Tag Archives: Book Reviews

(Very Late) Book Review ~ Jimmie Moore of Bucktown

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Colorful Colorado, and while we were there we received this great news.  I am so excited!!

Life has been a bit crazy (and I have been rather uninspired), but here we are with a book review.  Some friends gave us a copy of Jimmie Moore of Bucktown by Melvin E. Trotter a few years back.  We found it recently while tidying up, and I asked if I could read it.

I very much enjoyed it, and its beautiful message of redemption.  At times the old-fashioned style rather annoyed me though.  The ending also felt a little too picture-perfect, but it is said to be a true story.

It is not a kid’s book, and there is some mature content, but the author handled everything well.  It was a short, interesting read, and a good book I would recommend for older readers.

Book Review ~ To Kill A Mockingbird

Sorry the review is rather late.  I mostly just want to get a review out a week, and Tuesdays a good day most of the time.  We gave our copy of this book back to the library after I read it, so I’ve been waiting to get it back.

“I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds.  Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (103)

Spencer got his hands on an audio version of this book recently and told me I needed to read it.  Like all the books he has insisted I read, it was amazing! 😉

I’ll be honest though: it was a hard read.  There are some hard topics, and some mature content.  I definitely would not recommend it as a kids’ book.  I would probably recommend it for teens or older.

Still, it was very good!  Harper Lee’s writing style is gorgeous, and the story has beautiful morals.  The flow of the plot-line is unbelievable, and the ending was seriously some of the most well-written chapters I have ever read.

The main character is an eight-year-old girl, living in the 1930’s, whose father is a lawyer.  Scout Finch and her brother Jem’s biggest concern is a mysterious (and rather creepy) neighbor, until their father is asked to defend a black man in court–against the word of a white man.  It opens their eyes to who their father really is, and what the world around them is like.

The street lights were fuzzy from the fine rain that was falling.  As I made my way home, I felt very old, but when I looked at the tip of my nose I could see fine misty beads, but looking crossed-eyed made me dizzy so I quit.  As I made my way home, I thought what a thing to tell Jem tomorrow.  He’d be so mad he missed it, he wouldn’t speak to me for days.  As I made my way home, I thought Jem and I would get grown but there wasn’t much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra. (322)

Book Review: The Bronze Bow

Um, yeah.

Hi.

No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth, or go to the ER, or forget to tell you I was going on vacation.  We’ve just been busy, and I’m just lazy–that’s all.

I decided skipping the book review two weeks in a row for no good reason was unacceptable, so here we are.

I’m waiting on the library to get me a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird again so I can have quotes in my review, so I thought now was as good a week as any to write that review of The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare, I said I needed to.

This is the first of Miss Speare’s books I read, and I really like it!  I remember thinking it the most dismal book on the planet when my Mom read it to us the first time, but we’ve since become friends.  I read it again, and liked it much better, being a bit older.

That said, I would recommend it for older kids, but more because I think they’ll get more out of it, than because there’s mature content.  There is some violence, but none of it is very graphic.

This book is about a boy living in New Testament times.  Jesus is a character in the book, and I think Miss Speare did an excellent job depicting him.

Daniel’s goal in life is to drive the oppressing Romans from his homeland, and following the rough outlaw Rosh seems to be the only way.  But that means leaving his grandmother and sister to fend for themselves.  And how will it affect his new friend Joel–and Joel’s twin sister, Malthace?

He would get rid of this flaw in himself!  Yet, like a treacherous bubble that fled under the hammer and formed again, a doubt returned.  Was there a flaw too in Rosh’s argument?  He could not put a finger on it, but he felt it just the same.  He wished he could talk to Joel about it.  Could Joel find the answer in those scriptures of his? . . . Suddenly, words were echoing in his mind.  “For each one of you is precious in His sight.”  Not scripture, but the words of the carpenter.  That was what had confused him.  Rosh looked at a man and saw a thing to be used, like a tool or a weapon.  Jesus looked and saw a child of God. (111)

Book Review ~ The Witch of Blackbird Pond

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get this put up yesterday.  I’m blaming the holiday (but just between you and me, it had much more to do with me just not wanting to write *sheepish grin*).

Our library put on a reading program recently and Lucy, Michael, and I all got to choose a free book as a prize.  I recognized The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  I had heard of it before, though I didn’t know much about it, and I had read Miss Speare’s other books, The Bronze Bow*, Calico Captive, and The Sign of the Beaver.  None of the other books the library had to choose from looked promising, so I picked it up.

I probably wouldn’t have read this book otherwise, but it I’m so glad I did; I very much enjoyed it!  There were several things that I worried about during the middle–nothing that I thought was bad, just things that tend to make me dislike books–but Miss Speare resolved them quite well.  I felt perfectly at peace at the end of the book.  I did find it rather predictable; I don’t know if that’s because I had read all of Miss Speare’s other books, or if it was just predictable.  I know that might bother some people, but I didn’t mind it–though I don’t usually mind when I know how something ends!

Continue reading Book Review ~ The Witch of Blackbird Pond

July Book Reviews: Nebraska is my Home

Nebraska Is My Home by James C. and Vera Olson was the last book I had to read for History!  I do have a few ideas for the coming Thursdays though. 🙂

This book is a story about a family; and the authors wove information into the story-line, like I did with my science stories.  As you’ve probably guessed from the title, it’s all about Nebraska.  There is information about the Indians, as well as the pioneers.

It was fun to read a book that was all about my home and I recognized a lot of the names.  I had a few concerns, but over-all it was a good, informative book.  It isn’t a novel though, I was disappointed how un-storyish it was.  One of my concerns was how young their children were, considering some of the things they were talking about, though the book was not overly intense.  I also felt like it was a bit pro-Indian anti-pioneer at first, but they resolved that pretty well.

It was published in the nineteen fifties, and I’m not sure where it can still be bought; but if you can find a copy I would giving it a try–especially for those of you who live in Nebraska!

P.S. Happy July! 🙂

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June Book Reviews: Sarah Whitcher’s Story

I’m almost done with history books, and then I’m not sure what I’ll write about! 🙂

Anyways, Sarah Whitcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates is based on a true story of a little girl who got lost in the forest for days.  It’s a sweet, fairly-short book; with a Christian message.  It is dedicated:

To all–especially children–who believe in miracles.

Awesome, easy reading.  We found it at our library.

This is still pretty short, but I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll leave it at this!

Happy Thursday!

P.S. Elizabeth Yates did also write Amos Fortune: Free Man, which is great!

June Book Reviews: A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. . . (7)

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Even more than with Great Expectations, I don’t really feel qualified to write this review.  But I’ll do my best.

Expressive signs of what made them poor, were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax for the church, the tax for the lord, tax local and tax general, were to be paid here and to be paid there, according to solemn inscription in the little village, until the wonder was, that there was any village left unswallowed. (117)

(Be prepared for lots of quotes!)

A Tale of Two Cities is not as funny as Great Expectations, but books don’t have to be funny to be good and it still made me smile at times! 🙂

. . . and the owl made a noise with very little resemblance in it to the noise conventionally assigned to the owl by men-poets.  But it is the obstinate custom of such creatures hardly ever to say what is set down for them. (130)

Charles Dickens is incredibly good at making realistic characters!  Their habits, mannerisms, personalities, etc.  It’s truly amazing.  I noticed that here more than Great Expectations.

‘Bring your chair here, and speak on.’  He complied with the chair, but appeared to find the speaking less easy. (135)

There is also a bit of romance, but it’s handled well.

The main themes are redemption and sacrifice.  On the back of my book it said:

Here, too, are all of Dickens’s recurring themes–imprisonment, injustice, and cataclysmic violence, resurrection and the renunciation that makes renewal possible.

It takes place during the French Revolution, and it is rather violent.

Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it. (217)

Do you mind that this is mostly quotes?  I hope not.

I’m not sure how to tackle the story-line.  It’s pretty straightforward, but hard to relate without giving anything away!  I couldn’t say who the main character was, either.  And there are a lot of characters!  The two cities are Paris and London.  All of the main (good) characters live in London, but a lot of the book takes place in France.

And one of the characters was named Lucie! #LoveAtFirstSight

Troubled as the future was, it was the unknown future, and in its obscurity there was ignorant hope. (259)

Do you feel like I’m. . . going in circles?

The best books are the hardest to explain!  Just go read it.  It’s awesome.  Emotional though.  I found the sixth book that made me cry.  (Yes, I’m counting. 🙂 )

‘But try!  Of little worth as life is when we misuse it, it is worth that effort.  It would cost nothing to lay down if it were not.’ (340)

May Book Reviews: Fair Wind to Virginia

This is technically my first week of summer break, but I am still finishing up history.  When I get done with it, we will take a break from 18th century historical fiction. 🙂

Anyway, I do not think I had ever heard read or even heard of Fair Wind to Virginia by Cornelia Meigs before I read it for school last week.  I was not sure how much I would like it, but I really enjoyed it!

It is about two children (Eleven and thirteen) who are sent to Virginia simply to get out of England because their father made the mistake of speaking his mind about King George.  In America though, they are rejected by the governor whom they were supposed to go to for help, and are begin looking for a way to live on their own until their parents can join them.  Thomas Jefferson plays a big part in the story, but I believe most of the main characters are fictional.

And for anyone who starts it and begins to wonder how things are going to work out (spoiler alert) it has a wonderful ending–a practically picture-perfect, satisfying, Cinderella-like ending.  So don’t give up. 🙂

To Peggy and Hal it seemed, for the first time, to represent what men dreamed of when they spoke of the New World. (142)

May book reveiw: Cinnabar

Cinnabar: The One O’Clock Fox by Marguerite Henry.  Yet another book I had read before, but read again for history this year anyway. 🙂

It’s an interesting book.  It is about a fox named Cinnabar, and the ‘bad guy’ is actually George Washington because he goes on fox hunts.  Notice I said interesting.

Cinnabar is an fun book, and it was not necessarily disrespectful of George Washington and his role in the Revolution, he just went on fox hunts.

He squinched his eyes and gave his brush [tail] a flick and a flirt just to tell himself he was not dreaming; that he was, in fact, Cinnabar, the One O’Clock Fox.  And today was his.  For fun. (42)

I loved Cinnabar’s relationship with his family.  He had huge responsibilities, trying to feed four fox cubs; and he did go meet up with the hunters on purpose (because he knows they cannot catch him) for a holiday–but I still think he was a good father, and he was very careful about saving up food for his family while he was gone.

It didn’t have a lot of moral value, but it was entertaining, and I remember loving it when I was little!

May Book Reviews: Judge

So. . . I just kinda’ launched into May without thinking about it, and then realized I never officially made ‘book reviews’ a permanent thing.  I thought that after the third month I’d ask if you guys wanted to make it permanent.  But I’m out of patience, so what do you say to doing them every month until further notice?

You can read a review of Prophet by R.J. Larson here.  I came across it a while ago while digging through Leah’s ‘fantasy’ tag.  Looking back at it now, I feel like there’s a lot that could be said about that book, but reviews can only be so long and it was enough to get me interested.  Leah mentioned later that the Kindle version was free (I also read Waltz Into the Waves because of Kindle’s free, Leah-recommended version), and Spencer got it (because I’m pretty much helpless around computer, Kindles, and all electronics).  And I loved it!

My reader Savannah recently let me borrow her copy of Prophet‘s sequel, Judge.

“Not that I’m questioning matters, but isn’t this Ela of Parne’s role?  She’s the prophet and messenger. . . or have you turned prophet as well?”  “I hope not.” (19)

I felt like the romance was more of a drag than in Prophet, and there was one part that I felt was un-creatively close to a Bible-story; and it does cover some pretty adult-level topics, so I would definitely recommend children seeking parental guidance.  I also did not feel like the author resolved some of these tough situations very well–just pulled the main characters out and moved on.

But over-all I really enjoyed it, and found it spiritually encouraging.  I think it helped me grasp more of God’s character, and it also challenged me to make Him the center of my life.

As well as for the other Parnians who were rushing up to the wall walk, against her warnings, brandishing their swords and bows and arrows.  Infinite?  Why won’t they listen?! (187)