Thursday, 26 May 2011

Thursday Ramblings - May 26, 2011

I watched Disorganized Crime that I bought yesterday for $3.00. I watched it over and over as a kid, and surprisingly it is still good today. I also picked up He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Season One - 10 episodes for $3. The week before I bought a 4 movie pack for $5.00, The Funhouse, Phantasm 2, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and Sssssss. About ten years ago, I saw the first twenty minutes of The Funhouse on the Scifi (now SyFy) channel, but I had to leave and didn't catch the rest of the movie. So, I was thrilled to find the movie on DVD. I enjoyed the movie, even though it was a little silly, but it is still better than most recent horror movies. I watched Phantasm 2 for the first time and enjoyed watching it.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Review - The Brothers Foot: A Hare Raising Story

The Brothers Foot: A Hare Raising StoryThe Brothers Foot: A Hare Raising Story
BY: Steve Cormey
ISBN: 978-14389-4269-8
Pages: 55
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Foot was a rabbit who liked to play with his rabbit friends - Fluffy, Bunny O’Hare, Carrot Top, and Big Ears Ernie. His best friends in the whole wide world were his two brothers, Foot-Foot and Foot-Foot-Foot, and they liked to play rabbit games - hop, flop, skip, and thump! But their favorite thing to do was singing a happy song in the briar patch. Their song was so much fun; hunters would join in and sing along.

The Brothers Foot is a simple picture book about three brothers who love to sing and play. The illustrations are adorable. In the back of the book are the lyrics to the Foot-Foot Song. Along with the book that I reviewed, I received the music CD, featuring one song - The Foot-Foot Song, and a DVD containing The Foot-Foot music video. Overall I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend it to parents and younger readers.

*I would like to thank the Illustrator for sending me a copy to review.

About the Authors

Meet Steve Cormey
A third generation Coloradan, Steve Cormey has entertained the people of Grand County and Colorado for over thirty years. An award winning songwriter, he has written, produced and released six very successful CDs while playing an always full schedule of live performances.

His background in Folk ,bluegrass, rock and traditional music is evident whether live or on CD. Colorado Blue, Somewhere with a Beach, Never Summer..forever home, Walking Stick and the all solo-acoustic Pure & Simple CDs offer a potpourri of musical styles, and his Old Fashioned Christmas is a Yule Tide favorite. Steve’s live performances show off a talented mix of danceable music, humor and fun!

Steve makes his home in Grand County, Colorado. Although he has entertained in Australia, South Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and around the country, you can usually catch his act in the shadows of the Never Summer Mountains of Colorado.

Meet Ronda Eden

Ronda Eden was born in Adelaide, South Australia and spent her childhood dreaming about horses. She’s spent most of her adult life wandering around in a state of confusion over what she really wanted to do and now, middle-aged, she’s living her childhood dream. Ronda’s been a factory worker, Chinese cook’s assistant, pharmacy assistant, teacher, storyteller, writer,  waitress, bartender, dishwasher, cleaner, touring art curator, gallery owner, horse trainer and artist A.O.T. (Among Other Things).

Ronda’s hobbies include the joy of  hiking, climbing, wind surfing, belly dancing, jogging, traveling, swimming, daydreaming, listening to music and of course, horse riding. Apart from the later, none of these activities get much of her attention these days. Especially travel! Ronda loves it right where she is, doing exactly what she is doing. Ya’see, Ronda lives in Laramie, Wyoming with her husband Mernie and together they run a horse boarding operation with 60 horses, 2 mules, a miniature donkey and a tough, bad boy tomcat. Ronda still manages to be an artist A.O.T (Among Other Things) in between feeding, riding and shoveling poop, but the horses come first. She does travel during the summers, but a couple of the horses go with her and together they cover hundreds of miles on the endurance trails of the Mountain Region. Ronda plans to be hoisting her creaky ole body onto a horse and riding high well into her old age!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Review - The Magic of Finkleton

The Magic of FinkletonThe Magic of Finkleton
BY: KC Hilton
ISBN: 978-1-456-57029-3
Pages: 184
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

After their house is mysteriously burnt, the Finkles learn that their Uncle Harry had died the exact same night, and he left all his belongings to them, including his general store. The Finkles pack up what didn’t burn in the fire and move to Finkleton to start a new life. The three children are Jack, Lizzy, and Robert, who are all uniquely different from another. Jack is the oldest and thinks he is the brightest. He enjoys numbers and organizing things. Lizzy is the bookworm of the family, and Robert is the youngest.

The family moves into the apartment above of the general store. Lizzy is sad that all of her books were burnt in the fire, but instantly became happy when her father told her that Uncle Harry had a library in a secret room in the store. Most of the books are non-fiction, and Lizzy wants to read them all. Robert investigates the store and finds a strange room filled with hourglasses that are labeled and has a string attached to each of them, but one of the strings was broken.

The family reopens the store, with a few customers complaining about all the rain because Finkleton use to have the perfect weather for farming. A stranger named Mr. Lowsley shows up several times asking about land he could buy. Robert doesn’t like this man, and believes that he is up to no good.

Then, Robert pulls on a wood lever hidden in the store and the rain suddenly stops. Did Uncle Harry control the weather in Finkleton? Why does Mr. Lowsly want to buy land in Finkleton?

When I received this book in the mail, my first thought was “This is a dazzling cover.” After reading the page and a half prologue, I was hooked into the world of Finkleton. It was a nice change to read an original book that doesn’t involve vampires and werewolves. I got a kick out of the kids bickering back and forth in the beginning of the book and enjoyed it when they started to work together to solve the mystery of Uncle Harry’s store. The Magic of Finkleton is a great read for both children and adults!

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.

Review - Amy Plays the Violin

Amy Plays the Violin
BY: Julie Labossiere
ISBN: 978-1-453-79995-6
Pages: 22
Reviewed by Billy Burgess
Amy is nervous about her upcoming recital, where she will play her new instrument - the violin. She tries not to worry about it by watching TV, but she just can’t. She thinks that she isn’t good enough to play the violin. Amy talks to her brother, Aaron, who plays the drums. She tries the drums out, but they are too loud for her tastes. Then, she hops over to her sister’s, Amy, room, who is playing on her keyboard. She tries out the keyboard, and realizes that she can play music better on the violin. She returns to her own room, where she practices her violin. Will she be ready for her recital in one week?

Amy Plays the Violin is a charming tale of a young girl who doubts her talent of playing the violin. I played the snare drum when I was in middle school and I recall being really nervous with ‘butterflies in my stomach’ right before a school concert, so I know exactly how Amy feels. I like that the brother and sister are good remodels and give great advice to Amy. The artwork is superb and flows well with the story. Young readers will easily connect with Amy. It is a great read for all ages.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review

Friday, 13 May 2011

Thursday Ramblings

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice / Children of the Corn III: Urban HarvestYes, I know I am posting this Tursday Ramblings on a Friday, thanks to the blogger outage last night. I'm once again behind on my writing, hopefully I'll have time to work on a new short story. I have three book reviews to write this weekend, and several ebooks to start reading, so I will busy. 

I bought Children of the Corn 2 and 3 that were on the same DVD for $5 a few days ago. I'm not a big fan of the series, but two movies for $5 is a good deal. I watched the second movie last night, which I have never seen before, and of it was okay. Low budget, bad acting, and not scary. I recommend the first movie or remake over this one.

10th Anniversary (Women's Murder Club)Books in the mail the last two weeks: The Magic of Finkleton  by KC Hilton; Amy Plays the Violin by Julie Labossiere; The Brothers Foot by Steve Cormey; Goosebumps Hall of Horrors: Night of the Giant Everything by R.L. Stine; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadful Ever After by SteveHockensmith; and Bite Club by Rachel Caine; Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris;10th Anniversary by James Patterson.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Review - Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman

Another DawnAnother Dawn
BY: Kathryn Cushman
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0825-6
Pages: 316
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Grace Graham, along with her son, Dylan, returns home to Shoal Creek, Tennessee to confront her past, and help her outspoken father after his knee replacement surgery. Grace had somewhat of a falling out with her sister, Jana, after her mother’s death years before. Both want to reconcile. Dylan takes an instant liking to his cousins, especially little Hannah Rose. Grace is planning on returning to California, but Dylan gets a rash and a fever. When he doesn’t get well, she takes him to the doctor, who says he will be fine in a few days. A few days go by, and Dylan is worse. The doctor doesn’t know what exactly is wrong with him, but, suddenly, Grace has an idea what it could be. Dylan has never had his measles shots, and he has exposed the virus to others, including his baby cousin, Hannah Rose.

I’ve read several contemporary Christian novels, and normally the books are romance, so that is what I was thinking when I started reading Another Dawn. I soon realized that this isn’t a romance novel, but a story about redemption and the love between a mother and her son. The book felt intense at times, due to the realization of the plot. It’s scary to think of young parents neglecting to get their children the vaccination shots, but it happens everyday. This is great read and I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. I recommend this book to everyone.

*I would like thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review.

Book Review - Courting Miss Amsel

Courting Miss AmselCourting Miss Amsel
BY: Kim Vogel Sawyer
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0784-6
Pages: 346
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

After her mother’s death, Edyth Amsel took care of the household chores and raised her siblings. With just her younger sister, Missy, still at home, she decides that it is time for her to live on her own. She takes a job as a schoolteacher in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Since she is single, the town thought it would be best if she didn’t live by herself, so she rents a room from Mrs. Kinsley.

The students were nervous for their first day of school, but Miss Amsel was more nervous than them. The previous teacher had whipped the students when they were out of line or didn’t understand their school work. Miss Amsel would have none of this. She wanted her students to love learning, and the students become fond of her. Miss Amsel informs the students that she would be making a visit to each family, so she could introduce herself to the parents. There are several single father’s in the area that are eying her, including Joel Townsend, who is raising his two nephews, who are students of Miss Amsel, on his own.

Miss Amsel’s teaching methods aren’t liked by some of the parents, who feel that the children only need to learn basic schooling. A student named William starts acting up during class, and is disturbing the students. She goes to his parents about his behavior, but they tell her that William is her problem during school hours. To make matter’s worse; she receives word from her father that Missy has runaway.

I’m a fan of Kim Vogel Sawyer and Courting Miss Amsel was not a disappointment. It’s fast paced and is cleverly plotted. I easily felt for the teacher as she struggled with the parents and the misbehaved Will. Being classified as historical romance, the book could have fallen into a cliché, but the author avoided this by using witty dialogue. I recommend Courting Miss Amsel to all readers.

*I would like thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Review - Garden of Heaven

Garden of Heaven: an OdysseyGarden of Heaven: An Odyssey
BY: Malcolm R. Campbell
PUBLISHED BY: Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN: 978-1453601990
Pages: 708
Reviewed by Billy Burgess
In Malcolm Campbell’s fourth novel, you are introduced to David on his tenth birthday, when his grandmother, Katoya, passes on her wisdom and magic as a gift. She, along with a black raven named Maisto, teaches him the secret of magic, and guides him as he grows into adulthood. David believes in common sense and respects his parents and grandparents, but after the Vietnam War, he finds himself lost and confused, especially after a failed romance. Not knowing what his future holds, he travels across the world, where he meets strange and interesting characters, letting fate guide him to his destiny.

Honestly, it took me several hundred pages to get interested into this epic-size novel, from then on; I was hooked until the very end. As the title suggests, this is an odyssey, but it is also a character study, of the young man named David. Readers can easily connect with David’s questions and journeys of life. Garden of Heaven is a long read, but it is a pleasure to read. I recommend the book to everyone.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.

Review - Fairer Than Morning

Fairer than Morning (A Saddler's Legacy Novel)Fairer Than Morning
BY: Rosslyn Elliott
PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59554-785-9
Pages: 393
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Set during Ohio in the 19th - century. Ann Miller was proposed to at the age fifteen by Eli Bowen, who comes from a prominent family. Ann’s father said she was too young to be married and must wait until she turned eighteen years of age. Three years go by; Ann catches Eli eying another girl. She wonders if his heart has found someone else. She accompanies her father on a business trip to Pittsburgh, but her mind is on Eli.

To her surprise, she meets a young man who will change her life. His name is Will Hanby, a saddle-maker’s apprentice. His parents died when he was ten years old, and at six-teen his signed away his freedom for five years as a worker (more like a slave) to Master Good, who is cruel to the boy. By the time Will meets Ann Miller, his faith/spirit is broken. Ann feels a connection to Will and so does he. But Ann and her father are soon to leave for home and will is determined to follow her.

Most of the historical fiction that I read is just ‘fiction” set during the past. The main characters in Fairer than Morning are based on real people. The real William and Ann lived in Westerville, Ohio in the mid-nineteenth century and had eight children. The author has done a remarkable job telling the true tale of the couple, of course the author used her imagination to fill-in the gaps in the history. This is the first in a new series and I can’t wait to read the sequel. I recommend this book to romance readers.

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy to review!