Monthly Archives: November 2014

MFW 1850’s to Modern times- Week #14 &15

I have to say that my last two weeks have been a blur of activity.
We wake up, get our school done, work to get meals in there, and play basketball. It has almost been every day this past two weeks that we have been in the van more than we have been home.

My feet hurt, my wrists, and my shoulders and I am not even playing basketball! Of course, I am working on a writing project, so that contributes.

Meals have mostly been….whatever I threw in the crock pot and rice cooker and we make the best of it. It has not been too bad! Tonight we had some sort of BBQ meat over potatoes microwaved. Some of the boys had the meat on sandwiches instead. One of them grilled it with yellow peppers.

We finished the book “In God we Trust” this week! Yay! We also finished “Hudson Taylor”. I know that for me, I learned a lot about faith and trusting God through reading it. I needed that this week.

L. and H. both wrote 2 papers this past two weeks. They have been working hard, learning a few things.

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The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall

2.The Bound Heart

About the Book: (From the author’s website)
One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt’s world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn’t have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption… and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?

My Review:

Meredyth Summercourt is someone I met in Ms. Crandall’s first book in the Everstone Chronicles and by the time you reach the end of that first one, you are left with some mystery and intrigue surrounding her personality and behavior. This book will go inside her life, and dig into some things that might be a little from the darker side. I think often we think in history that people were much different than us. I often think we get a sanitized view of the past, thinking that bad things only happen now. This book does not go into details, but gives us enough of a glimpse of how a young woman might have struggled with some of those hard and sinful things in a different time period than our own.

I especially loved the perseverance of Lawry throughout the book, he was the picture of patience, and care for Meredyth, but if anything, he lacked some methods of communication in communicating his feelings well enough. You will want to shake both of them throughout this book, but most of all, you will end this book and have that feeling of satisfaction of a book you enjoyed reading.

I enjoyed the message of faith which was skillfully woven into the pages, without being hit you over the head with it, but was a constant presence throughout.

Dawn Crandall 2

This amazing and new author on the scene of writing is one that we will want to keep our eyes on. A mother of a young baby, she pours herself into her books, giving a unique style of what many would call “brooding heroes or heroines”, however, I would say that these books are much more than that. I found that there are many books that young people can pick up and read nowadays that are fantasy, mysteries, or brooding romantics without the faith part interwoven into it. These books are not that way. You will read the conflict of the characters and grieve, mourn and decide with them, even if you disagree at times. Check out this new series and watch for the third book in the coming year!

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My Father’s World 1850’s- Modern Week 12 and 13

These were a couple of very good weeks of school! In fact, we had such a busy, focused couple of weeks on school, we lack pictures this week!

We always vary a couple of things to meet our personal needs, which is something that I love about MFW as it is so easily adaptable! This week, since we all know the story about “It is well with my soul” so well and it always makes me cry, we discussed and moved forward without reading it over again. The Adventures in Odyssey on the story is excellent by the way. “It Is Well”

We have been reading through the Story of the World, but since the very stressful basketball schedule at the moment, we are not doing all the activities in the activity book. Plus, we are just not a very crafty family. They make a lot of messes!

For movies and book basket books, we were listening to Little Women (the CD’s were scratched though), Red Badge of Courage and the boys watched Gods and Generals, Gettysburg and some documentaries.

As we began reading about Hudson Taylor, my sons started to tell me all the rest of the story! One thing I love about the church they go to, they often do wonderful things, like reading stories similar to what we read in school, and this past week, they made volcanoes as well.

We used the chance of it being 100 years since women could vote in our state on election day, to use the chance to learn about how minorities used to be treated, and why women had to fight to vote. I know this hotly debated in conservative circles, but it was something to celebrate here, and I celebrated by voting.
It was also interesting since Montana became a state 125 years ago too, this year, so studying that was right on as well.

While doing our fast fact charts, I have been trying to get them to be faster, but discovered it was not getting faster. So, I upped the ante. I offered a treat for every row of correct answers they got in the timed period. I believe this is going to speed it up!

On Thursday, we got the chance to see how it would be to homeschool with extra children as we had 3 extra children here for the morning. We handled it quite well!

The boys worked hard so that they could go roller skating this Friday before their game.
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We managed to finish week 13, and do day one Week 14…which will be nice.
We are loving learning about the states, presidents and all that.

My high school student is finally getting on top of his work, I think, and we are learning a lot. Russian and Geometry likely being the top scorers, and struggles!

This week, there were three basketball games! The first one of the week, was a loss for the 5th/6th, but they played well. The 7th/8th have been undefeated so far, finishing that off with their game against Kila last night. The boys had an experience with some bullying or maybe just name calling yesterday, which they handled very well, maybe showing that they were unmoved by their worst insults. I had to admonish them not to stoop to their level, even if they were wrong, but basically do what they did, without throwing the insults back. =\ However, there was a small amount of thrill, knowing they can hold their own.

So, on to the rest of the month! Expect more basketball pictures…..

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Hit by Lorie Ann Grover

Book Description

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After receiving a full-ride scholarship to Mills College for Girls, it appears Sarah’s future is all laid out before her … that is until she walks into a poetry class led by Mr. Haddings, a student teacher from the nearby University of Washington. Suddenly, life on the UW campus seems very appealing, and Sarah finds herself using her poetry journal to subtly declare her feelings for Haddings. Convinced Mr. Haddings is flirting back, she sets off for school in the rain with a poem in her back pocket—one that will declare her feelings once and for all.

Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah’s attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning.

But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels a thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road, and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.

About the Author

Lorie Ann Grover is a co-founder of the influential site readergirlz, where she is a visible advocate for teen literacy and activism. In addition, she is the author of three acclaimed novels: Hold Me Tight, a VOYA pick; On Pointe, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year; and Loose Threads, a Booklist Top 10 Youth First Novel, and a 2003 Washington State Book Award Finalist. Lorie Ann lives in Washington State with her husband.

My Review:

This book was one I selected for review from BookLookBloggers and it is published by Blink, which is YA publisher from Harper Collins. This book has the feel of a secular book. There is absolutely nothing that would make this a Christian book, other than brief hints of talking about forgiveness. While Blink does publish more books that tend to push the envelope, this book was interesting to me. From the description, I was expecting a bit more. The book takes place over three days time and switches back and forth between the older teacher whom is only 21, but a teacher and the high school student. While they were not that far apart in age, which is mentioned, the premise of the story, I believe encourages something that is not something young people should be encouraged in. The story doesn’t have plots that were finished, it is written in a choppy pattern that leaves a lot to the imagination, which can be good and can also be bad.
There was some beautiful, classic poetry discussed in the story, which is great. I love it when we can infiltrate YA reading with some high level literature. Overall though, this is not a book I would recommend at all, sadly. I feel bad even saying that, but I was honestly surprised by it and don’t want to leave my readers of my blog thinking that I might recommend it. The only thing I would recommend it for, is if you want a book that you will be able to have some discussions with your teen about attractions, crushes and looking at your phone in the car, this has some valuable lesson material in it. I hate writing negative reviews as I know authors work very hard on their work. I am sure some people may enjoy this book, but it was not for me.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers and the opinions contained herein are my own.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Honor by Lyn Cote

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

978-1-4143-7562-5
Book Description: (From publisher website)

When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child.

Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.

My Review:
This historical fiction has a unique twist with the hero being deaf. Honor and Samuel are thrown together into a marriage of convenience with his orphaned nephew as a son. The move west throws them into situations where they have to depend on each other and Honor has to learn a rudimentary sign language to be able to communicate with her new husband.

I haven’t read too much about the history of sign language and I wish it was talked about a little more in this book. I felt like it glossed over many of the issues that they may have run into with Samuel’s hearing impairment and Honor suddenly could just talk and translate to him right away. I found that slightly unrealistic when I know how hard it is to learn sign language now. However, it really was thinking outside the box with the topic at hand. Slavery was also a huge issue at this time, and I found that very realistic. There was also abuse discussed in this book which is not a popular topic of the time.

This book was given to me for review by Tyndale Blog Network. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
HesitantHeiress

Book Description: (from the author’s website)

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

My Review:
If the reason you picked up this book was because of the amazingly beautiful cover, you will not be sorry. Amaryllis has been dealt a lot of hard knocks. Her dreams have seemed to be thwarted at every turn and when she faced with marriage and dealing with society against her will, she tries once again to come up with alternative plans to get her own way. Amaryllis and Nathan are both a hero and heroine that have a lot of baggage. I really enjoyed how Ms. Crandall’s light way of writing weaves spiritual truths throughout this book without anyone feeling like they are being hammered with it, but yet, it is strong. There is no question if this book shows the light of the Lord in it. This has the flavor of a regency romance somewhat between Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre with a modern language twist, with historical facts interwoven about Whidbey Island, Washington and Boston.

I really enjoyed this book! It takes a bit for Amaryllis and Nathan to warm up to you, but once you warm to them as well, you will fall in love.
Look for my review of book #2 on the 7th along with an interview with the author.

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Sweetened with Honey by Valerie Comer

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
Sweetened with Honey
Book Description:(From author’s website)
Gabriel Rubachuk returns to Galena Landing, Idaho, once the setting of a charmed life before an accident killed his pregnant wife. Will he embrace hope for a new life or escape once again?

Beekeeper Sierra Riehl has spent three years helping to keep Gabe’s health food store afloat while he worked with orphans in Romania. Now he’s back, but it looks like he might bolt. Can she hold him still long enough to spark a romance? But Sierra’s hope falters when she begins to suspect she can’t give Gabe the life he deserves.

Is new love sweet enough to overcome the pain of the past and the uncertainty of the future?

My Review:
You know how many times people complain that all romantic books, especially Christian fiction are all cliche and the same story just told a bit differently? Well, maybe you have not heard it, but I have. Valerie Comer’s books will not have you saying that. If you are looking for something different in the world of Christian fiction, don’t look any longer, but pick up this series. Sweetened with Honey is the third book in the series, which you will not want to miss out on reading. Sierra is not your normal heroine, I think you will get that from the opening chapter where she is using bee stings as an alternative health treatment. I had a soft spot for Gabe when I met him in book number one and really enjoyed seeing his story continue in Sweetened with Honey. You will also see many of the other characters you have grown to know and love in the previous books. Jo for example, has learned a lot of lessons, but maybe not quite as many as she should have. You will enjoy hearing more about the self sustaining farm, the recipes Claire has come up with and what Sierra has been up to while Gabe has been absent. Valerie makes the stories so real, you feel like you could actually drive to northern Idaho and visit the farm or book it for your next wedding.

Ready for an out of the box romance? Pick up this farm fresh romance today!!! If you have not read the first two, run out and get those too!

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