Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Anne Fadiman has written a book that sheds light on such an important topic. Immigrants - how do we assimilate them into our culture fairly and tenderly?? She tackles this with much thought and research in her book: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. It truly is a heart-wrenching story - the true story of Lia, a very young Hmong child, that is living with her family in the U.S. and has severe medical issues that cause her to visit the hospital monthly, if not sometimes weekly. Doctors are baffled, communication is tough, and tensions are high between parents and doctors. It is an honest read - a bit slow at times for me as there was a lot of medical jargon - but I am glad I kept reading. There is hope and it is a book that truly gets you thinking....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Touch blue

I have been a fan of Cynthia Lord since Rules - Touch blue, her latest, did not disappoint!! Lord places a strong emphasis on family in her novels - and I think that is just "key" for our readers. I suggest her books liberally to our younger readers - and even some older ones too - they are loved by all ages.

Touch blue is the story of families that live on an island - an island that may have to close its school because their numbers of children are WAY down. SO, a plan is devised for families to foster children from the mainland in order to raise their numbers and save their school. We follow the Brooks' family as they bring in a 13 year old boy, Aaron. It is so tender - it is a great picture of the foster care system and the positives and negatives. It is honest and humorous all at the same time. Cynthia Lord is magnificent!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's On Your Nightstand?

It is that time - time to update what is waiting to be read. So here is What's On My Nightstand:

*The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman - I am halfway through this one. It is interesting to me - the whole story - but it is laborious. Someone encourage me to finish it!!!

*Red Letters by Tom Davis - Next to read!!

*Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes - Next Fiction to read.

*Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman - can't wait!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad

Shari Braendel has been touted as the "fashion fairy godmother" and I LOVE that title!! In her book, Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, she gives style tips from clothing to hair to swimsuits to accessorizing - all based on your body type. I appreciated that she is not out to "break the bank" but gives great ideas on how to look good and still look stylish while staying within your budget. Another wonderful thing she focuses on is accepting and appreciating the body God gave you and how to look the best you can with that body type. It isn't about changing your body - but accepting it and working with it - I like that refreshing opinion!

Make sure and check out this worthwhile read - LOTS of good tips. OH, and don't miss her contest either -

Fashion Makeover Contest
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Complete and submit the entry form at FashionMeetsFaith, Shari Braendel FaceBook page, Zondervan FaceBook page, or Zondervan Twitter account between August 9, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. (EST) and August 28, 2010 at 5:00 p.m (EST).

First Prize: One Winner will receive . . .
One $500 Visa gift card, one web camera, one-hour fashion consultation with Shari Braendel via Skype, one set of color swatches, and one autographed copy of Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value: $600. The fashion consultation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the winner and Ms. Braendel on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between September 15 and November 15, 2010.

Second Prize: Three Winners will receive . . .
One $100 Visa gift card, one 30-minute fashion consultation with Shari Braendel via telephone, one set of color swatches, and one autographed copy of Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value: $450. The fashion consultation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the winner and Ms. Braendel on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between September 15 and November 15, 2010.

Third Prize: Ten Winners will receive . . .
One autographed copy of Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value $150.
For complete details, visit Shari's website.

Other sites posting a review on this blog tour:
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
4 The Love of Books
About dreams and broken glass
Aspire2 Blog
Be Your Best Mom
Blog Tour Spot
Blogging While Waiting
Book Junkie Confessions
Book Nook Club
Bound to His Heart
Cafe Lily Book Reviews
Camy’s Loft
Carly Bird’s Home
Christy’s Book Blog
Deus E Fiel
Drive Home Productions
Fresh Brewed Writer
His Reading List
In The Pages
Joyful Beginnings Begin with Joy in the Morn
Life’s Like This
Literary Fan Girl
Mocha with Linda
Musings by Lynn
My Alabaster Box
My Reason is God
Next in Dianaland
Paper Bridges
Querido Deus, Obg Por Me Exportar
Refresh My Soul
Sunflower Faith
Sunny Days
The 160-acre Woods
The Gospel Writer
The Writing Road
This Mom’s Delight
Uma Pirralha Na Universidade
Word Up Studies

**I was provided a copy of this book for review by Zondervan Publishing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lucky Baby

Meredith Efken has written, Lucky Baby, a tender story of Chinese adoption. This was an especially tough one for me to read as it tells the story of two little girls that form a very close bond in the orphanage in China and are torn apart when one of them is adopted. The story hits on some very powerful aspects of adoption - feelings that adoptive parents, adopted children, and even foster parents face in the world of adoption. It also gives insight into the "older child" adoption which seems to be not as prevalent in fiction. The story was wonderfully-written, compelling, and yet hard to turn the pages sometimes. The story was so real that it hurt to read at points. You can tell that Efken is an adoptive mom that feels strongly about adoption and knows her information regarding adoption. Truly a great read.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bubba Goes National

I love blog tours - always a chance to find a new author - and this one is a good one! Jennifer Walker has written Bubba Goes National. I think our middle school readers are going to really enjoy this one - it is all about horses. We find it hard to locate new, strong, horse fiction AND a little budding romance thrown in. I think our young teens will like it. Here is what has been said about the book:
Thirteen-year-old Leslie Clark has loved horses for as long as she can remember and has been riding since she was six. Although her widowed father cannot afford to give her everything she desires, she works hard to get what she wants. When what she wants, a great horse to show, is taken right out from under her by her rival, Kate Wellesley, Leslie thinks her whole world has been turned upside down--until she finds Lucky (nicknamed Bubba by her father, who thinks he is funny). Then, everything changes.

Readers of Bubba Goes National will be touched by an inspiring story, but they will also learn about the care and showing of horses while they read about Leslie's adventures. Sandwiched in is a lesson that if one is willing to work hard, they can make their dreams come true. Bubba Goes National is the first of the Riders of Green Meadowseries, which will showcase horses that are unwanted by one person but are another's dream come true.
It's true - it's a good read, one I really think our young teens will go for! My only complaint - SO many kids are turned on or off by covers - I wish this one was stronger. I will really have to "sell" it without the cover!!! It's also Book One in a series - I'm excited about that - a horse series that I think our girls will be excited about.

**I was sent a copy for review by Pump Up Your Book.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Download N Go

I am always on the lookout for homeschooling materials that are new and different. (Oh yes, and FUN too - my kids always appreciate that!!) When I was asked to join the virtual tour for Download N Go - I had no idea what I was even reviewing at first. When I opened my PDF, I was in for a delightful surprise. I just LOVE this whole idea. Amanda Bennett, has created all different units for parents to use with their kids that are based on many different topics. They are geared to K-4th Grade students and include a wide range of ideas. I was sent "Summer Sensations" - which is a week-long unit study packed with fun things to do that all center around summer. I was impressed - the study includes nature activities, writing, and more - it really is a full-curriculum approach. I think my daughter would LOVE this, but my boys would have enjoyed it in their younger years as well. It is well-rounded and a fun approach to unit studies. I would gladly pay for the work Amanda Bennett put into her studies - and I like how you can choose to buy them separately or in bundles - great idea!! See purchasing options HERE. (There are even some freebies when you purchase!!) I will also mention that they are having a Back-to-Homeschool Sale July 30 - August 15. So don't miss some of the great deals available during that time.

I don't want to limit this to homeschoolers either - I do think teachers would LOVE the ideas and find them very adaptable to classrooms as well.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I read Shiver awhile back so when I saw that Linger was out I knew I'd need to satiate my curiosity and read it as well. Maggie Steifvater has written a series on the Wolves of Mercy Falls - a werewolf pack that lives and makes its den near Mercy Falls - Sam, one of the werewolves, meets up with Grace while in his human form and falls in love with her. Grace, a teenage girl, is drawn to the wolf pack and Sam as well. At the end of Shiver, Sam finds a cure and is able to stay human and continue his relationship with Grace. Now, in Linger, we see Grace and Sam able to stay together and live a normal life, until Grace becomes quite ill....

I won't give anything away, but I was surprised - wasn't what I thought was going to happen! And now, yes, I am awaiting another book in the series to help clear things up a bit!! Stiefvater has created interesting characters that you come to enjoy. I will say that I would give these to mature YA readers only - although there is no sex per-se, the scenes are intense and emotions are high. Language is also an issue in her books - so I am careful who I recommend them to. All-in-all, good stories, kept me interested and waiting for #3!!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I was taken with this book from the start. Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland has been a favorite for almost one hundred and forty-five years now. Truly it is one of the most beloved children's stories of all time. This book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is the text that we have come to know and love with illustrations by many different artists. That is what I enjoyed so much about this book - it is looking at the story the way countless artists have imagined the story - all together in one book. I loved looking through this and can't wait to share it with others.

*I was provided a copy for review from Chronicle Books.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Handy Law Answer Book

David L. Hudson Jr. has written a book that I have been working my way through and finding incredibly useful. The Handy Law Answer Book is not a sit-down-and-read-for-enjoyment book, but it will answer so many law questions that I find it one I will highly recommend to our library patrons. It covers so much - from how our law system evolved to how laws affect you as a citizen of the United States. It is a great reference tool that covers a vast amount of information. Here are just some of the questions and answers you will find in this comprehensive book:

*Where did the word "tort" come from?
*How are state court judges selected?
*Where did the first U. S. Supreme Court meet?
*How does the law define "marriage"?
*What should you do if facing too much debt?
*What is a "wobbler"?

Great tool - highly recommend this one!

** I was sent a copy for review by Visible Ink Press.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sylvan Dell's Latest

Another box I never tire of is Sylvan Dell's latest releases. I LOVE their focus on Science and Math and the supporting materials they offer. Their website is just loaded with great resources for teachers and parents - really, they are NOT to be missed!

Their latest titles are:

Ready, Set...Wait! by Patti R. Zelch. This is an interesting book - all about what the animals do to prepare for hurricane. Something I have not considered before, but based on research and observations, Zelch describes what animals of all types may do when a hurricane is coming. Really an interesting read - one that kids will enjoy. (Ages 4-9)

A Day on the Mountain by Kevin Kurtz. GREAT read on the habitat of the mountain. You meet animals but also explore the plants that one can find on this interesting location. Erin Hunter's illustrations are beautiful and lend authenticity to this title. (Ages 4-9)

Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann. What can I say - I do enjoy Janet Halfmann!! She never ceases to write books that kids just enjoy. This is a sweet story of Sophia - a little girl who wants to make clothes for each of her animal friends - but seeing that they won't work - she then decides to make just the right coat for each of them. Each animal proceeds to tell her what they need in a coat and thus begins the wonderful teaching of animal coverings and even animal classification brought to life in a fun, readable way! (Ages 4-9)

Astro: The Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey. This is a fun story of Astro, a sea lion that is cared for and raised at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. This is a true story that will make you cheer for Astro. When the Mammal Center eventually decides to let him go back into the wild - Astro has other ideas, he just keeps coming back to the center and will not stay in the ocean. You will enjoy this story and learn about sea lions in the process! (Ages 4-9)

Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! by Sherry North. This is a story that so many will relate to - whether you need a book explaining the effects of cancer or a story for a little child that has lost someone to cancer - this is a great starting point. When this young boy's dog develops cancer, children can follow along to learn the treatments and feelings that may go along with this disease. It is a tender story that children will come back to - one we can really use with kids that need an "understanding read"! (Ages 4-9)

**All of these titles were provided to me for review on this blog.

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