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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Heartless"

by Diana Palmer, Long, Texan #37, AF, 2009, Playaway digital audio, 8hrs, rating=2.5
Source: library

As a teenager, Gracie worshipped her stepbrother, Jason, a strong, silent young cowboy who left home early to seek his fortune. Though Gracie hadn’t seen him in years, when her mother passed away, Jason ensured that Gracie would be cared for. Now the wealthy owner of Comanche Wells ranch, Jason has finally come back home, and discovered that the little girl he knew is all grown up.
When a moment of unbridled passion results in a kiss, Jason realizes that he’s falling for Gracie. But Gracie harbors a shameful secret that makes her deeply afraid of love. Stung by her rejection, Jason leaves, ready to put the past and the one woman he can’t have behind him once more.
Gracie thinks she’s lost Jason forever. But when danger threatens her and the ranch, she can only hope that her long, tall Texan will come blazing home to save her, despite her secrets and take control of Comanche Wells, and her heart, once and for all. (case cover)

I must admit this was an entertaining romance novel.  There was some action (kidnapping, drug cartels, etc), a few funny moments (Jason's rebound woman), romance of course, and overall the characters were easy to follow.  There were definitely characters you'd love(life long maid) and others you'd hate (Jason's rebound woman here again).  In a nutshell, this would make for a perfectly amusing and long stretched out plot for Dallas or such late night TV soap opera.  So if you're into that sort of thing, this is your book!

Of course my hang-up was this romantic relationship between half siblings, Jason and Gracie (see, classic soap opera).  They grew up together as siblings and for things to develop into something erotic was disturbing.  Thanks for my forgetfulness skills, I survived this read because I selectively forgot that they were related.  Oh the powers of this wannabe Wonder Woman! ;)

Because of adult content, I'd only recommend this to adult readers.

Rating: comments

Monday, January 30, 2012

Must Read Monday: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Here's a meme that's quite fun and clever .. Must Read Monday by Fans of Fiction. Go HERE to join the fun.  ~Woohoo!! I'm last week's winner!  My acrostic of "Push" by Sapphire is featured there. :)

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 topic: Favorite self-published book (or, if you don't have one, a book that is underpublicized that more people should know about).  I chose:  "Tall Story" by Candy Gourlay.  It's not self published so I'm going with the alternate.  Anyway, it's a young reader book that impressed me and hit home.  Loved it!
(Go HERE for blurb and my review)

Thirteen year old Andi was in for
A big or shall I say, a tall surprise.
Little did she know that her half brother will be sporting a
Lengthy eight feet tall

Stature! But it's Bernardo's big innocent heart that makes this story great.
Tales of culture shock, close-knit family relationships, and faith.
Overall showcasing dichotomies .. need vs want, superstition vs science,
Real vs magic, and of course, short vs tall.
Your heart will be warmed and served a bit of Philippine culture as well.

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF: Buy or Borrow?


Who's ready for the weekend?! I know I am! I'm introducing a new(ish) feature for Fridays to re-cap the week's posts & to propose a question for my followers. Feel free to get involved by linking up at the bottom. If not, I'd love to read your responses in the comments. Thanks! (Ginger @GRreads)

This Friday's question: Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

My answer:
I'd say a good 90% of the books I read come from loan at my local library.  I'm frugal so it's the best way to go!  Luckily my library has a great selection.  And because I'm frugal I usually only buy bargain books ... new or old from bookstores/online stores.  Then of course, occasionally I'd win books through book blogging friends.  ~I don't feel the need to own books but certainly if there's one I must have then I'd go get it .. and that's a rarity in my case.  I may not have a great collection but I've obtained a few I really treasure.

My week's recap:
  • Book Review:  The Wizard of Oz
  • Limelight Reviews:  I Am David by Anne Holm
  • Pondering the Scriptures Sunday
  • Must Read Monday: Push by Sapphire
  • Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop of this giveaway hop!  Grateful to I Am  Reader, Not A Writer and Down The Rabbit Hole for hosting this event.  If you're not familiar with hops, it's a list of participants that are offering a giveaway related to the hop title (in this case, book related giveaway in the YA genre) and thus one can hop/move through the list and enter as desired.  See below for the list of participants.

Here I'll be giving away a new  hardcopy of Forgotten by Cat Patrick.  Sorry my international friends but U.S.A. destinations only ..but if you've got a friend in the States that you want to win this for then by all means enter!
(Go HERE for blurb & my review)

To enter:
  • Be a follower of this blog
  • Be at least 13yo
  • Fill out the form below
  • Extra entry if you "Like" my Facebook Page



Thank you for entering, good luck, and happy hopping!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Must Read Monday: Push by Sapphire

Here's a 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 topic is: An amazing controversial/banned book. I chose "Push" by Sapphire.  A hard look at important issues such as abuse, self-esteem, social classes, welfare system, educational system, and parenthood.  Incredibly heartbreaking.  Go HERE for my review.

Precious was dealt with a very
Ugly childhood.  Full of abuse at home and inconsistencies in
Society.  But she is strong willed and determine to break the
Hell of a life by pushing forward and onward. 

**Contains strong adult content in language and violence.  I recommend this book to adults only.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday


This will not be a scripture study entry today but because this is a forum for spiritual matters and I'm having spiritual concerns, then I'll share it here.

Simply put I'm physically sluggish, my mind's in disarray, and I'm in a spiritual lull.  In other words, my body, mind, and spirit are out of whack!  When one component is off-kilter the rest goes that way as well.  I have to get myself out of this mess!  So I'm going to brainstorm a list of things to do that will help me to do that ...like the saying goes, a goal not written is just a wish.  This is a wish (get myself out of this mess) that I want to come true and I need to do my part to make it happen.

Here's the list in no particular order:

  • Study the scriptures daily for at least 15min.
  • Brisk walk for 30 min. a day
  • Eat less portions each meal
  • Designate a day to clean a certain room/section of the house
  • Kneel to pray as often as possible
  • Pray in sincere supplication
  • Find a book that teaches how to improve memory
  • Read a book to my children each night
  • Smile and laugh more
  • Take time for glamour grooming ..mani/pedicure, fancy hairdo, make-up, perfume, etc
  • Give up sodas
  • Do service ...random acts of kindness, church duties, community cause, etc.
  • Don't get overwhelmed, clean a box/small section of a clutter each day then walk away
  • Plan family meals in advance
  • Take my blood pressure medicine daily
  • Take my blood pressure daily
  • Have regular Family Home Evenings
  • Designate time or how much time to spend on the computer each day
  • Tackle stressful thinking by doing something else relaxing
  • Write in my journal regularly
  • Take a class for learning and fun ...like: photography, computer, dance, etc.
  • Go to the temple regularly
  • In essence cut down or eliminate, if possible, any stress!
There's probably more but this is a great start.  Plus, it's late and I'm tired and sleepy.  ~Goodnight!

P.S.  I will leave with you a random scripture verse afterall:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Man in the Dark"

by Paul Auster, AF, 2008, 180p, rating=4
source: library
recommend to mature reader d/t heavy descriptive violence

So begins Paul Auster’s brilliant, devastating novel about the many realities we inhabit as wars flame all around us.
Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident in his daughter’s house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget—his wife’s recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter’s boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued. As the night progresses, Brill’s story grows increasingly intense, and what he is so desperately trying to avoid insists on being told. Joined in the early hours by his granddaughter, he gradually opens up to her and recounts the story of his marriage. After she falls asleep, he at last finds the courage to revisit the trauma of Titus’s death.
Passionate and shocking, Man in the Dark is a novel of our moment, a book that forces us to confront the blackness of night even as it celebrates the existence of ordinary joys in a world capable of the most grotesque violence. (book cover)

This was like two books in one.  The first two-thirds of this book depicted a dystopian story ...  a parallel America in civil war instead of 9/11 and the Iraq war, then abruptly in the last third it was like a confessional biographical novella.  So in the beginning, I was excited and engrossed with the action and mystery-ish of the tale.  I was fascinated with the story within the story.  Then poof! the direction shifted and the story got sentimental.  I wasn't sure if I liked that but come to think of it, I like dystopia and of course sentimental stories ..so it was killing two birds in one stone. 

This involved a pretty heavy content.  Understandably since it was talking about war and war is hardly ever pretty.  I repeat the blurb's last statement, "Passionate and shocking, Man in the Dark is a novel of our moment, a book that forces us to confront the blackness of night even as it celebrates the existence of ordinary joys in a world capable of the most grotesque violence."  That statement foreshadows the ending of the book for me ..hopeful.  Some people might see the complete opposite but the characters were taking steps to move forward and capture some ordinary joys again so that's attacking life, not being despairing. 

Rating: comments

Friday, January 20, 2012

Limelight Reviews: I Am David

Here's a wonderful new meme hosted by Louise @Between the Covers. The idea is to "garner meaningful comments on the reviews we spend hours sweating over, getting just right. And then...*crickets*". There will be one review spotlighted each week to be visited. To participate, meaningful comments are encouraged to be left on the spotlighted review and two other reviews on the linky. No following required on any of the blogs. ~Now head on over HERE to participate and get all the details, including submitting a review to be spotlighted.

My cricket review this week is "I Am David" by Anne Holm.  I know I actually didn't do an in depth review of the book because I was just lost for words but I compiled quotes from the book that will speak for itself. :)

"The Wizard of Oz"

by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by Michael Hague, YR, 1982, first p1900, 219p, rating=3.5
source: library

In spite of the fact that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) is one of the most popular stories in America, relatively few people have actually read the book. It's well worth the effort! Young readers expecting rainbows, Munchkin songs, and wicked witches with burning brooms will instead find a complex country populated with mocking Hammerhead men, dainty people made out of china, and fierce monsters with heads of tigers and bodies of bears. Through the fantastic land of Oz ramble Dorothy and her trusty companions--Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion--each seeking his or her heart's desire. Although the premise of the book and the 1939 movie is the same, the book--as so often is the case--delivers a far more subtle and intricate plot. A child's imagination will run rampant in these pages as one extraordinary creature after another leads the motley crew into strange and magical adventures. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

Wow, talk about different from the well known Judy Garland movie version. There was heads being chopped off in the book!  What a jolt!  Oh get this, Dorothy's slippers weren't ruby red! Unfathomable.  So it looks like the film's take made changes on the adventurous journey for color and drama.  Why was I shocked?  Because, the movie was tame and sweet and I forgot that movie versions does not necessarily mean it would be the same as the book.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the book was dark and dreary.  It wasn't at all.  It was just different. 

I'm sure glad I read this classic tale.  Although the violence jarred me, I enjoyed this original imaginative adventure.  It was a dose of the wonderful innocence of childhood.  Plus, I delight at knowing what really happened.  ;)

Rating: comments

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mail Giddy


Woohoo, it finally arrived!  I had won this Descended by Blood prize pack from Mary @The Book Swarm last October.  For some reason it got returned to the sender (author, Angeline Kace) a couple months later.  Ms. Kace was sweet enough to contact me and try to send it to me again.  This time it reached me!  Yippee!!  ~Thank you thank you Ms. Kace!!

Ugh, this reminds me that I haven't gotten to the ebook of this yet.  It's in my old computer waiting for me to be read.  I keep forgetting!  Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.  I was hoping I'd be able to download it to my ereader but I haven't taken the time to figure out that gadget!  By the way, can that be done?  A book in pdf format download to an ereader, specifically Sharper Image's Literati?  Sure would be more convenient to read from an ereader than a computer! 

Bummer, I don't have a Nook for this beautiful skin.  Hmm, if my Literati doesn't work out maybe I'll get one.  Better yet, maybe there's a contest out there that's giving one away that I could win.  :)

Oh, I'm waiting for my daughter to get off from school so we can do our nails.  She reminded me this morning.  She was so excited.  It might be a bit bold of a color for her, we'll see.  My nails for sure needs to be prettied up and this is such a lovely color.  Just one more hour.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Bed of Roses"

by Nora Roberts, Bride Quartet #2, AF, 2009, Playaway digital audio, 9hrs, rating=3
source: library

Since she was a little girl, Emma Grant has always loved romance. So it’s really no surprise that she has found her calling as a wedding florist. She gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn’t ask for a better job…
And on the surface, Emma’s love life seems to be thriving. Slim and sultry, she brings color into every room she enters, just like the arrangements she creates. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn’t found Mr. Right. And the last place she’s looking is right under her nose.
But that’s just where Jack Cooke is. He’s been best friends with Parker’s brother for years, which makes him practically family. But the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. And when Emma returns his passion—kiss for blistering kiss—things start to get complicated at Vows.
Jack has never been big on commitment. Emma yearns for a lifelong love affair. And if the two are to find common ground, they must trust in their history—and in their hearts… (book cover)

This was Emma and Jack's story ...a romance about friends-to-lovers relationship.  The dynamic of such a relationship to the couple and to those of their mutual friends.  I was captivated because I can relate to Emma.  I once was a dreamy girl like Emma.  I had dreams of what I want Mr. Right to be; to sweep me off my feet, to be exactly in tuned with me, etc.  Those dreams indirectly became expectations and I was in for a wake-up call, just like Emma!  Emma's added bonus of course was that she had to deal with having to be around Jack when things got bad.  Having mutual friends also put it another kink in the mix.  Some friends just had to be on a standby mode.  So this made for complex situations and a lot of self evaluation.  In the end, Emma and Jack figured some things out and we'll know more in book #3.

Overall a decent chick-lit. I like that the bond of friendship was embraced and emotions palpable.  Qualities of a read that are a big plus in my book.

By the way, I did find my Mr. Right that swept me off my feet ..and the rest we're working on together!  For example, I can't always assume he knows what's on my mind and vice versa so good communication is key.  Something that Emma and Jack seems to be on the path towards.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Must Read Monday: Book with a wonderful ending

Here's a 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 topic is book with a wonderful ending. I chose Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.   An incredibly amazing book ... I feel choked up at bringing it to my attention again.  Go HERE for my review.

Not many compares to this
Unbelievable tale of courage.
Many risked their lives to save others.
Banned together in meticulous planning.
Every act, unselfish.  Building
Resistance for humanity's sake.

This award winning book will
Have you asking yourself, "Am I brave enough?"
Ever a similar situation comes, may my answer be yes.

Such power
This story delivers.
genuine must read book.
Read it and you'll
See for yourself. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Of Mice and Men"

by John Steinbeck, AF, 1993, c1937, 107p, rating=4
source=library
*SPOILER ALERT*

They are an unlikely pair: George is" small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of lonelinss and alienation. Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him. (book cover)

I can see how in literary sense this is a great work of literature.  Indeed it was poignant, methaphorical, and masterfully descriptive.  I just don't like the ending in practicality.  I can see how it ties in with the essence of the craft of the novella but I had a hard time with the tragedy of the book. Taking another life as the solution just didn't sit well with me.  I suppose that would be part of the genius of this book to move someone as such but the era was sad as it was already, why extend a conclusion of defeat?  Ha, I can answer my own question.  I would venture to guess that such a depressive time did call for some to vanquish hope.  I just don't like that message.  I would have liked a happy ending.  But life is not always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows but we need to hear the contrast in order to know that there is better ...ex. the tree of life vs the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).

For a exceptionally well written review of this book please go to Dark Chest of Wonders.  Jzhun wrote an indepth and compelling look into the literary feel. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Limelight Reviews: Number the Stars

Here's a wonderful new meme hosted by Louise @Between the Covers. The idea is to "garner meaningful comments on the reviews we spend hours sweating over, getting just right. And then...*crickets*". There will be one review spotlighted each week to be visited. To participate, meaningful comments are encouraged to be left on the spotlighted review and two other reviews on the linky. No following required on any of the blogs. ~Now head on over HERE to participate and get all the details, including submitting a review to be spotlighted.

My cricket review this week is "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry.  This book touched my soul.  A very inspiring story.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Christmas Jars Reunion"

by Jason F. Wright, AF, 2009, 194p, rating=4
source: library

Hope Jensen's story continues in Christmas Jars Reunion. It's been two years since Hope was reunited with her biological mother on Christmas Eve at Chuck's Chicken n Biscuits. Hope has never felt more complete. She's writing full- time for a family magazine and, with the help of her mother, Marianne, leading the Christmas Jars Ministry out of Chuck's quirky restaurant. To top it off, she's dating a marketing executive in a comfortable long- distance relationship. Her life is right where she wants it to be a state of organized chaos as another Christmas rolls around. Then her world changes forever over Thanksgiving weekend. The Maxwells hire a nephew to take over the family furniture restoration business. Someone that Hope can't stop thinking about. Then an out- of- town stranger shows up at the diner asking to help in the ministry --a stranger whose motives are yet unclear. Before the sun sets on Christmas Day, two men will try to change Hope's life forever. In the process, Hope will be reminded of the immense power of a single jar, and the healing that sometimes comes only with forgiveness. (Goodreaads)

I thought I was going to pick up Christmas Jars, the first book, but it turned out that my library didn't have it.  They had this second installment instead.  I was bummed but I went ahead and checked this out anyway.  It didn't disappoint.  It gave enough background of what I assumed happened in the first book to keep me up to date.  A bit repetitive but I let it slide because the book as a whole was heartwarming and I'm a sucker for heartwarming stories!  Although it wasn't awesome writing, the power of the message of the Christmas jars, making miracles, stood out and moved me. 

The put your loose coins in a jar idea isn't new to me.  Our family did one for our local Ronald McDonald House last year (collection over 3mos) as a service that our Primary (children organization of the LDS church) set up.  I'm just sorry that we ended there.  This book reminded me that we ought to take it up again and so we shall!  We'll discuss as a family a time line and recipient.  Yeay, I'm excited!  Hence, if a book can inspire one to action then it's a pretty good book ..or the reader's a softy. ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book and Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Investigates: Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, selected and introduced for new readers by Michael and Mollie Hardwick, AF, 1963, 232p, rating=5
source: library

Recently for date night my husband and I saw the movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and I absolutely loved it!  So I had to get my hands on the book.  Well, I ended up with this compilation instead.  What a gem of a find.  According to this book, Sir Doyle wrote 4 long stories and 56 short ones.  This collection gave an excerpt of one of the long ones and six short ones, indeed a wonderful introduction to new readers of Sherlock Holmes stories.  I ate it all up!  I think I found myself a favorite mystery author and character.  I enjoyed the cleverness of the Sherlock Holmes adventures and his summations of them ... reminds me of the TV series Monk but I would put Sherlock Holmes in a class of elegance. 

Just to note the stories that are included in this book:
  • Mr Sherlock Homes Meets Dr. Watson
  • The man with the Twisted Lip
  • The Speckled Band
  • The Red-headed League
  • The Engineers Thumb
  • The Reigate Squires
  • The Blue Carbuncle
My quote-ables:
"I have usually found that there was ethod in his madness.  Some folk might say there was madness to his method." The Reigate Squires
"My name is Sherlock Homes.  It is my business to know what other people don't know." The Blue Carbuncle

    Now for the movie review.  Well, as I mentioned I absolutely loved this movie.  The acting was superb, the music was fabulous, and the special/visual effects was incredible!  It was hilarious and action packed. I'm not a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. but now he's on my radar.  The whole cast was great!  Really, if you want to see a very entertaining movie, this is it!  You'll get your money's worth.  Loved it!!  :)

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    "Smokin' Seventeen"

    by Janet Evanovich, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 6.5hrs, rating=2
    source: library


    Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot. To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her. And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton... (Goodreads)

    Yikes, I missed the first sixteen of this series!  That's okay, it was still an entertaining read as a stand alone.  It kept me in pace during my morning walks.  I especially found Lula a hoot!  Wanda Sykes kind of funny.  The story in general was weird ... what can I say, it had a dancing bear and a stalker.  But I must say, I like the ironic ending. 

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Funny!!



    Saw this at Tracy's blog, Pen and Paper, and got a great kick out of it! I'm visiting her blog more often because her site will help me live longer. She has the medicine of laughter going on in her blog (and great book reviews to boot!)!! Really, head on over to her blog because you'll definitely find something to make you smile or laugh 'til your side hurt!

    By the way, there's more to CPR than what this video shows so please be sure to check out your local hospital for detailed techniques. :)

    "The Blind Side"

    by Michael Lewis, NF, 2006, 339p, rating=3
    own this paperback copy

    When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family's love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback's greatest vulnerability, his blind side. (book cover)

    I enjoyed the movie version of this so I was excited to read the book.  Duh, I didn't realize that it'd be in non-fiction format so I had a rough time reading through it.  I barely know the first thing about football so much of the football jargon was incredibly confusing.  But I was determined to find the heart of the story that touched me in the film.  Indeed, Michael Oher is a fascinating man.  He certainly can be a poster child for beating the odds.  Like in the movie, Mr. Oher is lovable.

    An overall well written book.  I personally found the film version more entertaining ... they made it more dramatic.  But if you like detail and love football then this book is right up your alley!  And if that's the case then the sappy stuff might be the parts you'd like to brush through.  ;)

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    My Review is Being Spotlighted!


    Woohoo!!  Head on over to Between the Covers because my review of Standing for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley is being spotlighted.  I feel so giddy. 

    By the way, Limelight Reviews (Friday meme) is a great venue to showcase your beloved book reviews so head on over to Between the Covers and link yours up!!  --Leave me a comment that you did and I'll make time to visit your review.

    Woohoo!!  Still giddy. ;)

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    "Small Steps"

    by Louis Sachar, YA, 2006, 257p, rating=3.5

    Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it’s hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believes in him is Ginny, his 10-year old disabled neighbor. Together, they are learning to take small steps. And he seems to be on the right path, until X-Ray, a buddy from Camp Green Lake, comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme. This leads to a chance encounter with teen pop sensation, Kaira DeLeon, and suddenly his life spins out of control, with only one thing for certain. He’ll never be the same again.
    In his first major novel since Holes, critically acclaimed novelist Louis Sachar uses his signature wit combined with a unique blend of adventure and deeply felt characters to explore issues of race, the nature of celebrity, the invisible connections that determine a person’s life, and what it takes to stay on course. Doing the right thing is never a wrong choice–but a small step in the right direction.  (book cover)

    I enjoyed Holes so I thought I'd read another from this author.  I was not disappointed.  This was a surprisingly gripping story.  An off-shoot from a couple of the characters in Holes, Armpit and X-ray return in this novel.  Armpit putting to work what his counselor had advised him to do ..take small steps, hence he set 5 goals for himself: graduate from high school, get a job, save his money, avoid situations that might turn violent, and lose the name Armpit.  X-ray of course had to jiggle those goals a bit and adventures ensued.  Before he knew it, he was in the realms of the possibility of going to jail, caught in the admiration of a pop star, and in the throws of a percolating violence.

    What I liked most about this novel was it's heart ...relationships and choices.  Armpit's heartwarming bond with Ginny, Armpit's loyalty with his friend X-ray, the endearing love affair between Armpit and Kaira, and the choices that Armpit made that built his winsome character.  Overall, echoing the last comment of the blurb sums it up perfectly, "...a unique blend of adventure and deeply felt characters to explore issues of race, the nature of celebrity, the invisible connections that determine a person’s life, and what it takes to stay on course. Doing the right thing is never a wrong choice–but a small step in the right direction.".

    I wasn't kidding about this being gripping.  I saw all the seeds being planted for a horrible outcome for Armpit and even though I was convincing myself that it had to end positive for the sake of YA readers, you never know for sure.

    I like the take small steps idea.  It might be my new mantra for the new year.  Just might be the answer to giving me focus. ;)

    2011 Wrap Up

    Tidbits about my 2011 blogging experience:

    (Started book blogging):  February 2010
    GFC followers at start of the year:  212
    GFC followers at end of the year:  1585 (took advantage of blog hops!)
    Awards I received:  7 Facts Award, Best Books Blog Award, Stylish Blogger Award, and The Versatile Blogger (once this year and 2 or 3 times last year)
    Memes I participated in:  Must Read Mondays, Know Me Better, Limelight Reviews, and Pondering the Scriptures Sunday (created by me)
    Books I won:  26 books, 2 e-books, 1 gift card, 1 missed (was on hiatus)
    Book I gave away in this blog: 13
    Gift cards I gave away:  $120 total
    Books I read: 132, not counting picture books
    Some favorite books read this year: A Monster Calls, After the Last PR, Anna and the French Kiss, Anne of Green Gables, Blood Red Road, Clarity, Dash & Lily's Books of Dares, Divergent, Dreams of Joy, Ender's Game, Gift of the Magi, Harry Potter 1-4, Holy Bible, I Am David, If I Stay 1-2, Lost December, Michael Vey, Number the Stars, Tall Story, The Night Circus, The Princess of Las Pulgas, The Taming of the Shrew, Thr3e
    Misc.:  It's been a roller coaster book blogging year.  I had several episodes of losing my reading mojo and by year end, just about complete burn out.  I enjoyed reading but I worried a lot about putting out reviews and I'm not quick with words so it takes me up to 3hrs for a review so that takes up a lot of my "real life" time (not to mention the many hours reading and commenting on blogs I follow), hence guilt and frustration about prioritizing my life came to play.  Overall, I've learned quite a lot about blogging this year through blogger tips you post.  I gave my blog a facelift that finally stuck!  I'm networking more and making more friends.  This is still a wonderful hobby and I appreciate this community.  I love you all! 

    Here's a picture collage of books I reviewed in November and December 2011


    Minimal in this batch because these were my off months ..many episodes of being in a reading slump so I officially just went on hiatus in December. 

    Several feel good books in this batch.  One that stands out though would be Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  It was awesome!  Oh, the Holy Bible, King James Version, was another 5 stars ..more so for spiritual purposes. :)

    By the way, I actually read Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve and All That Remains in October but didn't include them on that batch of picture collage since I had not reviewed them.  I still haven't reviewed these books but gave them 3 and 2 stars respectively.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Sign-Up for Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

    Happy New Year!!  It's a leap year too so I'm excited to co-host a blog hop with Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer on the upcoming special day!!  And today the sign-up is open to link up if you want to participate in hosting a giveaway for the hop (the link sign-up is the same in Kathy and I's blog so you need only to enter on one).  See below for details.  ~See you then!


    Celebrate Leap Day by Joining in a Hop!

    Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

    February 29th to March 5th

    Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Me, Jinky is Reading :)

    Hop Rules:

    •Each participating blog will host a giveaway on their site.
    •The giveaway must be for something a reader, blogger or author would enjoy.
    •No more than 6 possible entries per person. 1 mandatory & up to 5 optional.
    •Offering a Gift Card or book of choice from The Book Depository is fine.
    •Any family friendly blog or site is welcome to join.
    •Your post must include the giveaway hop image, the linky or a link to the host site & must be live by 12:01 AM on February 29th.

    Please mark your calendars. A reminder email will be sent out about a week before the hop starts.

    To enter please add your blog to the linky with your shipping information in parenthesis after your blog name.

    If you have any questions email Kathy at toobusyreading-at-gmaildotcom

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