Being homeschooled keeps life interesting and spending so much time as a family provides the opportunity to make lots of memories. Now multiply that times 8 or 12 kids. In this book, Carolyn Currey and Rachel Starr Thomson, oldest children in large homeschooling families, share the hilarious situations their clans have encountered. From a tipping Christmas tree, to exploding vacuum cleaners, to elf eating hobbits, life in the Currey and Thomson households is never dull.
I purchased this book as a gift for a friend and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew Rachel’s writing from her Seventh World Trilogy, but this kind of book is a completely different concept. It was the little preview I got on my kindle that sold me. I read the stories out loud to my family and we laughed through them. The rest of the book did not disappoint. Every story was well written and almost all of them were laugh-out-loud funny as well as relatable (even if, like me, you’re not part of a large family). I highly recommend this book to read yourself, and to give as a gift (my friend loved it too ).
Authors: Carolyn Currey and Rachel Starr Thomson
Audience: All Ages
Posted by Leah E. Good on June 14, 2013
With the flurry of activities surrounding grandma’s funeral, a lot of my normal activities got sidelined. One of those activities was selecting the theme for book reviews this month. As a result, this month’s theme is “Miscellaneous.” I’m going to pull out some reviews jotted down in my notebook. Hopefully by next month my schedule will be sorted out enough to come up with a proper theme. Anyone have suggestions for patriotic novels? Now here’s this week’s review.
Mitty Blake is not at all interested in scholarly pursuits. The mere mention of a term paper on infectious disease is enough to send his brain into lock-down. In a last ditch effort to turn something in, he wanders into his mother’s book room and opens an old medical book. Inside he finds an envelope containing 100 year old smallpox scabs. In the following days, Mitty learns that because he handled the scabs, the smallpox virus could be incubating in his body. Once he becomes infection, he could cause the deaths of people across the country. What should he do?
I have had this book on my mental to-read list ever since hearing the author talk about it several years ago. It did not disappoint. While Mitty’s initial immature choices can be a bit frustrating, he is a likable and ultimately heroic character. Despite his distaste for school he is smart and resourceful. I appreciated his views on self-sacrifice and heroism. For those of you who, like me, prefer to avoid boy/girl stuff, there is a slight subplot in that area, but the farthest it goes is a brief, undescribed kiss on page 83. Definitely a unique and suspenseful story.
Author: Caroline Cooney
Audience: Young Adults
Posted by Leah E. Good on June 7, 2013
It’s time for another giveaway! Leave a comment below telling me why you’re interested in foster care and/or why you want to read Mad Dog. You can leave your comment anytime between now and next Thursday (May 23rd) morning. Due to the cost of shipping, this giveaway is only available to residents of the United States. Enjoy the review!
If the world had any idea how mad I, Wesley “Mad Dog” Williams, am at it, the sun would be would be too scared to show it’s ugly face around here.
Wesley Williams is counting down the days until his mom gets out of her drug rehab program and he can go live with her again. It’s not that he hates his foster family. In fact, he likes the fact that living at Starlight Animal Rescue allows him to rescue dogs, train them and find them new homes. But that doesn’t change the fact that he can’t wait to go back to his mother. Besides, at the moment, even his dog rescue program isn’t going so well. Is it even possible to train four misfit dogs for an assisted living facility on the schedule he’s been given?
Mad Dog is another great book from Dandi Daley Mackall, author of the Winnie the Horse Gentler series. Mad Dog is book two in the Starlight Animal Rescue series, preceded by Runaway. It’s also my favorite book in the series. After re-reading it recently for this review, I found myself cracking up over the assisted living residents. Since my family does a lot of elder care, I could relate to the situation…though I’ve yet to meet someone quite like the Buddy in this book. Definitely a great book to get your hands on.
Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
Audience: Tweens and up
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Mad Dog.
Posted by Leah E. Good on May 17, 2013
Without raising his eyes to look at me, in a voice barely clearing the horizon of a whisper, he said, “I know you don’t love me…You just say that ’cuz you’re an adult and it’s kinda like your job. But I know you don’t really love me.”
Welcome to Crystal Peaks, the ranch of rescued dreams. Author Kim Meeder uses her gift of storytelling to capture the stories of the abused horses and needy children who come to her ranch for healing. From a young man convinced he cannot be loved, to horses fighting for their lives, the stories in this book show God’s grace as the dying light of hope is revived time and again.
I purchased this book two or three years ago at a homeschool conference. I can remember sitting on the hotel bed in the evening with tears streaming down my face as I read the first chapter, Proof. After reading the entire book and the companion book, Hope Rising, that first story remains my favorite. For a girl who grew up with “horse fever” and has grown into a deep caring for the fatherless, these books were great finds, and I continue to treasure them.
Author: Kim Meeder
Audience: YA to Adult
Genre: General/Inspirational Non-Fiction
Posted by Leah E. Good on May 10, 2013
“Young lady, and I use the term loosely, I’m tired of your despicable behavior. You have exhausted this court’s patience. I’m sending you to the Chesterfield Detention Center and throwing away the key!”
Skye Nicholson is trouble with a capitol T. At thirteen years of age she’s been in countless foster homes and has a record with drugs and theft. She’s on her way to juvie when the Chambers step in. Skye resents her new foster family’s faith and strict rules. The only thing keeping her at Keystone Stables is Champ, the horse she is learning to ride. What will it take for Skye to accept the second chance being offered her?
I first read this book in the summer of 2008. I’d read stories about adoption before, but this was my first foster care story, and it captivated me. I remember being slightly scandalized by the references to drugs. When I re-read it a few weeks ago, I had to laugh at that memory because the mentions are so mild. But, they are there, so keep that in mind. The author does a great job of showing Skye’s defiance as something unacceptable, yet tempering it by showing her internal turmoil. This book is a win for both horse lovers and those who enjoy adoption/foster care stories.
Fun Fact: I recently found the first few pages of a foster care/horse farm story that I started writing after reading this book.
Author: Marsha Hubler
Audience: 10 and up
P.S. The older edition I read was titled The Trouble With Skye. I used the updated title and cover for this review because I think that’s what is mostly available now.
Posted by Leah E. Good on May 3, 2013
Her teeth chattered. “I don’t care about being free. I want things to be normal. I’ve looked for the paper enough.”
In a futuristic society, everyone has a microchip implanted in the back of their heads. There is only one exception to the rule. When her home was destroyed, Monica barely escaped with her life. Now a wall slave serving the higher class nobles, Monica represents the slaves only hope for freedom. But being a chipless slave has its downsides. Monica must continuously risk her life on missions she doesn’t even understand. Will her courage fail when she faces her biggest challenge yet?
My favorite part of this story was the way Monica struggles with the risks she is asked to make, yet always ends up making the right choice. At the beginning of the story she takes the risks because she is given no option, but as the story progresses she becomes more and more proactive. My main frustration was the fact that Monica moves around so much that there is no consistency in the supporting cast. The ending opens the door for the inclusion of more overt Christian themes in book two. Overall I have no complaints about inappropriate content and will be keeping my eyes open for a copy of book two.
P.S. The cover of this book looks like it’s some kind of creepy, haunted ghost story or something. At least it does to me. Don’t worry. It’s not.
Author: Amanda L. Davis
Audience: Tweens to Young Adults
Posted by Leah E. Good on May 1, 2013
Good morning everyone! We have a slight change in plans. Jill Williamson’s book Captives was on the schedule to be reviewed today, but, as you can tell from the title, I’m breaking away from the schedule. My dear sister-friend, Melody, recently asked me if I planned to review her favorite dystopian novel, The Giver. It had totally slipped my mind when I planned the schedule. When I asked Melody if she would be willing to review The Giver she graciously agreed. So, here you are. Enjoy. (P.S. The quote should sound familiar. If you know what I mean, you can take credit for it. )
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Jonas’ world is perfect. From birth until the day of their Release, every member of his Community moves through life following the same patterns of progression and change that have been in place for generations before them; patterns which keep them safe and contented. But when Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, he steps into an entirely new world – one full of experiences and realities he never knew existed. As he receives the memories that have been passed down through generations of Receivers, Jonas must learn how to handle the experiences of the world, and he must decide what affect they will have on his life…as well as on the lives of the Community around him.
When I first found The Giver sitting inconspicuously dwarfed by two other Newbery Award-winning books on my schoolroom shelf, I never imagined for a moment what an incredible book I was in for. The Giver draws you in from the very first sentence, and continues to surprise and please all through to the end. The story is intriguing and entertaining – partially because of the dystopian society presented, but partially
because of the characters’ lovable personalities. You will identify with and root for Jonas all the way through! The book is a fairly easy read, although once you reach the end you will be very glad to know that there are three sequels! Overall, The Giver is a classic that is worth re-reading over and over again – which is why I was thrilled a few years back when Leah gave me a copy signed by the author herself. It remains one of my all-time favorite books!
Author: Lowis Lowry
Audience: Tweens–Young Adult
By the way, I just realized that I completely missed announcing the winner of the book giveaway yesterday. Sorry about that! I’ll do it tomorrow.
Posted by Leah E. Good on April 19, 2013
This months giveaway is a copy of The City of Ember. To tell the truth, the reason for the dystopian theme this month is because I had an extra copy of the book to give away. As usual, the giveaway is only open to residents of the US because of shipping expenses. (I’m hoping to post a poll soon to see how many of you have e-readers so that I can look into a giveaway that could include my international readers.) To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below saying why you want to read The City of Ember or why you enjoy the dystopian genre.
The box ended up at the back of a closet, shoved behind some old bags and bundles. There it sat, unnoticed, year after year, until its time arrived, and the lock quietly clicked open.
The city of Ember is an island of light in the middle of the great, unknown darkness. But the light is failing. Tension among the citizens grows as the store rooms begin to run out of essential items and the electricity threatens to fail at any moment. Hope seems lost until young Lina finds ancient instructions and recruits classmate Doon to help her figure them out. Can they save the people of Ember before it’s too late?
Shortly after this book was suggested to me I found a copy at the library’s used book store. Curious, I purchased it and took it home to read. I discovered a sweet story about determination, friendship, and hope during difficult times. The story was easy to read and I found the ending satisfying despite a few story threads left open for the sequels. I chose not to read the sequels because of an apparent anti-religious theme in book three. That said, there is no objectionable content in this book, and readers in search of a gentle dystopian read will find it enjoyable.
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Audience: Middle Grade to Young Adults
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this book!
Posted by Leah E. Good on April 12, 2013