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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"One Summer"

by David Baldacci, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 8hrs, rating=4

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begins to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more. (case cover)

I have a confession. When I browse my library, I often don't read the blurbs before reading a book. I scan for key words and mainly go by author, the look of the bookcover, or thickness of the book. Maybe pretty shallow, but that's what I do.  Usually more hits than misses ... here's an example of a hit. :)

Wow, what a heartwrenching story!  I'm glad I didn't read the blurb because listening to it without knowing the premise gave an element of surprise and excitement to the experience.  Anyway, from the start you are introduced to a devastating news.  Jack Armstrong has a terminal disease and trying to hold on until Christmas.  Christmas eve rolls around and Jack is ready to go ... love letters written, accepted his fate ... but BAM! his wife Lizzie ends up getting killed in a car accident on the way back from picking up Jack's medicine.  You can imagine the "Oh no!" gasp going through my head when the police officers came knocking on Jack's door.  Then as the story continues, Jack makes it to the funeral and soon prepares to die alone because his mother-in-law saw it fit for her grandchildren to find new homes in order to spare them of watching their father die.  Little did anyone know that Jack would make a complete recovery, "Miracle Man" as he later would be coined.  So the next step was for Jack to get his children back and fulfill a promise he made to his wife.  There in the "Palace" the Armstrong family learns to heal and bond.

You can guess that this entailed a love story between husband and wife.  But it extended beyond that.  This tale involved immediate family and extended family as understandably when a tragedy hits.  An array of emotions were bounced around and I found myself attached to basically all the characters.  So much so that many tears were shed from my end.  Because as you know, I'm a sucker for books that tug the heart. ;)

I like that this book was a lot about father-daughter relationship.  It was a beautiful account!  It's the ultimate, I'm a daddy's girl fuzzy feeling. 

Overall, Mr. Baldacci did a great job at creating a second chance story with the right amount of fluff.  I can imagine that this may give someone who has lost a loved one a bit of a good cry. 

Gratitude Hop Winner

Using the services of Random.org, the winner of my Gratitude Hop is mel u!!  Your prize of $10 to Amazon or The Book Depository is yours if you reply within 48hrs to the email I sent you or a new winner will be chosen.

I thank those who entered the giveaway and for answering the couple extra questions to help me out for future giveaways.  You are awesome! 

In all, I do appreciate all of you my dear friends.  I'm grateful for your loyalty.  Knowing I have your support makes book blogging a fun hobby.  Thank you ..mwuah!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"The Christmas Wedding"

by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo, AF, 2011, audio CDs, 4hrs 42min, rating=1

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died five years ago, Gaby's children have drifted apart, each one preoccupied by the turbulence in their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married-and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.
But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season. (Goodreads)

Beautiful cover, disappointing content.

I liked Alex Cross's Trial so I was looking forward to reading another from this duo.  This Christmas themed one sounded promising.  But off the bat the swearing put me off.  It hurt my ears and more likely the reason I didn't listen carefully.  Yet from what I did grasp, there was really not enough character development.  The story was too brisk.  The turbulent life stories of the adult children showed promise but lacked depth.  And don't get me started on Gabby!  I could not connect with that woman.  She didn't seem to respect marriage ...and the three potential grooms for that matter.  I know, this is fiction ..but still.

I know James Patterson can write and I will continue to read his books but this one just didn't work for me.  No fuzzy Christmas feeling felt from my end.  :(

SSMG Winner

Random.org has spoken. Congratulations Melanie McCullough!! Some mail giddiness can be yours if you claim your prize, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, within the next 48hrs.  An email has been sent to you.

Thank you to all those who participated.

*SSMG will be taking a break and will return sometime next year.*

Monday, November 28, 2011

Must Read Monday: Made You Laugh Out Loud

Here's a new meme that's quite fun and clever .. Must Read Monday by Fans of Fiction. Go HERE to join the fun.

The goal of this meme is to find those books others are excited about to add to your To Be Read list.
Instead of answering a question, you are basically creating intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?
On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).
When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.
It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

This week's category is a book that made you laugh out loud.  I chose Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. It was the oddly imaginative adventures that made this a funny read.  So out there that you can't help but laugh out loud.  That's what happened to me when I got to page 240.  But please go HERE for the blurb and my review because I didn't do the book much justice on this acrostic.

Kafka Tamura
A teenage boy, who runs away
From home
Keeps us
All

On our toes.
Nakata

The aging simpleton
Has quite an
Exceptional pull toward Kafka

So together they
Have quirky adventures and
One incredibly funny moment that got me
Rolling out of my seat.
Entirely off, no kidding!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday: Peter and Cornelius

Today's scriptures study is found in the book of Acts chapter 10.  Here we learn about a centurion (officer of the Roman Army, in command of 100 men), named Cornelius.  He was described as a devout man that feared God, gave alms, and prayed always.  One day an angel came to him and told him to send men to fetch Peter in Joppa.  In the meantime Peter praying and very hungry and about to eat, fell into a trance.  He saw the heaven opened and laid before him were many animals.  He was told to kill and eat.  Remembering that he was never to eat anything common or unclean (see Leviticus 11), he refused.  He was then told that "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (Act 10:15).  Still contemplating on the meaning of his vision, the three men that Cornelius sent came to Peter and told him of Cornelius's vision.  Peter agreed to go with them.  Meanwhile, Cornelius gathered up his family and friends in anticipation of Peter's visit and teachings.  Cornelius overcame by Peter's presence fell down at his feet and worshipped Peter.  Peter took him up and said that he was just a man.  Peter then seeing the multitude came to understand his vision.  See, up to this time the Apostles had been teaching the gospel to the Jews and most of the church members were under the impression that only the Jewish people can be taught the gospel.  Cornelius was not a Jew so Peter preaching to him and to those gathered (Gentiles) was unusual.  However, Peter realized that teaching the gospel is for all .."Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Act 10:34-35).  So Peter preached to these Gentiles and the Holy Ghost fell on them ... and so they were baptized. 

                                                              (courtesy of lds.org)

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a safe, thankful, and fun Thanksgiving everyone!



Here's a video that my son and I had a kick watching several years ago. I looked for it on YouTube and here is it! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mail Giddy


I was truly giddy when I got this in the mail this weekend!  It came the same day that we were having a birthday party for my daughter so it felt like it was my birthday too ... this being my present.  Pretty cool.  Anyway, thank you Alison @ Alison Can Read for the wonderful treat!  Oh by the way, Alison had mentioned that I was the last one to enter the giveaway and random.org chose me!  How lucky was I?!! 

I read the book last year and liked it a lot.  When word came out that Robert Pattinson was to play the leading role, I couldn't picture it.  He just didn't seem to fit the Jacob in the book that I imagined.  When the trailers and promo pictures started to come out, the idea that he could pull it off warmed up to me (he was great in the movie Remember Me).  He was awfully cute and it had been a long time since I've read the book so maybe?

After the party I did a quick minor clean up then relaxed and watched the movie by myself (the fam had other interests).  Well, it was pretty good (3.75 stars/5).  The movie brought back the lovely read and I think Christoph Waltz did an amazing job playing August.  Of course, Rosie rocked!!  As far as Pattinson and Witherspoon .. good but not amazing.  The forbidden love affair gaze was there but lacked the passion ..I'm not talking about the raunchy kind, but something more searing.  I think they played the characters a bit too subdued or something? Oh, I don't how to describe it!  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and this DVD will be in my prized collection.  

In this case, the book was much better.  However, I do appreciate the movie.  It was a good tribute.

BTW, I didn't realize that Reese was petite.  --Just an observation, I'm not saying I have anything against petite people ..I'm petite!

Sharing Some Mail Giddiness Giveaway: My Sister's Keeper

I get all giddy when I receive a book in the mail so I thought I'd give you an opportunity to experience some giddiness too!  Therefore, I'm offering you a chance to win a book from my once-read books. This will be a weekly giveaway so come back each week ..maybe one will catch your fancy!

Here's how to enter:

1.Must be a follower of this blog.
2.U.S.A. address only.
3.Leave a comment providing an email address to contact you.

That's it! Contest ends 11/28/11 11:59 PST. Winner announced next Tuesday.

Good luck!

This week's book is a paperback copy of Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper". Go HERE for blurb and my review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SSMG Winner

Random.org has spoken. Congratulations Melanie!! Some mail giddiness can be yours if you claim your prize, Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson, within the next 48hrs.  An email has been sent to you.

Thank you to all those who participated.

See you tomorrow for another SSMG giveaway. *waves*

Monday, November 21, 2011

Must Read Monday: Fantasy

Here's a new meme that's quite fun and clever .. Must Read Monday by Fans of Fiction. Go HERE to join the fun.

The goal of this meme is to find those books others are excited about to add to your To Be Read list.
Instead of answering a question, you are basically creating intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?
On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).
When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.
It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

This week's category is Fantasy or a book with fantastical elements.  I chose Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus.  Find my review HERE

This was an enchanting book and I had a kick reminiscing while coming up with this acrostic puzzle.  Enjoy!

                                A fanciful Tale indeed.
                     Open only at nigHt and everything
                                    must bE in black

                                            aNd
                                          whIte.
                                  Quickly Gone as it
                                  comes tHis circus
                                          of The night.

                              You'll find Celia's Feat of Illustrations,
     The Drawing Room, and WIdget's Anthology of Memory.
                                  Don't foRget The Hall of Mirrors, The Ice
                     Garden, nor MarCo's ship made of books.
                          And how aboUt a nibble of chocolate mice?
          Sea of Ink, Pool of TearS, Cloud of Maze, and much much more!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday: Stephen, the Martyr


Sorry I missed last week ..had one of those days.  Anyway, I am going to really try to study the scriptures instead of just reading them.  That was truly the point of this meme but I got lazy and was afraid to offend or sound preachy so I ended up just posting scripture passages and left it at that.  Well, I'm going to make it a study again and be more descriptive. 

Today's study/pondering is about Stephen, the martyr.  His story is found in the book of Acts, chapters 6 and 7.

Here's a summary of Stephen's story:
After the death of Jesus Christ, the Jews thought that miracles and such would end.  However, the Apostles continued the work and followers increased to the point that the Apostles needed help.  Seven men were chosen, one of which was Stephen, "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6:5).  Stephen preached the gospel and did many wonders and miracles among the people.  But many Jews were angered by his preaching and accused him of blasphemy because they did not believe that Jesus was the Saviour so they brought Stephen before a court of Jewish leaders.  At the trial, Stephen didn't try to defend himself but spoke of the history of Israel and told the people that they weren't obeying Gods commandments.  Those words and stating his vision, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56) angered them enough to take Stephen outside and stoned him to death ... full of the Holy Ghost, Stephen said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.  And when he said this, he fell asleep."  (Acts 7:59-60). 

Stephen's story is an example of a person who believes so strongly in something that he or she gives his life as a witness.  Stephen had a strong testimony of the Godhead and was martyred because of it.

Also we learn about laying on of hands (Acts 6:6) ... All who receive the priesthood are ordained by the laying of hands thus the Apostles gave the the priesthood authority, which they received from Jesus Christ, to the seven men.

What can we learn from Stephen's vision about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?    
LDS answer is found in D&C 130:22

Friday, November 18, 2011

"The Night Circus"


by Erin Morgenstern, AF, 2011, 387p, rating=4

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. (Goodreads)

This book was full of crisp and vivid display of fantasy and imagery.  This special circus really did feel like "Le Cirque Des Reves", the circus of dreams.  The cast of supporting characters were quirky and intriguing (what comes to mind that sorta compares are the supporting actors in the movie Knotting Hill), fitting for a circus.  But it was their combined stories that made them special and together became the pawn in the game.  The magical game that Celia and Marco were bound to play to the death.  However, the two fell in love so neither wanted to play anymore.  Unfortunately, that was not an option.  So comes in Bailey, the young boy who fell in love with the circus.

At first, the read confused the heck out of me!  The setting see-sawed from one year to another and I kept going back to the beginning of the chapter to orient myself.  I also had to figure out who's who.  I supposed reading this choppily over a week and half didn't help.  But it eventually came together for me and that was nice.  From there I grew to like the sweet love story between Celia and Marco and the love story for the circus in general. 

A great debut novel.  Original, magical, and enchanting.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Know Me Better #7

"Know Me Better" is a meme hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. She will answer 5 questions off her author interview list each week and invited other bloggers to do the same in an effort to get to know a little bit more about each other. Go HERE to join the fun.

This week's questions were tough.  Here's what I finally came up with:

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I didn't know what missionary position meant.  I was 21-22yo when I heard the term used ... you can probably imagine the confusion/horror going through my mind considering "missionary(-ies)" to me back then meant those young Mormon men and women sharing the gospel.  It wasn't long after that that I took sexuality class in college. :D

Beach or Pool?
For swimming, neither because I can't swim well.  But for ambiance, definitely beach!  More filling to the senses ..sights, sounds, smell, etc.

If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
I'd start with a shopping spree at a book store then pack my loot and fly to Hawaii.  There I'd read along the beach to my heart's content (on my side is an all I can eat/drink snacks/drinks).  After reading and snacking I'd go to a spa and have a total body treatment.  Then go back to my suite and lie down on a super soft luxurious bed and read until I fall asleep.

Coke or Pepsi?
This is a Coke home!  It's my husband's water ..I kid you not!  Of course it's often the coldest drink in the fridge so I can't help but sneak one here and there for myself. ;)

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
I honestly can't think of anybody!  This is not a cop out.  I tried hard to think of someone but nada! :(

Not up for joining the meme yet?  Well, I would like to get to know you better so feel free to answer one or more on the comment section.

"Ender's Game"

by Orson Scott Card, YA, 1985, 357p, rating=5

Ender Wiggin is a very bright young boy with a powerful skill. One of a group of children bred to be military geniuses and save Earth from an inevitable attack by aliens, known here as "buggers," Ender becomes unbeatable in war games and seems poised to lead Earth to triumph over the buggers. Meanwhile, his brother and sister plot to wrest power from Ender. Twists, surprises and interesting characters elevate this novel into status as a bona fide page turner. It captured the Nebula and Hugo Awards. (Goodreads)

Someone call Child Protective Services because there was a lot of violations going on in here!!  Wow, Ender was one heck of a kid!  I was rooting for him the entire time and he delivered.  He was unbelievably beyond his years.  He was pushed hard and as a reader and mother, I was pained.  What horrible psychological and physical torture he had to endure.  That said, it was the empathy that had me turning the pages and wanting to see if Ender turns out a complete mess at the end of this.

Awesome sci fi premise, original and thought out characters, action packed thriller, and an emotionally charging pace.   I think this is the first sci fi that really stirred me.  The making of a leader's psyche was scrutinized.  The inner turmoil going on in Ender's mind was a testimony to the complex capability of human decision making. Really, this book was a disturbingly good read!  I'm looking forward to continuing the saga.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaways Hop

Here's a hop that I enjoy because it gives bloggers an opportunity to thank their followers.  I'm certainly grateful to all of you who have decided to be among "mi amigos".  Thank you for being loyal.  You are the best! ... Welcome new followers and thank you for the follow! :)

There's more giveaways next month so my giveaway this time is simply a $10 electronic gift card to Amazon.com or up to $10 worth of book(s) to The Book Depository ... winner's choice (be sure your country qualifies).  To enter you must be at least 13yo, be a follower of this blog, and fill out the form below.  That's it!  Good luck and again, thank you!!  :)


Thank you I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and All-Consuming Books for hosting this wonderful giveaway.  Now fill out the form and don't forget to head on over HERE for the list of >300 bloggers participating in giveaways.



**Winner will be notified via email and name announced on this blog within 3 days post contest.  The services of Random.org will be used to select a winner.**

Sharing Some Mail Giddiness: Sundays at Tiffany's


I get all giddy when I receive a book in the mail, so I thought I'd give you an opportunity to experience some giddiness too by offering a chance to win a book from my once-read books. This will be a weekly giveaway so come back each week ..maybe one will catch your fancy!

Here's how to enter:

1.Must be a follower of this blog.
2.U.S.A. address only.
3.Leave a comment providing an email address to contact you.

That's it! Contest ends 11/21/11 11:59 PST. Winner announced next Tuesday.

Good luck!

This book was just okay.  I just fell too hard for the movie version and this was a rare occasion when the book wasn't better.  This is a hardcover copy. :)


As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother Vivienne Margaux, the powerful head of a major New York theater company has no time for her. But she does have one friend--Michael--and no one can see him but her. But Michael can't stay with Jane forever, and on her eighth birthday, her imaginary friend must leave her.
When Jane is in her thirties, working for her mother's company, she is just as alone as she was as a child. Her boyfriend hardly knows she's there and is more interested in what Vivienne can do for his career. Her mother practically treats her as a slave in the office, despite the great success of Jane's first play, "Thank Heaven." Then she finds Michael--handsome, and just the same as she remembers him, only now he's not imaginary. For once in her life, Jane is happy--and has someone who loves her back. But not even Michael knows the reason behind why they've really been reunited. (Goodreads)
Go HERE for my review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Bridge to Terabithia"

by Katherine Paterson, YR, 1972, 128p, rating=2.5
1978 Newbery Award Winner
**SPOILER ALERT**

The story starts out simply enough: Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade--he wants it so bad he can taste it. He's been practicing all summer, running in the fields around his farmhouse until he collapses in a sweat. Then a tomboy named Leslie Burke moves into the farmhouse next door and changes his life forever. Not only does Leslie not look or act like any girls Jess knows, but she also turns out to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. After getting over the shock and humiliation of being beaten by a girl, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay.
Despite their superficial differences, it's clear that Jess and Leslie are soul mates. The two create a secret kingdom in the woods named Terabithia, where the only way to get into the castle is by swinging out over a gully on an enchanted rope. Here they reign as king and queen, fighting off imaginary giants and the walking dead, sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against the schoolmates who tease them. Jess and Leslie find solace in the sanctuary of Terabithia until a tragedy strikes and the two are separated forever. In a style that is both plain and powerful, Katherine Paterson's characters will stir your heart and put a lump in your throat. (Goodreads)

I had not seen the movie version nor really knew anything about this book (I know, I need to get out more).  So I'm reading along and BAM! when Jesse gets back from his date (I'll get to that in a minute), he was told that Leslie died.  I'm thinking, what the...!  I must have read that wrong.  Like Jesse I could not accept her death.  I too was thinking she'd pop up and say, psyche! (ok, maybe a different term in her time).  But no, she really was dead.  I'm totally in shock!  I couldn't get over it.  Anyway, the story moved along and ended with a sweet bond between Jess and his younger sister May Belle at the secret imaginary kingdom, Terabithia, that Jesse and Leslie created. 

Okay, so back to that date.  Miss Edmunds, a music teacher, got bored one day so she invites Jesse to go to the Smithsonian Museum with her and they go.  Whoa!  Someone explain that to me.  Even to have a reason for Leslie to go to Terabithia alone, I don't see why that was thrown in.  A different event could have been used to lure Jesse out of that meeting with Leslie.  Anyway, I just thought that date was out on left field ...inappropriate!

There was a lot of issues going on in this little book ... parents with their children, social status, sibling antics, classmate rivalry, teacher bashing, dealing with death, imagination, etc.  This had the makings of a heart wrenching tale but I was too much in shock to enjoy the death lessons, playful Narnia-like adventures, and sweet ending.  That date and the sudden death turned my brain and things just went on standstill for me.  I know people die and even kids, but seriously this particular case put me at a stupor.  I really really wanted Leslie to jump out of the bushes and yell, psyche!

SSMG: No Winner

I had no takers for "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom so I have no winner to announce. :( 

No worries, we'll try a different book tomorrow.  How about a hardcover copy of "Sundays at Tiffanys" by James Patterson?  If you're interested, come back tomorrow to enter. :)

Have a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Must Read Monday: A Powerful Book

Here's a new meme that's quite fun and clever .. Must Read Monday by Fans of Fiction. Go HERE to join the fun and because I'm one of the winners featured for last week's acrostics!!  Woohoo!!  Thank you Jenna and Ashley for the honor.  ~Congratulations to Sherre as well!

The goal of this meme is to find those books others are excited about to add to your To Be Read list.
Instead of answering a question, you are basically creating intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?
On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).
When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.
It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

 
This week's category is: "A book so powerful that it changed you in some way".  For me, this would be "Standing for Something" by Gordon B. Hinckley.  This book is dear to my heart.  Truly a powerful book that showed me how important it is to stand for something again, so I try to aline my life in that matter. Go HERE for my review.

Standing for Something
Takes a look
At 10 virtues that has been
Neglected.
Drawing on from his own life
Including from our
Nation today,
Gordon B. Hinckley

Faithfully
Outlines "
Rediscovering the values and virtues that have historically made us

Strong." (book flap)
Outlining also 2 guardians of virtue,
Marriage and the family stating that
Even in difficult
Times
Here is the path to a better world.  As
Individuals, community, and as a
Nation we can
Grow to stand for something again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"A Long Drive Home"

by Will Allison, AF, 2011, 184p, rating=3.5

A riveting second novel by Will Allison, author of the acclaimed What You Have Left. A happily married suburban father makes a mistake that results in a teenager's death and sends his own life into a devastating tailspin. Written as a confessional letter, the book is a fascinating and moving cautionary tale that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father’s desperate attempt to explain himself to his daughter—even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her forever. (Goodreads)

It sure was a long drive home for Glen Bauer!  Too bad he wasn't carrying a four leaf clover or a rabbit's foot, poor man!  What seemed to be any ol' day became a nightmare ... all because he gave into road rage. 

After being accosted and emasculated by a stranger in front of his six year old daughter, Glen was understandably left hot under the collar and it spilled over to the rest of his drive home.  Which eventually lead him to decide to teach another driver a lesson that consequently ended in fatality.  Yikes!  That sparked another human emotion, fear.  He didn't want to go to jail so he had to lie, he had to omit details ... he had to cover up.  And the twist was his wife's solution to the problem.  How crazy was that?! 

What's catchy about this book was that it gave the reader a shock/scare factor.  The reader is left questioning himself ...like, "Goodness, that could happen to me but surely I wouldn't have gone that far in the hole, right?" or "Once I make a mistake I own up to it, right?".  Scary indeed.  Our decisions make us. 

I've got mixed feeling about the brevity of the novel.  The story did give insights to human emotions in its characters but it left me wanting more.  I'm not sure I like the abrupt ending to let the reader mull over the moral lesson kind of ending.  Something was amiss for me but I can't explain exactly what.  Maybe I want to know what Sara ended up thinking.  Perhaps there is a sequel? ;)

Overall, a small book that packs a big punch!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day


Thank you veterans!!  You rock!!!

"My 11 Lists" Hop


Just for fun I thought I'd host a hop to commemorate this special date.  So, let's make some lists of 11's. 

To participate, post answers to the topics below, link yourself on the Linky Tool (direct link to your post, not your blog), include the above "My 11 Lists" image in your post, and then start hopping! 

Feel free to spread the word!  Thanks. :)

Here's my 11's ...

11 things I'm grateful for:
  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Books
  4. Internet
  5. Chocolate
  6. Disposable diapers
  7. Body that still functions
  8. Education
  9. A warm home
  10. Temples
  11. Smiles
11 books I love:
  1. Standing for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  7. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  8. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
  9. Dash & Lily's Books of Dares by David Levithan
  10. The Locket by Richard Paul Evans
  11. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
11 things I've accomplished so far:
  1. Got married to the best man on earth
  2. Gave birth to 3 kids
  3. Dream job
  4. Hold a current temple recommend
  5. Visited Hawaii 3 times
  6. I have a tried and tested yummy recipe for New York cheesecake
  7. A decent book blog
  8. Finally a bookworm
  9. Participated in a 5K run
  10. Read the entire Holy Bible
  11. Own a house
11 things I still want to accomplish:
  1. Meet J.K. Rowling
  2. Read a book that has >1,000 pages (other than the Bible)
  3. Visit relatives in the Philippines
  4. Make a dent on my TBR list
  5. See my kids get married and have kids of their own
  6. Meet a book blogger friend in person
  7. Go to a book signing
  8. Clean out my garage
  9. Travel around the world
  10. Finish the Harry Potter series
  11. Meet Mark Harmon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Know Me Better #6

"Know Me Better" is a meme hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. She will answer 5 questions off her author interview list each week and invited other bloggers to do the same. 

Let's get to know a little bit more about each other.  Go HERE to join the fun.

Here is this week's questions and my answers:

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Dang, no people!!  Okay, things it is (assuming I can do a Robinson Crusoe on food, water, and shelter):  1. Scriptures 2. Soap 3. First Aid kit

What is one book everyone should read?
The Book of Mormon.  :)

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
A happy touch .. any person I touch becomes happy. :)  And if I can have more:  I'd like to be able to fly! ..or have the ability to instantly go anywhere.

Harry Potter or Twilight?
Ooh, two great series in its own right.  I haven't finished Harry Potter (only read the first four) but I already know I'd love the rest and the entire series as a whole.  The Twilight series I completed and the first series I ever read ..so it was special.  Hmm, I go with Harry Potter.

Gum or Breath Mints?
I don't do either but if I have to choose, I'd choose gum since breath mints often sting.

If you participate in the fun, don't forget to leave me a comment so that I can visit you and get to know you better as well. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Glow"

by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Sky Chasers #1, YA, 2011, 307p, rating=2.5

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. On board their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. (Goodreads)

This had the element of a fascinating sci fi plot.  The mysterious journey even got a bit gripping.  Though I didn't like the development of the main protagonists much, I thought the supporting characters were very captivating. Yet, overall this book wasn't for me.  I wasn't crazy about the love triangle in this one.  I wasn't crazy about the abduction sequence (drugging, violation) even when there was an explanation to its necessity.  Yes, I understand that there's usually darkness before the light but this one didn't work for me.  I think Ms Ryan dug too deep into the dark that the light didn't glow as brightly as I'd hope.  Plus, I especially didn't care for the religious undertone of the book.  It felt too preachy... haha, I should talk.  I probably do this often!  Anyway, these words are coming from someone that isn't into sci fi so I'm no expert. 

As an aside, I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card after this book (also a sci fi) and found that to be incredible (review to come)!  So I'm not a sci fi loather. :)

Sharing Some Mail Giddiness: Tuesdays with Morrie


I get all giddy when I receive a book in the mail, so I thought I'd give you an opportunity to experience some giddiness too by offering a chance to win a book from my once-read books. This will be a weekly giveaway so come back each week ..maybe one will catch your fancy!

Here's how to enter:

1.Must be a follower of this blog.
2.U.S.A. address only.
3.Leave a comment providing an email address to contact you.

That's it! Contest ends 11/14/11 11:59 PST. Winner announced next Tuesday.
Good luck!

This week's book is written by one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom.  This particular book renders sweet messages of wisdom that one gets from aging.  Go HERE for my post on this book.  This is a hardcover copy. :)


Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly 20 years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying of ALS - or motor neurone disease - Morrie visited Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live. This is a chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world. (Goodreads)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SSMG Winner

Random.org has spoken. Congratulations Julie @Red Handed!! Some mail giddiness can be yours if you claim your prize (The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd) within the next 48hrs (an email has been sent to you).

Thank you to all those who participated.

See you tomorrow for another SSMG giveaway. *waves*

Monday, November 7, 2011

Must Read Monday: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction


Here's a new meme that's quite fun and clever .. Must Read Monday by Fans of Fiction. Go HERE to join the fun!

The goal of this meme is to find those books others are excited about to add to your To Be Read list.
Instead of answering a question, you are basically creating intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?
On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).
When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.
It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

This week's category is contemporary/realistic fiction.  I chose A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness because it is one that is fresh on my mind and one that moved my soul.  Indeed, books like this is the reason I love to read!  A true must read.  Go HERE for my review ..or more like attempt of a review. ;)

A moving tale involving a

Monster and a thirteen year
Old boy named Conor.  Author Patrick
Ness has woven an exquisite
Story worthy
To make the late Siobhan Dowd proud
Er, it was the book that she could not finish (cancer claimed her).
Right after his mom's diagnosis of

Cancer did Conor begin to get nightmares.
And
Later get visits from a special monster
Looking for the truth.
So will he finally tell?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #48


Today's topic is money.  It's been alluding me lately and with the holidays coming, it's on my mind.  But seriously, many problems stem from it and unfortunately I know too well (not me, a couple close to me).  So here's a few scriptures on the subject:
  • Labour not to be rich:  cease from thine own wisdom.  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.  Proverbs 23: 4-5
  • A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.  Psalm 37:16
  • Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.  Ecclesiastes 4:6
  • But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God:  for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.  Deuteronomy 8:18
Thanks Daylight Saving Time for the extra hour!!  Happy sabbath everyone!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Holy Bible Challenge Report

Holy Bible: King James Version, two sources used:  LDS edition; audio CDs by Topics Entertainment p1991 read by Tennessee Ernie Ford, Alexander Scourby, and James Earl Jones, both a rating =5

I had an inquiry about one of the questions on a group discussion (A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis) on the Filipino Group at Goodreads that I belong to that inspired a Goodreads friend (K.D.) and I to commit to read the Holy Bible together.  He extended the challenge to the Filipino Group and set a goal to complete the book in a year, from October 2010 to October 2011.  So this is the report of that Holy Bible Challenge/Reading Buddies.

I started off with zeal and I was happy.  I was finally going to tackle a daily reading and studying of the scriptures, my ever fleeting goal.  Sure enough, with more friends in the challenge, the reading became fun and interesting.  The discussions on the Filipino Group Challenge Thread kept us motivated and accountable.  Then months later I fell back to my old ways and slacked off.  However, I was determined to stay on course.  Fortunately, I stumbled upon the audio CDs of the Holy Bible and caught up through that.  In fact, I had set a specific schedule that would put me 5 weeks ahead of the October deadline.  Although I completed the Holy Bible 3 days before that early goal, I do not consider this challenge a complete success.  Personally, I wanted to acquire a passion for daily reading and studying.  Instead, I read to finish ... I did not read to study (except in the beginning stage).  So epic fail on that account!  Yet, the experience was worth it.  I had many moments through the read of inspiration and comfort that there is a god who loves me.  In that account, this challenge was epic success!

Now, a brief review of the King James Version editions that I used.  First, the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) edition.  I liked this because it gives a brief summary of each chapter.  There are also footnotes for further reference/insights.  Second, the audio CDs was a special treat as well.  I especially enjoyed Alexander Scourby's narration  (I did not hear Mr. Ford's narration since I came into this audio months into reading the Holy Bible).  Mr. Scourby read with an actor's voice that gave life to the words.  I was feeling the emotions.  I venture to say that his voice was made to narrate the Holy Bible!!  Mr. Jones wasn't bad either ... I just loved Mr. Scourby more.  Anyway, I highly recommend any of the two editions.  I highly recommend reading the Holy Bible King James Version, period.

Thank you Kuya Doni and Filipino Group Goodreads friends for taking this challenge with me.  I love you all!

Since this challenge has been completed, I will post the original challenge details below for my reference so that I can pull out the Holy Bible Challenge on my Page section at the end of year.

THE HOLY BIBLE CHALLENGE

The Filipino Group over at Goodreads have a challenge to read the Holy Bible in a year. We are simply invited to read a book a week.  This challenge starts October 2010 and ends October 2011.

I made a personal schedule that projects this challenge to end a little early, August 25th of 2011. Here is the schedule:

OLD TESTAMENT

  • 10/1 - 10/7: Genesis
  • 10/8 - 10/14: Exodus
  • 10/15 - 10/21: Leviticus
  • 10/22 - 10/28: Numbers
  • 10/29 - 11/4: Deuteronomy
  • 11/5 - 11/11: Joshua
  • 11/12 - 11/18: Judges
  • 11/29 - 11/25: Ruth
  • 11/26 - 12/2: 1 Samuel
  • 12/3 - 12/9: 2 Samuel
  • 12/10 - 12/16: 1 Kings
  • 12/17- 12/23: 2 Kings
  • 12/24 - 12/30: 1 Chronicles
  • 12/31 - 1/6: 2 Chronicles
  • 1/7 - 1/13: Ezra
  • 1/14 - 1/20: Nehemiah
  • 1/21 - 1/27: Esther
  • 1/28 - 2/3: Job
  • 2/4 - 2/10: Psalms
  • 2/11 - 2/17: Proverbs
  • 2/18 - 2/24: Eccleisastes
  • 2/25 - 3/3: The Song of Solomon, Isaiah
  • 3/4 - 3/10: Jeremiah, Lamentations
  • 3/11 - 3/17: Ezekiel, Daniel
  • 3/18 - 3/24: Hosea, Joel
  • 3/25 - 3/31: Amos, Obadiah
  • 4/1 - 4/7: Johah, Micah
  • 4/8 - 4/14: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah
  • 4/15 - 4/21: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
NEW TESTATMENT

  • 4/28 - 5/5: Matthew
  • 5/6 - 5/12: Mark
  • 5/13 - 5/19: Luke
  • 5/20 - 5/26: John
  • 5/27 - 6/2: The Acts
  • 6/3 - 6/9: The Epistle to the Romans
  • 6/10 - 6/16: 1 Corinthians
  • 6/17 - 6/23: 2 Corinthians
  • 6/24 -6/30: Galatians, Ephesians
  • 7/1 - 7/7: Philippians, Colossians
  • 7/8 - 7/14: 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians
  • 7/15 - 7/21: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy
  • 7/22 - 7/28: Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, The Epistle of James
  • 8/5 - 8/11: 1 Peter, 2 Peter
  • 8/12 - 8/18: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John
  • 8/19 - 8/25: Jude, Revelation

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Know Me Better #5

"Know Me Better" is a meme hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. She will answer 5 questions off her author interview list each week and invited other bloggers to do the same (link yourself or find participants HERE).

Here is this week's questions and my answers:

What's your favorite season/weather?
Winter.  I love the rain and I dream of a white Christmas.  :D

PC or Mac?
I have a PC.  I hear Mac doesn't get viruses ..is that true?

When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
Wonder Woman.  Also a princess, an Olympic ice skater, a teacher, a nurse.

Favorite music?
Soft and some contemporary.  I like Bruno Mars.

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.  Still learning Twitter.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?
I don't watch TV or see movie that much anymore and fairly a novice reader so I'll have to go way back ... I'm embarrassed to admit I used to watch the soap "One Life to Live" in the early '90s.  I didn't know then but I think it fried many of my brain cells!

If you participate in the fun, don't forget to leave me a comment so that I can visit you and get to know you better as well. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sharing Some Mail Giddiness Giveaway #3


I get all giddy when I receive a book in the mail!! So, I thought I'd give you an opportunity to experience some giddiness too by offering a chance to win a book from my once-read books. This will be a weekly giveaway so come back each week ..maybe one will catch your fancy!

Here's how to enter:

1.Must be a follower of this blog.
2.U.S.A. address only.
3.Leave a comment providing an email address to contact you.

That's it! Contest ends 11/07/11 11:59 PST. Winner announced next Tuesday.  ~Good luck! :)

Here's this week's book (Go HERE to read my review):


Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love--a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come. (Goodreads)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Books Reviewed in Collage

Picture collage of books I reviewed in September and October 2011


My favorites in this batch:
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • I Am David by Anne Holm
  • The Tales of Beetle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Books read this batch but haven't reviewed yet:
  • All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
  • Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
  • Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Holy Bible, King James Version (actually completed in August 2011)

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