Category Archives: TomiN

Marley and Me reviewed by Tomi Nelson

From: The inside of the book.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house, and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow fur ball of a puppy. Life would never be quite the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good- Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was their when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning the hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.

Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

So most people have seen this movie right? Yes, but have they read the book? Most likely not, let me ask them this. Do they know the feeling of losing their best friend while watching them suffer after spending being with them their whole life almost? This is the idea put into the awarding winning novel Marley and Me by John Grogan. Well I decided to read it myself and it was one amazingly heartfelt book throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and touching conflict.

The interaction of the characters is just so unbelievable. There are so many characters in this book, but the two that really caught my eye was mainly John Grogan and his puppy Marley. John is a journalist that has found deep love and care for Marley even though he goes through many life challenges with him. Marley is one destructive and energetic puppy that grows into an even more destructive dog, but is also very lively and loyal to his owner. He teaches John many life lessons and the value of friendship. Yes I know it’s crazy, but it’s true. I find it hard to believe that anybody wouldn’t fall in love with these two throughout this novel.

The amazing plot is really what got me and led me to keep reading. I didn’t really expect anything that happened in this book, but I liked the way it kept me on the edge and wanting to know. It all started out with the lovely married couple John and Jenny and it was only ten months after their marriage that they decided to little lovable puppy to have as their own. That’s not how it turned out though because not long after they got the puppy that they thought if they should get rid of him or not. Well they decided to keep him even though he was described as the worst dog ever. None of this mattered in the end after having three children and having a family that loved him no matter what happened. I believe if anybody was to read this book that they would fall with the plot as much as I did.

The touching conflict really got ahold of my heart because I had so many ways to connect to it. The way they used the dog in the story made me think of a dog I use to have and all the obstacles we went through together. When Marley becomes very weak and ill I love the way how the whole family sticks by his side. Marley goes through so many obstacles in his life leading up to his illness like getting to mess up things around the house as a puppy, especially when he was alone. John and Kelly along with the three children that come along throughout the story fell in love with this dog at first sight and couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. So I believe who ever reads this book will connect to it just as much as I did.

Overall I thoroughly loved this book and was so heartbroken when I got to the end. So to anyone who has watched the movie or not I really recommend that they read the book because it will get them more than the movie ever will. Also if there are any pet lovers out there I’m sure this book will grad ahold of your heart throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and toughing conflict. I would have to say that John Grogan created one amazing award wining novel.



Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, Reviewed by Tomi Nelson

From the back of the book:                        

“Dust pile up like snow across the prairie…”

  A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo’s life, scarring her inside out. Her mother is gone. Her father can’t talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better – playing the piano – is impossible with her wounded hands.

  To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from  the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma – and in the surprising landscape of  her own heart.

Imagine feeling like your all alone in this world, or even being blamed for your own mothers tragic death. I know I can’t even begin the thought of any of that, nor taking the blame. Could you? What about the fear of being left in the darkness by the dust? No, I don’t believe anybody could unless they are left in the situation, but this is the exact idea  put into the award winning novel Out of the dust by Karen Hesse. This book tells the story of a young freckle faced girl named Billie Jo who faces these situations. There are so many things to say about this book, but I believe that the life – like tone, jaw dropping conflict and characters is what I enjoyed the most about it.

The life – like tone of this book is really what put me into it and what made me feel like I was a part of it. The author wrote it in the tine as if the reader was the main character, to me anyways. Some parts of this novels tone made me so emotional and on the edge of my seat cause of its hints of the tone was so real. One example of this on the story would be when Billie Jo is explaining the feelings while she plays the the piano at the Palace for Arley Wanderdale. It gives me the feeling of when I play my clarinet in front of a crowd of people, that took a lot of connection to get to that point to. It’s amazing how the tone of this book affects the whole point and I’m sure if anybody was to read it they would feel the same way with many parts of this novel.

The jaw dropping conflict is what really caught me and led me to keep on reading it because I wasn’t expecting it at all. The conflicts that are put up against Billie Jo are just so unbelievable; I don’t know how she got through it. One of the biggest one though is her Ma dying along with her little brother Fredrick, but what makes it worst is she is blamed for it. People ignore everything that happened except for what she did and only pointing out her mistake. With the pain of losing a mother and a brother, she’s slowly losing her father. That’s not all though, her hands are wounded from the accident and she can’t do the one thing she loves without being in pain. With this conflict and so many others like no rain for long period of times, and the dust destroying everything around it, I’m sure that any reader will love the conflict of this novel.

The characters was such a good choice for this book because I don’t think I could even think  of any different characters to put in this novel, they fit so well together. There’s Billie Jo who is a long – legged girl, with a wide mouth, and cheekbones like bicycle handles. A redheaded, freckle – faced, narrow hipped girl with a fondness for apples, and a hunger to playing fierce piano. Bayard Kelby (Billie Jo’s dad) stands tall like Billie Jo, has blondy-red hair and high cheeks rugged with wind. He is very uncommunicative, never gives up on rain, and was a dutiful husband. Mad Dog (Billie Jo’s friend) a blue eyed boy, who sings with a smooth voice with Arley Wanderdale and his band. He respects Billie Jo and didn’t see her nothing other than than the girl she was. These are the three main characters that show up the most in this story and you will love how you connect with them throughout the story.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and when I got to the end I was wishing there was more, but there wasn’t. So to anyone who might be thinking about reading this book I really recommend it to anyone who loves a book that keeps you thinking and on the edge of your seat. I’m sure anybody who reads this book will love it from the first word to the last. Through the life – like tone, jaw dropping conflict, and the characters, Karen Hasse created the award winning novel Out of the Dust.






The Outsiders by S.E Hinton,Reviewed by Tomi Nelson


 Ponyboy can count on his brothers an his friends,but not on much else besides  trouble with  socs, a visious gang  of rich kids who  get away with everything, including beating up greasers like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect,until the night some one takes things to far.

 Are you afriad to walk down the own streets of your neighborhood becaue  there are people  out there  that  want to hurt you? Probably not,but  this is basically the problem   that Pony boy  Curtis  faces everyday.  He is a greaser and  the  Socs  are out  to get him and any other greaser they might come upon. This is the idea that put in  the novel The Outsiders by   S.E Hinton, which  tells   the story  of a young  boy who faces many opsticals in life. While I throughly enjoyed  this novel, I mostly enjoyed  the unigue  setting,the heart  warming  theme, and the  amazing  conflict.

I mostly enjoyed  the  unigue  setting  because  of the  time  period.The time  period  is between   1900-70’s and  I  know this  because  how  they dress and the way they wear  their  hair. It  was when the  greasers and socs  were  at conflict with eachother all the time. The  setting also has a big  effect on the story and puts  everything  into place,  for  example  the night when Ponyboy and one  of  his friens  go  to a drive in movie, which is another hint  on the time  period. I’m sure  if  you read  the  book you  will enjoy  the  setting as  much as Idid.

Secondly, I enjoyed the heart warming theme, but just like any  other book, this  book doesn’t just have one. So I’m going to talk about one that really caught my eyes, and that  would be  friendship, which is put with Ponyboy, Johnny Cade and Dallas Winston. These three  boys don’t really know eachother, neither are they the best of  friends but they are put through so much  together, and  not  one time  did they  leave eachothers side. What they probably  didn’t know that’s a true  friends, which Johnny  and Dallas were  already  pretty good friends.That fact doesn’t matter  because all three of them were  there  for  eachother through so much even if  things didn’t  turn out right . I’m sure if you read this book the theme  will touch your heart like it did mine.

Lastley, I enjoyed  the amazing conflict because it kept me on the edge of my seat and  didn’t leave me  hanging hanging  there either. The conflict started with Ponyboy  and Johnny  when a bad  night just gets worst after Bob(one of the Socs)trys to choke Ponyboy. Johnny saves him and gets Bob off of him, but something tragic happens. They go  to  Dallas for help,who gives  them fifty dollars,a change of clothes and a  loaded  gun. They headed to Windrixville by train to  an abandoned  church upon the hill to wait  for Dallas. When Dallas arrived the  three of them stayed with eachother through thick and thin til the end.

Overall  I  throughly loved this  book,and recommend this for  anyone who loves a thriller with a  side of  emotional parts. This loved this book from the first word to the very, and I thought it was just going to leave hanging  there til “BOOM”,then it all just went down hill for. This book is amazing through the use of an unique  setting,a heart warming theme, an  an amazing conflict,S.E Hinton  created an award  winning  book The  Outsiders.






Runner by Carl Deuker Reviewed, by Tomi Nelson

From the back of the novel Runner:


 One step away from homeless and hunger, Chance Taylor worries about things other kids his age never give a second thought. Where will the money come from fort the electricity bill and grocery bill? When a new job falls his way, Chance jumps at the opportunity, becoming a runner who picks up strange packages. Chance knows how much he will earn, what he doesn’t know is how much he will pay.


 Suspenseful, fast paced, and timely this novel avoids easy answers as it examines issues of terrorism and patriotism, fear and courage, and lives of privilege and poverty.


Have you ever had to make an adult decision and your still only a teenager? Chance Taylor in the novel Runner does it every day of his life, just so he’ll have a place to live, or even food to eat. I doubt anybody who reads this book review has ever had to do anything like that, but I never know. Just think about it. How would it feel to live with your alcoholic father who can’t keep a steady job and you live on a boat? A mother who abandoned you and you has no clue where she’s at? This is the vey challenge Chance s put against in this novel. While I enjoyed this fast-paced and suspenseful story, I mostly enjoyed the unique setting, the touching theme and the amazing conflict.


I enjoyed the unique setting set in this book, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one like this one before. Chance and his father Jack Taylor live on a boat at Pier B of Seattle at the sound, but it’s not what you think. When you hear the sentence,” I live on a boat”. You might think of a big yacht or even a house boat, but no this boat is nothing big. It’s a boat called the Tiny Dancer and I’m surprised myself that they can even live on it where it’s so small.


Secondly, I enjoyed the touching theme within this book, and there are a few. I’m only to talk about one particular and this comes straight out of the book,” I’ve read about kids who hate their parents for being alcoholics’. Chance never really got that, even though his dad is an on and off alcoholic and can’t even take care of him, barely himself. Chance says,” It’d be like hating a wounded animal for being wounded, which makes no sense at all”. That’s very true too, and his dad doesn’t give up as I said up there,” on and off alcoholic”. I wrote that meaning he gets himself cleaned up and ready for job interviews, but when it doesn’t go very well he goes right back to his alcohol. So when Chance has so much to hate his dad for he doesn’t.


Lastly, I enjoyed the amazing conflict towards Chance. He goes through so much with his father, making him have no choice to find a job. He started out washing dishes on the weekends at Ray’s restaurant, a fancy fish place right down from Pier B. Then he quits his job when he is offered a suspicious job from the fat guy in the marina office that pays good money. He asked if he wanted to run his normal route that he runs every day, which is out to the locks, over the magnolia, back along the marina, through Golden Garden Park and then onto the beach. Chance to the job and gets paid two hundred dollar just to carry a backpack and picking up a black and red package in the nooks and crannies of the boulders of a big maple tree, where he stops and stretches. He puts it in the backpack not knowing what’s in them, and the red ones he stores on the Tiny Dancer like he’s told to do. Chance never knows what’s in them until one day he takes a look inside after everything had happened to the fat guy.


Overall I enjoyed this novel and wish there was more to it, but there’s not. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, not know what’s going to happen, making you think about so many things about life. I promise you if you read this book there won’t be any setting the book down, if you’re like me anyways. Through the unique setting, touching theme and the amazing conflict, the novel Runner by Carl Deuker is one amazing book.