Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: Hill Country Cattleman

Hill Country CattlemanHill Country Cattleman by Laurie Kingery

Before Lady Violet Brookfield falls into disgrace in England, she it brought to her brother's ranch in Simpson Creek, Texas. Violet pines for her love, but is thrilled to experience the West. With her first hand observations she can write her novel! Meeting Foreman Raleigh Masterson adds to the amusement of Texas. He can share local information with her and be a friend as she lives temporarily away from home.

A beautiful fish out of water is a fun theme to read. Violet might be from England, but she relishes life in the West. Readers can predict bits of the storyline, but there are a couple twists along the way. Hill County Cattleman is book number six in the Brides of Simpson Creek series. Readers can read this as a standalone, but the previous stories add helpful background details to this tale.

Reviewed from a NetGalley copy. Thank you, Harlequin!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Under Texas Stars

Blue Moon PromiseBlue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucy March is at the end of her rope. Her parents are gone, she was released from her job, strangers are following her and she needs to protect her younger siblings. Mr. Stanton comes to her home and offers her an opportunity she cannot refuse. The next day, Lucy and her siblings are off to Texas to live with the Stantons on their ranch.

Coble's first book in her new series, Under Texas Stars, focuses on control. Lucy wants to control her future. She wants to make sure everyone is safe. Life is unpredictable, but the Lord watches over His children.

The newly wed Stantons were interesting to follow. Lucy wants to show her strength and prove a city girl can make it on a ranch and be a helpmeet to her husband. I enjoyed the twist of a proxy wedding instead of a mail-order wedding. Nate's care for his unexpected family is heartwarming.

I hope the next book is about Margaret, Nate's neighbor and prospective bride before Lucy arrived.

Time Period: Western, 1870's
Location: Texas, United States

Reviewed from a library copy.


Safe in His Arms (Under Texas Stars, #2)Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Margaret O’Brien assumed she would some day wed her neighbor Nate Stanton. When Nate's father returned home with bride Lucy, Margaret's life took a turn. With her expected marriage partner taken, she is determined to run the family ranch on her own. Mr. O'Brien doesn't agree and hires a new foreman, Daniel Cutler, to run the business. Not only does Margaret need to prover herself to her father, she also wants to out maneuver Cutler.

Coble's second book in her series, Under Texas Stars, focuses on accepting love. Margaret struggles with seeing herself as a beautiful women loved by others and loved by God. She wants to stand on her own two feet and prove to everyone she can do it. Friends, family, and the Lord help to open her eyes to love that surrounds her.

I loved that Margaret's story picks up right where Blue Moon Promise ends. Margaret's role in the first book was minor in appearance, but major in influence. She needed her own tale. Daniel's role was fun and mysterious. His brother played the minor, major character in this tale. Unfortunately, the brother swiftly disappeared near the end and I wanted to know what happened to him. Perhaps the next story will be about him.

Time Period: Western, 1870's
Location: Texas, United States

Reviewed from a NetGalley copy. Thank you, Thomas Nelson!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Storytime: Dinosaurs

Roar! We celebrated Dinosaurs for a special Friday Fling. Throughout the year, the library hosts special storytime events on Friday. For alliteration's sake, we call them Friday Flings. Early in February, the theme was Dinosaur Day! The hour began with a storytime and followed up with a craft, dino book giveaway, and simple games set-up around the Children's Room.

Hello Everybody SONG from Mr. Al: Mr. Al a Carte
Dinosaur Countdown by Nicholas Oldland

Oldland counts down from ten to zero. The ending zero is wonderfully clever and fun. The hardest part was enunciating the dinosaur names. A helpful pronunciation guide is in the back of the book, but, of course, I forgot so I got to stumble through the words and wing it. I even had some helpful hints from dinosaur lovers in the audience. Thank you!

We are the Dinosaurs SONG from Laurie Berkner: Whaddya Think of That?
Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul & Henrietta Stickland

Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea

Shea's Dinosaur is fun and loud! It's important to control the roar if you invite audience participation. I gave the listeners a roar count while holding up the corresponding fingers on one hand. When I held me fist up, they knew it was zero and we were done roaring. It was a great way for everyone to roar and enjoy participating without going overboard and creating mayhem.

Dinosaurs Forever SONG from Dino Rock: The Great Dinosaur Mystery
Dinosaurs Galore! a roaring pop-up by Paul & Henrietta Stickland
Say Goodbye! SONG from Carole Peterson: Music for the Very Young Child

Craft: Dinosaurs on the Half Plate

The plate dinosaurs came from an idea found on Pinterest via 1-2-3 Learn Curriculum. My co-worker, Amazing Miz L, created the template (red) and the young dinosaur lovers made their own (blue).

Games: Seek 'n' Find, Dinosaur Alphabet Matching, and Dinosaur Match-Up

The Seek 'n' Find printouts were from ... somewhere online. I misplaced the link, if I find it again, I will add it to this post.

The Dinosaur Alphabet Matching was created by Erin from Creating & Teaching.

Dinosaur Match-Up was created in Microsoft PowerPoint with clipart. The dinosaurs could be matched up by color or by dino name.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Storytime: Tall

 Storytime landed on Abraham Lincoln's birthday. We focused on one characteristic of Abraham Lincoln - tall.

Hello SONG from Dragon Tales: Dragon Tunes
Who's Short? Who's Tall by Kailee Herbst
Small Medium Large by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Tomek Bogacki
Very, Very Tall SONG from Wiggleoworms: Wiggleworms Love You
Abraham Lincoln by Pamela Walker
Our Abe Lincoln adapted by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock
I'm So Big SONG from Stuart Stotts & Tom Pease: Celebrate: a Song Resource
Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino

The library owns a wooden storytelling set for The Three Little Pigs as well as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I borrowed two houses and a tree to recreate the setting of Too Tall Houses. The characters in the book are an owl and a rabbit. I placed finger puppets next to the houses to indicate house ownership. (Yes, the rabbit is in a top hat, but that's the only finger puppet rabbit available.)

Good-bye, So Long, Farewell, Toodle-oo SONG from Hap Palmer: Two Little Sounds Fun with Phonics and Numbers 

Craft Project from Banta friends: Heart Ornament from pipe cleaners and beads

The craft project focused on the current holiday (St. Valentine's Day) rather than the storytime theme.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Review: The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's DaughterThe Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

How deliciously Gothic! Klassen's newest title offers mystery, history, suspense, and salvation. Her book reminded me of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, accept serious instead of frivolous.

The Smallwoods need to secure a tutoring position. Emma wants to pull her Father out of the depression of losing his wife and she wants to find purpose for herself. They move forward by becoming reacquainted with a former student's family. Mr. Smallwood renews his relationship with his former students and strives to teach their younger brothers. Emma assists her father, looks to understand the mystery shrouding the host family, and renews her friendships with the two elder brothers.

The Tutor's Daughter is an excellent historical fiction piece. Klassen's book has a different flavor than her previous titles with the dark mysteries, but not to worry, nothing too frightening or ghastly is revealed. The various mysteries will have the reader sitting on the edge of their seats trying to figure out where the tales will lead.

Reviewed from a NetGalley copy. Thank you, Bethany House!
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