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Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Six Sentence Saturday

Welcome to Six Sentence Saturday.
Where I try to express my thoughts on recent reads using only 6 sentences!!!!.
At the end of each review I will post a
rating scale of 1-5 using the cute and original (lol) Playing Cards.
Rating scale will be as follows:

5 of Hearts- You must read this book NOW!!
4 of Hearts- A great read, put it on your TBR list.
3 of Hearts- Happy that I read it...a good read.

2 of Hearts- Just O.K but nothing to write home about.
Joker Card - Don't bother (why did I?)



Crossing Oceans -Gina Holmes
I was immediately drawn to this story: young woman loses her mom early in life, find "true" love (she thinks), ends up pregnant so she flees from home, only to return five years later because she doesn't have long to live and she needs to make things right with her father and the father of her daughter. This is an impressive debut novel by Holmes, one that took her ten years to bring to completion. I enjoyed this one very much and only found myself being upset a few times at certain characters behavior only because it didn't feel realistic to me. I totally understood Jenny's jealousy toward her old boyfriend's wife. This would be the woman who would raise her daughter when she died...that hit me hard because I know had it been me preparing to die and knowing that someone else would be mothering my children....oh, the heartache that would occur. I cried more than once while spending time with these characters and I'll be reading Holmes again.
My Rating:







A Complicated Kindness-  Miriam Toews
I honestly have no memory as to where I saw this book or whose review I read that made me request it from the library. I wish I did so that I could revisit why I felt the need to read this one. I found this a complicated weird experience to say the least. The "Mennonite" town did not feel true at all...I thought the characters came across as just regular everyday people who weren't really influenced by religion whatsoever. I kept turning the pages because at times I found the story enjoyable, even though there was not a punctuation mark to be found. I managed to finish the book, but the last chapter was horrible and left me wanting to throw the book at the wall.


My Rating:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fitness Friday Update #5



What I've been doing:
At the moment I still haven't been released back to exercising or being able to mow my lawn!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully next week my doctor will give me the green light. Today was the first day where I've been able to walk normally!!! I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things and to really see my numbers fall in the coming weeks!


  Weight Watchers and Me:
I was just introduced to The Hungry Girl, by my awesome blogging friend Jenny (Jenny Loves to Read). If you haven't checked out this site and you participate in the WW program, I urge you to visit it today and sign up for her free newsletter!! After checking out Hungry Girl, I immediately requested all 3 of her cookbooks. I've been reading them very intently and decided to buy my own copies. I'm really excited to mix up my food a bit and to also incorporate some better choices for substitutions of those loved fried foods.

 
 
Starting weight: 171
3/19/10: 168
4/1/10: 166
4/16/10: 164
4/23/10: 162
5/14/10: 161
5/28/10: 159
Goal weight: 140-145

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday- A favorite author's newest release!

 this fun meme brought to us by
 
 September 14, 2010

Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow's five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years. Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she's ever known crumbles, Autumn's compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there's more of Kristina in her than she'd like to believe. Summer doesn't know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father's girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother's notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.
Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family's story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person's problem

This story is very close to Hopkins because Crank is about her own daughter's drug addiction and subsequent pregnancies. I love this author. She's not afraid to write a story that makes people uncomfortable and brings to light real issues that teens face. Believe me when I tell you that I've had some interesting conversations with students that have read her books. If you've never tried Hopkins I urge you to pick up CRANK...you'll never look back and will quickly devour the rest of her books!!! I've already requested this one from my library.....CAN NOT WAIT!
 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays


TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!



  His expression changed him into a man that I no longer recognized. "She's my daughter and she will be part of my life. Don't fight me, Lucas. You won't win."
  Without answering, I turned back around and headed inside, leaving him alone with his threat.

p.143~ Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mailbox Monday and t's Monday..What are You Reading?


Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found 
in our mailboxes last week.




Stealing Home- I received an autographed copy from Allison Pittman. She's a very down-to-earth person and I'm so very excited to read this one!!!
Sometimes Mine- review copy from publisher
For the King's Favor- review copy from publisher

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Hosted by Sheila
One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.
Last week I read and reviewed:
Black Water Rising- great debut novel 4/5 Recommended
Just Jane- highly recommended for Austen fans  4.5/5
Plain Paradise- Amish fiction 3.5/5

Reviews for this week:
A Complicated Kindness
Pretty in Ink
Calamity Jack

Books on Deck:


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Six Sentence Saturday

Welcome to Six Sentence Saturday.
Where I try to express my thoughts on recent reads using only 6 sentences!!!!.
At the end of each review I will post a
rating scale of 1-5 using the cute and original (lol) Playing Cards.
Rating scale will be as follows:

5 of Hearts- You must read this book NOW!!
4 of Hearts- A great read, put it on your TBR list.
3 of Hearts- Happy that I read it...a good read.

2 of Hearts- Why did I finish this?
Joker Card - Don't bother (why did I?)

Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen's Life- Nancy Moser
This wonderful read was recommended to me by Nise and I'm so happy that she told me about it. I love anything Jane Austen and this book really filled in a lot of blank spots in regards to Jane's life. I loved how the author weaved her story with actual facts about Jane. She brought her to life and stirred to life that burning desire to meet Jane...oh how I would love to walk beside her and talk about her writing!! Does Jane rule your reading world?  If so, you'll want to add this one to your list of books to read!
  My Rating:                                                                             










Plain Paradise (Daughters of the Promise )- Beth Wiseman
This is a new author to me and one that I enjoyed. Beth Wiseman is another voice for the Amish genre that seems to be growing in popularity these days. This story revolves around a young woman, who at seventeen, gave her daughter up for adoption. Her daughter has been raised by an Amish couple and has absolutely no idea that she was adopted. This made for a good story about families, secrets, young love and faith. Beverly Lewis is still tops in my book for Amish stories, but I enjoyed Wiseman's storytelling enough to seek out the other books she has written.
My Rating:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Library Loot-It's been a long time!!!!!!!!

It's been almost a month since I've posted about my library loot!! I can't believe that I've missed so many weeks. Just because I haven't posted though, doesn't mean that I haven't been busy checking out tons of reading materials from my library. I have been keeping my branch very busy indeed and they have, of course, been doing a wonderful job of keeping great books on the shelves to tempt me!! I've estimated that I will probably read about 200 books this year and of those, maybe 100-125 will be from my library. I figure I read around $2500-3000 worth of material. I've often asked myself what would I do without my library. Well, on August 3rd, our county library millage will be up for renewal. I'm scared. There's a very real possibility that it won't pass. Michigan has been hit hard with unemployment. The jobs are just not here any longer and more and more residents are moving out-of-state. If it doesn't pass my beloved library will close their doors in February 2011. I'm filled with anxiety and sadness....but, while it is open I will CELEBRATE each and every book that I check out and not worry about my obsession with the written word. Instead, I'm just going to focus on enjoying these beautiful works of art.




Calamity Jack- Shannon Hale
I can't wait to read this graphic novel. It's the follow-up to Rapunzel's Revenge.

Crossing Oceans- Gina Holmes
I saw an ad for this one on Goodreads and knew I just had to read it.
Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind.
For Keeps- Natasha Friend
I think of Natasha Friend as the "Laurie Halse Anderson" for middle school girls. She tackles difficult subjects but she puts it into context for the younger crowd.
FOR KEEPS, Natasha Friend tells a fresh, funny, smart story about what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed


Spells (Wings #2)- Aprilynne Pike
I really enjoyed book one of this series and I'm hoping that the second one doesn't let me down!
When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?
Still Life- Louise Penny
I have book 3 in this series and have been meaning to start at the beginning (I can NOT read out of order).
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter."
Scars- Cheryl Rainfield
I read a review of this one in Booklist, and unfortunately I'm all to aware of students that cut themselves. I think I read these books to try to understand them better.
Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity




Tender Morsels- Margo Lanagan
Nymeth is the reason why I'm reading this one.
A young woman who has endured unspeakable cruelties is magically granted a safe haven apart from the real world and allowed to raise her two daughters in this alternate reality, until the barrier between her world and the real one begins to break down.
Women, Food, and God- Geneen Roth
I watched the author on Oprah and was a bit intrigued so I wanted to read this one from the library before I invested in my own copy.



Books Read in 2010 to date: 89
Books read from the library: 64
Number of Books Checked out from the library:19

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Life, In Spite of Me




Title: Life, In Spite of Me
Author: Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer
Pages: 209
Published:  2010 by WaterBrook Press
Genre: Inspirational Biography
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.








My Synopsis:
Kristen is by all outward appearances, a happy teen who enjoys life. But deep down inside she's been hiding her real feelings. She experiences the death of her beloved Grandma, and then the most shocking event of all, when a friend commits suicide. Not knowing how to deal with her feelings, she turns to smoking, drinking, and hanging out with friends until all hours of the night. During one of these party nights, she is raped by a young man she once thought was a great guy. Her grades suffer and so does her relationship with her parents. One night she leaves a note for her mom telling her that she went for a walk. What happens instead is that Kristen finds herself drawn to the railroad tracks that weren't far from her house. Feeling like life is not worth living, she lays herself across the tracks and a train runs over her, severing her legs from her body. In shock, she's not sure whether she's alive or dead, but one thing she is sure of, is that she felt a force holding her body on the tracks. This is Kristen's story of how she decided that her life was worth living and how she dedicated her life to Christ.

My Thoughts:
When I picked up this book I honestly had no idea that Kristen lost her legs to her suicide attempt, her cover photo did not make me do a double-take at all.  I found myself in shock that a person could actually feel that helpless and lost that they would lay their body across the railroad tracks in hopes of dying. Kristen's story is powerful, there is no doubt about that. But what is missing here is depth. The story is too straightforward and actually feels emotionless. I'm sure that was not the intention, however, that is how I felt as I read this book tonight. I applaud her bravery by sharing her story with others. It takes a lot of strength and honesty. I'm just not sure that it translated well with this book. I wanted to feel her despair, understand how lost she truly was, and walk each agonizing step with her as she learned to use her prosthetic legs. I would love to listen to Kristen's story in person and I feel that she has an uplifting and inspirational  message to share with others. If you know someone who appears depressed or suicidal, this book may just give them hope. She does offer her own words of encouragement throughout the book and there is a resource page at the end. I'm glad to have read her story, as I think she has touched the lives of people in need. I just wish that the written story would have packed more of an emotional powerhouse.


Kristen's Video
To read Chapter One click here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday Pick- Forge

 this fun meme brought to us by
 
 
 
 
Release date: October 19, 2010

In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles - and in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge - against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.
 
If you haven't read Chains you must do so.....Historical Fiction at its best!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: Black Water Rising

Author: Attica Locke
Pages: 448
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis from TLC:
Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall—where his most promising client is a low-rent call girl—and he’s determined to leave the sins of his past buried: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him. That is, until the night he saves a woman from drowning and inadvertently opens a Pandora’s box. Her secrets reach into the upper echelons of Houston’s corporate power brokers and ensnare Jay in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family . . . even his life.



My thoughts:
This was a very solid debut book!!! I enjoyed reading this, as it brought to mind the reasons why I used to read Grisham's earlier works. Some have compared this author to Lehane and Turrow, but not having read either one I can only compare the author's writing to Grisham. I love the little guy versus the big bad corporations and corrupt politicians scenario. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the mini-history lesson on civil rights and the grittier, more violent side of the activists. Jay Porter is a character that I came to admire and applaud. He's worked very hard to get to where he's at, trying to leave his past behind him and make a good life for his wife and expectant child. He just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and gets pulled into a web of lies, cover-ups, political intrigue, and finds himself running for his life. Almost everyone that Jay comes into contact with underestimates his intelligence and abilities. The white man does because Jay's black and inferior to them. They have more money, better connections, and power. The black man does because Jay does not have that burning desire to have his voice heard, he doesn't want to take up arms, even if what is happening is unfair, unjust, and wrong. He's been there, done that, and all it did for him was almost land him in prison. Being doubted by both races does however, turn on a flame inside Jay and he realizes that the only person who will take care of Jay, is Jay. Will he let powerful people and the lure of easy money make him turn a blind eye to what is happening, or will he risk it all to do what is right???  This book easily deserves the accolades that have been showered upon it and I truly look forward to future books by Attica Locke!

Highly Recommended






Thank you to TLC for asking me to be a part of this book tour.
Check out the other tour stops HERE.
Visit Attica Locke at her website, www.atticalocke.com.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday...What are you reading?


Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found 
in our mailboxes last week.



After the Fall- review copy from publisher
Never Let You Go- review copy from publisher

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hosted by Sheila
One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

Last week I finished and reviewed:
The Girls From Ames- 2/5 very disappointing read
Indivisible- 4/5 fast paced satisfying thriller
The Telling- 4/5 another Amish hit for Beverly Lewis
Get Lucky- great read about sisters and their bond 4.5/5
Out of My Mind- wonderfully written story that is a must read! 5/5

Reviews for this week:
Black Water Rising- TLC Tour Stop on Tuesday 5/18
Life, In Spite of Me: Finding Extraordinary Hope After Making a Fatal Choice- Thursday 5/20
Six Sentence Saturday Books:
Just Jane
Plain Paradise

Books on Deck:




Saturday, May 15, 2010

Six Sentence Saturday

Welcome to Six Sentence Saturday.
Where I try to express my thoughts on recent reads using only 6 sentences!!!!.
At the end of each review I will post a
rating scale of 1-5 using the cute and original (lol) Playing Cards.
Rating scale will be as follows:

5 of Hearts- You must read this book NOW!!
4 of Hearts- A great read, put it on your TBR list.
3 of Hearts- Glad I read but no big deal

2 of Hearts- Why did I finish this?
Joker Card - Don't bother (why did I?)

The Telling, Seasons of Grace Book #3- Beverly Lewis
Nothing brings a smile to my face like knowing that I'm about to read another Amish novel by Beverly Lewis. I love how my world seems to slow down and I really appreciate my life around me. Even though the mystery in her books is always easy to figure out, I still get excited when I get to venture into the Plain world. In this series, I thought Lewis did a great job of melding the Englisher and Amish lifestyles, showing that the two worlds can live in peace together. I found the idea of two Amish teenagers having a child out of wedlock and then the Amish woman looking for that child later in life, knowing that she could suffer being shunned by the church and her very own family, very intriguing. I eagerly look forward to her new book, The Thorn, due out in September.
My Rating:







Get Lucky - Katherine Center
I found every single page of this book utterly charming, fun, and entertaining. So many of my book friends have read and enjoyed this one, so I had to request it from my library. This book took my mind off my excruciating back pain. For three hours I was captivated by Sarah Harper and her relationship with her sister Mackie. I liked how the story revolved around their sisterly connection and how volatile and emotional that bond with a sister can be. The writing is stellar and the feelings are true....this is a story that was very plausible. I'll be back to read more of this author!
 
My Rating:







Out of My Mind- Sharon Draper
Melody can not speak even though she is eleven and people assume that she is mentally challenged. That couldn't be further from the truth. She's held hostage in a body that just won't cooperate with her, and believe me she has a lot to say. I loved that Melody's neighbor wouldn't give up on her and found a way for Melody to be a part of the world and  most importantly to BE HEARD and RECOGNIZED. This book is important on so many levels, but for me the most important reason to read this book is to be  reminded not to discount someone just because they are different. I'm hoping this one wins some major Children's book awards...very deserving writing and a wonderful book for anyone to read!
My Rating: