Monday, September 22, 2014

Fairy Tale Christmas

Fairy Tale Christmas is a new book coming out by Michael and Scott McLean. The premise is both entertaining and amusing. The fairy tale villains are tired of losing! They hate that the good guys get to enjoy their happily-ever-afters while they remain miserable. Unfortunately, they can’t merely take away these endings from the heroes and heroines. These endings have to be given willingly. However, this year the villains are certain they have a full-proof plan! They are going to kidnap Santa Claus and hold him ransom!

The book has a charm that comes with it. After all, it has Santa Claus and fairy tales. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with that. I also have to commend whoever designed the cover. The story certainly has a juvenile feel to it, one that would appeal to a younger audience. Sometimes I felt like it was written for a young teenage boy audience, but every now and then I felt something else was written to appeal to female readers. The only part of the book that I worry is going to be way over a young reader’s head is the end, when they make a couple references to the musical Oliver! Seriously, how many 13-14 year-olds have seen or even heard of that musical?

But when all is said and done, the book is entertaining and has a nice storyline. Santa has a neat theory in this book that he plans to pursue to bring out the good in everyone. If you know anything about Michael McLean, you know he likes to end with everybody as happy as possible, and you can certainly count on that in this book. Overall I think this will be an enjoyable story for young readers this holiday season.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kiss it Goodbye

Kiss it Goodbye is, for a most part, a biography written by John Moody about Vernon Law. Law was a catcher on the 1960 World Series Champion team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. I say that’s what it is for the most part because Moody frequently takes a break from Law’s story to tell his own. In my opinion, that is what ruined the book.

Vernon Law (who, by the way, signed my copy of the book) was an LDS athlete who made a name for himself that year in baseball. But he never reached the Hall of Fame, nor is he well-remembered by most people. Perhaps he would have earned all this recognition, if it weren’t for one disastrous night. When his team learned they were playing in the series, they celebrated in a raucous manner and began to drink and horseplay, activities which Law would not participate in. They tried to get him to take his shirt off, and as they ganged against him, a loud pop was heard in his foot, immediately sobering the crowd. With the injury to his foot, Law was never able to pitch the same again.

There are many lessons that can be learned from Vernon Law. He instantly forgave those who hurt him. In fact, he never publicly announced who caused the injury and it took some prying from Moody to get him to reveal who did the damage. Law was a good man on and off the field, a true example of a great athlete and a moral man. Although his career ended prematurely, he never let himself become bitter.

The author ultimately reveals his purpose in writing this book: baseball helped bring his family together in a society which seemed to force his family apart. Although his family ultimately began cheering for the Yankees (terrible choice, by the way), he decided to write his book about Law because he was the author’s boyhood hero, and where his love for baseball began. In my opinion, this information could have been mentioned as a forward or introduction instead of being told throughout the book, which only distracted me from Law’s story, which is what I actually felt invested in as a reader.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Remake is an upcoming dystopian novel by Ilima Todd. The book is certain to be controversial, which is the entire purpose of it. It is a book with a message and people will take different sides in regard to it. Others will miss the message completely and will not be able to see past the storyline. I, for one, found the book to be engaging and the message to be powerful.

The book follows a character who simply goes by Nine. She is the ninth person in a batch of ten females. There are an equal number of males with her batch. For seventeen years they are raised together androgynously and on their 17th Birthday they go to a Remake facility. At this facility, they get to choose what they want to look like, what trade they will do for the rest of their lives, and what gender they would like to be.

Nine has only known this lifestyle in the city they live in called Freedom One. Everybody can do whatever they want with no consequences. There is no morality. Nightclubs with their accompanying patrons are frequent. Words like marriage, family, father, mother, etc. are not a part of their vocabulary.

However, Nine’s world changes completely when their plane crashes on its way to the remake facility. She ends up stranded on an island where she discovers a colony of rebels—rebels only because they believe in family. On the island, Nine learns about the corruption within Freedom One, and the many other Freedom cities around the world. They absolutely forbid families and do all they can to prevent them. Nine learns the value of families for herself and ultimately needs to decide whose side she will support.

This book does not beat around the bush. It clearly talks about the sacredness of marriage, physical intimacy, and the crucial roles of each gender. The author teaches these principles with contrasts, showing a distorted version in Freedom One, and then later showing the true principles found in the island colony. Readers that can’t see past the corruption of Freedom One miss the entire point of the book and its message. Our society is currently heading toward the same society of Freedom One. If we are to avoid such a future, we must stay true to the values found in the islanders’ colony.

I personally look forward to the next book.