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E. E. Ellsworth "Emily's Reading Room" RSS Feed (Payson, UT USA)
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Men of Destiny: Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith
Men of Destiny: Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.29
9 used & new from $15.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting profile on two prominent American figures geared towards LDS people., May 20, 2014
Full disclosure: I know the author and she was a former teacher of mine.

Again, I wish amazon had half stars, because a more accurate review would be 3.5.

There are a lot of things to love about Men of Destiny. The organization is great, I thought the sections and moving from one profile or point of view to the next worked very well and made for a smooth transition and storytelling throughout. The book was clearly well researched and there was a lot of information about Lincoln and Smith that I didn't know before.

However, the book has a very religious slant. It's definitely targeted to members of the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) community. As a matter of personal taste, I prefer non-fiction to be more objective. My main complaints come from the use of religious language in describing Joseph Smith. LDS people have certain words that they use that either aren't used in regular conversation or have different meanings.

And, while the book as a whole flows very nicely, I thought that some of the transitions from section to section were a little clunky. And, in a few of the sections I thought that the theme or target got lost a little in the weeds and wasn't as focused as it could have been.

Overall, Men of Destiny is a great, quick read with lots of interesting information and ideas to ponder. I recommend it for people who enjoy LDS Church history.


Laptop Battery for Select Apple MacBooks
Laptop Battery for Select Apple MacBooks
Offered by siker
Price: $19.00
24 used & new from $14.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Battery Bulging, May 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
So, I purchased this battery a couple years ago. It's worked okay for the price, but after a few months, the charging ability was definitely reduced. Now, two years later, the battery is bulging, so it has to be replaced. But, this time I'm going to spend the money on a genuine apple replacement.


Reached (Matched Trilogy Book 3)
Reached (Matched Trilogy Book 3)
by Ally Condie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.99
198 used & new from $0.18

32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful conclusion to the trilogy!, November 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have loved this series so much. It's been hard to believe that I'm letting it go. Crossed was one of my favorite books last year, and I was nervous going into this final installment. Finales can be so tricky.

Like the rest of the books in this series, Reached brings something different to the dystopian table. It's not as violent or bloody as say, The Hunger Games, or even Divergent. What has happened in the Matched society isn't on it's face horrible and oppressive. Many of the citizens of the society live very happy lives. But there is no creative and no expression. There is no progression. And humanity really can't stand for that for long, can they? Thus, some may be disappointed that this installment is not driven by the events happening within the Rising, but is really focused on the characters.

For those who love Xander, there is much more of him in this novel to love. There is a resolution to the love triangle, and I think that it works very well within the story arc. As for who ultimately ends up with Cassia? All I'll say is half of the people that love the series will be disappointed, and the other half will be elated.

I'm not sure that I've mentioned this before, but one of the things that I love about this series is that it makes poetry accessible to a cold-hearted soul like myself. Honestly, I am such a poetry dunce. I believe to really understand and love poetry, you have to be taught by someone who really loves and understands poetry. And, it's obvious that Condie loves poetry. So, maybe there is hope for me yet.

Reached is a beautiful conclusion to the series, and I can't wait to see what else Condie has in store for her future work.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2012 1:18 PM PST


Struck
Struck
by Jennifer Bosworth
Edition: Hardcover
72 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Promising concept that underdelivered, July 3, 2012
This review is from: Struck (Hardcover)
Mia is addicted to lightning and has been struck numerous times. She loves the thrill of the energy, and her body is covered in scars from the strikes. When an earthquake rocks Los Angeles, Mia is drawn into a war between two cults vying for power in the broken city. She is in a fight to the death to protect herself and her family.

I think the synopsis for Struck made me expect something that I wasn't ready for. I wasn't prepared for all the discourse on religion that I found within its pages. I think that if I had a better idea of what the main focus of the book was, I may have skipped this one altogether. Beyond the description and beginning pages, there is little mention of Mia's "addiction" to lightning, and instead focuses on the warring cults. Which is where the book began to go south for me. Although, in some instances, the cult aspect doesn't bother me.

The characters were only so-so. Upon reflection, there really wasn't one that I could connect with, and my like for them was only surface level. Jeremy really wasn't as developed as I would have liked and just served a role as a romantic interest, and a catalyst for Mia's decisions.

I also felt like there were a lot of unexplained things related to the world-building. For instance, the earthquake is localized in Los Angeles, but it seems completely cut off from the rest of the United States. School resumes, and as a way to entice students into attending, they offer rations. It isn't clear where the school gets the rations from, or why the teachers bother showing up. Many of the characters drive cars, but no mention of where they fill up for gas. People attend rave parties, even though they are starving. Some of these elements feel like they would have been better suited for a society that has experienced MANY natural disasters and help will never be on the way.

All in all, Struck had a promising concept that just didn't deliver for me.


Tiger Lily
Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.66
53 used & new from $4.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Peter Pan Retelling, July 3, 2012
This review is from: Tiger Lily (Hardcover)
Tiger Lily has always been different. Adopted as an infant by the village shaman, Tik Tok, she is a skilled hunter, and pretty rough around the edges. When an Englishman is stranded on the island after a shipwreck, she helps to nurse him back to health, and things begin to change. She meets Peter Pan, a bold and reckless boy who leads his band of lost boys (saved from the slavery of Captain Hook). Tiger Lily is charmed by his semi-arrogant yet very vulnerable manner, though she doesn't believe in happy endings and no that it can't end well.

Tiger Lily was such a different experience from many of the books that I've read this year. It is narrated from the point of view of Tinker Bell. This point of view lent itself to interesting observations about both Peter and Tiger Lily's character and their feelings, since fairies can read feelings, but they can't speak. Tinker Bell is a narrator that is mostly in the background interpreting the scene, but does make a few important appearances. So, though the book was written in first person, it felt like it was written in third person. Very cool.

Though the pace of Tiger Lily is slow, there really is a lot in the book that I wasn't expecting, and each word was so very carefully placed. Issues like gender identity, abuse, loneliness, and growing up are all included. Hook doesn't make very many appearances, but there are enough glimpses of his character to make you feel a little bit squirmy when he does come around.

Fans of Peter Pan will really enjoy this new take on the girl that loved Peter Pan before Wendy ever came along. There's also a very sweet romance that I think you'll enjoy as well.


For Darkness Shows the Stars
For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.58
67 used & new from $2.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible love story. A Must Read., July 1, 2012
Review posted July 18 at Emily's Reading Room.

It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic experiment that caused the Reduction. The Luddites, who despise innovation and technology, keep the Reduced on their estates as slaves.

Elliot North is the youngest daughter of the North estate. As a Luddite, she is born to social privilege. But, even so, the estate is near financial ruin. The Luddite's control is slipping as a new generation of children that are innovative and bright are born to the Reduced. Elliot's childhood friend, Kai, is one of these children. When Elliot does not run away with Kai to the Post enclave, she hears nothing from him for four years. And when he re-enters her life, it is obvious that much has changed.

My excitement for this book has been slowly building for months. I have not read Persuasion, the Jane Austen novel that inspired For Darkness Shows the Stars, but am a fan of Austen's other works. My anticipation was further built by the raving reviews that were popping up in my google reader and goodreads page.

I could not imagine a more satisfying story. I was up late into the night on a Friday, and spent a good portion of the day Saturday devouring every single page. Combining the elements of a world torn apart by a disaster that decimated so much of the human race, with the classic story that Austen created, it was a match made in heaven for me. Though the story is not heavy on the elements surrounding the genetic experiment that lead to the ruin of humanity, there is enough to make me suspend disbelief to fill in the holes. And I have to admit that as the daughter of a botanist that works with genetically modified plants, I was very much cheering Elliot on. In fact, through the novel I was firmly in Elliot's court and never wavered in my support of everything that she did, even though at times her reasoning was flawed.

In regards to Kai, I have to say that his coldness to Elliot at times took my breath away. I think that this was very cleverly offset by the letters they secretly wrote to each other as children that were interspersed throughout the novel. It is obvious that both Elliot and Kai were hurt deeply by Kai's departure. And with each cutting remark, I was heartbroken for Elliot. I wanted to protect her and just shake Kai. And yet, I wanted Kai to understand and overcome his disappointment and grief, and just work it out!

This book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The eventual romance is one of the best that I've ever read and ranks right up there with my favorites. I'll happily admit to having a lump form in my throat several times, and even shedding a few tears at the end. A re-read of this story will definitely be in order very soon. If you haven't read For Darkness Shows the Stars, believe me when I tell you that it deserves to be next on your reading list.


Insurgent (Divergent)
Insurgent (Divergent)
by Veronica Roth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.81
302 used & new from $1.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very solid sequel, May 3, 2012
This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent) (Hardcover)
Insurgent begins right where Divergent leaves off. Tris and the others are headed to Amity headquarters to seek refuge from the crazy Erudite. Tris is still reeling from watching the murders of half of her family, and from being forced to murder one of her best friends that was under the influence of a simulation. Once at Amity's headquarters, she hopes to regroup and figure out how to restore the balance of the factions.

The beginning of Insurgent hits the ground running. To say that Tris is upset by the events that took place during her initiation ceremony would be an understatement. She is haunted by them. Particularly her part in murdering Will. Tris's character becomes increasingly complex as she tries to work through her feelings, especially about her own faction and what it means to be Dauntless.

If you thought you knew which faction was good and which was bad, you may change your mind several times throughout the story. There is no clear villain, as each faction, and it's leader, struggles to hold on to their power and their people. Each leader makes some serious mistakes, but also has some redeeming qualities (except Erudite, honestly).

And, all those of you who loved Tris and Four (Tobias, he goes by both depending on the situation), you'll be happy to hear that there is no introduction of a love triangle to add complications. That is not to say that Tris and Tobias don't have their struggles, because they do. However, they don't involve any outside parties, and are about the real-life struggles of a new relationship and finding how much space you need, figuring out trust, and in their case, trying to survive.

But, the real crowning achievement comes in the final 100 pages. Roth pulls no punches and ends with a revelation that will take some time for you to digest. It's one that I certainly didn't see coming. And I can't wait to read the continuation of the final book.

If you haven't started this series, then in my most urgent tone of voice I say, "get thee to the bookstore!"


The Obsidian Blade (Klaatu Diskos)
The Obsidian Blade (Klaatu Diskos)
by Pete Hautman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.75
85 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably solid time-travel story, May 2, 2012
The Obisidian Blade is a remarkably solid time-travel story. I'm not sure that I appreciated the intricate details that Hautman added to the beginning of the story at first, but by about the second half of the novel I was astounded by the way it was put together. Time travel can be so very tricky since every piece of the plot has to hold together in order to make it believable.

However, I'm going to be up front that this book is probably not for every reader. It's a little heavier science fiction fare. But, honestly, I gobbled it up. Hautman introduces new civilizations with different languages and value systems. Some of them, like the Klaatu (for which the series is named), are a little abstract. But, I'm sure as the series continues, they will come into play in a more significant way. And, even though some of the concepts and civilizations are a little strange, they definitely add to the world, and are very believable.

Because Tucker's father is a pastor, there are references to religion. This is something that I'm very sensitive about. I think that there is a fine line to walk when it comes to religion in young adult literature. I think it can be very important to the story, but I appreciate it more when it's presented in a way that shows both the good and bad sides of religion. And this book is one of the best ways that I've seen religion portrayed in young adult fiction in some time. Tucker's father loses his religion. But, at the same time, other characters in the story find theirs. And it's just fascinating.

The Obsidian Blade is one of those books that really does get better upon reflection. If you are into science fiction, I highly recommend it. But, if you're looking for a steamy romance, it's probably best to move on, since there isn't any of that here. There are a few references to alcohol use (not underage), but no language issues or anything like that.


Starters
Starters
by Lissa Price
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.53
145 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, engageing debut, April 24, 2012
This review is from: Starters (Hardcover)
Callie and her brother, Tyler, are on their own after the Spore Wars killed everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. Living on the streets with their friend, Michael, every day is a fight for survival. Food and water are scarce and dangerous to obtain. Callie turns to Prime Destinations as her final hope in providing for her brother. Callie sells her body as a renter to an Ender, a senior that wants to experience youth again. All she has to do is make it through three rentals, and the wealth and security that she so desperately wants will be hers. But when her chip malfunctions, causing the link to be broken between her renter, she discovers that her body is being used as an assassin.

"Starters" is an intense, engaging debut. From the starting paragraph, Lissa Price very expertly creates the high stakes under which Callie is forced to rent out her body. Because of her parent's death, and the lack of any living relatives, she is an unclaimed minor, at the mercy of the authorities and the dangerous lawless teens that roam the streets. With the money from being a rental, she can purchase a home and ensure the safety of her little brother, Tyler. The bond and emotion between the two characters is quickly apparent, which is essential, since much of the story is spent while Lissa is being rented.

The plot and pacing of "Starters" is fast enough that it makes up for the minor shortcomings in building the world that Callie lives in. Not much information is given about the Spore Wars, or even what the spores were. There is also brevity in the explanation of exactly how a body really can be rented by another human being and the ability to use a body autonomously from its original owner. There are also some passages, particularly dialogue at the end, that are awkwardly written and used as an info-dump in exposition. (think "and then this happened, and then, and then)

With its exciting plot twists, including an incredibly important one at the end, "Starters" kept me guessing and engaged until the very end. In fact, I read this in a single sitting one Saturday afternoon. But with several e-original short stories and the sequel, "Enders" to be released in December, you won't have to wait long for more about Callie.

"Starters" contains no swearing, very minor sexual references, and some violence; best suited for teens 12 and older.


Once a Witch
Once a Witch
by Carolyn MacCullough
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.17
87 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Just so-so, April 24, 2012
This review is from: Once a Witch (Paperback)
I enjoyed a lot of the plot and backstory, which is why I liked it well enough to publish a review. However, as you know, I am all about the characters, and I did not like Tamsin.

Tamsin immediately put me off by being at odds with her perfect older sister. Well, let me rephrase that. It's not so much that she is different from her family, but how she acts about it. Namely, a victim. Even when people try to reach out to her, she is rude and unapproachable. So, Tamsin, pick one. Either you want to be part of your family, or you don't.

One particularly confusing thing relating to Tamsin is that she smokes and drinks. I'm not sure where she's getting her cigarettes and beer from, seeing as how she is 17, under the legal age for both smoking and drinking. But, as it was, I didn't see the point in having Tamsin smoke and drink, and that further put me off.

As I mentioned before, the story was definitely there, and with some different characters in place, I think I would have liked it quite well. I was disappointed in the lack of chemistry, to say the least.


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