Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Reading

Review of The Girl on the Tombstone by Betty Ruth Weatherby

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Back Cover Synopsis

Wilhelmina Sukovich is curious and determined to have her own By Line in the Sacramento Bee. Aged out at the Children’s Home Society orphanage, she attends night school and works herself up in the newspaper hierarchy. Her first big break comes as an assignment takes her to the small mountain town of San Andreas in the Gold Country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She searches out her father’s gravesite only to mysteriously be drawn to the artistry of an ancient tombstone nearby, Eliza Osbourne, 1868. Formidable ranchers and a widow befriend her in her quest to fulfill her assignment for school children and search for Eliza’s roots. World War II veteran, Charles, rescues Will from her misadventures. Who is he and why is he such a recluse? Why has he taken it upon himself to see she is safe?

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Author Bio

Miss Weatherby holds a BA from California State University, Stanislaus. She earned her teacher’s credentials from Chapman University, as well as a cross-cultural language and academic development certificate from Sacramento State University.

She is an active member of Sierra Baptist Church, in Pioneer, California and travels extensively.

Betty Ruth Weatherby currently lives with her dog, Buttons, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Visit on facebook.

Purchase link: 

You can purchase the book here.

Social Media

You can Betty Ruth Weatherby on Facebook here and on Amazon here.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I originally was really excited about reading this book, I loved the title of The Girl on The Tombstone:  Will’s Search to Belong.  Growing up my family basically moved every four years once I turned 9 years old, so I could completely relate to the idea of wanting to belong.  Being the mother of three sons, I found May’s boys in the book to be very similar to mine when they were those ages.  I could relate to Wilhelmina Sukovich’s determination  to have her own By Line in the Sacramento Bee.

The characters are relatable, even if they are not all likable at all times.  I found myself really disliking May’s mother-in-law.  The idea of losing your spouse and having to move on from that comes across effortlessly in the book.  The book is set in the 1950’s and occasionally I found myself having a hard time following what was going on in the story.  But overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

Disclaimer

 

 

 

Posted in Bible, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Reading

Review of The Captain Sun Adventures -Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith

My son loves reading this new comic book, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures. For many years now, our four children (three sons and a daughter), have been pulling me slowly into the world of comic books – at least in the movie format. We have been watching the Marvel and DC movies. Every chance they get, they buy comic books or Manga books. So when the opportunity to review this comic book came up, I knew it would be a perfect fit for our 17-year-old son.

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The Captain Sun Adventures is meant to be part devotional and part graphic novel. It is intended to help children develop a Christian worldview. There are currently three books in the series. Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, the book we are reviewing is the first book in the series. This book combines a superhero with the Bible in a format designed to capture your child’s imagination.  People of all ages will enjoy this comic book with a Christian view.

According to their “About Us” page, Bryce Morgan is the pastor of Way of Grace Church in Buckeye, Arizona (www.wayofgracechurch.com) and a part-time cartoonist with the West Valley View newspaper. He wrote all three books and illustrated the second and third ones. He and his wife have three children who love comic books.

Now I do have to say our youngest son who is our third child is not my most ardent comic book lover. Some of his siblings love the genre more. However, he is my son that is always willing to jump in and assist me with a review. So I decided to have him read this book. At some point, I will have our 15-year-old daughter read it as well.

Our son found Chapters 7 and 8 to be his favorites. These chapters showed the main character was not all-powerful, and he could be defeated. Our son stated that he does not like undefeatable characters. He felt like the graphics were fairly well done. He felt the storyline was easy to follow. Our son also stated that ending did not give him closure. He felt like it would be a satisfactory ending, but the so he wants me to buy the other books for him.

It seemed like at the end of chapter 8, meaning the end of the comic book, it looked like it was heading in the direction of a “happily ever after” type ending, but for him, he felt the conclusion could have been elaborated more to make him more satisfied. He felt like the book implied there was more to the story, but for him, it just cut off and left him wanting more.

You can find The Captain Sun Adventures on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

If you are looking for a Christian version of a comic book that has a superhero and references the Bible, check out Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures.
If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Reading, Uncategorized

Review of Kingdom File Series from Barbour Publishing

 

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 Barbour Publishing sent us two new titles Who Was Jonah?  and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? which are part of their Kingdom Files series.  These Christian books for kids are definitely worth reading. Our family has been enjoying their books for quite a while. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review two books from this new series.

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Kingdom Files is a Bible-based book series for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Every book in this series examines the life of a Biblical character and helps children become excited about learning about key people in the Bible who were part of God’s plan and kingdom. The books are written by Matt Koceich, who is an elementary school teacher and creator of the “Imagine” series of books. He makes his home with his family in Texas.

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Each book has a FACT FILE – which includes general information about the Bible character. This includes their name, what work they did (their occupation), where they lived, what work they did for the kingdom of God, a timeline along with key statistics. Next, there is an ACTION FILE – this is where the Biblical story is told in a way the child reading the book can understand. Finally, there is a POWER FILE – where the main lesson of the story is broken down to where the child can see and understand that the Bible stories from ancient times do apply even in today’s time.

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One of our family’s favorite parts of both books are the fantastic line art drawings that help capture the imagination of the readers. The books are written with a font that is easy to read regardless of age. Personally, I think these books would be perfect to use as a read-aloud for the entire family – regardless of age. Our youngest child is 15-years-old, so we each read the books independently. However, if she was in the age range of 8 to 12 years old, I would probably have required her to read some parts of the books out loud to me. I also would have had notebook sheets and possibly coloring pages to go along with the stories as well. Or since our daughter loves to draw, I may have had her draw what inspired her as I read the story aloud to her.

The possibilities are endless. “Who Was Jonah? examines the life of Jonah beginning when God wanted him to become a prophet. Rather than doing God’s will, Jonah instead decided to run away. Matt Koceich does an excellent job of telling the story in a way that captures the reader’s attention. He also does an excellent job of explaining ideas that may be hard for children to understand – such as when the sailors casting lots (meaning using either sticks with markings on them or small, flat stones with symbols on each one. The descriptions and explanations are perfect for children of the intended age range. The clue boxes are easy to spot and provide an excellent opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful way with the book. I could see these being used for oral narration, writing prompts or even family discussions at the dinner table.  There are even note pages that the reader can use to record their own thoughts, the memory verses and more to help with retention.

Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?  examines the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus played in the Kingdom of God.  It discusses how the angel Gabriel visited Mary in her hometown.  It also discusses how she and Joseph probably felt about what was going on as a result of the pregnancy.  It goes through Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth – her cousin.  It examines the sacred night when Jesus was born and how it came to pass that Jesus was born in a manger.  Our family loved how Bible references were included throughout the book.  It talks about the magi, King Herod, Jesus at the temple when he was about 12 years old, and more.  One of our favorite parts of the book was the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at his mother’s request.  We appreciated how the book discusses how Jesus wanted to honor God’s wishes before his earthly mother’s wishes.  But he did end up performing the miracle in the end.

The Power-Up Files at the end of the book provide a Bible verse to memorize along with informative commentary.  There are 10 files for each book.  One of our family’s favorite Power Up Files is the one entitled “God doesn’t Abandon”.  It talks about how Satan tries to convince us that God does not care about us, but Jonah’s story proves that God does provide.  It uses Hebrews 11:1 as the memory verse.  I have included a graphic of this verse below.  Our family felt like the amount of information along with the memory verse provided a perfect balance for children who are ages 8 to 12 years old.

Hebrews 11_1 King James Version (KJV)11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You can find Barbour Publishing on social media on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  So if you are looking for Christian books for kids, and especially biographies for kids, check out the Kingdom Series, including Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?   for yourself.  These books from Barbour Publishing by Matt Koceich are definitely worth reading.

If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Reading, Uncategorized

Book Review – Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu

 

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As a person who loves to read, I enjoy having the opportunity to help authors by being part of their book launch teams.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in the book launch team for Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve by Ken Shigematsu.  I have to say this book lived up to my expectations.

Ken Shigematsu is the senior pastor of the Tenth Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.  His grueling work schedule at Sony caused him to investigate personal disciplines to help bring order to his life from those of his samurai ancestors to St. Benedict’s rule Christian communities.

Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve is Ken’s second book.  His first book, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God was published in 2013.  This latest book examines what prevents us from flourishing in our spiritual lives in order to accomplish more in the eyes of society.

I love how he discusses the  Striving Adam versus the Soulful Adam – referring back to Adam of Adam and Eve.  The Striving Adam is that part of us that wants to accomplish more and more.  It is the part of us that is driven to accomplish lofty dreams and ambitions regardless of what it might cost.  The Soulful Adam is that part of us that desires a connection to God and wants to draw closer to Him.

Ken Shigematsu draws on a variety of sources including Scripture, church history, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as a rich variety of stories from his own life in order to demonstrate how the gospel redeems our desires and reorders our lives.

This book is perfect for anyone who desires a closer walk and relationship with God, especially in the midst of the pressures of daily living.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is found on page 49 of the book:

Spiritual exercises attune us

This book truly captured my attention and kept me focused on the message.  I wanted to read more.  This book truly caused me to think about the ramifications of a driven life versus a life lived at drawing closer to Jesus Christ and God.  The message is clear.  The style is engaging.  The words are powerful.  So if you are looking for a book about how to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is the midst of a world that believes power and success in the workplace are more important, this is the book for you.  I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself.

 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Reading

Review for Focus on the Family’s “Captain Absolutely”

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My children have enjoyed reading comic books for a while now, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to Captain Absolutely from Focus on the Family.  For this particular review, I decided to have our 16-year-old son read the book.  He was excited to begin reading it.  This comic book has action and deals with the issue of ethics.

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Here is his summary of the book.  In Metropolitanville, ownership of a Bible is illegal.  Josiah King was working at the library when his friend, Darren Gray (who also works at the library). dropped a sunflower seed, his favorite snack, into the main computer.  This computer ran on nuclear power from the city’s main reactor.  Josiah gets flung into a room full of Bibles, which he reads while radioactive fumes fill the room.  Josiah is transformed into a superhero, Captain Absolutely, with the help of Hana, a teenage girl who owns a fire suit, he must battle evil villans and defend God’s truth.

My son felt the story was good, but the pacing seemed off in places.  He would have liked to have been told more background on some of the characters.  However, the background information that was provided he felt was done very well.  He also liked most of the characters.  The puns/jokes in the story were well-executed in his opinion.  He was impressed that the story was not too cliched.

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His favorite character was Hana because she comes in around one-third of the way through the book.  She serves as Captain Absolutely‘s sidekick.  He felt like she was one of the most realistic characters in the book.  He also felt that Hana’s mom was a very likeable character.  When Hana’s mom went against Captain Absolutely, it was for understandable reasons, so you still liked her.

While he liked Captain Absolutely, my son felt he was almost “too good”.  But from listening to my older sons talk and watching some movies made from other comic books, I think that just goes with being a super hero.  After all, super heros as in comic books do not exist in our real world.  My son also declared there were times when Captain Absolutely felt real.

He felt that most of the villans felt fake with a few exceptions.  Again, I feel like this goes along with the comic book genre and the villans portrayed in them.  Since comic books are imaginary to begin with, a lot of leeway is found in these characters.  The two villans he liked the most were Fear Chemist and to a certain extent Dr. Relative.  He also liked Nurse Grudge, even though she was not a real nurse.  She seemed to really try to help people in trouble until real help could arrive.

One of the features I really liked about Captain Absolutely was found at the back of the book.  A list of many of the characters is provided with information about them.  This allows the reader to find out things about characters if they want to read a short blurb about them.

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When I asked my son who he would recommend this book to, he listed several groups.  He felt this book would be good for either girls or guys.  He felt it suited pre-teens and teenagers.  He also felt it might be a good fit for someone who was strugglign with their faith.  He also felt it would be good for anyone who likes comic books.

All in all, I feel this is a book worth reading.  As fans of Focus on the Family, I am glad to see them introduce a comic book for those that like and connect with that format.

If you would like to read more reviews of Captain Absolutely by Focus on the Family, click here or on the image below.

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You can find Focus on the Family on social media at

 

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Posted in Bible Journaling, Crocheting, Happiness, NaBloPoMo, quilting, Reading

Balancing My Time

I am a mother and more specifically I am a homeschooling mother.  This means that more often than not my needs and wishes go by the wayside.  Even if I am sick, the children still need to do school.  Food still needs to be prepared and so forth.  I think you get the picture.  But every once in a while, this mom needs a break.  I need a chance to do something just for me.  I need to make sure I am balancing my time and doing somethings I enjoy doing.

I am blessed to have a husband who loves to cook and doesn’t mind cleaning the kitchen.  I also have three teenage sons and one almost teenage daughter to help around the house as well.  Our children are getting old enough now to do most of their schoolwork with minimal supervision on my part.  So when Dennis has the opportunity to travel for the army, I often go with him.  Cell phones, computers, texting and emails all make this much easier.  Plus having an 18 year old in the house also helps.  I know my daughter will listen to him and his 16 year old brother.  My third son works well when allowed to do schoolwork with his grandmother.  So all in all this allows me a break.

I enjoy crocheting and am working to learn how to quilt.  Plus I have recently discovered something else I am interested in, which is Bible Journaling.  This allows me to spend time developing some of the talents God gave me.  I love seeing what others are creating.

Another way I take time for just me is by reading.  There is nothing like a good book to help get away from the world.

So how do you balance making your time?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Crocheting, family, Joy, NaBloPoMo December 2014, Reading

NaBloPoMo – Things that Bring Me Joy

Today is day 5 of NaBloPoMo’s December challenge, and I want to write about things that make me happy.

1) Spending time with my family – I love my family and they bring me great joy.  I love that I am able to homeschool my children.

2) Reading brings me joy.  I am never bored or without something to do because I always have a large number of books I want to read.

3)  Crocheting makes me happy because most of the time I am making things for either members of my family or for friends.  So I always love seeing their expressions when they see the finished product.

4)  Watching favorite movies with my family makes me happy.  We have certain ones that are our favorites.  It is always fun to hear my husband or children quote lines from various shows that other members either quickly pick up the next part and say it or quickly identify for us where it came from.

5)  Listening to music on my Pandora app or Itunes also brings me happiness.  I can pick what channel or what songs I want to listen to based on my mood or even the season (like right now on Pandora, I am listening to a Christmas station).  Christmas music has a way of bringing joy to my heart.

So what things bring you joy?

3)  Going to Bush Gardens makes