Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! The Magicians

This is an adult fantasy/science fiction book.  It was reviewed recently on our site.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, October 3.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Amy and the Sorrel Summer

Amy And The Sorrel Summer
By Laura Fisher

This book was published in 1964 and is a really nice story about a girl who decides to save up $100 with her brother so they can buy a horse at the end of the summer.

If you have ever wanted a horse, or tried to save money for something as a child, this is the book for you.

And the best part is the kids learn a great lesson about being content and thankful for what they have.

Recommended for ages 9 and up

Friday, September 24, 2010


This book was very strange to read.  I can’t tell if the author was trying to make fun of CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (that would be sad) or making a tribute to them (that would be nice).  It was extremely full of sad and hard things and drinking and drugs.  It was not really uplifting at all.  The basic premise is that some students are invited to a special university (hello Harry Potter) and learn lots more about their own world and other worlds.  I didn’t enjoy it very much but was able to finish it.  Won’t be buying any more of that author though.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

100 Days of Monsters

Stefan Bucher started a blog a few years ago that highlighted a new cartoon monster every day.  He eventually has done lots of animations of him drawing the monsters and he published the first one hundred in a book.  The monsters are silly and the stories that go along with are even sillier.

Emlyn's favorite monsters are 32, 37, 22, 84, and 100.  And we may have written some of the stories :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roar! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia

by Heather Kopp

Regardless of the fact that CS Lewis insisted that he did not add as many allegorical references to his books as people see, I am happy to find a book that does draw parallels to Christianity. 

This is a very well done comprehension guide.  Every chapter has a few lessons and talking points from the chapter, with a few Scriptural references to tie in.

I wouldn't do this every night with our reading because part of the joy of reading to my kids is just soaking in the story, but when I have tried it I have had good results with discussing things with my kids.  It's basically the same things I would discuss on my own with them if I weren't so lazy to come up with them.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Complete Book of Illustrated Reading and Writing Activities for the Primary Grades

This book has lots of activities to be used in teaching or reviewing reading and writing.  There is a wide variety of activities and my son seemed to really enjoy them.  As far as I could tell, they are designed to be copied and used in your classroom or at home.  I could not tell for sure if that is the case.

Recommended for teachers or parents who want a little extra to use in teaching.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spindle's End

by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is one of my personal favorite authors.  She has a way of re-imagining fairy tales that takes something you thought you knew, thanks to Disney, and taking it to a whole new level of awesome.

Spindle's End is, at its bare bones, the story of Sleeping Beauty.  A story which I am not very fond of when Disney does it.  But Robin McKinley took this story and made it amazing.

I have re-read this book many times and each time I am glad I read it.  The characters are very well-developed, and the end, which we all know, is even more mysterious and intriguing each time I pick the book up.  In fact reviewing it is making me want to read it again.

Highly recommended for teens and up.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! Starlighter

This book was recently reviewed on our site.  It is a dragon fantasy about God, so that’s cool, huh?  Good for teenagers.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, September 26.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest post: Judy Moody Books

Emlyn, my daughter, likes Judy Moody books the most of all.  Her favorite is "Judy Moody Goes to College."

When asked why they were her favorite, she replied "because they're about a girl and her annoying brother." I wonder if that's an indicator of her life right now :)

Unlike Junie B Jones, I am fairly certain that Judy Moody books use proper grammar rather than slang and mistakes kids often make in speaking.

The good news is since these books are recently published, they are easy to find at your local bookstore, library, or Half Price Books.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chapter Books Revisited

A while ago I posted a list of excellent timeless chapter books for children.  I would like to republish the link to it because I still find it to be important to find excellent books for our kids.  I don't want my daughter to start reading fiction without my previewing it yet, and I find these books to be enjoyable and fun for the whole family.

Here's the link.

Go forth and read with your child today!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Elderberry Bush

by Doris Gates


This is a lovely story about two daughters who live in the country.  It is set in the early 1900s.

Some of the adventures the girls experience are: going to the beach for the first time, pretending to be Sacajawea, visiting old relatives, and being kind to other people.

I enjoyed reading about these girls' kind hearts and sweet adventures.  A very timeless and innocent book.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner: Premiere on the Runway

Briana is our winner of Premiere on the Runway. Congratulations Briana!

Fault Line

by Barry Eisler
I read this book because my husband told me to. He said he could relate to the brother in the book who is very good at being a spy type dude. 

So I read it.  It was okay although the characters were very one-dimensional.  There were not many surprises but it was a fairly good action book.

I was a little disappointed at the amount of scenes involving s*x.  There were too many for my tastes.

Recommended for its genre.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Dollshop Downstairs

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Set in the early 1900s, this is a lovely little story about two girls who live above a dollshop.  When the economy changes their family has to come up with a new way of making money.  This book is innocent and perfect for an 8 year old.  Or for her mommy who loves little innocent books.  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

by Betty Birney

This is a lighthearted and optimistic read about a child who is unhappy with where she lives.  She wants to go on adventures and see the Seven Wonders of the World.

She is challenged to find seven wonders of her own town.  So she takes her friends on an adventure in her town and finds that Sassafras Springs is not actually as boring as she thought.  A great book about being content where you are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekly Giveaway! The Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones

A happy birthday to me means a new giveaway!

This book has already been reviewed on this site.
It is a decent fantasy with strong characters.  Good for teenagers.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner in one week, September 19.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Prophecy

Wow. If you ever wanted to be dropped right into the middle of a horror story then this is the book for you.  I used to read a lot of horror in high school- started with Christopher Pike and moved on up to Stephen King before I was done with that genre.

I would definitely say that this book falls right in with that category of writing.  The interesting thing is that this is also Christian, supposedly.  At least they talk about God.

Earlier when writing about fashion I mentioned that sometimes it's hard to relate Christianity with secular topics.  This seems to be another one that's hard for me.  If it's so scary with not much redemption it seems counter-intuitive to call it Christian.  I am not finished reading this though so we'll see if the next 100 pages make it a little better.

UPDATE: I just couldn't seem to get through this book. I could only ever read about 2 pages at a time before I was too scared, and was starting to have nightmares. I don't know if my brain just can't handle horror anymore, or if this book was a subset of the genre that I can't read, but for my own sanity I had to stop reading. I wish I had been able to finish it...

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rape of Nanking

This was a very difficult book to read.  Very few people want to read about the mass murder of 19 million people.  I picked this up and read it, though, not because it was enjoyable but because someone needs to be a witness to this in the same manner as we are for the Jewish Holocaust.

During World War II the Japanese Army killed as many as 19 million Chinese.  I did not know this until reading this book.  It is a terrible and sad account of atrocities which were done.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Bryan Davis 
 ISBN: 9780310718369
A dragon fantasy that is trying to teach us God’s timeless truths? Score! This book is the first (I assume) of a series which introduces two fallen worlds. Both of them have ancient legends about how to be saved and how to save the other world.  This first book didn’t have a lot of resolution or hope but I am curious to see how the author connects all the pieces presented in this book.  It would have been nice if some of the lines could have been connected for us in this first book but mostly this just left me wanting to read more.
It took a few chapters for me to be hooked, so I hope the next books start in on the action a little sooner.
Recommended for teenagers.

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing this book for review.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Giveaway: Premiere on the Runway

This week's giveaway is a book we reviewed yesterday, Premiere: on the runway.   

We will be posting a new giveaway every Sunday and we have new book reviews being posted every day. 

As a very practical adult I was not very fond of the book but I think it has a lot of potential for someone who really enjoys fashion or who is a teenager.  Leave a comment here on our blog and you are entered to win.  We will choose a winner on September 12.

Premiere On the runway

by Melody Carlson
ISBN 9780310717867

Premiere: On the Runway is a Teen Fiction book written from and for a Christian perspective. There are at least two scenes where the kids go to "youth group" and other church functions and these functions are not explained. So it is expected that the target audience knows what's going on.

The main struggle in this book is between two sisters. One, Paige, knows all about fashion and has been asked to host a teen fashion show similar to Stacy and Clinton's show What Not to Wear. The sister, Erin, more calm and down to earth and is invited to help her sister on her show but would rather be in the background.

As a teenage Christian I did not watch reality shows (well they weren't really around back then), read Seventeen magazine, or keep up with fashion, so it was hard for me to relate to the characters. In fact it was hard for me to reconcile the idea of kids who go to church and their parents are okay with them being so superficial as to go on reality shows and the like. Not that a true Christian could not do these things. It was just really hard for me to understand the protagonist.

Supposing that a teenager was in the same or similar predicaments of trying to reconcile her belief system with worldly culture, and to fit in both worlds, I thought the author did a plausible job of fleshing out the characters and plot. It did not really appeal to me but might to a teenager.

The whole book kind of reminded me of the latest Disney movie aimed at teenagers, but with some Jesus mixed in. I was not impressed. On the other hand I am not a teenager who loves fashion, so it was hard for me to understand the proposed audience.

Thanks to Pam at Zondervan for providing a copy of this book for me to review.