Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric {Review}

Do you use a rhetoric curriculum? We have used a couple in the past because I think it is important and really not talked about much! We have been using Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) from Roman Roads Media recently and it has been so very good!
Fitting Words package
This is such a complete set! Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed when I first got it. Included is the main text book, a workbook, answer key, exam packet, and a set of DVDs.

The text book is definitely a quality book. It is a hardcover book and it is the thick kind, like a good school text book is.

Since I was a little overwhelmed with how it all would work together, I immediately just opened up the text book and started reading the Introduction as well as the section on How to use the book. They are both extremely helpful, and I suggest it to anyone who gets this set!

I was also intrigued by the other section in the preface that was a letter explaining more about rhetoric and putting it all in a nice little package. This too was a good read! I never really thought much about rhetoric, and this put it in easy terms for me to understand.

Being used to seeing textbooks have all sorts of pictures or cartoons, I was surprised that this one didn’t. Until I started reading more and understanding what sort of curriculum this was! This is very thorough and serious, but not stuffy or boring…if that makes sense. It is so full of information that you don’t miss any of the silliness that you find in other text books.

There are little drawings or sketches throughout the book. There are three that help you see different sections that occur frequently so it is easier to find them, etc. Then there are some of famous orators. They really are great little drawings!

The lessons are broken down to where you can complete the course in one year, but they also show how you could take it slower and cover it all in two years. We started out doing the one year, but it seemed a little fast for us, so I think from here on out we will be just going at a speed that might be in between the two? We will see. Our school year only has seven weeks left and we tend to have a lighter school load towards the end, so we might be able to stay on track for the one year.

Fitting Words video
One thing that I was surprised to like so much was the videos. We normally aren’t huge on the dvd learning, but these were great! In this video example for Lesson 4, they were reading from the text. It was meant to have two people talking so it was nice actually having that. What was the best was not having to read it myself out loud! ha!

The videos are such great quality too, which not a lot of videos are. They are very crisp visually and the speaking is very easy to hear and understand.
Fitting Words Video 2After the lesson is read, it moves on into the application part of the lesson. This goes over things that the lesson may have covered, or new things that are learned. I am thankful to for this because we can learn how to correctly pronounce each word without having to look them up in the dictionary. So we get a little lazy sometimes…..

The videos aren’t very long, in fact, the actual lessons aren’t very long really. They are just very thorough, so the complete lesson has taken us a while each time.
Fitting Words workbook
I may be picky, but one thing I absolutely love is when a company makes the workbook spiral bound. It’s so hard to try and hold open a book and write in it at the same time.

Some of the questions are review questions from the lesson, some ask how you feel about something, they are pretty much varied in the style of question asked so it doesn’t get get stagnant.

The answer key is set up to match with the workbook, which I also love, as it is easy to find where you are to start grading. The answers are actually in a handwriting font too, which makes it even easier!

There is also a three-hole punched exam packet. This saves printing!

I hadn’t heard of this company, Roman Roads Media, before we tried out Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric but I am sold! They thought of so many things to make it a very user-friendly curriculum. Everything is great quality as well. I am very impressed.

Christianity is also a large part of the curriculum, which is very rare for a rhetoric subject I have noticed from my experience with other studies that we have tried. I like how they weave it throughout the whole of the curriculum. There are also famous speeches by many different people throughout history. It is just a very complete set.

If you want to see what others thought of Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) , feel free to click the banner below! You will also be able to see reviews on some of their other offerings, which are intriguing to me! Picta Dicta Natural World and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder. They both teach you Latin in a very easy to understand way! If you just click on these links to learn more, I think you will be fascinated by both of these as well!
Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric

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Hurricane Florence

So… Gotta love hurricane season in North Caroline. This time it is Hurricane Florence. hurricane

It looks like it is coming straight for us, but I know that could change at any time.

I haven’t been in a really bad hurricane, just a few small ones.

I am hoping that somehow it will just last minute turn away and go back into the ocean, but it doesn’t seem like it will.

All of the water and bread and eggs are gone in the stores. Of course. First thing to go.

We have a little generator that will at least power a few things, but definitely not the air conditioner. Thankfully the weather won’t be too awfully hot, but still.

Doesn’t look like too busy of a hurricane season besides this one, which is nice. I know there is still a month and a half left of the season.

Welp, I guess all we can do is just watch and wait!

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GrammarPlanet {Review}

Do you know your grammar? I thought I did. And then we started using GrammarPlanet. Um, we definitely needed this!
You can make an account as the teacher/parent and then make accounts for your children or students. Those accounts are different and do different things, but if you wanted to take the course as well, you could always make yourself a student.

When we first started the course, the first thing mentioned was nouns. Everyone knows what nouns are! Right? This had us second guessing ourselves right from the beginning and we couldn’t figure out why!

Since we kind of jumped in without reading the directions (ahem) we figured we would give it a go. It made much more sense after that! Figures, right?
GrammarPlanet Video
Once you are in the program you have a pretty empty screen. There is a video in the middle and two little buttons on the bottom of the screen.

The button on the left is where you can see the notes for that particular lesson. These are extremely helpful! You can print them off to refer to them, which I highly suggest! We have had a color go out on ours and so of course our printer doesn’t print without it, so I will have to go through and print them when we get ink again. For now, we just keep them open on another tab to refer to.
GrammarPlanet Video 2
As you start the video, you can hover over it and see what is going to be talked about. You can jump around and repeat things that you want. The speaker goes over everything on the sheet of notes and expands on anything that might be questionable.
GrammarPlanet Video 3As you watch the video, you come to little quiz sections. They are pretty much just questions that refer back to what was just talked about. You can easily answer them by paying attention to the video, or even looking at the notes.
Grammar Planet quiz
You can see in the example that the questions on the video quiz is pretty easy. It tells you right away if you are correct or not.
GrammarPlanet Lesson
After you look at both the notes and the video, you can move onto the interactive lesson. You label each word that applies to what you have learned so far. Some words are left blank because you haven’t learned that yet.

It is mentioned numerous times that you should label the words in a specific order. That is definitely helpful, although it takes a lot to make that a habit if you aren’t used to doing that!

You can see in this example that we missed one. I wanted to show you what that looks like. Sometimes at the bottom it will say that a particular word isn’t marked because you haven’t learned it yet, or sometimes it won’t say anything. You can see the correction at the top of the word that was missed though, it tells you what is the correct way to label that particular word.
GrammarPlanet Lesson 2
Here is a sentence that was all correct. It typically says ‘good job’ or something similar at the bottom. When you miss one, it says ‘oh, so close’ or something similar.

As you work through the lesson it builds on different sentences, sometimes they are longer or more difficult. It keeps track of how many sentences you miss.
GrammarPlanet Locked
We just went through this lesson quickly for the sake of this review. You can see at the top that it locked the students account and it suggests to the student to ask the teacher what to improve on.

You can then log into your own account and open the lesson back up again for them to work on again.

GrammarPlanet full lesson
This is an example of a completed lesson with tests and everything. It goes through enough practice lessons to make sure that the student really understands. On this particular lesson the student only missed one on a couple of the tests listed. But they got enough correct I think that it put it on through.

It is suggested to not rush through this even if you already know grammar. I highly agree with this. It’s just different and takes a bit of time to do everything in the order that they are wanting!

A few days a week and 10-15 minutes a day is perfect! That way, if your child is a little overwhelmed, they won’t be if they just do the time suggested.

I like the way that the information builds on each lesson. I can see us working on this for a long time, taking it slow. It’s interesting how much of a refresher it was for us! We hadn’t really worked on grammar for quite a few years and it’s nice that I will be able to have this for them to use.

If you want to read what others thought of their time with GrammarPlanet, feel free to click the banner below!


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What I read in August

Another month has gone by! And yay for September!! I love when the -er months come! Although the weather has stayed pretty dang hot and I am just ready for a break in those! Have you read anything wonderful lately? I love looking at the variety of books that I read each month. You can definitely tell when school is in session. 😉 Here is what I read in August!
What I read in August 1
God Schooling by Julie Polanco – The most frequently asked question on home school forums is, “How do I do this?” and the number one complaint is, “David won’t do (fill in the blank). How can I get him to do it?” God Schooling answers these questions and more. Parents gain the insight and confidence to teach their own children as they learn from experts, Biblical references, and the author’s own experiences from nearly fifteen years of homeschooling.

What I thought: There was a lot of good information in here, and I think people that aren’t even homeschooling could get use out of it. I wrote a more in depth review here if you want to read it.
What I read in August 2
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington – Born in a Virginia slave hut, Booker T. Washington (1856–1915) rose to become the most influential spokesman for African Americans of his day. In this eloquently written book, he describes events in a remarkable life that began in bondage and culminated in worldwide recognition for his many accomplishments. In simply written yet stirring passages, he tells of his impoverished childhood and youth, the unrelenting struggle for an education, early teaching assignments, his selection in 1881 to head Tuskegee Institute, and more.
A firm believer in the value of education as the best route to advancement, Washington disapproved of civil-rights agitation and in so doing earned the opposition of many black intellectuals. Yet, he is today regarded as a major figure in the struggle for equal rights, one who founded a number of organizations to further the cause and who worked tirelessly to educate and unite African Americans.

What I thought: We have been reading so many books regarding slavery. Each one just gets me more and more. I loved reading about the Tuskegee Institute and how it came to help so many people…
What I read in August 3
Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes – The charming adventures of the Mama of an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco. This bestselling book inspired the play, motion picture, and television series I Remember Mama.

What I thought: I loved this story! It was a short read and had a lot of cute stories of this family. You really get drawn in to the characters throughout their lives.
What I read in August 4
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Within the insular world of the English countryside, among struggling clerical families, husband-hunting mothers and daughters, country fools and snobs, Jane Austen found the raw material she needed to write brilliant novels widely admired for their satiric wit, subtlety and perfection of style. Sense and Sensibility is one of the best of these. It is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who represent sense and sensibility, respectively. When both appear to be deserted by the young men they had intended to marry, the stage is set for a delicious comedy of manners that not only showcases Austen’s perception, humor and incomparable prose, but offers a splendid glimpse of upper and middle-class English society of the early 18th century.

What I thought: Seriously, what books was I assigned in school, because I feel like I really missed out on every book that most people have read. This was a hard book to read out loud, I think I would have liked it better if I was just reading it for myself. But either way I enjoyed it…
What I read in August 5
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

What I thought: Well, I had no idea that the book was going to go in the direction that it did from the little blurb. Granted, I thought it was interesting once I got over that hurdle. I could see it being a movie although not an awesome one, but an entertaining one. lol.
What I read in August 6
Miracle in the Hills by Mary T. Martin Sloop, M.D. – Dr.Sloop and her husband began their lifelong dedication to the mountain people when they rode horseback into the remote hill region of North Carolina in 1909. The conditions they encountered were shockingly primitive. The people had neither doctors,nor schools and were suspicious of medicine and “larnin’.” Electricity and running water were unheard of, roads were rough mountain paths and the diet consisted of “hog meat, greens and grease.” The main industry was moon shining.
Dr.Sloop declared a personal war on moonshiners, tracking down hidden still with a reluctant sheriff in tow. She fought against child marriages and in a region where girls often married at the age of fourteen. With the help of the mountain people, she reinvigorated the weaving trade, built a church and a modern well equipped hospital. Her spirited support of education resulted in a modern twenty-five-building school.

What I thought: I was fascinated at what this couple did in this little town in the mountains. And that it was in a place not all that far from me made it even better! I really want to stop there on our road trip that we are doing soon! I loved hearing how everything came along and how hard work really made such a difference to the community.

That is all for what I read in August! The next couple months are going to be kind of busy with travel so I could either read a lot or a little, I guess we will see! But send me your book recommendations!

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Travel bug

travel bug

Travel bug.

I think we have it pretty bad.

Starting a month from now we are going to be kind of going a little crazy with the whole travel thing.

I am not sure how we are going to pull it all off…

Thankfully we have a wonderful person that will take care of our critters for us, that is a complete help like no other.

If I didn’t have it all down on a  printed calendar it would be driving me crazy.

Wishing that I could be marking more new states off the list, but I think out of all of this I will only be marking off a quick trip to Connecticut. Better than nothing?

Do you have a particular state that you want to travel to?

I know someone that just finished going to her last state to be able to say that she’s been to all of them. That is so fun!

Pretty sure we won’t be doing that, but it’s nice to knock them off the list.

I was talking to someone else and she commented how they plan entire trips around the restaurants and other food choices. I totally get excited about food choices on a trip! Don’t necessarily like eating out for every meal, so when we travel as a family we like staying in AirBnB places. That way we can always cook a meal or two each day, depending on what else we have planned for the day.

Unfortunately, only one of our upcoming trips is in a rental like that, the rest are hotel stays.

Ah well. I am looking forward to the day that we can finally use our passports. We kept putting it off to do the remodel and then something would happen and we couldn’t do the remodel…and we didn’t travel either..

So at least now, we are putting off the big trip for a remodel and it is actually starting soon. Hopefully. lol. Just have to get someone to draw our plans first. 🙂

Hopefully I can see some new places on these trips! Will have to update in November! 🙂

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Oh the beach..

When we first moved here we thought it was so convenient to be so close to the mountains in one direction and the beach in the other..

Yet it has been two years since we have been to the beach!

Thankfully we have gone to the mountains at least once a year for our bike ride that we do.

I miss the beach though.. Any beach!

People tell me of many different ones around here that they like the best. We have been to a handful of them, mostly in the first couple years that we were here.

During the summer it is just too hot and crowded so that’s one reason we put it off.

Also, it’s just a long day for just a day trip. Doable.. But long.

We also were dealing with Ryan’s college schedule for the last few years and that was hard. Now he is just doing online classes, at least this semester.

I am thinking that maybe in a couple weeks, when it gets cooler again….maybe we can sneak in a trip.

We have SO much travel coming up. In fact, it is downright silly how we are going to have to get it to work…lol.

Honestly, I wouldn’t even mind going when it is cold because for sure it will be pretty empty. And still pretty..

Gah…I don’t know if we can pull it off with all that we have going on, but I sure do want to! I miss the beach, dang it!

Are you a beach person, or a mountain person? I think for me, I prefer mountains over beaches. But there is just something about a beach that I don’t want to keep away from it for too long.

If you live on the eastern side of the US, let me know your favorite beaches to visit! 🙂

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God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Review}

When we first started homeschooling, it all happened so quickly that I didn’t really know where to begin. I had so many ideas and well, it all just went to what was easiest at the time since we just jumped in to it so suddenly. Recently I read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco and it was such a good read!
God SchoolingAs I started reading this book it pulled me in immediately. A lot of it was similar to ideas that I had when we first started homeschooling. I really wanted more of an un-schooling approach to it..

But alas, they had been in regular school for so long and got behind in math, that I soon found myself picking out all sorts of curriculum and it just snowballed.

There are so many good points made in this book, things that reinforced what I had been thinking all along. That children need time outside, need time alone, need to just have time to figure things out for themselves.

Some of the points were things that I didn’t really go along with, but they were still very good points. I don’t think that we are doing a bad thing by using curriculum and just doing what we are doing for our family.

I do know that my children do learn best by doing, and that too much of the ‘sitting at the table’ learning doesn’t do much for their happiness with school.

When I first picked the book up and glanced at the chapter list, I thought that I would just skip the chapters for younger kids, since mine are all in high school or older! Don’t make that mistake! There is so much good information in those chapters and it will all make more sense if you just read the whole book.

There was a section about college and that really was good timing as we have been talking about how there is such a shortage of kids wanting to do trades anymore. Everyone wants to do college and get computer jobs.

We were talking to Ryan about ideas on what he might want to do. He is 19 now and is just a few classes shy of his Associates in Arts. He has plans on finishing that up and after that we just aren’t sure.

Jeffy suggested learning to be an electrician as that is a guaranteed job anymore because not a lot of young people are getting those kinds of jobs.

Anyway, in the book it mentioned starting salaries and how they differ from someone in trades and someone that did the college route and accrued debt. Granted, everyone has a different situation, but that little section sure was timely, and almost seemed personalized just to our family!

Even if you don’t plan on un-schooling your children, I highly suggest this book, just to have on read and have on hand as more of a reference book. And don’t skip the pages of the ages that don’t apply to your children like I was going to! The whole book is full of great information that you can apply to your own situations!

If you want to read what others thought of God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, feel free to click the banner below!

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn

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Branch Out World: Paddington Bear study {Review}

One of my absolute favorite things in the world are books. And people that can make unit studies out of books are a very special set of people in my opinion. I have friends that do it very well, but I am not blessed with that talent. So when I find unit studies on books I tend to get them! Branch Out World has a Paddington Bear Lit Study in their Picture Book Explorers section.
paddington-Paddington Bear lit study

Now, you might be wondering why I would choose a book that is obviously a children’s book when I have all teenagers.. Well, I believe that you can learn something from any book!

As well as the fact that to my knowledge, I hadn’t ever read it before! So if I hadn’t read it, then I know for sure that my kids hadn’t read it! I had to order this one online and it ended up coming from England!

I am amazed at how perfect the timing was with this Lit Study. Everything tied in so well with things we were actually doing.

The study is broken down into five days.
Day 1 – Exploring the Setting
Day 2 – Exploring the Words
Day 3 – Exploring the Pictures
Day 4 – Exploring Science
Day 5 – Exploring Maths, Crafts, and more.

Since this is written generally for children ages 5-10, some of the activities were a little young for my kids, but there were so many others that had great starting off points to where we could learn things more to our age group!
Paddington Bear This Lit Study has so many pages that you can print out and make a sort of lap book with. We did some of them and some of the others we just had discussions about. One project talked about a suitcase and what you would put in it on a trip. I bet that would be great fun to do with small kiddos to see what they would put in their suitcase!

We are working our way through an artful way of geography this year, so the geography section was a great stepping stone with that! There are maps provided that you can print out, but I took it a step further and had them draw their own.

The study focuses a lot on Peru and London, so it was nice learning more about these two places. We have studied London quite a bit, but I have to say we really haven’t studied much about Peru!

One of the activities was making something food related. It called for caster sugar. I looked it up and I recall that it is the same as the Baking Sugar that I used when I was in Arizona! I haven’t been able to find it here in North Carolina, but if you are more on the western side of the US, it is C&H brand! After we moved here I had my mom send me a box of it because I missed it so!

Paddington Bear

As a funny, we were on a trip to Michigan and one night we had a late dinner and noticed that an antique store was still open, so we walked in. And look who greeted me! It was so cute I had to take a picture of it.

The study also talks about snacks from Peru. One of them being purple Andean potatoes! We get a subscription box with snacks from different countries each month, and recently in one box was a snack made from purple potatoes! They were pretty tasty and I wouldn’t mind if they sold them here!

Another part of the study talks about the architecture throughout the book of houses and such. We are getting ready for a remodel here and it was so interesting reading some of the different terms that were in the study. I had never heard of some of them before. We looked them up and imagined what our remodel would look like with some of these things added.

In our history studies we are learning about American History this year. We are at the point where large amounts of people were coming over to America from other countries. There is a section in this Lit Study that has to do with Population Migration! So, this tied into our normal studies as well. The study gave definitions on emigration, immigration, migration as well as very good information on the pros and cons of it all.

We are also studying Biology this year. So the worksheet that we did above that had the classification section was interesting. I had them use their template from Biology to guess the classification of the Andean Bear. It was fun to see them guess since the bear is mostly an herbivore, but it does eat small rodents and such so it is also a carnivore.

Honestly, I could go on and on about how much there is to do with this Lit Study! Don’t be afraid of looking at Unit Studies, or anything really, that are outside of the ages of your children! You can always make it easier or harder if you have to!

I really am fascinated with this company. They are based in the UK and what I thought was interesting was that all of the books that they use have a link to the UK, whether it’s the setting, the author or the illustrator. That could work so well if you are doing a study on the UK also! Pick out more of these book studies and do them all!

I am sure I probably didn’t explain the study thoroughly, but I really am excited about these! Make sure you check out their website, Branch Out World And if you want to read what others thought about their Paddington Bear study, feel free to click the banner below!
Branch-Out-World-Picture-Book-Explorers-Paddington-Bear-REVIEWSBranch Out World: Paddington Bear study


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List maker…

list maker

Are you a list maker?

If so, are you a paper or digital list maker?

Mine has to be paper. And the most random piece of paper I can find, apparently..

I do have a notebook that I bought specifically for my lists, but it seems that I just prefer a random extra homework sheet from the kids, or something similarly random.

And yes, I am also that person that does something not on the list, then puts it on the list, just to cross it out.

Such a sense of satisfaction that is. Crossing things out.

Then it seems as if I think of more things to do. And it order to get those things done, I must do other things first.

It is such a cycle.

Right now I have so many things that I need to do. Some are so important and some others are important but I can put off just a teeeeeny bit longer.

I get overwhelmed and then I do something dumb like….take a nap…or pet the cat…or make brownies…

I really am a procrastinator and do tend to get my best work done in that last minute rush, but right now it seems like things are snowballing.

Pretty sure it will all work out. It usually does. 🙂 And yeah…I am putting off other things and blogging about not getting other stuff done. hahaha…

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What I read in July

July was pretty crazy.. We did some traveling that had us coming and going all month long it seemed. I thought I would read more than I did, but it turns out I read a decent amount anyway. Have you read anything that you have loved lately? Here is what I read in July!

What I read in July

Sick by Tom Leveen – Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and wily troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.

What I thought: I enjoyed reading this book, it isn’t my normal book but I had a friend say that it was basically our high school, so I had to read it. This author does such a great job pulling you in with his characters, I could read any book by him! There was a lot of language, which I guess you have to expect and then it ended abruptly which I wasn’t ready for. I wanted to know what happened next!

What I read in July 2

Humorous Stories and Sketches by Mark Twain – Mark Twain’s inimitable blend of humor, satire, and masterly storytelling earned him a secure place in the front rank of American writers. This collection of eight stories and sketches, among them the celebrated classic “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” shows the great humorist at the top of his form.

Also included here are “Journalism in Tennessee,” in which a novice newspaperman is shown the “correct way” to report a news story; “About Barbers,” a delightful account of every barbershop customer’s worst fear; “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses,” Twain’s hilarious savaging of that author’s style; and four more: “A Literary Nightmare,” “The Stolen White Elephant,” “The Private History of a Campaign that Failed,” and “How to Tell a Story.”

Delightfully entertaining, these charming pieces will find an appreciative audience among students, general readers, and lovers of classic American humor.

What I thought: I enjoyed reading these stories. They weren’t funny haha like you would think, but if you sit and read them you might get a chuckle or two. I wasn’t mad that I read the book, I liked it!

What I read in July 3

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone – Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken in months. Not since the fight—the one where they said things they couldn’t take back.

Now, Emory is fine-tuning her UCLA performing arts application and trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Meanwhile, Hannah’s strong faith is shaken when her family’s financial problems come to light, and she finds herself turning to unexpected places—and people—for answers to the difficult questions she’s suddenly facing.

No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can’t. Not anymore.

Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true.

In alternating chapters, a skeptic and a believer piece together the story of their complex relationship and the boy caught somewhere in the middle. New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone deftly crafts a moving portrait of faith, love, and friendship.

What I thought: This was another book that was fantastic with its characters. I could totally get into the struggles that each was facing. This is one that I kept reading whenever I got a chance!

What I read in July 4

Love, Honor, and Virtue by Hal and Melanie Young – The Battlefield Is Different Than We Remember ….
The changes in technology and culture have put an entirely new face on the fight for moral purity. Temptation is nothing new, but where our generation had to avoid traps, our children are being actively hunted. Our sons are being exposed and ensnared by things that didn’t exist when they were born, and the conversations we had at 15 and 16 are necessary for 10 and 11 … and earlier … today.

If they want to walk in integrity, they have a fight on their hands.

A book written to and for teens and twenty-something guys. It’s short, concise, and very direct. It gives a Biblical perspective to help:

Understand God’s design, from biology to morality
Navigate the cultural minefield
Build a foundation for Christ-honoring relationships
Find hope for recovery if they’ve stumbled

What I thought: I thought it was nicely done although I imagine a lot of families will find it hard to be familiar with a lifestyle like they suggest. I loved all of the facts and stories throughout the book. I wrote a review here that you can read if you are interested.

What I read in July 5

After Anna by Alex Lake – A bone-chilling psychological thriller that will suit fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Daughter by Jane Shemilt, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

A girl is missing. Five years old, taken from outside her school. She has vanished, traceless. The police are at a loss; her parents are beyond grief. Their daughter is lost forever, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. But the biggest mystery is yet to come: one week after she was abducted, their daughter is returned. She has no memory of where she has been. And this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare.

What I thought: I enjoyed the story although I figured out ‘whodunit’ early on. I still enjoyed reading how it all played out and the little turns that the story took.

What I read in July 6

The Emotionary by Eden Sher – A dictionary of words that don’t exist for feelings that do written by The Middle actress Eden Sher and illustrated by acclaimed graphic novelist Julia Wertz.

All her life, Eden Sher has suffered from dyscommunicatia (n. the inability to articulate a feeling through words.). Then, one day, she decided that, whenever she had an emotion for which she had no word, she would make one up.

The result of this is The Emotionary, which lives at the intersection of incredibly funny and very useful. Chock full of words you always wanted/never knew you needed, often accompanied by illustrations of hilarious and all-too-familiar situations, The Emotionary will be a cherished tool for you or the world-class feelings-haver in your life.

At long last, all your complicated feelings can be put into words, so you can recognize them for what they are, speak their names aloud, and move on. Finally!

What I thought: A fun book that has words that fit exactly what they say. I loved some of these words so much and feel like they should be real…

What I read in July 7

In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon – “For more than a century In His Steps has helped Christians live more Christlike lives. I can’t think of a novel that’s had a greater impact on the faith of so many believers.”
–Nick Harrison, author of 365 WWJD? Daily Answers to ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ “What would Jesus do?” When several members of an ordinary American church are challenged to not take a single action without first asking that crucial question, they discover the power of God to transform their own lives–and their world. Charles M. Sheldon’s provocative novel, originally published in 1896 and enthusiastically rediscovered by today’s believers, testifies dramatically to the value of Christian witness in all of life.

What I thought: I thought it was interesting to read what these people would do when faced with that question. I wonder what would happen if people did that in this time!

What I read in July 8

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis – The second book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which also includes Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength, Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom. Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on a new planet — Perelandra — when it is invaded by a dark force. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order and who must destroy an old and beautiful civilization to do so? Or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man? The outcome of Dr. Ransom’s mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet.

What I thought: Ehhh, it was very hard to get into. I enjoyed parts of the story but really, it was just ok for me. I didn’t get the whole deeper references as much as some people…

What I read in July 9

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

What I thought: I know I am drawn to this type of book, I have read several, but the way it was written as well as the characters…it just made me a huge fan of the story.


Ok, that is what I read in July! I am thinking that my August may be a little slow in the reading department as we have a lot of school to catch up on from all of the traveling and such, but you never know. 🙂

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