MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Becoming Mrs. Lewis
ISBN: 9780785224501
Publisher's Synopsis:
From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.
"You would not have called to me
unless I had been calling to you."
Aslan, The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis
MrsK's Review:
Joy's story begins in 1946, New York. Amidst an anguished phone call, Joy reveals insights about her doubts. A marriage between two writers with beginnings of idealism and passion was now "unhinging" her husband and bringing her fear, despair, and desperation. A desperation that began as a "crack" in her soul... where God came in.

Three years later, Joy writes her first letter to C.S. Lewis and from that point on their letters "flew over the ocean like birds passing each other in flight." When one is in the wait room of transformation, you tend to wrestle with who you are becoming and the abounding truth about which path you desire to travel. 

With stunning settings, biographical glimpses conveyed from their letters, and unblemished crafting of a fictional story line... Joy once again has been given a voice. With a wealth of insights, I could have written so many tidbits that would have enticed you to read this narrative. Reviews appear to be mixed. If you have not experienced C.S. Lewis beyond Narnia, much of this story could appear as a fictional love story. Having completed a study about C.S. Lewis by Devin Brown: Discussing Mere Christianity (Study Gateway DVD series), I was enthralled with the unveiling of Joy's story.

Read, cherish the encounter, and place this on your book shelf. It is priceless!
"The beauty that brings us to peace and whispers
that there's something more."
 A beautiful journey that must be shared! 

Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters     Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman: The Letters and Autobiography of Joy Davidman
Meet the Author:
Patti Callahan Growing up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. At the age of twelve, her family moved to South Florida where Patti found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow but steady journey into understanding the power of story to navigate confusing times in life.

Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.
"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Title: Olive Kitteridge, Author: Elizabeth Strout
Publisher's Synopsis:
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition – its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life – sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.

"... Olive Kitteridge was going to New York..."
MrsK's Review:

Olive Kitteridge is a complex woman. A small town educator, that is either accepted or provoking others into costly denial. She speaks her mind and she isn't one to back down. So many lives are always in a state of unraveling. Olive continues to involve herself in the needs of those in her town, and of course with her family. Yet now, at seventy two, Olive no longer feels satisfaction in her efforts to help... it is more of a compelling "put out." Often over-bearing, cruel, and insensitive to how her words and actions affect those around her, Olive must come to an understanding that brings a painful moment of clarity... a true reflection of herself.

Written with in the thirteen lives, Olive's character portrayal is faceted with so many illuminating strengths and weaknesses. Every life is complex. Every season in life evolves into the next. Olive's journey unfolds as if she was on a trip through time. Some stories have closure, some are still left undone. Just as in life, the final completion is still in progress.
"She didn't like to be alone.
Even more, she didn't like being with people."

Sometimes there is a novel that is well defined...
One in which the characters puzzle you...
One in which you are left with "unfulfilled" puzzlement!

"I never intended to return to Olive Kitteridge.
I really thought I was done with her, and she with me. 
But a few years ago I was in a European city, alone for a weekend, and I went to a café, and she just showed up. That’s all I can say. She showed up with a force, the way she did the very first time, and I could not ignore her."
Meet the Author:
Elizabeth Strout Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels, including: Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive Kitteridge. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker. She teaches at the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte.
Random House Partnerships - Random House Books 

Secrets at Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble

Secrets at Cedar Cabin (Lavender Tides, #3)
ISBN: 9780718085841
Publishers Synopsis:
Running for her life in the wake of her mother’s murder, Bailey Fleming escapes to the only place she can think of—a remote, dilapidated cabin in Lavender Tides. Intending to finally get to the truth behind the lies of her past, Bailey only finds more questions when bodies are discovered near her cabin hideout along with traces of a dangerous human trafficking ring. In an unlikely partnership with FBI agent Lance Phoenix, Bailey races to understand the mystery surrounding her life and circumstances before the murderer tracks her down.

Meanwhile, Lance is determined to rescue his sister, Ava, who was abducted after running away from home as a teenager. An unexpected lead brings him to the remote cabin, and he wonders if Bailey—with her suspicious past and strange connections to his sister’s case—is really who she claims to be and if she can somehow lead him to Ava.

"Bailey opened the burgundy cover and glanced at the first picture.
She blinked as she struggled to take in the reality of the photo..."
MrsK's Review:
Bailey Fleming enjoyed working with the elderly. To Bailey, those she served were her family members she had always wanted. Loving and caring for them came naturally. When one revelation leads to another, Bailey is forced to run for her life. Every step forward becomes twisted by deceivers. Doubt becomes fear, and fear becomes a strength that leads Bailey to a cross roads of possibilities or death.

Kyle Bearcroft should have been Bailey's prince charming. The truth became clear once Bailey discovered that he was a bigamist. With determination, Bailey decides to move beyond her illegal marriage to Kyle. Yet, Kyle is driven to control Bailey for reasons that Bailey could never have known.

Lance Phoenix might be a FBI agent, but right now he is driven in his desire to get and take down the lead sex-trafficker in the Pacific Northwest. Every life mattered, yet Lance has a special agenda. Ava had to be found! 

Even though King "feels a little inconspicuous" in Seattle, he must find out where Bailey is hiding. He knows that she is a "loose canon." One that he should have taken care of. 

Lily lives close by to the cabin that her father built in 1936. Given the troubles with her health, ability to take care of herself, and a memory that floats in and out, Bailey decides to watch over her. Maybe this new life will help her overcome the nightmares of being on the run.

Expertly woven are many of the previous characters from the first two books in this series. New threads are attached to the mysterious tapestry that was begun in Lavendar Tides. As with any seasonal change, these novels will provide page-turning adventures before the holidays arrive.
Will Bailey bring an end to this saga?
A consuming, unraveling legal thriller!
The View from Rainshadow Ba...    The House at Saltwater Poin...
Meet the Author:
 Colleen Coble  USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.
"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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