April 21, 2014

Reading & Writing With a Four-Year-Old

I hope you had a happy Easter*! We had a whirlwind weekend of Easter and birthday celebrations.

Eleanor will be FOUR tomorrow, which is kind of blowing my mind! Is it just me, or does it seem like I just wrote this post about the books she liked when she turned 2?

I'm excited by the explosion in literacy that she's had in the last couple weeks. She can legitimately read (when she's in the mood). Although usually she'll read like 2-3 pages of a book, and then dramatically informs me how tired she is, and that she can't possibly read any more.

As for the books she likes at age four: she still loves Little Critter, Huckle & Lowly, Frances, and The Very Fairy Princess. She likes Curious George and Maisy sometimes, but I think they're finally waning. We've been enjoying Suzy Goose and a couple of Leslie Patricelli books (Faster! Faster! and Higher, Higher!) and two random library grabs which have been really fun: The Big Adventure of the Smalls and Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks. (I featured the latter in my list of Six Great Farm Animal Books for a guest post over at Trains and Tutus.)

But the best part of Eleanor's reading/writing obsession is the cryptic notes she keeps leaving us. The other night she was supposedly in bed, and then her bedroom door opened and shut again. I got up to see what she was up to, and found this note on the floor in the hall. (It says "I hope you have a happy day tomorrow okay I love you it's me Eleanor"; and then since there was empty space, she wrote "Mommy and Daddy" vertically down the margins.)

I actually have no idea how to get her to write in lines, instead of all crazy-like, but I figure that the more she reads, the more she'll realize she needs to write in line/word format. So I'm looking for good easy-reader recommendations! We got one book at the library called "-Ot as in Spot" which she read well, but yaaaawn. 

Know any easy-readers that are appealing for both kid AND parent?

*I just love this pic of the girls! Photo taken by M2W Photography... check her out if you're local! 
Also, a couple of the titles are my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting QB!

April 18, 2014

Book Review: Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris

So we all know I'm obsessed with Sebastian St. Cyr, right? Because poor Viscount Devlin, he's so dreamy, and conflicted, and his personal life is nuts, and he's so good at beating up bad guys and solving crimes. I'm happy that Sebastian's personal life seems to be on the upswing in recent books though! (For earlier info on the craaaaziness in the St. Cyr family, check out my reviews of What Angels Fear, and What Darkness Brings).

I was superty-duper excited when Shelf Awareness sent me the latest in the series for review. I waited to post it here, since obviously you should all go read it immediately, and it wasn't out for publication yet when I'd first reviewed it. But it's out now! Go swoon over Viscount Devlin to your heart's content, I won't tell.

Novels set during Great Britain's Regency are often romantic, glossing over the difficult nature of life in the early 19th century. Not so C.S. Harris's mysteries. Her Sebastian St. Cyr series--of which Why Kings Confess is the ninth novel--offer a glimpse into the seamy side of Regency life, complete with high infant mortality, brutal living conditions and vicious crimes.

St. Cyr, only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon, can't help getting involved when a Frenchwoman is found wounded in an alley near the body of a Frenchman whose heart was cut from his chest. Though his wife, Hero, is mere days from delivering a breech baby, Sebastian is determined to find out who attacked Alexi Sauvage and murdered Damion Pelletan. He soon realizes Alexi is hiding something, and that they've met before. She was a doctor in the Peninsular War and has no reason to trust him, a former British soldier. Even more interestingly, he discovers Pelletan was in London with a secret delegation sent to broker a peace deal between Britain and Napoleon's France.

Harris brings the politics of the French and British to life, inviting the reader to analyze the real historical figures and to sympathize with both the Bourbons and Napoleon's supporters. In addition to the accurate history and the intriguing mystery, longtime fans of the series will be happy to see new developments in the personal lives of Sebastian and his friends. Why Kings Confess is historical mystery at its finest.

Are you a Sebastian fan too?
Or do you know of other good Regency mysteries?