Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week - "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" Dr Seuss

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review of Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Like Mandarin
By Kirsten Hubbard
Like Mandarin

            It’s hard to find beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter sure knows there’s nothing beautiful about her mother’s pageant obsessions, or about the cowboy dances or pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless, and utterly carefree. Studious and self-conscious Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.
            When these girls, so utterly different from one another, are united for a school project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town’s animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. When Mandarin suggests that they make a pact to run away, Grace goes along with the idea on a whim. Maybe it’s the wildwinds that plague their badlands town that make her say yes.
            After a while, however, Grace has second thoughts. It turns out that Mandarin’s unique beauty hides a girl who’s troubled – even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep their friendship alive, even the strongest relationships can’t withstand betrayal.
            Kirsten Hubbard’s bold novel will resonate with anyone who has ever yearned to escape – from home, from others, or from herself.

Do you find yourself getting so excited for a new book because of all of the recommendations that you can’t wait to read it expecting something fantastic, like nothing you have ever read before? Then you find yourself disappointed because it just wasn’t THAT great?  Well I find that with this book. It wasn’t a badly written book; it just wasn’t great. The premise of this book is interesting: we all want to be something/someone we are not. Both girls have issues that can cause pain to another but none more than Mandarin. I think Grace’s issues really just came from wanting to be more of herself but her immaturity was holding her back. She is a brilliantly smart girl that wants to be free of her small town to do something more. Because of this she is not part of a social crowd so she feels lonely and left out. She is quite shy and soft spoken. She looks up to the bad girl in the town, Mandarin, and envy’s her boldness and beauty. Soon they become friends as they are put together so Grace can be Mandarin’s tutor. It is an interesting story of friendship and discovery on both girls’ parts. Even though I wasn’t totally enthralled with the story I still had to find out what happened to them both.

I give this 3 stars. I wouldn’t offer up this book as something everyone would want to read but I wouldn’t give it a bad recommendation either.  So I guess I have left you with your own devices on this one!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review of Witch & Wizard The Gift by James Patterson

Witch & Wizard, The Gift
By James Patterson

When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order.

But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is "The One Who Has the Gift." While trying to figure out what that means, Whit and Wisty's suspenseful adventures through Overworld and Shadowland lead to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion: the highly-anticipated fulfillment of the heart-pounding opening prologue of book one... The Execution of the Allgoods.

This is the second book in the Witch & Wizard series. It is about two siblings whose parents are arrested by The One in an ever changing world. A world where books, music, and art have been banned - anything that has any creativity. No one should think for themselves for fear that they could hurt themselves or others. The Allgoods are actually a family of witches and wizards, however; Whit & Wisty didn’t know that until after their parents are arrested. They are left to flee and try to figure out their new powers on their own. They become apart of the resistance living in Freedomland with other teenage kids trying get their world back before it and themselves are destroyed forever.

I would give this book 3 stars. It is fun read with a lot of action. It is good for young kids around the 10-12ish age range. It is clean and easy to read. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
By Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

            Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father – an elusive European warlock – only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
            By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
            As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

I am not sure what I was expecting from this book but I must say this was not it! I loved this book! Sometimes YA books can make the area of magic look so juvenile and immature to read. All trying to keep up with Harry Potter and usually try so hard that they fall pretty flat. Not Rachel Hawkins. For a first time author she was amazing. Nothing against first time authors but you can generally see it in their writing. James Dashner’s (one of my favorites) books didn’t come out in print in the order he wrote them and it is noticeable. He improves each time. That being said I hurriedly got online tonight and ordered the second book, Demonglass, so that I can read it right away! I can’t wait to see what Ms. Hawkins comes up with in the next in this series.

I love the MC Sophie. She is such a real teenager that she is very believable in this role. She falls in love and meets heartache. I love a good love story especially when it’s their first love. However, I don’t always like it when the book is focused solely on that alone. This is more than just a love story. It is also about finding oneself amidst challenges in teenage life.  Sophie has such depth to her for a teenager. The author gives you enough history and detail to Sophie that you love her. She is awkward and quirky and very funny in a dry humor sort of way. Sophie is the girl that you want for your best friend.

I give this book 4 stars. If you love a fun, clean, story filled with magic, drama, and mystery you will love the Hex Hall series.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Media Guests Blog Tour for Journey of Honor by Jaclyn M Hawkes

By Jaclyn M Hawkes
Book Summary:

Disowned, she came to America anyway. Attacked and left pregnant by a vicious mob, she still pressed on. Finally, in spite of being accused of theft by the vilest of her attackers, Giselle tries to remain as upbeat and uncomplaining as a prairie wildflower as she travels on to Zion.

Thoroughly disillusioned with the ugliness and cruelty of slavery in the South, Trace Grayson leaves his young medical career to go west, hoping to leave bigotry and hatred behind. He begins taking goods by teamster train to sell in the territories. However, this fourth time across, in July of 1848, he’s stuck in St. Joseph, Missouri, waiting for enough wagons to join the train so that they can leave. 

Knowing that if they don’t start west soon, they’ll be caught by snow in the mountains, Trace is thrilled when the final wagon signs on. Then, when the beautiful, young Dutch girl traveling with the last wagon is falsely accused of stealing and is detained, the whole trip is jeopardized. Thrown together by circumstance, Trace and Giselle team up to begin to figure out just how to make this epic journey across a continent a success. 

With a deep sense of honor and an equally strong sense of humor, together they learn to deal with everything except the one trial that neither of them can overcome.

My thoughts:
Well let’s just say that I always love a good love story. Not that I like sappy love stories, but in a world of so much pain, I love to run away to a book that reminds us that if we can just love each other we can always make it through the hard stuff. Even though this is a story about pioneers crossing the plains to Zion it is not a typical pioneer story. It still covers all of the trials and struggles of heading West on a wagon trail but doesn’t focus solely on that aspect. It centers more around the characters that are portrayed instead. Ms. Hawkes builds the characters and their histories for you completely. Especially the main couple of Trace and Elle. You feel like you know them and that you also want to know more about them. The author really let’s you see inside of their heads and let’s you feel what they feel.
However, I felt several times that the author was telling me the story rather than showing me the story. I love to picture a story in my mind just like it were a movie unfolding to me. I struggled in some scenes to see it clearly that way. I think improved dialogue would have been better than just telling me what happened between the characters.

The romance though that developed in this story was well -  romantic. What a guy Trace is! Who wouldn’t want that kind of respect and pure love from another human being? Don’t worry though he isn’t the too good to be true kind of guy though. He has flaws and they are shown in the story. If he didn’t I would have had a hard time believing him. Elle needed some more flaws. (Maybe I am just jealous she is so perfect?) She was a little unbelievable in some scenes to me for all that she had gone through. However, I do think that depending on culture, experiences and the era depicted it could have happened. I think we are so jaded in this 21st century that we forget that some of these hardships were just everyday life for people. They didn’t and couldn’t dwell on what had happened to them and had no choice but to move forward. Our generation would sit down and cry, get therapy, and expect others to take care of us in our self-pity. Once I thought about that as a true reality then she was a believable character.

Very easy, fun read. I thought it was very clean and tastefully done. I would recommend this to anyone that loves the romance that can develop despite hardships. Very well crafted story. I give it 4 stars!

Thank you for Media Guests for including me on the Blog Tour for this book.  Visit their website on the link provided.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review of The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

The Lost Saint
By Bree Despain
The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine,  #2)

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.
Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace’s relationship with Daniel is put in danger – in more ways than one.
Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her – not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

This is the second book in the Dark Divine series. Bree Despain is a local author here in the Salt Lake area.  I liked her first book but not as much as I liked this one. She is another first time author and continually improves her craft. I can’t wait for the final book in this series to come out to wrap this whole story up!

This is hard to go into much detail without giving much away especially if you haven’t read the first book The Dark Divine. I hate spoilers! I would rather give you just enough to want to and read these books than give you too much and feel like you already know the ending before you get to it.

So that being said I give this book 4 stars. If you like stories about mythical creatures that may live right next door to you then read this series. It is a little dark in some areas but also gives you hope about the good found in people and their love for each other.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review of True Colors by Kristen Hannah

True Colors
By Kristen Hannah
True Colors

            The Grey sisters. Shattered by their mother’s death when they were still very young, they’ve always banded together against the distant chill of their father
            Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. Bust as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.
            Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.
            Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town…
            In a matter of moments, their family will be torn apart. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.
            With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption – and, ultimately, what it means to be a family.

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I absolutely adore Kristen Hannah and her writing. She knows just how to touch you right to your core with every story she writes. True Colors is no exception. When I read her stories and just can’t think she can get any better but then I grab another book of hers and she does it again. She has such depth to her stories and her characters. She always makes you want to know them more – each of them not just one or two – but ALL of them.

This story probably hits home for several people around this world and I am no different. I am the middle sister in my family also. I am a mix between Aurora and Winona but probably more Winona than Aurora. Sisters can be loving, caring, selfless, and very, very brutal to each other. Not sure what makes us do that to each other. Kristen Hannah hit the nail on the head in this story. She always adds the drama to the relationships that makes you think these people are real. You tend to put yourself into the story and wonder how you would react in these intense personal situations. In True Colors you empathize with these sisters. You get frustrated and angry at them too. Just like you do in real relationships.

This story is intense! You laugh and you cry all the way throughout the book. There is a love story involved but it is not the center of the book. The relationship between the Grey family members is. It is hard to say too much without giving it all away. I promise you though that you will not be disappointed in this book.

I give this book 5 stars. Well worth the emotional ride you will have when reading this book. And it is a ride!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The book I didn't finish and why

So I am finally ready to tell you about the book I started last week and decided I would not finish this. Now let me tell you that I don't take decisions like this lightly. This is only the second book in my WHOLE life that I have not finished. So it takes a lot for me to not finish a book, especially when it is an author I usually like. This is the newest book by Jodi Picoult called Sing You Home.

Now I have to tell you that I was quite excited about reading this book because the book jacket and the blurbs online talked about a young woman who had met heartache in her life, her marriage ended, she tried to find herself and found love again. All the while how she is a music therapist helping others to do the same and wondered if she could help herself.  Now what in that description will give the actual story of this: woman loses her baby during pregnancy, divorces her husband, he joins an over-the-top Evangelical church called Eternal Glory, she decides she is a lesbian and starts a relationship with a school counselor, they fight for the embryos her and her first husband froze in court, she has a hysterectomy and cancer, etc.?  NOTHING! So I was completely disillusioned - COMPLETELY!!! 

So before I get hate mail on this topic let me explain. I am not racist, prejudiced, homophobic or anything of the like. I have several very close friends of other races and gender preferences. I would just like to buy a book because of my interest in the story - you know the one the author, publicist, publisher put out so we would want to buy it. Not something completely different. Now this topic is very interesting and very controversial I could have really read this book except for one thing - it was very one sided. The parts of the MC working as a music therapist were very intriguing to me and I could have read that all day. But the part that made the MC contradict herself throughout the story made it laughable and unbelievable. The author made the story about the gay and lesbian community and how they are always and completely condemned by Christians. Now being a Christian myself I know that this is not true. I know this subject is very touchy and I also know that both sides of this debate have been treated unfairly. So for the author to only put one side in this book was ridiculous. The topics she wanted to address here didn't make anyone have sympathy for either side. It just made you angry. 

I know that a book is written by an author about what that author wants to write. I respect that completely. Just don't portray your story one way when it really is about something completely different. If that was explained to me in the beginning I most likely would have read the book - the entire book. But blindsiding your audience is not the way to sell a book.

OK I am finished with my frustration. I will probably read Jodi Picoult again but it will be a while before I do so and only on the review and advice of someone else first.

That being said I have several more books I have finished this week and I will start having those reviews over the next few days. I have also received several more in the mail this week along with a couple over email. So I have lots of exciting stuff coming!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Review of The Thirteenth Gift by Charlene Costanzo

The Thirteenth Gift
By Charlene Costanzo
The Thirteenth Gift

Claire is a U.S journalist and travels away from her family a lot. While on assignment in Eastern Europe she stumbles upon a local legend.  While driving in the country side before her flight home her car breaks down and she has no cell service. She starts to walk down the country lane to see if she can find a place to use a phone. She comes upon a fork in the road and must make a choice – the high road or the low road. Yes this is a metaphor that relays a lot about Claire and her life. She ultimately decides to take the low road because it looks easy and is apparently more traveled. As she is just about to turn down this road she notices smoke from a chimney along the road less taken. She turns to the high road and meets an elderly lady that will soon change her life.

The Thirteenth Gift is an inspirational fable that has a profound effect on Claire and which will transform her marriage and her work. We learn of the gifts we all are given in life and what happens to those who choose not to see them or use them. It is a cautionary tale about greed, arrogance and the abuse of power. It is a story that reminds us all that we are all special and gifted and to look for them in others as well as ourselves.

This is a great, short story that will have a profound effect on your life. The story ends with a letter from another person she meets on her journey:
Wonder is a gift that helps us open to all our other gifts
“Wisdom begins in wonder,” said Socrates
According to Albert Einstein, wonder is the source of all true art and science
“Without it we are as good as dead,” he said
“Everything, even darkness and silence, has wonder,” said Helen Keller
“The more I wonder, the more I love,” said Alice Walker
Is wonder the gift that will ultimately save us?

It saved me. Want to hear my story?

I gave this book 4 stars. Worth the read for anyone that enjoys sweet, pure, enlightenment.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Review of Birth Marked by Caragh M O'Brien

Birth Marked
By Caragh M O’Brien
Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)

This book is set in the future around the year 2400. Earth is a dry, harsh place that has been turned into almost a wasteland from environmental consequences. Gaia is the young 16 year old mid-wife who lives outside the walls of the Enclave in Wharfton. The lives of the residents in Wharfton are simple but hard as they serve the Enclave. As a mid-wife it has always been her duty to turn over her quota of babies to the Enclave each month. She has learned her trade from her mother Bonnie. When Gaia’s parents are arrested by the guards of the Enclave she is forced to question everything that she has been taught to believe. She sneaks into the Enclave to try and save her parents from prison. She is determined to succeed or die trying. Little does she know that she will learn more than she ever wanted to and wished should have fled to the Dead Forest when she had the chance.

It took me a little bit to get into this book. Once I did I wanted to know more about the characters Ms. O’Brien had created in this cruel, barren world. It of course has all of the elements of a love story. Gaia and Leon fall unexpectedly in love and try to save their relationship as well as those around them.  The story stops very abruptly at the end and I was sorely disappointed. I was quite upset until I realized that there is going to be another book in this series coming out this year – Prized expected in November 2011.

I would give this book 3 stars. Worth the read even if a little slow at the beginning. I will be getting the next in the series in hopes that it will answer more questions and to find out more about Leon and Gaia.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Decisions and a sick day = online shopping therapy!

I am home sick today - uuggh! So in between my naps and the little bits of food I can stand I am reading. So I started a book and got about halfway through and put it down. I can't and won't finish it. I will blog about the book in the next few days sometime. After I get over my frustration so I can write a clear and concise comment of how I feel about this book without completely going over the deep end with my emotions. I get a little hyper-sensitive when I am sick to so I want make sure I am not being rash about it.

I did finish Birth Marked and will have that review ready and posted for tomorrow's blog. So now I am just stuck wondering what to read. I have three choices and I just don't know where my mood is. Yes, I read by the mood I am in so I have to be very selective or else I could disrupt my whole perspective and how good the book really is. Yes, I have also been told I am crazy, emotional - really pretty warped when it comes to how and why I pick a book and like or dislike a book. Should I have said that before you started reading? Well it's too late now! Well anyways so I have decided to read True Colors by Kristen Hannah. I will have that review for you next week sometime.

But in the mean time trying to decide what to read next, while trying to get over my frustration of the book I am not finishing, I went book shopping.  The only other thing besides reading that can bring me out of a bad mood is shopping for more books. I would much rather go to the store to do my shopping because there is just something about walking through all the stacks of books smelling, feeling that just makes my mind lighter and more clear. But since I am home sick I went to the backup plan - internet shopping. What a great creation this has been for me. I love online shopping. How great is it to just pull it up on a screen in front of you, click on your preferences, enter in payment and voila! It shows up at your front door in a matter of days. No driving through traffic, no worry about gas prices, no dealing with annoying people, etc, etc, etc. I am not much of a people person. I prefer to interact with the characters in the books I read than 'real' people.

OK I should really clarify that. I do love people - just not the stupid, annoying ones! You all know who I am talking about so don't be judgemental. So I just figure it is better for us all to admit it and deal with it in the best way possible. For me it is online shopping. I avoid a lot of people and save a lot of time in the process. Most of the people I love are short - preferably 4 foot tall or smaller! Not really I don't have a height requirement, but I do get along with kids better than I do adults. I love how pure, sweet and open little kids are. They aren't jaded by society and life yet. They still believe in fairy tales and that anything is possible in this world. I love to see the excitement and light in their eyes when they have just discovered something new or exciting. I long for that feeling again. I think that is why I love to read so much. I can run away to another world whenever mine gets too much to handle. Probably why I read according to my mood. I usually turn to books that are different than the mood I am in. Part of that escapism I guess.

Well let's end it on that note since I am getting completely off subject and am starting to ramble. Look for the review of Birth Marked tomorrow!


PS - Seven more books are on their way to me! Love B&N! Once received I will update them to the 'Reviews coming soon' tab.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.

‘Deep in the heart of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, scholar Diana Bishop requests a manuscript called Ashmole 782 in the course of her research. Coming from an old and distinguished lineage of witches, Diana senses that the ancient book might be bound up with magic – but she herself wants nothing to do with the sorcery; and after making a few notes on its curious images, she banishes it quickly back to the stacks. But what she doesn’t know is that the old alchemical text has been lost for centuries, and its sudden appearance has set a fantastical underworld stirring. Soon, a distracting horde of daemons, witches, and vampires descends upon the Bodleian’s reading rooms. One of these creatures is Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic and eminent geneticist, practitioner of yoga, and wine connoisseur – and also a vampire with a keen interest in Ashmole 782.’

‘Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a novel of epic scope, traveling from the cobbled streets of Oxford to the chateaus and mountains of the Auvergne to a small town in upstate New York. It also takes us into a rich fifteen hundred year history that spans Clovis and the Crusades, the Knights Templar, and the American Revolution. As Matthew and Diana’s alliance deepens into intimacy, Diana must come to terms with the age-old taboos and her own family’s conflicted history – and she must learn where the modern woman she is meets with the source of ancient power that is her legacy. With a scholar’s depth and the touch of a great storyteller, Deborah Harkness has woven a tale of passion and obsession; the collision of magic, alchemy, and the science; and the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world.’

Normally I would just add my own description of a novel to review but I really couldn’t think of anything as enticing as what is written on the jacket of this book. This book had me totally mesmerized and enchanted from the very first page. I love big books because of the potential that they bring. I am rarely disappointed by them either. This book was no different. I remember being 300 pages in and realizing with great relief that I still had another 300 pages to go. Ms. Harkness has quite the knack for storytelling. She has intertwined so many elements into this story that you can’t wait to turn the page but then you don’t want to because you want to savor every detail she is presenting to your senses. The love story that develops between Matthew and Diana is spellbinding.  Their story is very turbulent because of their differences but despite all of that Diana describes it best on pg 340 – “Loving Matthew was much more like coming into port than heading out into a storm.”

If you love a great, however turbulent, love story mixed with fantastical creatures woven into history that makes them a vivid reality you will love this book! This is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. The next book will be coming out next year. I don’t know how I will manage having to wait until next year! There is a downside to starting a series book too early in the publishing process. If her next book is anything like this book then it will be worth every minute of the wait.

As you probably have guessed I give this book 5 stars! If my rating system was higher I would do so without hesitation for this novel. This is not an easy read and not just because of the length of the book. The author gives so much depth and clarity to her words that you must pay attention or you will find yourself lost in some areas. This can be troublesome for someone like myself that tends to read quickly. I did have to go back a page or two once in a while to connect some things she was saying. So slow down and enjoy every minute of this novel and you will not be disappointed.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

"If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"

This is the current week's question for Book Blogger Hop.

This is what I would do with $80:
Night Road by Kristen Hannah                                 
Night Road 
 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Marry Ann Shaffer
  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society         
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
 The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine,  #2)    

Possession by Elana Johnson

What would you do?

Monday, March 14, 2011

This, that, and the other.....

What a busy weekend! I had every intention to get on here and post but never could find the time. I had to plan sharing time for our ward this week so that kept me busy and of course reading, reading, and more reading.  

Spent a little time on Facebook stalking people too!  I love Facebook because I can keep track of the goings on in my friends and family's lives. However, I don't post much info or comments to their pages so I feel like a stalker most of the time!  That sounds kind of creepy doesn't it? I am going to try and be better and actually post comments to these people sometime. I don't know why I haven't done that much in the first place since I love to talk and converse with people. Maybe because it is so public? That sounds crazy since I am writing a blog right? I have to admit though that the first post I had on here was very terrifying for me. I still get a little worried what people that read this think but with each post it does get easier. That is another reason why I try to post everyday to get past that fear.(Another reason I could not be an author - other than the reason I can't write) I am going to get a Facebook page for this blog but time just ran away from me this weekend and I still haven't gotten to it. I will try to get to that this week.

Now let's get to the reading, reading, and more reading part!  Well I finished Journey of Honor by Jaclyn M Hawkes. I am hosting a review for the online book tour for Media Guests on Monday, March 28th so I will post that review at that time. A sneak peek? NOPE! It will be worth the wait:)

Then I started reading another book and didn't even have the chance to get on here to update my current reading status. I just finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I will have that review in the next day or so. Stay tuned because you won't want to miss this one!

It is a large book - 579 pages. I was so deeply engrossed like I usually am with books. I tend to take on the mood of the story too. My poor family! I am truly blessed that they continually put up with me and keep me around after all these years of manic reading. So needless to say I am trying to finish the last 50 pages of this book and nobody would leave me alone! This was very frustrating because I was so into this story. I kept changing rooms all day to try to get this finished. I couldn't even find the solace in my own room. Once one kid comes in then there is always more to follow. Then of course the dogs had to join in the party too. It wasn't even like they were talking to me either. They just come in and start having their own conversations with each other. Couldn't they possibly have done this somewhere else? At least my husband knows me enough to just let me finish and the whole house will be happier! I did finish and I will post the review in the next day or so.

Well the night is still early so I am off to start my next book - Birth Marked by Caragh M O'Brien. Very excited to try out this author! Don't worry I will have this review ready for you by the end of the week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle In Time
Madeleine L’Engle
A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)

            “It was a dark and stormy night.”
What a great way to start a book and keep me interested.  Meg, a 14 year old misfit teen, is lost and tormented by so many things in her life. Like many teenage girls her age she just can’t seem to find herself. Who she really is under the still clumsy, bad hair, not quite comfortable in her own body, young lady?  She struggles in school. Even though she is really smart she just can’t seem to follow ‘their’ rules and get it right, especially in math class. She has no friends other than her very young little brother Charles Wallace. I believe he is around five years old. Her father hasn’t been seen in several years and even worse hasn’t been heard from in over a year.  He is a scientist and works for the government on the top secret files of the fifth dimension. No one in their small town believes this though but gossip that he has run off with another woman.

Little does Meg know that this is just the start of her adventures into the same world her father has been lost to. Along with Charles Wallace and new found friend, Calvin, they go through time to save not only her father but Earth and quite possibly the entire universe.

I hate when a book has been talked about so highly to me that I get so excited to read it but come away so disappointed. Don’t get me wrong this is a very fascinating story and Ms. L’Engle has a talent for storytelling. However, I found some parts about Meg that didn’t quite fit with her character through out the rest of the book. Yes, she is a young teen that struggles to fit in but I don’t think that the impatient and very childish acts she displayed in some scenes flowed with her character.

I give this book 3 stars. This is still a good rating. It is worth the read to find out for yourself what you think.  Share with me your thoughts on this book.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review of An Errand For Emma by Chad Daybell

An Errand For Emma
The First Book of the Emma Trilogy
An Errand for Emma (The Emma Trilogy, 1) 

Clumsy, awkward Emma just finished high school and is getting ready to start the fall semester at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  She is excited to have a fun, memorable summer with her best girl friends but finds they are growing apart in many ways.  To find ways to keep her busy and to fight the loneliness  she soon gets a summer job and spends time learning more about her family history. There was a noticeable gap in their genealogy due to the disappearance of a relative and her Mom let her know that it may be impossible to get these answers to complete it. Emma has a pressing desire to uncover the truth about these mysteries.

A tragedy in the neighborhood soon has Emma at the cemetery for the funeral of her dear, old neighbor Leah.  As she wanders through the cemetery trying to clear her head after the services she soon finds herself tumbling face first into a headstone. As she stands up and feels the large bump on her forehead she is startled to find that she is not sure where she is. The scenery is familiar but vastly vacant of the usual landscape of cars, roads, and homes. 

In An Errand For Emma the Lord has abruptly sent Emma to a place she has never imagined she could possibly end up – 1860’s Utah.  She happens to come into the path of Brigham Young (literally) and he helps to put her on the right path for the purpose she has come to this time. Through his guidance she locates her ancestors but must survive the brutalities of the untamed West.  In order to fulfill her purpose she must travel to Denver through lawless territory on horseback, escaping evil men seeking to destroy her mission. She finds her purpose and also love along the way. How will she travel back to her own time to the family she misses so much and leave David behind?

This was a much better story than I thought it could be. Author Chad Daybell is easy to read and puts just enough twists in to make this good and believable.  He made my cry in empathy a few times for the hardships and triumphs of the early Saints. That will always be something close to my heart and tugs at those tender heart strings every time.  I give this book 4 stars. It is a very quick read and would recommend to anyone who enjoys a fast, clean book with a great love story.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Midsummer's Night Dream

A Midsummer's Night Dream - William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream

So I am not going to review this book like a traditional book review. Why? Well because it is William Shakespeare!  How do you review and critique such a legend, a master of the written word? Simple - you can't; you don't. OK well I can't and I won't.

This I will say though: absolutely fabulous!  This is my first time reading Shakespeare. Yes, I know and I call myself a reader. Please forgive me and overlook this flaw of mine, but I was so intimidated by him. I am never afraid of a book especially large books. I love thick, heavy books because I know there must be a great and long fascinating story inside those covers just beckoning me to join them in their adventures. But Shakespeare terrified me. Now that I have read it I am not sure why. I understood every word he said and the story was beautiful. I guess I should say play. I love plays. I love the theater. I love the complete experience of the theater. Since this was written just like a screenplay you can interpret and see in your mind the whole sequence of events - enter Oberon or Hermia lies down and sleeps. It was completely fascinating.

So if you haven't read Shakespeare then you must! Don't rush through it either. I myself am a very fast reader, partly because I can't get enough and I just have to know what happens next! Shakespeare is meant to be savored, inhaled like a sweet perfume. If you do then you will enjoy it and understand the romanticism he evokes with his works.  So welcome Shakespeare into your realm and you will not be disappointed.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What an Amazing Day!

Disclaimer: I did warn you I don't always talk about books!  Oh yeah and I have a tendency to ramble - you have been warned, proceed with caution.
What a fabulous day today! I wake up to find a very kind and gracious email from an amazing author thanking me for my review. That was very special and I am very grateful. Just so everyone knows this also just goes to show you how great of a person Karey White is - remember author's are people too. I know we idolize them for their great talents and put them on a pedestal - wait is that just me? Well I do because I can't write or be creative so I worship them and live vicariously through their talents in their stories. Anyways, she was kind and thanked me and not just because I gave her a nice review (which was well deserved by the way). I appreciate her time and thoughtfulness. 

Next great item - spent the day with my family from going to lunch to book shopping while we waited for my oldest son to get finished and sworn into the US Army. He has been in the National Guard for the last 3 years and is transferring to the Special Forces in active duty Army. He is amazing and we are so proud of him.

Next great item - Continuation from the last item - book shopping!!! I love, love, love book shopping. It just soothes my soul to bring home new books. Bought 6 new books today. Can't wait to get started on them. Now I just have to decide which one to start first - decisions, decisions. We went to Barnes and Noble and then to the King's English. I have always loved B&N, but have never been to The King's English before. What an exciting event. My 14 year old son had a blast roaming around their rooms and checking out the great books. If you have not had this experience and are near Salt Lake City you must visit this place. Click on the link above and it will connect you to their website so you can check it out for yourself. 

Another great item - Tonight my 17 year old daughter and I both spoke at a church event. She was amazing! We spoke to probably 100 people - teenage young women (12-18) and their parents. She is such a great girl that is exceptional about sharing her love of our Savior Jesus Christ. I spoke after her and that was a tough act to follow. But it was subject I am passionate about and had a great time. I hope they did too but they already know about my not a speaker but a rambler warning!

Now I am just home sharing with all of you how grateful I am for my family, friends, and those good people that take just a few minutes of their day to make someone else feel good. Now I will snuggle up for a while with my good book and get ready for another amazing day to begin.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review of Gifted by Karey White

Gifted by Karey White       

            “What do you do when you’re in the presence of a phenomenon, someone with special and inexplicable gifts? Do you point it out in others? Do you acknowledge those gifts? Do you ignore them? Or do you downplay the differences, pretend they aren’t there? And what do you do if that marvel is your own sweet little girl, the one who plays with her food and sings herself to sleep, the one with a giggle that sounds like music and ponytails that bounce when she walks? Does her being a phenomenon threaten the happy childhood you want for her? I couldn’t decide if this was a good thing or a bad thing, a blessing or a terrible curse.” – Gifted, Karey White pp.28

The above excerpt from Gifted, by Karey White is a perfect description of what this story is about without giving anything away. I don’t really remember how I found this book but probably a link on another blogger’s site. I do remember being caught by the cover. What an dramatically, simple, and eye catching cover! I love the title too. Perfect.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5. It is exceptionally written with just enough description and wordplay to make me want to turn the next page. However, it was not what I was expecting. It was much more! It is a deeply moving, well written story about families and the struggles that we each have in one way or another. It portrays the contrast between two sweet little girls from very different backgrounds and their friendship. You fall in love with them both and your heart goes out for each of them as they struggle with life and growing up with different challenges.

Definitely a must read for the avid reader who loves a good, clean story about friendships and the sacrifices one makes for love.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

What a great way for bloggers to meet new friends and follow other fellow bloggers. The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. Visit Jennifer's site and find out more!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why Read?

I say why not?  I have been a reader since I was very little, always loving a good book. I came to completely fall in love with books however, when I was in the 4th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Werts, introduced our class to many different books and challenged us to read as many as we could that year.  I think it may have been the word 'challenge' that got me so into doing this because I love a good challenge.  I have always been competitive and so I took this challenge head on. I read 80 books that school year!  My favorites were anything by Judy Blume and The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries series. I would love to re-read them but am afraid that I would find myself grossly disappointed. I don't think I would find that intensity I had for them as an 8 year old little girl now that I am a 38 year old woman.

I love to sit down and become completely engrossed in a good book. One that takes you to exactly the place the author is describing. If the author is particularly good I can actually feel and smell the setting of the book.  Some may think that sounds crazy or delusional and maybe it does, but it is real and better than any movie could possibly be. I love to feel like I am apart of the story no matter the time and era it is set in. I love to escape to a good mystery, love story, or another world altogether!  My family has become very accustomed to me being so absorbed in a book that they know better than to try and talk to me while I am reading.  I love my family but I hate to be pulled from 'my story' and back to reality. Partly because it is usually in harsh tones because I didn't hear them speaking to me the previous five times they tried to get my attention.

I have an obsession with books. I don't like to borrow books from anyone or the library for reading. I would rather purchase them and I prefer the hard back books over paperbacks. They last longer and withstand the reader better. So I love to browse bookstores and buy books.  I took to cleaning out my bookcase today and re-organizing it. It is so soothing to me to just feel my books. My husband helped me today and affectionately calls them my 'other children'. I do feel that attached to them! I should have taken a picture of my shelf before we got started so you can appreciate the picture I will post next.  The majority of the shelves are two deep and I still can't seem to find a whole box of books from our last move. I even know specifically which books are missing in that long lost box too. But as for now I have about five empty shelves that need filling! I was so excited at the space available that my husband audibly groaned and asked when we were going book shopping!  He is so great & extremely patient:) I am very lucky!

So tell me why you read? What euphoria does it bring to you? Or are you like my kids and still haven't found that personal joy it brings, but feel it is more effort than it's worth?