Monthly Archives: October 2015

Worst Class Field Trip Ever…. A Bookymom Review

The Worst Class Trip EverThe Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Worst Class Field Trip EVER is a middle grade novel about a group of pre-teens from Miami who head off to Washington, DC. From the get go, the kids run in trouble and become entangled with men they believe are terrorists.

I was hoping for a laugh a minute story from humorist Dave Barry. Sadly, the book did not meet my expectations.

I will say the ending of the book when the main character saves the president is just about laugh out loud funny!

My kids (6 and 9) liked the book and I could hear the occasional chuckle coming from the backseat as we listened to the audiobook.

But, at the end of the day, it is not going down in the middle grade book hall of fame.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Wool: A Booky Mom Review

Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1)Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wool is another dystopian book chronicling the life of the people left behind. In this case, the ‘survivors’ live in an rather sophisticated underground silo. While I love this genre, it is often difficult for authors to standout in the crowd. Surprisingly, I think Hugh Howey manages to achieve this.

The series begins by following the community’s sheriff as he prepares to be expelled from the silo. Individuals who do not conform to the community rules are sent out into a toxic wilderness and forced to clean a lense that offers the only view of the outside world.

Events take off from there and readers are treated to an interesting take about what it means to be a survivor. Exactly who are they surviving for and why?

I enjoyed the story and found the writing and pace of the novel to be adequate. Howey does a solid job of creating another world in a space that still allows readers relate. I also enjoyed the authors use of suspense as the story unfolds.

All and all, I would recommend this book to readers of the apocalyptic genre.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Freud’s Mistress: A Fun work of FICTION

Freud's MistressFreud’s Mistress by Karen Mack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Freud’s Mistress is novel about Minna Bernays’ relationship with her brother-in-law, Sigmund Freud. Readers follow Minna as she struggles to find her place in a world where she does not fit.

Minna is an intellectual woman in an age when the role of most women is to bare children and keep an orderly house. She travels from job to job as a governess or lady’s companion to the wealthy households. But, she is unsatisfied with her role and longs for something more. As a result, she represses her feelings of incompleteness with gin and cigarettes.

Finally, after losing employment yet again, Minna ends up with nowhere to turn and she takes up residence with her sister’s family helping with the children.

While there is evidence that Minna did in fact live with the Freuds for decades, it is unclear whether she and Sigmund ever actually had an affair. I know some reviewers think this is an issue. For me, it is not. This is a work of fiction and should not be taken as history. Certainly, Freud was obsessed with sex and it very well might have happened.

What keep me reading the book was the character of Minna. I found her struggle to find a role in society a more interesting story than her relationship with Freud. Additionally, the interplay between the sisters as the book goes on is clever. Does Martha (Minna’s sister) know what happened?

All in all the book was well executed and a light, entertaining read. However, readers should not confuse this for history.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Appleblossum the Possum: A Book for the WHOLE family

Appleblossom the PossumAppleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am constantly forcing my kids to listen to audio books as we drive around town or take care trips. I refuse to give in to TV’s and video games in the backseat. I just won’t do it!

However finding books that both kids (a 6 yr old girl and 9 year old boy) and I ALL like can be a challenge. Applebloosom Possum is DEFINITELY a cool all three of us enjoyed.

The story is about a group of young possums and their experience e of growing up. There are several comic elements that adults will appreciate. For example, the possums are trained in acting, ie playing possum. They quote Shakespeare and one of the siblings is named Amlet.

There are very funny parts about the different kinds of monsters the possums encounter…I don’t want to give it away.

Additionally, the audio version is read by Dustin Hoffman and he does a great job bringing the story and characters to life.

I certainly recommend this book as a fun family read.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Thunderstruck

ThunderstruckThunderstruck by Erik Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thunderstruck is the story of wireless telegraphy placed on the backdrop of a famous English murder. It is a well written book and does a good job of explaining how Marconi developed the wireless.

I was struck buy the fact that Marconi was more of a tinkerer than a cold hard scientist. It is fascinating how many stories of scientific discovery involve novices. In this case, Marconi struggled against the establishment but used his sense of business and marketing to come out on top.

The book culminates with killer attempting to escape to the US and a ship captain using the wireless to help Scotland Yard arrest him. Evidently, this dramatic story helped propel wireless telegraphy forward.

I have read almost all of Larson’s books and I’d put this one smack in the middle. My favorite remains Devil in the White City, followed by Lusitania and then Thunderstuck and finally In the Garden of Beasts. It is not that I disliked Thunderstuck, it’s simply that the other two are better in my opinion.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Daisy Days: Earning Our Respect Authority Badge

  This is the second year I’ve been co-leading a Daisy Troop for The Princess.  The first year was really just a warm up.  We had about 8 kindergarten girls and we meet once a month.  This year we have a full troop of 12 girls and are ready to rock and roll.

We are starting out the year with the Respect Authority Badge.  Back to school back to the rules of the classroom.

The meeting began by getting our wiggles out with a game of Simon Says.  Our ‘Simon’ got to wear a fire hat! The girls took turns ‘respecting the authority’ who was actually another Daisy Scout.  This let the girls have a chance to be the person in charge for a change.

After our warm up, it was our circle/snack time.  We read the story from our Daisy guide book and the girls made a list of people who are authority figures.  We also discussed the difference between a person who actually has authority and person who is simply being bossy.  Meaning that in America we choose our authority figures and vote on who will be President or Sheriff.  So we are actually giving them the authority and then respecting the rules they make to keep us safe.

For our craft, we made gavel pencils.  I looked all over pinterest for a good craft, but really couldn’t find anything.  So I made one up…

Before the meeting, my co-leader and I hollowed out a small whole in a wine cork.  The girls pushed the eraser end of the pencil into the cork.   

 Next, we allowed them to decorate their gavel with some washi tape I purchased at the dollar store.  And, ta da….  we have our very own Daisy gavels.  I thought this would be easier on adult ears than buying wooden ones online!  I also bought flower themed notebooks for the girls to go with their new pencils.

The final craft of the day was making a wanted poster for someone who did not respect authority….

Then it was time to give the Daisy’s their badges and call it a day.  By the way, I did find a template for the Daisy Petal Card on pinterest.  We have had a few girls with misplaced petals and I am hoping these big certificates will avoid any more missing petals!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, School Days

Mrs. Poe: Book Review

Mrs. PoeMrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There seems to be subcategory of historical fiction devoted the lives of women related to famous men. As readers, we are meant to see the men through the lens of the women who knew them. Lynn Cullen adds another book to the genre with her book, “Mrs. Poe”.

Cullen’s story is told from the point of view of Edgar Allen Poe’s mistress, Frances Osgood and places her in opposition to Poe’s wife. Mrs. Osgood is a struggling poet with two children and an artist husband who has abandoned her for the moment. Through her connection to literary New York, Osgood meets Mr. Poe and his wife.

A rivalry begins between the two women and drama follows.

While the book is not exceptional, it has a few qualities that make it enjoyable. Cullen lets readers into the world of 1800 century literature and many authors that will appear on high school reading lists are brought through the novel. Osgood and her children are living with the Barletts (as in the famous Barlett’s Quotations).

Additionally, Cullen creates the time and place with subtlety. New York is on the verge of becoming a booming metropolis we now picture. In the novel, characters are fighting for a ‘central park’ because the open space is disappearing.

The book is quick read and fans of the time period or the genre will not be disappointed.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Books