Monday, August 1, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde: A Booklook Blogger Review

Sarah E. Ladd is my new favorite author! She captured my heart with The Curiosity Keeper and I was incredibly excited to read the next installment of the Treasures of Surrey Novels. Although they are connected, you could absolutely read this as a standalone novel. (But really, go back and read The Curiosity Keeper! It's great!)

The novel opens with a young woman and her half-sister being swept away from the simply life they know at an all girls boarding school into a life of ease and luxury...or so they think. The preparatory school where they live was created for young girls without means to learn how to provide for themselves through jobs such as being a governess. The heroine, Isabel, had been trained as such and was a teacher in training before her world was turned upside down. Her younger half-sister went from being in a school that would prepare her to be a governess to being given one herself! The change for both girls is not easy, but they are left with no choice as their current situation at the boarding school is not intended for young women of privilege.

As the story progresses Isabel discovers all is not as it seems with her aunt and uncle. She must also learn to discern the character of two young men who have indicated an interest in her well-being. One young man is encouraged by her uncle, the other by her aunt. Both are charming and handsome, but one is not as noble as he seems. (You'll have to read to find out which!)

Isabel also discovers there is some mystery surround the death of her mother and what she had been told all her life may not be exactly the truth.

You will find yourself captivated as I was as you read. It was very hard to put this down and actually go to sleep at night! The intrigue and suspense in this regency era novel will keep you turning pages.

Disclaimer: I received this novel in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Girls Slimline Bible - NLT: A Tyndale Blog Network Review


My girls have a fairly extensive knowledge of the Bible between homeschooling, family devotions, and church which includes Sunday morning services, Sunday School, Wednesday night studies, and Awana. For us the Bible is the most important thing in our lives which helps us know how God wants us to live for Him. All three of my children have accepted the Lord as their Savior and we take every opportunity to train them in the knowledge of Him.

We have enjoyed reviewing this sweet Bible directed towards pre-teen girls. It's hard to believe I have another pre-teen in the house, but according to the definition, we do!  I think this would also be a lovely Bible for young teens as well. 

My 9-year-old Beth has been using this Bible recently for Sunday School and church. She says that one of the things she likes is that there is a Bible reading plan. She likes that it is easy to follow and suited just for young kids. I like that it covers both the Old and New Testaments and is not just a topical study. It does not cover the entire Bible, but that would be difficult for a young person to handle in a year. She also loves the look and feel of this Bible. While that isn't the most important thing when choosing a Bible for your child, it is a nice benefit that she loves showing it to people at Church. You can see how it looks, but what you can't see is how it feels. The cover is soft and a little bit fuzzy. My daughter is a very tactile person, so for her this is a huge benefit! 

There is a nice concordance ad a handful of biblical maps at the end. It is a good resource for her in that it is extensive enough to give her several Scriptures for every topic, but not overwhelming for one her age. The print is also a good size. It isn't large, but neither is it so small it is difficult to read. 

The NLT (New Living Translation) is not my preferred version, nor is it the version my husband preaches from, but for young kids still trying to understand what difficult passages in the Bible are talking about I think it is an acceptable choice alongside another version. My only comment about this beautiful looking Bible is that it become available in alternative versions. While I do encourage looking at various translations of Scripture, it can be confusing for kids when they are reading from one version that another person is not. Also because of programs like AWANA which heavily reinforces Scripture memory we like to have the main Bible our kids use be the same version so they have consistency. I would be much happier if there had been more than one version available. 

Disclaimer: I received this product for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Haven on Orchard Lane: A Net Galley Review

A Haven on Orchard Lane  -     By: Lawana Blackwell

My mom introduced me to the author Lawana Blackwell many years ago through The Gresham Chronicles. I've loved her ever since! It has been a few years since she has published a new book, so I was very excited to read A Haven on Orchard Lane. I was not disappointed!

The story centers around the rekindled relationship of an estranged mother and daughter. While I do not relate to that specifically, I did enjoy the interchange and growth which occurred throughout between the two characters. While this is the main story, out from it come many branches and side stories which are intriguing and carefully crafted. The setting is a quaint seaside English village. As I read I felt as if I were walking the streets and left me with a desire to visit one day!

One of the unique and enjoyable aspects of Lawana Blackwell's stories is the abundance of colorful characters and the intertwining of their lives. This beautifully written story focuses mostly on two women, but the many wonderful characters leaves you feeling as if you are a part of the charming community. Characters are artfully crafted and feel very realistic. You will feel as if you know each one personally as you read.

As with every book I've ever read by Mrs. Blackwell I was sad to get to the final page. I hated to say goodbye to the quaint village and charming characters. I dearly hope this is not the only novel about them!

Jensen's Grammar Review: A Moms of Master Books Review

Jensen's Grammar 

Strong English skills are very important to me. My background is Middle School English. I taught full time before our girls came along and I'm starting my 7th year teaching English to homeschooled middle schoolers at a homeschool learning center. So when I look to teach grammar to my kids, I want to make certain that the materials I use are high quality and will lead my daughters to have a solid foundation which will help lead them to become excellent writers.

For elementary we have been using Rod and Staff Grammar, which is very solid, but I was ready to move forward to something different for middle school and high school. My oldest daughter is a 6th grader this year so I've been looking at my options and I've found where we will settle!

Jensen's Grammar is an excellent program whether your child already has a solid grammar base or your are building the foundation from the beginning. Each lesson is short, simple, and easy to follow. Best of all if you feel nervous about teaching grammar there is a DVD available to do the teaching for you! Because of my background I do not feel the need for the DVD and I am not reviewing that portion of the program.

My favorite curricula have the teaching included in the student books. This allows for the student to look back at the teaching instruction whenever they have need. I also like programs that are easily broken down into more than one day. For middle school I intend to do one lesson each week and break down the exercises to a few each day. This will give adequate time for the lessons to sink in and the practice will be short. Since my husband teaches the girls on Mondays while I'm teaching my class I plan to do the initial lesson instruction on Tuesday and then have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Monday for practice.

We follow the Charlotte Mason theory that short practice every day is better for retention that longer lessons.The broken up lessons will be great for middle school, but as we progress I may modify this schedule. For high schoolers it possibly should be completed at a faster pace. Really this is just a preference and the important thing, as with any curriculum, is to figure out how best it will work for your personally.

Tests are also provided. I love the test booklet. Each test is only one page long. There are two tests for every 5 lessons. The second test is only if a student struggles to master the first test. Also all answers are provided in the test booklet for both the textbook and the test booklet.

Finally one of my favorite features is that both the text and test booklet are reproducible for your family! This is such a huge thing for homeschooling families with multiple students using the same curriculum whether at the same time or in the future like ours.

My assessment is that this is a solid, academically sound curriculum which will prepare your students to become excellent writers, which is the purpose of learning grammar. As far as value this is one of the best buys for English I have ever seen.

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

FREE 14 Day Trial Is Now Available for the Odyssey Adventure Club!

Don't miss this awesome chance to try out the Odyssey Adventure Club! We log into the club several times a day to listen to episodes. We love having easy access to any episode at anytime! While we own almost all of the CD sets (we are just missing a few new ones) having unlimited access to every episode of Adventures in Odyssey has us completely spoiled! We love having all of the cartoons available and all of the Last Chance Detectives series!

One of the really neat benefits is that all three girls can listen to different episodes at once if they like on their own tablets. Every afternoon my girls have quiet alone time in separate rooms. They are required to read at least 2 chapters of a book and then may color, craft, draw, or play quietly. Most of the time they ask me to log in to the Adventure Club on their tablets and listen to episodes while they have their alone time. They love the freedom to pick and choose and even search for their favorite episodes.

Now YOUR have the chance to try out the Adventure Club for 2 Full Weeks for free!


Think of ways you can enjoy this summer for free:
  • Hiking
  • Visiting parks in your area
  • Swimming
  • Camping in your backyard
  • Visit a public museum or library
Now, add more fun and imagination to your summer through the Odyssey Adventure Club!

The Odyssey Adventure Club will give you streaming access to more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes plus a sneak peek of exclusive audio and video stories, on-line activities and daily devotions you can’t find anywhere else.

Start a free 14-day trial for your family today and make the summer even more fun!


Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!