Book Review and Giveaway: The Cooper Kids Adventure Series

This is our third week of celebrating 200 followers on Leah’s Bookshelf. Last week I reviewed Radialloy, by J. Grace Pennington and gave away a two week kindle loan of the book. Before I launch into this week’s fun, I’d like to announce last week’s winner. (Cue drumroll.)

OnionTea!

Congratulations, OnionTea! I hope you enjoy the book. I’ll be sending you an email asking for the email address associated with your kindle. After I have that I can send you the loan invitation. You’ll have to accept the invitation within 7 days. After you accept it, you’ll have 14 days to read Radialloy.

Cooper Kids_5This week I’m giving away not one but four books! The winner of this week’s giveaway will receive the first four paperbacks in The Cooper Kids Adventure Series. These books are great fun. The back covers of the books say they’re for 10-14 year old readers, and I think that pegs it perfectly. They’re interesting enough to be really fun quick reads for older teens as well.

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Gozan, this is no task for children! It will take an army, not just for men and two … children!” Al-Dallam only shook his perplexed head. “They will all be killed the first day. The Dragon’s Throat has no mercy!” —The Door in the Dragon’s Throat

“At any rate, we still encounter these forces from time to time, and one such manifestation is a terrible madness, an inescapable curse that sometimes besets people here. The native word is Moro-Kunda; it means the Madness Before Death. It has no known cause, no known cure, and is always fatal. The curse fell upon Tommy. He went mad, and though we tried to stop him, he fabricated that crude raft and fled from the island.” The man paused dramatically and then added,” But he couldn’t escape Moro-Kunda.” —Escape from the Island of Aquarius

Doctor Cooper shook his head with disgust. “Jay, it’s a perfect example of man’s sinful nature without God. That’s why the Lord commanded Joshua to drive out all the ungodly inhabitants of the land. He didn’t want his people coming into contact with this kind of moral and spiritual pollution.” —The Tombs of Anak

Lila floated in the pd for a while, weeping, resting her head against the cold metal wall. How long would her oxygen bottle last? Did anyone even know where she was? —Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea

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Adventure, archaeological mysteries, and spiritual warfare intermingle in these edge-of-your-seat stories. These books are great for kids who like the weird and unusual, and they’re equally interesting for readers who enjoy non-stop action. I enjoy them as one-sitting reads that pull me into the story and don’t let me go until I turn the last page.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment explaining how you first found Leah’s Bookshelf. Due to the cost of shipping, the books can only be mailed to addresses in the continental United States. The giveaway will remain open for entries through August 7th.

Announcements

  1. Don’t forget that a new prize is available in the Story Shop. You can also find a new list of ways to earn Story Shop points. Check it out!
  2. In preparation for the release of Counted Worthy, I just started a professional Facebook page. Liking the page would be a very nice thing to do, and it will also earn you a point to spend in the Story Shop if you submit your Facebook name using the contact form. Be sure to let me know that you’re looking for Story Shop points in exchange for liking me on Facebook. The same goes for my Twitter account.
  3. Wild Thing, book one in the Winnie the Horse Gentler series, is currently free for kindle on Amazon. I don’t know if the deal is for today only or for the week.

Relationship Books: To-Read List

In lieu of a book review this week, I’d like to share my list of relationship books I hope to read in the future. I had planned to ask my brother to review a book for the guys this week, but he’s been so busy I didn’t even bother to bring it up. Besides that, this blog is home to lots of recommendations drawn from my last six years of reading. I’ve also done plenty of “real time” reviews of books as I read them. But I’ve never shared which books I plan or hope to read. So, since this month’s theme is relationship non-fiction, here are four books from that category that I hope to read.

Growing up DuggarGrowing Up Duggar: According to an interview the Duggar girls did, this book is “all about relationships.” Not just romantic ones. As a long standing Duggar fan, just knowing the older girls wrote a book was enough to make me want to read it. It just happens to be about relationships, which makes it a perfect fit for this list. I know a lot of people panic when they hear how many children the Duggars have (19 if you didn’t know), but I love it! Can’t wait to see what the girls have to say in this book.

I Kissed Dating GoodbyeI Kissed Dating Goodbye: I’ve been borrowing this book from a friend for far too long, so it should probably be the first book on this list that I read. Having heard Mr. Harris (the author’s father) speak at a homeschool conference and loving Do Hard Things (written by the author’s brothers), putting this on my to-read list was a logical course of action. I read Boy Meets Girl a while ago, and it didn’t really keep my attention well. Friends of mine love both books, so I’m curious to see what I’ll think of this one.

Redefining BeautifulRedefining Beautiful:I don’t really know much about this one. I found it at a used curriculum sale hosted by our state homeschool association. It looked pretty good (and it wasn’t very expensive), so I grabbed it. From what I can tell, this one only sort-of-kind-of fits this category. From the back cover, “Jenna reveals a foundational beauty secret: a father’s love. And whether a girl comes from a home with a devoted father, a home where that is only a dream, Jenna brings hope as she helps girls discover that they already have the perfect dad.”

When Sinners Say I doWhen Sinners Say “I Do”: This is a grab from last year’s used curriculum sale. Same story as with Redefining Beautiful, only I’d noticed this book several times in the CBD catalog. According to the back cover, “When Sinners Say ‘I Do’ is about encountering the life-transforming power of the gospel in the unpredictable journey of marriage.

Which of these books most interests you? Have you read any of them? Do you have a recommendation for which you think I should read first or will enjoy most?

While you’re here, don’t forget to take a moment and help me name a character in my next book. If you cast a vote, be sure to leave a comment saying which name you picked. I’m trying to come up with a fun surprise for the people who participate.

Book Review: Set-Apart Femininity

Set-Apart Femininity

Just as lasting and fulfilling romance is not found in the place that most of us search for it, neither is feminine beauty found in the place that most of us seek it.

Set-Apart Femininity could just as easily be titled “Counter-cultural Femininity”. As Mrs. Ludy mentions in this book, today’s culture tends to mock “all things pure, innocent, and uncorrupted.” Some girls, like me, haven’t had to face the full force of this moral decay yet, but someday we will. And many, many more already have. I’ll never forget the day I struggled to define modesty to a girl on my swim team because she honestly didn’t know what I was talking about. Yet even while our culture scorns and degrades purity, God continues to value it. And we, as Christians, should too. This book is a call to honor and pursue God’s standards rather than allowing ourselves to be dragged down by the world’s.

Because this book written to encourage young women caught in the middle of negative pressures, the writing is occasionally more graphic than I needed it to be. For this reason, I don’t recommend this book for younger girls to automatically pick up and read. For younger readers (tweens and young teens), have mom read it first. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t bring up all the junk in order to help you dig your way out of it, I’d highly recommend Before You Meet Prince Charming.) For older readers, this book definitely contributed to shaping the way I think of femininity. The concepts presented have helped me feel confident in my position when people have questioned my beliefs on the subject. I wish more girls would take this message to heart.

Have you faced challenges or mocking as a young woman seeking to live in purity before God? In what ways do you think Christians, especially Christian girls, should be different from cultural standards?

Book Review: This Present Darkness

This Present DarknessI forgot to mention this last week, but this month’s theme is spiritual warfare. Talk about an intense genre! Today’s review comes complements of my brother. I wanted to include This Present Darkness, but didn’t have time to read it. Thankfully he did, and he was willing to review it. Enjoy!

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A small town pastor attempts to hold a struggling church together while the town’s newspaper man tries to figure out mysterious happenings at the local college. Both men are unaware of the supernatural battle taking place in their families and neighborhoods. Tal, a mighty angel captain, struggles to get the Christians to provide the prayer cover he needs to do his work as he battles an ancient foe. Can the newspaper man and pastor hold the town together and can Tal defeat his demonic counterpart?

Peretti’s book is fascinating and exciting from the first pages. He makes the spiritual battle seem real, and it makes you think of just how little we really can see and understand of what is happening around us, and how effective prayer is. This is definitely a very intense book that is probably best for readers over age fourteen.

Book Review: Cloak of the Light

Cloak of the LightCloak of the Light is one of those “impossible to categorize” books. It’s not quite sci-fi, not fantasy, not allegory. My brother purchased this at a homeschool conference last weekend, devoured it in a day, and declared it one of the best books he ever read. He described it as Spider Man meets Frank Peretti.

Life has thrown Drew plenty of curveballs, starting when he lost his father at age twelve. He doesn’t believe in God. He doesn’t believe his best friend’s conviction about the potential of alien life either. Not until he sees an other-earthly invader with his own eyes. In an experiment goes wrong, Drew gets zapped with the equipment used to see into the other realm and soon discovers that he can now see into it without a machine. He finds himself observing a battle between dark and light invaders. Who are these mysterious beings that are invisible to all eyes but his own? What do they want? And what can one young man do against a force of evil that can affect the hearts of men?

I found the start of this book a little slow, but my brother said it drew him in from page one, so I’m guessing it’s a matter of personal preference and level of criticalness. If you’re like me, just view the first few chapters as an extended prologue and rest assured it will pick up soon. Chuck Black makes it clear in the afterword that this book is not intended to be an interpretation of actual spiritual warfare, but rather an imaginative, gripping story to help readers think about spiritual warfare as they might not have otherwise. I fully enjoyed the story and look forward to book two!

Book Review and Giveaway: The Big Field

Big Field, The

“Yeah,” Hutch said, not looking up at either one of them. “My Dad sure knows his baseball.”

Baseball runs in Hutch’s blood, and no position feels like home as much as shortstop. His father played shortstop during his baseball days, but those ended a long time ago. Now his dad struggles to hold down a job and rarely shows up to watch Hutch play baseball. When superstar shortstop Darryl Williams shows up to play on Hutch’s team, Hutch gets moved to second base. Hutch resigns himself to be a good team player and accepts the move, but when his consistently MIA dad starts showing up to coach Darryl, the situation gets more and more bitter. The biggest game ever for their team is coming up fast, but Hutch’s patience is running out.

I’ve yet to read a book by Mike Lupica that I didn’t like. My mom and brother enjoyed this one with me when we listened to it as an audio book. I love his down-to-earth, humble main characters. They’re not perfect kids, but they aspire to standards that make them worthy role models for young readers. And the feel-good stories are equally heart warming for older readers as well.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY simply leave a comment explaining why you’d like to read this book. Due to shipping costs the giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States. The winner will be announced on April 30th.

Book Review: Million-Dollar Throw

Million-Dollar ThrowNew month, new theme. This month I’m going with sports stories. Which may end up meaning written-by-Mike-Lupica-books. I love his stories. But there are some other sports stories that look good, too, so we’ll see. 😉

“I mean, I’m excited about doing it, at least some of the time, when I’m not geeked out of my head about it,” Nate said. “But most of the time, it’s like it’s one more thing I don’t need right now. Like one more guy piling on when I’m already down.”

Nate Brody loves football and is a huge Tom Brady fan. He’s been saving up money to buy a football autographed by Brady. Despite financial hardships, his parents are holding to their end of the deal and paying half the money for the ball. Winning football isn’t Nate’s biggest worry, though. He spends nights staring out the window at the for sale sign hanging in front of their house, not wanting to sell their house but hoping the bank won’t get it. And then there’s his best friend, Abby. As far as Nate’s concerned, Abby’s problems trump all of his. When his name is drawn for a chance to win a million-dollars during half-time at a Patriots’ game, Nate feels the pressure piling on. Can he get things figured out before the big day and his million-dollar throw?

 This is the newest addition to my comfort-reads shelf. You know, those books you read on rainy days or when you’re sick? Miracle on 49th Street, another Mike Lupica book, has been on that shelf for a while along with A Little Princess and The Scarlet Pimpernel. These books cover a wide range of story types, but they have at least one thing in common. All of the stories feature strong friendships. That’s what made me enjoy Million-Dollar Throw too. Nate consistently puts the needs of his teammates, his family, and his friends above his own stresses and worries. As his mom says several times, he leads with his heart. And in the process he does a great job of capturing the heart of the reader. If you’re looking  for an edge-of-your seat story that keeps you guessing till the last page, this one isn’t for you. But if you want book that leaves you with warm fuzzies, go for it! 🙂

Book Review: The Corporate Kid

Corporate Kid, The

Charles raised his hand. It took a moment for people to acknowledge him. He stood up and cleared his throat. The room went silent. “Um, so if you want American to believe in you again, what about just telling the truth?”

I picked this book at our library used book store thinking it was a different story. After reading a few pages, I didn’t expect much. The Corporate Kid didn’t earn a five star rating from beautiful or well polished pros. This story is unique because it’s a general market book with a purpose. Instead of the normal twaddle and/or junk of various descriptions that fills young adult stories, this one embodies and promotes morality. And it does so without preaching. That’s a pretty impressive resume…especially for a general market book.

Fifteen year old Charles Sullivan has never had much. After his father’s death, his mother has worked two jobs and struggles to maintain their home in the hood. Their world crumbles yet again when a distracted driver hits her as they leave their church one Sunday morning. That driver, Bill Bradford, is CEO of Hospital of America. The last thing he wants to deal with is bad press over hitting a woman on the wrong side of town. He calls his lawyer and tells the man to take care of the situation. He doesn’t realize till later that he dropped his wallet at the sight of the accident. He doesn’t know that Charles Sullivan picked it up. That wallet, and the boy who picked it up, will bring the two families together in ways they never expected, and will challenge the way they think of each other.

I’m so glad I mistook this book for the one I was actually looking for! Definitely recommend it!