Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Thick as Thieves

For several years now, I have heard friends rave about Susan Marlow’s books. Last year, I snagged a couple of her Goldtown Adventures books for my son, and sure enough, he thoroughly enjoyed them. So, when I had the chance to review two of her Circle C books, I jumped at on it!

This week’s selection is Thick as Thieves, book one in the Circle C Milestones series. This new series follows Andrea Carter, heroine of the Circle C Adventures series, as she enters her teen years.

Thick as Thieves marks my family’s introduction to Andi Carter, as we have not read any of her earlier adventures. That did not make this book any less enjoyable for us, however. References to earlier experiences and relationships were included in Thick as Thieves, but they were not essential to our understanding or enjoyment of this story.

So, who is this story for? I would gladly recommend Thick as Thieves to a wide variety of ages!

Because Andi Carter is a bit of a tomboy, her stories appeal to both boys and girls – yes, even my princess! Also, as an almost fourteen-year-old, Andi’s age in Thick as Thieves keeps her young enough for elementary readers yet old enough for an early teen audience.

Topical content might be the primary reason for parents of young children to peruse Thick as Thieves before handing it to a child. Set in the late 1800’s, this story deals with a cattle rustling family completely lacking moral values. The youngest, a girl Andi’s age, is a hateful bully, while her alcoholic older brothers are downright abusive. Their treatment of Andi and others might raise questions in the minds of younger children.

My eight-year-old son did read and enjoy this book, even though his tender heart was definitely impacted by the bullying and the cruelty of Macy’s family. But, he was equally impacted by the fact that the love of Christ, shining through one of His children, can make a difference, even in a heart as hard as Macy’s.

Bottom line: If Thick as Thieves is a true representation of Susan Marlow’s writing, the rest of her books will definitely be on our library-building list.

Want to give it a try? Click on the image below to grab the e-book for $0.99 this week only!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 27, 2015

In the great outdoors...chilly and wet after an early morning thunder shower.

Within our four walls...we’ve currently settled down to morning chores after some early morning pinging.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a relatively calm week ahead; for a house that can handle the crazy temperature changes we’ve experienced lately; for the chances the farmers have had to get out in the fields, despite the wet spring.

A heart of prayer...for more dry days for planting; for a productive week this week before heading into a much more chaotic one next week; for sick friends; for the Choates as they prepare to travel later this week (YAY!).

Random observations...It’s been a month since I’ve blogged for personal pleasure, either here or on annhibbard.com. I’m looking forward to getting back to it.

My silly daughter...declared yesterday that we need a family suite in the crazy house. There are days when I’d wholeheartedly agree!

Thoughts from the kitchen...soup, soup, soup? I’m thinking I might have to make a special run to Wal-Mart for spicy cheese soup ingredients. I thought we had our last batch a month ago when it started to get warm, but we’ve had a couple more rounds of soup weather. Mmmmm…I like soup.

On my bookshelf...I managed to sneak in a couple of pleasure books lately – the second half of one of Tricia Goyer’s Amish fiction novels and The Rose of Winslow Street, the only Elizabeth Camden book I had not yet read. Now it’s back to review books. I’m finishing up Thick as Thieves by Susan Marlow today – book one in her Andrea Carter Circle C Milestones series for slightly older kids (although the 8-14 age range would probably enjoy these as much as they do her Circle C Ranch books). Next week I’ll be reviewing a book of Circle C Ranch short stories. I also have a new author to check out – Dina L. Sleiman. Her Robin Hood-like novel Dauntless struck me as one the girls might enjoy, so I agreed to review it.

Meanwhile, there’s the nonfiction – currently Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson. And there are a few Bible studies on my shelf that I’ve looked through and need to write the reviews for soon.

Can you tell I put reviews on hold for a couple of months while I tackled my writing project? Catch up time!!!

Projects...Purging. Real, deep-down purging. As in, pull everything out, sort it and get rid of it, and then put what’s left back in. So far, that tactic has only been applied to closets, but no room is off limits. The insanity has to be tamed! 

Sounds of the moment...the vacuum cleaner in the next room.

From Hibbard Academy...we weren’t going to take last week off, but Mommy entered the week with NOTHING prepared. So, we took the week off. The kids worked on their rooms (not to the extent that I will, but they did make good progress), and I got the rest of the school year laid out. I was trying to push, push, push so we could be done by late May/early June. I’ve given up. We need our mid-school year breaks more than we need a long summer break (although we still will have a summer break). So, now we’re looking at being done end of June and taking July off. Hopefully.

Back to it this week, though!

A favorite thing from last week...dropping off a car load of stuff that we purged. I like letting go of stuff. Another pile is already accumulating.

The planner...not much this week, other than a couple of nights of church activities. That’s nice, considering next week is quite full!

Because visuals are fun...five years ago, we brought this lovable monster home with us. He was so sick. Skin and bones. His head looked enormous compared to his body. We really thought we were just giving him a place to die. You wouldn’t know it today. He’s down a few teeth, and his fur is starting to get that older cat texture. But, he’s healthy and active and very much alive!

Then there’s the beautiful little lady holding him. She gets so much pleasure from the cats. Tolerating the three cats is worth it when I see how much she loves them.

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