One Minute Book Review: The Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson

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Summary:

I don’t really have a cute little summary to fit this in to, but as a mother who is planning to homeschool her five year old next year, I can tell you that a part of you gets a little bit stressed out. You doubt yourself as the person who can best teach your child, and how do you know you’re teaching your child all the things they need to know anyway? This book will help you through that, taking you through a logical progression of questions and answers to help you through the process of thinking through and deciding whether Homeschooling is the right path for you and your child(ren).

What I Liked About It:

I like the logical progression of it. It started with the kind of legal and “can I really do this” and “how can I do it” questions that you start with, through to what curriculum to choose, etc. It also had a chapter with kids answering questions, which I think is an argument for homeschooling in itself. It also really did answer every question and doubt I may have had.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

At times I felt that it kind of advocated unschooling. I’m not against unschooling, nor am I a huge proponent of unschooling, so it wasn’t something that bothered me, per se. But I know that I would be doing a book review on this book, and with that in mind, I could see that someone could be turned off by this. Perhaps future editions could address a few of the more popular methods of homeschooling, especially since there seem enough different approaches to fill a chapter.

The Verdict:

It was easy to read (though a bit dry at times) and I did feel that it answered all my questions about homeschooling, so I would definitely recommend it if you’re thinking about homeschooling.

One Minute Book Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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Summary:

Be in a pageant, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. You’ll parade around in pretty dresses and smile for the judges, they said. Well, the girls already knew it wasn’t really any fun, but when they crash into the jungle the girls are faced with choices they haven’t been faced with before. Do you work on surviving on the island, or do you continue to prep for the Miss Teen Dream pageant? The only thing to do is both, with a little bit of finding yourself thrown in. Throw in some pirates, and an evil corporation and you have Beauty Queens!

What I Like About It:

Libba Bray likes to do some off the wall books sometimes, and this one is no exception. I’m going to caution you, if you didn’t enjoy Going Bovine, you probably will not enjoy Beauty Queens (or you might, I mean, I could be wrong). This book reminded me a lot of a Terry Pratchett book (Especially with the footnotes). This is both a good thing (if you’ve never seen it before, you’ll enjoy it), and a drawback (as a long-time fan and reader of Terry Pratchett, it did just feel a little bit watery). However, I liked the story, and I liked the message it had to tell. I know some people were complaining that it was a “girl power” book that just didn’t seem to hit, I didn’t feel that way. I felt that it was making fun of everything to do with traditional “girl” things, as well as girly movies. It was a bit slow, but as a satire, it hit the mark.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

The biggest complaint I had about this book was that it dragged in places, and it felt like a watery version of another author. I fought with myself about saying that perhaps this book wasn’t always appropriate for teens, but I decided against that. I think it is in touch with teens, and what they do and have interest in. I also think that this would be just as good a book for the “fiction” section of the bookstore and library as it would for the young adult/teen section.

Verdict:

When I thought about how many stars I wanted to give it on GoodReads,  I couldn’t decide on 3 stars or 4 stars. . . But when I tried to think about things I didn’t like, I really couldn’t think of much, so it wound up with a 4 star rating. That being said, I’m not sure if this book will stick with me the way Going Bovine did, so I’m not sure that it would be one of the first books I recommend. But if you like quirky, and satire, then I think you’ll really like it.

One Minute Book Review: Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich

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Summary:

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter, not a private detective. But when her parent’s next door neighbor asks her to find her granddaughter and great-granddaughter, Stephanie just can’t say no. Between worrying about when Ranger, a sexy bounty hunter, is going to call in his favor, and whether there is anything left between her and cop Morelli, she’s looking for Evelyn and her daughter while still bringing in FTAs. On the surface it just seems that Evelyn was just the subject of a simple child custody bond, which her grandmother put up her house to pay. But as she searches for the missing woman she finds herself embroiled with a guy who gets a kick out of scaring women. Can Stephanie find this woman and child while managing to lay low enough for this guy not to notice her?

What I Liked About It:

I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series because it’s a dependable read. You know what the formula is, you know to expect humor, and you know that it’s not going to take itself too seriously. I particularly liked the addition of Albert Klough, the human labrador retriever (I’m telling you, read the book, you’ll see what I mean), and the guy in the bunny suit following her. These lent a humorous air to a book that could easily become dark.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

There’s much I don’t like about these books. I’ve read a lot of complaints, but when you’re a stay at home mom and you’re tired at the end of the day, you want an easy, dependable read to fall back on. The only complaint I’ve ever had about Ms. Evanovich’s books is that Stephanie never seems to become more competent as a bounty hunter. I’d love to see Stephanie get better as a bounty hunter, simply facing more ridiculous cases. But all in all, I’m still pretty satisfied.

The Verdict:

I liked it. I wouldn’t consider this a book you must read, but if you like to read, this is a good choice. Although, if you can, start with the first, you’ll really enjoy it, I think.

Some Things to Look Forward To. . .

So now that I’m in a rhythm as far as book reviews go, I’m going to add a few new features to my blog, because that’s what I love about blogs! When they talk about more than just their niche. . . So, things to look forward to this week:

  • What my kids are reading: I’m not the only person who reads in my house, both my kids love books and are always wanting to look at new ones. I think this might be fun, especially for Moms looking for books to read to their kids, or to get for their kids to read.
  • Weightloss Wednesdays: I like the accountability and motivation of having other bloggers cheer you on. I thought about doing a separate blog, but decided to keep it on this blog, because we’re not one dimensional people, and I think a lot of people have this goal. It’s hard to lose weight, and I think instead of doing a specifically weight loss blog, which would end once the weight is lost, or interest is lost, I thought it would be easier to incorporate it into this blog.
  • Monthly Favorites: You ever watch those makeup vlogs on YouTube? They always have a monthly favorites, don’t they? I thought this would be a great addition to a blog, especially one about books! I actually have a backlog of book reviews for consistency’s sake, so sometimes what you’re seeing on the blog, is not what I’ve read in the past month. I thought this might bring to you an excitement about the book reviews you’re going to see, and a really good idea of what has stuck with me over the past month.

So I hope I’ve given you a few things to look forward to over the week and month!

Book Review: The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler

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Summary:

The Art of Happiness is basically a self help book purporting to help you find happiness. It goes through several different obstacles to happiness and how to deal with those, how to improve yourself and create more happiness for yourself. It’s unremarkable as a self help book, but what makes it special and unique are those lovely nuggets from the Dalai Lama himself.

What I liked about it:

I liked that it offered some great insight into how to create more happiness for oneself. Cutler manages to make the Dalai Lama’s a little more mainstream and palatable for the Western audience, especially the Western audience of the 1990s. Of course I loved the Dalai Lama’s words themselves, which I always find very inspiring and helpful.

What I didn’t like about it:

The author spent a lot of time validating what the Dalai Lama said. I suppose as a deeply spiritual person myself I don’t find it necessary to back everything up with some scientific nugget, but he did. I feel as though the words that the Dalai Lama gave him were “watered down” for lack of a better phrase. However, taking into context the time it was written and the audience it was written for, I do think it excels. And I do think that it does give real tools for developing a more content, fulfilled and happy life.

The verdict:

I have already recommended this book several times, just because I think that this is a good introduction in how to be compassionate, caring, and kind in our world. I think it’s something that our part of the world is particularly lacking these days. . .