Thursday, October 28, 2010

100 Word Review: Her Mother's Hope

I really enjoy reading Francine Rivers.  Redeeming Love is one of my all-time favorite books.  She's a master storyteller and does great historical research for her epic novels.  You can't read a Rivers book without learning a lot.  Her Mother's Hope does not disappoint and I'm looking forward to the sequel, Her Daughter's Dream.  Here's my 100 word review of Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers.

Epic story of the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter.
A fear-driven mother, determined her daughter will not repeat the past.

A daughter who has never felt the love and acceptance of her mother.

Emotionally gripping...
Thought provoking...

Realistic, genuine, flaw-filled characters...

Made me think about the way I talk to and treat my husband and children.

Cutting words...Biting tone of voice...Perceptions and assumptions...Dangerous for relationships...

A lesson in faith, the power of prayer, and redemption.

A bit rushed in the last few chapters, but an engrossing and well-written story.


Monday, October 25, 2010

My Awesome Hubby! Educator of the Week!

Like most teachers, my Dear Hubby works very hard and brings home hours of work each week.  Today he came home with a framed "Educator of the Week" certificate on top of his huge stack of papers to grade and lesson planning books.  I'm so proud of him!!!  It was really thoughtful of one of his students to nominate David for this award.  Middle schoolers aren't always known for their thoughtfulness.  David is very humbled (and a little embarrassed), but extremely deserving of this award.  So, here's my "shout out" to a great hubby, father, role model, and teacher.  Congratulations, Honey!
Mrs. "Educator of the Week" 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

100 Word Review: On Folly Beach

We spent the past week in South Florida visiting my parents, so I wanted to read a "beach book" while I was relaxing at the beach (actually, I was chasing kids, collecting shells with kids, applying sunscreen to kids, keeping kids from getting caught in a rip current, trying to get sand off of kids--you know...relaxing). "suggested" (many times) that I would like On Folly Beach by Karen White.  Since and I have a very intimate relationship, I downloaded the book to my Kindle and hit I-75 south.  After finishing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo earlier this week, I eagerly looked forward to something, well....less brutal, horrifying, and haunting.  On Folly Beach was exactly what I was looking for (and, unlike Dragon, Folly is refreshingly clean in language).  What a great historical mystery novel set in South Carolina.  This was my first Karen White book, but it won't be my last.  Thank you!  You know me so well (and you should after all the $ I've given you).

Here's my 100 word review of On Folly Beach.

Two wars. 

Two widows.

Seamlessly interwoven stories.

Lulu—a Nancy Drew wannabe—the character that ties past to present.

Bottle Trees—An African slave tradition to ward off evil spirits—central to both stories.

A brilliant blending of history and mystery…

Secret messages written in book margins…

A wonderful story of bravery, grief, redemption, love, forgiveness, and…learning when to move on.

Not a predictable, mushy, romance novel.

Read it on the beach or in front of a crackling fire…just read it.

I’m very tempted to put a bottle tree in my yard.

I bet you will be, too.


Monday, October 18, 2010

100 Word Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

For awhile, I thought I was the only person that had not read this book.  But, since it is still on the New York Times top ten best seller list I guess I'm not.  I only recently found out that Stieg Larsson died in 2004 after writing the Millennium Trilogy (Dragon is the first of the three novels).  I also read that he, at 15, witnessed a horrific crime against a young woman and never forgave himself for not being able to help her.  That pain and regret is obvious in this novel.  Larsson was definitely a talented storyteller.  Let me say, this is NOT a book for teens.  At 41, I'm not sure I'm old enough for some of this story.  Downright creepy.  Here's my 100 word review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Not your typical crime thriller.
Hard to get into.  It took 7 chapters to find the story (actually 3 stories) at all interesting.
Lots of characters, some of them lifeless, with difficult Swedish names.
There is a geneology page (thankfully) to help out.


A mysterious disappearance.
Unspeakable family secrets.
Contractual obligations.
Corporate warfare.

Fascinating peek into elements of Swedish society.

A bit overrated and over-the-top at times, but a very interesting story.

I'm glad I didn't quit in the first 100 pages, but I'm not sure I'll read the sequels. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

100 Word Review: World Without End

After reading Pillars of the Earth last spring, I just had to dive into this "sequel" (if you can call it that--it takes place 200 years after the end of Pillars).  Ken Follett is quite a storyteller (he would have to be since his books are 1000 pages +).  Here's my 100 word review of World Without End by Ken Follett.

Powerless serfs...
Ambitious and cruel earls...
Not so shining knights...
Cowardly and corrupt priors...
Naughty nuns...
and infamous outlaws...

Throw in a collapsed bridge, murders and murderous plots, a one-armed monk with a secret past, a buried letter, accusals of witchcraft, the plague, and forbidden loves and Follett has written another fascinating story set in 1300 England.

Not for the faint hearted:  barbaric and graphic throughout.  Follett likes to shock and even offend.
But the story always shines through with strong characters, plot twists and turns, and strong historical accuracy.

Not as good as Pillars, but hard to put down.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Garrett's Caterpillar Dance

My parents bought a remote controlled Caterpillar bulldozer for Garrett for his 3rd birthday. He has played with it often, but yesterday he decided to dance to the Caterpillar tune it plays when you hit a certain button...over and over and over again. We're so proud. We're thinking he has a Dancing With the Stars Future. By the way, his arm is supposed to be a guitar. It's hard to tell.  I'm not sure why his eyes are closed. Maybe he's picturing himself onstage at a concert. Or maybe, it's just fun to jump around with your eyes closed. Try it. I did. I still have a headache. I'm too old to jump around with or without my eyes closed.