Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

You know, when you find your genre, you can’t help but read everything in it!! I was gifted 3 months of audibles for my birthday. Let me tell you, the pressure to use my credit well was intense. Who wants to waste a credit on a poorly written (and poorly read) book? (Side note: you can return audbile books!) Anyway, I took to instagram to try and find the best book for my credit. And let me tell you… I DID!!

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker is a superbly written and extremely well researched novel. Throughout the entire thing, I kept wondering and hoping that the main character was real… and she was! (Which I learned in the author’s note section.)

As a former history teacher, I don’t want some fluffy novel that just happens to be set in an historic time period. I want the history woven with the story. Jennifer Chiaverini did just that. She included historic details and her character’s insights into those details. You can tell she put a lot of time and effort into her research and the creation of her novel. Personally, I think the tell-tell sign of a great novel is when the content inspires you to read more about the topic. I am looking forward to reading the memoir written by the dress making, Elizabeth Keckley.

Awesomeness:

  1. This novel is well-researched. The accuracy of the history is it’s best selling point!
  2. The characters are extremely well-developed.

Cautions:

  1. It is a Civil War novel and as such the issues of slavery will be addresses. In some cases, slave experiences are recounted. Nothing very distasteful, but real nonetheless.
  2. The difficulties faced by runaway slaves and freedmen in the north are mentioned. Nothing extreme, but if a younger audience is reading, you will need to be prepared to discuss contraband camps and the fugitive slave law.

The Secret in the Cliffs

The Secret in the Cliffs documents the adventures of a boy and his best friend. Kyle, a lover of archeology, spends his spare time exploring the caves in the cliffs above the beaches in his town. There, he makes a discovery that motivates him to explore deeper and deeper into the caves. The desire to explore increases when Kyle realizes that he is being watched… and followed.

Kristin Tucker takes her reader on an archeological expedition of monumental proportions. Through her use of detail, she allows the reader to join Kyle & Kaitlin as they climb, dig, and swim their way through the caves. She invites us along as they make known the secret in the cliffs.

Awesomeness:

  • This is the first middle-grade novel I have read where the main character is so into archeology.
  • There is a lot of really good upper-level vocabulary (My hubby says I’m a sucker for vocabulary!)

Caution:

  • Kyle doesn’t ever reveal his adventures or the dangers to his parents.

Lesson Plan Ideas:

  1. Watch an archeological dig on youtube or the history channel.
  2. Look up examples of hieroglyphics in a book or online.
  3. Create a treasure hunt/ archeological dig for your reader.
  4. Write a dialogue between a news reporter and Kyle.
  5. Create a poster for the museum advertising the skeleton display.

*The author reached out to me to review her book and supplied the novel.

How I’m making time to read

Reading is, by far, my most enjoyable past time. Once I got married, I realized that I had significantly less time to read and then when baby boy came along, that time pretty much didn’t exist! So what was I to do?

I have been reading the Bible out loud to my son pretty much his whole existence. So I decided that I should do the same with my novels. Jonathan makes for a great audience. He really thinks that I am talking to him and I try to make eye contact periodically so he feels included. He is happy to lay on the ground and play while I read. Now, I will say I only have the one and he isn’t mobile yet! But I am hoping that reading a loud will continue to be a way I can read the books I love.

I also try and read a chapter or two right before bed. It helps that my hubby is a reader as well. You wouldn’t believe how much reading one can fit in at night.

Lastly, I have started allowing myself the first 25 minutes of his nap time to be my reading time. Specifically I am using that reading time to research health topics and read books about health. But I set my timer and read. It’s amazing how much the timer helps. I am more likely to ignore my phone and read because I know the timer is ticking. If someone calls or texts I know that I can get back to them in 25 minutes. That has been so helpful.

Currently, I have finished 2 out of the 3 books that make up my monthly goal. (More on that in the next post.) Try reading aloud if you have kids and see how it works!

How do YOU make time to read?

The Maker’s Diet

This blog post is long overdue and will certainly be out of my norm. I really haven’t had a lot of time to read let alone blog. Back in November my site crashed because of malware… so that took some figuring out. On top of the, lately I have been reading mostly health and diet books. Not really the kind of content I post here. If all of that wasn’t enough, I have my sweet baby boy to look after! (Which of course is the greatest and most rewarding use of my time!)

With all of that said, if you are looking into dieting or getting healthy for the new year, I would HIGHLY recommend The Maker’s Diet by Jordan S. Rubin. Jordan was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 19 and spend the next two years of his life and thousands of dollars trying to find a permanent healing solution. This book is the culmination of what his journey taught him.

I was gifted this book by my father after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I eagerly dived into this book and followed his 40 day challenge. I lost several pounds and felt so much better after the challenge. I have actually decided to go back to Phase 1 and hang out there for several months because it made me feel so good.

If you’re trying to start 2019 off on a healthier foot, then check out Jordan’s book. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Heaven Shining Through

I am super excited to present to you Joe Siccardi’s debut novella:  Heaven Shining Through. This novella was sent to me by the author for a read and review. To learn more about Mr. Siccardi and his upcoming work, visit his website.

Heaven Shining Through is a 64 page novella that centers around Samantha’s reflections on her life. Visiting her ailing mother, whom she never really got along with, Samantha is sent into a reverie of her past. She walks the reader through her teenage years and into her current life situation. Through her reflections, Samantha comes to realize that life really is unpredictable and perhaps her mother loved her more than she had ever realized.

Awesomeness: 

*As my hubby says, I’m a sucker for vocabulary. This book has excellent vocabulary. I circled 59 words that I would turn into a vocabulary lesson(s).

*The ending is a happy one in which broken relationships are healed.

*It is a short read and could easily be finished in an  hour depending on the strength of the reader.

Cautions:

*The word whore is used at one point.

*The S word is also used.

*Fondling is discussed and the main couple do experience a moment of intimacy out of wedlock.

*Several characters die. One from cancer- that could be a trigger for anyone having had that personally affect them.

*At one point, Samantha compares the Bible Church she is attending to her Catholic experience. There are not derogatory remarks against the Catholic faith, she is just merely reflecting on the differences.

Lesson Plan Ideas:

*Use context clues to define unknown words.

*Write an alternative ending to the story.

*Create a character map of Samantha. What is she feeling? Thinking? Doing?

Where have I been?

Hello dear readers!

I finally have a few free moments to jump on my blog and catch y’all up. I am currently listening to book number 6 in the Anne of Green Gables series. Why listening you ask? Because on July 31, 2018 I had my precious baby boy.

Jonathan came into the world just one day early. I have been focusing on him the last two months and haven’t had much time to pick up a book. Unless it’s a board book. Little Blue Truck anyone??

 

Anyway, I hope to be back in full swing soon. Until then, happy reading!

The Mission of Motherhood

I think I have made it my mission to read all of Sally Clarkson’s books. Many people might assume that when one woman rights over 20 books, mostly centered on home and family, they’d become repetitive, but this isn’t so for her.

I began reading The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity because Sally was doing a summer series on her podcast over it. I am so glad I decided to read the book and not just listen to her podcasts. It was so insightful. I underlined and stared so much stuff! 

As someone who is, quite literally, preparing to take on the role of mom any day now, I found this book to be very encouraging and inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on being a servant mother and a teaching mother.

One of the many things I like about Sally is that she never assumes to have all the answers. She also doesn’t pretend that her life has been perfect and her family without fault. She is writing and speaking from a place of experience and I think we’d all do well to listen to what she has to say and apply what we can to our current stages of life.

If you are unfamiliar with Sally Clarkson, I suggest you check out her website sallyclarkson.com and her podcast At Home with Sally. You WON’T be sorry!

 

PS. I  just really love what this woman’s ministry is all about! Check out my post on her book The Life Giving Home as well.

6 Ways I am saving money on books

While reading isn’t necessarily the most expensive hobby one can have, it can add up. Below are 6 ways that I have started saving money on books. And who doesn’t like saving money??

The Overdrive App

I know I have mentioned this before, but the Overdrive App is attached to my local library. All I had to do was select my library, put in my card number and create an account. Et voila! I can check out ebooks and audio books FOR FREE!

My Reader Rewards

I was introduced to My Reader Rewards Club by Crystal Payne at moneysavingmom.com. It is a loyalty program for Tyndale Publishing and NavPress- Christian publishers. When you sign up, you’re given several tasks you can complete in order to earn points. You can then redeem those points for books. I currently have 170 points and I was able to get them all the same day I signed up. I am hoping to get enough points to add another Sally Clarkson book to my library. I have only seen a limited number of books I can redeem; I am hoping that they are only showing me books I am qualified to purchase with my points at this time. If you’d like to check it out, click my affiliate link. I will get 10 points for you signing up and you receive 25 points! Technically, these books are FREE too!

Bookbub

I was introduced to Bookbub by my dad. I am really not a huge fan of reading books on my devices, but considering I am able to get so many for FREE, it is worth it. You just need to download the app on your device and create an account. You can choose from the genres you enjoy and every day you’ll get your daily deals. On average, I receive 1 free book a week. Sometimes nearly every day. I don’t always download it, but it’s cool that I have the option. Out of the 31 books I have downloaded from bookbub over the past 2 years, I have only paid for 2! The other books are generally .99 cents to 3.99.

Audibles

Audible Membership is a monthly subscription through Amazon. It’s a little under $15/ month, which is a little less than the price of an average book. With your membership you receive 1 credit/ month. With this credit you can “purchase” and audio book. Once you have the book, it’s yours forever. If you just did this, it’d be worth it seeing as many times the audio version is more expensive than the book itself. The Audible Membership also allows you to purchase audio books at a cheaper rate. I did the FREE TRIAL and received 2 credits. When I went to cancel my subscription, I was given 3 different offers to stay on. I decided that I would do the 3 month subscription for half the price. Once my 3 months were up, I cancelled. (Note: the options given to you when canceling may be different now.) If you’ve never done audibles, the free trial is worth it!

***Currently (As of July 10, 2018), NEW PRIME MEMBERS can get a 3 month subscription for $4.95/ month. I am actually a new prime member and I am considering this offer. PRIME DAY is JULY 16, 2018!! So… you could sign up for a FREE 30 DAY TRIAL for Prime and then snag this deal. Although, I’m not sure what would happen if you cancel your prime membership after 30 days.

Prime Reading

Since I am on the subject, If you’re a prime member you can read many ebooks for FREE!! Several books come with narration too. (Read: free audio!) I haven’t yet checked any out, but I know when I am ready I plan to check out Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden.

The Public Library

I can’t forget  the cheapest and best option of all: The Public Library! Take the kids and make a day out of it!

I hope you find these suggestions helpful!

Happy Book Buying!!!

PS- One final thought: Make sure your local Half Price Books has your address because they do send out coupons! In fact, I just received a weeks worth last week. I’m holding out until my 50% off coupon is good to go grab a book I’ve had my eye on!

*This post contains affiliate links.*

The Chronicles of Narnia

If you’re like me, then you have heard of the famous series written by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume Set, but perhaps have only ever read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. This past spring, my best friend and I decided to read the series together; this was her second or third time and my first. I didn’t really have any expectations about the series, but knew it would be a fun, imaginary story.  I was not disappointed.

There are 7 total books in the series. I think they each follow a similar pattern: within the first chapter, the kids are swept away to Narnia where they spend most of the novel preparing for the big, epic event that will ultimately arrive in the last few chapters. Some of the books have a slower build up to the big event than others.

I have NO IDEA if I was pronouncing the Narnian names correctly, but really, who cares? I enjoyed getting lost in the adventures of a group of young, English kids. Be advised, these are not merely feel-good novels; There is evil and death present. The children must fight against it in a different way in every novel. The novels are all held together by one reoccurring theme: Aslan is a Christ-like figure who assists the children in fighting the evil that comes upon Narnia.

Overall, if you have a reader in your family, I think they would love to read this series. I know I can’t wait to read them aloud with Jonathan when he is old enough. (Let’s be real… I may even read them prior to that!)