Friday, June 1, 2012

Operation TBR Reduction update

This challenge is from Once Upon a Chapter.

Monthly stats for May:
Beginning number of TBR books = 151

Books Added +
  • One Summer by David Baldacci
  • Dewey by Vicki Myron
  • Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Books I Read -

  • Wine to Water by Doc Hendley
  • Inspiring Experiences by Thomas Monson
  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
  • Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons by New World City
  • A Grand and Bold Thing by Ann Finkbeiner
Ending number of TBR books = 151

Well, at least I broke even!

Happy reading, everyone :)

Piling Up on Friday 6/1

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

Here at my house, school is out and summer vacation has officially begun! This year I am trying to have my kids participate in as many summer reading programs as I can find. The little ones are excited to earn free book, t-shirts and food, but my 12 yr old says no thanks to it all. Despite turning up her nose at these incentives, she is (thankfully) devouring books as fast as we can get them from the library. 

Every morning we have personal study time. I pull out a stack of school workbooks and math worksheets and the kids work on these for 30 minutes. Then we have reading time for 30 minutes. I encourage my kids to spend their time reading books to their 4 yr old brother, but whether they do or not, it's so wonderful to see all of them curled up in a chair, a bed, or laying on the floor, enjoying a new title. It brings back fond memories of summer vacations at my grandma's house, curled up on the couch with Nancy Drew.

Here is a fun title I added to my TBR wishlist this week:

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

Hannah Levi is known throughout sixteenth-century Venice for her skill in midwifery. When a Christian count appears at Hannah's door in the Jewish ghetto imploring her to attend his labouring wife, who is nearing death, Hannah is forced to make a dangerous decision. Not only is it illegal for Jews to render medical treatment to Christians, it's also punishable by torture and death. Moreover, as her Rabbi angrily points out, if the mother or child should die, the entire ghetto population will be in peril.

My current read is:

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

When Libby's husband fails to return from a solo canoe trip, Libby enlists the aid of her father-in-law and her best friend to help her search for clues to her husband's disappearance. What they discover upends Libby's presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

Death on the Nile book review

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
My rating = 5 stars (Gibbee!!)
Poirot, on vacation in Africa, meets the rich, beautiful Linnet Doyle and her new husband, Simon. As usual, all is not as it seems between the newlyweds, and when Linnet is found murdered, Poirot must sort through a boatload of suspects to find the killer before he (or she) strikes again.

My review:
I love reading Agatha Christie. The mysteries are full of drama and suspense. It's always so hard for me to figure out whodunit, but it's always so much fun! This story had so many twists and turns. I thought I had figured out who the murderer was, but of course I was wrong. This book had not only a murderer, but a jewel thief, a crooked lawyer, a love triangle, an international criminal in disguise, a drunken romance author, and a royal lord in disguise as well. So much drama jampacked into one story. It was terrific!

Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons book review

Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons by New World City
My rating = 3 stars

Ronald Reagan was a product of America's heartland, a kid who had a Huck Finn childhood and never lost his aw-shucks, all-American optimism. He moved to Hollywood, became a minor film star, and got involved in politics-at first on the left. But in the shadow of the 1950s anti-Communism furor, he moved to the right and began a steady rise to the pinnacle of power. Initially derided as a lightweight, a none-too-bright actor incapable of leading a nation, he proved his detractors wrong. Using extraordinary charm, conviction, communication skills, and stagecraft, Reagan became one of the most beloved, admired, and influential presidents in American history.

My review:
This is a brief discourse on Reagan's life and political career. It touches on his successes and failures during his presidency. There is a discussion section at the end called "What You Can Learn From Ronald Reagan." It focuses on different leadership aspects Reagan possessed, such as developing a vision for your team, and knowing your strengths and limitations. This short work would be a good study companion for a lengthier biography of the president.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Piling Up on Friday 5/25

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I've had an exceptional week studying Proverbs 31 in the bible. It's really helping me examine my life as a wife and mom and find ways to improve myself in the home, with my family, and spiritually. Come visit my blog Sweet and Simple Faith for more on my journey this week.

I just have one new title I've added to my TBR wishlist this week. I hope you have found some fun titles too!

Into This World by Sybil Baker

I am currently reading:

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sophie's Secret book review

Sophie's Secret by Nancy Rue
My rating = 4 stars

Sophie is a sixth grader with an immensely creative imagination. She imagines herself to be an archaeologist and goes exploring in her attic, looking through her family's boxes of belongings.  She learns a lot about her family members, but doesn't find anything about herself. Could she be adopted?
At school, Sophie and her friends find themselves at odds with the Corn Pops, a super-popular clique of girls that start some mean rumors about the girls. Sophie learns some important lessons about being a true friend and about being herself.

I liked this book a lot. It is the second in a series of twelve books by Nancy Rue, and is written for girls ages 9-12. It focuses on Christian values such as family harmony, friendship, honesty, and faith in Jesus Christ. Sophie deals with some very strong emotions throughout the story, as she deals with girls at school, and learns how to obey her parents even when she doesn't feel loved or accepted at home. I believe Sophie's feelings were portrayed very well for the reader to understand and feel as well. I was drawn into the book as I read everything Sophie goes through, and was anxious to find out how everything resolves itself. This is a terrific book I intend to pass on to my own sixth grader.

Piling Up On Saturday 5/19

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I got another chance to volunteer at the book warehouse this week, which means more free books! In addition to some books for the kids, I got another Amy Tan book and a book called Sarah's Key. Here are some other titles added to my TBR wishlist this week:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. As the two girls mature, Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live. When the two  girls come of age, Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to question fundamentalist doctrine. The different choices the two sisters makes force them apart until a dangerous secret threatens to banish them from the only community they’ve ever known.  

Trapeze by Simon Mawer
Barely out of school and doing her bit for the British war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that makes her stand out—she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. Drawn into this strange, secret world at the age of nineteen, she finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a “school for spies,” and ultimately, one autumn night, parachuting into France from an RAF bomber to join the WORDSMITH resistance network. But there’s more to Marian’s mission than meets the eye of her SOE controllers; her mission has been hijacked by another secret organization that wants her to go to Paris and persuade a friend—a research physicist—to join the Allied war effort. The outcome could affect the whole course of the war.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

I am currently reading:

Sophie's Secret by Nancy Rue
When some of Sophie's relatives come to town for Thanksgiving and create a whirlwind of sightseeing, including nearby Jamestown, Sophie sees an archeological excavation in progress and pictures herself as a female Indiana Jones.