Book Review: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Which Chronicles of Narnia Character are you?
Susan Pevensie

Susan Pevensie
You are Susan. Very practical and no-nonsense, though you can become less so with persuasion. Incredibly smart, you like to boast your smarts sometimes and others get annoyed. Inside though, you are just a carefree girl who wants so much to get away from the responsibilities you have grown so accustomed to and the mother role you have sort of taken on.

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I’ve finally decided to set about reading The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve thought of reading this series on and off for years since seeing the original movie as a child, then seeing the new Narnia movies in recent years. When my husband also expressed an interest in reading them I decided now was the time. Using some handy gift cards that we received at Christmas this year I picked up a box set of the paperbacks at our local Borders. Last week I read The Magician’s Nephew, which was originally the 6th book written in the series, but as it tells the story of the creation of Narnia and all that comes before The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe it has since become considered the first book.

I was very happy to find that the hype of Narnia is well deserved. Apart from being an amazing story (on an even larger scale than you could know from having just seen TLTWATW) it is amazingly well written. Lewis’s writing style is flawless and reading this book was a delight. I loved that the story could be so timeless and not feel antiquated reading it sixty years after it was written – possibly because even when he wrote it, he set the story before the 1950s, saying quite plainly that it took place long before you. So it’s always been a story of before, quite fitting I think especially for a story that takes begins before Narnia even exists.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I really enjoyed reading it with no expectations of what it would be – just opening the book to find out for myself was thrilling and I was very pleased with what I found. So if you haven’t read this series yet, take a chance, it’s GOOD. I am anxiously looking forward to reading Book 2 (formerly Book 1) The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

Grade: A++

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. Spends too much time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

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Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Grade: A+

I’ve read a lot of rave reviews for The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, so I was pretty excited when I finally got my hands on a copy, but tried to be realistic, too – how many amazing books can a person expect to find in this world? But luckily my expectations were more than met with this exciting children’s book about a group of exceptionally smart orphans who form a secret society in the hopes of overcoming very great odds and defeating a very smart, powerful enemy. The job requires various forms of smarts, perseverance and bravery and the children are constantly tested in areas that they have no idea if they are capable of passing, but in the end they come through – possibly by the skin of their teeth, but for a cluster of small, scared children this is still quite remarkable.

I loved testing myself along with the children while reading this and was very impressed when I didn’t know the answers that they did – and proud when I did know. I loved all the characters and rooted for them with glee. All of the characters were very well written, the story impressive and addicting – I had a seriously hard time putting this book down and thus finished it very quickly. I’m already anxiously anticipating the second book in the series, The Perilous Journey.

This book combines everything which is great about the Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but still manages to be it’s own entity – a fresh, exciting new plot that keeps  you guessing, with a new memorable set of characters that children will be able to relate to and cheer on. The writing style is very good, and like the Snicket books it’s an excellent way to sneak in some learning with your fun – lots of words are defined without it feeling forced (usually one of the main characters simply asks for a definition when they find they don’t know what a word means) and the tests the children take can show readers how you can solve a problem in many different ways, still arriving at the right answer – how being smart is not confined to one area – that you can be clever in different ways and that all those ways are important.

I don’t think I could say enough good things, in fact, I don’t think this review is sufficiently explaining how much I liked it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, and try reading it yourself – I don’t think you will be disappointed. This book would make an excellent present for any reader in your life (it’s aimed towards kids in 9-12 years old) – I bought a copy for my cousin for Christmas and my husband is already planning to read my copy now that I’m done with it. I really think The Mysterious Benedict Society could be the Next Big Thing.

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. Spends too much time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Workout Review: Leslie Sansone’s: Walk Away The Pounds Express

Grade: A++ infinity

I’ve been meaning to try this DVD for weeks since reading about it on my bestie’s blog @ Red Knows How – while she is admittedly better at these workout DVDs than I am, she has been raving about Leslie Sansone – singing her praises and shouting “Hallelujah!” or something. But more importantly I kept thinking, “Walk at home? Isn’t that an oxymoron or something? How do you walk at home? Do you just walk from one side of the room to the other? And how will a DVD help?” I was truly confused but she LOVED it – I had to be missing something.

And oh was I ever – I had Netflix send me the Walk Away the Pounds Express: Easy Walk / Brisk Walk disc and – oh my, this DVD was amazing – I absolutely love it – like added it to my Amazon wishlist loved it. Yes, you are walking in place, but I had no idea how much of a workout walking in place could be – I was fatigued – of course, I’m pregnant so that’s pretty easy for me like a permanent state of being, but even in spite of that I walked one mile in about 10-15 minutes and felt so pumped and proud of myself because it was always just a little challenging but not so much that I quit.

Sansone implements four different basic types of steps – basic walking in place, stepping side to side, small kicks and knee lifts – yes it’s aerobics but I’m just accepting that all of these workout DVDs will be some form of aerobics or another – this one however managed to be simple enough for me to do without feeling like a moron, but challenging enough that I could “feel the burn.” There were other things I liked, too – if you are a regular here then you know how much I [don’t] like workout DVDs – you know that especially when the DVD is kicking my butt that I get all kinds of snarky and find anything and everything to hate about it – usually the people on the screen and their wardrobes and their ability to move in ways that I cannot. This didn’t happen – I could do everything they were doing – I just maybe breathed a bit harder and didn’t look *quite* as cheery about it. I loved that all like eight of them wore basically the same outfit and that it didn’t look cheesy on any of them – basic black workout pants and a blue tank top that managed to seem flattering on all of their different bodies. I also loved that they were all of varying ages but all seemed to have mastered this – from 27 to 72 they had all found success with Walk Away the Pounds – one woman in her 50’s said she lost 60 pounds with this program!

Leslie Sansone seemed very hyped about this program, but especially about walking in general – and I think we all know that walking is one of the best exercises out there – I’d walk all the time if I could – if weather permitted and I was never tired – in fact as a teenager I DID walk all the time for hours and it was awesome. But times change. And the cold weather is not as forgiving as it used to be – with this DVD I was able to walk at home – to walk one mile without leaving my home – I know I was making fun of this concept like two days ago but wow – I love it. Really, if any of you want to buy it for me that’d be cool.

So – Leslie Sansone – you are my first all and out A++ for a workout DVD I think – you are by far the best I’ve ever tried and I would really truly recommend it to ANYBODY – she has a lot of DVDs aimed for any level – if one mile seems puny to you  then I hate you but there are 5 mile work outs too – she’s got it all covered folks. Give one a whirl and I really think you’ll love it.

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. Spends too much time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

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