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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brief reviews

Another round of brief reviews.  This might become a regular thing.  Being out of practice, I'm not sure if I can write full reviews anymore ... scary!!

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, YA, 1995, c1967, 188p, rating=3.5
read:  10/23/10

Impressive book written by a 16yo.  That said, the language had that affect of a young, unpolished, budding, storyteller.  Even so, she was able to capture the inside track to the psyche of rivaling teenage 'gangs' ... or better yet, just plain ol' teenagers ...duh, 'cause she's a teenager.

Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch, AF, 2010, 279p, rating=2
read: 10/27/10

Beautiful cover (hold on.. something mysterious, fearful is coming) that had me snatching the book!   But that's about the best part of the book!  The plot sounded intriguing... Hannah, girl at 11yo looses her dad (declared dead but no body), 24yrs later she still believes her dad's alive and seeks to find out the truth, and in-between she lead a messed up life.  Hence, the rated PG13 language and content.  She was wishy-washy protagonist and I think she was suppose to get it all together in the end but I don't think she did.  The book didn't give me the Southern kind of book feel at all either.  I do like the side story of her gay brother Palmer and his lover Tom ...a more substantial story there.

Blockade Billy, by Stephen King, AF, 2010, 112p, rating=4
read:  10/28/10

What a fun find.  I'm no sports freak so I'm surprised I picked this up even though it's a short book.  OK, maybe that's why I picked it up'd be a quick read, something to make me feel accomplished at finishing a book!  Anyway, this novella got me asking, Holy s*it was there really a Blockade Billy who played for the New Jersey Titans and the baseball community really erased that team in history because ...?  Wow, what a story!  ~I've been avoiding Stephen King books because he equates scary stories to me and I don't do scary well.  Although this had a gory ending, it was not the scary gory kind at all and might have eased me into looking into King's other books.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, YR, 2001, 212p, rating=5
read:  10/19/10

A memorable, charming book.  I enjoyed the story of the down-to-earth characters of Juli and Bryce.  Van Draanen brought back to life the wonderful feeling of young innocence, love, friendship, and family.  I love a book that showcase the perspective of flight as well.  The warmth of being up high enough to see the beauty of the earth, demonstrated by what Juli sees and feels while up on her sycamore tree.  A metaphor of inviting us to lift ourselves up and enjoy the greatness of life around us.  More than becoming aware of physical wonderment that surrounds us, this book also captures the beauty and ugliness in people.  All the supporting characters where fabulous in validating this.  Overall, just chuck-full of warm fuzzy feeling of a read.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Winner is ...

My soon-to-be 4year old's cute little hand has picked the winner to my Belated 100+ Followers Giveway.

to Emily @ Reading While Female.
You have won your choice of books worth $10 from the Book Depository.
Leave me a comment with your email address so I can contact you with the details.

***Thank you my dear followers***

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #3

I'm for shortcuts lately so this post is taken from a Goodreads friend's (Louize) thoughts on 'Leviticus' week.  She sights from her Study Bible (huh, I should ask her which I can take a look at it myself!).

I'm no Bible scholar so if there's something that you believe is incorrect or whatever ... fire away and let me know.

Why doesn’t God intervene more? Why doesn’t He directly feed the hungry, heal the sick, and stop all wars? If God really exists, why doesn’t he make himself more obvious?

People who ask such questions often assume that, if God ever did spectacularly reveal himself all doubts would vanish. Everyone would line up to believe in Him. Yet every instance of God’s faithfulness seemed to summon up astonishing human unfaithfulness. People who had everyday proof of God demonstrated only one thing: the monotonous consistency of human disobedience.

Israel was punished by wandering in the wilderness for 40 years while the new untainted generation grew up to replace them. But if Israel failed God at the foot of Mt. Sinai, how would they possibly withstand the seduction of other cultures in Canaan? He has to bridge the huge gulf; the tabernacle was erected. He made himself available to his people.

Leviticus, the Book of Purification, is a true challenge for the determined readers. The sheer detail can bore you, especially if you miss the point behind it. In it, God teaches us the terrible consequences of sin. The nation had sinned; His holiness would be contaminated if He tolerated their sins. So, elaborate rituals and offerings were prescribed to teach Israel that they could not merely rush into the presence of God. The sequence of the offerings - forgiveness of sins, then dedication, then fellowship - shows that the ultimate goal was fellowship with God. The exactness helped produce a proper attitude. You couldn’t approach God carelessly; you have to do just what He said, to obey Him in every detail. The laws, on the other hand, are listed in no particular order. An important feature of the OT thinking – life is not analyzed in separate components, but as a whole. You will get more from looking at the big picture than studying in detail.

Leviticus, however, does have some remarkable features. In comparison from other countries’ law, Leviticus was considered advanced in those days.
• People are more important than property. (19:13)
• There is no class system. Everybody stood on the same level before the law. (19:15)
• Sexual immorality got stern treatment. (19:20, 29)
• The punishment fit the crime. (24:20)
• The poor and the weak had protection. (19:9, 14, 15, 32, 33)
• Attitudes and actions mattered. (19:18)

We may not understand the reasons for some of the laws; many have been designed simply to keep the Israelites different from their pagan neighbors. Those differences are important to God, and so complete obedience comes with great rewards.
“You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” (20:26)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belated 100+ Followers Giveaway and Blog Hop

I just can't stay away, huh?  Well, this time I'm here to check off one of my back burner stuff ... to do a GIVEAWAY (and might as well hop while I'm here)!  It would have been a little sooner but I was having problems with Book Depository so I wanted to make sure that things were ironed out there first.  So, without further-ado, I offer you a chance to win books worth up to $20 for old followers (before today's post entry date and time) or $10 for new followers.. from the Book Depository (open to those where BD ships to, check HERE).

All my GFC followers up to this point are automatically entered in this giveaway.  Though there's two of you that are not showing up on my pictured list but is somehow counted by GFC... so let me know if that's you (or if you're following me in a different way) and tell me if there's a way to verify it... if there's not a way to verify it then leave me a comment stating that in your honor that you are a follower, then I will consider you qualified (but you must leave me your name and email or blog address so that I can contact you).

**Giveaway ends Monday 10/25/10 6pm PST.  Winner announced on Tuesday 10/26/10 and will have 48hrs to reply thereafter. ~Winner chosen old school... name on piece of paper, put in bowl, shake, grab one paper out, viola! ...sorry I don't know how to spreadsheet/random-org.

**Extra entry for those who leave me a comment here with the name and author of one of your favorite books...reason why would be nice but not necessary.

**Another extra entry for those who blog or sidebar this giveaway (make sure to leave a link so I can verify).

**There are a few of you that have a private profile so please leave me a way to contact you ... email or blog address.

Welcome blog hoppers!  Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find it a place you'd like to follow and come back again and again. :)

This week's question:  What are you currently reading?
My answer:  I've started 5 books and finding myself in a bit of a blah moment plus still chipping away at my back burner stuff so I don't know which I'll end up getting through.
1. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
2. The Infinites by John Banville
3. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
4. Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This weeks's question:  Where's your favorite place to read?
My answer:  On my leather recliner. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brief reviews

Another set of brief reviews.  It's too bad I can't seem to make time to make proper reviews.  I have so many thoughts I'd like to say about these books (and those previously reviewed briefly). 

Holes by Louis Sachar, YR, 1998, 233p, rating=4
read: 10/14/10

I'm going to cheat and provide you with a link to my friend's (Jzhun) review of this that I believe is incredibly well written as with all of his reviews... go HERE. ~Find his book blog website HERE and tell him I sent you. :)
How to Be an America Housewife by Margaret Dilloway, AF, 2010, 276p, rating=3.5
read: 10/15/10

A charming 4 generation mother-daughter story assimilating to culture shock and realizing the strength of roots. A nice cozy read.
Annexed by Sharon Dogar, YA, 2010, 337p, rating=3.5
read: 10/16/10

Bold undertaking for a YA book and for that I'd rate it 4-5 stars. But I'm not sure it really added more depth to Anne Frank's testimony ...that the book indirectly points out to do, so it gets a 3.5 rating from me.
Kaleidoscope by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, 2011, 19p, rating=2
read: 10/3/10

Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors by Sweta Srivastasva Vikram, Poetry, 2010, 20p, rating=2

I won this book and I missed the part that said that it was a book of poems.  As you may know, poems and I don't get along.  It's mostly like reading Chinese characters to me.  What a terrible handicap!  ..When I tried really hard to understand, I saw something funny here and overall got an okay feeling.  I'm sure those of you into poems will find some depth in this. ~I still appreciate the win Suko and from time to time I will dissect a poem one at a time and see what I can find as to train my brain into poetry.  Wish me luck!

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans, AF, 2010, 334p, rating=2
read: 10/19/10

I've come to like this author's style of writing stories that tug at the heart strings. This one though didn't do that for me. The Back to the Future, borderline incest aspect of the book was eeww-creepy ...just not my kind of romance! ~On a side note, Mr. Evans sure can write 'femininely'. He must be surrounded by lots of women or somehow knows how to channel womanly views because the character developments of the women in this book were for the most part, right on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Playaway ... WOW!

So I'm in the library browsing the audio section this morning and stumbled into this (well, the empty orange case).  It's not a CD or audio cassettes so I've got a very puzzled look.  I walk up to the desk to ask a librarian and she tells me that it's a player like an iPod that you need to plug in earphones.  Still confused I ask where I can get a player.  She says, "Here.  It's free.".  Cool, I thought.  So she brings me back this gadget.  I'm thinking she's going to get me two items, a player and a chip or something of the book.  Nope!!  Just this pre-loaded digital audio player!  How totally awesome is that?!  I walked out of the library feeling like a kid out of a candy store.  ~Wow, what will people come up with next? 

**Visit their website for details ... ... "Playaway is the easiest way to listen to a book on the go. Simply plug in the earphones and enjoy. No Cassettes or CDs. No Downloads. Just Play."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brief reviews

I'm not completely back from my sabbatical, but the books I've read are piling up so I thought I would at least give a brief review of them.  ~Wouldn't you know it.  It seems like I can go through more books by not giving full reviews.   Hmmm, will talk more about it later.  ~Take great care.  *waves*

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer, AF, 2005, audio CD, 11hrs, rating=4
read:  10/2/10

A precocious nine year old on an adventure; letter-full of historic tragedy of his grandparents; I think this is one instance that reading the book might be better because as I understand it, the bound book has graphics ... I'll have to check it out some day.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, NF, 2000, audio cassettes, 5hrs, rating=1
read: 10/1/10

I don't know, I just didn't like this one.  I only got through a quarter of book and just gave up.  Maybe it got better later on but I wasn't interested in finding out.
Speak by Laurie Anderson, YA, 1999, 198p, rating=4
read:  10/2/10

A story of a high school girl who finally figures out that keeping it all bottled in wasn't a great concept after all.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, AF,1985, audio cassettes, 4.5hrs, rating=4
read:  10/4/10

I think I enjoyed this because I pictured Robert Redford as I was listening and what can I say, the young Redford was a hottie!  Anyway, a simple lesson on socialites and superficiality.

 The Bridges of Madison County by Robert Waller, AF, 1992, audio cassettes, 3hrs, rating=1
read:  10/7/10

If you can stomach reading about a consummated adulterous temptation then you might find this to be a beautiful love story.  But I couldn't so hence the poor rating. 

I'd rather read a book rooted in fidelity over one that is rooted in adultery, hands down!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, YR, 2007, 217p, rating=2
read:  10/4/10

A good kid's book.  My 7yo enjoyed it, but too many antics for me.
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison, YA, 2009, 264p, rating=4
read:  10/8/10

What I call a 'teenie-bopper' kind of story but this one has a surprising depth.
Strung Out by Sara Paretsky, Mystery, 1997, audio cassettes, 80min, rating=2
read:  10/5/10

One of several 'one that can stand alone' kind of mystery series.  This one just didn't grab me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My October Plan: Recognize, Prioritize, and Conquer

I've been enjoying reading and reviewing books but it has taken quite a toll on me.  My newly mind set of 'I'd rather be reading' has put a lot of other things on the back burner and have left me with a guilty and cluttered lifestyle, so it's time for balance.  That said, I need a roll call of those back burner stuff, get them in order of importance, and then start chipping away at them.  For example, my grooming.  I need to shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows, and it sure would be nice to get a mani/pedicure!  Don't even get me started on my hair's been six month since cut and color so the top half length of my hair is black and the lower half a blonde weave ... what a pretty sight, eh?  Also, I've pretty much abandoned my family blog and psychologically making me feel that my family isn't important.  Yes, I still spend time with them and take pictures but I don't make time to scrapbook/journal our activities.  Oh and speaking of activities.  I need to exercise.  Picking up a book and curling up with it for hours on end has given me an extra pair of love handles ...another pretty sight!  Above all is my messy house.  My dream is for my husband to come home to a sparkling house.  He deserves it and I feel so awful everyday that I haven't given that to him.  My 'to be cleaned pile' has surpassed my 'to be read pile', no contest.  I feel like a failure!!!  Of course, there's a ton more other things I can list but then this will turn into a novel.  Suffice it to say that I need a break from my intense attention to reading and reviewing.

I can't imagine going cold turkey but I need to make an effort to get my back burner stuff up front, recognized, prioritized, and conquered.

Thank you for your support thus far and I shall 'see' you in due time.   ~Take great care. :)

P.S.  Another thing that's been eating me up is having to miss hosting a '100 follower giveaway contest'.  I haven't forgotten and will do one because I do appreciate my followers.  I'm thinking of combining it with a '100th book reviewed giveaway contest' that I'm planning to do.  I think I have about 10 more books to go.  Anyway, to alleviate my guilt with this ... when I come back, I will make a greater effort to visit and comment on all my followers.  Afterall, that's what we all want.

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