September 1, 2015

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Blessing by Lyn Cote {Book Review}

I am not usually interested in Quaker or Amish series when it comes to books. I don't know why. I guess they just aren't my type. But I stepped out of my box after reading the back cover for a new book from award winning author Lyn Cote...her book Blessing is book 2 in her Quaker Brides series and I hoped that my experience and love of her other books would make this one an excellent summer read.

Book Review of Blessing by Lyn Cote
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Blessing by Lyn Cote, follows the story of Blessing Brightman a Quaker widow and Gerard Ramsay, a handsome wastrel from a wealthy Boston family. The setting is 1848 when the two hottest topics in America are women's rights and abolition. The two of them meet while Gerard is attempting to save his cousin from a supposed promiscuous gathering...a WOMEN'S suffrage meeting. He discovers his cousin is in the company of a well-bred young lady and her friend, Blessing. Knocked on his heels with the radically unconventional discourse he has with Blessing right from the beginning, Gerard resents her independent spirit and desires nothing more than to get back at her...for she is for everything he ISN'T. And she's thinker! (Gasp!)

Blessing is intrigued by Gerard, but he takes a place on the back burner, because she has more important things to deal with...her rescuing of the abused and neglected on the docks of the shady side of Cincinnati, OH and her covert role on the Underground Railroad. Everything starts changing the day that Gerard shows up in Cincinnati and keeps popping up everywhere she goes.

Gerard doesn't know why, but he can't get Blessing out of his head. He determines to push her aside in his thoughts as he attempts to start a new life for himself now that his hard-nosed father has cut him off without a cent. Determined to extract revenge on his father by being everything his father DOESN'T want him to be, he sets out to involve himself with men of less than stellar reputations as he tries to get interest in building a racetrack in gambling loving Cincinnati.

Enter a series of crazy events and Gerard finds himself caught up in Blessing's business of rescuing the lost souls. Will her secrets about her previous dangerous marriage prevent her from allowing herself to seek love? Will Gerard's conflicting thoughts about a woman's role in society allow him to accept Blessing for who she is? Will they even have a chance to love when the city's racial tensions threaten to destroy any chances they have?

What Are My Thoughts?

I honestly couldn't put it down! I read it all in one day because I HAD to know what happened next! Neither character is a typical "romantic" novel figure. Each had dreadful baggage that threatens to eat them alive. Blessing fights love because she knows how much she had to surrender and how it destroyed her in her previous marriage. Gerard fights EVERYTHING as he struggles to learn who he really is away from his domineering father. Gerard isn't your normal classic honorable figure either. We see him drunk as a skunk in a gutter, we see him thirst for revenge, and we see a dreadfully abhorrent past.

I think it was these imperfect aspects of the characters that made it intriguing. And to make it even better, it wasn't even resolved until the last few pages of the book, so you had to read it all the way to the end!

I was a bit bummed to learn that this was book TWO in the Quaker Brides series, after I had finished the story. I hate to read books out of order, because I fear I will miss important things about the characters in the story, but I am happy to say that I never felt this way about this book. The plot was flushed out well and the characters were very well developed and stood on their own. I am curious though to go back and read book 1 Honor which is about Blessing's mother to learn more about her. There is also a book 3 coming out called Faith which will be released in April 2016.

How Would I Rate The Book?

This book held my interest from beginning to end. It was an excellent book and I liked it a lot! I loved that it was full of history relating to the time period prior to the civil war in Cincinnati, OH. This is because Cincinnati is just 2 hours away and I love learning more about its background. There is a lot of information where I live about the Underground Railroad, since Kentucky was the last state to cross for many to get into free Ohio. It made me want to go visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati even more!

Blessing (Quaker Brides)
by Lyn Cote
ISBN: 978-1414375618
Available as Paperback and Kindle

About the Author

In 1997, Lyn Cote's first book, Never Alone, was chosen for the "new" Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, and her book Her Patchwork Family was a finalist for the Carol Award in 2010 and Her Healing Ways won in 2011. These are two of the highest awards in the romance genre. 

Lyn's brand "Strong Women, Brave Stories," always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog {taken from her Amazon bio}

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August 31, 2015

From Books to the Silver Screen {Poppins Book Nook}

I am an avid book reader and I have a LOT of favorite books. I am always wary, yet excited when I see my favorite books come to the silver screen. My curiousity always gets the best of me, as I wonder how my favorites will fare. Sometimes I am happy and adore the movie, and sometimes I just shake my fist at the screen! This month our Poppins Book Nook theme addresses this very theme as we explore Books that Have Been Turned Into Movies. Join me as I share some of my favorite children's books that were successfully turned into movies!
Poppins Book Nook: Favorite Books that Are Favorite Movies

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Now I could tell you that Anne of Green Gables and several Jane Austen books rank right up there as the best adaptations of books into movies...but that's common knowledge. LOL. So let's take a peak at some classic children's books which I think are also cherished movies!

by Walter Farley
This is a simply fabulous classic book which is perfect for any boy or girl. It's adventure and excitement involving a shipwreck, a deserted island, and the love between a boy and a wild horse. Geared at the 4th-5th grade readers it is perfect for an accelerated reader, or a family read-aloud.

And after you read it, make sure you watch it! The 1979 version with Mickey Rooney can't be beat and will bring you great joy seeing your book come to life!

There are other Black Stallion books which you will enjoy checking out once you are done with this first one!

by Katherine Paterson

Have you experienced the land of Terabithia yet with your children? You will enjoy introducing them to Jess and Leslie as they form their unlikely friendship and create a great land of Terabithia. It's a Newberry Award winner for a reason and it's captured children's imagination for years! Noted as being for 4th-7th grade level readers, it's a joy for your older children to experience on their own, or use it as a read-aloud for the whole family!

And once you are done, let their imagination come to life as they experience the Bridge to Terabithia movie! I was very happy with the way the movie was done as it capture all the beauty of the book! It is a sweet movie, even if the ending is sad. 

by Kate DiCamillo

"Being the tale of a mouse, a princess, some soup and a spool of thread..." With that kind of subtitle, why wouldn't you want to investigate this clever tale?! The author of Because of Winn-Dixie does it again in this delightfully intriguing tale about a mouse who is in love with music, stories and a princess named Pea. With a grade level of 2nd - 5th, you can introduce your middle elementary students to a charming tale about unlikely heroes!

I was curious to see how the 2008 movie would translate the book (especially the ending) and though it wasn't a TRUE match (what movie is?) it was a delightful film and the boys enjoyed it! We are actually getting ready to read this book as part of our literature studies, so I will be curious to see how they enjoy the book as they have only experienced the movie thus far.

by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is more than a story about a horse...but a shifting panorama of life in 19th century England with it's cobbled streets, gentry in their phaetons, horse fairs, harried cabdrivers and election day on London Bridge. The book is written in first person, so the author seem like it's the horse writing it's own life story. You too will be carried away to the 19th century as you experience life as you've never seen it before...through the eyes of a horse. We used this as our first chapter book read-aloud 3 years ago and oh how the boys adored it, even though they were just 6 and 2 years old. "Read more about the horse, mommy!" was the refrain each night. Oh how sad we were when we finished the last page.

Though I grew up watching an excellent animated version, I thoroughly enjoyed the "real life" release of this classic story to film in 1999. Staying true to the book, the movie's narrator is even Black Beauty! It was beautiful to watch this "well-bred and well-born" horse come to life!

by Johann Rudolf Wyss

There isn't much better of a family adventure story than The Swiss Family Robinson! Written from the viewpoint of the father, it's a story about hope, faith, and family! From the ship-wreck to learning how to survive on a desert island, to building the grand tree-house...your family will enjoy the adventure! We will be having this on our literature list this year...I think I even have a lapbook to go with it. I think the boys will enjoy it, especially since they've already watched the movie.

Oh my. What is NOT to love about Disney's movie version of this delightful book? I know it strays pretty strong in some parts of the book, but I forgave it because it's just so much fun!! I love that this is a mom of precocious boys and that littlest of hers...oh how I itched to grab him by his ear and give him what for! LOL! And that treehouse. Sigh. How many of us longed to have one just like it to sleep in? The boys and Love-Of-My-Life said it was one of the things we HAD to go to when we were at Disneyworld last year and we enjoyed it immensely! 

by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Quentin Blake

I'm sure I am not the only one with this quirky book on my list. Interestingly enough, most people are only familiar with the movies, and not the book itself. I hadn't read it until this past year when it was part of our 3rd grade literature. We all loved it and Little Britches always asked for "one more chapter!" Meet Willy Wonka and the inside of his chocolate factory through the witty dialogue and clever illustrations. It's this version that I've linked above that really is the best because of the delightful pen and ink illustrations. 

As for movies, we have the Gene Wilder version from 1971 and the Johnny Depp one from 2005. I think they BOTH deserve a watch because each captures something different from the book. In relation to which one is closest to the book...actually the Johnny Depp version is. But don't pick--just share them both! My boys were enthralled with the 2005 version that we watched after completing the book. At some point I will try to get my hands on the 1971 version to let them compare.

There are so many other books I could add...The City of Ember, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Gone with the Wind, A Bear Called Paddington. All of these had wonderful movie versions to bring them to life!

Books That Were Turned Into Movies Bundle Giveaway! 

Hollywood glitz and glamour means nothing without a good story. Some of the places that these block buster movies come from is straight from the pages of our favorite books. This month one lucky entrant will win the Books That Were Turned Into Movies Bundle Giveaway. The winner will receive one copy of each of these storybooks that were turned into movies: The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, and The Gruffalo. So pop some popcorn, jump in your comfy chair, and get ready to enjoy books that were turned into movies this month with the Poppins Book Nook!

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the PromoSimple terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {}.  
Just enter the PromoSimple below to win:

Please make sure you check out what the other Poppins Book Nook bloggers shared this month!

Have you blogged about books that were turned into movies? Please share them with us here!

There are few books that I've read that I would love to see turned into movies...The Uglies series, The Inn at Ocean's Edge, any book by Jen Turano, well my list could go on and on...

What about you? What books would you like to see as movies?
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August 28, 2015

Random 5 for Friday~ 8/28/2015

Well here we are in the last Friday for the month of did that happen? These years just fly by in a blink anymore. I must say though, I'm looking forward to September! It's one of my favorite months here in Kentucky because it's simply beautiful!
The Pebble Pond

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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

1. I've been working on lesson planning so much my eyes are about crossed! We plan on starting back to our FULL schedule(ish) this coming Tuesday (the 1st) so I've been finalizing the plans for BOTH boys. I've been looking at a lot of different planners and I've been hoping to find *just* the one I was looking for. I downloaded two of the free HUGE planners available from my membership with but I didn't like them exactly. But I can take pieces of what I want and use it. I found my best luck using the and her FREE planning forms.  
This is a great deal!! Make sure you check it out for access to HUNDREDS of different curriculum and lesson plans!
2. I can't believe I have a Kindergartner again. Seriously. It seems like just yesterday I was gearing up to start our homeschool adventure with Kindergarten for Little Britches...and here we are 5 years later doing it all over again! I am working on sharing what Baby Britches curriculum is going to look like this year. It's much different than the kindergarten of Little Britches!
MFW-K Unit Study Week 1 All planned out!
3. Fourth grader. How do I have a fourth grader? Seriously. I remember when I was in 4th grade so it just doesn't seem possible that Little Britches is this old already! We are looking to have a great year with even MORE goodies to explore! I have his curriculum post in the works too...the main reason it's not been shared yet, is that I didn't finalize it until today. LOL!

4. We had a random week of delightful autumn weather! Oh how much I have loved having the cool weather without any humidity! Some mornings were a delightful 55 degrees and we wouldn't even get past 75! I admit I got used to it...and sadly it will go away as tomorrow we are getting back in into the upper 80's starting tomorrow and for all next week as September begins. Hopefully it will go away again and true autumn can return!

5. Have you noticed everyone (as in all the restaurants and such) are advertising pumpkin this and pumpkin that? Forget pumpkin. I am all about the apple cider. I adore the apple cider donuts that roll into Tim Hortons. Yum!

Well I hope you have a delightful weekend and final few days of August! I have Poppins Book Nook for Monday, and hopefully my curriculum posts as well. I'll also be sharing what my upcoming reviews are for the month of September, so make sure you stay tuned!
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