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Showing posts from February, 2014

Three by Clyde Robert Bulla: Sword in Tree, Three Dollar Mule, Secret Valley

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67. The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla. Illustrated by Paul Casale (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

1956; 2000, HarperTrophy, 103 pgs

Ages: (7+)

"In the days of King Arthur there stood a mighty oak tree within the walls of a castle. Peace reigned in the castle until the fearsome night when Lionel, long lost brother of Lord Weldon, returned to cause trouble and unhappiness.

It was then that Shan, the son of Lord Weldon, took on the duties of a knight and hid the sword in the hollow of the giant oak. The days that followed were filled with adventures that tried the courage of the young boy.

Shan was surprised by bearded robbers in the woods. He met noble knights in plumed helmets, and eventually he even made a trip to high-towered Camelot. His story is filled with the pageantry and color of England in King Arthur's time. It creates a vivid picture of the Knights of the Round Table and the wisdom of King Arthur himself."

Purchased a new copy from an online homeschool retailer.

C…

66. The Trial of Dr. Kate by Michael E Glasscock III

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The Trial of Dr. Kate by  Michael E Glasscock III (buy)
Round Rock (Book 2)

Rating: (3.5/5)

Oct 8, 2013 , Greenleaf Book Group, 336 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"In the summer of 1952, Lillian Johnson was found dead in her home, slumped in the wheelchair that had become her cage due to multiple sclerosis. An overdose of barbiturate had triggered a heart attack, but the scene was not quite right. It looked as though someone other than Lillian herself had injected the fatal dose.

Dr. Kate Marlow, Lillian’s physician and best friend, now sits in the Round Rock city jail. The only country doctor for miles, Kate cannot remember her whereabouts at the time of Lillian’s death⎯and the small Tennessee town buzzes with judgment.

As Dr. Kate’s trial approaches, another woman is determined to uncover the truth about the night of Lillian’s death. Memphis reporter Shenandoah Coleman grew up in Round Rock on the wrong side of the tracks, but unlike the rest of her unsavory clan, escaped her destiny. Now, back …

63. Ballet Shoes For Anna by Noel Streatfeild

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Ballet Shoes For Annaby Noel Streatfeild. Illustrated by Mary Dinsdale (buy)

Rating: (3.5/5)

1972, Lions, 160 pgs
Oct 25, 2010, Harpercollins, 240 pgs

Ages: (8+)

"For Anna, everything takes second place to her burning desire to dance. Even the earthquake that destroyed her Turkish home has not made her think differently, only now she's stuck in a prim suburban household with an uncle who "doesn't approve" of dancing. What can Anna do? Not only is there no one to give her lessons, but there's no money for them either, and, anyway, dancing's forbidden. Will she ever become the ballerina she longs to be? "

Purchased a secondhand copy at a thrift store.
Received a review copy from HarperCollins Canada.

Melodrama!  Oh, the poor, poor orphans!  This isn't quite up to par with Streatfeild's best writing but is still a decent, if over dramatic, tale of orphans who overcome tragedy.  Having lived a gypsy-type life with their Polish mother and British…

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge - FINISHED

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Feb 10 - Officially finished but I am going to continue through the year working my way through the ranks.


I've joined another challenge with a very similar name that had me make a list of ten books from my tbr that I intend to read this year so I'm going to combine that one with this one and go with the second level here and make it up to 20 books from the tbr.  I really want to read books I already own this year.  Basic rules here.  No books published in 2014.  I'm also self-imposing a no books published in 2013 rule also. For more information and to sign up go here.
My master list of books follows and will be updated with links in real time: 
wrap up post on 20th of month.
Jan.1-Dec. 31 (2014) Goal:  20 books 11-20 - A Friendly Hug
1. Chi's Sweet Home, Vol. 3 by Konami Kanata
2. Junior Science Book of Pond Life by Alexander L. Crosby
3. Worms by Lois & Louis Darling
4. Octopus Lives in the Ocean by William M. & Peggy Stephens
5. Matthew and the Midnight Firefi…

2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - FINISHED

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Feb 10: Officially finished but I'm going to continue on and work my way up through the ranks!

I used to read a ton of historical fiction and this blog can testify to that but as the years have gone by I've read less and less, though I do still dip my toe in but waaay less often than I thought.  I was going to join the ten books level but I just checked how many books I tagged hf in 2013 and I only came up with 11!  Jeez!  So I better go with the 5 book level and hope I can level up from there.  I do know why I read so little hf this year though; it is because I put a self-imposed ban on WWII and Civil War books for the year as I was reading so many of them (not because they are my favourite time period, but just because I naturally gravitate to books taking place during those eras) that I was fed up with reading them even though I enjoy them.  Makes no sense but there you go!  My favourite historical time periods are: Victorian Era (approx. 1840-1900), Chinese Cultural Revolu…

59. The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

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The Courage of Sarah Nobleby Alice Dalgliesh. Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

1954, 2000: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 55 pgs

Ages: (7+) A

"In 1707, young Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. "Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble," her mother had said, but Sarah found that it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The dark woods were full of animals and Indians, too, and Sarah was only eight! 
The true story of Sarah's journey is inspiring. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all."

Purchased a new copy from a homeschool retailer.


This is probably my 4th time reading this book.  It doesn't warrant that many readings but I read it as a kid, read it aloud to my kids and just re-read it now since I haven't reviewed it here yet.  A Newbery Honor Award Winner, ...Sarah Noble is …

57. Devil's Pass by Sigmund Brouwer

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Devil's Passby Sigmund Brouwer (buy)
Seven, the series

Rating: (5/5)

Oct 10 2012, Orca Books, 256 pgs

Ages: (10+)

"Seventeen-year-old Webb's abusive stepfather has made it impossible for him to live at home, so Webb survives on the streets of Toronto by busking with his guitar and working as a dishwasher. When Webb's grandfather dies, his will stipulates that his grandsons fulfill specific requests. Webb's task takes him to the Canol Trail in Canada's Far North, where he finds out that there are much scarier things than the cold and the occasional grizzly bear. With a Native guide, two German tourists and his guitar for company, Webb is forced to confront terrible events in his grandfather's past and somehow deal with the pain and confusion of his own life. "

Borrowed a copy from the local library.


It has been a very long time since I read this author.  I read, and enjoyed, a handful of his books way back at the beginning of his career when I lived in …

37. The Kept by James Scott

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The Kept by James Scott (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

Jan 7 2014, Harper, 368 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"In the winter of 1897, Elspeth Howell treks across miles of snow and ice to the isolated farmstead in upstate New York where she and her husband have raised their five children. Her midwife's salary is tucked into the toes of her boots, and her pack is full of gifts for her family. But as she crests the final hill, and sees her darkened house and a smokeless chimney, immediately she knows that an unthinkable crime has destroyed the life she so carefully built.

Her lone comfort is her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who joins her in mourning the tragedy and planning its reprisal. Their long journey leads them to a rough-hewn lake town, defined by the violence both of its landscape and of its inhabitants. There Caleb is forced into a brutal adulthood, as he slowly discovers truths about his family he never suspected, and Elspeth must confront the terrible urges and unceasing temptations that have ha…

52. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach (buy)

Rating: (4/5)

2003, W.W. Norton, 294 pgs +Bibliography & end matter

Ages: (18+) (YA crossover)

"Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them."

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.
This is one of those books that I've wanted to read for a long time and had high expectations.  I am well-read on the subject matter, it's one of my special interests, however I come to this topic with a Catholic worldview and that is where my review will differ from the average one.  First off, when one has such high expectations for a book so high…