What is your reading goal this year?

Friday, January 20, 2017


Hi Readers! I am in Disneyland with my family right now, so I'm using the hotel
computer to write this review of Lady of the Lakes. This is a Mac, and I have an
HP, and for some reason the formatting is all wonky. I'm so sorry!! I'll fix it when I get home. :)

The Lady of the Lakes

The Lady of the Lakes

Josi S. Kilpack


"Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young 
and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For 
years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul. Though Mina 
shares Walter's love of literature and romantic temperament, it's hard for her to know if she 
truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome 
and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose? But as every 
poet knows, "the course of true love never did run smooth," and on a windy morning in the 
lake country, Walter meets Charlotte. At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will 
never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family 
history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of 
independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home. Passion 
and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their 
futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?"

My Review:

I have always enjoyed a sweet love story, and this one is no exception. This story has all the 
elements that make a good love story: poetry, romance, dedication, heartbreak, suffering, and 
true love. I love that Sir Walter Scott's poetry is written throughout the book. As a reader you 
can just picture him writing his poetry for the love of his life, and also to combat his heartbreak. 
The characters are well developed and realistic. I especially liked Sir Walter Scott's voice 
along with Charlotte's voice. Charlotte was one of my favorite characters. Her need for 
independence and her strong voice make for a great character. It was fun to see her grow and 
progress throughout the book. There were times when Walter's character was a little irritating; 
I just wanted to scream, "Get over it already!!!" Thankfully his brother and friend were there to 
help him! The story flows well, and the transitions from person to person are easy to follow. 
Josi Kilpack does a great job of describing the scene without overdoing it. Each character 
sounds and feels different as you're reading, so you don't need to keep checking the beginning 
of the chapter to figure out which character you're reading about. Reading this book definitely 
makes me want to go to Scotland and see where it all took place. I thought this was a sweet 
love story and I enjoyed it. 

There is no profanity or violence in this book. There isn't any "intimacy" either, except for some 
brief kissing and a few romantic moments. I love that it's clean and you don't need to worry about 
what the next page may hold! That's definitely a benefit to reading the proper romances!

Rating: PG (There's no profanity, violence, or "intimacy," except for a few brief kisses and some 
romantic moments.

Recommendation: YA and up (It is YA approved; girls will definitely enjoy it more than boys. My 
boys -15 and 13- would not enjoy this book, but girls will love it.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians Book #2)

The Scrivener's Bones
(Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians Book #2)
Brandon Sanderson


"Grandpa Smedry is in trouble--Alcatraz to the Rescue! In his second skirmish against the Evil Librarians who rule the world, Alcatraz and his ragtag crew of freedom fighters track Grandpa Smedry to the ancient and mysterious Library of Alexandria. Hushlanders--people who live in the Librarian-controlled lands, such as Canada, Europe, and the United States--believe the library was destroyed long ago. Free Kingdomers know the truth: the Library of Alexandria is still around, and it's one of the most dangerous places on the planet. For it is the home of the scariest Librarians of them all: a secret sect of soul-stealing undead Curators. Can Alcatraz and his friends rescue Grandpa Smedry and make it out of there alive?"

My Review:

Have I told you how much I love this series? Well, let me tell you again--I love this series! I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud this much reading a book. Seriously! I love the wit, the humor, the puns, the dialogue, the sarcasm, and the writing in this book. I was in the faculty room at school, eating lunch, and the other teachers kept asking me what I was reading because I was laughing so hard. I read a few parts to them, and I read parts to my husband because it's so funny. The part about the bazooka-wielding bunny is hilarious. I love how the author addresses the reader. I love how he inserts random comments throughout. The characters are very well done. Alcatraz learns and grows a lot during this book, and Bastille is...Bastille. We meet a few new characters in book two, and I like them as well. The bad guy is even more scary than the bad guy in the first book, but the way he is done is very clever. There's a lot of action in this book, and some cool new lenses are introduced. I like that the characters can't just use physical force to overcome their enemies, they also need to use knowledge. This is a great second book, and I highly recommend it! If you liked the first one, you NEED to pick this one up today!

Rating: PG (There's no profanity or "intimacy." There is some violence as they fight the bad guy. There are some injured characters as well, but none of it is too graphic or too scary.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up (It's a great middle-grade/YA book!!)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Viking Age: Everyday Life

Viking Age: Everyday Life
During the Extraordinary Era of the Norsemen
Kirsten Wolf


"The Viking age comes alive in this vivid, abundantly illustrated exploration of its people and their world. What kinds of houses did the Scandinavians live in? Were they literate? What kinds of clothing did they wear? How did they view death? Filled with a wealth of information on every aspect of the Viking age, this fascinating and informative book answers these questions and many more. You'll explore all aspects of line, including marriage, settlement conditions, crafts and industries, language, health and medicine, food and drink, boatbuilding, politics, warfare, and sports."

My Review:

This is the third in the Everyday Life series that I have read. I've read Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages, and this, surprisingly, has been my favorite! It's crazy because I thought I'd like the Egypt one the best. Learning about the Vikings has never particularly interested me, but this book did a great job of explaining everything and making it interesting. One of the reasons I didn't love the other books as much as I thought I would was because the writing was very technical and difficult to read. It took me forever to read them! This book was actually written very well. It brought the Vikings to life, and even though the writing was still a bit technical, it was understandable! I thought it flowed well, was fairly easy to read and understand, and it did a good job of explaining everything in a way that readers could enjoy. There are many pictures and illustrations, and I found it so fun to look at and study them. I liked learning about their coins, jewelry, homes, and their raids. I hate to say it, but "How To Train Your Dragon" is about as much as I did know about the Vikings before reading this book. Now though, I feel totally educated! Ms. Wolf did a great job with this book! 

Rating: PG+ (There isn't any profanity in this book. There is talk of marriage and the things that go with it-not too detailed, but it is discussed. There is a little bit of violence when they discuss raids and warfare and such, but once again, it's not too graphic.)

Recommendation: 12 or 13 years-old and up (The language may be too difficult for some of the 12 and 13 year-olds, and younger children most likely won't be interested anyway.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017


Gilbert Ohanian


"Is there a bully in your life that you don't know how to deal with? I had one too. It prompted me to write 'Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied,' a book outlining practical strategies for defending against bullies and resolving the conflict and aggression that often plagues victims of bullying. Inside these pages, I will take you through my own harrowing journey with bullies--from boarding school beat-ups, to violent attacks from crazed skinheads on the streets of London, to bullies in a public school of America. In each chapter a reflection of my personal story will show you what I did wrong, and how you can actually defend yourself in this modern day and age."

My Review:

Bullying is something that, as a teacher, I do not put up with. As a mom, I don't put up with it. There's definitely a zero tolerance policy on bullying in my house. However, a couple of my kids have been bullied at school. My children have been physically harmed, and they have been verbally and emotionally bullied as well. Our school does have a zero bullying policy, but it's not always easy to see happening when it's verbal or emotional. When I have brought it up with principals and teachers they have taken it seriously and it has stopped. It's not as easy when the kids are in junior high, so it's been more difficult to take care of there. Anyway, I'm telling you this to let you know that I am no stranger to bullying. I think it is a topic that needs to be discussed continually with children at home and at school. This is a very important subject, and so I was glad to hear from Mr. Ohanian about reviewing his book. His story is tragic. It broke my heart to read about everything he went through during his childhood. There were definitely things that his school leaders could have done differently to help him, and there were things that he also could have done differently, but looking back doesn't change anything. What happened, happened. I'm glad that he was brave enough to speak out and tell his story. It's important for people to read about and understand the dynamics of bullying. There are some good aspects to this book. Speaking out against bullying is always important and beneficial. He gives some good ideas on how to deal with bullies, and he writes about the things he could have handled differently. Those are all good things. Reading about his story will definitely help others to speak out against bullying. Unfortunately, this book needs to be edited. A lot. It's written from the heart, but he discusses several situations that are not relevant to the story at all. Also, it may be written from the heart, but there are many grammatical errors and portions of the book that do not flow well or transition well. One other thing that bothered me was that he is not a psychologist or doctor. I understand that he lived through these situations, but I wasn't sure if the advice he gives in the book is just his philosophy or if it's sound advice from bullying experts. Does that make sense? He does cite many articles in this book, so I know that he did research into best practices. I hesitate to state these things because he has endured a lot of criticism in his life, and I don't want to add to that. It is a very sad story, and I feel terrible that he had to endure such hardships in his life. I think this book has a lot of potential, and I hope that he will find a great editor and publish a second edition.  

Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or "intimacy," except for maybe a brief kiss. There is a lot of violence in this book. He is beaten-up, harassed, and bullied. Some of the stories are difficult to read because of how harsh they are.)

Recommendation: 13 years-old and up (YA)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.