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review 2018-01-21 04:23
I Say Thanks for this Book!
Bear Says Thanks - Karma Wilson,Jane Chapman

"Bear Says Thanks", by Karma Wilson, is a sweet story about a lonely bear in his cave. He wants to have his friends over for a feast, but there is one problem. He doesn't have any food! What's a bear to do? His friends start to drop by one by one bringing him treats such as pies, muffins, fish, nuts, and tea. Bear is so thankful, but he starts to feel bad for not having anything to contribute to the feast. His friends assured him it was fine and that all they wanted was to be together. This is a good lesson on friendship and the importance of being together. Some fun activities while reading this story would be to get a picnic blanket or table cloth to lay out on the floor for the students to join you while you read. Another extra would be to have a picnic basket full of some of the treats in the story. For the fish, you could substitute goldfish. Of course you would need to know allergies before serving food. To go along with the story, since it is like a poem, would be for them to make a thankful lapbook. The middle could be an acrostic poem using the word "thankful". They can list other things they are thankful for on the sides of the lapbook.

 

Accelerated Reader Level: 2.3

Lexile: AD540L

Guided Reading Level: L 

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review 2018-01-15 00:40
Ines' Words - Haidji
For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

Beautifully written in Haidji's characteristic style. I enjoyed this short book. This one is especially musical and melodic. A simple story, but a very intriguing one. 

I really love Haidji's descriptions. One of my favorites was:

"Was left in the room,
in Silence.
The Silence that says everything by telling nothing."

Nicely written.
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review 2018-01-01 17:56
Lovely Read
Lost for Words - Stephanie Butland

I’ve always had a huge love of books set in bookshops, libraries or cosy little cafes and I was not disappointed with this one!

The main character is well developed and fleshed out and so loveable and often relatable too. The love story was sweet and throughout the story my heart hoped everything would work out for her in the end.

I thought the book as a whole was paced really well and the story flowed nicely with a few parts sneakily hidden until just the right moment came along.

The only downside I have about this book is that chapters are huge. I definitely prefer shorter chapters giving me a chance to stop and think about what I just read and what’s currently happened. But overall this was a lovely read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve now passed it on to my mum to read!

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review 2017-12-11 22:36
Deadly Sting / Jennifer Estep
Deadly Sting - Jennifer Estep

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

 

I couldn’t resist another installment of Elemental Assassin—I need a regular supply of urban fantasy if I’m to be happy these days!

Estep continues to provide action-filled plots, consistent with the world of Ashland that she has created for our reading pleasure. Nevertheless, it’s the action between Gin and Owen that rivets the attention in book 8, as we wonder if these two star-crossed lovers will find their way back together again.

This time around, we see Gin doing the patient Griselda routine, while Owen tries to sort himself out. She’s not happy about it, particularly as it seems that Owen and his sister Eva seem to continually need her assistance to get out or stay out of the clutches of Ashland’s underworld. Owen is willing to accept the assistance, but not necessarily Gin.

Gin actually gets some self-reflection time in this book—time to realize that she does make very pragmatic, unromantic decisions mostly and that this may be hard for those closest to her to live with. But she certainly proves that she is a strong, independent woman—Owen may be “needing some space,” but she continues to run her restaurant, take courses, spend time with her friends, and defend herself from all the opportunistic villains who want to take her down!

With her sister Bria and her pals, Jo-Jo and Sophia Deveraux and Roslyn Phillips, we are definitely getting into Bechdel test territory. Certainly they do discuss the men in their lives, but plenty more besides that. That’s what I like to see—a woman realistically surrounded by supportive women friends who are there to listen, support, and help when they can! More of this, please, Ms. Estep.

P.S. All the Southern cooking got to me--I ended up making Cornmeal Cheese muffins half way through the book so that I could concentrate on reading again!

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review 2017-12-11 22:32
Widow's Web / Jennifer Estep
Widow's Web - Jennifer Estep

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town.

Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back in town, she thinks he’s hers for the taking.

Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.

 

It really struck me as I was reading this volume of the Elemental Assassin series (number 7, if you’re counting) that Jennifer Estep is really working her way through all the relationship issues that a woman can have. The first couple of books revolve around being fixated on the wrong person—the one you’ve got chemistry with, but not necessarily shared values. The relationship that’s doomed from the start, but you’re still inexplicably drawn to (that would be detective Donovan Caine).

Then Gin meets Owen Grayson, someone she’s got things in common with—this is the stage where she’s found someone who could be compatible, but she’s not sure he’ll accept all of her, even the ruthless parts. They do the “do we really trust each other” dance for a couple of books, before seeming to settle into a pretty solid relationship.

The last book tested Gin’s commitment—bringing Donovan back into her life, seemingly anxious to reconcile. She passes on Mr. Caine, realizing that they still have polar opposite values and that it couldn’t possibly work. This book, its Owen’s turn, as his former fianceé Salina returns to Ashland, determined to get him back.

Things that I have complained about in earlier books—repetition, mostly—isn’t present in this installment. Estep seems to have either matured as a writer or found a much more stringent editor who doesn’t put up with it. As a result, the books are much more entertaining and my irritation quotient is dramatically reduced.

A nice little urban fantasy hit to keep my addiction alive!

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