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Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Raising a Son, 3rd Edition" - Don Elium & Jeanne Elium

"Raising a Son, 3rd Edition" - Don Elium & Jeanne Elium
My son, Atticus, has been having issues at daycare, somewhere along the lines of fighting and alpha male characteristics. So, as a tired single mom, I stumbled to Barnes and Noble to see if I could find any books to help a single mom deal with an aggressive son. Low and behold, I stumbled across this book. The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that the little boy's hand is down the back of his swim shorts. Yup, this looked like a book that might help me understand my own little boy and what goes on in that head of his.
 
I am on Chapter four out of thirteen, and the title is cleverly titled "How to Successfully Grow a Boy: The Cultural Force". I think I'm going to like this chapter. Anyway, this book has had some interesting points of view, some I agree with, some I don't. There are parts in the first four chapters that talk about how women in the workforce may have altered how boys and men react to their instinctual roles. I can understand the point of view, and some of it seems legitimate, but some of the statements are a little more than I agree with.
 
The parts that really interested me so far was the topic of high testosterone men and boys. These are the boys that are driven to be successful by their testosterone, while at the same time they are drawn to high-risk activities such as sky diving, riding motorcycles fast, and high-contact sports like boxing. In little boys, it is displayed in the ways of pretending to be Super Man and diving off of the roof, fighting with other little boys, and trying to jump off ramps with their bikes. If you know me personally, you can see why this interested me. That is Atticus in a nut shell. :P
 
All-in-all, this is a pretty interesting book for a mom of a son to read. It gets to seem a little like a text book and a self-help book wrapped in one at times, but other times the stories the two authors tell are great. It'll take me a while to get through this book, but I get the feeling it's going to be worth my time. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Captain Cooked" - S.P. Grogan

"Captain Cooked" - S.P. Grogan
My coworker loaned me this book after she realized she had two copies. It's one of her favorite books, so she recommended I read it for my blog. The tagline on the cover says "Hawaiian mystery of romance, revenge... and recipes!", and I was interested. I've never read a Hawaiian novel, so this is a first for me. :)
 
I am not very far into the book yet. I'm only on chapter 7 out of 51, but it's already got a good setting for drama, and a little bit of mystery/action in it. The main character, Madison Merlot Dayne is in Hawaii videotaping her father, Jeffery Dayne, for an episode of his food tv show. The first chapter does a great job of setting up Madison's character. She starts off people watching in the airport while waiting for Michael, the hotel greeter, to help with her video equipment. She is thinking about the "beautiful" people she sees when Michael walks up. Instead of the typical greeting of "hello", she is kissed on both cheeks from Michael. At first her mind lingers on romance and instantly hops to conclusions about a possible romantic affair in Hawaii. Then Michael says that the kisses are from her father, and the readers are introduced into her personal drama involving a lack of romance.
 
So far in the book, Madison seems a little bit whiny, but I get the feeling that her character is going to be doing some personal building throughout the book. I can see her getting into a crazy adventure, and winding up in love with a Hawaiian native. I don't know what will happen yet, but that is the feeling I get.
 
There is a bit of a political side to this book. In the first few chapters it talks about a political strike in Hawaii. There is one group that wants Hawaii to go back to having a King and Queen. There is another group wants Hawaii to be part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The last group are essentially there to fight for Hawaii rights because they "need" to have something to fight for.
 
It's still pretty early in the book to decide if I like it or not. It's got some certain potential, but the writing style is not quite developed in the first few chapters. It seems simple, with a lack of clear direction at this point. I'm hoping that it picks up though, because I certainly see the potential of where it can go. :)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter - Part 2

I finished "Yukon Murders" by Don G. Porter today on my lunch break. I was so surprised who the murder was! Since I promised never to give away the endings, I won't say who it is, but I will say that I couldn't have planned a more surprising and fitting ending.

My overall opinion on "Yukon Murders" is that it a wonderful, captivating book. It is a good blend of Alaska culture, with enough action to keep non-Alaskan readers enticed. The book has so many interesting sides of Native Alaskan living that you find yourself wondering if you could live in the conditions that they consider "normal". When reading from Alex Price's point of view, they started to seem livable and normal to me. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially to people who live in Alaska and are familiar with the different cities/towns/villages that call this great state "home".

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Woman in Black" - Susan Hill

"The Woman in Black"
I borrowed this book from a friend of mine after we watched the movie featuring Daniel Radcliffe. I must say that this is one of the instances where reading the book first might have been a good idea. The movie really doesn't follow the book... at all. :/
 
Aside from not following the book, I was not really impressed with this book. I am about a chapter away from being finished with it, and I have yet to really get into the book. The pace is slow, and the build up takes forever. You have to get about two-thirds into the book before the Woman in Black is even mentioned. The first two-thirds of the book tries to build up to this suspense, and then the only horror action that happens is the sound of a rocking chair in a nursery. I'm sorry, but that's way too much build up for too little excitement.
 
Although I was not particularly impressed or interested in this book, it does not mean that someone else would. This is a good "beginner book" for people who do not typically read horror and suspense, but wants a little introduction to those two types of books. For someone like me, who's spent most their life reading horror and suspense, this was just too slow and dry for me. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter
The author of this book, Don G. Porter, is actually a cousin of a coworker that I work with. This book is published by a small publishing company, M&B (McRoy & Blackburn). From what my coworker said, he sells his books out of his truck at craft fairs and the Alaska State Fair. From reading this book, I can faithfully say I wish he sold his books through a larger venue because I would love to purchase another one from him!
 
My coworker suggested I read this book because one of the buildings the Section I work for has done work on the building in the past. So, after hearing that, I couldn't wait to read it! It certainly is a good read for anyone, not just Alaskans.
 
"Yukon Murders" is based in Western Alaska, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The main character, Alex Price, is a bush pilot. (For my non-Alaskan followers, a bush pilot is someone who flies small puddle-jumper plains to remote locations in Alaska. Sometimes they bring supplies for the village people, sometimes they do others jobs.) Alex Price works closely with the police on occasion, and this time it's involved him transporting murder victims in body bags. For the small villages, death is common, but murder is not. The book opens with a murder committed in a small general store, buy a nameless visitor, who sets the mood for the rest of the tragedy that happens throughout the book.
 
I am currently on chapter 10 out of 24. I've been reading it on my lunch break and I'm always sad when I have to put it down. The book is written in a very free feeling way. I feel like I'm listening to Alex Price telling me stories of his past. To me, it almost feels like I'm listening to an old friend recapping his life. With this style, I feel relaxed reading this book, and excited when they mention a location I've been to. :)
 
My overall reflection on what I've read so far is that this is a very well written book, and I cannot wait to finish it. I have not read many books written by small publishing companies that I have liked, but Don G. Porter has a knack for it. I am very thankful that my coworker introduced me to his book, and has given me the joy of letting be borrow one of the signed copies to read.
 
**If you are interested in learning more about Don G. Porter, here is the link to his website. http://www.dongporter.com/