Saturday, August 30, 2008

Numbers Challenge is OVER!

Your Time is UP! How did you do? Did you finish? If you were posting your reviews to this blog, please feel free to keep posting if you haven't reviewed them all yet. If you didn't finish, don't worry, you did great!
I plan on running this challenge again next year so keep an eye out in December for signups. If you write a wrap-up, please let me know either by email or in the comments of the wrap-ups post below. If you didn't write a wrap-up, or want to give me anonymous comments or suggestions, please comment here on what you did or didn't like.
See you in 2009!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Challenge Wrap-Up Posts

*This is also a sticky post, scroll down for newest

Since not everyone is directly posting their reviews to this blog, I'm going to link to everyone's wrap-up post so that you can see all the reviews. When you post a wrap-up, leave a comment here. If you already commented above, you don't need to again.

Susan's Wrap-up
Tara's Wrap-Up
Jackie's Wrap-Up
Joanna's Wrap-Up
Tiny Librarian's Wrap-Up
Jill's Wrap-Up
Callista's Wrap-Up
Joy's Wrap-Up

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Finished up

I didn't get my last few (sort of got behind on the blogging part) on here but here they are....

I read 1 through 7 of the Women's Murder Mystery Series by James Patterson in addition to the previously mentioned Three Cups of Tea.

The last one on the list was Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie. I am moving to Fairbanks, AK in a month and this was part of my purchases when I was up there in June. It's the amazing story and journals of Margaret Murie, one of the women pioneer's in the world of conserving the great outdoors for all to enjoy. She moved to Fairbanks when she was 9 and spent a large portion of her life in Alaska before moving to Wyoming where she and her husband continued to work for the national conservatory group.

Two in the Far North tells the tale of Murie's young years growing up but also her travels with her naturalist/biologist husband through the then unchartered lands of Alaska, tracking caribou and geese. They even took their newborn son on one said research trip. Truly an amazing adventure capturing the heart and soul of Alaska.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Callista's Wrap-Up

I'm not posting one to my blog so I'll post one here.

Here's what I read (only one of which was on my original list):

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear by Sharon Dunn
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss
24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley
My First Year as a Teacher by Pearl Rock Kane
When We Were Six by A.A. Milne
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Fav Book: My First Year as a Teacher by Pearl Rock Kane
Least Fav: When We Were Six by A.A. Milne

Reviews can be found here.

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear by Sharon Dunn

Stars: *****

Summary: When a man turns up dead in a teddy bear costume, Ginger and the other ladies of the Bargain Hunters Network learn a lesson about trusting in God rather than in wealth as they try to solve the crime and clear one of their own.

First of all, I gotta say, that when I got the offer to review this book, I had a good laugh. After all, how often is it do hear a book title like this one? There was no way I could say no to this one, I just HAD to know what it was all about. I’m sure glad I did say yes because I relished every moment I was reading this book.

It’s not too often you have such humour mixed in with a murder mystery. I could definitely see the two being mixed in such a way that detracts from the book but Sharon Dunn put them together spectacuarly.

The whole idea of a Squirrel Convention is hilarious and at first glance you assume the author made it up for the book. However this is not the case. Well I don’t know if there has ever been a Squirrel Convention per say but there is at least one Squirrel Lover’s Club, from which Sharon Dunn got some information on Squirrels.

The book cover is splendid to look at. It succeeds in catching the eye (although the title alone would do that too.)

I didn’t guess whodunnit which is the mark of a good mystery. It’s no fun if you figure it out halfway through the book. However unlike some mystery books, all the clues are methodically explained so you can try to figure it out for yourself.

The characters were likable and real, you could truly see them as real people. There is a wide range of ages amongs the characters which you don’t usually see and was a pleasant surprise.

The book is what I consider Christian Fiction Light, Christian Fiction that is acceptable reading for a non Christian as well. I definitely want to read the first book in the Series (Death of a Garage Sale Newbie) and however many more are to come.

One Well: The Story of Water by Rochelle Strauss

Stars: *****
Illustrated by: Rosemary Woods

This is an awesome children’s non-fiction book about the Earth’s water. It covers such topics as how all the oceans, rivers and ponds are connected and how the water we have know is the same water that’s always been on the Earth, even billions of years ago. How water is used and how much the average person uses in different countries is covered too. At the end is talk about why it’s important to conserve water and how to go about it.

I knew most of this information but learned a few new things. For example, I knew water was used in production when cooling or heating objects or washing the parts. However I never imagined how much water was used in various ways to make objects. Did you know that about 147 000L (38 800 U.S. gal.) of water is needed to make a car? Or that about 5200 L (1375 U.S. gal) of water is needed just to make one fast food lunch (burger, fries and soda)?

The format of the book was easy to follow and kept my attention and the illustrations were wonderful. I enjoy books that show an overhead view of a large area. The more detail the better. It’s nice to have to really study a picture to see everything in it.
I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to children ages 10 and up who either want to learn more about water or who need information on it for school.

24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley

Stars: ****

I read this book for the Numbers challenge.I stumbled across this book while searching for books through my library catalogue. I’m glad I did, it’s a great teen book.

Summary: “So when his friends take it upon themselves to get him a date to the prom by placing an intensely humiliating ad in the school paper, they think they are doing him a favor. Jack doesn’t agree. But then the most amazing thing happens: Responses to the ad are overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that Jack must narrow the list down. A lot. Not an easy task. Turns out, the girls at City High are quite the competitive bunch. From drive-by-flashings to breaking and entering to cell phone stalkers, these potential prom dates will stop at nothing to snag the suddenly popular Jack. How will he ever choose just one?”

While it’s obvious the book is hilarious, it also has a serious side with a great lesson for all involved. This book would fall in the Honesty is the Best Policy lesson area.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Stars: ****

Summary: “As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold – the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.”

I must admit that the summary at the back did not sound all the interesting to me. However the book was very well put together. The summary just doesn’t explain enough. Sal is on the road with her Grandparents and is telling them the story of her friend Phoebe and her life, which at times seems to be very similar to Sal’s. The book switches back and forth from what is happening with Sal and her grandparents to what happened with Phoebe. It does not always alternate every other chapter, which makes it more interesting since you don’t know whose story will be continued next until you start reading.

The story has good lessons in it and would make a good school read I think.

My First Year as a Teacher by Pearl Rock Kane

Stars: *****

I REALLY enjoyed this book. I have always wanted to be a teacher except that I don’t agree with almost everything in the school system. However I love reading about teaching and learning new things so that I can attempt to homeschool my children.

This book is an anthology of short stories from teachers all across the U.S.A. telling what they remember most from their first year of teaching and what they learned. Some of the stories are about one specific student or incident and some of the stories cover many little things that span the whole first year. All but one gave really great advice and I am interested in checking out another book from the My First Year series titled My First Year as a Doctor.

If you are a teacher or are thinking about being a teacher, I recommend this book.

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

Stars: ***

I'm reading this a little out of order since I haven't yet read When We Were Very Young but I needed a book with a number in it.

As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of poetry and while there were quite a few cute ones in this book, most weren't that great and one or two were really boring and confusing. You can tell for the most part that the poetry wasn't written recently.

If you like children's poetry, you will like this better than I did.