**I read the first 2 books before writing any of my thoughts down, so I decided to just do a combination post for both of them. My thoughts were prett...more**I read the first 2 books before writing any of my thoughts down, so I decided to just do a combination post for both of them. My thoughts were pretty similar for both books.
I can't imagine a young person out there, especially young men, that wouldn't love this series of books! *I* already wish that the next book was out, so I could read it, too. These books provided me with such a wonderful learning experience. I learned about new places and even cultures of those lands. They are packed full of adventure and wildlife. I learned about some of the dangers that threaten those parts of the world.
The most amazing part of these books is the fact that Gannon and Wyatt are two real young men that have traveled to these places. The adventures are *loosely* based on their experiences. I don't imagine they'd be traveling quite as much if they were held at gunpoint and came so close to death everywhere they went. If you'd like to read more about Gannon and Wyatt, you can check out their website, Travels With Gannon and Wyatt. I found it pretty fun to peek around over there after reading both of the books. I felt like I was putting more of a face with the stories.
There's journaling pages at the end of the book, so your child can record their own adventures and notes. There's even maps at the end, too. I'm a huge sucker for book maps! I imagine these books would give young people a hunger for adventure and travel. It never hurts for education to be wrapped in a fun package, and that's exactly what this series gives.
As much as I enjoyed this series, it's obvious that it's written for young people. If you're an adult that simply reads middle grade for the fun of it, you might find parts of it corny. I won't lie! I did at times. I was easily able to look past it to see what a wonderful gift this series will be for my boys in a few years, though.
Lord willing, you better believe I'll be adding these books to our shelves for my boys to read! They are great, clean, adventurous fun and I enjoyed reading them!
**I was provided an e-ARC of both books in exchange for my honest opinion. (less)
Twerp is written in the form of short stories(diary entries) by 12 year old Julian Twerski. His teacher, Mr. Selkirk, made a deal that he could get ou...moreTwerp is written in the form of short stories(diary entries) by 12 year old Julian Twerski. His teacher, Mr. Selkirk, made a deal that he could get out of some other assignments if he wrote these stories. It's so easy to imagine Mr. Selkirk sitting behind his desk chuckling away at these things, too! The whole book comes into existence because of some bullying event that Julian was involved in, and an attempt to find out just what did happen.
Twerp mainly consists of the mischief and adventures of a group of young guys. It takes place in the 1960s, so it's in a time when television and electronics weren't so much in the picture. I'm a bit more scared about the fact that I have 3 boys so close together. Lots of mischief potential!! At first, the stories don't seem to overly connect, but they start to pretty quickly. There's hints from the very beginning of the bullying event, but it's not until the last chapter that we have that story. At times, it was too easy to forget the reason for the writing assignment. I was just so caught up in the life of this group of kids!
It reminded me throughout the whole story of the movie, The Sandlot. That's always been one of my favorite movies, so it's no wonder I couldn't seem to stop turning the pages. I read this at record speed for me these days. The last chapter left me in tears, but I still wish that game of "battle" was played! I'm still a little disturbed at just what happened, too. It was pretty impacting!
My biggest complaint is some of the "guy talk" about a certain body part they have. There's an accident where a guy falls on a fence split legged. It refers to the "area" hurt and even mentions that he shouldn't be looking at a girl or something will happen that shouldn't with his "area" in that condition. (Is that vague AND clear enough? If you want more details, I'll be glad to give them to you.) As far as girls go, be prepared to explain if she's somewhat sheltered. If she goes to public school, she's already knows! ;) There's also mention of a mom sunning with her bikini on. Honestly, it depends on how conservative you are whether or not this would bother you. I'm pretty conservative in this area, and want to go to any lengths possible to keep my sons' minds pure. I don't think these things will help them with that goal. That said, you'll easily see much worse on a family channel commercial break! I hope I've explained that well enough. I wouldn't want to recommend a book, and then you be so surprised, you never take my advice again. ;)
Other than the warnings I've given, I HIGHLY recommend Twerp! There's a note from the author at the end that I wish I could quote. Since I read an e-ARC, I can't. It made me smile, though. I'm glad he has been talked into changing his writing ways! I'll be picking up his future books as quickly as I can.
*I was provided an e-ARC through the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.(less)
Christmas books seem to be a huge target for novellas. Maybe because reading time is always so much slower during the holidays? I'm not usually a nove...moreChristmas books seem to be a huge target for novellas. Maybe because reading time is always so much slower during the holidays? I'm not usually a novella fan. I prefer my book full-length. But, at this point in my life, I do appreciate a good, shorter length book. Sometimes I just can't wait to get to the happily ever after, and I get to read about it a bit sooner with a novella.
The Christmas Singing was a very sweet romance. I don't think there was any characters that I didn't like. They all won a place in my heart, and I'm hoping maybe a couple of the secondary characters will end up in another book! My momma really enjoys Christmas novellas, and this one will definitely head her way! (less)
This book really creeped me out! I did read most of it while my husband was gone and my little boy was asleep. It was storming pretty bad, and me and...moreThis book really creeped me out! I did read most of it while my husband was gone and my little boy was asleep. It was storming pretty bad, and me and puppy dog are terrified of storms! So that setting may have contributed to the creepy factor. The ending is a major cliffhanger, so I strongly recommend having the next one lined up. I don't, so now I have to wait. I will read the next one outside in the daytime. I don't think I'll be so creeped out that way. (I do want to make note that I read a lot of paranormal books, and there's only been one other book this year, that I remember, that creeped me out. That was The Lovely Bones). Some of you would probably read this and not be phased at all, but I do get creeped out pretty easily, contrary to my last sentence. :) I stayed on the edge of my seat throughout this book, waiting to see what happened next. You're still left with a lot of secrets and unanswered questions at the end. I so wish I had the next one!! This is a Christian book, but there's nothing Christian mentioned at all. So you will enjoy House of Dark Shadows, even if you don't like religious books. It's perfectly clean, though. I'd be careful with this book as far as young readers, though. I think it will scare them. (less)
I like that all of the stories conected with each other. Some of the same characters showed up in each of them. The all contained sadness, or moments...moreI like that all of the stories conected with each other. Some of the same characters showed up in each of them. The all contained sadness, or moments from the past that had caused pain through the years. There was happy moments, but I do prefer my Christmas stories to be on the happier side. :) I really did enjoy the stories, though, and I think fans of Amsih stories will really enjoy it, too. I really connected with the story of Miriam. I totally understood her feelings throughout the story!! I have to share one line from "Christmas Cradles" because it just really touched me!!
"She was breech, Ezekiel," Sarah sniffed. "We could have lost her...but Der Herr...he was with us." "He is always with us, Sarah," Ezekiel Raber whispered as he stared down at his new daughter. "He gives and takes away, but praise him for giving this night."
That line made me cry! I'm so grateful to be blessed with my little boy!!
Overall, being novellas, there's just not the extra information that sometimes makes a story. They are definitely worth the time to read, though.
*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy. This is my honest opinion. (less)
I was drawn to The Doctor's Lady for the Native American aspect of it. It's based upon the lives of Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding, the...more4.5 stars
I was drawn to The Doctor's Lady for the Native American aspect of it. It's based upon the lives of Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding, the first white women to cross the Continental Divide and travel to the far west, and their husbands. In 1836, they traveled to Oregon to start a mission with the Nez Perce natives. The story is a mix between fact and fiction. Some of the plot was taken right from the journals of Narcissa(with a fictional addition, of course). That makes the book even more intriguing to me.
As much as I hate to admit, I was bit disappointed. Not completely, because I was very impressed with Jody's writing, and I will definitely pick up more from her. The Doctor's Lady isn't about the Whitman's mission with the Nez Perce. It's completely about their journey to the Nez Perce. I just adore good Fiction books about Native Americans(I'm NOT talking about "manly" books with scalping and all that.....I'll gladly pass on all those)! I really don't know of a whole lot of them, though, so I jumped at the chance to read The Doctor's Lady. I was just hoping there was more of the plot actually involving Native Americans. Other than that reason, though, there's absolutely no reason to be disappointed with this book. It's a beautiful book! If God ever blesses me to be pregnant again and I feel like I'm having a rough time, I'll have to think about Eliza, who traveled across dangerous terrain her entire pregnancy....sick and exhausted. She makes me look like a spoiled brat! ;) I don't know if that part of the story was fact or fiction, but I can't imagine how hard that must have been.
Most of the story is about Marcus and Narcissa, though. (Eli and Priscilla in the book). The missionary board won't let either of them go on their missions unless they are married. They decide to marry in name only, so they can be the missionaries they want to be. I don't think that you'll be surprised with the outcome of that! :) The Doctor's Lady was a very sweet romance.
*Thanks to Bethany House for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.(less)
I didn't know a thing about The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic when I started reading it, so I was a bit surprised at what the story ends up...more4.5 stars
I didn't know a thing about The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic when I started reading it, so I was a bit surprised at what the story ends up being about(in a good way). Persimmony Smudge has broken her family's Giving Pot(a pot that provides what you NEED, not want), so she heads to the woods to get another one. Little did she know that this would be the start of quite an adventure in trying to save her entire island! I'm also a bit surprised that Persimmony wasn't my favorite character. While she is the main focus, I didn't connect to her quite as much as I thought I would. My favorite character was King Lucus. He's a spoiled brat, which is NOT usually my favorite kind of character. I guess I could see his potential shining through, though. The biggest quirky trait of King Lucus is probably his love of pepper. He will do anything to get more. Well, he will make others do anything to make sure he gets more! He especially loves it with his sweet potato soup.
The Rumblebumps were my favorite part of the book, though! They just had the heart of a child, and it touched my heart to read about them!
"They came like whispers. They came like the sad, plodding hours of night. From the west the Rumblebumps slowly slinked into the town, barely lifting their big flat feet off the ground with each step. Their empty pockets sagged uselessly from their many coats, their chins hung so low they almost brushed the dirt, and their eyes overflowed with sorrow. The sight of them filled Persimmony's heart with an unbearable ache, for though watching a Rumblebump laugh is like getting caught in a tidal wave as it breaks, watching a Rumblebump cry(a rare thing indeed) is like standing on the shore while the sea foam swirls around your feet and sucks you deeper and deeper into the soggy sand, until the sea and the sand finally swallow you whole."
I've been pondering the ending, and I'm just not entirely sure how much I liked it. I only somewhat get the "happily ever after", and in books like this, I do love my "happily ever after". I don't expect them to be all sugary sweet all the time, but I like just a bit more closure than what I got. Don't get me wrong, though! I completely love part of what was going on with the ending. There is just so many life lessons to be taken away from reading The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. I immensely enjoyed it, and it's definitely a keeper for my boys' bookshelf. While the main character is a girl, I think this is still a great book for boys, too!(less)
I just adored this story!! It’s very clean and appropriate for all ages. A great thing about this book is, it’s great for boys, too. Sometimes it seem...moreI just adored this story!! It’s very clean and appropriate for all ages. A great thing about this book is, it’s great for boys, too. Sometimes it seems like there’s more options for girls to read. This is a book that will go on my son's book shelf for when he gets older. I loved it enough, that I’m sure I’ll be borrowing it from him to read again. I loved that the author was able to “sneak in” little bits of educational facts into the story. I don’t know if she did this intentionally, but I think it was great. Max, the main character, maintains respect for the adults through the whole story, even when they didn’t necessarily deserve it. The Owl Keeper is targeted for ages 9-11, but as an adult I hung onto every word. I just couldn’t wait to see what happened. It’s a very adventurous book, and I think you would enjoy it no matter what age or gender. I think the story was set up to be a series, but I don’t know that. I hope there’s more!
*Thanks to the author for my copy of this book that I won @ Books On The House. (less)