Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It (Puffin Classics)

Book Description:
The last thing Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother expect to find while digging in the sand is a Psammead—an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the fivesome doesn’t realize all of the trouble that wishes can cause.
My thoughts:
We took a departure from our historical reads and jumped into the world of magic with Five Children and It (Puffin Classics) by E. Nesbit. Five Children and It (Puffin Classics) is a delightful story filled with every child's ultimate dream--having their wishes granted! Of course, for the five children having their wishes granted bring results they don't quite bargain for which brings hilarious results.  E. Nesbit does a fine job of portraying truths in life without being preachy or boring. My kids loved this story and kept asking for more. We will definitely be adding more of E. Nesbit's stories to our read aloud time.

A side note: I have stated here before that I am not a big fan of fantasy books. When I first read Five Children and It (Puffin Classics) several years back I thought it was just flat weird! I can truly say I have widened my reading choices and this time around I found really enjoyed it .

See what others are reading aloud over at Hope Is the Word.

Book Giveaway!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Egg and I

The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald

After the cows had broken in for about the tenth time, Bob took them home and stormed into the Kettle yard demanding some immediate action. The dignity and force of his entrance were somewhat impaired by the fact that as he come abreast of the back porch he found himself face to face with Mrs. Kettle who was comfortable seated in the doorless outhouse reading the Sears, Roebuck catalogue and instead of hurriedly retiring in confusion she remained where she was but took active part in the ensuing conversation.
Book Giveaway!

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Book Giveaway!

Giveaway is closed.

A few weeks ago I reviewed Heart of Lies: A Novel (Irish Angel Series) by Jill Marie Landis. Today, I am happy to announce that Zondervan has provided a signed copy of Heart of Lies to giveaway. To enter please leave your name and email address. I will announce the winner on Monday, April 4, 2011. (For U.S. residents only.)

Here is a repost of my review:

Book Description:

Raised in a tribe of street urchins, Maddie Grande was taught to be a thief and beggar on the streets of New Orleans. But Maddie doesn't know her real name or where she came from. Raised by Dexter Grande, Maddie and her twin 'brothers' have recently left New Orleans and moved to the bayou. The twins are rarely there, but Maddie has come to love the swamp. She has learned to fish and trap and sell pelts at the local mercantile. Maddie longs to change her life but knows that her brothers will never give up their lawless ways. When they kidnap the daughter of a wealthy carpetbagger, the twins force Maddie to hide the precocious eight-year-old while they return to New Orleans to wait for notice of a reward. Pinkerton agent Tom Abbott is assigned to the kidnapping case in which Maddie has become an accomplice. In a journey that takes them to Baton Rouge, a mutual attraction becomes evident, but Tom and Maddie cannot trust each other. Will Maddie ever discover who she is? Will her real family ever find her? Will Maddie and Tom listen to their hearts? Or will they choose honor over love?
My thoughts:
Heart of Lies: A Novel (Irish Angel Series) by Jill Marie Landis is the sequel to Heart of Stone: A Novelwhich I reviewed earlier.  Maddie Grande is a very likable character, though surrounded by mystery. Maddie's heartbreaking past is revealed by incidents that come to light through the kidnapping and her association with Tom, the Pinkerton agent. As the story unfolded I felt Maddie's pain and loss. As the story progressed I was cheering for Maddie as she struggled to open her heart to truth and love.  I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more in this series.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home

Book Description:
In pursuit of a book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books in order to get to know her own collection again.

My thoughts:
I ordered Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill while browsing my library's online catalog. When I received it I thought I would just read through it a chapter a night, but I ended up reading more than one chapter as I journeyed with Susan through her year of reading.

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home isn't just about the books that Susan Hill read, but as she browses through her books she takes you on a journey sharing stories and thoughts. She writes about many genre's of books: humor, travel writings, poetry, children's books, and more. She talks about such things as--things you find in books, writing in books, books you've tried to read but couldn't--all things that I think most book lovers can relate to. While reminiscing she begins to make a list of forty books that she could manage with alone for the rest of her life.

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home was such an enjoyable read. I felt like I had taken a vacation. I have to admit there were some authors I had never heard of or have never been tempted to read, but I could totally relate to how she felt. I have my own books and authors that I like to reminisce about. If you love books and reading, I highly recommend this book! Be warned: you will probably be adding to you TBR list.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mmmm, Good!

The other night I made up some Rice Krispy Treats. I do not make these very often due to the fact that mine never come out very ooey and gooey. My wonderful sister-in-law, Rachel, makes to die for Rice Krispy Treats and I aspire to be like her one of these days, but anyways back to my story, so I attempted some ooey gooey treats while Delani watched in fascination. When I was finishing up I found Delani digging in the pan. She kept saying, "Mmmm, good! These are good mom! Mmmm, good!"

I don't think my treats turned out exactly as I hoped, but Delani (and other kids) thought they were great, so I guess I can call that a success.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson


Forge (Seeds of America)

Book Description:

In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.
 My thoughts:
After reading Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, which I really enjoyed, I quickly checked out Forge, the next book in the series. In Forge (Seeds of America), the telling of the story switches from Isabel to Curzon who quickly become entangled in the fighting. Curzon's journey takes the reader into the winter spent at Valley Forge where he is found by his owner, put back to work and is brought together again with Isabel. For the remainder of the winter at Valley Forge Curzon plans his and Isabel's escape while bearing under the chains that still bind them in slavery.

There were many aspects of this story that I appreciated: the setting at Valley Forge and getting a picture of the suffering that the Patriot Army endured while wintered there, the harshness that the slaves endured, male and female, and the growing up of Curzon and Isabel. As much as I enjoyed Curzon's story, I really, really missed Isabel's voice. Also, when I got to the end of the story I realized that the plot of Forge was too similar to Chains to make it an outstanding story. I realize that the author's intent is to stress the difficulty of slavery and yes, Curzon and Isabel's relationship deepens, but when Forge ended almost on the same lines asChains, I was a little aggrevated. Overall, Forge was a wonderful story and if you like historical fiction it definitely gives a wonderful perspective.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review: Otto of the Silver Hand by

Otto of the Silver Hand

Book Description:
A rich and engrossing thread of Romance runs through this tale of the motherless son of a valiant robber baron of Medieval Germany. Young Otto, born into a warring household in an age when lawless chiefs were constantly fighting each other or despoiling the caravans of the merchant burghers, is raised in monastery only to return to his family's domain and become painfully involved in the blood-feud between his father and the rival house of Trutz-Drachen.

This narrative is told with Howard Pyle's consummate skill and illustrated with some of the most enchanting sketches ever done for a book of this type. Like the same author's version of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights and his collection of original stories known as The Wonder Clock, this book has become a legend, a modern story with the feel and sound of an ancient tale. It is a reading adventure that youngsters will not soon forget.

My thoughts:
I was hesitant to pick up Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle for our new read aloud, since the last Pyle book I read aloud caused a great deal of sleepiness on the reader's part. Thankfully, Otto of the Silver Hand was much easier to read!

Otto of the Silver Hand really does a good job of illustrating life in the Middle Ages. The life of Otto is surrounded with heartache, brutality and  vengeance, but through it all Otto comes out being able to forgive and lead a peaceful life. SPOILER ALERT: Otto loses a hand. The story does not go into detail, and it is shown in an element of surprise.

My kids enjoyed this story, though my daughter was upset that he lost his hand. My son enjoyed the whole story and thought it should have 5 stars when I was entering it into our Shelfari shelf. I do recommend this for older kids and at several points I had to stop and help the kids explain things. Overall, I have to say the Otto gave a lot of food for thought and is a story that doesn't leave you after you read the last page.


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