The Letter for the King

A few months ago, my dear friend Tanya Arnold asked me to consider reading and reviewing The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt. We have very similar tastes in books, and she was delighting in the intelligent quirkiness of it. I started it and genuinely enjoyed it. I have some reading promises to fulfill first,…

The Cottage at Bantry Bay

Listen to this review here When Diane and I were preparing for our formal interview with Dr. John Tepper Marlin, son of Hilda van Stockum, he told us that people would often remark to his mother that she had “such interesting children.” Marlin said that his mother always chuckled at that remark because she thought…

The Heir of Mistmantle

In my first two reviews of the Mistmantle Chronicles (Urchin of the Riding Stars and Urchin and the Heartstone), I mentioned that I was surprised and delighted by Urchin and his adventures. I said that the openings were interesting (they are), that the writing was elegant (absolutely so), that the characters were delightful (they are),…

Audio Review of The Ark

For many years, we have had a number of requests for us to record our book reviews so that busy moms could listen while they work. Well, after much discussion, we have decided to explore the idea of recorded book reviews as well as a regular podcast. While we finish exploring the idea and sort…

Rowan Farm

Rowan Farm is a delightful sequel to Margot Benary-Isbert’s treasure, The Ark. This sequel picks up just a few weeks after The Ark concludes. I enjoyed this book. Rowan Farm is just as wholesome and enriching as the first. I am handing it to my 13-year-old without any concern except for one which I will…

The Ark

The podcast version of this book review can be found here. Oh, how I would have loved Margot Benary-Isbert’s The Ark when I was a teen! The Ark’s main character, Margaret Lechow, is a lovely soul whose sympathy with animals resonates with my own deep longing to have been raised on a farm. Like Margaret,…

Urchin and the Heartstone

Urchin and the Heartsone, the sequel to Urchin of the Riding Stars, is easily one of the most beautiful books I have read this year. And, I read a lot of good books.  In my review of the first Mistmantle book, Urchin of the Riding Stars, I mention that I was surprised and delighted by…

The Archer’s Cup

The Archer’s Cup is the third Jo Shanks book in the Green Ember Archer series. It is the ninth book published, and it occurs as the second to last book chronologically. And, true to form, it is both wildly entertaining and informational. The Green Ember Archer series serves to give the reader additional information and…

The First Fowler

“Jo Shanks,” Helmer said, “you have somehow given me an idea.” “What is that, sir?” Jo asked, believing he might finally be really receiving the compliment he had longed for from the gruff old buck. “That you,” Helmer began, “need significant extra training. I might allow you to join our training sessions once we get…

The Last Archer

One of the things I enjoy so much about the #RabbitsWithSwords world of S. D. Smith’s Green Ember books is that there are a great number of “minor” characters who are so interesting to me that I would love to see them get their own fully developed stories. As an example, the Weavers are written…

Ember’s End

This final chapter in the Green Ember series, Ember’s End, is sure to please readers. It is chock-full of exciting battle scenes, the dialogue between the characters is delightful and often hilarious, unlooked for miracles are in the offing, victory is at hand, and a mending of not only The Great Wood but also of…

Ember Rising

“‘Tell them we died like heroes!’ [he] called. Then he pointed his drawn sword at the advancing wolves. ‘Tell them we did our duty!’ A shout from defiant rabbits echoed through the forest. ‘Let fly!’ [He] cried as the operators released the last blastarrows to fly at the attacking pack. ‘Tell them,’ he whispered to…

Ember Falls

“[She] knew the song, yes. But she knew more than that. She knew exactly who was singing. Her heart flooded with a sudden, surging hope.” Ember Falls, p. 331 That is the last line of the book. Have no fear, I have no intention of spoiling any part of this story. I merely offer that…

Urchin of the Riding Stars

Urchin of the Riding Stars, the first book in The Mistmantle Chronicles, renewed my passion for reading aloud in my home. Our review of the sequel, Urchin and the Heartstone, can be found here. My children are now eleven, nearly thirteen, and nearly fifteen. In the early years of our family, read-aloud was more than just…