Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Shadow by Jenny Moss

Shadow Shadow by Jenny Moss
My rating:  4.5/5.0

Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384

** I received this book through Around the World Tours, Check out this post for more reviews of Shadow.**

My Review:

A fascinating fantasy read, I enjoyed this book throughout.

Shadow has always been just that, a shadow to the young queen who is the same age she is. She has been told to protect the queen at all costs, so she very rarely gets to move far from the queen. And the queen doesn't get to move because she has been told she will die before her official coronation. So all Shadow wants to do is explore the outside world. She cherishes moments she can spend outside, and she also treasures moments when Sir Kenway is around even though his attentions are toward the queen.

As the plot shifts and Shadow gets her wish to get away from the castle but not in the way she expects. She embarks on the adventure of a lifetime that will test her and what she thinks she wants from life. She will have to make choices on whether to put herself or others first.

It's a wonderful coming of age tale about wishing for one thing all of your life and then when you receive it, you have decisions to make and it's not all you made it out to be. Shadow has to grow up suddenly and has many decisions before her. I found her character fascinating but sometimes frustrating, but when I thought about it she acted like a child at times because she was a child. So her character was actually very well done.

The plot is mesmerizing. I read this book quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The supporting characters were also very intriguing and added a lot to the story. Shadow is a wonderful young adult read, full of a beautiful land, interesting characters and an amazing plot.

About the Book:
In a time of kings, queens, and conspiracy, it's impossible to know whom one can trust. . . .

In a kingdom far away and long ago, it was prophesied at her birth that the queen would die before her sixteenth birthday. So Shadow, an orphan girl the same age as the young queen, was given the duty to watch her every move. And as prophesies do tend to come true, the queen is poisoned days before her birthday. When the castle is thrown into chaos, Shadow escapes with a young knight, whom she believes was betrothed to the queen.

Unsure of why she is following Sir Kenway, but determined to escape as far as possible from the castle, her long-time prison, Shadow sets off on an adventure with the handsome knight who has been charged with protecting her. As mystery builds, and romantic tension does, too, Shadow begins to wonder what her role in the kingdom truly is. Soon, she learns, it is up to her to save her land.

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour and Review: Gringa in a Strange Land by Linda Dahl

Gringa in a Strange Land

Join Linda Dahl, author of the literary fiction, Gringa in a Strange Land (Robert D. Reed Publishers, January ‘10) , as she virtually tours the blogosphere in January on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

**  I received my book from the author for this book tour. **
Gringa in a Strange Land
Gringa in a Strange Land by Linda Dahl (click on cover to purchase)

My Review:

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Gringa in a Strange Land is a very interesting novel.  Erica's life is shared in a series of stories all put together to see how her life is.  I found it fascinating.  I was born in the mid-70s so I am unfamiliar with how the 70s were so it was a true eye-opener to me.  I am also unfamiliar with Mexico and learned a lot.  I realize that Erica was not symbolic of everyone in the 70s, but it does show a fictional life of someone in the 70s trying to make it in art and also dealing with men and a prescription drug addiction.

At times I felt sorry for Erica, at times I cheered for her and at times I wanted to slap her.  This book brings out all of your emotions and I think that makes it a very good book.  This was a different type of book for me to read and I enjoy stretching my boundaries.  This was a great book to do that with.

About Linda Dahl

I have always loved to write about characters, usually edgy, little-known folks with wonderful stories and talents. I love places too and music, above all jazz. As a girl, I dreamed of traveling around the world and as soon as I could, I took to the road. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of Latin American countries. After college (Latin American Studies, University of Wisconsin), I moved to the Yucatan in Mexico, and then made the pilgrimage to another foreign country called New York with a suitcase and several hundred dollars. This was in the mid-l970’s.
Finding the requisite cheap, shabby apartment (you could still do so in those days), I started writing in earnest. I had a number of ridiculous jobs to pay the rent, such as writing reviews of C- movies I never actually saw (no one else seemed to be watching them either), driving an ice-cream truck in Central park for just one day until I had a fender-bender, and writing a history of all the world’s cheese with a two-week deadline for a manic food editor. I managed also to produce novels, biographies and essays about women in jazz, and quirky travel articles about such topics as the Carmen Miranda Museum in Rio, a priestess of Candomble, a.k.a. voodoo (interview in rudimentary Portuguese), and a Mayan folk healer.
I am happy to say that most of my writing efforts have been published, well-reviewed and are still in print. My latest novel, a love-child, is “Gringa in a Strange Land,” available in January 2010.
You can visit Linda Dahl’s website at

About Gringa in a Strange Land

Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the exhilarating and confusing time of the “counterculture” in the early 1970’s.
Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture.
Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story also moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca.
A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, culminating in an unexpected resolution.

Read an Excerpt

Night came as it did every evening to Merida, lazily, gracefully. The final light through the spires and towers of the cathedral, which dominated one side of the plaza, melted into the old stones and briefly glowed on the arcades ringing the rest of the square. The plaza, smelling of old things, rustled with the dry sighs of the grey old trees mixed with the whooshing sounds of Mayan and plangent Spanish of the families resting on its benches. It spoke of an ancient harmony, and sitting to one end on “her” bench, Erica could not imagine it would ever end. People streamed continuously through the plaza with their henequen bags or the more “modern” plaid plastic bags used now for shopping. Children played, but many instead worked, as shoeshine boys, vendors of Chiclets and one-cigarette-at-a-time; round-eyed Indian girls helped their mothers sell the last of the produce. Taxi drivers stood with rounded shoulders like horses waiting for a fare. And Alonso came slowly along, in immaculate whites, absentmindedly stroking his guitar case. He sat down heavily beside Erica, looking around him with the mildest of interest—this was, after all, the city of his birth, everything was perfectly routine—and then rolled his eyes to the evening sky, a deep cobalt blue.
“You are really en la onda tonight,” Erica commented. Riding the wave. In the groove. But then, he so often looked stoned, even when he wasn’t.

Linda Dahl’s GRINGA IN A STRANGE LAND VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on January 4th and end on January 29th. You can visit Linda’s blog stops at during the month of January to find out more about this great book and talented author!

FIRST Wild Card Tour and Review: Matter: Its Properties and Its Changes by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book set of
Matter: Its Properties & Its Changes
New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (May 8, 2009)

***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

My Review:

This is another set of books like the ones I reviewed yesterday and I feel the same about this set.  I think it's a good set of books to teach children some of the science basics in an interesting a fun way.  I will be taking this set to my son's charter school for them to check out after I do some of the experiments with my sons.  The books are well-written and well thought out.  Some experiments take a lot of materials, but most can be found around the house or nearby (unlike my chemistry set when I was a child which needed a lot of things we couldn't seem to find).  I look forward to using these books to teach my boys my love of science.


Tom DeRosa left seminary and the church thinking he was throwing away his faith, but in reality he found a new religion: evolution. In 1978, Tom accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of his life. Soon after he studied biblical creation at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and came to the conclusion that a lack of knowledge of the biblical account of creation is greatly responsible for keeping many people from Christ. His commitment to breaking down those barriers is what led Tom to form Creation Studies Institute in 1988.

Carolyn Reeves, Ph.D. and her husband make their home in Oxford, Mississippi where they are active members of North Oxford Baptist Church. Carolyn retired after a 30-year career as a science teacher, finished a doctoral degree in science education, and began a new venture as a writer and an educational consultant.


The Main Book Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Perfect Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (May 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890515603
ISBN-13: 978-0890515600

The Student Journal Product Details:

List Price: $4.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (May 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 089051559X
ISBN-13: 978-0890515594
Product Dimensions: 10.6 x

The Teacher's Guide Product Details:

List Price: $4.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books; Tch edition (May 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890515611
ISBN-13: 978-0890515617


Its Properties & Its Changes

By Tom DeRosa & Carolyn Reeves

Investigation #1: The Physical Side of Chemicals

Think about this. A detective collected samples of food from the table where a victim was eating when he collapsed. The detective sent them to a crime lab. A few days later, the lab called to say they had positively identified a poison in the victim’s food that was not in anyone else’s food. Have you ever wondered how someone in the crime lab could figure out what chemicals are present in food or in someone’s blood or in something else?

The Investigative Problems:

How can the physical properties of a chemical substance be used to help identify the substance?

Gather These Things:

Iron nail
Sugar cube
Copper penny
Container of water
A piece of paraffin
Small amount of vegetable oil

Procedure & Observations

Your teacher will show you ten items. Your job is to identify one of the items on the basis of its physical properties. You should eliminate any item that doesn’t match the descriptions. These are the physical properties of the item: It is round. It is flat. You would not want to eat it. It would be hard to break. It is shiny. What is the item that has all of these properties?

Your teacher will give you some more substances to investigate, but each of these will be a pure chemical substance. They will be either an element or a compound.

Bring a magnet near each substance and observe if the magnet has an effect on it. Place each substance in a container of water and observe if it floats or sinks. Note if it is soluble (will dissolve) or insoluble (will not dissolve) in the water. Note also the color and whether it is shiny or dull. Put this information in a data table.

(sample of date table)

The Science Stuff

Physical properties are often characteristics you can see, hear, taste, smell, or feel, but may include any physical characteristics of a substance. You used some simple physical characteristics to identify one of the ten items you were first shown.

Some of the items you were shown were pure substances (like the glass), and some were a mixture of many substances (like the apple). A pure chemical substance could be either an element or a compound. (We’ll learn more about elements and compounds later.) A fragment of a pure substance would have the same properties as the whole substance. All of the basic particles in a pure substance are the same. For example, a piece of pure iron only contains particles of iron and a container of pure water only contains particles of water.

Properties such as size and shape were helpful in identifying the first items, but they are seldom considered in identifying pure chemical substances. The properties of the five pure substances listed in the chart will be present regardless of the size, shape, or amount of the substance. Scientists look for characteristics that will remain the same no matter where the chemical is found. Almost any substance can be made into a round shape, so this would not be helpful in knowing what chemical is present.

We examined physical properties of several pure substances, including the effects of a magnet, whether the substance would float or sink in water, whether the substance was soluble or insoluble in water, its color, and its shininess. There are many other properties we could have considered, such as odor, taste, density, hardness, brittleness, elasticity, melting and boiling temperatures, solubility in other liquids, conductivity of heat and electricity, and viscosity.

Making Connections

There is a huge need for methods, instruments, and trained people to identify chemical substances that are present in things. Identifying unknown chemicals is part of the study of analytical chemistry. This includes what chemical are present, their characteristics, and how much is present. There are many crime labs that hire people to help solve crimes by identifying things such as drugs, alcohol, poisons, or traces of gunpowder. Medical labs test blood and urine for the presence of many kinds of substances. Other labs help identify pollutants in the air, water, and environment. Industries must consistently monitor their products for impurities. These are only a few of the places where chemicals are analyzed.

One of the most important things any society can do is to maintain a clean source of water. During the Industrial Revolution, many factories were built next to a river so they could dump their wastes into the river. Congress eventually passed a number of laws to try and keep our water sources free of pollution. Even today, environmentalists look for better ways to prevent pesticides and other harmful chemicals from being washed into rivers and lakes after a rain.

Dig Deeper

Labs generally use both traditional methods and a variety of instruments to identify chemical substances. An instrument known as a spectroscope is often used to help analyze the chemicals in something. Do some reading about spectroscopes to find out how they work and what uses thy have.

Crime labs hire forensic scientists. What do forensic scientists do? Is there more than one kind of forensic scientist? If so, what are the different areas in which they work?

What are some of the U.S. laws that try to prevent water pollution? Do all countries have similar laws? Try to find the name of one charity whose mission is to provide clean water to people who don’t have clean water to drink.

What Did You Learn?

What are physical properties of chemical substances?
When scientists want to know what chemical substances are in an item, they seldom consider the size, shape, and amount of the item. Why is that?
Give ten examples of physical properties used by scientists to describe a chemical substance.
What is a pure chemical substance?
What are some of the things students learn about in analytical chemistry?
What are some of the main things that are don in medical labs?
How might an environmental agency use a lap that analyzes chemical substances?
Are the physical properties of pure iron the same anywhere pure iron is found?