Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The People Code

Author: Dr. Taylor Hartman
Pages: 301
Rating: G

In his life-changing book, Dr. Taylor Hartman introduces you to the People Code and why people do what they do. The concept of Motive is a fresh method for analyzing your own innate personality as well as that of those around you. You then have the ability to utilize that knowledge to improve workplace and personal relationships. As an author, psychologist, and leadership coach, Dr. Hartman offers a remarkably astute system for segmenting everyone into specific Motive-types denoted by a color: Red (power wielders), Blue (do-gooders), White (peacekeepers), and Yellow (fun lovers). He then explains how to ensure that all possible alliances between them function at optimum effectiveness. If you struggle with self-acceptance and have questions about why you and others act the way you do, Dr. Hartman and The People Code can help you maximize your life success by improving your day-to-day relationships.

My Thoughts: I have read a lot of books that claim to be able to tell me all about my personality and why I act the way I do (Birth Order Book, anyone?). However, I must say, this is the best so far. I felt like I actually really resonated with my color (blue) and can see how my actions throughout my life have reflected my driving motive (intimacy). I love how after you figure out your color, there's a full description of the positive and negative traits of each color so that you can really see who  you are. Even if the quiz at first is inconclusive, reading through the descriptions helps a lot. At first I was unsure what color I truly was, but after reading more, I realized I am definitely blue. I thought it was just fascinating, and gave me so many insights about how to interact with others and what to expect from various relationships. I can't give this book enough thumbs up. Like I said, I've read MANY personality analysis books, and I've done those "color tests" they make you do in school or sometimes the work place, and nothing has helped me understand myself better than this book has. You can take the test for free online, if you want. I highly, highly recommend this book. It has a chapter in the back for employers and another one for educators to see how these concepts can be applied in a work setting. I think it's also invaluable to parents. Give this a try! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Pages: 451
Rating: PG (There is some fighting and scary stuff happening, a few people almost die, although no one actually does. I would definitely say this is for ages 9 and up)

Summary:In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island, and orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil. Best-selling authors Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have turned back the clock to reveal the wonderful story that preceded J. M. Barrie's beloved Peter Pan. Peter and the Starcatchers is brimming with richly developed characters, from the scary but somehow familiar Black Stache and ferocious Mister Grin to the sweet but sophisticated Molly and fearless Peter. Page after page of riveting adventures takes readers of all ages on a voyage from a filthy, crime-ridden port in old England across the turbulent sea. Aboard the Never Land is a trunk that holds the "greatest treasure on earth"-  but is it gold, jewels or something far more mysterious and dangerous?

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! Basically, it's a prequel to Peter Pan, and I love it. It's simply written, in very short chapters, so easily manageable for kids, and also has an occasional illustration. Just as a disclaimer, it IS part of a series of what looks like 4 books, BUT I felt that this book stood on it's own very well, with a very satisfying ending. I don't feel anxious to go out and read the other books. I felt like after I finished this one it's very easy to go straight from this book to the story of Peter Pan with nothing else in between.

Peter is with a group of orphan boys being sent across the sea to become slaves for a rather terrifying king. However, there is a strange trunk aboard the ship, that seems to have some sort of magical powers, and Peter is determined to find out what it is. No sooner does he do so when their ship is overtaken by pirates. A battle ensues for possession of the trunk and it's contents, and we learn where Peter Pan gets his power to fly, his fairy Tinker Bell, and his rivalry with Captain Hook. Definitely a fun book to read! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Rithmatist

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Pages: 370
Rating: PG - there are a few murders, and some descriptions of how chalklings kill (by slowly eating off a person's flesh)

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity's only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing―kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery―one that will change Rithmatics―and their world―forever.

My Thoughts: First off - if you're a Sanderson fan, you know his novels are normally very long and for adults. This one is intended for teens. Also, before you read any further, you should know it doesn't stand on it's own. This book came out in 2013, but it says "To be continued" at the end, and from what I've researched online, its sequel is not scheduled to be released until sometime in 2017!! It's unclear whether there will just be one sequel or if it will be a trilogy or more. However, the main mystery in the book (the disappearing students) IS solved before the book ends, there's just clearly more to it, and there are several plot points that aren't fully developed, which I assume will get their time in the next book.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. Sanderson really has a gift of coming up with new worlds and new storylines no one has ever imagined before. This book is set in a kind of alternate America - it's a group of islands instead of one big land mass. Sanderson also references a few historical figures that are familiar to the average reader (such as Leonardo da Vinci), but he changes their stories/historical contributions slightly to fit in with his alternate reality, which is kind of fun. I enjoyed reading this, and trying to guess who was behind the kidnappings. I didn't even come close! It was a surprise ending for sure, but also a satisfying one. I do recommend this book, but wish I had waited to read it until the sequel came out. By the time I get to it I'm sure I'm going to have forgotten everything about this book!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Women of Duck Commander

Author: Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica, and Lisa Robertson with Beth Clark
Pages: 260
Rating: G

In the pages of this book, you'll find both fun and inspirational stories . . .

Kay shares the honest story of her relationship with Phil--and his wild and philandering years--and the challenges of being a teenage mother. Even more amazing, she shares the forgiveness she offered Phil and how they have now celebrated forty-eight years of marriage.

Korie tells of her first encounter with Phil when she was in just the fifth grade. At that first meeting Phil came right out and told her what good husbands his boys would make and that she should keep an eye on them. She also shares the reaction her parents had when she told them that she and Willie were getting married when she was only eighteen.

Missy tells the story of their daughter, Mia, who was born with a cleft palate, and their adjustments to this condition and Mia's joyful spirit that inspires them all.

Jessica recounts her first conversation with Jep and how unimpressed she was when Jep bragged that his dad was the Duck Commander Phil Robertson. She told him she'd heard of Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, and Duck, Duck, Goose-- but not the Duck Commander.

Lisa reveals the serious marriage problems she and Al had--problems that almost ended their marriage for good--and how they worked through those issues to have a more stable and loving marriage than she ever imagined possible.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! I love Duck Dynasty, it's the main show I miss now that we don't have Cable anymore. For a little while, 1 season of it was on Netflix, but it's gone now and that makes me sad. I really enjoyed reading about this family! They are so humble, have so much faith, and they love each other so much! In the TV show, you don't hear quite as much about their faith, but in the book it really comes out. They are all devoted Christians, and they'll share with anyone who will listen. I particularly loved reading about all the problems Miss Kay had in her young marriage. To look at them now, you think their life is just roses, but it went through some serious rocky patches. Many women would have left their husbands, but Kay stuck it out and now their marriage is, as Phil would say, "Happy, happy, happy!" It was inspiring.

The one drawback to this book was that sometimes they reference things that apparently you should know about already? Maybe they're described in detail in other books? They only vaguely describe what went on and it left me feeling like I didn't get the whole story. So I guess I need to read the other books.

But in all, I just really loved to learn more about this family, more about what makes them work, and how dedicated they are to their faith and their family happiness. They talk so much about how it's not things that make you happy, but people. I love that.