Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree {Review}

The last couple weeks Lauren has been playing around with a new app on the iPad from Star Toaster called Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree. It’s not really a book…and it’s not really a game… It’s kind of both!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
How does that work you ask? Well, let me tell you… It is a book that you can read on the app like normal. But all the while you are trying to accrue enough stars so that you can help take care of the Orphs. You know, orphans… Speaking of that, as you read there are certain highlighted words. Some let you know what the word means, some let you know if it is say, a simile or something else…
Orphs of the Woodlands at TangletreeSo, in this example, we clicked on Orphs and it gave the explanation on what they are. Each word that is underlined is associated with a different color. So the light blue colors are definitions and they also give synonyms to help you understand. Purple is Character and that usually gives one character and what it means with an example. Green is Science and it covers quite a few things, I remember a weasel being one thing! Darker blue is Vocabulary and it will let you know the word and if it is a homonym or other such thing.

So, as you are reading and clicking on these words, you can come to a section where you need to purchase something to keep the Orphs alive. It starts out simple and then things cost more and more. Stars are the currency in the land, so you exchange stars for the different things that you need throughout the game. You end up at Stumptown where everything happens, the screen looks like this..

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

You can see the different houses. As you click on each house you will see another screen that shows you a couple choices: Job Training and Help Wanted.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
You click on the Job Training section and do everything that it asks, it could be reading about flying squirrels or learning about rainbows. Then you can click on the coordinating Help Wanted squares. Those are usually multiple choice questions or something similar. Once you do what that asks, you are then able to earn your stars! As you go through the story you will continuously need new things! Orphs of the WoodlandsAt this point, Lauren was working towards getting a stove, you can see that it costs 100 gold stars! She had to do quite a few jobs in order to earn that amount! As you read you will keep learning, not just about the story, but all of the other extra things as well!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
You can check on the progress your child is making too! This shows an example of what you might see. Notice all of the different categories!
Orphs of the WoodlandsAt the end, you get a nice little congratulations video for finishing. There are going to be updates added, so you will be able to keep going with the app. At this point they ask for your email address so they can notify you of upcoming additions to the app.

Now, the app is suggested for ages 9-11. I could see younger kids using this as well. Lauren is turning 13 next week and while some of it seemed beneath her age, she did enjoy learning different things, especially about the animals. She finished the whole story pretty quickly without me asking her to, so that says something. 🙂 But I definitely see how this can help children, with reading, with learning grammar and other things…it is great for only $1.99…

If you want to read what other families with different aged kids thought about it, feel free to click the banner below! 🙂

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree {Review}

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20 years?!?

Friday afternoon we had a visit from our social worker. She wanted to talk about the relationship that Jeffy and I have. I thought it was fitting because today is our 20th anniversary. 20 years?!? I know, right? The time has gone so fast and I still feel like that 22 year old sometimes..haha!

We have been through so many things in those 20 years. And well, if you count them, the seven years previous! You can imagine, since we started dating when I was 15.. Through everything we have been through, we never wanted to be apart from each other.

I started making this little video and well, our internet went out. I didn’t get to finish it, clean it up or anything…heck, I barely even was able to upload it! Here I sit at a McDonald’s as I am out running errands hoping that it uploads before my battery runs out. 😛 They do have outlets though, if I am desperate. (Thankfully)

But if you wanted to check out a little of our life in this video, go ahead! Just don’t pay attention to my silly voice and the bad editing because I just couldn’t do much without internet at our house. (Of course when we call they say they will come out sometime by the end of the month…hooray…) Even when we do have internet out download speeds are like…1.19? Gotta love Century Link in the country…

Anyway, while I am still surprised that Jeffy and I have been married for 20 years, I am looking forward to the next 20, God willing. There are changes on the horizon, some we have put voice to and some that are just now barely even thoughts. I know we will have ups as well as downs, because that’s just how we roll…I am looking forward to it all though.

I was going to include some pictures and make this a pretty post, but I left the cd at home that had the pictures on it. And well, my battery is going dead and someone just sat at the table with the outlet. I also have to go do more errands.

So, like the life that Jeffy and I lead, here is a crazy mixed up video of our first 20 years…lol. I don’t even know if this post made sense, but whatever…hahahaha…

 

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Beric The Briton {Review}

A few months ago I was excited to try out Heirloom Audio Productions audio story of The Dragon and the Raven. It was all new to me, this audio story type thing…and we loved it! So, I was even happier to be able to check out another story, Beric The Briton.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review
We are all getting quite fond of these stories. And honestly after the books that we have been and still are reading out loud, they are just happy to not hear my voice for a short break..ha!

Beric the Briton is a great tale of Rome and England and what happens during the time that they finally meet each other in battle. The characters are so convincing in this story that if you close your eyes you can’t help but be taken by your imagination to that time period!

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review
I had no idea what the lion on the cover was about until we got into the second disk, then it all came together! I don’t want to spoil anything though, so I won’t talk too much about it. Beric and his friend Boduoc are the main characters of this story. There is a short introduction to them and then boom, the action begins!

There are wolf fights and then an even bigger fight when the Romans come and then a shipwreck and, well…see, it has all kinds of action! But in the down time you also get to meet quite a few other characters which become important in other ways. Throughout the story you get a feel of what kind of characters they are…Beric is quite an honorable man and he proves it!

These stories are full of action, but they are also full of history that is exciting as well as good values and morals. It is such a well rounded product and I have noticed that now that this is my second time trying these audio adventures. When I read that each story was 2+ hours I was actually very surprised. They did not seem that long at all! Make sure you go to the Beric the Briton website and see the trailer and behind the scenes video trailer!

study buide beric the britonAs part of the package we got, we got quite a few bonuses! The study guide is my absolute favorite! We would listen to one section at a time and then do the study guide for that section. Each section is only a few minutes long, I think they range anywhere from around two minutes to around ten minutes. So the study guide helped reiterate some of the things that they learned in that short time.

There are three different sections in each days study guide section:

1. The Listening Well has questions that you can ask about what your child remembers about what they heard. Even if there was only two minutes of the story that day, sometimes there was a lot to remember!
2. The Thinking Further section are more in depth questions, to get them thinking more. It puts a more personal spin on each question. It also suggests questions that involve getting out your Bible and comparing different things throughout the story.
3. The last section are words that were mentioned in that days story section and wants you to look up the definition. Our last audio adventure we listened to it seemed the words were a little harder than this time, or maybe these words were just more a part of our vocabulary. They are still great words to know and understand what they mean though!

Also included on some of the pages are little extras. There is some information on the diets of the people back then, a recipe for cake and some comparisons of different gladiators. Now, since we love unit study type things, we really took our time through this. We researched four of the five gladiators listed, basically put them all in a hat and picked one that way, and then I also had everyone draw the gladiator that they chose. I am getting more and more impressed with their drawings!

Beric the Briton gladiatorsAlso included in the bonuses is an mp3 set of the disks in case you wanted to listen to them that way, an e-book, the soundtrack, a printable cast poster, an inspirational quote poster that is also printable, live the adventure letter and the behind the scenes video. That is a lot of extra stuff!

We really enjoy dragging these out as long as we can.. I know there are people out there that sit down and listen to them all in one sitting and that is fine too! I love how you can do it however you want! If you want to read what others thought of their time with Beric the Briton, feel free to click the banner below!

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review

Beric The Briton {Review}

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The Power in Your Hands {Review}

A year or two ago I purchased a writing curriculum from Sharon Watson called Jump In. It is geared toward the middle school age group. It was great! So I was really excited to try out the next book, The Power in Your Hands: Writing NonFiction in High School 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

I know how I mentioned that we were really working on writing this year now that I know how often Ryan needed to write a paper in his college courses! This book is so thorough that I really believe it will help us a lot as we go through it more…

The set includes the Teacher’s Guide as well as the larger student book. I am going to start by going over the student book…

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Now this is a thick book, y’all! Over 400 pages full of great information! What I like about it though is that you can pretty much give it to the student and have them work on it, there isn’t much for the parent/teacher to do to prepare! The book is written in a very easy to read, friendly manner..which I think is important if you are talking to students.

The book opens with a little section to help you figure out your writing self. There is something similar in the Jump In book as well. I think that helps the student realize that nobody has to be the same when it comes to writing. I like that it mentions to find a topic that interests the student, because a bored student writes a boring paper…that is so true! I remember some very boring subjects I had to write papers on in school. :yawn: But others I was much happier about!

After that, it gets right into the lessons! There is a little section on opinions  and how you want your paper to be written. The first 140 or so pages are devoted just to persuasion papers. This book is written for varied levels of writers, so if you are more advanced, you can skip around a little bit. But I like that it teaches to various levels like that as I have kids in different grades and some know a lot more than others! For the essays, there are topics given, but they give you an out if you feel the topic is boring or just not something you care to write about.

There are so many tips throughout the book, tips that are so very handy to have, that I would have never thought to mention to my child as he was writing! They suggest that writing an essay should take about an hour for every 100 words. That gives a realistic guide to someone that may not be familiar with writing and thinking that they can do the whole thing in an hour.

I love the little time chart when it is time to write an essay. It is very helpful! It is spread out over six days, which worked perfectly for us since we did this three times a week due to our schedule. And that way it isn’t so overwhelming as sitting down and doing it in one or two sittings. Eek, I don’t know how anyone could enjoy that! ha!

Now, we haven’t gotten past the Persuasion section, but I am looking forward to the next couple sections of proofreading and common grammar mistakes. The next big section is Exposition and then a couple smaller sections of Description and Narration.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

The other book is the Teacher’s Guide and is much smaller at a little over 200 pages. One of my favorite things in the Jump In book version were the little writing prompts. These are just a little bit longer, at 14 minutes. Now, they are broken up into months as well as weeks, so you could use one for four days a week every month! We don’t use them that often, but I like to break them out if we’ve had a long writing day already, or if they just need a break from a long school day. The one thing I didn’t like was that they were broken down for a ‘typical’ school year and our school year is from January to October.. So, we just started with the November section. One interesting one was from week one day 2: What annoys you? Oh goodness…they had a lot to write…thank goodness it was only 14 minutes..ha! Another favorite was from day 4: Theodore Roosevelt is the only U.S. president to date to give an inaugural speech without the word “I” in it. You are running for office. Write a speech without using “I”. I thought that was fitting for an election year…

Anyway, earlier in the book are examples of papers and the grades they earned and why. I love this example because sometimes you just don’t know exactly what grade to give on an essay! In this edition, there is a wonderful grading grid and it is so helpful! She suggests breaking down the grading by grammar/mechanics and then content as well. That takes such a load off my shoulders when looking over these essays!

The Teacher’s Guide just goes along with the student book and let’s you know where they are as well as what is coming up. You can also give them some hints and suggestions along the way.

We weren’t in any hurry going through this book as we wanted to take more time and do it correctly. But I am looking forward to getting further along and seeing how the essays improve over time!

If you have a 1st edition set, make sure you notice the changes that the 2nd edition offers, especially the SAT section as that has been updated.. Make sure you check out the website to see all the changes and you can also get a free section to see how it is laid out..

If you want to read what other crew members thought of their experience, make sure to click on the banner below. Some crew members reviewed different things as well!

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

The Power in Your Hands {Review}

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Notes

notesI haven’t done a Notes post in a while.. I thought it would be fun to do one of the song ones. Because my music preferences have changed quite a bit since Notes was a thing on Facebook…lol. And I was listening to music anyway, so I figured I may as well do a blog post. Right? 🙂

This is the Movie Soundtrack one.. 🙂 And I am copying the original directions even though I had a little chuckle at them. And no, of course I am not tagging anyone..

Soundtrack of Your LifeShare
Here’s how it works:
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For the first question, type the song that’s playing.
5. Each time you go to a new question, press the next (>>) button TWICE and enter that song.
6. Don’t lie and only list songs you think are hip or cool…just type what comes up, man!
7. Tag 20 people (plus the person who tagged you), and they have to do it too!

Opening Credits:
Riptide – Vance Joy

Waking Up:
Angela – The Lumineers
https://youtu.be/jY7qtFnWKGA

First Day at School:
Fire by Night – Josh Garrels
https://youtu.be/X3Dlb70jGlQ

Falling in Love:
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Losing Virginity:
Where Are You Now – Mumford & Sons

Fight Song:
Let’s Be Still – The Head & The Heart

Breaking Up:
Idaho – Gregory Alan Isakov

Prom:
Let It Go – James Bay

Life:
Cleopatra – The Lumineers

Mental Breakdown:
Feel Again – OneRepublic

Driving:
Lost Boy – Ruth B.

Flashback:
Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson

Getting Back Together:
Closer to Love – Mat Kearney

Wedding:
Sooner Surrender – Matt Nathanson

Birth of Child:
Let’s Be Us Again – Lonestar

Final Battle:
Play It Again – Luke Bryan

Death Scene:
On My Mind – Ellie Goulding

End Credits:
Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna

Well, some of those are pretty random.. I don’t even know. These things are so silly and really, now they don’t make any sense, but I thought it was fun anyway. 😀

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Thursday Things

What a week.. So much stuff going on everywhere it seems. I haven’t been on facebook a ton anymore, I just can’t deal with it. Instagram and Snapchat are my happy places lately.. But as usual, Thursday is my day to think about the good things over the past week…hence, Thursday Things! 😀 Let’s do this!

 

yearbook coverFirst thing…I totally finished and ordered the yearbook for our homeschool group. Hooray!!  It is such a large project and it is such a relief when it is done. We use a new supplier this year as well! Now comes the hard part, waiting for it to be delivered and seeing what people think!! Ack!

book of the monthNext is this Book of the Month thing.. So, I had seen it advertised a while ago. I thought it was interesting, but again, I didn’t know anyone that had done it and I wasn’t sure if it was legit. So yay, someone I knew did it and they gave me a coupon code! lol So I signed up and got my books! I love this as there are titles that I just wouldn’t choose on my own. And I only go by what the judges say about the book, I don’t search out the book otherwise…kinda fun that way. 🙂

storm at night

We have had so many thunder storms lately.. The big booming thunder that goes on for hours. I am loving it! Except when they surprise me and I let out the birds and then have to scramble in the middle of the storm to get them all back in. 😛

 

eclair

Eclairs.. I have been on an eclair kick lately, I don’t know where it came from! And I have been at home a ton lately because our Durango needs repairs, but I made it out to Target and they sell individual eclairs for $1.99. Now, they aren’t totally fancy like these pictured, but they satisfy my craving. Now, I just want to find a bakery that has some locally to try out. You know, for the sake of letting everyone know where to go.. 😉

I’ve been hearing this song a lot lately and it just seems fitting.. I am loving music more lately than normal and listen to new songs all the time. I love finding new favorites.. 🙂

So, that’s my Thursday Things for this week! Let me know what you liked about this past week! 🙂

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ArtAchieve {Review}

I know I have mentioned a couple times that we are putting a heavy emphasis on reading/writing as well as art this year. It must be that side of the brain working…ha! We have been working on the Entire Level III bundle from ArtAchieve lately and have been loving it!

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
Now, this isn’t JUST an art program! I will get to that in a little bit… But, this art program is so thorough! You can tell that it was made by someone that homeschooled their own children. 😉 First of all, each image that is being taught is taken from one of their many visits to different countries, over thirty! So, it isn’t something that is just being made up, but it actually exists in another country somewhere.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
First of all, the site is very easy to use, that is always a plus in my book. It looks just like that image above. All of the tabs at the top will give you all the information that you need. You can also register and try a free lesson if you’d like to give it a try before deciding.  To figure out what level to start with, it basically just goes by how much experience you have with drawing in general. If you have never drawn or still fairly new, you should start with level one, no matter your age! Since we have been doing a lot of art in our homeschooling I decided to try level three.

We did a couple different lessons in our level, but so as not to get confused, I will just focus on just one that we did. As you click the top of the screen where it says Art Lessons it will bring down a drop menu and you can choose level three if you’d like to look at the bundle. This bundle includes twelve different lessons. It varies with each level. There is a bundle price that will have you save money rather than buying each lesson separately. But that is a choice too if you just wanted to try random ones! Those are very inexpensive to buy a couple here and there!
artachieveThe lesson that I will mention is lesson 4, The Face From The Gambia. This lesson is given in  a PowerPoint version as well as a video version! That is such a great idea! I think both have their pluses and therefore we used both during different times during the lesson. The lesson starts out with a little history on the image that is going to be drawn, where it was located, that sort of thing. This image is a bas-relief piece and that is explained so you know what that is. This original face was actually sheet metal, not a drawing or painting. I thought that was interesting!

There is a supplies list that you should have ready before you start your lesson. When we started this one, I forgot that we had packed up our armoire that includes all of our art supplies so I had some last minute substitutions, but there really wasn’t a large supply list on this lesson. There is also a warm up that you can do, to get used to drawing lines and different shapes. They have you use a sharpie or marker to do this, so that you don’t go back and correct your mistakes. I like how it is all mixed up on the paper so that you don’t feel like it has to be a perfect face. That’s a great idea for confidence! It is also suggested to do a relaxation technique and turn on soft music without vocals. It helps you focus!
artachieveThere are some tips on how hard or light to draw with your pencil before the lesson as well as some tips later in the lesson on shading and which pencils to use. For the lesson, we started with the video, but also had the PowerPoint lesson loaded up and ready to look at as well. Sometimes it was just a different view or we didn’t have to worry about pausing the video to look at something again. The teacher is pretty calm and easy to understand during the video. I would imagine if you had a large group that the PowerPoint would just be easier to maybe put on a big screen or something.

Our lesson didn’t take very long at all…about an hour and a half from sitting down to finishing. The kids mostly had issues with shading and were questioning themselves on how their individual drawings turned out but that is addressed at the beginning. Not to say you don’t like your drawing until you are done with it. I like how they are all different, and really, I can see their personalities shining through, lol. The main part of the drawing went pretty fast, it was mostly just various shapes.
artachieveNow, remember how I mentioned at the beginning how it was much more than an art lesson? If you click on the lesson I did, The Face From The Gambia you will notice as you scroll down past the supply list some suggestions for things you can add to your study to learn more about the area where the lesson is from! I love that so much you don’t even know. We didn’t do as many lessons as we could have because we took a lot of extra time learning about these places. The Gambia is quite fascinating and really, I had no clue about any of this stuff that was included. It is just not a place that we have ever studied before! Like I mentioned, this is so very thorough! I really enjoyed learning about The Gambia like we did as well as the drawing lesson!
artachieveIf you want to check out what lessons and levels others did, to help you get more of a feel on what level you might want to try, feel free to click the banner below!

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
 ArtAchieve {Review}

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Hollar

Ok, this is just me sitting here sharing something with you… Hollar. I know you’ve seen it advertised!

I admit, I was skeptical. All of these things for really low prices! I kept looking at the site whenever I would see it come up in my feed and it intrigued me, but I didn’t know anyone to do it!

FINALLY I saw a friend get a box on Instagram! Hooray!! So, I ordered a box when I got a discount code. Yeah, a discount code on top of the already low prices!

So, y’all know that we are in the process of becoming foster parents. I saw all of these cute baby toys on the Hollar site! Since we aren’t sure of the age or sex of the babies placed with us, I got a variety of toys, and a good amount too! Oh, I also got a cat scratch thing with catnip, because why not, lol.

Now, they messaged me that they got my order and then I didn’t hear anything for a while. Finally I got the message that it was sent, hooray! I think I ordered on June 19th? And I got it today, July 7th.

hollarSee? It’s just like the little ad! Everything is packed in there like a tetris game. 😀 A few things were wrapped in plastic bags but most everything was just packaged loose, which I am totally fine with. Nothing got damaged, there weren’t any issues at all! Granted, it took a little bit of time to get the box and that might throw some of you off, but really, I don’t think there is anything on there that I couldn’t live without for a few weeks, y’know?

I mentioned it on Facebook and one of my friends commented that they had Essie nail polish on there, which I hadn’t seen since I was just looking at baby toys while I was on there. Ok, and the cat dealio, but still. But I am curious now! They have all sorts of things on there!

So, I will definitely be using Hollar again!

If you are interested like I was, feel free to use my link and you will get $2 to use towards your first purchase. 🙂 And I will get a little something after your first purchase too! Hooray, we all get to buy more things!! lol.

And if you aren’t interested, but were curious on if I would ever get a box, here is your answer! I know there were a couple of you that had wondered….lol.

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State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State {Review}

In one of my homeschool groups, a common question comes up… What is everyone doing for studying North Carolina? There have been a couple suggestions, but for the most part there seems to be a lot of virtual shrugging going on. So, I was definitely excited to review State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State by Laurelwood Books.

Laurelwood books state the facts

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got the State the Facts book, but I will say I was surprised at everything in the book! The idea is that you can use this book for one complete state. If you wanted to do another state, you could get another book! They are less than $14 each, and you can be as thorough as you would like, there are 50 pages to fill in!

After moving here four years ago, we really didn’t know much about North Carolina, so of course we worked on our state! We had learned so much about Arizona living there and even did a huge study shortly before we moved, so it was good timing for this book to come!

As you open the book there is just a short page on how to use the book. Very simple! Anytime you see a *______ you just fill it in with the state you are studying! Right away it has you research addresses and phone numbers for anyone from your local librarian to the President! Then, it gives you a couple scripts to use as you call them to get information! Now, my kids just aren’t very talkative on the phone, so we kind of skipped that part for now… This book doesn’t have to be done in any particular order, which I think is perfect for us!

The next few pages have to do with statehood. When, how, who, that sort of thing. We have done some early American History, but nothing really going into North Carolina specifically, so this was interesting… Another section I liked was about the flags. Now, Arizona became a state so late that there isn’t much change, but NC on the other hand…the US flag was definitely different back in the 1700’s! It has you research what the flag looked like when your chosen state became a state..

Another section that had some drawing involved are the state animal, tree, bird and flower. I like that the book has different ways to learn. Writing down the things you learned, talking about how you feel about different things regarding the state, and the drawing!

Laurelwood books state the factsLaurelwood books state the facts

Some of the research had to do with goods and services. I was impressed with how thorough some of these questions were!

Laurelwood books state the factsLaurelwood books state the facts

There are many other things that they suggest you research, some I had never even thought of when studying states! One thing I did notice, since this book was written almost ten years ago, the list of presidents at the end of the book has the current president as George W. Bush. There is room to fill in one more president though, so you can do that.

We have been working on this book for a while now and still aren’t close to being done with it all! I am looking forward to learning more about our state!

Laurelwood Books has many more books such as penmanship and Latin! If you are interested to read some experiences using these other products, feel free to click on the banner below! And, if you decide you want to purchase anything, make sure to use the discount code blogger121 for 20% off!! 🙂

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books Review}
 

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What I read in June

Talk about shocked! We had my niece visiting all month and I just didn’t think that I read very much the whole time she was here! Apparently I did! Granted, a couple were during school, but still.. Who knew? lol We are all going to be sad to see her go home tomorrow. 🙁 Anyway, here is what I read in June and as usual, let me know what books you have loved lately! I think I am going to take a break from getting books at the library and start reading some of the books that are starting to pile up around here! Will be a change for a while. I am partial to hard cover books and some of these are soft and I cringe…but I really want to read them! The struggle is real, lol….

23870836

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler – Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. But so much can happen in those in-between years. . . .

Zoe fears she will always be in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

What I thought: I thought this was a pretty cute story. I imagine some will call it slightly cheesy, but I thought it was well written and cute…

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The Girl on the Run by Gregg Olsen – A twisted murder, a tangle of lies . . . Now Rylee must run for her life. What if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie? Rylee has spent her life being shuttled from city to city by her parents. She assumes the reasons are normal. But the truth couldn’t be more shocking. One day Rylee comes home from school to find the most horrifying thing imaginable — her father dead, with a knife through his heart, and a key clutched in his hand. Her mother’s purse is on the counter, but she appears to be long gone. A message in blood is written on the floor . . . RUN.

With her brother in tow, Rylee begins a dark journey that will uncover horrific and chilling crimes and lead her to an unexpected and gruesome discovery and who is behind these horrific crimes. Run is the first book in the Vengeance series, following Rylee as she begins to piece together the story of her life.

What I thought – I really enjoyed this book! It was interesting.. The one thing I didn’t like is the ending that is waiting for the sequel, lol.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown – A New Year’s feast at King Arthur’s court is interrupted by the appearance of a gigantic Green Knight, resplendent on horseback. He challenges any one of Arthur’s men to behead him, provided that if he survives he can return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates the knight – but the mysterious warrior cheats death and vanishes, bearing his head with him. The following winter Gawain sets out to find the Knight in the wild Northern lands and to keep his side of the bargain. One of the great masterpieces of Middle English poetry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight magically combines elements of fairy tale and heroic sagas with the pageantry, chivalry and courtly love of medieval Romance. Brian Stone’s evocative translation is accompanied by an introduction that examines the Romance genre, and the poem’s epic and pagan sources. This edition also includes essays discussing the central characters and themes, theories about authorship and Arthurian legends, and suggestions for further reading and notes.

What I thought – Well, this definitely took more time than I thought it would to read, lol. This is one we did for school. It was still a good story. I am glad we had a study guide though that helped us understand some of the different things that were going on that we might have missed due to language and such…

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The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe & Jerry B. Jenkins – You’ll love joining in the adventures of The Glass Castle, brand-new from Trisha White Priebe and Jerry Jenkins, where the setting from  The Chronicles of Narnia  meets the action from  Alice in Wonderland. The king is growing old and is concerned about who will replace him. His new wife wants to produce an heir to the throne.  The only problem? Thirteen years ago, the king’s first wife gave birth to a son, and no one knows for sure what happened to him. Rumors swirl throughout the castle. The solution as simple: dispose of all the thirteen-year-olds in the kingdom. Except, it isn’t that easy. Avery and her friends won’t go quietly.   Avery, Kate, Tuck, and Kendrick take charge of the underground network of kidnapped children, inspiring them to believe that their past does not dictate their future and pledging to do the hardest thing of all. . .reunite the children with the homes they left behind.  When they discover that one among them might be the child of a man who wants them dead, will everything they work for be lost?

What I thought – Ok, I really enjoyed this book! It was geared toward middle schoolers but I have to say I was intrigued and am looking forward to the sequel! 😀 I wrote a review about this book here if you wanted to read it!

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The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery – In this insightful and compelling story from book club favorite Susan Mallery, three close friends test the boundaries of how much a woman can give before she has nothing left.

After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer can’t wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her plans are derailed by some shocking news and her husband’s crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the right to have a life of her own.

Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny—no matter how high the cost.

Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that wasn’t as painful as it should’ve been. Other than the son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the second time’s the charm…but how can she trust herself to recognize true love?

As their bonds of friendship deepen against the beautiful backdrop of Mischief Bay, Gabby, Hayley and Nicole will rely on good food, good wine and especially each other to navigate life’s toughest changes.

What I thought – A typical girly friend book, but I really enjoyed it. The characters are all pretty well written out as well as their stories. They bounced around frequently over an amount of time that didn’t make you feel like you were missing anything.

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Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley – Two sisters share the surprising highs and cringe-worthy lows of social media fame, when their most private thoughts become incredibly public in this fresh and funny debut novel.

Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.

It doesn’t help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet…

What I thought: This was a cute story, kind of predictable. I loved the idea of a pen pal type thing and I think that would be fun to do with some of my internet friends just for a change of pace…hmm…

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A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah – Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

What I thought: Well, ok…I enjoyed how the story was told! It wasn’t a bad book it just had a lot of odd things about it. I am glad I read it…

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Basher Five-Two by Captain Scott O’Grady with Michael French – U.S. Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down in his F-16 over Bosnia while helping to keep the peace. The plane exploded, and Captain O’Grady fell 5 miles to the ground below. In exciting detail, Captain O’Grady tells how he evaded capture and how, with little water and no food, he was able to survive on his own in enemy territory.

What I thought: This is another book we read for school. I thought it was a great story and interesting to read. It was a very quick book…

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Eragon by Christopher Paolini – One boy. One dragon. A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

What I thought: I am glad we read this! I had seen the movie ages ago but had never read the book. I loved the book! I think the kids all want to know what happens. Ryan has already gotten the audio book and I think Lauren wants to get the next book at the library. I thought it was well written and yay, by a homeschooler.. 😀

Ok, see, I read a lot for thinking that I didn’t, lol. If you have any favorite books that you have read lately, let me know, but like I said I am taking a break from the library and reading what I have here, but I will totally put it on a list for the future! 🙂

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