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Showing posts from February, 2015

Book Review: Son by Lois Lowry

Claire is a birthmother in the community in which The Giver, the first book in this series, took place. But something goes wrong during the birth and she is moved on to a new role. She finds herself longing for the baby that was born to her, which is unusual since no one else in the community has feelings like this. Events take her to a new community by the sea. Then she travels to the community we encountered in Messenger. All along the way, her mind is always on her son.

Son (Giver Quartet, Book 4) by Lois Lowry is the final book in the series. It brings together all four of the previous books, the characters and storylines, in a way that is satisfying to a certain degree. I enjoyed Claire's character very much, perhaps the most of all the characters. She was easy to relate to and most of her choices seemed realistic, although I can't figure out how she got away with some of the things she did in the original community.

But there are many issues with this book as well. So…

Week in Review

Good morning. It's Monday and my kids are finally back in school after being out almost all of last week. It's refreshing to have a quiet house and to be able to focus on work today.

Reviews and Blog Posts

Book Review: Night is the Hunter by Steven Gore
Books that Teach Compassion #1000Speak
Saturday Snapshot: A View from My Window

Reading
I finished reading Son by Lois Lowry, so I've officially finished that series! Now I just need to write my review. After that, I started reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. My book club is meeting to discuss it on Thursday so I need to finish it soon!

We visited the library on Saturday, and C picked up two books, which he read over the weekend: Countdown Zero by Chris Rylander and The Genius Files #5: License to Thrill by Dan Gutman.

M has been reading several picture books for school lately, but she's also still reading Maleficent by Elizabeth Rudnick.

What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journe…

Saturday Snapshot

I'm joining up with Saturday Snapshot, which is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. I decided to take pictures out my office window starting at the beginning of the week, when I knew the forecast called for ice and snow.

This was the view out my window on Monday before the storm...
We started to get some sleet and ice, which landed on the frozen bits of the pond...
By the next day, everything was covered in ice and the kids had their first full snow day...
And their second snow day...
And then it actually snowed, which meant snow day #3...
And snow day #4, since it was so cold this week, the ice did.not.melt!!!
If you live anywhere that actually gets snow on a regular basis, you are probably laughing about my kids having snow days for this little bit of snow and ice. But many of the little, wooded side roads are still a sheet of ice, several days after the initial storm. We were lucky enough to have a plow come through our street and so we've been able to get out and about. But …

Books That Teach Compassion #1000Speak

Today I am joining with bloggers around the world to speak about compassion. As a mother of a child about to enter middle school, compassion is on my mind. Middle school has a reputation for being filled with mean girls and bullying, kids dealing with hormones for the first time and struggling with their emotions. I worry about how my son will be treated in middle school, and how he will treat others.

I've been pleased over the past several years to see many middle grade books that endeavor to teach children compassion by showing them the struggles other kids face because of their differences in looks, interests, family, etc. And I've been very pleased to see my son's teachers pulling these books into their curricula. It is my hope that these stories will help my son and his friends consider the feelings of others, and also realize that their own feelings of wanting to fit in are universal.

Here are some recommendations of books that may help middle grade readers develop …

Book Review: Night is the Hunter by Steven Gore

Former homicide detective Harlan Donnally has offered to help Judge Ray McMullin by looking into a killing that took place twenty years ago. McMullin presided over the case and sentenced Israel Dominguez to death. But now, as the execution day draws near, the judge is questioning the sentence. And as Donnally gets deeper into the Norteno and Sureno gang wars, he starts to question whether Dominguez even committed the crime at all.

Night Is the Hunter by Steven Gore is part of a series of thrillers that feature Donnally, but it stands alone (I haven't read any of the other books in the series and didn't feel I missed anything). It's an intriguing mixture of criminal investigation, legal interpretation and personal struggles, as Donnally worries about his father who is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's. Gore, who has a background as a private investigator, clearly knows his stuff about law and crime, and incorporates authentic details throughout the story.

As far as the ch…

Week in Review

Good morning. Last week, I was talking about beautiful weather, and this week it's freezing and we're expecting sleet and snow. I guess I won't be planting my garden any time soon! We had a crazy wind storm on Saturday night and lost a small tree in our front yard. So we spent a couple hours yesterday morning outside in the cold weather cleaning that up. Then I spent the afternoon on the couch reading!

Reviews and Blog Posts

February Goals ~ Reading, Blogging, Getting Fit
Book Review: Messenger by Lois Lowry

Reading
I finished reading Night Is the Hunter: A Harlan Donnally Novel by Steven Gore. My review will be up tomorrow for the book tour. Then I read Messenger, the third book in the Giver Quartet. Now I'm reading the last book in that series, Son.

Next up is my February book club selection, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

C has read the first five chapters of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells with his group at school. He seems to be enjoying it so far.

M and I finally fini…

Book Review: Messenger by Lois Lowry

Matty has lived in Village for six years now, sharing a home with the blind man who is called Seer. Village is the place where those who were unwelcome in other communities have been accepted and thrived. Everyone is kind to one another and there are no secrets. But something is changing in Village ~ people are changing, the forest around Village is changing, and not for the better.

Messenger by Lois Lowry is the third book in the Giver Quartet. In this novel, we are reacquainted with Matty and Kira from Gathering Blue, and Jonas from The Giver, who is now called Leader. Matty is the main character in this story, though. He is the messenger for Village because he is the one who Forest allows to pass through freely to other communities. When the people of Village decide to close to newcomers, it is Matty who must post signs warning others that they are no longer welcome. During this trip through the ever-changing Forest, he seeks out Kira in the hopes of bringing her to Village before …

February Goals ~ Reading, Blogging, Getting Fit

I'm linking up today with Tanya at Mom's Small Victories for the February 2015 Goals Linkup. I decided it would be a good idea to get some goals written down. Perhaps that way I'll actually achieve them! So here's my plan for February:

Reading
Read at least six booksComplete the Giver Quartet seriesFinish at least one book for each of my challenges:  Cloak & DaggerLibraryFinish the SeriesTravel the World in Books

BloggingWrite at least six reviewsWrite at least two more Beyond Books postsIncrease page viewsIncrease subscribers on Bloglovin and RSS feedsGain more followers on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest Visit Julie's profile on Pinterest.

Getting FitGet back on track with logging all of my food in MyFitnessPalStay within my calories goal at least 5 days/week Get back to running ~ run/walk at least 20 miles throughout the monthComplete at least 2-3 FitnessBlender videos per week 
Other goalsMake a final decision on summer trip and book it!Pick a 5K in March or…

Week in Review

It's Monday and I finally got around to writing my weekly update. We had an absolutely beautiful weekend here in NC. It was in the 60s both days. My son and I went for a long walk/run on Sunday, and we were able to spend a lot of time outside. Here's what I managed to do here on the blog.

Reviews and Blog Posts

Month in Review: January
It's My Birthday! Time for a Giveaway!
Book Review: Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester
Saturday Snapshot: A Cool Tree at Meredith College
Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Reading
I finished reading Gooseberry Island and then I started reading Night Is the Hunter: A Harlan Donnally Novel by Steven Gore.

C, who is 10, read Messenger by Lois Lowry, and is now reading the last book in the Giver Quartet series, Son.

What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also check out the younger version of It's Monday!