Sunday, January 29, 2017

Abel's Island

Abel's Island *****
by William Steig

Abel's Island is a book about a mouse that gets stranded on an island, and he has to survive on the island for a whole year! Then he has to get back to his wife Amanda, and she is a mouse. Abel learns how to be tough and work hard. I think that people 8 and up should read this book because it has a lot of hard words in it. It is a really good book.

by Sabrina Staples, 8      

Men Who Love Fierce Women

Men Who Love Fierce Women *****
by Leroy and Kimberly Wagner

This is a book written for men on how to love and lead their wives, especially wives who tend to try to take over. Leroy Wagner shares very openly about the struggles in their marriage. He and his wife were both Christians serving in the church. They were committed to their marriage, but they were both very unhappy and felt doomed to a life of misery and fighting. He shares about how God moved in both of their lives and convicted them both of sin. Leroy showed how they were able to build new healthy patterns and learn to love and serve each other in meaningful ways.

A few years back, Kim wrote Fierce Women for women. I haven't read that book, but in this book I really liked being able to hear them both share and see things from a male and female perspective. The book also has a lot of scripture in it and is so full of hope!

My husband and I found this book really helpful. It opened our eyes to some unhealthy patterns in our marriage and offered us hope as we seek to understand God's design for our marriage...a marriage where we respect, honor, and lift each other up. We both highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Eathquake in the Early Morning

Earthquake in the Early Morning     *****
by Mary Pope Osborne

Overview: This was a great adventure book with a lot of action. I love books with a lot of action. This is a book about two kids, Jack and Annie, who have to find a special writing for Morgan. They go to San Francisco right when there is an earthquake. The kids use their clues from Morgan to find the secret writing on their adventure. Find out what happens to Jack and Annie!

Negative Elements: None.

Positive Elements: The kids work together to get the writing.

In conclusion: This was a fun book for a kid to read. It's a pretty short book. Enjoy reading it! 

By: Summer Staples, 10 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fancy Nancy Soccer Mania

Fancy Nancy Soccer Mania      *****
by Jane O'Connor

Overview: I thought this was a great book! I've always loved Fancy Nancy. This is a book about Fancy Nancy learning soccer. She starts out really bad, but as she practices more she gets way better. She practices with her best friend Bree. Her dad is the coach of their team, Green Goblins. They are practicing all through the book for their big game. Finally the big game comes, they are all exited and nervous. What will happen next and throughout the book? Read and find out!

Negative Elements: None.

Positive Elements: This is a book about learning how to work together. 

Conclusion: I thought this was a great book, that's why I gave it four stars. I think you should read it!

By: Summer Staples, 10


Fancy Nancy Seeks a Fortune

Fancy Nancy Seeks a Fortune     *****
by Jane O'Connor

Overview:  This is a book about Fancy Nancy trying to find out a way to be a millionaire. She and her friend Bree are selling all sorts of stuff trying to get people to buy it. Her and Bree love watching a show at Mrs. DeVine's house where people bring in items to see how much they're worth. One day, Mrs. DeVine finds out one is coming to town! Nancy and Bree are delighted. One evening, Mrs. DeVine takes Nancy and Bree there. They all had an armload of stuff. Nancy's stuff is worth nothing, except a necklace, that she's wearing from Mrs. DeVine. Nancy wouldn't trade it out for even $200 dollars. And Bree had $250 dollars worth of stuff, but it belonged to her mother, and she knew her mother would never get rid of it. Mrs. DeVines stuff was worth nothing at all so the girls rode back home with Mrs DeVine. And then one night the Clancy's had a dessert outside with Bree's family, and Nancy remembered the song from guitar lessons. About how everything is free, how the stars are free and so on. So Nancy played it.

Negative Elements: None.

Positive Elements: It's a very sweet story about how being normal on the wealthy list is the very best.

Conclusion: This was a sweet book. I think a nine or ten year old should read it. Enjoy!   

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Portrait of Emily Price

A Portrait of Emily Price *****
by Katherine Reay

Overview: Emily Price restores things for her job...burned houses, broken valuables, damaged paintings. And she thinks she can restore relationships in the same way. 

On a business trip, Emily falls in love with an Italian chef visiting the town where she is working. In a whirlwind romance, they marry and return to Italy. What is waiting for her in Italy is a huge, Italian family with a lot of brokenness. Will she be able to repair it? Will she just make it worse? Will she be able to find a place in this family?

Positive elements: a well-written, clean story, full of wonderful Italian food

Negative elements: none

Conclusion: This is the third book I've read by Katherine Reay. I really enjoyed her first book Dear Mr. Knightly. I didn't like this book as much. It's strange to read a love story where they meet, fall in love, and get married in a few days. The real story of this book is what happens after the "romance" when she's in Italy. So, again, I appreciate Katherine Reay's creative approach, but the story felt a bit unbelievable. 

Kingdom Family Devotional

Kingdom Family Devotional *****
by Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans

If you're looking for an easy guide for leading family devotions, this is a great book. The book has 52 weeks of lessons. Every week has a topic such as "love," and then each weeknight has a different devotional on "love." The daily devotionals have a scripture passage to read and a short reading out of the book. There are some family activities and scripture memory, too. 

So, this book gives you a whole year of daily devotions all mapped out.

My husband has started to go through this book with our five kids...ages 2-10. The book has lead to some wonderful discussions, and my husband really recommends it for other families.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The People of Sparks the second book of Ember

The People of Sparks *****
by Jeanne DuPrau 

Overview: This was a great book with lots of action. I really like action books, so this was a great one. Doon and Lina lead their people into the town of Sparks. The people of Sparks are kind at first to them, but then the people of Sparks get scared because they think that they're going to run out of food. The people of Ember have to work in order to get fed. The people of Sparks have lots of arguments with the people of Ember. At the end, they have a big war. Find out what happens!

Positive Elements: There is a lot of working together.

Negative Elements: There is war and someone writes awful words about the people of Ember on their hotel.

Conclusion: This was a great book! If you like action, you'll like this book. I gave this book four stars because it took a little while for the action to get started, but besides that it was great!

By Summer Staples, 10   

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Junie b. Jones: Turkey We Have Loved and Eaten        *****
by Barbara Park
Overview: Junie b. Jones: Turkey We Have Loved and Eaten is a fun short book about a first grader. Sometimes she is funny, and other times she is mean. I think these are fun little books. The only thing I disagree with are the bad words she says. She uses the words "hate," "dumb," "stupid," and "mean," a lot. And she calls other people names that are in her class. I just remember that those words aren't good to say when I read it. If you think this book sounds fun, I think that you should read it during your free time. 

Summer Staples, 10 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Junie B. Jones: First Ever Musical Edition

Junie B. Jones: First Ever Musical Edition *****
by Barbara Park

My girls enjoyed listening to this two CD musical edition. One CD has the audio book, First Grader at Last. The second CD has 16 Junie B. Jones songs.

My girls have read some of the Junie B. Jones books before. They are fun and easy to read, but Junie is not well-behaved. For example, she calls other kids "stupid" and "dumb," argues with her teacher, and is defiant.

If you have a first grader who enjoys Junie B. Jones, he or she will probably enjoy this musical CD. Otherwise, I'd not spend too much time with Junie due to her poor behavior.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My girls, ages 4-10, gave input for this review.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Magnolia Story

The Magnolia Story *****
by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Overview: Chip and Joanna Gaines became famous when HGTV picked up their story of fixing up houses together and created a TV show Fixer Upper about them. This book is the story of their marriage, their family, and their businesses.

Chip and Joanna take turns "talking" in the story. So the whole book feels like a conversation with both of them weighing in and sharing about their lives.

Positive elements: Funny, well-written, and encouraging to see how they work together in their marriage.

Negative elements: None

Conclusion: I read this book in an afternoon with my husband. My husband and I have so many similarities in personalities to Chip and Joanna that we just laughed our way through the whole book. It felt like we had sat down with them for an afternoon and heard about all God has done in their lives. My husband enjoyed hearing about all the crazy houses they bought and fixed up. And I loved hearing about Joanna's designing and her finding balance between work and family. She also shares about the struggle of having a beautiful, clean house and the realities of four children running around. So many things I can relate to. I was also reminded to celebrate the ways God has gifted my husband and encourage him in those areas. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone...whether or not they have watched Fixer Upper.