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!)