Upon Review: Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

September 4th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

Five Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

In a future where growing your own food is against the law, three young friends risk their safety by studying the illegal subject of gardening. The children’s mentor, an elderly acquaintance named Ana, entices the children with her description of the food she knew as a child–food unlike the square, processed, packaged food they have always known. Constantly watching, however, is GRIM, the government agency that controls the nation’s food source and keeps in check all potential troublemakers. 

When Clare and Dante return home one day to find their tomato plant seized, and their mother jailed, they bolt, leaving behind Lily and Ana. Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom?  And can they, only children, help change the world?

The Good…

This was very fast read. In fact, I finished it in one afternoon, which, imho, means this would be the perfect length for younger readers. I also loved that the kids in the story weren’t dumbed down, but neither were they “gritty.” The use of scripture in the story was spare enough to feel necessary, yet used often enough to mark the book as Christian. Along with that is level of teaching. I feel that any young person who picks this book up will naturally pick up on the wonder of growing food.

The Not-so-good…

While the level of teaching is high in this book, there were a few places where the story was bogged down by information overload. However, those were few and did not make me want to put the book down and walk away.

The Overall…

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith was a wonderful read that I plan to share with my science-loving, question-asking daughter and would highly recommend to other parents.

Upon Review: The Last Werewolf Hunter: The Complete Series by William Woodall

July 14th, 2012

Last Werewolf Hunter, William WoodallI love to request free books to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex, but sometimes authors contact me for a review. Such was the case of William Woodall’s middle grade fiction book The Last Werewolf Hunter: The Complete Series.

Here is the description that made me want to write this book review:

Zach Trewick always thought he’d become a writer someday, or maybe play baseball for the Texas Rangers.  What he never imagined in his craziest dreams was that he’d find himself dodging bullets and crashing cars off mountainsides, let alone that he’d ever be expected to break the ancient werewolf curse which hangs over his family.

Even worse, his parents are determined to fight him tooth and nail to keep the Curse intact, his friends are not much help, and he’s not quite sure his girlfriend isn’t secretly trying to kill him. 

And that’s just for starters.

But Zach is the last of the werewolf hunters, the long-foretold Curse-Breaker who can wipe out the wolves forever, and he’s not the type to give up just because of a few minor setbacks. . .

No matter what the cost, Zach must somehow find the courage and the faith in God to make an end.

The Good…

As I read these stories, I was struck by how much they felt like a paranormal version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. The voice had that down-to-earth, southern charm that instantly makes the reader feel like she’s listening to a friend tell a tall tale on the back porch or perhaps lying next to the young man on the cover, listening to his life story.

The conflicts in each of the stories were rather simple and easily resolved by the characters, though they do grow increasingly challenging in each book. This was something I thought was perfect for the age range the books are written for.

Along with a compelling story is a strong message of a young person finding and growing into an understanding of his relationship with God. Due to the character voice, the Christian message comes off as a sharing of ideas rather than a sermon and adds to the charm of the entire series.

The Not-so-good…

The only thing I could really find fault with is the overuse of cliches. However, given the main character’s background it’s a natural extension of his personality and therefore acceptable.

The Overall…

In my opinion the combination of down-to-earth story-telling in a classic style and near effortless conflict resolution made The Last Werewolf Hunter: The Complete Series by William Woodall a perfect middle grade read.