Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

Ahhh......there's no satisfaction quite like a Nicholas Sparks book. Ever since I fell in love with the movie Message In a Bottle years ago, I had to get my hands on anything Nicholas Sparks had ever written. And I have never not enjoyed one of his beautiful love stories. My sister Kati and I are even known to mark our calendars the day one of his new novels is marked for release. I would love to even meet him some day and have him sign one of the books I own.

So back to The Lucky One. The novel centers around U.S. Marine Logan Tibault and the picture of a beautiful woman he stumbles upon while on tour in Kuwait. Logan comes to believe that this picture is his lucky charm as it carries him through many near-death experiences. I won't say much more about it, because I hate to give anything away. If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks, you have to put this one at the top of your list, and if you've never read him before this is a great one to start with!

I was also very excited to recently learn that not even weeks after the book release of The Lucky One, Warner Brothers purchased the rights to make the movie!!! I actually haven't even seen Nights In Rodanthe yet, but I'm hoping to rent that one as soon as it comes out in Netflix. What can I say? I'm a total sap and he's my fav :-)

Description: When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.
Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet.

Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, THE LUCKY ONE is Nicholas Sparks at his best—an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.

Recommend: Absolutely!

Rating: *****

Monday, November 24, 2008

Too fun to pass up! (My score 42/100!)

I saw this meme over at Monniblog, and it just looked like too much fun to pass up!

The things I have done are in BOLD!

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (almost, but it was so expensive!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (indoor)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted (drawn!)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (not yet!)
58. Taken a martial arts class (not for very long!)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

What about YOU?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Fill-In!

1. The last band I saw live was Keith Urban, Leann Rimes, Kenny Chesney and Gary Allen.

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is the Macy's Parade!!

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is halfway done.

4. Thoughts of excitement to see Twilight tonight fill my head.

5. I wish I could wear jeans to work.

6. Bagpipes are not my favorite thing.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Twilight with Brooke & Angela, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in late and passing out Angel Food boxes to families in need with Jason and Sunday, I want to hang out in comfy clothes with my man reading the new Nicholas Sparks book and sipping peppermint coffee, while he watches the Titans game!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Testimony by Anita Shreve

I fell in love with Anita Shreve's writing after reading The Pilot's Wife. Both my sister and I had been mesmerized by the story, so I made a mental note to check out her other books. After seeing others give rave reviews of Testimony, which just recently came out, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

But oh, did I get a little more than I had bargained for. Sure I read the premise and knew the book was about a sex scandal, but holy crap I guess I wasn't exactly prepared to read about it all in detail! Yikes, unfortunately because the whole book revolves around what happens in that dorm room with the Avery Academy students, I'm really not all that comfortable recommending this book to my family and friends. Call me a prude, but it was just too much for me.

What's really sad though, is that unfortunately these kind of incidents occur too much within our youth today. The book does redeem itself in a way by showing just how much our choices can have consequences. What occurred within hours of these youth's lives, affected them, their families, the school and marriages for years to come. Still, in my opinion, the lesson learned was not worth reading the story.

Description: At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

Rating: ***

Recommend: not in good conscious.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

It's Friday afternoon and I'm dragging trying to get through the rest of the afternoon. I had too much overtime building up, so I took an extra long lunch and finished book two of the Twilight series, New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. It took me a few days longer to finish this one because I didn't find it nearly as intriguing as Twilight, but still my friends encouraged me to push through because book three and four are supposedly so worth it! There were definitely scenes in New Moon that had my blood racing, but more often than not it was just ok for me. But seriously, what a great series! And Stephenie is truly a gifted storyteller. If you haven't heard of the series yet, you're about to! Next week Twilight will be coming out in theatres and its going to be a madhouse for sure!

Check out the trailer below:

Description:Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won't be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy''s reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

Rating: ****

Recommend: If you read & enjoyed Twilight, then yes you have to read this one next!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad Kim! Bad!

So I got super behind on my Google Reader and JUST NOW saw that I was tagged by the oh-so-awesome Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? to particpate in a Bookworm Tag!

Crap! What is my deal!?!

Trish thanks so much for thinking of me girl!

SO here's the rules once you're tagged:

*Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The CLOSEST BOOK, not your favorite or most intellectual.

Driving Sideways by Jess Riley:

"He smells like aftershave that cost more than my brother's house. 'Leigh, it's so great to see you!' I hug him back in self-defense. 'Hi, Seth!' I squeak. I clear my throat. 'Wow, you look great,' I say. I feel incredibly grubby all of a sudden, like I was the one sleeping under a park bench and giving myself French showers for three days."

I’m tagging two people: Janssen from Everyday Reading, and Sarah from The Last Book I Read.

Monday, November 10, 2008

USA Today - Topselling Books

I'm getting in on the action with the latest meme heading around the book blogosphere, it sounded interesting.

Bold what you've read, italicize what you own, star (*) books on your TBR list!

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
2. Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution - Robert C. Atkins
3. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre*
10. Who Moved My Cheese? - Spencer Johnson
11. The South Beach Diet - Arthur Agatston
12. Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom
13. Angels & Demons - Dan Brown*
14. What to Expect When You're Expecting - Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway
15. The Purpose-Driven Life - Rick Warren
16. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
18. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
19. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray
20. The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
21. Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
22. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
23. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... And It's All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
24. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
25. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
26. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
27. The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
28. The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
29. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
30. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
31. A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
32. Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
33. The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
34. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
35. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
36. Body-for-Life - Bill Phillips, Michael D’Orso
37. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
38. Night - Elie Wiesel, translations by Marion Wiesel and Stella Rodway
39. Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen
40. The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
41. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer*
42. The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
43. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
44. Good to Great - Jim Collins
45. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer*
46. Eragon - Christopher Paolini
47. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells*
48. Your Best Life Now - Joel Osteen
49. In the Kitchen With Rosie - Rosie Daley
50. Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach
51. A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
52. A Million Little Pieces - James Frey*
53. The Testament - John Grisham*
54. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger
55. Deception Point - Dan Brown*
56. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
57. Marley & Me - John Grogan*
58. Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter - Robert C. Atkins
59. Life of Pi - Yann Martel*
60. The Brethren - John Grisham
61. The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide - Arthur Agatston
62. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham*
63. For One More Day - Mitch Albom
64. The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
65. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
66. The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
67. What to Expect the First Year - Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, Sandee Hathaway
68. Love You Forever - Robert Munsch, art by Sheila McGraw
69. Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss
70. A Painted House - John Grisham
71. The Rainmaker - John Grisham
72. Skipping Christmas - John Grisham
73. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
74. The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
75. Life Strategies - Phillip C. McGraw
76. Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Laura Hillenbrand
77. The Summons - John Grisham
78. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
79. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien (never finished it with dad!)
80. The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
81. Goodnight Moon Board Book - Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd
82. The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger
83. Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
84. The Giver - Lois Lowry
85. Embraced by the Light - Betty J. Eadie
86. The Chamber - John Grisham
87. You: On A Diet - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
88. The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson
89. Holes - Louis Sachar
90. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
91. The Shack - William P. Young*
92. The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
93. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
94. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
95. The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav
96. Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
97. The Partner - John Grisham
98. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (yuk! Couldn't get through the audio version!)
99. Eldest: Inheritance, Book II - Christopher Paolini
100. The Broker - John Grisham
101 The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
102 A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
103 The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (didn't finish it cause I really didn't like it)
104 Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
105 The King of Torts - John Grisham
106 The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
107 The Horse Whisperer - Nicholas Evans
108 Hannibal - Thomas Harris
109 The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
110 Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
111 The Glass Castle: A Memoir - Jeannette Walls
112 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
113 The Last Juror - John Grisham
114 The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
115 Left Behind - Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
116 America (The Book) - Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show
117 The Red Tent - Anita Diamant*
118 John Adams - David McCullough
119 The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
120 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares*
121 Sugar Busters! - H. Leighton Steward, Sam S. Andrews, Morrison C. Bethea, Luis A. Balart
122 Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
123 The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
124 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life - Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
125 The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
126 1776 - David McCullough
127 The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller*
128 Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
129 The Ultimate Weight Solution - Phillip C. McGraw
130 Protein Power - Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades
131 Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
132 Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
133 Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
134 Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
135 You: The Owner's Manual - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
136 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List - Patricia Schultz
137 Self Matters - Phillip C. McGraw
138 She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
139 1984 - George Orwell
140 The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
141 The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
142 The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory*
143 The Zone - Barry Sears, Bill Lawren
144 The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve
145 The Lost World Michael Crichton
146 Atonement - Ian McEwan
147 He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
148 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
149 The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
150 Cross - James Patterson

My Score:
Read: 26 books on the list. Look like I need to start reading some John Grisham!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Driving Sideways by Jess Riley

Hmmm....where do I begin with this one? OK, the positives first. Driving Sideways was extremely entertaining. The humor was awesome and I found myself laughing out loud numerous times. I picked this one up because I had seen a ton of great reviews and it sounded like an intriguing storyline.

But about halfway through, I noticed I kept flipping toward the back of the book checking to see how many pages I had left. And you know that's never a good sign. Three quarters of the way through and I'm getting ancy. By the last couple chapters I was aggravated by the pointless and drawn-out circumstances, it needed to wrap up already. Gosh I feel bad saying that!

It was cute, but I felt like it lost a lot of momentum toward the end and had potential to be a bit more engaging. Sorry guys, I was a bit disappointed with this one.

But seriously, I swear I'm the only one who didn't really care for it - there are way better reviews out there. Check them out below!

Description: Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry’s kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas–and a memorable visit to thank Larry’s family for the second chance.

Yet Leigh’s itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up a seventeen-year-old hitchhiker, Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates’s Greatest Hits to the mix, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery

Recommend: sure, you might really like it.

Rating: ***1/2

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Aw yes, the oh so popular Twilight that we've all been hearing about!

I finally caved in after the peer-pressure of my friends and decided to give this popular series a try and see what all the fuss was about. Many of you know I'm a Christian, so the idea of reading a series on vampires didn't automatically appeal to me whatsoever, BUT I wasn't going to judge until I knew what exactly it was all about.

First of all, the book is geared towards young adults, so of course you can't expect the writing to be all spectacular and awe-inspiring. It does irritate me a bit that so many people criticize Stephenie Meyer's writing as amateur. HELLO!! It really wasn't intended for us adults in the first place people, get a grip!

Second, yes the book does center around vampires. But the interesting thing that I found, was that it wasn't about everyday people who had decided to join a cultic lifestyle and live their lives as vampires. As a matter of fact, the vampires in these stories are more mythical creatures than anything else. They are immortal beings who have been living for hundreds of years and trying to co-exist with humans peacefully by no longer partaking of human blood, but instead hunt animals. I actually thought of it as more of a fantasy/sci-fi story, like reading Lord of the Rings.

But the thing that I found the most fascinating was that the story very creatively conveys the struggle between the flesh (or soul) & the spirit. These vampires choose to deny themselves and their natural tendency to want to "sin" if you will, that they have gone so far as to set up boundaries and rules within their lifestyles in order to abstain. I know it may sound far-fetched to some of you, but I couldn't help but relate this to a Christian principle for my own life. We are all born into a sinful nature and a selfish way of living. But God gives us rules and boundaries to protect us, to live a life that doesn't harm one another but instead edifies. And yet as like the romance between Edward the vampire and Bella the human, we can flirt with sin, we can try to walk up as close to that line as possible thinking we're stronger than our natural tendencies and walk away unscathed but in reality, it will bring consequences to not only ourselves, but to those around us. There's a reason the cover of this book has an apple on the front - Bella is for Edward, the ultimate temptation.

I don't know about you all, but I was getting a lot more out of this book than just the story itself.

I very much recommend this book, I thought it was a very well crafted story and extremely easy to tear through. Shoot - I finished all 530 pages under 24 hours! You will not want to put it down once you've started! I'm definitely looking forward to reading the other three books in the series.

Those are just my two cents!!

Description: “I’D NEVER GIVEN MUCH THOUGHT TO HOW I WOULD DIE– I’d had reason enough in the last few months –but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. . . . Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of something else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.”When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret. What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back. . . .Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight will have readers riveted right until the very last page is turned.

Recommend: Yes, but if I had kids, I wouldn't let them read it unless they were at least 16 years or older.

Rating: ***** (to read a 530 page book in less than 24 hours, for me has to be worth 5 stars!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Memory of Water by Karen White

The word that best suits this novel to me, is INTENSE! The story centers around two sisters who grew up with a mom that suffered from a Bipolar disorder. As grown women, you discover how they individually dealt with their pain and past.

Last Sunday, our pastor said that unless we deal with our pain, we will substitute it with something else, something to mask it and it will only fester on the inside, but it will never just go away. I found his message to be so applicable to this story, because no matter how far you think you can run from your pain, its still deep inside you until you face it. There was so much turmoil in this book, each character was struggling with their own fears in the midst of a clinical disorder in the family.

It wasn't a light fluffy read by any means, as a matter of fact, it took me a while, because after every chapter I had to put it down and take a deep breath. It's dark, its real and its very intense. I do believe that clinically a person can be diagnosed with a melatonin imbalance that can mess with the way a person processes, feels and thinks. I can't even imagine back in the day how they explained one's behaviour without just concluding that the individual must be crazy. As with this story, generations of a family have believed that there was a curse passed down that caused these women to do horrible things to their families and to themselves. Today we are fortunate enough to have much more information on how the brain works and how to treat this particular illness.

Here's a quote that really caught my attention:
"I think I'm beginning to understand that running away from fear doesn't make it go away. It's still there, waiting around the corner, and I figure one day I'm going to catch up to it and finally face it."

I wouldn't say I enjoyed this book, but yet I was completely captivated. I wanted to see how these sisters dealt with their fears, healed the wounds between them and processed the hurts their family had been through. I would recommend it to those who are wanting way more than just a light read.

Description: On the night their mother drowns, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about that night-secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.

After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina Lowcountry by Diana's ex-husband, Quinn. His young son has returned from a sailing trip with his emotionally unstable mother, and he is refusing to speak. In order to help the traumatized boy, Marnie must reopen old wounds and bring the darkest memories of their past to the surface. And she must confront Diana, before they all go under

For more reviews, click on the links below:

(If you have a review of The Memory of Water you'd like me to add, just leave me a comment!)

Recommend: I would recommend it, because I think its good for everyone once in a while to see the real and raw side of pain so we can have a greater compassion for others.

Rating: ****

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scary book giveaway!!

Hachette Book Group has been dishing out boxes of 10 books each to various book bloggers for giveaways! If your interested in trying to win the 10 books listed below, go to Dewey's website to enter!!
1. Follow the yellow brick road!

2. Books is something I always take with me on vacation.

3. To achieve your goals, you must never give up!

4. Being addicted to sweets is something I'd like you to know about me.

5. I have a wonderful husband that I adore.

6. Hope floats.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading my book, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in with my man, working on the fence and getting coffee at Ugly Mugs and Sunday, I want to work on my quilt!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This doesn't mean I'm going to buy myself a lottery ticket.

After entering a bazillion book giveaways over the last several months, I'm excited to say I've finally won one!!

My Friend Amy was hosting a giveaway of Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson back during BBAW and now my hope has been renewed that lady luck may not have completely shunned me.
I received an email on Wednesday from Amy saying that sure enough, I had won!!!

Other fun news, GreenApple Publicity offered me a free online copy of Jumble Pie by Melanie Lynn Hauser. If you are interested in reading this book, you can receive your own PDF copy by clicking here and signing up! It's easy, free and I've read some great reviews, so why wouldn't you try it??! As soon I get a chance to read my copy, I'll be posting a review as well.

Since the fall has begun, I'm finding it more difficult to squeeze in a few pages here and there. I went camping this last weekend with some friends and thought for sure I'd have time to curl up with The Memory of Water by Karen White in my lawn chair with a cup of coffee next to the campfire. But oh no! I was way too much of a chatterbox hanging out with my friends than to be found reading.

I'm also struggling to figure out how to balance the evenings between reading and indulging in my favorite fall shows!! Has anyone figured out how to do this?! I'm a huge fan of Dancing With The Stars (go Brooke Burke!), Greys Anatomy, Private Practice and Samantha Who?

What are your favorite fall shows that your keeping up with?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

How could you not want to pick up a book with a picture of a cupcake on the front? Good thing they didn't make it scratch and sniff, I might have licked the cover!

Sweet Love overall was a cute story and if you have a sweet tooth like I do, then you'll really enjoy reading about the dessert classes that Julie takes after much persuasion by her mother. I also really enjoyed the depth of relationship conveyed between Julie, her teenage daughter and her mom.

But I got say, I was doing great up until the very end when I realized there was some loose ends that were never fully wrapped up by the author. I was left with the impression that maybe the author tried to cram in too much into the story. After I finished the last chapter, I kept turning the last pages wondering if somehow I missed something. For instance, without giving too much away, I wanted to know more about Julie's parents relationship, what was up with her dad and why he was behaving the way he was? Why did Julie's mother put up with it? Or how about Carole, I mean what the heck was that? We never fully get an explanation on that whole thing either...grrr a bit aggravating. But maybe it was just me and I totally missed it. But I'm a closure kind of girl, you know what I'm saying? I'll stop right there, because I really do try to keep my reviews short, so as not to give too much away.

But if you're interested in reading what others had to say, check out these other links below:

Booking Mama
Love To Read
S. Krishna's Books

Description: From a rising star in women's fiction, Sweet Love is an irresistibly delicious novel about the power of love, dessert, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters.

Julie Mueller, once a brilliant local television reporter, has been fired for the sin of being forty. Broke, divorced, unemployed, and struggling to raise a teenage daughter alone, she had given up on happiness until she receives for Mother's Day four dessert classes that spark not only a new burst of culinary creativity but a burning passion for one of her fellow students, Michael Slayton, a true love she let slip away.

Before Julie can win back her soul mate, however, she must make amends to those she's unwittingly hurt in her past and stare down a crisis every woman must face. Armed with the love of her mother, her daughter, her own determination, and lots and lots of chocolate, Julie takes to heart Shakespeare's plea: "Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said thy edge should blunter be than appetite."

Bestselling author Meg Cabot has said that "opening a book by Sarah Strohmeyer is like opening a box of chocolates - sweet, a little nutty, and absolutely irresistible." With this new novel, Sarah Strohmeyer - author of The Cinderella Pact and The Sleeping Beauty Proposal - proves those words especially apt and delivers a story as rich and satisfying as a chocolate layer cake.

Rating: ***1/2

Recommend: Most reviews I've read are nothing but positive and I think a lot of readers who enjoy chick-lit and women's fiction would enjoy it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

Phew! I gobbled this one up! I started it last night after finishing The Wednesday Sisters and read 3/4 of it before bed. I was really looking forward to reading Sundays at Tiffany's because I so much enjoyed Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas. But at the same time, the reviews I had read before weren't exactly glowing, so I was trying not to get my hopes up too much either.

And you know what, I loved it. I loved the little bit of mystery and magic involved. I loved the child-like innocence of the story and the purity of their relationship for each other. I thought it was beautiful and so sweet and all along I thought I knew exactly what was coming at the end, but I was wrong. The book really reminded me of the movie City of Angels, which I also loved.

As for the characters themselves, I loved the main girl Jane. She was so sassy and yet so sweet. When the authors wrote sarcastic little comments by the characters, I loved it and caught each one. I just felt like I could envision their chemistry and personalities so clearly. For me it was a home run and I only wish that James Patterson would write more of these stories more often!!

Description: As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend-a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him.

Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again-as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.

SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S is a love story with an irresistible twist, a novel about the child inside all of us-and the boundary-crossing power of love.

For other reviews on Sundays at Tiffany's, check out these blogs below:

Rating: *****

Recommend: Absolutely for all those romantic saps out there like me!

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Tons of positive reviews of The Wednesday Sisters have been circling the net for a while now. I'm probably one of the last people to actually sit down and read it.

And though I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I don't think it had quite as much affect on me as it could have if I had not just recently finished The Knitting Circle. Thankfully there were some unexpected twists and turns that continued to keep me completely engaged. And don't get me wrong, I ADORE women's fiction, because I love studying human relationships, but I felt that these two stories in particular very much paralleled each other regarding the issues involving women and their friendships.
I still recommend it as a great read, I would just make sure to space this one out with the other friendship books out there that seem to be flooding the market.

Description: Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.

As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.

Here are other reviews I came across (if you have one that I haven't listed, let me know and I'll update the list!):

The Read Feed
The Written Word
Leafing Through Life
Rhonda's Corner of the World
Breaking the Spine

Rating: ***1/2

Recommend: It really was a great read!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Giveaway!

Stephanie over the Written Word is giving away a signed copy of "Keeping The House" by Ellen Baker and you too can enter to win by clicking here.

Not that you should, because that would mean it would decrease my chances at winning and this book looks pretty darn cute, don't ya think?

Yea, maybe you shouldn't enter - you wouldn't want to ruin someone else's chances. ;-)

Just kidding!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Love The One You're With by Emily Giffin

"But maybe that's what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all."

Thank God that passage was in there, because I'm telling you what, there were times I was ready to pick up this book and chuck it across the room. Let me back up. I take marriage extremely seriously. I take my vows very seriously and I do what I can to protect and nourish my marriage even if it means taking some drastic steps in some cases.

But this story was about coming across that one guy, that first love, after you had married someone else. And let me tell ya, I get it, I really do. What would you think, what would you do if you saw him? Everyone might handle the situation differently. But when you realize you have a really good thing, a wonderful man, just like Ellen knows from the beginning she has in her husband Andy, why on earth would you continually flirt with fire?

It would have been a lot easier story for me to digest if Andy was a total jerk, abusive, maybe had left her, or cheated on her...something to justify what she was doing. But here you have a great and attentive husband and she's off sneaking around...ok, I've got to stop or I'll give too much away. The book itself was well written and it definitely kept my attention, but I was just extremely frustrated with the story line itself.

I'm not deterred from reading Emily Giffin again, I've heard from friends that her other books are wonderful. But every once in a while, you come across that one book that hits a nerve and this one hit mine. If your a fan of Emily Giffin, by no means let my opinion keep you from reading it...after all, its just my opinion.

The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I’m with when I can’t forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live. Love the One You’re With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

See what others had to say about "Love The One You're With":

Book Club Classics
Girls Just Reading
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore

Rating: ***

Recommend: meh, you wouldn't be missing out terribly if you didn't read it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes! I'm It!

Trish over at Hey Lady! Watcha Readin? tagged me for a meme on 6 Weird Things About Me!

Hey, don't everybody chime in at once now! I KNOW I'm a bit weird.

Before I get up close and personal with y'all, here's the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things/unspectacular quirks about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

Ok, time to get personal folks.

1. I pass out with eye stuff. Ever seen the episode of Friends where Rachel goes to the eye doctor....Yea, that's me. I don't know why it happens but if you touch YOUR own eyeballs, put drops in YOUR own eyes, take out YOUR contacts, I'm down for the count. I'm not as bad with my own eyes, but still can't put drops in my eyes without passing out. Weird, I know.

2. I have co-dependency issues with water bottles. There are currently six filled water bottles in my passenger seat and about 15 in my backseat. And don't touch them. I have no idea why, but I like them right where they are at.

3. There is a bubble in my nose. I'm being for real. If you gently squeeze the tip of my nose, you can feel it cave in and pop out. I haven't really met anyone else with this weird phenomenon, I guess I'm just blessed.

4. I wiggle when I'm eating something yummy without realizing it. My husband says he's never seen someone get so excited over food. Not like "yeah, I'm looking forward to Chinese food tonight", but more like doing a happy dance in the car and parking lot of my favorite donut shop. That's not so weird is it?

picture from here.

Take this picture for example, is it raising anyone else's blood pressure like it is mine right now?? Oh baby.

5. OK, so slightly less weird, but still probably not the typical norm - I don't like wearing skirts or dresses. I've come a long way from wearing jeans and grey hooded sweatshirts to work all the time. Now I actually MAKE myself put on a pair of heels and a skirt to work, but I feel so out of my comfort zone. I've worked at my job for 2 years now and after working there for a year and finally wearing a skirt, I'm not kidding.... EVERYBODY said something about it. "What? Kim in a skirt?!" Dude, I'm trying.

6. Ok, something random and a bit strange that not many people know. I've actually eaten quite a bit of dog food as a little kid. I still remember what it tastes like, it really wasn't all that bad.

picture from here.

How's that for laying it all bare?

Ok, so on to my tagging!

Lit Chick
Hope is an anchor
Archives of our Lives
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
The Magic Lasso

If you've already done the meme or its just not your thing, then no worries I'm just passin it on!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get Out!

(And that is meant to be said with your best valley-girl impression, because... *sigh*... well, we all have our flaws.)

Jason: "I have tonight off from work"

Me: "GET OUT!"

My sister: "You should have heard the way I told my boss off "

Me: "GET OUT!"

you get the idea....

So when I saw that my humble little book blog was granted with this lovely award, by Stephanie of Written Word, I instantly squeaked out "GET OUT!".

OK, so I'm a little excited about it and had to share my fun news with everyone. Stephanie, you completely rock and I admire you in many ways. I'm glad your surgery went well and I hope you continue to get better!

And keeping true to the spirit of blog awards, here are my shout-outs highlighting other blogs I truly love!

Book Escape

Books on the Brain

Booking Mama

Maw Books Blog


The Written Word

Lit Chick

Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin?

S. Krishna Books

The Friendly Book Nook

Seriously, they're all great blogs and great individuals too, so check them out! Because of these lovely folks, in the last few months I've had a renewed passion for reading!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some gas would do us all some good!

1. There is no need to freak out about the gas shortage!

2. Where in the heck did the gas go?

3. Sitting in line at lunch waiting to fill my tank up is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for finding alternative transportation is in the works.

5. Not enough gas in the whole state of Tennessee is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are absent at the present moment, folks are downright freaking out.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my husband finding some gas without being harmed by a desperate thug or redneck, tomorrow my plans include picking my mother-in-law up from the airport and Sunday, I want to relax with the fam over BBQ pork sandwiches and baseball! (I ran out of gas on those last two blanks - haa haa! Pun intended!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading and Relaxation

My hubby Jason captured a couple fun reading shots from this last weekend at the Columbine Bed & Breakfast in Louisville, Kentucky. We had a great time relaxing and then attending an 8 hour concert in Indianapolis!

I thought I'd post the pictures for fun, but if your interested in seeing more from the trip, check out my personal blog here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

I confess I'm a closet crafter (say that three times fast!). At 30 years old, I get a bit embarrassed confessing that I really do enjoy spending my evenings at home with either my nose in a good book or up to my elbows in embroidery thread cross-stitching. There's a reason my sisters call me "Grandma Scribbles". I'm a cross between a hip-hop lovin diva and an old soul ;-)

So with all that out in the open, you now know why a book about a knitting circle of friends sounded so appealing to me. As a matter of fact after reading The Knitting Circle, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to join a knitting circle if I knew of one.

The women in this story come from all different backgrounds and trials in their lives. But what I really appreciated was that as difficult of situations these women were living through, they found a way to persevere. It wasn't depressing, though it easily could have been, because the author was so great about showing how through the strength of each other as friends they literally could get through anything. It was powerful and inspiring and I really enjoyed this book a lot. Plus I now have this desire to try and pick up knitting again. I would highly recommend this book.

For more reviews on The Knitting Circle, you can click on the links below:

Book Club Classics
Books on the Brain
Booking Mama

Description: After the sudden loss of her only child, Stella, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days, not knowing that it will change her life. Alice, Scarlet, Lulu, Beth, Harriet, and Ellen welcome Mary into their circle despite her reluctance to open her heart to them. Each woman teaches Mary a new knitting technique, and, as they do, they reveal to her their own personal stories of loss, love, and hope. Eventually, through the hours they spend knitting and talking together, Mary is finally able to tell her own story of grief, and in so doing reclaims her love for her husband, faces the hard truths about her relationship with her mother, and finds the spark of life again. By an "engrossing storyteller," this new novel once again "works its magic" (Sue Monk Kidd).

Rating: ****

Recommend: for sure, but you do need to keep an open mind.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who Doesn't Like Free??!!

Lots of fun giveaways are taking place as part of the festivities of BBAW at My Friend Amy. Just check out what you can win through this week of September 15-19!!

Daily Raffles:
Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?
Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy.

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!

A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serran
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced.

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.

2-4-6-8 Who Do I Appreciate??!!

A while back I mentioned that I would be participating in the BBAW or Book Blogger Appreciation Week - and well, that's this week!

My obsession with books has largely grown recently due to the book blogs that I read religiously and I trust these women's reviews much more than a review in a magazine, article or publication. So without further ado - here's my list of some of my favorite book bloggers who I find myself constantly adding to my TBR pile because of their fabulous book reviews and often similar tastes!:

When you get a second, you should really check them out!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

I had seen a number of reviews on various book blogs that I read and still wasn't fully convinced that I might enjoy this book. But after seeing it available at the library and realizing it really wasn't all that large of a book, I figured I might as well take it home and try it out.

The fact alone that the main character Josey has a serious sweet-tooth, had me tied into the story. And I loved how the author named each chapter after a different kind of candy. I could easily see this book made into a great movie with someone like Amanda Bynes playing Josie - quirky, yet cute and fun.

I was very pleasantly surprised and fully enjoyed this magical and even whimsical story. It wasn't so far-fetched that it would be considered fantasy, and it was just the right amount of pixie dust scattered through out the pages that made it absolutely enchanting and endearing. I loved Sarah Addison Allen's style of writing and I'm very much looking forward to her other book Garden Spells, which she wrote before this one.

For more reviews on The Sugar Queen, you can click on the following book blog links:
Love To Read
Fizzy Thoughts
Books on the Brain
Girls Just Reading

Description: In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

Rating: ****


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards

At 544 pages, I was a little leery that this book might drag out too long for my liking, but in the end I felt as though it was just perfect. Emilie Richards does an amazing job of weaving together a story that both addresses the current issues of today and capturing the history and struggle of years past. I loved the multiple story lines which kept me engaged from chapter to chapter.

Apparently, this is only one of the five books in the Shenandoah Album series though they don't follow each other in any particular order. And after a great experience with Sister's Choice, I'll for sure be picking up one of the others in the series.

One more aspect that I fully enjoyed, that may not be suited to everyone's taste, is that there are many references to quilting throughout the story. I have just begun to get more interested in this craft and really hope to learn more about it, but if that type of thing bores you, this may not be what your looking for.

In the end I would describe this book as a cozy read with an emphasis on family relationships. Definitely worth the read!

Description: With nine years and a turbulent childhood between them, Kendra and Jamie have never been storybook sisters. After a long estrangement, they've finally begun to heal their hurts and forge a new bond.

Now Jamie is offering a gift Kendra has long since given up hoping for, the fondest wish of her heart—a baby. Already raising two young girls on her own, Jamie wants to become a gestational surrogate for Kendra and her husband, Isaac, giving birth to a child the husband and wife have created together. Despite some lingering misgivings about her once-wayward younger sister's commitment, Kendra agrees, and soon Jamie is pregnant.

In addition to this amazing gift of life, Jamie has designed a new house for Kendra and Isaac and is overseeing its construction on Isaac's ancestral property along the Shenandoah River, with the help of Cash Rosslyn, one of the most attractive men Jamie has known. By giving her sister both a home and a family, Jamie hopes to prove to Kendra that she deserves absolution for her past mistakes. But when a medical crisis threatens her health and her promising new relationship with Cash, Jamie learns that the most difficult choice in her life is yet to come—and its cost may be beyond calculation.

Rating: ****

Recommend: for those who enjoy historical fiction and a well thought out story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

They're Taking Over My Nightstand

To be quite honest, I've gotten a little book-happy lately. Part of it may be that I'm saving up for a new camera, so I've been staying busy by reading more therefore to curb my shopping cravings. I tend to get the same kind of spending buzz by just going to the library to return my books and then walking out with 3 or 4 The library is a beautiful thing my friends.

I've decided this month to participate in What's On Your Nightstand by 5minutesforbooks.
So here goes:

I'm currently reading Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards. I came across it at the library and so far after reading the first 40 pages, I'm really enjoying it! I think its gonna be a good one even though its a bit hefty, but I'm excited to finish it.
The other book I'm reading right now is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I downloaded the PDF version at work and read it when things start to get slow. So far I'm getting flashbacks of Pride & Prejudice, which if you'll remember wasn't one of my favorites. Hmmm....but I'll press on!
Through the month of August, I read the below books:

Then the books I've managed to accumulate on my nightstand either through the library, Bookmooch, bought on sale at B&N or receiving as advanced reading copies - I'm hoping to tackle the majority of these through the month of September:

My goal this year was to read 20 books...ahem. I read 8 in August alone. Ok, so I misjudged myself. I've never set a reading goal before and by next year, I'll have a much better idea of how to challenge myself!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Where The River Ends by Charles Martin

I have read a number of touching and beautiful love stories, but "Where The River Ends" is in a class all of its own. A friend of mine had recommended I try one of Charles Martin's books after finding out how much I love Nicholas Sparks. His style was similar but also distinct. I found myself marking page after page of quotes I didn't want to forget - but in reality, I'd quote the entire book here because the whole thing was so deeply moving. I found myself wiping tears away long after I turned the last page - this one will stay with me for a while.

The premise of the book is of a couple, deeply devoted to each other who face a battle with cancer. And together they're tested to walk out their vows down to the very last promise. Abbie, a Senator's daughter made herself a life as a famous model and her husband of 14 years Doss is an artist. Once Abbie is diagnosed with cancer she makes a list of ten things she would like to accomplish by the end of her life, but this list in no way overshadows their deep love or commitment to face future obstacles as one.

There is one quote from the book that I have to include here where Abbie is talking to Doss about his paintings:

"If you want to make great art, something that can reach beyond time and space, find someone who isn't [beautiful] and show them that they are. Paint the broken, the unlovely...and make them believe."

You can find many stories of individuals who have had to face cancer and disease alone, but this story stands out to me because it shows how to married people choose to fight this disease as one and the toll it takes on each of them.

Every element that makes a good story can be found within these pages; love, sorrow, fear, courage, weakness, strength, adventure, suspense and serenity. If I was asked today by anyone what book I would say is a must read, I would say this one. It has made me grateful for every precious moment I have to love and be loved by an amazing man.

Charles Martin made a lasting impression with me and places himself at the top of my favorite authors. I'm also excited to say that this Wednesday, he will be at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills doing a book signing!

For more info on Charles Martin and the six other novels he's written, you can visit his website by clicking here.

Description: A powerfully emotional and beautifully written story of heartbreaking loss and undying love.

He was a fishing guide and struggling artist from a south George trailer park. She was the beautiful only child of South Carolina’s most powerful senator. Yet once Doss Michaels and Abigail Grace Coleman met by accident, they each felt they’d found their true soul mate.

Ten years into their marriage, when Abbie faces a life-threatening illness, Doss battles it with her every step of the way. And when she makes a list of ten things she hopes to accomplish before she loses the fight for good, Doss is there, too, supporting her and making everything possible. Together they steal away in the middle of the night to embark upon a 130-mile trip down the St. Mary’s River—a voyage Doss promised Abbie in the early days of their courtship.

Where the River Ends chronicles their love-filled, tragedy-tinged journey and a bond that transcends all.

Rating: *****

Recommend: Without a second thought!