Tuesday, December 12, 2017

All Things Now Living, by Rondi Bauer Olson {book review}

About the book

Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.

Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.

What I thought about the book

To be honest, I admit that I'm not a fan of the young adult dystopian genre, so I really requested this book to review with my middle son in mind. He and my daughter enjoy books in that genre. While my son enjoys that dystopian, I learned that he doesn't like books in present tense or first person, both in which All Things Now Living is written. So I handed it over to my daughter, who's "devoured" it. She seems to have enjoyed it. I may even see if my youngest might like to attempt reading it.

I found it well written and captivating, in spite of my disinterest in the genre.

About the author

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.

Learn more and purchase a copy.
(You will find on this page a discussion and project guide to be used with All Things Now Living, for grades 7-12)

*Publisher's Note: This book is considered a Hi-Lo book - with a reading level of 3.2 - specially designed with the goal of enhancing literacy through literature that engages and drives interest.

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Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in order to give you my honest opinion.


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Sunday, December 10, 2017

2018 Reading Challenges


I'm going to attempt some reading challenges in 2018. We'll see how this goes! Some of these I'll be reading aloud to Steven. Some of them I'll listen to as audio books.
I attempted the Back to the Classics Challenge in 2016...and failed miserably. I'll attempt it again this year! This is hosted on Books and Chocolate.

1.  A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899. Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings/ E.G. White

2.  A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1968. Partners/ Grace Livingston Hill

3.  A classic by a woman author. Agnes Grey/ Anne Bronte

4.  A classic in translation.  Candide : or Optimism / Voltaire

5. A children's classic. These Happy Golden Years/ Laura Ingalls Wilder

6.  A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. The Cape Cod Mystery/ Phoebe Atwood Taylor

7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction.  Unbeaten Tracks in Japan/ Isabella L Bird

8. A classic with a single-word title.  Middlemarch/ George Eliot

9. A classic with a color in the title. The Red Badge of Courage/ Stephen Crane

10. A classic by an author that's new to you. Maggie, a girl of the streets / Stephen Crane

11. A classic that scares you. War and Peace/ Leo Tolstoy

12. Re-read a favorite classic. (Still considering)

This challenge is hosted by Becky's Book Reviews. The goal is to read a minimum of 6 from this list.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V or W
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. An alphabet book
_47. A counting book
_48. A color word in the title
_49. A number word in the title
_50. Concept book of your choice— picture book
_51. Concept book of your choice — board book
_52. bedtime book —board book
_53. bedtime book — picture book
_54. book that rhymes —picture book
_55. book that rhymes — early reader OR board book
_56. holiday of your choice — board book or early reader
_57. holiday of your choice — picture book
_58. wordless picture book
_59. new to you author
_60. new to you illustrator
_61. favorite author
_62. favorite illustrator
_63. free choice
_64. fairy or folk tale adaptation
_65. fairy or folk tale traditional
_66. a title with the word “first” in it
_67. a book set in the state you live
_68. a book set in a place you’d like to visit
_69. a book set in an imaginary place
_70. a book set in the past — fiction or nonfiction
_71. a book set in the present
_72. picture book for older readers — fiction
_73. picture book for older readers — nonfiction
_74. early reader — fiction
_75. early reader — nonfiction
_76. picture book with photographs
_77. one word title
_78. long title (four or more words)
_79. oversized book
_80. tiny book
_81. a book about playing (hide and seek, tag, or peekaboo, etc.)
_82. a book about school
_83. a book about hobbies (art, dance, music, crafts, sports)
_84. a title that is a question
_85. a title that is an exclamation
_86. an award winner or an honor book
_87. a collection (of poems OR stories)
_88. a book with animals (fiction)
_89. a book with animals (nonfiction)
_90. a book about books or reading
_91. a book celebrating family
_92. first book in a series
_93. any book in a series
_94. book with an adventure or misadventure
_95. a book about a pet
_96. A title with the word “yes” or “no” in it
_97. A title with the word “big” or “little” in it
_98. a classic published before 1968
_99. a book you think should be considered a classic
_100. Out of print
_101. Library book
_102. Impulse Pick
_ 103. Board book published in 2018
_ 104. Picture book published in 2018
This challenge is also hosted by Becky's Book Reviews. Again, a minimum of 6 books are to be read from this list.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V or W
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. 2018 Newbery Winner or Honor
_47. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2010-2017
_48. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2000-2009
_49. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1990-1999
_50. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1980-1989
_51. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1970-1979
_52. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1960-1969
_53. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1950-1959
_54. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1940-1949
_55. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1932-1939
_56. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1922-1931
_57. Notable Children's Book from 2018 or 2017
_ 58. Any book by a Wilder Award author
_ 59. verse novel
_ 60. graphic novel
_ 61. biography or memoir
_ 62. nonfiction
_ 63. poetry
_ 64. audio book
_ 65. first in a series
_ 66. any book in a series
_ 67. last book in a series
_ 68. favorite author
_ 69. new to you author
_ 70. British author
_ 71. Australian author
_ 72. Canadian author
_ 73. translated into English from another language
_ 74. American author
_ 75. set in the state you live
_ 76. set in a place you'd like to visit
_ 77. set in an imaginary place you'd like to visit
_ 78. picture book for older readers
_ 79. book about a pet
_ 80. animal fantasy
_ 81. fantasy
_ 82. alternate reality
_ 83. science fiction
_ 84. adventure
_ 85. action/suspense
_ 86. mystery/detective
_ 87. realistic fiction
_ 88. school setting
_ 89. multiple points of view
_ 90. historical fiction -- world war I
_ 91. historical fiction -- world war II
_ 92. historical fiction, your choice
_ 93. historical fiction, mystery or suspense
_ 94. oh the sads
_ 95. happy, happy ending
_ 96. laugh until you cry
_ 97. coming of age
_ 98. "diary" or "notebook"
_ 99. classic, your choice
_ 100. out of print
_ 101. library book
_ 102. impulse pick
_ 103. published in 2018
_ 104. YOUR pick for Newbery 2019

Bonus/alternate picks:
_ made into a good movie
_ made into a horrible movie
_ book from your childhood
_ free choice
_ multiple authors
_ orphan child
_ vacation setting or road trip
_ first crush
_ new book by favorite author
_ time travel or steam punk

This challenge looks especially fun, since I love reading children's books! I've read aloud a lot of children's books to my children throughout our years of homeschooling, and many of those books were Caldecott or Newberry winners.

For this challenge, I think I'll aim for the Konigsburg level, which is to earn 75+ points. We'll see if I actually reach that! (Yikes!)

You'll find the details on the Smiling Shelves blog.
Another challenge hosted on Becky's Book Reviews. The goal is to read a minimum of 3 books about cats. This should be fun!

This challenge is hosted over on Rose City Reader. For this one, the challenge is to read books by European authors or set in any of the European countries. I'll be aiming for 5 books for this challenge. We'll see if I manage that.

It looks like I'll have a busy year, reading! I hope you'll join me in one or more of these challenges, yourself.



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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Friendship with Jesus {a devotional}

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. John 15:14.

The character and course of the Christian is in marked contrast to that of worldlings. The Christian cannot find pleasure in the amusements and in the varied scenes of gaiety of the world. Higher and holier attractions engage the affections. Christians will show that they are the friends of God by their obedience. “Ye are my friends,” says Christ, “if ye do whatsoever I command you.... If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Christ is your rock and your fortress. Unto His name the righteous runneth and are safe.... The righteousness and excellency of His requirements are not comprehended by the world, who look upon the religion of Christ as a yoke of bondage, a surrender of their liberty. Each of God’s requirements is an order to become wise, rich, and noble by uniting our weak strength with the power of the Infinite. While following the footsteps of Christ we need never blush, for our conscience will never reproach us. His service is always reasonable. His work is always honorable and glorious. Our friends who desire us to choose the pleasures of the world and to conform to the customs of the world, who look upon us as obstinate, can have no claims upon us that bear any comparison with the claims of Christ....

The value of man as God estimates him is through his union with Christ; for God is the only One able to raise man in the scale of moral worth through the righteousness of Christ. Worldly honor and worldly greatness are of just that value that the Creator of man places upon them. Their wisdom is foolishness, their strength weakness.

Let us value what God esteems. True elevation of character is found alone through Christ. Our Saviour imputes His righteousness to the man who yields to Him his heart’s best and holiest affections. Our value is in proportion to our alliance to God. ~Our High Calling
, by E.G. White


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wordless Wednesday, December 6 {with link up}







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Monday, December 4, 2017

'All Things Now Living' Blog Tour and Kindle Fire Giveaway

While on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle in Rondi Bauer Olson's All Things Now Living. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are. Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer. Time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.



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