember that his storytelling was always quite good. Typically, I would read the novel before the graphic novel adaptation, yet with this one, I felt that it would read better as a graphic novel, so when I spotted it at my library I went ahead and snagged it. Given the way the story is told, as Steve Harmon envisions his ordeal as a movie, it makes perfect sense for the story to be more visual. 

  • If you haven't read Monster, then I highly recommend that you do (especially the graphic novel) because it is both well written and an interesting topic. I say it is an interesting topic for two reasons- first because Steve Harmon's story is that of one who has been falsely framed for something he didn't do; secondly, because what happens to him during the course of the book are things that will most likely stay with him forever. I know, my explanation is clumsy, but I felt the author did a great job capturing the emotional range that Steve felt during the course of the book. 


  • I don't think that this book would have had quite the same impact had I read the novel version. Seeing the story visually made it all the more powerful as you could see, on the page, all that Steve was feeling and how he was mentally retelling all that was happening framing it as a movie. As for the illustrations, I liked that the panels were kept pretty simple as it gave the scenes a more vivid effect. It draws your eye to the primary focus of the story without letting you get lost in too much detail. 


Final Verdict: Monster: the Graphic Novel- Steve Harmon's story is definitely worth checking out.  The overall story and illustrations make a great combination.

Monster: The Graphic Novel earns


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Spinning Pages (38): Polly and Her Duck Costume

Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes into the life of Polly a blind goat, and her story of adoption and how wearing her duck costume helped her to gain confidence in her new surroundings. 

Keep reading to see what song will be paired with Polly and Her Duck Costume by Leanne Lauricella and illustrated by Jill Howarth. 

Tilt My Head by Girl's Day-
My heart is beating fast
what should I do, will you hug me.
I must be crazy, I am I being like this
Anyways today is Girl’s Day party





I'll keep this short, I promise! I chose Girl's Day's Tilt My Head, and the above lyrics, because it made me think of Polly and how insecure she was when she was first taken to her new home. To me, it really captures that unsure feeling that made her clingy; yet it also has the feel of knowing that this time is different, you know.

I just really like this song and book together. 

You can see my thoughts on Polly and Her Duck Costume by Leanne Lauricella (with illustrations by Jill Howarth) by checking out my review.

Not familiar with this old Girl's Day song, then you're in luck as you can watch the full music video below!! Tell me your thoughts on Tilt My Head!!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Catholic Review: God is Not Nice


God is Not Nice by Ulrich L. Lehner, October 20, 2017. 160 pages. Published by Ave Maria Press. Source: Publisher.
Ulrich L. Lehner reintroduces Christians to the true God—not the polite, easygoing, divine therapist who doesn’t ask much of us, but the Almighty God who is unpredictable, awe-inspiring, and demands our entire lives.  Stripping away the niceties with a sling blade, Lehner shows that God is more strange and beautiful than we imagine, and wants to know and transform us in the most intimate way.

With his iconoclastic new book God Is Not Nice, Lehner, one of the most promising young Catholic theologians in America, challenges the God of popular culture and many of our churches and reintroduces the God of the Bible and traditional Christianity. As Lehner writes in the book’s introduction, "We all need the vaccine of the true transforming and mysterious character of God: The God who shows up in burning bushes, speaks through donkeys, drives demons into pigs, throws Saul from his horse, and appears to St. Francis. It’s only this God who has the power to challenge us, change us, and make our lives dangerous. He sweeps us into a great adventure that will make us into different people."

This book is not safe. It may startle and annoy many people—including those who purport to teach and preach the Gospel, but are missing it, according to Lehner. God Is Not Nice intends to overthrow all of our popular misconceptions about God, inviting us to ask deeper questions about the nature of our lives and our relationship with him.

When you're finished with God Is Not Nice, you may find the idols you constructed in God’s name smashed, replaced with a God who will ask you to live an entirely different life full of hope and transformation. 



I have read a lot of incredible books about the Catholic faith this year, but this was definitely one of the best. I will try to break down why this is such a great book, so let's do this! I warn you now, my "review" in no way does this book justice!!

  • I have been attempting to write out why this is such a great book since November...yeah. I picked this one to read for two reasons-the title caught my attention and because Scott Hahn wrote the foreword. Going in, I had never heard of Ulrich Lehner but the premise of the book was something that really grabbed my attention; I wanted to see how he would shake things up and break out of the 'squishy' mold the world has created. 
  • Personally, I loved so many things about this book. The foremost being that he did not dance around the subject; it was nice to see someone come out and brazenly say the truth- the synopsis will give you a better idea of what I mean. There is so much truth wrapped in this short book that I don't even know where to begin discussing it (neither does it help that my sister ran off with my copy). 
  • One of the things that really made me excited whilst reading God is Not Nice was how the Ulrich Lehner dealt with relativism and the dangers that it has imposed on society. While there were many sections in the book that really resounded with me; though it was the ones that dealt with Truth Claims that really spoke to me. I rather like the snippet below as it does a great job of illustrating some of what I, myself, feel. The entire section does a great job of discussing truth and how there is only ONE truth (not mine or yours, just the truth). He does not write from a sentimental nor defiant angle, he is just logically laying out the truth. 
God is Not Nice page 15
Believing in absolute truth does not mean fundamentalism or intolerance or forfeiting the search for truth-quite the opposite: if I am convinced of a truth, I will not enclose it in a shrine but seek to understand it better, especially if this truth is a person, Jesus, as Christians believe. 

  • Another aspect of this book that I found refreshing- How he dismantles the whole "Whatever you feel is right" nonsense. When you see how he juxtaposes the argument of how doing things simply from the viewpoint of "it felt right" with what Hitler did, you begin to see things in a whole new light. One that may just have you reaccessing some of your personal viewpoints. Truthfully, so much of what he covered in this book put words and substance to a lot of things that have been running through my head the more I delve into the Catholic faith (one that I fully claim as my own). 
Final Verdict: God is Not Nice- I just really enjoyed this book and that he boldly spoke about so many things that are wrong with the way the world views God these days. It was theologically and logically a fascinating, well-written book. 


God is Not Nice earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I Want to Read It (83): Pashmina



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, October 3, 2017. Published by First Second. 

Pashmina tells the story of an Indian-American girl who struggles to fit in at high school, then discovers more about her family's history with the help of her mother's magical pashmina.

Why


Short version: The cover is visually appealing and I like graphic novels, so, with Pashmina having a fascinating sounding plotline, I am, of course, interested in reading it. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Polly and Her Duck Costume


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participof Sate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Children's Book Review: Polly and Her Duck Costume


Polly and Her Duck Costume: The True Story of a Little Blind Rescue Goat (GOA Kids- The Goats of  Anarchy) by Leanne Lauricella and illustrated by Jill Howarth, September 12, 2017. 32 pages. Published by Walter Foster Jr. Source: Publisher for review.
Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. 
First Sentence 
Polly was different from the start.


It feels a little odd to be talking about a picture book here on the blog, yet when the request for featuring it here on the blog was pitched I knew I'd say yes because it looked adorable.
  • Polly and Her Duck Costume was an adorable and sweet story that chronicles Polly's story from her adoption to settling in with her new family! 
  • Well, I never thought I'd be writing my thoughts out on a book about a goat, let alone a blind one, but you just never know with blogging what will catch your attention on review offers. There were actually quite a few things to enjoy about this picture book, the biggest of them being Polly's story of being rescued and learning to trust her new family. It was, as I said, a sweet and touching story. 
  • The illustrations in this one were so good. I really liked the vintage feel of the illustrations as it worked really well with Polly's story and gave the overall feel of the book a nice warm quality. As much as I enjoyed the way it was drawn, the color palette is what really tied it all together visually. The combination of the two just really gave the overall look of the book a very charming and timeless feel, in my opinion.

Final Verdict: Polly and Her Duck Costume- Beautiful story and illustrations make this a picture book that is sure to warm readers' hearts.


A copy of this book was received from the publisher for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Spinning Pages (37): Sense and Sensibility


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility where the Dashwood family has lost their home and livelihood. 

Please enjoy this week's book and song pairing!!

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen-
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby!
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here!






Considering the situation the Dashwood women find themselves in and their less than great luck with love, for most of the book, the above lyrics are perfect. Most of the time, the songs, and lyrics I choose seem really weird, yet as I was working on my review of this book, this was the song that popped into my head. I could totally see Marianne in this song!! 

You can see my thoughts on the manga adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility by checking out my review!!

You can watch the official music video for Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody below!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I Want to Reads It (82): The Count of Monte Cristo



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



The Count of Monte Cristo: Manga Classic by Alexandre Dumas, adapted by Cyrstal S. Chan with artwork by Nokman Poon, April 1, 2017. Published by Udon Entertainment. 
A Conspiracy and a miscarriage of justice turn the gentle Edmond Dant├Ęs into an implacable agent of fate: The Count of Monte Cristo . Obsessed by vengeance and empowered by providence, the Count avenges himself on whose who have wronged him - but is this justice, or is this hubris? In the end, does even the Count know?

Alexandre Dumas' skillful narrative combines intrigue, betrayal, and triumphant revenge into a powerful conflict between good and evil. Now this exciting saga, rich and diverse, takes on an entirely new life in this Manga Classics adaptation!
Why

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time, if not absolute, favorite classic books!! So, when I discovered that there was a manga adaptation of it, well, then I knew that I would want (no need) to read it one day!! I just cannot wait to see how it reads as a manga!! That and the visuals!! I'm getting excited just thinking about it....and thinking that a reread of the actual book is way overdue!! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Sense and Sensibility


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participof Sate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Manga Review: Sense and Senseibility


Sense and Sensibility: Manga Classic by Jane Austen, adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Po Tse, August 9, 2016. 308 pages. Published by Udon Entertainment. Source: Borrowed from Library. 
Impulsive Marianne Dashwood and cautious Elinor are as different as two sisters could be, yet both are shattered by their father's sudden Death. Elinor's attachment to the reserved Edward Ferrars is torn asunder by family opposition and his own dark secret, while Marianne's brilliant romance with the dashing John Willoughby comes to a tumultuous end in a devastating public betrayal. Can the two sisters overcome these trials to find true, lasting happiness?

Jane Austen's beloved first novel, filled with romance, redemption and social critique, is brought to life for a modern audience in this gorgeous manga-style adaptation!
First Sentence
The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. 


Seeing as I have not read the original Sense and Sensibility (yet), my review will be solely based on the manga adaptation and my thoughts concerning it. I know, I'm way behind in reading Jane Austen's full body of work but, well, you know. 
  • Even though I know a portion of the story is not covered within the manga adaptation, because you know it would be massively long otherwise, I really enjoyed the story. So much so that I plan on moving the Jane Austen's original up my TBR. I just really find the plot enjoyable and the characters, though irritating at times, were fascinating.
  • To be honest, there were times that I did not like Marianne as her personality was just annoying; the same goes for Elinor. While they had their good points, one just could not help but be flustered with them periodically, yet I did enjoy seeing them overcome their unhappiness and how they continued to move forward, though some more dramatically than others. Though I do feel that I missed a couple elements story-wise not reading the full manuscript first. 
  •  I don't know what it is about Jane Austen's books, but every single book I've read of her's, well, they just make me want to slap (yes, slap) the male characters upside the head. Oh my gosh!! Seriously stupid guys; then there's Marianne, her flighty personality drove me crazy. Sure, I liked that she wanted love and happiness but she had really poor taste in guys, you know. Regardless, I still found the plight of Elinor and Marianne fascinating and enjoyed seeing how differently they reacted to what was happening in their lives. I'm still a little disappointed that the third sister was not really a part of the manga.

  • Artwork- I actually really enjoyed the way the artist captured the setting and characters. I thought the illustrations did a great job of bringing the story to life. They really brought out the story with the ability to see the expressions on the characters faces as they faced trials and heartbreak. 
  • Even though I know that not all of the manga classics are not adapted or illustrated by the same people, I am really excited to see how they will bring other classics to life via manga. It's rather cool to be seeing classics, especially my favorites, being brought to life in the form of a manga volume. 

Final Verdict: Sense and Sensibility: Manga Classic- The manga adaptation really makes me want to read the Jane Austen's original! The illustrations really made my day!!


A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Spinning Pages (36): Manners and Mutiny


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages takes us to the final showdown between Madame Geraldine's girls and the Picklemen, and a slew of other adversaries. With things heating up in the final showdown, and the number of people to trust quickly dwindling, Sophronia will make a last stand and make her choices that will shape the rest of her life.

I do believe that y'all will like this week's song!!

Heartbreaker by G-Dragon-
I don’t give in no matter what
I’m still useful, I haven’t died yet
Only you caused this damaged body,
broken dreams, missing heart
If it’s for you, this one body will fly for;
It will run to where you are
But still you say “goodbye, goodbye” to me

(English translation from Color Coded Lyrics)

After the previous books as well as the events leading up to the final showdown in Manners and Mutiny, that the above lyrics really worked for me with all that happened to Sophronia. The girl has been through so much and yet doesn't give up. I cannot really explain fully my choice of these lyrics and the song, yet, it just works for me. 

You can read my full thoughts on Manners and Mutiny by checking out my review

Not familiar with G-Dragon's Heartbreaker, then check out the music video for it below!!

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