Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hatchet by Gary Paulson

Hatchet (Brian's Saga Series #1)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent's divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair — it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

For twenty years Gary Paulsen's award-winning contemporary classic has been the survival story with which all others are compared. This new edition, with a reading group guide, will introduce a new generation of readers to this page-turning, heart-stopping adventure.
After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce.

My thoughts:
My son's teacher read this book to the class and he really seemed to enjoy it.  Since this was not a book I had read before I decided to listen to it.  I wanted to read it partially because I was curious and also to show my son that I listen to his reading suggestions.  I suggest books to my children regulary and take them to the library to make their own selections, so I wanted him to see that I was willing to take their suggestions for books to read as well.

I can see why this book appealed to my son and I liked that Brian's survival was not smooth.  He found out that it was diffiuclt and he was not prepared to live alone in the widerness.  He learned important lessons and had to rely on himself.  He reached the point over and over again where he wanted to quit and felt sorry for himself and he had to move through it and try again.  The option to quit was removed if he wanted to survive. 

This book was a lesson not only of self reliance and persistence, but also in what it would really be like to be alone.  How would a child or even an adult adjust to having no one to rely on and not much in the way of tools to use to make a way through the days?

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781416936473
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/23/2007
  • Series: Brian's Saga Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 192

Meet the Author

Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newbery Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

Not a whole lot of reading going on this week, which seems to be a bit of a sad trend lately, but I did finish one print book and one audio book.  The print book is a review book that will be posted in January once I find out my assigned date and the audio book should have a short write up this week at some point.

Here is what I read:
The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd
Hatchet by Gary Paulson

This is hosted by Shelia at BookJourney.  Check out her list of other blogs participating this week!

Free Book!

Emily's life has reached an impasse so large that she has decided that she needs to make some big changes. When she makes her decision, she dives in with her whole being to make changes so that she stops disappearing from her own life. Will all the miles help or hurt her? Will things be different in a new place or will she bring all her emotional baggage with her? Can she be independent and learn to trust again?
Free for four more days for Kindle!  Click here. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Snow play!

 Earlier this month we got enough snow that the children from the neighborhood were able to spend a good part of the day outside creating and playing.  The first thing they made was a snowman/person.  They used teamwork and rolled the snow all over the yards to create it.
Then they knocked it over and made lots of large snow boulders rolling them all over the yards until there were bare patches of snow with grass showing through and dirty snow boulders full of leaves.  We were convinced that the large balls of snow were going to around until spring, but last weekend it got so warm that they actually melted away, which allowed us to find the gloves and hat the snowman had been wearing, but that had been rolled into some of the new creations.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Family Affair by Debbie Macomber

Family Affair

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Lacey Lancaster always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she just wants to lay low in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.
Everything would be wonderful if it wasn't for her impossible neighbor, Jack Walker, who argues day and night with his girlfriend . . . and whose cat, Dog, is determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances. And when Lacey discovers that Cleo's in the family way, she's furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seems terribly upset about it.

But things aren't always what they appear. Jack's "girlfriend" is really his sister—and his intentions toward Lacey are quite honorable (though she's not sure about Dog). And out of the blue, Lacey is discovering the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

My thoughts:
This book was a nice, short read that carries the message that there is always hope.  It can be easy to get discouraged when things go wrong, especially in personal relationships, but it is important to not lose hope and to not mistake getting from day to day as actually fully living your life.  For Lacey, the fact that her husband cheated on her has led her to lack self confidence.  She mistakenly thinks  the issue was with  her and that she is the reason he cheated.  When she can hear her neighbor arguing with the woman she thinks is his girlfriend she transfers some of her relationship issues onto the two of them.  It takes being willing to see the situation without biases for Lacey to be able to move ahead with her life and have the courage to try for what she wants both at work and in love.  A nice starting over book for the end of one year or beginning of the new one.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594454625
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 102
  • Sales rank: 229

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dark Witch: Book One of The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts

First in the all-new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love…

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.


County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

Don’t miss the next two books in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy

Shadow Spell
Blood Magick
My thoughts:  I have a weakness for Nora Roberts and I love her trilogies.  This one has magic, family, spells and romance.  It includes the interplay between the past and the present and strong family bonds.  All these come together to make it an exciting read.
Iona has longed for a close family all her life, feeling forgotten and unloved by her parents and only cherished by her grandmother.  When she sells all her possessions to move to Ireland to the area her family came from, both her parents question her judgement, but she feels she has made the right decision from the moment she arrives.  In forging a bond with her cousins, Connor and Branna, and finding a job in a stable with horses, whom she has an uncanny ability to communicate with, everything seems to be falling into place.  Except for the dark fog, the dangerous dreams and the words she hears in the mist.  There is real danger in Ireland from a sorcerer who was almost destroyed years ago by a relative.
Iona needs to find the strength and courage to believe in herself and in the love she has for her newfound family and friends to defeat this evil that has been hounding them all.  I have to admit I was sad when I read the last page since it meant I will need to wait for the next book to find out what happens next.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2365 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0749958588
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (October 29, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

Last week I was lucky enough to have some extra reading time due to snow days and late starts for school due to snow.  I was able to finish reading a library book without it being late as the library decided not to open due to the weather.  I have been missing my audio books lately as the CD player in the car is still not working, but it has been nice actually sitting down with a book!  I finished two books last week:

Tempest's Course by Lynette Sowell (a review book for Litfuse Blog Tours and part of the Quilts of Love Series)
Dark Witch:   Book One of The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Short list, but both were very enjoyable books!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tempest's Course by Lynette Sowell (Qulits of Love)

About the book: Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal town of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt, with one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House where the quilt is stored. Tom Periera, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky coastline, is the caretaker employed by the mysterious absent owner of Gray House.

Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she is drawn out of her self-imposed shell and embraces the family God has given her after her own family failed her. As Kelly reads stories in a journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns there is no transgression beyond God's forgiveness, but the real obstacle is forgiving herself. During her and Tom's journey to grace and love, an unknown force works to keep both of them from discovering a long-buried truth that will change their lives forever.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/r7jlS

About the author: Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of five novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing with sales topping 250,000. In 2009, Lynette was voted one of the favorite new authors by Heartsong Presents book club readers. Her historical romance, All That Glitters, was a finalist in ACFW's 2010 Carol Awards. When Lynette's not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. Lynette was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained.

Learn more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

Landing page: 

My thoughts:  This is the third Quilts of Love book that I have had the pleasure of reviewing for Litfuse Blog tours.  Just as with the other two, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  It has hope, promise. longing for family and love and lasting bonds.
Kelly's work with the damaged quilt she is commissioned to restore is enhanced by her reading of the makers diary and her friendship with the sometimes cantankerous groundskeeper.  Both Kelly and Tom, the groundskeeper, have strong faith, but that doesn't stop them from wondering why some of the obstacles they have encountered in their live were placed in their paths. 
Kelly discovers within Mary Gray's journal a woman who approached marriage with hope and found a life full of loneliness as her husband went to sea as a whaler.  Some of the choices and decisions they both made were questionable, but the pain and heartbreak of them influenced her work on the quilt.
Tom is facing demons from his time in the military and his disabled diagnosis upon discharge.  His feelings of not living up to his parents expectations and his hopes and dreams for the future.
I loved the side note of mystery and the twists towards the end.  It shows how, as much as we want our lives to go smoothly and according to our own plans, we are not in charge of the ultimate path and destiny that lies before us.  Following this story to the conclusion was a pleasure.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent Series #3)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

My thoughts:
I wanted to love this book, but I didn't.  It isn't that I disliked it or didn't enjoy it, but it was too easy to put down and walk away from.  It lacked the sticking power of the first two books where it was hard to break away and do something else.  I was able to put this down for days at a time.  Part of me gets that way when I know a series is almost over, I want to prolong what is left of the storyline, but I think at the same time the last installment of any trilogy is hard and where readers start to get the most critical.

Tris and Tobias are living in Evelyn's post faction world with a new movement afoot, the Allegiant are forming to rebel against the anti-faction order that has been imposed on Chicago.  Meanwhile, many are wondering about the message about the need for the Divergent citizens to leave the city to help heal the world. 

The outside world reminded me of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.  There are issues of control and issues of who is more worthy of time and attention.  Is the reason for why we act the way we do all because of our genes, or do we have some control over what we do with what we have?

I don't want give any spoilers, but I am conflicted over the ending, I can see why Roth chose the route she did, but I would have liked to have seen it all go a different way.  I still look forward to seeing what is done with the movie version of Divergent, but this story let me down a bit and took both Tris and Tobias in different directions than I saw them in the other books.  Tris got much more regimented and set in her ways, passing judgments and holding people up to very high standards and expecting others to go along with her way or to be quiet and Tobias, who was always so strong and sure of himself, succumbed to a lot of self-pity and whining.  Almost as if Roth took the normal stereotypes of male and female characters and flipped them.  Not sure it works all that well either way though.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062209276
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Series: Divergent Series , #3
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544

Meet the Author

Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent and Insurgent, the first two books in the Divergent trilogy. Now a full-time writer, Ms. Roth and her husband live in Chicago. You can visit her online at Twitter, Tumblr, her blog, and her website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

About the book: When Laney Carrigan's adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.

Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he's come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He's spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness. 

Laney's painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qKmVW

Landing page: 

Meet the author:
 Lisa Carter has been published in MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Lisa is currently teaching music at a preschool and enjoying the enthusiasm and joy for life for which preschoolers are famous. She and David have two beautiful daughters.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

My thoughts:
I was excited to join this Litfuse blog tour for this new book.  I love quilts.  There is a local fair each summer in a nearby city and one of their attractions is the quilt barn.  Walking though and admiring all the different quilts is one of my family's favorite parts of the festival.  There is always one quilt up for a raffle drawing and we enter every year for the chance to win it. 

This book was about a woman who was adopted as an infant after being left by her mother on the doorstep of her adoptive parents.  The only thing her birth mother left her was a quilt with the words Aloha, Rose.  Feeling that she was abandoned and unwanted as a baby, even though she found loving parents, she has decided to find out what she can of her past so she can move past these childhood wounds.  She meets a grandmother who is suffering dementia and assorted adopted family which included Kai, a man who came to live with her aunt when he was child after his mother passed away.  Both Kai and Laney are walking around with a lot of baggage from their childhoods and their time with current wars.

Laney allows herself to get close to these people who claim to be her family, but always holds a part or herself back and keeps her escape route intact, as she has all her life.  How can she trust the people who let her mother leave the island and never followed or looked for her?  How can she know for sure she is in the right place solely based on a quilt her mother made?  If her grandfather didn't want her as an unborn infant can her grandmother really want her as an adult?

Laney has to allow herself to work through all her protective layers and trust that God is guiding her to a place she will feel at home.  She stumbles off this path more than once and questions her own decisions as well as those of the people around her, until she allows herself to stand still and listen to God and her heart and her family.  Sometimes we are so busy moving and running that we fail to just listen in order to know the truth.


Friday, November 22, 2013

The Christmas Quilt: Quilts of Love Series by Vanneta Chapman Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book: Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie's sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qKnYD

Meet the author:
 Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

Landing page: 


My review:
This was the perfect book for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.  It is so easy to get grumpy and stressed about all there is to do and to lose sight of all the everyday things there are to be thankful and grateful for.  Almost every negative can be turned around if you look at it from a different angle.  Leah is pregnant with twins and feels a great distance from her husband.  She is sharp with him, he feels too busy to spend time with her, he thinks she is always prickly and she starts to lose her trust in him and where he goes.  Then, six weeks before her due date, she goes into preterm labor.  Luckily her sister-in-law spent her rumspringa going to nursing school and worked at the English hospital that Leah is moved to.  The two women spend time in the hospital getting a quilt ready for the babies.  As they make each of the nine squares they share stories that touch on the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.  The women take their time with the quilt and share stories from their lives plus a few shared by another patient, a doctor and Leah's husband.  In having the time to contemplate and pray, Leah changes her attitude and feels remorse for how she has been acting.  Even though they are separated and must communicate via phone, Leah and Adam manage to find their way back to each other and become closer while farther apart than they have ever been before.  Leah and Adam learn through crisis what it means to trust in God's will and to make time for a true connection with each other.  They are able to make real changes in themselves by developing and allowing themselves to trust a higher power and each other.
So many people focus on getting things perfect and on their to do list, but if you are able to let yourself step back from the busyness of life you can see that we are all being guided if we are willing to accept the guidance. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Starting Now (Blossom Street Series #10) by Debbie Macomber

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.
For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.
With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.
As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.
Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.
My thoughts:
I haven't read a Debbie Macomber book in a while, but they always feel like a cozy warm blanket.  The characters feel like friends and I love that some of these Blossom Street characters have been weaving in and out of her books for years.  It is like catching up with old friends!
Libby  has been so focused on the career aspect of her life that she has been neglecting the other areas of her life.  In working towards her goal of making partner she has been thinking that when she achieves that goal she will have time for friends, relationships and hobbies, but her life is passing her by.  When she is let go from the firm she has worked for for many years it feels to her that life is over, but the advice her boss gave her keeps coming back until she reaches out and leaves her comfort zone.  She finds that the knitting that gave her comfort when her mother was dying of cancer, still has the power to relax her.  She finds comfort in rocking babies and starts going to the gym and connecting with friends.  As she makes changes in her life she finds that it is so much more full and rich than it was when she was totally focused on her law career.
What I took away from this book is that without meaningful relationships and connections to other people, we are just going through the motions.  I think too many businesses are expecting more and more of their employees, but if they gave everyone the chance to have a well rounded life with time for fulfillment both at home and at work there would be more satisfied employees overall and less problems.  I think some of the problems businesses encounter is caused by asking people to give more and more of their time to a job, instead of allowing for a balance that might make people  more productive overall instead of dreading long hours.
I hope to not wait so long until I read another Macomber book!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345528810
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Series: Blossom Street Series , #10
  • Pages: 352

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cinderella Goes to the Potty by Justin Blaney and Benji Todd Litfuse Blog Tour

An Isfits book.

Isfits . . . postmodern fairy tales and cautionary confessions.

Cinderella scratched a new line on the wall every night when the clock struck twelve. For 999 nights, she'd sworn to herself that she wouldn't stay long enough to see 1000. Cinderella heard the old man and the old woman clunking up the stairs. The clock began to chime. Cinderella was out of time. She had a decision to make---the kind of decision that could change her life or take it from her.

What Is Isfits?

A cast of characters sampled from icons of adolescence, re-imagined.

A graphic novel, like you've never seen before.

This eBook is 1/6th the full length graphic novel. Read it in about 5 minutes. Enjoy for years.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qx7Hp

Join the Isfits' launch team: http://ow.ly/qx7I7

Support the Kickstart (Do good and get COOL stuff!): http://ow.ly/qx7Ju

About the author: Justin Blaney is the author of the Amazon bestseller Evan Burl and the Falling which reached the #1 position in fantasy, teen and thriller categories. His latest project is "Isfits," a series of graphically illustrated postmodern fairytales and cautionary confessions for young adults. The stories follow the adventures of a cast of characters based on icons of adolescence placed in a darkly-humored world of blissful brokenness where they possess the power to affect cultural and personal change in the real world. Blaney is the founder of Innovate for Jesus (www.I4J.org) and Inkliss, a film production company. He lives outside Seattle with his wife and three daughters.

Learn more about Justin at: www.JustinBlaney.com
Landing page: 
My thoughts:  I received this book from Litfuse in return for an honest review.  I must admit that when I first read the title I thought it was going to be a humorous potty training book along the line of Once Upon a Potty, but it is not.  It actually has nothing to do with potty training.  My first time reading it through  had me wondering a but, but my second read through was much more satisfactory.
Cinderella is being held captive by an old man and an old woman who want to, wait for it, feed her to the potty.  The potty is a tree and it is hungry.  Cinderella, of course, does not want to be a meal for a potty tree so she does he best to elude the man and woman and get away from the castle where she is being held.
The illustrations are dark, but nuanced and the text varies in both font and direction, some pages have text both right side up and upside down, some pages it goes sideways, you have to look to see which way to read from page to page.  In the second read through I could see the similarities to other fairy tale characters such as Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzle.  I read this book to my children the second tiem through and they had some interesting observations.  They thought, as I  had the first tiem through, that it might be scary for a younger child to hear about a carnivorous potty, so we decided that it must have a target audience of older children.  
This book was a fun and unusual take on a fairy tale character.  I loved that Cinderella had to rely on herself instead of being saved by a prince, as well as how she used her own ideas and resourcefulness to work towards saving herself.   The illustrations were unusual in a pleasing way and I love how the text varied from page to page.  I would recommend this to tween and older readers as it might be too much for young children and would caution that it is not a potty training book for young children.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week I was a bit more successful with reading, but our car CD player started acting up and wasn't able to read the disks from our new library books.  I'm not sure what we are going to do about that at the moment, but here is what I managed to finish this week.  All three are review books from Litfuse and will have reviews posted this week.

Cinderella Goes to the Potty:  An Isfits Postmodern Fairytale by Justin Blaney and Benji Todd
Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter
The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

What did you read this week?  This is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.

Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there's something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it's mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there's a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they're determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you're worth more dead than alive.

My thoughts:
I have conflicted feelings about this series.  While I think it is well done, it is a bit more violent than I would like.  The suggested age range for the book is 12 to 17, but I often listen to books in the car with my children and we do rotate in young adult books since we are listening together.  By being together we can pause the story and discuss, pose questions and explain as we go.  I regret that I started this series with them as the senseless disease that causes sufferers to go crazy is a very scary concept and not really explainable.  It fits in with the Walking Dead and the zombie genre to me.  Had I done better research before we started the first one I would have skipped these books with my kids.  On my own I think they would be a different experience.  They are suspenseful and scary and pose questions about catastrophes and government's role in the aftermath.  I think I could have focused more on the story and less on how to talk about it with my kids.

Mark and Trina were on some future version of a subway when the solar flares hit.  They survived the chaos and met a group of people they would then spend time with in the post flare world of melted polar ice caps and people fighting each other for survival.  People are rebuilding and working together until bergs start arriving with darts and shooting people.  From there begins the quest to find out why the people in the bergs are shooting these darts, why people are going crazy and if the two are connected.  It is a fast paced story full of some pretty big horrors and big revelations about what people are capable of in the name of survival.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449810118
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Series: Maze Runner Series
  • Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot-Rides and animals!

 A couple weeks ago we took one last trip to our local amusement park on their last day of the season.
 The kids road some rides, trick or treated with characters and dinosaurs and visited the petting zoo.
 It was a low key kind of day with some really nice weather!
 We took our time and didn't rush.
 They visited all the animals.
 Petting some
 while not being so sure of some of the others.
 We decided not to feed them this time, as none of them were all that interested in food with so many little hands offering it.
 This was our last ride on our way out of the park.
I'm going to miss these days when they decide they are all too big for the kiddie area!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I've missed out on doing this for a week or more as I haven't been doing much reading.  Balance can be hard to find, I know, but I am working on it.  I did finish reading a few things in the last few weeks, I promise.  Here is what I finished:
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Kill Order by James Dashner
Starting Over by Debbie Macomber
I hope there are more that I just can't think of right now, but I am afraid that may be all I have finished lately. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Fall fun!

 We finally had a weekend with no plans to spend as a family so we spent some time on the land we bought last summer.
 A lot of the trees have already lost their leaves, but we found a lot of pretty views to see and explore.

I wish I could get this one to rotate as it looked so nice going down the path.  I am sure I will figure it out at some point!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Snapshot-Farm Tour

Last weekend our area hosted a farm tour weekend.  Some local farms were open to visitors to learn about what they do and how things work.

We visited Pappy's Orchard and watched how apples are sorted and washed.  The apples were dumped on this conveyor belt and rolled to a washing area.

After being washed they were dried by being rolled over this cloth.
Then the rolled down an area with holes for different size apples that they rolled into depending on when they fell through the holes.  Were they 2 inches or 2 1/4 and so on.

Each area was somewhat padded so they did not get bruised.
If they did not fall through any of the holes they went to the over 3 inch area to a round spinning table.

The farm also had turkeys from tiny

to huge!  This one was 51 pounds.  We joked with our kids that he weighs more than two of them do!

The turkey farm was across the field so the farmer just brought a few over to this barn to show visitors.