Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs
Book Description:
The daughter of a struggling greengrocer, Maisie Dobbs was only thirteen when she was sent to work as a maid for wealthy London aristocrats. But being bright and thoughtful beyond her years, Maisie studies her way to Cambridge, then serves as a nurse on the Front during the Great War. Now, it's the spring of 1929, nearly ten years after the Armistice and Maisie has just opened up her own detective agency. Her first assignment, a seemingly open-and-shut infidelity case, will reveal a much deeper, darker mystery, forcing Maisie to revisit the horrors of the war and the ghost she left behind. Refreshing, absorbing, and beautifully rendered, Maisie Dobbs marks the beginning of an incredible new series.

My thoughts:
I picked up Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear by mistake, but decided to read it since it sounded like a mystery I would enjoy. I thought the first two-thirds of the book was a nice story but I decided that I probably wouldn't read any more in the series. But.......then I reached the last part of the story and suddenly the story shifted and I had a very hard time putting it down. Do you know how hard it is to get your kids to do their school work when you have a book just begging to be read? I did finally get the book finished and was greatly touched by the ending. I think it has been a long time since I read a book where the climax fell so close to the end. It was a nice change of pace and I look forward to reading the next in the series, Birds of a Feather.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Homeschooling Update: Term 3 (09-10) - Part 3

Chantry - Term 3
Math-U-See Beta
Math-U-See Drills
Language Arts
Phonics Pathways by Delores Hiskes
All About Spelling Level 1
Explode the Code - Book 2
Victory Drill Book
More Days Go By - Pathway Reader
Various sentences from his current reads
American History:D'Aulaire American Biographies (narration)
World History: Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall and Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin (narration)
Sticker Atlas of the World
Library books about different countries and stories from different countries
Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright (narration)
Natural History:
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot (narration)
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling (narration)
The Aesop for Children by Milo Winter (narration)
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (narration)
Shakespeare: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Additional Reading:
Books listed here. (Scroll down to Additional Reading.)

We finished up:
D'Aulaire books:
-Benjamin Franklin
-George Washington
-Buffalo Bill
The Velveteen Rabbitby Margery Williams
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges

He read or listened to:
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary (audio)
Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary (audio)
Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary (audio)
The Last Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester (audio)
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (audio)
Days Go By - Pathway Reader (read)
See Term 2 here

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is: P

Peter Pan (Puffin Classics)

Peter Pan (Puffin Classics) by J.M. Barrie

Book Description:
One starry night, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell lead the three Darling children over the rooftops of London and away to Neverland - the island where lost boys play, mermaids splash and fairies make mischief. But a villainess-looking gang of pirates lurk in the docks, lead by the terrifiying Captain James Hook. Magic and excitement are in the air, but if Captain Hook has his way, before long, someone will be walking the plank and swimming with the crocodiles...

My thought:
This a favorite book in our house. My kids absolutely love the story of Peter Pan. I enjoy it for the most part, but Tinker Bell really gets on my nerves!

Monday, May 24, 2010

What's On Your Nightstand - May

What's On Your Nightstand

For June:

From my April post I read:
The Faceless Fiend by Howard Whitehouse (review)
An Irish Country Girl: A Novel (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor (review)
A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance) by Margaret Brownley (review)
Maisie Dobbs (Book 1)by Jacqueline Winspear (review coming)
Setting the Stage for Your Child's Faith by Florence Littauer (review)

I also read:
Swinging on a Star (Weddings by Bella, Book 2) by Janice Thompson (review)
Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy (review)
Wealth Watchers: A Simple Program to Help You Spend Less and Save More by Alice Wood
Come Walk with Me: A Woman's Personal Guide to Knowing God and Mentoring Others by Carole Mayhall (review coming)
The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!: With 160 All-New Recipes by Anne Byrn (review)

I am currently reading:
Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, Second Edition (Resources for Changing Lives) by Paul David Tripp
Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate

I listened to:
The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
Wonderful Memories of It's a Wonderful Life by Jimmy Hawkins

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

Word Gets Around
Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate

I exited the trailer and triumphantly closed the door. "Just call me the goat whisperer," I said, and Lauren chuckled. p. 214

Book Review: The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn

The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!: With 160 All-New Recipes

Book Description:
What could be better than a phenomenon? The return of a phenomenon. Ten years ago Anne Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor began its extraordinary run as one of the most popular baking books of all time. Now Anne Byrn is back with the all-new Cake Mix Doctor Returns! From the beloved author who showed home bakers how adding a touch of sweet butter or a dusting of cocoa powder, a dollop of vanilla yogurt or flurry of grated lemon zest could transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here are 160 brand-new recipes—that’s right, 160 amazing cake mix recipes—for luscious layer cakes, sheet cakes, brownies, bars, cookies, and more.

And the book is needed more than ever. Today 90 percent of home cooks use prepackaged mixes, while the economy is creating a perfect excuse to let them eat cake—cake equals happiness. And what cakes! 40 layer cakes, from Tiramisu Cake to The Best Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Refrigerator Cake to Chocolate Swirled Cannoli Cake. 35 sheet cakes. 38 bundt and pound cakes. 16 cupcakes and muffins, plus the cult classic Whoopie Pie. And brownies, bars, and cookies, including Spice Drop Cookies, Angel Food Macaroons, and Chocolate Espresso Biscotti. There's even a wedding cake, a frequent request from the author's passionate online community.

The Cake Mix Doctor is back—just say ahhhhh!

My thoughts:
I have been a fan of The Cake Mix Doctor since I discovered her a couple of years ago and own many of her cookbooks.  I was excited to see The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!: With 160 All-New Recipes.
There are several things I like about her books (beside the wonderful recipes). The first is that she included a picture of every recipe in the front of the book. Usually, I get stuck right there trying to decide which one looks the best and that I need to make. The second is her section of how to use the book. I have learned sooooo much from these sections of her books. There is so much information about cake mixes, chocolate, the best cake pans, cream cheese and so much more. I do want to add here if you are a genius in the kitchen you probably know everything included here, but for the cooking illiterate like myself, I found this to be a treasure trove of information! The third is all the little hints that are interspersed throughout the book. Hints include such topics as substitutions, greasing your pans, storing your cakes, dressing up your cakes, cupcake baking tips and many more.

If you never have looked at one of the Cake Mix Doctor's cookbooks, I highly recommend you give one a glance. You can start with The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!: With 160 All-New Recipes or the one I rely on the most,  Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: The Faceless Fiend by Howard Whitestone

I Read It!

Faceless Fiend, The: Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, His Masked Minions and a Princess with a Butter Knife, Involving Explosives and a Certain ... Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones)
Faceless Fiend, The: Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, His Masked Minions and a Princess with a Butter Knife, Involving Explosives and a Certain ... Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones)

Book Description:
Pioneering aviatrix Emmaline and her bouncy pilot, Rubberbones, are back for the second installment in the Mad Misadventures series. For the time being, they're safe from the headmistress and monsters of St. Grimelda's School. Their relative calm in the Yorkshire dales, however, is about to be shattered. A ruthless master criminal known as the Faceless Fiend wants very much to kidnap their haughty houseguest Princess Purnah, and it's obvious he'll stop at nothing (after all, he has no face to lose). With help from Aunt Lucy, the heroic butler Lal Singh and the hapless Professor Bellbuckle, Emmaline and Rubberbones devise an escape plan so bold, so clever, so completely insane that -- things get a lot worse. Follow our friends into the maze-like depths of darkest Victorian London as the villainous plot to abduct Princess Purnah leads to desperate chases, food fights, ridiculous costumes, balloons over London, famous fictional detectives, rat-killing contests and assorted mayhem.

My thoughts:
I am making my way through this series since Carrie at Reading to Know gives it high recommendations. Faceless Fiend, The: Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, His Masked Minions and a Princess with a Butter Knife, Involving Explosives and a Certain Amount of Shoving and Pushing by Howard Whitehouse continues the story of Emmaline and Rubberneck. It is full of fun, adventure and amazing exploits with some very suspenseful and tense moments interspersed. This is a book that I think both children and adults will enjoy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book Review: Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy

Wildflower Bride (Montana Marriages)

Book Description:
Glowing Sun has never met a man she didn't pull a knife on--including the man who's determined to marry her.

Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead Indians, is one of a handful left alive after the people of her village are slaughtered. When those remaining blame her for bringing on the killing spree, she is forced to leave her tribe.

With a vague memory of her life in the white world, which eventually, includes a name--Abby Lind--she declares her life as Glowing Sun over. But where does she now belong?

Wade Sawyer, having broken ties with his cattle-baron father, make himself responsible for Abby's survival. But can he win her heart when she pulls a knife at everything that moves?

When Wade receives word that his father may be dying, he heads home, with Abby reluctantly following behind. Neither is aware that land hungry killer slink in the shadows of the Sawyer Ranch.

Will Abby be able to keep the mild-mannered Wade out of trouble? Will Wade's rescue reflex get in the way of his common sense? Can they stay alive long enough to fall head over spurs in love?

My thoughts:
Wildflower Bride (Montana Marriages) by Mary Connealy is the third book in the Montana Marriages Series. I enjoyed the story of Wade and the knife-throwing Abby. I also enjoyed that the same characters from the other books were still involved in the story and you can see what is happening in their lives.

I do have to share my one difficulty with the character of Wade Sawyer, which probably won't be a problem to anyone else. When Wade Sawyer is introduced in the first book, Montana Rose (Montana Marriages Series #1) as a drunk and a coward, I instantly thought of the cowardly son that Dennis Hopper plays in the film, The Sons of Katie Elder. I had a very hard time imagining the person he had become as portrayed in the book. I know that because of Christ, Wade's life was turned around, but it just goes to show how strong an image can be.

I can't say enough how much I enjoy Mary Connealy's writings. She is so funny and definitely has a way with words. If you love to laugh, I highly recommend Wildfire Bride and the other books in this series.


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