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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Return to Longbourn (The Darcys of Pemberley #2) by Shannon Winslow

Return to Longbourn (The Darcys of Pemberley #2) by Shannon Winslow

This was Mary’s story. I have never run across very many stories that focus on the middle sister, but I am finding more and more lately. I saw this one and it sounded quite interesting. It did not disappoint. I was actually surprised somewhat. There were modern concepts in the book, but you never lost the time period which was fantastic.

The story follows a few years after the events of Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennett has died as the book opens, leaving the estate to the next male heir. As Mr. Collins has passed away already, the estate falls to his younger brother in America. This Mr. Collins comes as soon as he receives the letter. As he is traveling, Kitty and Mary evade attempts by Mama to establish the future mistress of the house. Mary, having become a governess for the Netherfield family, is out of the question, so of course Kitty must marry Mr. Collins. Kitty flees to visit Jane and Elizabeth in the north before Mr. Collins arrives.

After Mr. Collins arrives, Mary is quite taken with him. The story unfolds between her growing feelings for Mr. Collins and the affections and ties she has to the children at Netherfield Hall. It is a riveting story, following all the trials and tribulations a young governess faces as well as two sisters being drawn to the same man. It is a fascinating story with a couple of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all. The characters were genuine, the story line captivating, and you get drawn into the emotional turmoil the normally steadfast Mary is going through.

I applaud the author on her wonderful portrayal of Mary and all the Pride and Prejudice characters. I will be looking forward to more of her work in the future. Like I mentioned, there are a few things that are quite modern social ideas, but she does them in such a way as it doesn’t appear or seem to upset the flow of the time period or is very jarring. I rather thought it a quite original take on the stories. Well done!

My rating:

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What Type of Reader Are You?

Saw this post and thought it was really neat! Check it out!

Beginning to End

During one of my internet surfing sessions, I came across a quiz that asked “What type of reader are you?” and I was intrigued. I had never really thought about there being types of readers but, the more I started researching this, I found there were!

I came across quite a few websites that listed out different types of readers – here, here and here were my favorites – so I decided to take some of the best ones and summarize them into this handy chart. I personally fell into a few different categories. I hope you enjoy and that you check out my suggestions for each.

Let me know what type of reader YOU are!

Type of Reader Chart (1)

Type of Reader Chart-1

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Melting Away the Ice (Ice Series #1) by Mary Smith

Melting Away the Ice (Ice Series #1) by Mary Smith

I wanted to continue with my hockey novella reading in honor of the NHL playoffs, so I downloaded this book. I was hoping it was a well-written and thought out as some of the other series I had read, but it wasn’t. That’s not to say it was bad, because it wasn’t. It had a good story line, something a little different but not too different at the same time.

The story follows Sara as she is working to get back to herself before a terrible domestic violence incident. She is drug by her friend Rachel to a hockey game where she meets Lucas Sharp by accident. Lucas is the captain of the Chicago Eagles. He doggedly pursues her until she relents and, with the help of Rachel, gives in and begins dating him. Sara keeps Lucas in the dark for most of the story about her past. The story mainly focuses on Sara and how she is dealing with dating and falling in love. You get some of what Lucas is experiencing, but it strikes me as mainly surface emotion, or a general emotion that one would assume he is feeling through the different events.

I would like to guess this is an early writing, someone new to being an author. A lot of my issues were with phrasing and tense. She wrote in present tense which is always a little jarring at first. Furthermore, she had the Chicago Eagles as the reining team in the league. For some reason that bothers me. I would think it would make for a stronger book if the team was placed somewhere in the middle of the field. Also, I thought the progression of the romance was a little too quick for a domestic violence case. The emotional struggle of recovering could easily have been fleshed out and been more in-depth. But like I said, it felt like the writer was new. So hopefully her books will improve as her skills grow.

My rating:

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Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats

Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats

I read this book for National Poetry Month. It is a collection of poems by William Butler Yeats designed for young adult readers. The librarian at my school recommended this series of collections when I told her that I wanted to read poetry but was usually not a big fan of it. I am sad to say the book did not change my opinion of that – I am still not a fan of reading poetry. However, I did find myself enjoying a couple of his poems. My favorites were The Lake Isle of Innisfree  and To A Child Dancing In The Wind. I think The Lake Isle of Innisfree won hands down. It was the only one I really remember from the collection (there were 25 poems total).

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There was a brief introduction in the front of the book that I found particularly helpful. It gave a wonderful explanation and biography of Yeats and why the majority of his poems revolve around Ireland and the mystic beings of Irish folklore. Furthermore, each poem has a brief introduction that gives an overview of the poem and the meaning the author was attempting to convey. Also, there are footnotes for difficult words in the poem, well words that are considered difficult for young adult readers. I found both of these aspects helpful and enlightening when reading the poems. I myself do not like searching for the deep underlining meaning of the poems. I like ones that I can easily relate to and are not metaphors for more abstract concepts. As for Yeats, he hit this idea about half the time, so it wasn’t too hard for me to finish the collection.

My favorite part of the book by far were the illustrations and artwork done by Glenn Harrington for the book. They are impressionist, which is my favorite are style and beautifully represent every poem. I would have continued in the book just for those.

I would recommend this book, or rather the entire Poetry for Young People series to anyone starting to get into poetry for the first time. They do a wonderful job of opening up the world of poetry to people unfamiliar with it. I am giving it a 3 cheese rating for attempts to help understand poems and the artwork.

My rating:

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Dropping Gloves (Portland Storm #10) by Catherine Gayle

Dropping Gloves (Portland Storm #10) by Catherine Gayle

Catherine Gayle’s ability to pull out strong emotion was again displayed brilliantly in this latest installment of the Portland Storms series. I had actually skipped a few books to read this one. I have only read 1-4, and 6 before this book, but since it was between Katie and Babs, I couldn’t wait to read it.

You meet Katie and Jamie “Babs” Babcock in the first books of the series and follow their budding, yet non-existent romance, through the different books. You are always hoping they will get together, but they never have. This book picks up as Katie returns from Los Angeles after her show, The Cool Kids, has been canceled and she is questioning her desire to go back to Hollywood. Jamie is finally trying to put Katie behind him, telling her that he can’t see her anymore if she is going to keep leaving. I won’t be giving away too much when I tell you that Katie decides to stay in Portland, especially after her cancer returns. The story follows Katie and Jamie as they begin to navigate a relationship and her cancer relapse.  It also follows Katie as she figures out what she wants to do now with her life, and Jamie as he adjusts and grows into being the captain of the Portland Storm team.

I liked the book as I had hoped to read the story for these two characters for a while. The book is not as emotionally intense as some of the previous books, but it is still very strong and emotionally authentic. You feel for both characters, feeling the struggles and heartaches they go through.It was a more common story line than I expected from the author, not quite as interesting as I expected, but she did it beautifully. Anyone who knows someone with cancer or who has cancer will appreciate the emotional struggles in the book. Anyone not linked to cancer will get a glimpse into the world that cancer patients and their families have to go through. Overall, a good book. I liked the first book more, but I can relate more easily to abuse survivors as opposed to cancer survivors.

My rating:

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Getting children to read

Getting children to read

I personally think it is very important to have children love to read. I loved to read as a child and I think it helped me an immense amount through my school and educational career. I wanted to take a little time to share some ideas and resources that help to aid teaching children to read. Anybody can do these with kids, but it’s mainly for parents. I thought they were simple and a great way to encourage children to read with out rewarding them with gifts for reading or nagging them, but to help them find fun in reading.

  1. Read to them early on in their life, and keep reading to them
  2. Set aside time to read with them, aloud or just together, during the week
  3. Fill their rooms with books, leaving reading materials laying around for them to find (especially in the bathroom! LOL)
  4. Get them a library card and take them to visit the library regularly, even just to walk around and browse
  5. Let them see you reading
  6. Let them read ANYTHING – comic books, magazines, cartoons, etc.
  7. Show them the usefulness of reading – recipes, directions, road signs, instructions, etc.
  8. Ask them about what they are reading and share your thoughts on what you are reading
  9. Let them read as long as they want
  10. Play reading-related or word games for fun
  11. Find books that match their interests
  12. Encourage them finding new books
  13. Find fun books to read in between the more serious reads – joke books, comics, riddles, or a funny story or newspaper article

Here are some links that review these ideas and offer other topics of interest you may want to look into:

If you don’t have children or want to help other children around the world, here are a few charities I found that help getting books to children.

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First Book – http://www.firstbook.org/

First Book is determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books. With the help of our partners, donors and dedicated volunteers we have provided more than 125 million new books to schools and programs serving children in need. Yet millions of children are still waiting for our help. Together we can make a difference in children’s lives. Together we can provide new books and critical resources that elevate the quality of education for children in low-income families. – See more at: http://www.firstbook.org/get-involved#sthash.wzr5FJ1X.dpuf

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Books for Kids – http://www.booksforkids.org/

The mission of the Books for Kids Foundation is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and implements literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life.

Books for Kids was created in 1986 by a group of New Yorkers who recognized that children who do not have adequate access to books must surmount enormous disadvantages when entering school.

What began as an informal project to collect and distribute 1,000 books to needy children for the holidays quickly took on much greater dimensions when we gave away 2,000 books in the first year and 9,000 in the next. It was clear to our founders that an organization providing access to age-appropriate books for low-income children with little or no resources was desperately needed.

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Pajama Program – http://www.pajamaprogram.org/

Pajama Program provides new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. These children live in group homes, shelters and temporary housing facilities and are shuffled often from one place to another. Many of them have been abandoned, abused or neglected. Most of these children have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a bedtime story. Some of the children are living with their families below the poverty level, in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter. These two simple gifts of pajamas and books let the children know that someone cares – sometimes these are the only new things they have ever received.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

I came across this book in my BookBub feed on sale a few weeks ago. I like ghost stories, and the premise sounded interesting so I bought it. I read it in a few days, so it was nice and long. It was also really easy to follow, which is sometimes hard with ghost stories.

The book is set in the early 1920s in England, right after the end of World War I. The story follows Sarah Piper as she is hired by Alistair Gellis to help her on a ghost hunting expedition. The ghost hated men and he therefore needed a female assistant to help him find evidence to support the existence of the spirit. She had no idea how her world would change. Through multiple encounters with the spirit of Maddy and interviews with her surrogate family, you learn the story of Maddy. A story about a traumatized teenage girl who takes her own life and finds herself still stuck in the world. As the book develops, you are drawn into wanting to help Sarah. Along the way, you meet Matthew, Alistair’s usual assistant, and many members of the nearby town. The details of Maddy’s arrival at the Clare house and her subsequent shuddered life begin to unravel and it is a race against time to find an answer to Maddy’s questions and demands.

I was blown away by this book. Usually, books with ghosts are a pretty standard story line and romance component, but this one stood head and shoulders above the others. I will definitely read it again. I loved the intricacies of the characters and the unwinding of the details of the story. There was a love story component in it, but it was not the focus of the story, which was nice since the book was not filled with sex scenes. The whole book fascinated me and kept me engaged in the story. I can’t wait to read another the author’s works. I hope they are just as good as this one was!

My rating:

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