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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop

Easy entry ..just be/become a GFC follower ...
(Click on image for list of participating bloggers)

Welcome to my stop in this Summer Giveaway Hop and a big thanks to our hostesses, Kathy and Mary. 

If you're new to "blog hopping", this is where participating book bloggers (see image above) offer book related giveaways on their blog.  How cool is that?  And speaking of cool, where better to cool off from this summer heat (though nature threw a curve ball today ... it rained!) than hanging out at the beach?!!  So get your beach bag ready, join in the fun, and discover some awesome beach reads!

This time around I'm offering to give away ... "Wish You Were Here" by Phillipa Ashley.  The publisher sent me two copies so I have an extra one to give to one of you!  The beachy cover fits the theme of this giveaway.  ~I'm 2/3 through the book and I think the best part is coming!! :)

"Jack Thornfield, new CEO, is shocked to see his long lost love, Beth Allen's resume come across his desk. After 8 years apart they have a second chance at happiness in this romantic story about love and secrets."  (Goodreads)

I'll be mailing this new book personally, so U.S.A. addresses only please (if you live abroad but want to win this for someone living in the States, then feel free to enter!). 

To enter just be/become a GFC follower and leave a comment stating your GFC profile name and a way to contact you (eg. email address, blog address, facebook, twitter).  That's it!  Good luck!!  ~Contest ends 8/7/11, 11:59pm PST.

Now head on over to the list and happy hopping!!

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #34

I've been MIA in this meme lately ... having spiritual struggles.  Generally been having plenty of "one of those days", so I've also been sparce in reading and blogging as well.  :( 

Anyway, here's one I need to ponder:

"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."  Psalm 147:3
I sure could use some encouraging words ... got any?  ~Thanks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


by Cat Patrick, YA, 2011, 288p, rating=4
book won from Annette @Annette's Book Spot

"With the intrigue of Memento and the romance of The Time-Traveller's Wife, Forgotten is the perfect YA novel. Here's the thing about me: I can see the future in flashes, like memories. But my past is a blank. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and an argument that won't happen until this afternoon. But I don't know what I ate for dinner last night. I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works . . .Until now. Everything's falling apart. Jamie's going of the rails. My mom is lying to me. And I can't see the boy I adore in my future.But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much . . ."  (Goodreads, Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this read.  It was simple, quick, and had an alluring storyline.  The romance was sweet ... one that this 10 year married veteran caught saying to herself, "Aww, I remember that young love feeling.". 

Luke was quite the prince ... worthy character to have London fall in love with him anew each day.  Reminding me of the movie, "50 First Dates", where Henry attempts each day to woo Lucy because like London, Lucy wakes up every morning forgetting yesterday.  Anyway, the frustrating and refreshing dynamics of such a situation was explored and Ms. Patrick did a wonderful job letting the reader feel empathy ... even though London's condition may not be medically sound.

Along with the romance was also a little bit of crime mystery that gave intrigue to the read.  I was waiting to see how it all would unfold.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed at the ending.  It was too generic.  It was in this case that I would have liked to see details!  Nonetheless, the overall tone of the book and believable characters left an overwhelmingly good impression on me.

This is another example of the kind of soft YA books I enjoy ... joining Flipped by Wendeline Van Draanen, The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, If I Stay series by Gayle Forman, Clarity by Kim Harrington, etc.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

Harry Potter book #4, by J.K. Rowling, YR, 2009, 734p, rating=5

"Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the Quidditch World Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal—even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly."  (from cover)
Another awesome installment.  The "3 musketeers" (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) are another year older and wiser.  The adventures becomes bolder and we see the start of teenage romance. 

Here's more random thoughts in no particular order:
  • The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher position has a high turnover!
  • Thicker book ... more details ... comes together in the end.
  • Sirius and Dumbledore could have been written to have helped more, but then Harry wouldn't have grown as much.
  • The Harry and Ron's fight ... classic example of what friends go through.
  • Hermione's cause, S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) got me thinking ... human injustices can be culturally biased.
  • Fight's on ... Voldemort has risen ... one battle down ... more to come ... who will win at the very end? (I can guess who but it's the adventure getting there that seems to be the thrill).
  • I thought that the Triwizard Tournament wasn't that exciting ... surprised that it was a fatal potential kind of game.
  • Snape ... I don't get you yet!!  Love to hate kind of character, but you turn out to be on the good side so far?
  • Starting to get overwhelmed with the tons of new creatures and terms ... but it's not like I'm going to have a test on them, right?
I've been enjoying this series and marvel at Ms Rowling's imagination and gift for captivating.  I can totally see myself being elated if ever I were to be in Ms Rowling's presence!!  :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brief Reviews: Tuck Everlasting; I, Alex Cross

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit, YR, 1975, 139p, rating=4

"A kidnapping, a murder, a jailbreak. If this were Winnie Fosters story only, it would be like any other great adventure: you would come to the end, with all resolved, and that would be that. But this is also the story of the Tuck family and therefore, though it has a beginning and a middle, it can never end. The two stories cross near the village of Treegap during a handful of hot August days in the 1880s, days which are a curious mixture of violence and love, of anguish and tranquility. And when those days are over, young Winnie is left to make a fundamental choice. What she chooses at last is not what she might have chosen at first. For when you have known the Tucks as Winnie has, however briefly, you can never be quite the same again."  (book's blurb)

You have discovered a fresh water spring that will allow you to live forever at the age you drink it ... would you?  The Tuck family did and what did they learn?  Now, Winnie knows about it ... will she drink it?  What effects does living forever have?  Should it be available to all?  What would you do with your endless days? 

Questions, questions, questions.  A short book that is simply thought provoking and live-life affirming. 

~Just for fun, if I ended up stuck to live forever in one age, I'd pull a Ground Hogs Day and learn something and better it everyday.  Maybe become an awesome writer/author! Or end world hunger.  :)

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson, Alex Cross #16, AF, 2009, Playaway audio, 7hrs, rating=2

"Alex Cross's niece is found brutally murdered. Overcome with grief, Alex vows to take down her killer before he strikes again. But shortly after he begins the investigation, Alex discovers that his niece had gotten mixed up with some very important, very dangerous people. And she's not the only one who has disappeared..." (book's blurb..first paragraph)
I'm speechless.  This was just not my cup of tea ... adult content and language.  Overall far fetch scenario.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brief Reviews: The Cat Who Went to Heaven; Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out

by Elizabeth Coatsworth, YR, 1958,c1930, 62p, rating=4
Newbery Medal Award Winner 1931

A little cat and a compassionate Japanese artist bring about a miracle. "One of the thirty 20th-century children's books every adult should know."--The Horn Book
This is right up my alley.  A lovely story of compassion with Asian flair.  It also included beautiful illustrations and short songs. 

I think those who like Buddha teachings would find this interesting.

Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out by Lee Goldberg, book #10, AF, 2010, 289p, rating=4

In the midst of a financial crisis, the SFPD fires Adrian Monk as a consultant. Monk figures he can live off his savings for a while. Then Natalie learns that Monk invested his money some time ago with Bob Sebes, the charismatic leader of Reinier Investments, who's just been arrested on charges of orchestrating a massive $100 million fraud. All of Sebes' clients-including Monk-are completely wiped out.

When the key witness in the government's case against Sebes is killed, Monk is convinced that Sebes did it, but the man has been under house arrest with a horde of paparazzi in front of his building 24/7. Monk may be broke, but he's got plenty of time on his hands to solve this latest mystery... (Goodreads)
Man, did I have a great big smile when I stumbled into this book at the library.  I love the Monk TV series and hadn't realized there were books too!  This one didn't disappoint me.  It was classic Monk funny!!  I was totally picturing all the characters and enjoyed the read!  This is the kind of mystery/detective stories I like ... clean language, funny, and clever.  I get a big thrill at Mr. Monk's summations ... if you've watched the series, you know what I mean.  :)

A definite treat for Monk fans because as I understand it, the books are stories between the TV episodes so they're new cases.  How cool is that?! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #33

Simply pondering...

"And Levi made him a great feast in his own house:  and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence."  Luke 5:29-32

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter Book #3, YR, 1999, 435p, rating=5

"During the third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents' deaths." (book's summary)

Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!!!  Another amazing installment.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the night to finish the book because I just could not put it down!  I am so giddy with joy!!  Aahhhh!!!!

I so want to tell you my specific favorite parts but they're spoilers!  I don't want to ruin the FUN for the two of you out there that still haven't read the book.  Seriously, this is an astonishing series ... and I'm not even half way through all the books!  ~I'm shaking with glee! :)

I will tell you some random things I noticed:
  • Harry Potter is growing up and held his own in this book.  He demonstrated initiative and integrity. 
  • The zany teachers are a hoot!
  • I would think the "scary" creatures would give young readers nightmares but they turn out more of a teaser ... and essential supporting characters.
  • The last quarter/third of the book is where things really shake up and get gripping so hold on!!
  • Amazing cast of characters and adventures.
  • Fun mystery, twists, and developments.
  • Sirius Black ... pretty sly Ms. Rowling, pretty sly.
  • Heartwarming relationships ... family and friends.
  • And the best part ... knock out-warm-fuzzy happy endings. :)
Superb imagination and storytelling Ms. Rowling.  You totally rock!!  Thank you for the spectacular read.  Looking forward to book #4.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brief Reviews: Marley & Me; Man in the Moon

Marley and Me by John Grogan, non-fiction, 2006, Playaway audio, 9.75hrs, rating=2.5

This was the story of Marley, a Labrador retriever, from his owner's point of view.  An account of the 13-year association with said Marley and his human family.  Portrayed as a handful but lovable dog, Marley's story was enjoyable.  However, too much information ... namely his #2s!  Also, too many rants of his rambunctiousness.  I would have liked much less of that and more of the tender moments.  Because of that, this read as jabber to me. 

I love Marley ... I just didn't love the writing/presentation.  The movie wasn't much better.  Yet both the book and the movie had me shedding tears. Usually that would constitute a 5 stars but not in this case.

Man in the Moon by Dotti Enderle, YR, 2008, 149p, rating=5

“A good introduction for younger readers of the possibility of symbolism and allegory in storytelling . . . comforting indeed.” (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

This had a rainbow of flavors ... mystery, fantasy, heart, family bonding, hope, etc.  A wonderful short read that packs a lot of depth and reading between the lines.  Hence, leaving you with unanswered questions, but the heart and soul of the story was so moving that it didn't matter. 

A wonderful book, and vaguely recalling, a wonderful movie as well!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #32

The United States of America celebrates its Independence Day every fourth of July.  That in mind, I'm thinking about government and found this exhortation from Apostle Paul:

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."  1 Timothy 2:1-2

Friday, July 1, 2011

Books I Reviewed

A picture collage of books I reviewed in May and June of 2011

Favorites in this batch:
Only one, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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