Friday, September 18, 2015

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

AHHH! Freaking out! Okay, not really, but still! A little. I was tagged by 26countlesspossibilities (go read their blog!) to do The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag! I was thinking about doing this tag before I was tagged to do it, but I was like, "No, it is too hard to pick the books."  Then I was not going to do it. But then I was tagged, so I was like, "You have to do it. I know you can go to your books and pick!"

1. Best book you've read so far in 2015?
I am just going to say The BIBLE!  (No, I did not read all of it, but a lot! And it is my favorite!).

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2015?
In Good Company by Jen Turano.  This is book two in the A Class All Their Own series, and this book was even better than book one, After A Fashion. (This one was so hard to pick. I have read so many great sequels this year!)

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to to?
Redeemed by Margaret Paterson Haddix.  This is the 8th, and last, book of The Missing series.  Redeemed was released on the 8th of September.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2015?
THE GOLDEN BRAID!!!!! by Melanie Dickerson!  This is book six in her first series, and I can't wait for it to be out. This will be out November 17th.

5. Biggest disappointment?
Miles From Nowhere by Amy Clipston.  This is book three in her companion series, and I really like the first two, but I did not like much of this one at all. The main character made me soooo mad at her, and I really did not like her.  She made so many bad decisions!

6. Biggest surprise?
Palace of Lies by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  This is book three in the Just Ella series. I did not know this book was going to be a book until this year, and I was very happy.  I really enjoyed it!  Also, I really like the first two books in the series.  I need to re-read Just Ella; I have not read it in years. 

7. Favorite new author?
Joanne Bischof.  As of right now, I have only read three books by her, but I want more!

8. Newest fictional crush?
Nathaniel Upchurch from The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, by Julie Klassen. 

9. Book that made you cry?
Tons of books, but I think the most tearful are A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell and Expectations by Melanie M. Jeschke.  They made me cry so much!!!!

10. Book that made you happy?
All of the Erynn Mangum books! They are so funny and cute and nice and love!

11. Favorite book to movie that you saw this year?
I don't think I've seen any so far this year. 

12. Most beautiful book you bought this year?
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson.  This book is beautiful inside and out (the story and the cover)!

13.What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I don't really have any that I HAVE to read.  I would like to read all the books that are coming out for the rest of the year that I am waiting for (you can look on my "To Read" shelf on Goodreads for this).

I am still working on a book review, but I have not had time to work on it much.  I want the review to be really good and well done.  I will try to have it up before October, but life is crazy!  All the days in  my planner all filled.  I enjoy blogging, and need to plan that into the planner, too.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Blogging Schedule

My old posting schedule was every Friday (or a least four a month).  But I have been doing that for over a year (it was a year this February. YAY!), and my life is not the same any more. I am doing more and different things.  Just the fact that my life schedule is not the same makes blogging not the same.  This school year I want to really get in to School, and be with family, and do things that I have not done in year, like doing Art a lot more (I still don't think I am going to have time to do this)!  I know blogging is Art, too, but I want to do more than just that.  I still want to blog, and have a schedule, and do lots of posts.  But I want to put up posts I am happy with not just "I needed to have a blog post, so I did this post." I want to really work on them and make them count.

So, that gets us to my new blogging schedule.  I want to have up at least two blog posts a month.  I want them to be well done, and something I am happy to post.   I may post more, if I want to and have time, but the most I will put up is one per week. I am not going to go crazy.... again! This is not a forever blogging plan, I know it is not very strict, but I think it is all I am going to be able to do for now.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pride and Prejudice Book VS. Movie Review


Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, is a stand alone written in the late 1700's, and rewritten in 1811 and 1812, and published in 1813, in England.  The book is about a girl named Elizabeth Bennet who is getting to be an "old maid".  Her mother is trying to get all of her girls married (Mrs. Bennet has five daughters, no sons).  In this time, they needed their girls to be married to have a house, because girls could not own property.

First I'll start out with Pride and Prejudice the book.  This book is about misconceptions, love, pride and prejudice from all sides.  I love this book, and I think the story teaches a lot of good lessons. This book is funny.  Before I read this book, someone had said to me that this book is funny.  And I was like, "No way is this old book funny!"  But guess what?  It is!

I am going to say that the first 18 chapters are slow.  I had a really hard time getting past them, but you may not, if you don't know who everyone is already.  There is a chapter at the end of the book that is just a description of a dinner table!  The book is at a point where you just want things to happen and characters to be with their "love";  all we get is a telling of how the dinner table is set up!

Back to good things.  Jane Austen is great at character development!  Wow!  What you think about someone can go from 0 to 60 in this book!  Over all,  I really liked this book and want to read more Jane Austen .  I finally read all of this book back in December 2014, but I got the book way back in November 2013.  Sadly, I had been trying to read Pride and Prejudice since then, and I kept stopping at chapter 18 or 19.  I just could not keep reading, and then I was like "I guess this book is just not for me," but then I was like "It has to be!  I love all the adaptations! I have to like the book".  So, I got a free audio-book (not from audible but from LibriVox!) and got past those chapters.  I was able to read smoothly from a paperback book after that.

I saw the movie before I read the book... Yes, I know.  How could I?  But I did not own the book, and I was sick at the time.  So, it's not like I could just run out to the library and get it.  And I did know that it was one of the books that I wanted to own in my life, and have in my library, seeing as it is a "classic" and all.

If I had not watched the movie, I may have not read the book until was very old, and like "Oh, I think I want to read that.  I guess now that I am old, I am 998, and this is a book that was much loved in the old days."
The movie out in 2005, starring Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet, is a pretty good book to movie adaptation.  The actors really portrayed the characters well.  I thought the costuming was about 85% good, 15% not-so-good.  The movie did cut out a lot of the middle of the book and some things were changed.  I don't get why some of the things they changed were changed.  Unfortunately, my favorite part of the book is the middle part.  I do get why they had to cut out some of my favorite parts.  The book is on the long side, and that would make a very long movie that I would see, but not everyone would like to watch hours on end of pride and prejudice.

I recommend this book for ages 100 13 and older.  I'm saying 13, because there are some innuendos, the main characters are in their 20's and 30's, and this is a dense classic (under 13 may not make it through those first 18 chapters!).  There is alcohol and drunkenness, not by the main characters.  The movie is probably enjoyed best by the same age group.

BONUS:
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on youtube was the first literary web series that I watched.  I marathoned it in one or two days.  There is cursing in some episodes, which I don't appreciate.  Overall, the actors, writers, and producers did a good job of making a modern adaptation of the book.  The web series really made me want to read the book more, because I watched this before I read the book.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Starring Me Book Review

Starring Me, by Krista McGee, is book two in Krista McGee's companion novel trilogy of Biblical Allegories.  Book one is called First Date and is a re-telling of Esther. I reviewed First Date February this year.

Starring Me is a Isaac and Rebekah re-telling, you can find the real story in Genesis 24.  This book is told from both of the main characters point of view, unlike First Date that is only from Addy's point of view. The "Rebekah" character's name is Kara McKormick.  She was a side character in the first book First Date, and I LOVED getting to know more about her. The "Isaac" character is Chad Beacon, and he is one of my favorite book boys!

The main plot is that Kara is trying out for this new show and Chad is going to be on the show, but she does not know.  His parents are being really picky about who his co-host is going to be and that she needs to share his faith.  Chad's parents set up a deal with the company that is making the show to have their very close family friend, Flora, to pick out who the co-host will be.  The company has a month long audition where nine girls that are all trying to win are living in the same house and going to auditions with Flora as the house mother. I love Flora!

The tv show they are competing to star on is like a teen run, and family friendly version, of Saturday Night Live.  This book really is about how Kara gets saved by God, not by some boy.  In this book you still get to see a lot of Addy and Jonathon (from First Date).  They are in a few parts together and with their friends. There is also a lot of auditioning and scripts in this book, and I loved that! This book is about God, family, friends, acting, and love. This book is fun like the first book, and like book one may make you cry in one part.  But the book and main characters are so different from First Date, and they are done so well by Krista McGee.

I recommend this book for ages 11 through adult, just like for book one. The romance is so clean. This is one of my favorite books.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Top 10 Most Influential Books



1.  The Holy Bible
I try to read the Bible everyday.  It contains all my favorite quotes ever, and all my favorite love stories ever.  It is so historical.  Every word of it is true.

2.  Mystery At The Ski Jump and The Clue Of The Velvet Mask by Carolyn Keene
This was the first Nancy Drew I ever read.  
Mystery books were like all I ever read for years and years and years. 
This is probably where I got my love of mysteries.


3.  Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue by Chuck Black
Lady Carliss was like a knight, and she slayed the dragon. She's all cool.  I really look up to her.  
Also, this series really opened my eyes to Spiritual Warfare stuff.



4.  Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker
The author was really influential in this book.  She was homeschooled, like me.   Her books were published when she was still in high school.  I love the way she wrote the characters.  They were so impactful.  You felt all there emotions, and more.  I really related to the main character, Scarlet, and her family.  

5.  In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite
This was the first "Christian" book that I read and was like:  they can be funny and not all formula.
I really related to April Grace and her struggles.  I related to all of her problems, except I didn't have snooty-falutey neighbors living in my house.

6.  Swipe by Evan Angler
Swipe is the best dystopian book I have ever read, and I have read buckets and buckets of them.  When I read this book, I was thinking this could actually happen in the near future.  Instead of thinking, oh, that might happen hundreds of years in the future.  I could be young, not dead, and this stuff could happen.  Also, the series is Biblically sound as you go on through the books.
7.  So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
After reading In Front of God and Everybody, I had not found another funny Christian book, until this one. This one was perfectly my sense of humor.  The Confessions of April Grace series was just a little off my sense of humor.  Bella was very girly, yet still an awesome mystery solver.  I liked seeing that, because by the time I read this that were like kick-butt girls, with no emotions, that were not girly at all. 

8.  The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson
This was the first book that I wasn't annoyed with the romance.  I wasn't like, "Ah!  Stop being stupid! Ah! Communicate! Ah! Ah!".  Also, Sophie was one of the first characters with very similar traits to me that I had read in a long time.

9.  Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally
This book is all about living for Jesus while you're young, not waiting until you're older and married and stuff.  It's about not obsessing over boys while you're young, but doing meaningful things like serving God and serving others.  There's more to the book, but I plan to write an in depth review on here in the near future.

10.  Practically Seventeen by Rosamund du Jardin
This was the book that made me realize there were still good books left in the world.  Thank you, Mommy Darling!  After reading a bunch of not very good books from the Summer Reading Program one year, they were junk, junk, mostly junk.  I was like, "There are no good books."  My Mother was like, "Here read this."  I was like, "Oh, this is a good book!  Even though the cover is awful."  This book got me back into looking for good reads.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Courtship Book Tag

I was tagged by no one at all, unless you count myself.  Let's go!

1.  Initial Attraction: a book you bought because of the cover.

You can read my review of this book.

2.  First Impressions:  a book you got because of the summary.

I mentioned this in my Book Recommendations #1.  I plan to review this book in depth in the future.


3.  Sweet Talk:  a book with great writing.



4.  First Date:  a first book of a series that made you want to pursue the rest.




5.  Late Night Phone Calls:   a book that kept you up all night.

You can read my review of this book.


6.  Always On My Mind:  a book that you cannot stop thinking about.

You can read my reviews of So Not Happening, I'm So Sure, and So Over My Head.


7.  Getting Physical:  a book which you love the way it feels.

You can read my review of Swipe.


8.  Meeting the Parents:  a book that you would recommend to your friends and family.

On my list to review.  Every un-married girl needs to read this!


9.  Thinking About the Future:  a book, or series, that you know you'll re-read in the future.

You can read my review of this book.

10.  Spread the Love:  Who would you like to tag?



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Save The Date Book Review


Save The Date, by Jenny B. Jones, is the companion book to There You'll Find Me, by Jenny B. Jones.  I reviewed There You'll Find Me last week, and was not planing on reviewing this book until I was trying to think of a book that had some thing to do with the 4th of July.  I came to this book, because there is a 4th of July celebration in this book! And it is so fun!  Also, the main man Alex's birthday is the 4th of July, too.  This book is very patriotic for more than four reasons (1. and 2. I mentioned previously):  3. Set in the USA 4. Has political stuff  5. Beach House (doesn't Beach House just say "The American Dream?!) , need I say more? I think not. If you have not read my review for There You'll Find Me, Finley is in this book; she is Alex's sister.

Now that that's done, let's get on to who this book is about.  First, we have Lucy, a twenty something.  She is not like most girls we read about.  Lucy is in a nerdy group/club called The Hobbits.  She loves her nonprofit job at Saving Grace, a place for young women who have graduated from the foster care system to live (And just so you know Saving Grace is a real place!  I know!  So great!).  I have to say something about how Lucy is described, and how it is not like most books you read where the girl is said to be "slight and thin".   Lucy is curvy and not a size 2.  And how many books have you read that the main girl character has naturally curly hair?  In this book she does!  I do have to say, I think the cover model does not look like how I imagined Lucy at all, or maybe not just as much.

Save The Date is also told from Alex Sinclair's point of view.  Alex is a former professional football player, whose father owns Sinclair Enterprises.  Alex is running for Congress, but because of his bad boy name from being a playboy football player, he is having a hard time getting people behind him .

So, now you know the main characters, on to plot.  When Sinclair Enterprises, the largest donor, starts pulling funds from Saving Grace, Lucy will do almost anything to find the money to keep the place open.  Everyone loves Lucy, so Alex strikes up a proposition.  If she will pose as his girlfriend and fiancee, then he will give her the money she needs to keep Saving Grace going.  She agrees to this, and the rest is spoilers!

I do have to say, I really see this book as Alex and Lucy learning that they have got to go to God and let Him work things out.  Also, that they don't need to be anyone else, but the people God made them.  I think you can guess that this is a romance, but this book is not as cliche as the synopsis makes it sound.  This book has PLOT twists!

Just so you know, the epilogue takes place after There You'll Find Me, so there really is no "right way" to read them in.  This book is so funny it had me laughing like CRAZY!  Lucy is funny.  Her friends are funny. Alex can be funny.  But this book is not just funny,  the story has ups and downs, and even sad parts. Save The Date is not all fun and games.

I have to say that I have read a lot of reviews on this book that are on Amazon.com, and one review on Save The Date said that there is a gay man in the book.  A lot of people commented on that review, and said they were so glad to read the review and they would not be picking up this book, because they did not want to read a Christian book with a gay character.  I never once thought the character that reviewer was referring to was gay in the reading of this book.  *Not that having a gay character in a book is such a horrible thing, depending how it is done.*  I just have to say there is no one in this book who says they are gay.  There is a male character who cooks, dresses nice, and is a kind person, but that does not make him gay! And that particular review makes me mad for a lot of reasons, but one is that this person is just going to go and say that all nice boys with fashion sense, who are able to cook, are gay, because no straight boy is like that. That is a lie!

*I have read a Christian book that had an openly gay character.  The author did a great job.  The book was set in California, and from what I know, having the book setting and character ages as they were would have been unrealistic not to have even one gay character.  Let's face the facts, there are homosexuals in the Bible.  They have been around since B.C..  And yes, that is a sin.  But we are still supposed to love sinners.  We should not be applauding sin, or normalizing sin, but we are all sinners and all sin separates us from God.  All humans need God's love, and those of us that follow Christ are supposed to show all sinners His love.  Jesus hung out with prostitutes, thieves, lepers, tax collectors (aka crooked banker/politicians) and loved them all.*

I recommend Save The Date for ages 13, or 14, and up, mostly because of the age of the characters, some kissing, and some life issues younger audiences may not be ready for.  I still have a little trouble relating to twenty-somethings, being a teenager myself.

Friday, June 26, 2015

There You'll Find Me Book Review


There You'll Find Me, by Jenny B. Jones, is about Finley Sinclair, age 18.  She is a musician, who plays both violin and piano.  Finley is in her senior year of high school.  She is studying abroad in Ireland, just like her brother Will did when he was her age, before he died.  She is trying to follow Will's travel journal.  She is trying to get over how she was/is feeling about Will's death.  And she is trying to finish her audition peace for the Manhattan Music Conservatory, where she is hoping to get accepted.  She is hoping that in Ireland, she can hear God again.  She also hopes to forget her "party" year.

On her way to Ireland, she meets Beckett Rush, the teenage vampire boy.  He is on his way to Ireland to film his latest vampire movie.  He has not been doing good with his lines, so he hires Finley to run lines with him.  In exchange for running lines, Beckett will show her around Ireland.

So, things sound like they are looking up for Finley, but when she arrives at school, not so much.  She is bullied by mean girls.  And if that is not bad enough, she also has to spend time with an old dying lady for a school project, or she won't graduate.

The description of Ireland in this book made me want to go there even more than I already did.  All that described sounds very serious, and totally is, but this book is still filled with Jenny B. Jones funny.  My favorite funny scene in the book literally made me fall out of my chair laughing (maybe that is why my new favorite place to read is my bed...).  There are only two books that made me fall out of my chair laughing, There You'll Find Me and Paige Torn, by Erynn Mangum; totally worth it!

This book is about grief, bullying, body image issues, and love of all kinds.  There You'll Find Me is in a companion novel duology with Save The Date.  Really, Save The Date is first book of the two, but it's not a big deal if you read this book first.  I read There You'll find Me before I read Save The Date.  There are only three things you get spoiled on if you read There You'll Find Me first.  And my readers know how I hate spoilers.  If you've read this review, you have already been spoiled on one thing (forgive me!).

I love this book!  Jenny deals with all of the intense issues so well!  The story was all so real, and you just relate so much, even if you have not been through all the things Finley has.  You may not have guessed from my review, but this book has plot twists!

I would recommend this book for ages 13+, for kissing, the body image issues,  and the age of the main character.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Recommendations #1

A lot of the books I've reviewed lately I've recommended for age 12 and over.  This is a special book recommendation list for the under age 12 crowd, but if you are over 12, you should still read these books.  I read and re-read many of these books at over age 12.  So, this list has emerged.

1. Betsy-Tacy Series by Maude Hart Lovelace (especially the first four books in the series). You can see a list of the books at http://www.betsy-tacysociety.org/betsy-tacybooks.  These books are awesome, because the reading level and vocabulary increases as Betsy and her friends age throughout the books.  In first book, Betsy-Tacy, the girls are age 5.  In the last book, Betsy's Wedding, she ages from 22 to 25.  These books have been reprinted over the years, but are recently out of print again.  You should be able to find copies at the library.

2.  The Marjorie series by Carolyn Wells.  In writing this, I found that the books are back in print!  The copyright has expired and they are public domain.  You can find them on Amazon for download to your e-reading device.  You can get all six books in the series for 99 cents right now on Amazon.  You can get Marjorie's Busy Days for FREE as a stand alone, and re-printed as a paper back (quality unknown), but only $6.99.  You can find original books for various prices.  Margorie's Busy Days is the book that introduced me to the series.  I LOVED it!  The setting is the turn of the century (1900, not 2000!).  The language is rich, and also cutesy at times (Marjorie has a baby sister and she talks like a baby). The sociology of the time is very interesting, for the age of the characters, they act VERY different than what we expect today.  The book is refreshing.

3.  Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock and the other classic Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene.  Carolyn Keene is a pen name for various authors. you can find who the actual authors were for each book at this website.  Knowing who the actual author was is a valuable tool when you find you really like the writing style in one of the books, because although they are supposed to by written the same style, there is a noted difference between the authors.  Nancy is an awesome, strong, yet feminine character.  She has the values of her time, there is occasional reference to prayer and going to church.  She and her "favorite date", Ned Nickerson, have a very clean, G-rated, relationship.  She is great in our world today, where we are told the only way you can be strong is being masculine (even if you are a girl), and that is just not true!  The first book was published in 1930, and the young woman detective continues to be reprinted year after year.

4.  Trixie Belden and The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell, and is the beginning of a series.  Trixie Belden was the first character that I aspired to be like. She is so feisty and adventurous.  The first six books were written by Julie Campbell and they are the best of the series, in my opinion.  Further books were written under the pseudonym Kathryn Kenny, which was not just one author, but several.  Some of the later books are pretty good, but many feel like they are formula written, and the main characters don't even feel like the original characters.  Trixie is the the younger, farm girl, less cautious version of Nancy Drew.  The first book was released in 1948, but reprinted in the early 2000's, and you may still find them at your local library.

5.  The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote the first 19 books in the series.   There are now 139 books in the series.  I would recommend the first 19.  These books may look a little juvenile, but the language is rich as the first book was published in 1924.  They are a continually reprinted book series.  The family relationship between the four Alder children is very tight.  The mysteries very interesting, and sometimes I don't even figure them out, which is saying something, because I read lots of mysteries.

6.  Addie McCormick series by Leanne Lucas. The first book is The Stranger in the Attic.  I found them reprinted at Christianbook.com (they were out of print for a while).  They are not preachy at all.  The main character's Dad was a pastor, and Addie does pray.  This is another mystery series.  The Stranger in the Attic is not as creepy as the title sounds (at least not as creepy as it sounded to 11 year me, when I first read this book).  I have read all of the books in this series that I know of.  I was given the first book by my pen pal and found the remaining books at my local library.

7. Sophie series by Nancy Rue, the first book is called Sophie's World.  You can probably find these at your local library. They have been reprinted with new covers and some new titles, so beware you don't accidentally get two of the same book.  I related so much to Sophie as a 7 year old when I began this series.  Sophie is started 6th grade.  She is a dreamer, aspiring film director, actress, writer, and a good friend.  This book series is not fluff stuff, Sophie goes to a counselor, there is bullying, cancer, and many other life issues.  This is a written by a Christian author, and she handles all these topics very well and age appropriate.

8.  In Front of God and Everybody: The Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite.  This is the first book in the series.  Right now, there are just three books in the series.  April Grace is a country girl in the Ozarks of Arkansas in 1980's.  This was the first "Christian" book that I thought:  "Wow!  Christian books can be funny and exciting and inspiring!  They don't have to be boring, boring, boring, run of the mill, cliche!".  April Grace is also a detective, but the story is not heavy on the mystery.  If you don't care for mystery, no big deal.  If you like mystery: BONUS, and you'll probably like this book 110%.

9.  Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.  This book is a Cinderella retelling, but it's so different. I wrote a book versus movie review on this, which you can read on this blog.

10.  Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower.  Great mystery (series, but I have only read the first one), good for all ages, especially for younger kids, because you can relate to the main character who is 12 years old (the character feels younger than 12 to me).  You can read my review here.

11.  Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm.  The setting for this book is the Great Depression, but the story is not depressing.  The story is interesting, and the names of the characters, too.  There is buried treasure, what more do you need?  Read, read, read.  You can read my review first.

12.  Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and all of the Little House Books.  If you are not familiar with these books, they are so much better than the television series, and much more family friendly.  There is death, sickness, scary weather, wild animals in some of the books, but still more family friendly than the tv show.  The series is based on Laura's life growing up beginning in 1871.

13.  The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  There are five books in the series, but I have only read the first four.  If you are familiar with The Littles, the Borrowers and like the Littles, only British and without tails.  The family dynamic is different, too. The idea of little people, living in your walls, is the same.  I found the first book years ago at the library and love, love, loved them.

14.  Firestorm! by Joan Hiatt Harlow.  This is a historical fiction books set during the time of the Chicago Fire in 1871.  That may sound scary, but the story is not.  You can read my full review of this book here on my blog.

15.  Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.  The second book in the series is Pippi on Board.  The third book in the series, which I liked even better than the first, is Pippi in the South Seas.  These are short books, translated from a Swedish author.  They are fun, fast, must reads.

16.  Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine.  This is part of the old Never Land Fairy Series.  This is the first one in the trilogy.  I didn't care for the second one; the plot was all over the place like Alice in Wonderland, but it wasn't supposed to be a dream.  I haven't read the third one.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first book (I've read it multiple times).

17.  Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  This book is much better than the movie.  I had some problems with the movie, but the book did not have those problems.  The book is very heart-warming.  The story of a single-dad pastor and his daughter, and their new dog Winn-Dixie.  It sort-of makes me think of Little Orphan Annie, but in the South, in a different time period, and she's not exactly an orphan.  Read the book, tell me what you think.

18.  Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and the rest of this series.  What if you were taken from the past, because you were going to die there and adopted by people in the future, but you don't know you were taken from the past?  That is the premise behind this series.  If you like time travel and/or great figures in history, you must check out this series.

19.  The Doll People by Ann M. Martin.   This is a series of four, but I have only read one through three.  What if dolls were alive, but not in a creepy way?  And the humans never found out, ever.  If a doll got caught moving by a human, it was stuck in "doll state" for a long time.  These books are really cute and adorable and fun and adventurous and light-hearted.  And even if you don't think this synopsis is very interesting, you should still read The Doll People.  They are illustrated by Brian Selznick, and he's a really good illustrator.

20.  Redwall by Brian Jacques, and the rest of the series (22 books in all).  Some people may look at these books and think they are "boy books," and there is violence in these books, death, etc., but the main characters are animals that talk.  The battle scenes are not super scary, or too descriptive, but maybe not for all under age 12.  One of favorites, is especially girly, Mariel of Redwall, book #4.  I don't find it necessary to read these in order. My favorite, so far, (I haven't finished this series) is The Outcast of Redwall.

21.  Nim's Island by Wendy Orr.  This book is way better than the movie!  And I just found out that there is a whole Nim's Series.  The book is about a girl and her Dad who live on an island, and they have internet.  I don't know how they have internet, but they do have a satellite, so that makes sense.  I just had to think about that.  This is Indiana Jones Adventure-esque.  The back of the book says she is a modern day Robinson Crusoe.  I haven't read that book, so I can't attest to that.  My brother still hasn't finished that book, so I can't ask him either.  If the back of the book says it, there's at least a 46% chance that it's true.

22.  The Red Rock Mysteries by Jerry B. Jenkins.  The first book is titled Haunted Waters, but I started with book #2, Stolen Secrets.  The titles sound pretty scary, but the mysteries are not too scary.  I haven't finished this series, but have enjoyed every book I've read.

23.  Have Courage, Be Kind: The Tale of Cinderella by Brittany Candau.  This is the book version of the new live action Cinderella movie from Disney.  The story is not just a copy of the movie, but expands on the whole story, especially her childhood and the ball.  The book actually changes some of the things that happened in the movie.  Highly recommend!

24. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.   The book and movie adaption (the one I saw, anyway) are both great.  The book is about a girl whose parent's die. She gets sent off to live at her uncle's house, where she discovers a secret garden and a couple of mysteries.

25.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  This book may not be for all under the age of 12, because it is set during the Civil War, there is the death of one of the main characters, a little romance.  I read this under age 12, but I was a Civil War reinactor.   There are continuing books in this series, Little Men and Jo's Boys.

26.  The House on the Gulf by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  This is a mystery set in Florida. This is not a book for everyone under 12, because the mystery is a little scary, but really not any scarier than some of the Nancy Drew books I've read.  It's about a single mom and her two kids who move to Florida, so that the mom can go back to school.

27.  Interrupted by Rachel Coker.  This book is set during World War II, the main character's mother dies at the beginning of the book, and there is a very G-rated romance (not even a single kiss).  Due to the war and people's opinions in the book on the war, this may not be something all under 12 year olds would be ready for, or interested in, but is 100% appropriate for all ages.  You can read my full review here; I recommended this book for "ages 9 until you're dead" in my review last year.

28.  Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.  This is a classic book.  You will probably impress others by reading this book.  The story is about a guy who makes a bet about traveling around the world in eighty days, and the adventures that ensue on the trip around the world.  I tried reading reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but that Jules Verne book was much harder to get into.  I recommend starting out with Around the World in Eighty Days.  

29.  The Giver by Lois Lowry.  This is one of the well known dystopian books in popular literature (NOT the first, the genre has been around for more than a hundred years).  Once again, the book is way better then the movie.  The movie adds all sorts of crazy-sauce stuff that never happened, ages the characters up, and changes everyone's jobs (except for the main character).  The book is about Jonas, who becomes the apprentice Keeper of Memories.  He gets memories about war, depending on personality, and exposure to world events, this could be no big deal, or upsetting.  There is a little crush in the book, but the story is WAY cleaner than the movie.  This a series, but I read the second book, and didn't like it as well as the first book.  I will continue the series, because it is an interesting story, but I'm in no rush.  This is a four book series.

30.  Just Ella, Palace of Mirrors, and Palace of Lies by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  Just Ella  is a realistic Cinderella re-telling and is very different from the norm.  Palace of Mirrors is it's companion novel sequel which focuses on a different girl in the kingdom that the kingdom in Just Ella was at war with.  Palace of Lies is about another girl in the same kingdom as the second girl.  The second two books are not based on any fairy tales that I am aware of, but they are princess-y and realistic.  Ella's character continues through all three books, but she is only the main character in Just Ella.

31.  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  If you have seen the movie, or heard about this book, it's a lot different than the title makes it sound.  Sara Crewe is the daughter of a wealthy ship's Captain.  She is put in boarding school in England while her Father goes on a voyage.  Although she has had everything she could want, she is generous and caring.  That doesn't keep others from being jealous of her and mean to her.  Her Father goes missing and then she finds out who her true friends are, and learns real hardship.  Sounds depressing, but there is a happy endin.

32.  Princess: Molly's Heart, Princess: A Room in the Attic, Princess: Home at Last, by Gabrielle Charbonnet, a trilogy modern retelling of A Little Princess.

33.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  You can start with the first book in publication date order: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or the first book in chronological order: The Magician's Nephew.  Then read all seven books in the series.  They are fantastical and have good lessons, but not overkill, like the books are not beating you in the head with good lessons and morals and values.  Some people say these books are a Biblical Allegory, and I can see where they get that idea, but C.S. Lewis did not intend them to be.  He made them up to entertain children staying with him in the country during WWII. (These books are better than the movies, too).

34.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  Yet another book that is better than the movie.  This is told in a combination of mostly pictures and some words.  Set in a Paris railway station in the early 1900's, based in part on the true story of French pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies.  This is a huge book, but super easy to get through with all the pictures.  It's not just a kid's picture book, it's a very full story, recommended to me by a high school teacher/former librarian/now college professor.

35.  The Young Underground Series by Robert Elmer. The first book in the series is called The Young Underground.  There are eight books in the series.  Each book is based on a real historical event or character, and they are set in Denmark during World War II.  Robert Elmer has a lot of great historically based books.  You can find more about his books on his website.  Some of his other series are a little scarier than this one.  Hard to imagine, but post World War II Israel (Promise of Zion series) is scarier than WWII Denmark.  Also, post WWII Germany (The Wall series, called Life Behind the Wall as a trilogy bind up) is scarier than the Young Underground.  I have read all three of those series by Robert Elmer, and loved them all!


Friday, June 19, 2015

So Over My Head Book Review

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So Over My Head, by Jenny B. Jones, is book three in the A Charmed Life Trilogy. If you have not read the first two books in this trilogy, you can read my review of book one, and if you have not read book two, you can read my review of book two. Now, if you have not read book two, or if you have, and you don't want to know anything about book three before you read it, get off this review!  If you don't want to be spoiled for books one and two, plus a bit of book three, STOP reading NOW!

In this book, The Fritz Family Carnival comes to Oklahoma, and with it comes a mystery! Bella and Ruthie get jobs working at the carnival as clowns, so there are no creepy clowns just funny ones!  And that not all, Bella's Dad is getting re-married to a very suspicious lady, and Bella is trying to find out why the lady is so suspicious.

Bella and Ruthie really grow as friends, and I love that they are so good as friends for each other! And they are SO funny together.  Bella and her Dad's relationship has not been very good. In this book they really address that, and work on a better relationship.  I REALLY love that, because some times it's hard to have a good relationship with a family member that has hurt you, even if it was unintentionally.

Now, on to Bella and Luke. I love them as a couple/team, they work really well together.  But sometimes they make me so mad, the way they act with each other.  I just want to yell the fruits of the spirit at them!  Or tell one of them to communicate with the other! But this is how Jenny B. Jones is a great author, she really makes you emotionally invested in her characters. One of the main things with them in this book is that Luke's ex-girlfirend is back in town.  All I can say about that, is that the ex in town causes problems with Luke and Bells's relationship.  I don't want to say any more about that for fear of spoilers (I just found out that there is a name for someone who has a fear of spoilers it's "Spoilephobia" like what? That is crazy!).

The Circus brings Cherry to town.  I love Cherry, she is a great new character that is added in this book.  I love her with Dolly. I also love that she is a Homeschool girl that is not stereotypical, and that is cool!

I'm giving the same recommendation for this book as for the first two books in the trilogy, ages 12 and up (for kissing, scariness with the mystery and relating with the main character).  Warning:  If you read any of Jenny B. Jones books, because of my reviews, I cannot be held responsible for injuries relating to excessive laughing, falling out of chairs, smiling lots (makes your face hurt), and frightening others with boisterous laughter.  Also, don't blame me if you start quoting from the books, or making references that others don't  understand (I feel ya, wo-man.).

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'm So Sure Book Review

This is the only book in the trilogy that I have an individual copy of.
The book from my other review is a bind-up of the trilogy.
This looks like the original copies I borrowed from the library.

I'm So Sure is book two in the A Charmed Life trilogy.  I recently reviewed book one, So Not Happening.  If you have not read any of the A Charmed Life books, you can read that review to see if you are interested.

Now, if you have not read book one, So Not Happening, STOP, do not, I repeat, DO NOT read this review!  Unless you want to be spoiled on how things end up with the first book.  If you have read the first book, and not book two you can still read this for some time.

So, I'm So Sure starts off with Bella's family morning her death. LOL, just kidding!  I'm So Sure starts off as just a bit of time has past from when So Not Happening ended.  Now Bella is doing some detective work for money.  In the midst of her detective work for one of her classmates, she finds out that her family is going to be on a pro-wresting reality TV show (not pro as in I'm pro-gluten free things, but pro as in professional).  This book is about all the crazy things that go down with being on a reality tv show, and a mystery that goes down with the prom queen candidates.

As in the first book, you continue to see Bella grow as a character and as a Christian.  Jenny B. Jones does a great job of integrating Bella's Christian walk in her life.  There is nothing preachy, or unnatural, she is a growing Christian teen, and that part of her life is woven in and makes her more of a real person that you could know.

This book is even more funny than the first book, because a character is added who is one of my favorites ever in the whole book character world!  She is the best at making me laugh.  Some of my friends even say I am like her (an amazing compliment!).  Her name is Ruthie, and if you read this book, when you meet her is one of my very favorite parts of all three of the books.  For me, this book's mystery was so hard to figure out what was going on with the prom candidates.  In the end, I worked the answer out at about the same time as Bella.  That is a great mystery in my book (pun intended).  I can usually figure out the solution to a mystery much earlier than the book detective.

That is all I can tell you about I'm So Sure without spoiling you about this book. So, go read I'm So Sure!
This book has the same age recommendation as for the first book, 12 and up. but for a few different reasons than book one.  This book doesn't have kissing like book one, but this book does more scary, intense situations (edge of your seat for the older crowd).

Friday, June 5, 2015

So Not Happening Book Review

This June, I am making into "Jenny B. Jones Month."  I will be reviewing lots of her books.  The first book that I am reviewing is the first book I read by Jenny B. Jones.  So Not Happening is the first book in A Charmed Life Trilogy.  So Not Happening is about Bella Kirkwood, age 16.  Her parents have just gotten  divorced, and her Mom is getting marred to a man she met over the Internet....  And he lives on a farm in Oklahoma with his two sons.  This is not cool with Bella, because she is a Manhattan princess.  But her Mom still makes her move to Oklahoma. So, you think this book is going to be super cliche, but it's not.

Bella has a blog, and writes all about how "awful" her new life in Oklahoma is.  Then the students in her new school find out about the blog, and everyone reads it.  And a lot of her new "friends" get crazy mad.  Some of them are so mad that she has to switch classes, and she gets switched to journalism.  When she is working on her first assignment, she stumbles upon a mystery! Yes! A mystery! Were you expecting this to be a mystery book? I was not when I was reading this book for the first time.

This book is a tiny bit like the movie Uptown Girls, so if you like that movie you may like this book.  There are a number of differences though.  I won't tell you you what is similar, you will have to read for yourself and compare.

Bella is a Christian, and I find how she deals with situations very interesting, especially how very different book the story would be if she was not.  I love that Bella has a cat named Moxie.  I love when book characters have pets. I also love how Bella and her Mom's relationships grows in to something more than what it was in NYC.

I especially love how Jenny B. Jones does Bella's romantic relationships (yes, there is more then one over all three of the books).  The romance is very different than what most authors do. I would say more but I don't want to spoil you.

This book is one of the most Rolling-On-The-Floor-Laughing books I have ever read!  Bella is funny, and just my sense of humor.  And that is just awesome!  I would quote one of the hilarious lines, but I don't want to stifle your laugh when you read the novel.

Age recommendation is for ages 12 and up,  because Bella is 16, and there is a bit of kissing, and talk of things like pads, also, alcohol (though not consumed by the main character, but other students).  And I mean "up" as in until l you do not enjoy well written, hilarious, teen novels anymore.  My Mom is nearing 40, and she loves these books, too.  YES!  I actually got her to read them last year.  We had to be really careful not to wake my Dad up when we were laughing over the lines in the books late at night.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Revolutionary Book Review

This is my super late review of Revolutionary, by Krista McGee. Revolutionary is the third book in the Anomaly trilogy. I have reviews for both of the books in this trilogy.  If you have not read any of the books in this trilogy, I highly recommend them.  The first book is Anomaly.  They are a Dystopian, Christian, Romance (the romance is very much in the background).  If you want to know any more than that about them,  read my review of the first book.  And if you have read the first book, then you can read my review of book 2.

If you do not want to be SPOILED on this book, get out of here or be spoiled!!! If you do not mind, then you may keep reading.

I read this book very close to when it came out, but soon after I read it, things were crazy in my life. I did not have much free time to write a review, so I now it is close to a year since have read the book. And I have yet to re-read it, so this is going to be me just going through my "Theories For Revolutionary" post and seeing if I got any thing right. 

1.  Berk and Thalli are brother and sister! (Luke and Leia situation people!)  The reason I think this is because they both have green eyes.  No one else in the book has mentioned that they have green eyes, and their hair is only one color shade difference. 

Mmm, no. I got this VERY wrong!!!!!!

2.  Dr. James Turner (John's son, and only living relative... that we know of) is Berk and/or Thalli's biological father (Darth Vader situation people! Yes, everything has a Stars Wars reference today.).  If this is true, that would make John the Grandfather of Berk and/or Thalli.  How cool would that be?

So, I did not get this right either....

3. OR Dr. Loudin could be Thalli and/or Berk's biological father... dunt, dunt, dun!!! (Another Darth Vader situation, but really more like Count Dooku.) 

I got this one! I am winning! Wait, this is not a contest.  SO, I can not win, and I only so far have got one right.  So, I am not really winning.  :(

4.  Someone will die.  My ideas on who will die:  Dr. Turner, Alex, or Berk.

I did get some of this right. Half point.

5.  James Turner and Alex become Christians by Thalli's witness when she is brought back to State (which is also a theory, because we don't know for sure that's where they take her after they drug her again).
I got all of this right!!!!!!!!!!! Yes!  :) WINNING!

6.  Because Alex (the new King) got kidnapped, Athen's will attack New Hope...again! (There's a Star War's reference here, I'm sure).

I feel like I got this right, but I can't really remember........:(

7. Thalli will end up with Berk (only if he is not her brother), or with Alex, if he does not die (which would be a Han Solo and Leia situation, wink, wink, wink!).

I got it right that Thalli and Berk are together! WINNING MORE!

8.  OR Alex will end up with Diana, because they both have no one left in the world (Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala situation).

I did not get this right, because one of my other theories came true. CRYING!

So that's it.
THE END.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren Book Review



Cascade, by Lisa T. Bergren, is the second book (of five) in the River of Time series. If you don't know anything about this series, it is a time travel, romance, set mostly in Medieval Italy.  You can read my reveiw of the first book Waterfall, if this sounds interesting.

Casade starts off right where the first book left off, and that 's all I can tell you if you have not read the first book. But if you have read Waterfall, read on.  Soon we are back in time, this time with Gabi, her Sister, and their Mom.  As in the first book, this is very fast pasted, has a lot of battle, and also romance. There are a lot of plot twists that I did not see coming, and I didn't want to stop reading. I had very mixed feelings on the end.  While I was happy for her family, it was just so easy and very predictable. I need more conflict.

This is set in the time of the Bubonic Plague, also called the Black Death. And just so you know, there are still some cases of the Bubonic Plague in the USA every year, to this day! And I GOT SICK the day after I started reading this book. Being the Hypochondriac that I am, I was all like "I have the Bubonic Plague!!!!"

I had a new favorite character in this book, even though my favorite character did not die in the last book.  I like the new characters that were introduced in this book, except for some of the evil ones.  I want to tell you more about these characters, but spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.  I hate being spoiled about the plot of a book, and I won't spoil my blog readers.

I personally think that this book should not be read my anyone under age 13, there is less violence than the last book, but there are make-out sessions, the Plague, and also, plenty of political intrigue that some younger readers might enjoy, and other might find boring.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren Book Review



Waterfall, by Lisa T. Bergren, is the fist book in the River Of Time series. There are 5 books, plus some novellas.  Gabriella is 17 and spending her summer at yet another dig, this time in Italy.  Her mom is an archaeologist, and so was her Dad, before he died.  I loved the feel of the beginning of this book, to me it was very Indiana Jones-esque. Some things happen (I don't want to give it away) and Gabriella and her sister, Evangelia, time travel to medieval times, and they get separated!

This book is really good at talking about the politics going on in Italy at the time that the girls go to.  I know some about this time period, but this book really made me think about it more.  I really loved Gabriella's devotion to finding/getting back with her sister; it was a lot like how I think I would feel in her situation, and as an older sister.

Now, on to the romance.  I felt that the romance was believable, but I wasn't really rooting for them.  I think that this is because I was VERY spoiled about their relationship. But I do really like them as a book couple.

In this book there were plot twists that I saw coming, and there were some that made me guess if someone was going to live or not!  I was expecting different things in the way of how this book was Christian, but I like how the story is unfolding and laying the pieces out for the next books.  I loved that the characters felt very real, and that Gabriella was not stereotypical to most girls in stories where there is time travel.  I also enjoyed that she did a lot of things that I think I would have done in her place.

I would recommend Waterfall for ages  13 +, because there is a lot of violence, and a bit of kissing, and things like the political aspect that I think anyone younger would not care for.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Haul #4 (this time of the conference variety)


So, I went to a Homeschool Conference.  And I may have spent a lot of money.  More than I budgeted.  But not more than I had in my wallet.  That's why I don't have a credit card.


This was the first book that I did not pick out at the Homeschool Conference.  My Mother picked it out, kindly, for me.  Then, I needed this book in my life.  It's about Amy Carmichael, written by Elisabeth Elliot, two amazing missionary women.


This is the second book I finished reading from this haul.  If you are a un-married girl, you must read this.  No, it's not a self-help book on how to get a man, like I previously thought from the first time I heard this title.  Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally, is one of my new favorite books.



I am currently reading Growing Up Duggar, by Janna, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar.  This book is really good, so far.  I read bad Goodreads reviews before I read books, because this helps me in my life.  That way I can think about opinions while I am reading, and be able to defend good books.  Anyways, on this Goodreads Review, someone thought this was a memoir.  This is not a memoir,  it's more like a self-help book on relationships. 



A Constant Heart, by Siri Mitchell, is a historical fiction novel in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.  There is something to do with romance in the book, because I read about the romance in several Goodreads reviews.



Just Ella, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is a Cinderella retelling that is very non-typical.  I read this book in 2012 from the library.  I've been wanting to own this book ever since.  Now I do.



Palace of Mirrors, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is the sequel to Just Ella.  I found out about the sequel earlier this year.  I borrowed this book from the library, also.  Now I own it.  There is a third book in the series that was just released.


I read the entire Among the Hidden/Shadow Children series in 2012.  I only owned the first book.  The next year, I only owned the first two books.  Two years later, I now own the first four books.  Among the Betrayed is one of the two books I picked up.  I can't tell you anything about the plot of this book, because SPOILERS!  I can tell you what the series is about.  Among the Hidden and the following books are about a dystopian future where people are only allowed to have two children, but some people have more children.  The third, or more children, are called "Shadow Children", because they have to hide in the shadows, or the government kills them.


Among the Barons, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is the other book in the Shadow Children Series that I found at the awesome used book vendor.  I only got three books that were not from that particular vendor.  I went back to them three times.  That's why I spent all that money.


Ohhhh, Trixie Belden.  I recently found out that these books are, once again, out of print.  I have already read The Mystery off Glen Road, by Julie Campbell.  This is a very good book.  I highly recommend this series.  This particular cover is the newest reprint which was done in the early 2000's.  You can probably still find them at your local library.  The first book is called The Secret of the Mansion.  Being as this series is out of print, I wanted them even more.  I already owned the first four books.


This is book six in the Trixie Belden series, The Mystery in Arizona.  The first six books were written by the same author.  The next books were written by ghost writers.  You can tell the difference between the original six and the next books in the series.  The first six books are the best!  Although, the author must have changed again as the series went on, because the writing gets better after a while.


Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, was Jane Austen's first published novel.  This book is about Catherine Morland, who loves Gothic romance novels. She gets invited to Northanger Abbey, being influenced by all those novels of intrigue, she starts imagining all kinds of crazy stuff happening.  I think I'm going to like this book.


Christy, by Catherine Marshall, is the same book that the "Christy Award" is named after.  I have enjoyed every "Christy Award" winning book that I have read.  So, I thought I should read the book Christy.  The synopsis sounds pretty cool.



I read the Addie McCormick series a few years ago.  I started this series on the recommendation, and gift, of my amazing pen pal.  She could not get into later books of the series, but I did.  I enjoyed the later books just as well as the first book that she gave me.  Addie McCormick and the Mystery of the Missing Scrapbook, by Leanne Lucas, is book two in the series.  


I love the Donna Parker books that I have found and read previously.  I especially like Donna Parker Special Agent.  I had never seen Donna Parker Mystery at Arawak, by Marcia Martin.  I like mysteries, can you tell?


This book is not a mystery, but Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry, is a teensy bit mysterious.  This is the second book in The Giver Quartet.  This is the first book I finished out of this haul.  I was disappointed, because I did not like this book as well as The Giver.


So, I got the third Robin Kane book as a gift from my Grandma.  We were looking for Nancy Drew, or Trixie Belden books a few years ago.  We found Robin Kane.  I read the third book, and I loved it. Robin Kane The Mystery of the Phantom, by Eileen Hill, is the second book in series.  I know, I'm reading them out of order.  Chill.  They are hard to find.

The End.