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Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The Post-College Guide to Happiness"

by Bryan Cohen, NF, 2011, 149p, rating=3.5
Source: received from author in exchange for an honest review

The world can be a bit negative sometimes, which is kind of like saying rain is wet. Smiles have been replaced by cell phones and cynical is the new normal. The pursuit of happiness has been changed into the pursuit of dollars and in a tough economic climate, it's a race most of us are losing. Comedian and author Bryan Cohen thinks that it's time to remember what happiness is all about. He believes that normal people like you without diamond-bejeweled muscle shirts can still be happy with a few changes to your attitude, your beliefs and a short training routine to build up your joy.
Cohen has laid out 35 exercises that you can use to create a happiness workout plan ... (Goodreads)

Often self-help books can be a tedious read because of so many facts and details.  I'm so glad that this book didn't go in that direction ..tedious that is, it still contained facts and details.  So now the question is, did it offer enough valuable information?  By George it did!  Mr. Cohen did his homework and compiled practical happiness achieving exercises and outline them well.  He even threw in a bit of humor to help you move along in the reading. 

The author's approach to the guide was drawn from personal hands-on tried experience.  Still a young-single lad, I was skeptical at the degree of value his short experience would weigh on his perspective toward a long range of sustaining happiness.  However, this guide referenced several school of thoughts on the subject, so basically he picked out what he felt were the best ones and showed us how we can incorporate them into our daily life since he tried them himself. 

There was enough enriching substance in the guide that even picking a few of the exercises would provide one a great start at living a happy life (though I wasn't crazy about the Law of Attraction section because personally I didn't like the book it was based on, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne).  Also, I couldn't help but smile at the realization that I was practicing some of those exercises already.  They were similar principles and programs set to LDS members (see Words of Wisdom, Provident Living, Family Home Evening) so indeed the suggested activities were plausible. 

Overall, this was a user friendly and beneficial (potentially life changing) handbook for a happier today and everyday.  I am especially grateful that Mr. Cohen outlined it all up in the end because I would have had a heck of a time going back to certain passages considering I have an ebook version of this book.  So thank you for the summary.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brief Reviews: Letting Go; The New World

by Roxy Boroughs, AF, 2012, ebook, 22p, rating=3
Source: own

A chance encounter gives a grieving woman new perspective in this 2,350-word short story by the author of 'A Stranger's Kiss' and 'A Stranger's Touch.' (Goodreads)

A tender account of an unnamed woman's thoughts, heartaches, and response to the loss of her father.  Although this was not a light subject, the ultimate result of this woman's experience brought promising perspective by book's end. 

Be warned that you might find yourself crying (especially if you're in a similar situation) so make a note of that if you're going to read this in public ..say while getting a pedicure.

The New World by Patrick Ness, AF, Prequel to Chaos Walking series, 2010, ebook, 25p, rating=4
Source:  own

In this dramatic prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy, author Patrick Ness gives us a short story of Viola's journey to the New World. Whether you're new to Chaos Walking or an established fan, this prequel serves as a fascinating introduction to the series that Publishers Weekly called "one of the most important works of young adult science fiction in recent years." (Goodreads)

I have not read the Chaos Walking trilogy and now I want to!  This quick prequel described Viola's internal thoughts and reservations about the up coming voyage to the New World and the heart wrenching sacrifice the journey turned out to be.  Oh, I so want to know what happens next!  This series is now on my wish list.

Bummer that this trilogy isn't in my library!  Anyone out there have them to lend me?  We can negotiate on a borrow or trade system.  I have Insignia by S.J. Kincaid and other books.  Let's talk. :p

Free Kindle E-Book Alert

Look what I just noticed that's free on Amazon ...


I alerted you to the free ebooks of the 2nd and 3rd book to this series almost two weeks ago, now you've got the first one! 

Hurry, before it goes back to $10!!

Such a beautiful cover!  Love the colors.  The story's cute too ...still nibbling on it between other review commitments. :D

Monday, May 28, 2012

"The Glass Case"

by Kristin Hannah, AF, 2011, ebook, 38p, rating=4
Source: own

In her classic short story THE GLASS CASE, Kristin Hannah explores the heart and mind of a young mother. April Bannerman is a young mother of three, married to her high school sweetheart & living in the same small town in which she grew up. Although she loves her children and husband, April is plagued by the growing doubt that she has not lived up to her mother's expectations for her---until one day when something terrible and unexpected happens, and April must face the truth about her own life and discover what really matters.

BONUS MATERIAL INCLUDED: 1st chapter of Kristin Hannah’s newest novel HOME FRONT. (Goodreads)

I get it now (I read two short stories yesterday)!  Sorry An Unexpected Date, you happened to be the first short story ebook I read and got slammed for my ignorance of the design of short story books.  Which I've recognized might be to taste the author's writing style and perhaps include an excerpt of the author's full length books at the end of the short story.  Anyway, I have a new perspective and have been enlightened.  Unfortunately, An Unexpected Date took the sacrifice for my learning.

Okay, now about this book.  Well, this short story was an example of a captivating morsel.  The tale had enough content to experience the quality of the writer as well.  In this case, this was a good showcase because I certainly will now look into her full length books.  :)

Specifically about this story, April's character was able to stir emotions from me.  I was able to empathize with her journey of contemplation in "what could have been" and the reflection of family life.  I especially ached for her when her youngest was not in the school bus home.  The fear and the desperation was palpable.  I'm short of breath right now just thinking about it.  I'd panic too should any of the my children go missing ..even for a minute!  Such I've experience during a shopping trip when my ever curious daughter (actually, all three of my boogers have done this at some point) went wondering off.  A very torturous minute or two nightmare while searching for her whereabouts!!  Definitely not a picnic in the park so for that reason, this story came alive for me.

In sum, this short story packed concentrated content that was telling of a great writer, emotionally relatable tale, and a wonderful message of love, loss, and gratitude to boot.  Great job Ms Hannah!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Loot Giddy

Yikes, I may have to find a" Free Kindle Books Addict" group!  I went crazy again and got download-click happy.  Oh, someone help me!!!! :)

Anyway, here's my latest giddiness loot. 

Purchased for free, Kindle ebooks:
A Bid for Love

The Captain of Her Heart (The Buchanan Saga, #1)

Entangled (Spellbound #1)

Fateful (Fateful, #1)

Love Unlisted: A Novel

Psychic: a story about a story


For Review:
Traitor (Creepy Hollow, #3)

Borrowed from the library:
92 Pacific Boulevard (Cedar Cove, #9)


How about you?  How book loot giddy are you?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Weekend

(Google Image)

I echo the sentiments from the following song lyric ...

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I'd worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I'd thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can't take that away.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I'm proud to be and American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

My deepest gratitude to you and your family!

Friday, May 25, 2012

An Unexpected Date

by Susan Hatler, AF, 2012, 11p, rating= 1  2
Source: own this ebook

Holly loves living in her cozy mountain town and all the surrounding beauty soothes her soul. She treasures beading jewelry for her own small business while watching nature and its amazing creatures outside her window. But, her mom begs her to move back to the city so she can find a man to marry. Holly doesn’t want to give up on her dreams, but does that mean she’ll have to give up on love? (Goodreads)

Did you catch that page count above?  11 pages!!  Incredibly too short.  As cute of a story as it was, there was just not enough content and character development for this to work for me.  It's like a short chapter one for a novel.  I don't get it.  I'm glad I downloaded this for free because if I had spent more, I would kick myself.  It's not even long enough to read while waiting at the doctor's office.  It's a shame because it appears that the author can write.  She just needs to write a lot more! ;)

**Update (5/28/12): I get it now (I read two short stories yesterday)! Sorry An Unexpected Date, you happened to be the first short story ebook I read and got slammed for my ignorance of the design of short story books. Which I've recognized might be to taste the author's writing style and perhaps include an excerpt of the author's full length books at the end of the short story. Anyway, I have a new perspective and have been enlightened. Unfortunately, you took the sacrifice for my learning.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"The Art of Racing in the Rain"

by Garth Stein, AF, 2008, Playaway digital audio, 7hrs, rating=4
Source: library ISBN#9781436132527
Cover: is different from one I listened to, can't find it on the web

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoƫ at his side.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it. (Goodreads)

The afflictions kept on adding up and so this was not a pleasant read.  Talk about, when it rains it pours!  Such a downer but the telling of the journey through Enzo's (family dog) point of view provided compassion that hooked me.  Enzo's insights was spot on and his voice to the situations compelling. 

This was a fantastic book!  The characters were endearing and the story heartwarming.  Truly, Enzo's narration to his family's journey was a great way to see a better outlook on life that only a beloved pet could discern.  This novel sincerely brought out the intense feelings of love our domestic companions have for us and a reminder of great worth they offer as member of our family.  Lucky to those who had or has an Enzo in their life for such is a gift of life enrichment and joy!

I love and miss you Gigi and Crystal!  I'll see you in heaven when my time's up. 

The Winner Is ...

Congratulations Jess Ramos!  You've won a hard copy of "The Most Important Catch" by Jaclyn M. Hawkes.  An email has been sent to you and you will have 48hrs to reply.

Thank you to all those who entered. 

Didn't win?  Well, the blog tour for this book is still not over so head on over HERE and check out more reviews, interviews, and giveaways!  Good luck.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Somebody to Love"

by Kristan Higgins, AF, 2012, 425p, rating=4.5
Source: received from author through marketing in exchange for an honest review
Find Book:  Harlequin | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled -- …even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.
Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC…... (book cover)

What a delightful read!  I'm such a sucker for a good love story and this one was definitely a romance that bewitched me.  Ms Higgins sprinkled humor and contemporary vocabulary in perfect timing that helped move the story along and made for such a delicious read. 

Oh wow, the characters (main and supporting) had background, intrigue, and absolute heart.  I don't believe there was a character that was distinctly evil.  Usually there's a protagonist that would spice things up but it was not the case here.  The behind the scene history was what it took to flavor the storyline and catapult it to a heartwarming romance as well.  Genius!

This book was prepared just how I like my meat cooked ... well done! :) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Loot Giddy

I had a surprise in the mail this week.  I received "In the Forests of the Night" and for the life of me, I couldn't remember winning it so I thought I got click happy on Amazon and purchased it by mistake.  Inititally I couldn't find it in my emails then I checked again and found it!  I had won it way back last December!  Thank you Melissa.  It finally arrived.  :) 

**Edit update: oops, I actually won "Azure" and not purchased as originally posted.  My apologies, Tifferz!  Thank you!!

Won ..thank you!
In the Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars, #2)

Hardcover from Mel @Mel's Books and Info

Azure (The Silver Series Book 5)

Smashwords ebook from Tifferz @Tifferz Book Review

Purchased for free:
Between The Land And The Sea (Marina's Tales, #1)

(from Smashwords)

To Dance with the White Dog

(from Amazon)

The Keeper (Stoney Ridge Seasons)

(from Amazon)

I went and browsed my local Friends of the Library bookstore and took advantage of the trade paper back grab bag.  Inside were 25 books for the bargain price of $5!  I figured there would be at least one book I'd like and even if not, I put my money to good use by helping the library.  Win-win situation.  Anyway,  there's only a few of these books that I'm familiar with and was wondering if you have any opinion on any of them?  Any must read-s or don't even bother-s?  Any of them you would like to see at the Sharing Some Mail Giddiness Giveaway? ~Thanks.

As Francesa by Martha Baer
Best Friends by Martha Moody
Caroline's Child by Debbie Macomber
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Hawkline Monsters by Richard Brautigan
The Hour by Michael Cunningham
The Hunt Sisters Elisabeth Robinson
Irresistible Forces by multiple authors
Let Sleepiing Vets Lie byJames Herriot
Nell's Cowboy & Lonely Star Baby by Debbie Macomber
The Men and the Girls by Joanna Trollop
Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
The Pause by Lonnie Barbach
The Persian Picle Club by Sandra Dallas
Phoenix Rising by Frances Patton Statham
Publish and Perish by James Hynes
River-Horse by William Least Heat-Moon
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
The Smell of Apples by Mark Behr
Some Girls by Jillian Lauren
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Wall by John Marks
Winter's Tale by mark Helprin
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brief Reviews: Kill Me If You Can; The Graduate; Breakfast at Tiffny's

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 8hrs, rating=3.5
Source: library

I was ready to drop this because it was getting to be a heavy Rated R to my reading ears (incest, violence) but dang it the plot hooked me!  I wanted to see what happens to Matthew after he found a bag of diamonds at Grand Central.  Wow, the twists was awesome!!  I just could have done without the incest part (not too crazy about the violence either but I can't say the title didn't warn me) so I would recommend this to adults only.  In general, the romance was alright but it was the BIG twist that delighted me.

The Graduate by Terry Johnson, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, Based on the novel by Charles Webb and screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, 2hrs, rating=3
Source: library

Because this was a radio play, there was the dramatic sound effects and several actors so it was very entertaining.  Kathleen Turner was perfect as Mrs. Robinson.  She was hilarious!  But because I pictured Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, I had a harder time connecting to the actor Matthew Rhys in this play.  Don't get me wrong, his voice acting was great and fitting.  Anyway, this was a fun find.  Bummer, my library doesn't have the book this was based on so I can compare.  Oh, I haven't seen the movie!  I've seen clips here and there but not in whole.  Remember, I've been living under a rock! ;)

The Breakfast Club by Truman Capote, AF, 1958, 85p, rating=3
Source: library, ISBN#0-451-16651-5
Cover: not the same image as book I read from; couldn't find it on the Web

Ugh, I've been sitting on this review for weeks!  I can't seem to put to words my disappointment so I'll just go with that, I was disappointed.  I was expecting a light, cute, and sophisticated story (had image of Audrey Hepburn's depiction of Holly Golightly) and frankly it was not.  I can understand the literary fascination to this book.  You can pick it apart and find interesting things but it may have been too dark or scandalous for my liking.  Therefore, this might be one of those times that I might like the film version better than the book (based on the image, I actually haven't seen the movie!  Haha, I might not like the movie either?).

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly (source)

Qualifies for this challenge

Free Kindle E-Book Alert

Just wanted to give you a heads up on a couple of Kindle ebooks I noticed that went back to being free.  They were free early last month, then went for $10, and now they're free again.  These are book #2 and #3 of the Emma Rae Creation series ..first book is Always the Baker, Never the Bride. 

I'm not an Amazon affiliate so I'm not getting anything for this ..just thought that some of my readers might like these books and take advantage of the offer.  I'm half way through the first book and I'm liking it so far. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oops! Giveaway is Hard Copy, Not E-Book

I apologize, the giveaway for "The Most Important Catch" by Jaclyn M. Hawkes is for a hard copy of the book and not an e-book copy as previously posted, so it is for U.S. address only.  Please forgive me for the error.  :(

The original post have now been revised to reflect the correct format.

Thank you for understanding.

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