Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight

Book Description:
Twelve-year-old Joe Carraclough is heartbroken. Lassie, the family's beloved collie, must be sold to the Duke of Rudling, a bad-tempered, wealthy old man. The Carracloughs are struggling through hard times and can't afford to keep Lassie, who is without a doubt the finest collie in Yorkshire.  
The Duke sends Lassie to his estate in Scotland, four-hundred miles to the north, but Lassie will not be kept away from the family she loves. By instinct she starts the long journey south to find the home where she belongs.  
Filled with danger and adventure, this is the story of the love and loyalty shared by a boy and his dog. First published in 1940, the legendary Lassie Come-Home is sure to warm the hearts of yet another generation of readers.
My thoughts:
Since I can remember I have been pretty adamant about not reading animal stories. When I was in 5th or 6th Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight was required reading for my literature book. I wasn't too happy about it and if it wasn't that my grandma had a collie I probably wouldn't have even tried it. It ended up that I really liked the story and since then have always had fond memories of it.

Fast forward 25 years or so (ouch, that hurt to admit!) it showed up on the kids' free list for school. I definitely wanted to read it aloud and we were finally able to get around to it.

Lassie Come-Home tells the story of a dog's loyalty. A loyalty so strong that even separated from her master she makes a long and dangerous journey to come home. Even when she is side-tracked by sickness, physical barriers, and new friends she is not deterred in coming home.

I think what makes this story so appealing is that unlike other animal stories where the main animal dies, Lassie doesn't. Yes, she did have her moments of hunger and sickness, but she survives. Another is the story of Joe Carraclough's family and in their struggle to survive. Set during a time of economic depression, Joe's family is struggling just to eat and keep a roof over their heads. Also, Joe's father has to teach his son that being honest is the most important thing a man can do.

If it sounds like the story is pretty serious and maybe too sad, don't worry! There was plenty of humor instilled that kept the story from bogging down. If you don't get enough humor there you definitely will when you try to read with a Scottish brogue and it just doesn't seem to come out right.

Overall, Lassie Come-Home was a well-liked story that is a good pick for both the animal lovers and non-animal lovers alike.

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: Money in the Bank by P.G. Wodehouse

Book Description:
When George, Viscount Uffenham turns the entire family fortune into diamonds and squirrels them away, naturally he forgets where he has hidden the loot and finds himself compelled to let the family seat to stay afloat. So it is that Mrs Cork's health colony comes into being, providing the perfect setting for crime and young love to flower.
My thoughts:
I read Money in the Bank by P.G. Wodehouse several years ago and when I was making my list for The Classics Club, I knew that would encourage me to reread it. Money in the Bank is a crazy story of missing diamonds that are being looked for my many people: Lord Uffenham who is disguised as the butler, Cakewalk, Dolly and Soapy Malloy - a very questionable pair, Chimp Twist who poses as J. Sheringham Adair, Private Investigator and Jeff Miller who is also posing as J. Sheringham Adair, Private Investigator.

Lord Uffingham's estate is being rented out by a Mrs Cork who run a health colony. Mrs Cork is a very formidable woman who doesn't take well to being crossed. Add in her nephew who is secretly engaged to Anne, Lord Uffenham's niece, and you have a story full of twists and turns, lots of laughter, plus a romance thrown in for good measure.

This is the second Wodehouse story I have read that features Dolly and Soapy Malloy and Chimp Twist and after just glancing at Amazon it looks like they may be featured in other books.

Money in the Bank is probably my favorite non-Jeeves book that I have read and I highly recommend it.

Some teasers:
Dolly Molloy quivered like a wounded deer. p. 22
Jeff would have preferred him not to allude to the divinest of her sex as his dashed niece, but he abstained from rebuke. Policy dictated a friendly and respectful attitude towards this old codger. p. 101
'Ah! said Chimp. 'That's just what I'm going to put you wise about. Start listening.' His visitors did so, with the alacrity which is always the result of mentioning diamonds to a certain type of auditor. When he had finished his narrative, Dolly's eyes were shining like stars, and Mr Molloy's breathing had become so stertorous the he resembled a Senator suffering from a troublesome attack of asthma. The news that they were residing in a sort of Tom Toddler's Ground or Cave of Ali Baba, where parcels of valuable diamonds might leap to the eye at any moment, had affected both of them profoundly. p. 112

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Things About Me (Plus a Bonus)!

Caleb, Delani, me (Beth), Shade, Chantry, & Destini
Carrie at Reading to Know posted this the other day and I'm finally having a chance to answer a few of her questions. So here are some "getting to know" you questions answered.

1. Do you attend church and, if so, what denomination are you a part of?
Yes, I faithfully attend church and have done so since I was born. In fact, my husband is a pastor, his dad was a pastor, and my dad was a pastor, so church going is in our blood.  I am a part of of the United Pentecostal Church International.

2. What social issue are you the most passionate about?
I will admit I'm not into social issues, but I do have a passion for raising my kids to love the Lord God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths! Oh, and I can get pretty passionate about homeschooling too.

3. Do you home school/use the public system or enroll your kids in private school? Any particular reason why?
I homeschool. I went to a private Christian school for most of my school years and after I got married my husband and I worked in a Christian school. Later when we moved to begin a new ministry we started homeschooling since we couldn't afford putting our kids in a Christian school. Now, I wouldn't even condsider putting my kids in a Christian school I am that convinced and convicted that homeschooling is the only way to go.

4. How long have you been married? How many kids do you have, or want to have? Have you ever thought of adopting, or have you?
My husband, Shade (actually his first name is Alfred, but he also goes by his middle name, Shade), and I have been married for 20 years. We have four children, Caleb - 16 (almost 17), Destini - 13, Chantry - 10, and Delani - 4. I would love to have another baby, but honestly don't think I could handle the pregnancy or the baby years. Some days I'm fine in the knowledge that there won't be anymore babies in the house and then there are those days that I feel quite sad (like when my kids turn another year older). My greatest regret is that I didn't have more children when I was younger. We have never thought of adopting. It is something that I don't think would be a good fit for our family. I have great admiration for those who do adopt.

5. What is your greatest personality strength? Weakest?
My greatest strength is that I love to come in and take charge and organize something and find an efficient way to do it (unless it includes cooking food). My weakest strength is that I love to come in and take charge and organize something and find an efficient way to do it. I have had to learn and am still learning to not run over other people. My other biggest weakness is just saying what I think--many people don't appreciate this fabulous ability of mine.

6. If you were to write a book, what genre would it be?
Historical fiction.

7. What is your favorite thing about where you live (country, neighborhood, etc.)? Least?
I am thankful that I was born in this great land of American. I am thankful for the freedom we have enjoyed, but in the end my hope is in the Lord.

I have lived in three states Wisconsin (where I grew up), Texas, and now Oregon. I love the mild winters that Oregon has. I love that we hardly have any snow!!!!! (I know, I'm weird!) I love that there is hardly ever any humidity in the air during the summer. I do wish the springs and early summers were a little warmer, but other than that I am very happy here.

The least favorite thing about where I live is the ants who love to roam our home. The exterminator figures our house must be on an anthill since ours is the only place where he can't get them to go away. And speaking of ants they just decided to come calling again today, this time in my boys' room. Ugh!!!!!

8. What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
I love the whole passage of Psalms 37, but my favorite two verses are:
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
I picked these out for my scriptures for my senior year of highschool and have clung on to them ever since.

8. What is your real name?
My name is Beth. I usually tell people I'm "just" Beth, since the first question is "Is it short for Elizabeth?"

9. Are you a bold and trendy dresser, or are clothes "not your thing?"
I wouldn't call myself a bold and trendy dresser, but I do care about how I look. I like to look nice at all times so even the clothes I wear at home to some might look quite dressy.

10. What do you like best about your family?
One of my favorite things is how different all my children are even though they have the same parents. It can get quite interesting in trying to figure them out, and even though it can be frustrating it is also fun. Another favorite thing is my husband's love for the Lord and his ability to show it in his worship. He is such an excellent example to my children and I appreciate it so much.

11. 10 Random Things about me... 
  1. I have one brother.
  2. I enjoy sewing.
  3. I love to make cards and other projects out of paper.
  4. I enjoy shopping. (Walmart, Costco anyone?)
  5. I enjoy blogging, though I don't have as much time as I wish to do it.
  6. I really enjoy Diet Coke, especially a McDonald's Diet Coke.
  7. My favorite restaurant is The Cheesecake Factory
  8. I live for hot Oregon summer days
  9. I play the piano (by ear--minimal note reading here).
  10. I hate tomatoes.

What's On Your Nightstand - November

What's On Your Nightstand
I had a great month for reading, but unfortunately I didn't have much time for reviews. I had Thanksgiving and my kids' first term of home school all converge at the same time, which didn't leave time for much else. I am giving a small condensed version, but a few I will be posting a more thorough review soon.
 I am not making a heavy commitment for December since I want spend some time sewing a few Christmas gifts and I am also excited to have my parents flying out to spend a little time with us for Christmas. I'm sure I'll get more read, but one never knows.

My Nightstand for December:

From my October Nightstand I read:
  • Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud & John Townsend -  This book covers boundaries in many capacities: marriage, children, family, co-workers, friends, and much more. If you work with people in any capacity this book is a must-read!  
  • Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews - Biblical fiction! Ugh, even though I read many reviews praising this book I had too many problems with it. Yes, I know it is fiction, and yes the author did present it in an interesting matter, but there were too many things I had issue with. It did make me very interested in Job himself, but I'll take my Bible's story any day!
  • Money in the Bank by P.G. Wodehouse - This is probably my favorite non-Jeeves book I've read so far. I will be doing a full review this soon. (Edited 11/28: review)
  • Swallowdale (Swallows & Amazons) by Arthur Ransome (review) Well, I can hardly believe it myself I actually got one book reviewed! This was a read aloud which my kids loved.
  • The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings - Not my cup of tea. Written from a secular viewpoint it tells the author's crazy quest to understand the homeschooling community.  There were thing I could relate to, but when it came down to it our worldviews are worlds apart.

I also read:
  • A Bride Sews with Love in Needles, California by Erica Vetsch - This book caught my eye at the library and since I have this thing for Harvey Girls I had to bring it home. I really, really enjoyed it. With the background of World War I and the Spanish Influenza that struck it was an exciting and fun read.
  • Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight - Another read aloud with my kids. This is the only animal story I ever liked or read for that matter as a kid so I wanted to read it aloud to my kids. I think it was a little more sad this time around, but it was still a winner for all of us.
  • Over the Edge (The Kincaid Brides) by Mary Connealy - Book three in the Kincaid Brides Series and it does not disappoint. Mary Connealy is as funny as she always is.
  • A Royal Pain (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen - I started this series and I'm not sure if I like it or not. I really like the heroine, but there are many other things referenced I could do without.
  • Royal Flush (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen
  • Royal Blood (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (review) Wow, I'm outdoing myself ! And here I thought I had been a total failure in the book review department. If you haven't read this get yourself a copy and read it immediately! Every American should read this book.
  • With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin - I enjoyed Sarah Sundin's first series, Wings of Glory. Though I love all things World War II, I really had a hard time liking the two main characters which I found irritating. It ended up being an okay book, but one I just can't rave about.

I listened to:
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) by Agatha Christie - Oh, my!! This has been my favorite Agatha Christie story so far. I could not figure out the murderer until Poirot revealed it. I really enjoyed this story!
  • Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner & Emily Kimbrough - This is another book I've read really good reviews about so I gave it a go. I don't know if I would go straight to a great read there are a few extremely funny moments and in the end I think it gives a great portrayal of young girls' dreams and desires.
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - This is my second time to read this book. I absolutely love this story. Since it is set in the '60's there is quite an emphasis on the hippie movement, Bobby Kennedy, and the anti-war sentiment that reigned. It seem to show a very realistic picture of how America was in that time (and no, I wasn't alive then, but I have heard my parents talk a lot about it).  I found this a thought provoking book and having Shakespeare's plays interspersed throughout made it even more interesting.

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: Falling for Rapunzel & Awaking Beauty by Leah Wilcox

Book Descriptions:

Falling For Rapunzel
The prince is hoping to fall for Rapunzel, but since she can't quite hear what he asks for, everything but her hair gets tossed out her window. Instead of her curly locks, she throws her dirty socks. Instead of silky tresses, out go lacey dresses. And you can predict the guaranteed-to-crack-kids-up clothing she sends down when the prince simply says hair. . . . Finally Rapunzel heaves out something that makes all the prince's dreams come true, showing how misunderstandings can lead to happily-ever-after.
Waking Beauty
Everyone knows Sleeping Beauty has to be woken with a kiss, except Prince Charming. Every time the fairies watching over her try to tell him, he interrupts with his ideas of how to wake her. Eventually he gets the message, and his reaction is priceless: One hundred years of morning breath Wow! That could be the kiss of death!?
My thoughts:
So I haven't featured many picture books here, but I wanted to mention these fun fractured fairy tales. Years ago when Destini was going through the princess stage we had read Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox. It was a very fun and enjoyable read.

Fast forward many years later and Delani is now in the princess stage and we are able to enjoy books we had read years before. This time while reading Falling For Rapunzel I noticed that the author had another book out, Waking Beauty. Delani enjoyed reading through these, especially Waking Beauty she was anticipating the word kiss to show up at any moment due to the rhymes in the story.

One of my main reasons for reviewing these books wasn't due to my 4 year old, but rather the reactions of her older sibling.  Destini (13) picked up Waking Beauty and read it aloud to her sister, who I think actually ignored her. In the mean time she held her two brothers' captive (10 & 16) and the three of them spent the whole time laughing out loud and not in polite giggles either! Destini told me later it was one of the funniest books she has read.

On a side note: I was going to include a couple of lines from these stories in my review, but when I went to look through the books I discovered they were missing. Yes, my kids came in and stole them off my bed and are now currently re-reading them. I don't think you can get any higher praise than that!

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

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


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