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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review with $25 Giveaway: 365 Affirmations to Smile by Kelly Clanton

365 Affirmations to Smile by Kelly Clanton, 2016, Self-Help, Journal, 189p, My Rating=3
Source: Ebook provided by blog tour host in exchange for an honest review

365 Affirmations to Smile gives light to darkness in a world with so much negativity. Kelly’s passion is to inspire others with her affirmations and allow them to journal their thoughts.

I could certainly use a daily smile so I jumped at the opportunity to read this book.  I love the concept of an encouraging statement for each day of the year followed with lined spaces to write your thoughts.  These affirmations served as journaling cues for the day.  Fantastic idea! 

An Ebook version is not ideal for journaling as you can imagine because I was not able to jot down my thoughts since it was not electronically interactive.  I would have to produce my own notebook and basically re-write the affirmations and my impressions on said paper notebook.  That said, I think I lost a bit of the quality of accounting my thoughts right there and then.  Hence, unless you want to save money, an Ebook edition is for you, but for the full effect, I recommend you get a printed copy. 

Unfortunately, I did find some errors; mainly in spelling.  Sadly, that did not make this a clean book so it does not appear professional.  I also found repeated affirmations, one verbatim and several similar.  Consequently, this could have used another once over.

Aside from the oversights, this journal did have some great encouraging words to ponder, inspire, and smile about.  :)

About the Author:

I am from Midwest City, Oklahoma which is the heart of a large Military Base and a town committed to Friday night football. After graduating I married, raised a family and working in the family business several years juggling many responsibilities. I’ve always been one to journal my thoughts as an escape to a hectic day or to remind myself of all I am capable of achieving. In a world with so much negativity, my passion is to inspire positive thoughts one thought at a time and my hope is that I can inspire you! This has been an incredible journey and one I’m not finished writing.


January 5

You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breath, trust and see what happens. Remind yourself it’s ok to not be perfect. It’s not selfish to love yourself. Take care of you and make your happiness a priority.

February 5

It doesn’t matter how rich, talented or cool you think you are. Your integrity and how you treat others says it all. You have to water flowers daily for them to last.

March 10
In life, you have to do what makes you happy. Be with ones that make you smile. Laugh as much as you breathe. Love as long as you are living. Every day is a new beginning – look to what it can do.

April 1
Sometimes our lives have to be shaken up a bit – moved around to put us where we need to be. Look ahead and always smile. You never know what a change it can make.

Blog Tour Schedule:  HERE

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/22/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Film Review: The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book, 2016, Directed by Jon Favreau, 106 min, Starring --Neel Sethi, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, etc.
My Rating=4.5
Watched in theatre: 4/16/16

An orphan boy is raised in the Jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear and a black panther.

Don't throw tomatoes at me, I haven't seen the Disney animated version (just clips here and there). Haven't read the book either. Can I just say I've been living under a rock? That said, this review is strictly about this film with no influence from book or previous animated version. Anyway, I enjoyed the ride. Quite an adventure that kept me on my toes. Shere Khan the tiger is a terror! So glad Baloo's comedic antics buffed him out ..Bill Murray is simply incredible. The young boy actor needs a little more acting pizzazz (for lack of a better term) but overall he got me rooting for him so he got the job done considering he was the only non-cgi character. Haha, when King Louie the orangutan started to sing I was taken aback. I didn't see this as a musical so I found that part funny. Now I have a hankering to read the book and see the animated version.

Join me at Letterboxd


Run with them. Or fear them--

Bagheera the Panther: A silken shadow of boldness and cunning.

Kaa the Python: A thirty foot battering ram driven by a cool, hungry mind.

Baloo the Bear: who keeps the lore and the Law, and teaches the Secret Words.

Rikki the Mongoose: The young protector who sings as he slays.

Akela and Raksha the Wolves: Demon warriors of the Free People.

Shere Khan the Tiger: The dreaded enemy of all.

And Mowgli the Man-cub: The orphan baby raised by the wolves, taught by Baloo, trained by Bagheera and Kaa. The sorcerer who knows the ways of the jungle and speaks the language of the wild...

DVD --1997



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Film Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958, Directed by Richard Brooks, 108min, Romance, Drama, My Rating=5
Source: gifted to me

Just one pillow on her bed ... and just one desire in her heart!

Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

Wow! What a treat this was to see. Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor was freakin' sexy! Raunchy movies of today has nothing on this film. Nothing was revealed here but goodness, my TV screen was smoldering from the onscreen passion that was in between the lines. I just about died at the ending! Fudge, I think I came! ;) --But really I also was enthralled at the family dynamics. I had several giggles (Mae character) and happy with how it was wrapped up in the end. Oh, I'll have to tell my two youngest kids that their favorite Primary song, "Sunbeam" was sung here. --Last but certainly not least, I dub Paul Newman as my McSexy!

I haven't read it yet but now I want to!

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father’s inheritance amid a whirlwind of sexuality, untethered in the person of Maggie the Cat. The play also daringly showcased the burden of sexuality repressed in the agony of her husband, Brick Pollitt. In spite of the public controversy Cat stirred up, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award for that year. Williams, as he so often did with his plays, rewrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for many years—the present version was originally produced at the American Shakespeare Festival in 1974 with all the changes that made Williams finally declare the text to be definitive, and was most recently produced on Broadway in the 2003–2004 season. This definitive edition also includes Williams&rsquoi; essay “Person-to-Person,” Williams’ notes on the various endings, and a short chronology of the author’s life. One of America’s greatest living playwrights, as well as a friend and colleague of Williams, Edward Albee has written a concise introduction to the play from a playwright’s perspective, examining the candor, sensuality, power, and impact of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof then and now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Still Top 1% Goodreads Reviewer

On April 6, 2016 I received an email from Goodreads :)

Here's my read shelf:
Jinky's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vaderpool

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, YR, 2011, Ebook, 384p, My Rating=5
Source: borrowed from library through Overdrive
Newbery Award Winner 2011

Winner of the 2011 Newbery Award.
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

It took me over a week to read this because my kids had so much going on (practices, concerts, boy scouts, activity days, etc.) that I had very little time to read.  Usually late at night when everyone's asleep but by that time, I was so tired that I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Anyway, few pages here and there made for a very long read but I enjoyed the story so much that in reflection, it was like I was savoring it, so yay!  Indeed, this rich historical fiction kept my interest.  I like the small town history and its simple and fascinating culture.  The mysterious weaving of the plot certainly was what set this to high standards for me.  It had sassy characters and heart touching story of family ancestry, love, fellowship, and fitting in.  Speaking of characters.  I love the names of the characters in this novel, particularly, Jinx.  Can you guess why?  Hehehe, my close friends call me that.  Anyhow, well done, Ms Vanderpool! I'm one satisfied and happy bookworm.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Reviews: Pete the Cat: Wheels on the Bus; The Princess and the Pea

Pete the Cat: The Wheels On the Bus by James Dean, YR, 2013, Board Book, 32p, My Rating=3
SourceL library

The kitties on the bus say,
"Come on, Pete!
Come on, Pete!"

The kitties on the bus say,
"Come on, Pete!
Hop on board!"

Pete the Cat can't wait to drive the school bus all the way to school! Everyone's favorite cat is groovier than ever in this way- cool adaptation of the classic kids' song "The Wheels on the Bus"!

My nursery kids enjoyed this rendition of Wheels on the Bus. There's something about Pete the Cat illustrations that catches their eyes ..bold, colorful, and fun.

The Princess and the Pea by Paul Galdone, Hans Christian Andersen, YR, 1979, Paperback, 32p, My Rating=3
Source: library

This adaptation of The Princess and the Pea, the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, is illustrated with the whimsical illustrations of Paul Galdone. It tells the tale of a prince who is searching for a real princess to marry, but has no luck searching his kingdom. One stormy evening a princess shows up at his castle and he thinks she may be what he has been searching for, but can she pass the test to prove she is a true princess?

Story is funny. Illustrations, just okay.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Reviews: Where Is Baby's Belly Button; My Little Teapot; This Little Piggy

Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz, YR, 2009, Anniversary Edition Board Book, 14p, My Rating=4
Source: library

Celebrate fifteen years of Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? with this oversize board book edition!

Where are Baby’s hands?
Under the bubbles!
Where are Baby’s eyes?
Under her hat!

This bestselling lift-the-flap board book is back in an oversize board edition just in time for its fifteenth anniversary! Karen Katz’s adorable babies play peek-a-boo in this delightful interactive book. The playful text and vibrant, patterned illustrations are sure to keep little ones mesmerized as they search for Baby’s hands, eyes, feet, and much more! This sturdy format and large, easy-to-lift flaps are perfect for parents and children to share.

Another fun one for the nursery kids. Wonderful board book with lift-the-flap that the kids enjoyed flipping. I look at it as a book version of peek-a-boo that young and old love to play.

My Little Teapot! by Annie Kubler, YR, 2007, Board Book, 10p, My Rating=4

Presents the lyrics to the nursery rhyme along with illustrations featuring children acting out the motions indicated by the song.

Had a kick singing and doing the moves with my nursery kids on this one! Keeping this ol' lady young :)

This Little Piggy by Annie Kubler, YR, 2007, Board Book, 10p, My Rating=4
Source: library

This award winning series has been specifically designed for babies. A great introduction to books through well-known nursery rhymes and interactive text. Singing songs and rhymes is the perfect way to bond with your baby and share quality time. It also aids language development by introducing them to the natural sounds and patterns of speech. Combining these with actions also stimulates the brain and helps muscle development.

Luckily my toes were ready (trimmed and painted nails) when I read this to my nursery kids. Such a fun rhythmic tale. Cute illustrations too.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Film Review: East of Eden

A good friend of mine is a film enthusiast and got me to join Letterboxd (like Goodreads for motion pictures). If you like movies and want to log and review them then check it out.  If you join (or already a member) then find me here and let's follow each other because I only have one follower :(

East of Eden, 1955, Directed by Elia Kazan, DVD, 115mins, Stars: James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, My Rating=5
Source: gifted to me

Of what a girl did . . . what a boy did ... of ecstasy and revenge!

Two brothers compete for their father's approval and a woman's love.

I absolutely love this film! James Dean and Julie Harris took my breath away. The story line pierced my soul. I'm speechless. This motion picture now ranks as my favorite movie these lovely eyes have seen. James Dean is now also my new McDreamy :)


Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love; and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.

Wow! $2, what a deal!!!

Review: Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean, James Dean (Illustrator), YR, 2013, 40p, Hardcover, My Rating=4
Source: own

Pete the Cat is back in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean's picture book Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, written by Kimberly Dean. Pete the Cat wakes up feeling grumpy—nothing seems to be going his way. But with the help of some magic sunglasses, Pete learns that a good mood has been inside him all along. Fans of Pete the Cat will love watching him take his positive outlook and transform a grumpy day into an awesome day!

My nursery kids (18mos-3yo) that I teach at church enjoyed this when I read it to them. They like the illustrations, especially the turtle on its back. But they're attention span is usually low (particularly with the 18mos) so we don't seem to get to the very end, a bit too long for them. I caught on so I split the story when we meet. However, they always get a kick out of taking turns wearing the blue magic paper sunglasses that came with the book! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher

Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher, Sue Hellard (Illustrations), YR, 2008, 144p, Hardcover, My Rating=4
Source: library

Madeleine must work in her horrible Uncle Lard's restaurant, The Squealing Pig, every summer. Though a fairly good cook herself, Madeleine is only allowed to wash dishes and stay out of the way. But one evening while on an errand for the chef, her luck changes. As she wanders through the streets of Paris, she happens upon a tiny shop. Not just any shop, but Edibles owned by Madame Pamplemousse.

When Uncle Lard learns of the extraordinary and delicious ingredients brewing in Madame Pamplemousse's kitchen, he decides to steal her recipes and he'll use his niece to do it. Lucky for Madeleine, Madame Pamplemousse may not be the only chef capable of culinary magic….

A charming little book that I read in one sitting. The intriguing and mysterious characters made this a quick and delightful read. It was the ending that disappointed me, though it had a happy ending. Can't get my finger on exactly why.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: When Bob Met Woody: The Story of Young Bob Dylan by Gary Golio

When Bob Met Woody: The Story of Young Bob Dylan by Gary Golio, Marc Burckhardt (Illustrator), YR, 2011, 40p, Hardcover, My Rating=5
Source: own

"Hey hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song..." When Bob finished, Woody's face lit up like the sun. Bob Dylan is a musical icon, an American legend, and, quite simply, a poet. But before he became Bob Dylan, he was Bob Zimmerman, a kid from rural Minnesota. This lyrical and gorgeously illustrated picture book biography follows Bob as he renames himself after his favorite poet, Dylan Thomas, and leaves his mining town to pursue his love of music in New York City. There, he meets his folk music hero and future mentor, Woody Guthrie, changing his life forever.

Beautiful illustrated story of Bob Dylan's youth ...beginnings of his climb to fame. I foresee many children who come across this book would be inspired to live their dream. Dylan fans would certainly treasure this and share with their children.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review (Spoiler Alert): Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, YR, 2012, 320p, Hardcover, My Rating=5
Source: library

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

I came into this book with anxiety so the read felt drawn-out. See, the only thing I had to go on about this book was the word, "bully", from a friend's book review while browsing my Goodreads friends' updates. I didn't read his review but that word caught my eye and the next thing I knew I was checking out the book from the library. I was anticipating a very harsh roughhousing (prior to a happy ending) and that made for a tense read. How crazy am I? Anyway, I'm glad Julian or others didn't beat August to a pulp like my crazy head was fearful of. Instead Ms Palacio truly humanized and embraced the wonderment of perspective. Through the point-of-views of several characters, I, the reader got the whole story. I learned most because I was in everyone's thoughts and I had all the lessons to take away. By book's end I was in tears ..both from relief of my anxiety and the powerful lesson of the beauty of kindness. Never fails, stories about good people being good to other people gets me all the time!

My Quote-ables:
"But really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other." pg. 279

"And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God." pg 301

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans

The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans, AF, 2015, 300p, Hardcover, My Rating=4
Source: library
Content: clean romance

The second holiday love story in New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans' Mistletoe Collection.
At thirty-two Kimberly Rossetti, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Savannah, Georgia. Deep inside Kimberly knows she's at a junction in her life and it's time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.
In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he's really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he's unwilling to talk about.
The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

RPE novels like this one, helps me to relax. My mind doesn't feel the pressure to be overly used ...just my heart. And since I'm a heart girl, this is my kind of read. I just want to enjoy a good love story and this delivered. I can nitpick here and there but overall, I'm content with the few hours of break it gave me from "real" life.

Oh, I almost forgot. I often find the sidekicks my favorite part in his books (actually, in any good book) because it's when I get those sweet-good laughs. Samantha was that girl for this book. Friends rock!

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