Mr. Zip and The Capital Z by Kimberly Bryant-Palmer

I love tracking down new and interesting books for my kids! I really want my kids to loveunnamed-2 reading. Now if I can find a fun clean series that will pull them in AND include history — What a find!! 🙂

I really enjoyed Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. The main character is, of course, Mr. Zip, an older gentleman who owns a very unique shop with “everything you would need to know — from A to Z.” He is a very likable and yet slightly strange character that has a hint of Mr. Whitaker from Adventure’s in Odyssey and Finnian Jones from Lamplighter Theatre. (Great audio resources I would highly recommend!)

This book focused on a young boy called Peanut. He learns a little more about family, history and his heart. Somehow with Mr. Zip he sees glances of history from General Jackson in the War of 1812 to General Washington in the Revolutionary War to as far back as the Tower of Babel.  I love the last chapter with the interaction between Peanut and his dad. What a special moment!

Mr. Zip shares an interesting fact from history between each chapter. Also, there’s footnotes and endnotes concerning the history, if you want to check more out.

We look forward to the next book in the series — Mr. Zip and The Capital Z ~ Lucy Jane Pennywhistle Comes Home!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash. I was not required to give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Willie’s Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher

I sat down with my kids one morning — planning to read just some of Willie’s Redneck Time Machine. However, we ended up laughing our way Willie’s Redneck Time Machine book coverthrough SIX different stories before I decided we better get something else done! 🙂

I’m hoping that this book, which is the first book in a new choose-your-own-adventure series called Be Your Own Duck Commander, will catch the interest of my reluctant reader to read on her own. She really loved the choices and the adventures!!

In this book you (as Willie) discover an out-house which is actually a time machine in the Duck Commander warehouse. However, it might take you a while to figure that out, because you’re sure your brother Jase is playing a joke on you! Then…depending on your choices…you…well, I don’t want to give too much away, but John Luke is always involved!

We are really looking forward to the rest of the series: Phil & the Ghost of Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, Sin in Space, and Jase & the Deadliest Hunt!

Enjoy the adventure!!!

P.S. I loved these growing up! 🙂

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Making Marion by Beth Moran

Making Marion by Beth Moran

I’m having a hard time writing this review for Making Marion because I had mixed feelings while reading it…Making Marion book cover

On the positive side, the story was much deeper than I thought it would be. In between the cartoon-like cover art and the subtitle “Where’s Robin Hood when you need him?”, I expected it to be warm and fuzzy, filled with lighthearted moments! (Everyone needs a fun, “summer” now and then, right!?) While Making Marion had some of those, but it also was hard, emotional, awkward, and real. (Thank you, Beth Moran!!) It was a little slow getting into, but I ended up really enjoying the story and getting to know the characters. 🙂

On the negative side, I was disappointed about the language. As a woman and mom of 3 girls, I really don’t want to recommend books that throw around the “b-word” (yes, I’m talking about the Old English word with the original meaning of “female dog”). It wasn’t overbearing, but it also wasn’t necessary to an otherwise very good story.

I wouldn’t mind checking out more books from Beth Moran, but I would be very hesitant if she can’t choose better words! 😦

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

Author Julianna Deering stepped it up with Murder at the Mikado! Murder at the Mikado book cover

This is the third book of the The Drew Farthering Mystery series. I would recommend starting with the first one, Rules of Murder. However, in all honesty, I had been a little lukewarm about this series. There are many positives… These books are set in a fun time period and location filled with quirky characters. They are clean, as in I don’t have to wade through vulgar language or embarrassing bedroom situations, AND I would be willing to let my daughters read them. Also, there a sweet love story developing between the solving of mysteries! But I have been won over with Murder at the Mikado! 🙂

So… Is there going to be another one, Deering?

Drew and his financee Madeline are looking forward to their wedding. However, Fleur, an old flame of Drew’s steps into the picture and stirs up some buried wounds in Madeline. When Fleur becomes the prime suspect in some murders, her husband asks for Drew’s help while Madeline is hoping just once he would say no! …Will they make it to the alter or will their relationship die a tragic death of it’s own.

I loved that she pulled the original detective trio — Drew, Madeline (though not as excited this time), and Nick, Drew’s best friend — back together! Madeline’s aunt Ruth is still a wonderful addition to the story. Also Chief Inspector Birdsong has become a favorite for me — gruff and serious, but his willingness to allow these amateurs to get involved has grown through the series. 🙂

Deering kept me guessing to the end. I would think I had it figured out and then a kink would be thrown in!! Who is involved? … Fleur? Her husband? The nanny? One of the maids? One of the actors? The missing reporter?

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Bumper Wipe Clean Activities book

Bumper Wipe Clean Activities, by Juliet David; illustrated by Marie AllenBumper Wipe Clean Activities book cover

I love reviewing books, but the whole family really get excited when I can share something with them! And what a fun book this is for the kids – a Bible activity book that can be reused again and again!!

I was surprised how entertaining this Bumper Wipe Clean Activity book was for a wide range of ages of kids! All of my 4 kids ages from 9 to 4 went through this activity book — dot to dot, spot the mistakes, mazes, hidden objects, coloring pictures… — and really enjoyed it. I assisted my 4 years old son in reading the instructions and he did very well. My 9 year old daughter pulled out our collection of different colored dry erase markers (a black one is included with the book for your convenience) and went through the book several times, adding her own twists as she went.

I would love to see more of these and even ones specifically made for older ages also.

This Bumper Wipe Clean Activity book would be great for many occasions — fun just around the house, distraction in a doctor’s waiting room or entertainment during long trips!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh

Tamara Leigh is the author of Perfect Kate (Loved it!!) and Splitting Harriet (Haven’t read, but plan to as soon as possible!). So I was excited to read Faking Faking Grace book coverGrace, which is also part of the Chick lit genre.

Maizy Grace blew a big story in Seattle, but plans to get back into investigative journalism in Nashville. However, for right now she needs a part time job to pay the bills. It so happens that Steeple Side Christian Resources is hiring, but they only hire committed Christians. Even though Maizy was saved and when she was younger and attended church with her grandma, she is very immature in her faith. So, she decides to go by “Grace”, picks up a copy of The Dumb Blonde’s Guide to Christianity, and tapes (yes, tapes!!) a “Jesus is copilot” bumper sticker on her car as she plans to fake her way through this job till her big break comes. However, what happens when her big break collides with her new friendships and her growing faith?

I ended up with mixed feelings about Faking Grace. To me the story was slower and harder to get into. I was not expecting that, because it was definitely not my experience with Perfecting Kate. (You can check out my review for that book here.) However, in the end, I did enjoy this book – Maizy Grace’s dilemma, all the interesting and humorous experiences that occur, and the relationships that develop. I grew to like the characters, especially the grandmas!! So, even though this isn’t my favorite book, I would still recommend as a fun clean read.

Here are a few book-related resources:

Disclosure: I received this ebook free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s book review bloggers program, BookSneeze. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Lone Ranger Movie

**Did you know? …

The Lone Ranger first started as a radio show in the 1930s and then went on to become a hit television series in the 1950s. Both original actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, who play the crime-fighting duo of the Lone Ranger and Tonto took their position as role models very seriously. They even wrote up a creed of what principles their characters stand for.

It reads:

  • “I believe…
  • “That to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • “That all men are created equal, and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • “That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • “In being prepared physically, mentally and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
  • “That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • “That ‘this government of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always.
  • “That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • “That sooner or later. . . somewhere. . . somehow. . . we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • “That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • “In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”

(from Movieguide.org)

**I thought that was very interesting! So did the new movie hold these as well?

Disney’s new interpretation of THE LONE RANGER character may still hold to a moral code of justice and freedom, but, much like the new MAN OF STEEL, these moral codes and principals are no longer safely accessible to young children due to violence and crude language. If Disney is still wondering why THE LONE RANGER tanked at the box office, it’s because they alienated not just a young audience that would enjoy such a character, but a young audience that could be inspired.

(from Movieguide.org)

**Your thoughts, because I haven’t seen the movie yet?