Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lifeboat

The cover is what caught me on this one - Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat is Rogan's debut fiction.  I had read fabulous reviews and although I thought it was good - it did not ever "catch" me.  HOWEVER, I did keep reading until I conquered it!  And I am glad I did - the story is quite different from anything I've read - 40 some people on a lifeboat after their ocean liner has an explosion in the summer of 1914.  It is quite a study in psychology and personalities - very intriguing.  You see personalities and conflicts explode on this small lifeboat - as well as the overall goodness of man.  It culminates with the trial that Grace Winter has to go through after they are rescued as she is charged with murder.  Again - an interesting twist on a very different storyline!  I just felt it got a little long - although I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, it just didn't do enough to keep me glued to the pages.  I would love to hear what others thought though - so if you've read it - leave a comment - maybe I can be convinced otherwise!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Sylvan Dell by my Favorite Guest Blogger

I asked my resident guest blogger, Hillary, if she would be willing to read a couple of Sylvan Dell books for me and blog about them - fortunately we agree - you can't get much better than Sylvan Dell!! :)
Here is her review!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Fit Learning

When I was asked to review Summer Fit Learning - I was excited!  I am always looking for something to keep my girls learning in the summer - and we had not heard of Summer Fit before.  My second grader is SO excited to work in this workbook and I am excited as well.  This is a well-thought-out program.  Each day begins with exercises that you can do by watching the videos on Summer Fit's website.  From there, you move to math skills and reading skills with some science and social studies mixed in.  I think this is such a well-rounded curriculum - not so long that the kids will think they are in school all day, but enough to keep their skills strong for the upcoming school year.  And as a librarian, I love that there are book lists included at the end of each week!  What a great plan for our summer!!

Make sure and check out their Facebook page!


*I was sent a copy for review purposes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Defending Jacob

Previous to this, I had not read anything by William Landay.  But I picked up his latest book, Defending Jacob, and I do believe my jaw is STILL wide open - even finishing a week ago!  This book was not my typical read - I tend to not go to trial/lawyer stuff - it usually gets too deep into law for me.  But this one was a riveting read - kept me going right from the start!  It is the story of Jacob, a 14 year old boy, charged with murder of a school mate - BUT Jacob is also the son of Andy Barber, the assistant district attorney for more than 20 years.  There are twists all throughout this novel - and you really get involved as you can relate to the narrator, Andy, as he battles the doubt, fear, and worries that any parent would encounter going through a court case like this.  I truly enjoyed this novel - it was tough but real.  What leaves my jaw sagging is the ending - NO SPOILERS HERE - but if you read it - please leave a comment - I mean really, that's the end!?!?!?  I demand a sequel!!!

Pick it up - it is well worth the read!  It is a murder/thriller that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Monday, May 21, 2012

God Helps Me Bible

Yes, there are a lot of children's Bibles out on the market - and yes, you've looked at many of them if you are anything like me, BUT, I have a new one that I think you will find fun for that "younger" crowd!  The God Helps Me Bible by Juilet David is a new release by Candle Books that is quite clever.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the spiral binding - WONDERFUL for our beginning readers!  AND, the illustrations, by Clare Caddy, are sweet and tender - perfect for a child's Bible.  And here's my favorite part - I love how every Bible story points back to God - how God helped each person in the Bible to accomplish His tasks.  Our little ones need that God-focus - that is where we want them focused anyway - on the One that makes it all possible!  The stories are simple for our young ones but yet they are hearing God's Word even at an early age.  I think this Bible is a delight for families with little ones - do not miss it!!

*I was sent a copy for review purposes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Turning Guilt Trips Into Joy Rides

I needed this book!  Because I will admit - it is easy to load on the guilt - I am THE MASTER of that!!  Don't get me wrong - I'm not about loading it onto others but I load that guilt right onto myself.  So when I saw this blog tour I felt it was perfect for me.  Turning Guilt Trips Into Joy Rides by Shirley Brosius, Janine Boyer and Kim Messinger is a book that highly encouraged me!  This book is set up into 183 very short devotions - less than a page in length - but packed with thoughts that hit right to home.  And each is followed by scripture or prayers to encourage you to get your focus on God - where it should be.  I would recommend this book - it was easy to swallow and digest and PACKED with wisdom!  We need that, as women, to be reminded that guilt is not necessary - let's live in grace!

Guilt! She pokes you as you write about your quaint, eccentric aunt. She grabs you as you wander from e-mail to Facebook to laundry instead of focusing on your work. She kicks you as you complain about your husband to a friend. Have you noticed? Women seem riddled with guilt. And it’s hard to know if guilt is legitimate or simply a product of our imaginations. After all, should we really feel guilty about things over which we have no control? We are not perfect. We have no control over some things, so it's no use feeling guilty. We can't do it all. To celebrate the release of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides, Shirley, Janine and Kim are giving away some great prizes during the blog tour. Share your own "guilt trip" or "joy tip" and be entered to win a free life coaching consultation and a $50 gift certificate. JUST CLICK THIS LINK and share what trips you up, holds you back or any tips you may have for overcoming guilt and keeping your joy. Fill out the quick form at the link and you'll be entered to win a free life coaching consultation from one of us AND a gift certificate to to use to purchase whatever strikes your fancy! Contest runs 4/23 - 5/12. Winner announced there on 5/14.

See what others have to say about the book on the blog tour - go HERE to see all the stops on the tour.

*I was sent a copy of the book for review purposes.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Silly Doggy!

I have found a new favorite children's book!!  Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower is simply wonderful!!  The illustrations are fabulous - they are tender and yet funny - and add so much to the story.  It is the story of a little girl that finds a "Doggy" in her yard - well doggy only in her sense of the word since it is really a bear!  She loves this "doggy" and proceeds to play with him until he is claimed.  The ending of this book will just make you smile - and will lead into more fun chats with the little ones when you read it!  Can't rave about this one enough - LOVE it!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Blue Sky

Audrey Wood's latest children's book, Blue Sky, is such a fun book!  There are not many words, but my girls and I had so much fun with this delightful picture book.  Each page is another beautifully-illustrated sky - even the words reflect the sky's characteristics.  What a fun book - from "Blue Sky" to "Dream Sky" - kids will love this!  It makes for a fun bedtime story or just a fun book to look at together and get conversation going!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Dancing on Broken Glass

Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock is a book that is my recent rant.  I am telling everyone how much I enjoyed this book.  It is not an easy or happy read, but it is real - and captured my attention from the very beginning.  It is the tough story of Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler - two people that fell in love and knew from the beginning that their marriage was going to be a fight.  And what a fight it was!  Lucy battled breast cancer early on in the marriage which was a huge stresser.  Not to mention Mickey is bipolar and struggles to keep himself out of the hospital almost on a monthly basis.  The pair come together and fight through these issues - which only makes them stronger.  But when Lucy becomes pregnant - that is when the real story begins.  They made a promise to each other that they would not have any children because of their situations and health - now it all seems to come crashing down when this baby is on the way.  There are tough decisions ahead for both of them as they battle a pregnancy that may ruin their marriage AND other health decisions that seek to ruin them both.  This is a tear jerker - I was sobbing - literally sobbing at parts of this book - it is heavy and it hurts.  But what an amazing story and amazing characters.  Truly a book that stays with you long after you have turned the last page!

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