In the Bookcase


Book Review: The Westing Game

The Westing Game

The Westing Game

originally written in 1978
by Ellen Raskin

216 pages

First off: The book is superb!

Secondly: The author [Ellen Raskin] is an excellent writer!

Thirdly: Nobody would have seen the ending coming, if it slapped you in the face!

Let me tell you a bit about the storyline: Samuel Westing (AKA "Uncle Sam"--because he was a very patriotic man) has been located in his mansion.... DEAD. Everyone who was in his will were all (coincidentally, of course) invited to check out the apartments in Sunset Towers. Also, (again coincidentally) all members-of-the-will accepted the apartments. Of course the surprise of finding out that they are in this man's will, would come after they move in.

Anyways, when they finally come together to read Samuel Westing's will... all 16 heirs are in for a real shocker! The will turns out to be this clever puzzle they have to solve. There's 8 teams and each team only gets 2 clues, so they'll do anything to peek over someone's shoulder to find new clues staring them in the face.

Oh! And did I mention that whoever figures out the answer to the puzzle first, will win $200 million?

The author is just amazing in how she organized the book and made all the characters so different from each other, yet they all can be classified as "normal enough" (for the most part anyways). Yet in their own way, all the people were a bit puzzling. Ellen definitely has her own unique writing style and it is clear to see that she took her time to ponder on this storyline (and it's for the better that she did).

For me, "The Westing Game" was one of those stories that once you start it, there's no way you can think of anything else, until you finish the book (and yes, I'm talking about the VERY last page!) Recommended reading level is for ages 10-14.....but anyone older who loves a good mystery would enjoy it too.

Monthly Book Reviews Challenge

I'm participating in the Monthly Book Reviews Challenge. Please stop by Hannah's Hangout for more info, and to see all the other great book reviews for this month!


Favorite Finds #13

Some new "Favorite Finds" for this week. I hope maybe you'll find something that interests you in one of these blogs.

enter the world of. . . {a peek at our NaNo novel} - by Anna
She and her sister, Michaela, have been writing their NaNoWriMo novel together. Anna wrote this description of their story... sounds fantastic!

Ode to the prolog of the Un-Named book...NaNoWriMo '10 - by Michaela
Here is a little glimpse of what Michaela & Anna have been writing. Can't wait until I can read more!

R. M. Ballantyne Book Giveaway - Now to December 27th, each week another Ballantyne book will be given away!

White Blossoms: The Promise - by Katie
Writer's inspiration after midnight... filled with lovely, poetic descriptions.

Grace for the here and now - Just a thoughtful quote I liked.

How to Manage A Business, School, and Family - by Hannah
Sounds a little bit like my own life!

Something brand new - More inspirational words to think about.

Called by Name Photography - A new blog I found. Lovely photos. Check out this one entitled "Classics".


MyWriMo .:. Day 24

MyWriMo @ In the Bookcase

Another post about writing! Surprise?

I'm quite pleased with all the writing I've been able to do in November so far. It is so exciting to see each story finished, and then start on the next one. As you already know (if you've been reading along) I've been able to take 2 of my old stories (that had been started months ago) and I finished writing them finally. They were just a couple of short ones. Now I'm trying to accomplish my 3rd story. I think I started it a little over a year ago... at that time, I worked on it enough to write about 8,000 words, but then I left off with the story. It's been sitting in my computer all this time, waiting to be typed on some more. It's actually an Easter story, so it may seem like a weird time of the year to be working on it now... but...I'm really in the writing mood for it. There's still quite a bit more work to do with the story, but I'm hoping I'll be able to squeeze it all in before November ends!

So, my question for you today is... anyone who is writing this month, with the last week upon us, Do you think you're going to reach your goal by November 30th? I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Now for some very true words...

“The difficulty of literature is not to write,
but to write what you mean.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson


Something thoughtful for the week

"Faith means believing in advance
what will only make sense in reverse."

{Phillip Yancey}


Introducing {Weekend Shop Hop}

This post is especially for either one of the following.

(a) Shop owners, wanting to spotlight their products

(b) Online shoppers, looking for anything to catch their eye

If you're one of the above (or if you're BOTH of the above!) then you should jump over to my other blog, Pixel Berry Pie Designs. Usually, over there, I post about the newest items in my Etsy shop, or when I have special sales going on... and I post about other things too.

For example, today is the beginning of the Weekend Shop Hop, where store owners can link up their products to be featured. To visit this week's post and to find out more, go here ~ Weekend Shop Hop .:. Friday 19th - Thursday 25



MyWriMo .:. Day 17

MyWriMo @ In the Bookcase

We're now into the 3rd week of November. How is that even possible that the time has flown by so quickly? But it's true... 2 weeks have already vanished. About 2 more weeks left.

How is everyone doing with your writing goals, whether it be a novel or other writings... Do you consider yourself to be at the half-way point? Seeing as we are at the half-way point of the month.

To give my own quick update, I've now completed short story #2. It really didn't even take much to finish up. It didn't even need a thousand words added on... the point where I had left off months ago was so close to the end.

So, there's my 2nd completed writing project for November. Now it's time to tackle story #3... I think it's going to take awhile!

“Be yourself.
Above all, let who you are,
what you are,
what you believe,
shine through every sentence you write,
every piece you finish.”

-by John Jakes


Book Review: The Mayflower Secret

The Mayflower Secret

The Mayflower Secret

written by Dave & Neta Jackson

157 pages

An interesting thing to read about this time of the year, is books about the Pilgrims... with Thanksgiving coming, it's nice to re-read about the Pilgrims journey. Here's a book I've enjoyed reading recently...

Elizabeth Tilley was a Pilgrim who crossed the ocean, from England to America in 1620. She was a real person, but this book is a fictional account of her life, written by Dave & Neta Jackson in their "Trailblazer" series. Elizabeth was 13 when the voyage began with her parents. Her family was not of the group of Puritans who were fleeing from England though. So the experience of living in close quarters on the same ship with these godly people adds a new perspective to Elizabeth's outlook on life.

Amid all the regular chaos aboard the ship, something horrible goes awry. It's Elizabeth's secret that she won't tell anyone. She's afraid that she'll get into a bigger mess of trouble than she'll be able to get out of. Everyone questions what had happened on that certain tragic night, but Elizabeth can't make herself tell.

The weary voyagers explore the new land of America and the Puritan leaders, including William Bradford, begin building their initial encampment. Through all this, Elizabeth must endure even greater pains and hardships, in addition to still keeping the burden of a secret. She now has a completely different life than she did before. And after all... living with Indians is not at all something that anyone would do back in England!

"Juvenile Fiction" - recommended for ages 9-12. Very nicely written book. I always enjoy the Trailblazer books. This is probably by second time (at least) to read "The Mayflower Secret"--still keeps me interested!

If you're interested in a couple other Pilgrim books I recommend, please visit my post on Walking in Thy Truth.


Favorite Finds #12

'Tis Friday again, and time to share some of my favorite articles I've found on blogs this past week.
Hope you'll like them too!

Inspiration Station (Before My Penn has Gleaned)

Doubts About Daring (Rose's Daring Adventure)

Supreme Awesomeness... (Whisperings of the Pen)

God’s grace prevails (Of First Importance)

Inspiration (Christ is Write)

Lord, Change My Story, However You Will (Dan's Books)

The Trees Are Raining! (Under African Skies)

Thomas A' Kempis on Wisdom (What They Said)


MyWriMo .:. Day 8

MyWriMo @ In the Bookcase

Days 1 through 7 of November have come and gone. Week #1 of writing has already disappeared.

If you remember from my original post about MyWriMo, I have a few stories I've begun writing over the past year, but haven't finished them. November seemed to be the perfect month to try and accomplish some writing, as a lot of blog friends are doing NaNoWriMo. Reading their blog posts about what they're writing this month is very inspirational and makes me feel motivated to finish my own projects.

So, what have I done so far in this first week? I have finished Story #1. It's fully written, and it is practically edited. The word count for this short story is 3,340 words. Not much in comparison to what some people are striving to write this month, but... it's totally worth it for me to have finished a story.

As week #2 begins, I'm looking forward to digging in to my next story that needs finishing!

What has everyone else accomplished so far? I'd love to hear an update from you!

If anyone else is interested in joining in this writing fun, just drop me a note! Grab a button here. It's not to late to figure out your goals and start writing.

For me,
writing is exploration;
and most of the time,
I'm surprised
where the journey takes me.
-by Jack Dann


Favorite Finds #11

It's the end of the week, and that means it's time to round up my Favorite Finds that I've found online this past week. I have quite a few links to share today!

Pictorial Representation Paraphernalia - Check out Amy's list about all things photography.

Focus - Lovely, inspiring words from Emily Rose.

Halo Around The Sun - "A rare sight in the sky" from South Africa a couple days ago.

Bible Cover Tutorial - Looks like a great idea from the Seven Sisters!

Announcing: The Launch of Childlike Faith Publishing - Alyssa has started making ebooks out of her own writings..."Thanksgiving Stories For Children" sounds especially interesting!

Red-Eyed Tree Frog - A glimpse of a lovely creature in Costa Rica.

And also....
Just thought I'd mention that I posted on a couple other blogs this past week!

"The Landing of the Pilgrims" & "A Journey to the New World" - posted on Walking in Thy Truth
{2 book reviews, perfect for reading during the Thanksgiving season!}

Book Review of "Before Green Gables" - posted on The Ladies Library
{If you've read the "Anne of Green Gables" series, you'd probably be interested in reading this modern-written prequel to the Anne books!}


MyWriMo .:. Day 3

MyWriMo @ In the Bookcase

November is here. I'm so excited to now be into the 3rd official day of writing.

In just the first couple days of writing, I've added 1,100+ words on my first short story I'm trying to finish. Already, I can feel myself edging closer to the storyline's conclusion. By the weekend, I'm sure the story will be complete. Then it will be time to pull out the next story I want to finish.

What are you writing in November? Finising some projects, like me? Starting something new? What kind of word count are you striving for? If anyone would like to share about your writing progress so far, I'd like to hear from you! Drop me a comment, or post on your blog about it. If you're interested in participating in MyWriMo, just let me know and I'll add you to my list below.

Other MyWriMo Friends:

Katie - Whisperings of the Pen

Jessica - Literary Pursuits

Jennifer - Blogful of Books

Jessie - Number the Stars

Now I will leave you with a couple pieces of writing inspiration.

If you want links to some awesome websites to help you in your writing, take a peek at what Hannah Grace posted earlier this week. In her big list, you're sure to find something that sparks an interest with you... tips, prompts, and other writing tools.

One more thing....

If there's a book
you really want to read,
but it hasn't been written yet,
then you must write it.
{Toni Morrison}


Book Review: Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

written by Carolyn Reeder

165 pages

This is one of my favorite books concerning America's Civil War! Actually, it's the fictional story of Will Page after the war ended. He is only 12 years old and has already lost his parents & siblings during the war.

Will has nowhere to go, except to live with his closest relatives in Piedmont, Virginia--an aunt, uncle & cousin, that he doesn't know. Because Will is so upset about the war taking his family, he can't stand the fact that this new family of his didn't even fight to protect the Confederates. They tried to remain neutral, to prevent harm coming to their own family. Will's heart is full of hard feelings towards his uncle especially, who could have fought in the war. I think it's a great book, because it shows insight of how feelings and emotions were still raging after the Civil War was over... even between family.

When this boy goes to live with his relatives, he also experiences a new life he never had before while living in the city, where he had slaves to do his work. Now he's learning how to work hard in the country, which completely changes his life around. He's never trapped rabbits, built a fence, or grown crops before. He also learns several life lessons... including courage, pride, and respect.

Check out this book. It is really worth the read! Recommended reading level is for ages 9-12--but I really enjoyed it myself, as did both my mother and my 15yo brother. It is also recommended in the Sonlight homeschool reading curriculum.

Monthly Book Reviews Challenge

I'm participating in the Monthly Book Reviews Challenge. Please stop by Hannah's Hangout for more info, and to see all the other great book reviews for this month!