Friday, September 9, 2016

Books I've Read - May-August 2016

The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
1. A Voice in the Wind
2. An Echo in the Darkness
3. As Sure as the Dawn
I've read these before, but I thought it was time to reread this series. It didn't disappoint. My mom still hasn't made it through the first one, but I just love this series. To each his own, I guess, right? I like the historical elements Francine Rivers brings into her novels. She must've done a crazy amount of research for these books. Quite fascinating to me.

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
Eh. I don't think I'll be reading anymore Klassen. It's not very well written, the storylines are only okay and the character development is poor. This was my second attempt - I read another one of her novels earlier in the year. In theory this is exactly what I would like - she writes period pieces typically set in the 1800's or early 1900's, British, and Christian. But they're just not that good.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
This was the last book in the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy. It was definitely my favorite of the three. By this time the characters and plot line had developed nicely. I enjoyed it - weird for sure, but definitely worth the read.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
I was skeptical of the style of writing (it's a screenplay), the fact that Ms. Rowling shared the writing with others, and that she was revisiting such a beloved series that we thought had been completed.  I mean, don't mess with perfection, am I right? But let me tell you - do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK! If you like the series (and who doesn't??), you'll love this story. It was a fast read, captivating from the beginning, intriguing to get a glimpse of Harry Potter's future, and just downright good. I loved it.

The BFG by Roald Dahl
The kids and I have really started getting into chapter books. I loved The BFG when I was growing up, so I thought we should give it a try. Xander loved it. Amelia Jayne liked it but on certain nights I could tell she was growing restless. She always asks lots of questions, though, so I know she's paying attention. We finished that book and went to see it in the theater as a family. It was a tiny bit scary for Amelia Jayne (but I really think she was just tired and feeling restless that afternoon), but it was pretty good overall. The book was better.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Since we made it through The BFG, and my kids love Harry Potter, I figured we could go ahead and start the first book in the series. It's been slow-going, but we're making it through. We haven't quite finished it, but I'm adding it here because I think we'll be done in the next couple of weeks. The kids are having a good time comparing the book to the movie. Xander is typically enraptured, but it doesn't hold Amelia Jayne's attention as well as I wish it would - I'm pretty sure it's just too old and too British for her. ;)

And the kids and I have REALLY gotten into audiobooks! Xander told me that his first grade teacher read The Absent Author by Ron Roy to them in his class last year and that he really enjoyed it. I told him I would grab a couple for us to read. This was just before we headed to the beach, so I thought this might be a great opportunity to try out some audiobooks. The kids LOVE it! They ask as soon as we get in the car if they can listen to their books. We've made our way through the entire A to Z Mysteries series. It's been a really fun experience and I think Xander's concluded that he loves mysteries now. I highly recommend this for families - it's given us things to talk and laugh about and something fun to do together, especially in the car.

The A to Z Mysteries
A - The Absent Author
B - The Bald Bandit
C - The Canary Caper
D - The Deadly Dungeon
E - The Empty Envelope
F - The Falcon's Feathers
G - The Goose's Gold
H - The Haunted Hotel
I - The Invisible Island
J - The Jaguar's Jewel
K - The Kidnapped King
L - The Lucky Lottery
M - The Missing Mummy
N - The Ninth Nugget
O - The Orange Outlaw
P - The Panda Puzzle 
Q - The Quicksand Question
R - The Runaway Racehorse
S - The School Skeleton
T - The Talking T-Rex
U - The Unwilling Umpire
V - The Vampire's Vacation
W - The White Wolf
X - The X'ed-Out X-Ray
Y - The Yellow Yacht
Z - The Zombie Zone

Special Review:
Xander and I (and Mimi at one point) read Captain Awesome and the Missing Elephants by Stan Kirby and Xander gives it two thumbs up - he's going to read some of the others in the series soon.
A big hallmark moment - he finished reading his first chapter book all by himself!! It was Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks and he highly recommends it! They're cute graphic novels that are appropriate for his age and, according to Xander, very funny. There are three more books in the series that I recently placed on hold from the library. He is currently reading Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown. He thinks it's super-funny, too. I'm looking forward to seeing what he picks next! :)

I snuck these two pictures this morning while he was at the bus stop. It makes this book-loving Mama's heart sing!!

Oh, and GO PANTHERS! (We're still die-hard fans even if their first game didn't end so well...)

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