Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!! And see you in the New Year!!!

I'd like to wish all my blogging friends a very Merry Christmas!

I have really missed blogging over the past few months, but life has been crazy.  I'm not giving it up though.  I will be back in January, and I'm so looking forward to it.

Just for fun here are a couple of my all time favorite Christmas movies...




Source:  http://www.imdb.com/













Source:  http://www.imdb.com/









_________________________________________________

"And the Angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11 KJV Bible


Remember...Wise men still seek HIM!


Merry Christmas and God Bless!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Now For Books...

I went yesterday and did my big grocery shop for Thanksgiving.  Thank goodness that's over!  Grocery shopping is not my favorite thing, but I love to cook and I must feed my family therefore shopping is a necessity...lol.

Now I'm looking forward to a great weekend including two basketball games for my daughter and  a date night with my hubby!  Then next week my husband's off ALL week, and my daughter only has two days of schhool.  There's nothing better than a week spent with my two most favorite people in the world!  It's one of the reasons I so love the holidays...lots of extra time with the ones I love.

Now for books...

My daughter was totally into Goosebumps during the month of October, but I told her she needed to switch and read something different after Halloween.  So the month of November has been full of Nancy Drew.  I loved Nancy Drew when I was little. 

Her class has been studying about the pilgrims and Native Americans at school this month, so I suggested she read The Island of the Blue Dolphins this week while she's off, and she seems pretty excited to do it.  I'm looking forward to hearing her thoughts.

As for me I'm still reading Secret of the Night Ponies.  It's a cute little book, and I expect to finish today.  I've been busy, so it's taking me longer to read it than I wanted.  I'm not sure what I'll read next.

Any suggestions???

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Childhood Favorite Reread: Island of the Blue Dolphins


Source:  Goodreads


From the back cover...
"Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock know as San Nicholas Island.  Blue dolphins splash in the water surrounding it, sea otters play in the kelp beds, and seabirds roost in its crags.  Once, Indians also lived on the island--until one day they decided to leave and sailed to the east.
A young girl was left behind.
Karana is that girl.  Year after year, she waits for the ship to come back.  But it never does.  Finally, she realizes she must make a fateful choice:  follow her people on her own or remain alone on the island for the rest of her life."


Scott O'Dell
5/23/1898-10/16/1989
Source:  Goodreads


_____________________________________________


I read lots of books as a little girl, but only a few stand out in my memory all these years later.  Among them are The Mona Lisa Mystery, Anne of Green Gables, and the book featured in this blog, The Island of the Blue Dolphins.

I have always known I loved The Island of the Blue Dolphins, and I've mentioned it to my daughter several times.  But I realized that I had forgotten a lot of the story having read it more than twenty years ago.  I recently purchased it for my daughter, and I was excited to reread it.  I'm so glad I did. 

It is such a wonderful story of bravery, survival, hard work, and making the best out of life no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.  It is full of beautiful scenery and animals.  Her friendships with the animals and her love she feels for them is my favorite thing about the book.  If you have a child that is an animal lover I believe she would enjoy this book.  There are some serious and sad parts in the book though nothing inappropriate.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Thoughts On "Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller"

Source:  Goodreads




Sarah Miller
Source:  Goodreads


From the back cover...
Annie Sullivan was little more than a half blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887.  Desperate for work, she'd taken on a seemingly impossible job--teaching a child who was deaf, blind, and as ferocious as any wild animal.  But Helen Keller needed more than a teacher.  She needed someone daring enough to work a miracle.  And if anyone was a match for Helen, it was the girl they used to call Miss Spitfire.
For Annie, reaching Helen's mind meant losing teeth as raging fists flew.  It meant standing up when everyone else had given up.  It meant shedding tears at the frustrations and the triumphs.  By telling the inspiring story from Annie Sullivan's point of view, Sarah Miller's debut novel brings an amazing figure to sharp new life.  Annie's past, her brazen determination, and her connection to the girl who would call her Teacher have never been clearer.


__________________________________________________________


Oh how I loved this book!

I have always loved the story of Helen Keller and what she was able to overcome in her life, but I knew very little about Annie Sullivan.  So when my daughter bought this book at her last school book fair I knew I'd read it eventually.  I'm so happy I did!

Almost every day, I tell my daughter that she can do anything if she's willing to work hard, and that the most important thing is to never give up no matter how hard it gets, or how may times she fails.  If you just keep trying you will eventually succeed.  This has been true with lots of things in her life...school, softball, basketball, singing, piano...it all takes hard work and perseverance.  I hope this is something she will carry with her throughout the rest of her life, and "Miss Spitfire" is a perfect illustration of this idea.  I think all young girls should read it.

Even though I'm an adult I love to read children's books.  They just make me feel good, and with my recent illness I longed for something to make me feel good and inspire me.  I've been in a reading slump lately, so I wanted something easy to read as well.  "Miss Spitfire" was just what I needed.

In the back of the book there are pictures of Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan, and places mentioned in the book.  There is a timeline and lists of books, online sources, and videos that will give you lots more information about Helen Keller and her beloved Teacher, Annie Sullivan.  One of the books I'm particularly interested in reading is "Teacher" written by Helen Keller about Annie Sullivan.


Source:  Goodreads


Helen Keller
Source:  Wikipedia


Annie Sullivan
Source:  http://www.anniesullivan.org/


“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller


“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
Helen Keller


“For three things I thank God every day of my life: thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works; deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith; deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to--a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.”
Helen Keller



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My First Win...Thanks Callapidder Days!!!

I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to Katrina at Callapidder Days for the awesome book I won during her first Fall Into Reading GiveawayFall Into Reading is an awesome reading challenge Katrina hosts every year to inspire us all to finally get to those books we've been meaning to read for so long, and make some much needed progress on those ever growing "to be read" lists!


The book I won was Reclaiming Lilly by Patti Lacy.


Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary...
 
Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?


Thanks again Katrina!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm Still Here...

Hi everyone!  It's been a while since I've posted or even read any blogs.  Believe it or not I have hardly read anything for the month of October.  I've been really sick, so I've been spending my time taking care of my daughter and resting.  I couldn't do much else.

BUT...I'm finally starting to feel better and I'm looking forward to reading books and blogs again.  I'm going to try to start posting again this week.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!



This is the pumpkin my husband and daughter carved this year!
Source:  My Photo

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yay!!! It's Here...

We finally got The Son of Neptune today, and my daughter is very excited.  She was reading it before we ever made it to the check out.  It made me so happy to see her jump up and down with joy at the mere sight of the book.  She's been waiting patiently for so long.  I hope it's all she wants it to be, but I know it will be.  It's about her favorite literary character, Percy Jackson.  She gets to visit with an old friend.

Isn't reading awesome?



Source:  Goodreads




Goodreads summary
In the first pages of this standalone sequel to The Lost Hero, Percy Jackson remembers only his name and the name of Annabeth, a mysterious woman he associates somehow with the city of San Francisco. From those sparse clues, he must somehow complete a mission for the leader of the Roman camp even as he is being pursued by the two sisters of Medusa, who possess an apparently unquenchable thirst for vengeance: Even when killed, they spring back to life. Rick Riordan's second Heroes of Olympus promises even more excitement than the first.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy...

I've been super busy!  I haven't felt all that great lately either.  I haven't had much time to read or blog.  Hoping to get back on schedule in the next day or two.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Southern Belle Reading Challenge Wrap Up...Man Was It Fun

Southern Belle Reading Challenge
Hosted by Brenda Gail at Curling Up With A Good Book 



Well September is over, and I'm sad to say so is the Southern Belle Reading Challenge.  But I'm glad to report that Brenda says she will host it again next year...Yay!  So if you missed it this year start making your list now. 

This challenge was about all things "southern"...fiction set in the south, non-fiction, cook books, magazines, food, music, festivals, and famous southerners.  Before this challenge I hadn't read all that much southern fiction, but now I have to say that I have a real love for it.  I have found so many good books and authors by participating in this challenge.  Not only did I find lots of new books...I found a new blog that I absolutely love and visit every day.  Brenda did such a great job running this challenge.  Every day she posted a southern topic on her blog, and they were all different.  I learned a lot about the south, and had fun doing it.  I also loved reading all the great comments from others doing the challenge.  I'm always interested in what others are reading.

I read 5 books in the month of September for the Southern Belle Reading Challenge.




Source:  Goodreads


The first book I read for the challenge was The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  You can read my review HERE.




Source:  Goodreads


 The second book I read for the challenge was My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephanie Gayle.  You can read my review HERE.




Source:  Goodreads


 The third book I read for the challenge was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.  You can read my review HERE.




Source:  Goodreads


Book number four and perhaps my favorite from the entire challenge was Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews.  I had no idea what to expect from this book, and to be honest I was expecting a shallow girly book.  Boy was i wrong!  This was a deep meaningful book, but fun at the same time.   You can read my review HERE.




Source:  Goodreads


The fifth and final book I read for the challenge was The Southern Belle of Honeysuckle Way by Linda Bruckheimer.  I haven't posted a review yet, but look for it soon!


My goal for the challenge was 4 books.  I met it plus one, so I'm very happy.  The Southern Belle Reading Challenge was lots of fun, and I will definitely be doing it again next September.  Thanks Brenda!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do Your Kids Love To Read?

I found an article by James Patterson on CNN.com today.  It's about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart..."How to get your kid to be a fanatic reader".  Reading is such an important part of every day life, and I am very happy to say that my daughter is a "reading fanatic" and reads every day.   You can read the article by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lots of Great Book Lists...

I've spent the last few days visiting the blogs of others who are participating in Fall Into Reading 2011.  FIR is hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days.  I've visited 25 so far, and added many books to my To Be Read list.  If you have some time you should go check out the challenge and those participating.

The Help is on a LOT of people's list, and I've only heard good things.  It's on my list too, and I'm anxious to get to it.  I need to finish  my library books first though.

Sometimes I feel like I'm reading in slow motion...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thomas Jefferson's Library

I love Thomas Jefferson's historic home, Monticello, and I often go check out their website and online catalog (I have a wish list a mile long).  When I visited Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia with my family a couple years ago the library was one of my favorite rooms.  Check out an article about Jefferson's library on Monticello's website HERE.



Library at Monticello
Source:  www.monticello.org



Jefferson Bookstand
Source:  www.monticellocatalog.org



Among the many ingenious devices found in Jefferson's Cabinet, this one perhaps most clearly suggests Jefferson's passion for knowledge. One can imagine him turning the stand, completely engrossed, consulting five books at once to find the answer to a burning question. Our bookstand is a line-by-line reproduction of the original, which was made in the joinery at Monticello, probably from Jefferson's own design. It's great for cross-checking information from several sources or just keeping reference books and current reading handy. Made of solid mahogany with a soft, hand-polished finish, the rotating stand holds five books at adjustable angles on rests that fold down to form a 12" cube.  (Source:  www.monticellocatalog.org)


___________________________________________


I've had some very busy days lately with more to come over the next couple weeks.  My progress on The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way is slower than I'd like, but I am reading every day.  That's really all I can ask of myself.  Hoping to finish it tomorrow...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Honeysuckle...

I'm currently reading The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way, so I thought I'd do a little research on the honeysuckle.


Source:  http://www.druidry.org/


“The honeysuckle produces large amounts of nectar. It has strongly scented flowers, attracting moths in the evening. In Shakespeare's time, the plant was called woodbine..."
(Source:  http://www.druidry.org/)


A honeysuckle is a plant that can range from a vine to a shrub. There are around one hundred eighty different varieties of honeysuckle. Some of them are deciduous and some are evergreen. Many of the deciduous honeysuckle can also be evergreen in warmer climates. The height of a mature honeysuckle varies by species, but usually ranges from one to three feet tall. The hardiness of a honeysuckle plant also varies by species, with most hardy in zones five through eight.
(Source:  About Honeysuckle)



Honeysuckle--Honeyrose
Source:  www.naturehills.com



Japanese Honeysuckle
Source:  www.duke.edu


______________________________________________



I thought I'd look for another book with honeysuckle in the title, and here's what I found...



This one has some great reviews on Goodreads!
Source:  Goodreads



Civil War-no one could flee from the nightmare of battle and the countless lives it devoured. Everyone had sacrificed-suffered profound misery and unimaginable loss. Vivianna Bartholomew was no exception. The war had torn her from her home-orphaned her. The merciless war seemed to take everything-even the man she loved. Still, Vivianna yet knew gratitude-for a kind friend had taken her in upon the death of her parents. Thus, she was cared for-even loved. Yet, as General Lee surrendered signaling the war's imminent end-as Vivianna remained with the remnants of the Turner family-her soul clung to the letters written by her lost soldier-to his memory written in her heart. Could a woman ever heal from the loss of such a love? Could a woman's heart forget that it may find another? Vivianna Bartholomew thought not. Still, it is often in the world that miracles occur-that love endures even after hope has been abandoned. Thus, one balmy Alabama morning-as two ragged soldiers wound the road toward the Turner house-Vivianna began to know-to know that miracles do exist-that love is never truly lost.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week

 

Source:  www.ala.org/bbooks

Banned Books Week

September 24--October 1


A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.   (Source:  ALA)

 

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank
(Source:  ALA)


________________________________________________


Are there books on this list that I would never want to read?  I am sure there are!  Are there books on this list that may offend or disturb me?  Absolutely!  Will I read these books?  No...Do I think these books should be banned?  NO WAY!!!

It is my choice what I will and will not read, and in my eyes freedom is all about having a choice.


Books I've read from this list:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Bluest Eyes
Blubber
Junie B. Jones
Goosebumps
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

I plan to read Kite Runner in the near future as part of Fall Into Reading.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011



September 23--December 21
Hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days


Fall Into Reading officially kicks off today, and I'm so happy to be taking part in this great reading challenge.  I am very new to blogging, and this is only my second reading challenge ever.  So wish me luck!!!

Here's my list...


Books From the Library:
  • The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way by Linda Bruckheimer
  • The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler
  • Coal Miner's Holiday by Kiki DeLancey
  • Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant

Borrowed From My Sister:

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Little Alters Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

I have to find this book:
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Books I Own But Have Not Read:
  • This Holler Is My Home by Alyce Faye Bragg
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  • Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards
  • Moods by Louisa May Alcott
  • Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Oath by Frank Peretti
  • Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot

So there you have it!  Twenty five books in all...

You can visit Calapidder Days to check out other readers' lists by clicking HERE !

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shopping, Lunch, And A Trip To The Library

My sister and I went out to do some shopping and get lunch today, so of course I have some new books at my house...two of them I bought at Goodwill for $1.06.  You can't beat that!  I also checked out five from the library.



These two are the goodwill purchases...




Source:  Goodreads



Source:  Goodreads



These are the books I checked out from the library today...




Source:  Goodreads



Source:  Goodreads



Source:  Goodreads



Source:  Goodreads




Source:  Goodreads


Most of these are southern fiction, and I know I won't get them all in before the Southern Belle Reading Challenge ends, but I'm loving the southern fiction right now so I'll just keep reading.  I'm looking forward to some Halloween-ish reading for the month of October...nothing too scary though!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Campeachy Chair In My Library

Reading Hissy Fit which is heavy on interior design, has made me really think about the first room I want to tackle in my own remodel.  We have a down stairs room that was my daughter's play room that is now empty except for the piano and my book shelf.  This room is going to be my library.

And in my library I would love to have two of these Campeachy Chairs I found at Monticello.org's Online Catalog.  I think this chair is absolutely beautiful and looks so comfy.  I think the wide arm rests would be perfect for reading.


Campeachy Chair
Source:  Monticello.org


It took Thomas Jefferson many letters and more than ten years to get a Campeachy chair sent from New Orleans. (The first one was lost in a shipwreck.) Once he finally received his chair in 1819, he had several copies made. This reproduction is based on a copy crafted by plantation joiner John Hemings, which is now on display in Monticello's parlor. Made of mahogany, it has the same X-shaped base, curvy arms and distinctive top rail. What makes the Campeachy chair so wonderfully comfortable is the sling seat of reinforced leather. The mahogany for the original chairs made in New Orleans came from the Mexican province of Campeche, hence the curious name. 39"h x 27"w x 24"d. Made to order in the U.S.A. from imported wood.  (Source:  Monticello.org)

Southern Belle Challenge Book # 4: Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews


Source:  Goodreads




Mary Kay Andrews
Source:  http://www.marykayandrews.com/




Goodreads summary

Keeley Murdock's wedding to A.J. Jernigan should have been the social event of the season. But when she catches her fiance doing the deed with her maid of honor at the country club rehearsal dinner, all bets are off. And so is the wedding. Keeley pitches the hissy fit of the century, earning herself instant notoriety in the small town of Madison, Georgia.
Even worse is the financial pressure A.J.'s banking family brings to bear on Keeley's interior design business. But riding to the rescue — in a vintage yellow Cadillac — is the redheaded stranger who's bought a failing local bra plant. Will Mahoney hires Keeley to redo the derelict antebellum mansion he's bought. Her assignment: decorate it for the woman of his dreams — a woman he's never met.
Only a designing woman like Keeley Murdock can find a way to clear her name and give her cheating varmint of an ex-fiance the comeuppance he so richly deserves. And only Mary Kay Andrews can deliver such delicious social satire. With Hissy Fit, she's created a story as outrageous, dishy, and true as Savannah Blues and Little Bitty Lies.


_______________________________________


I read this book because I am participating in the Southern Belle Reading Challenge being hosted by Brenda over at Curling Up With a Good Book during the month of September.  I found this book on a list that Brenda provided on her blog.  You can view Brenda's list of "southern" books by clicking HERE.   Hissy Fit is the fourth book I've read for this challenge.  I checked  out the copy that I read from my local library.

I think what lead me to read this book most of all was the title.  "Hissy fit" is a term I've heard and have said all my life, and I've been known to throw a few myself.  I was also drawn to the bright yellow cover.  Hissy Fit was released in 2004 and has 419 pages.  420 if you count the yummy recipe for "Grit's n' Greens Casserole" on the very last page of the book.

I loved this book!  It is so much more than the summary leads you to believe.  Yes, it is very funny and very southern, but it is also serious and heart wrenching at times.  What the summary doesn't tell you about is the family tragedy that haunts every day of Keely's life or how much this tragedy effects her even twenty five years later.

Keely in an interior designer, so there were a lot of shopping trips for antiques and talk of wall color and flowers.  All of which made me want to get my butt in gear and start the remodel of my house that I've been putting off for months!

There were parts in this book that were so hilarious and unexpected that I actually covered my mouth and giggled, but there were also parts that made me shake my head in disgust.  Through it all, Keely is likable and real and very southern.  I respected Andrews' take on the "southern girl".   I found it fair, funny, and very believable.  There was no playing to stereotypes or trying to hard.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mary Kay Andews

Mary Kay Andrews
Source:  www.marykayandrews.com


Mary Kay Andrews is the author of Hissy Fit, the book I'm currently reading. 



Source:  Goodreads




She is also the author of :

Summer Rental
The Fixer Upper
Deep Dish
Blue Christmas
Savannah Breeze
Little Bitty Lies
Savannah Blues



You can find out lots of cool stuff about Mary Kay Andrews, including her real name and what other genre she writes by visiting her website.  You can go there by clicking HERE.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who Had A Hissy Fit In Madison, Georgia?

I'm currently reading Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews.  I'm on page 159, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to do a little research on the town that the book is set in, Madison, Georgia.


Welcome to Madison, Georgia!!!!
Check in often with the Madison-Morgan Convention & Visitors Bureau to learn about new and exciting events, ticket prices, admission fees, and the ins and outs of Madison & Morgan County. In 2001, Madison was voted the "#1 Small Town in America" by Travel Holiday Magazine. Madison is Georgia's "authentic southern town", with an array of ambient local dining options, 45+ specialty shops and over 160 antique dealers. Just one hour east of Atlanta on I-20, we're the perfect day trip, but an even better weekend get-away. Madison offers a whole host of bed & breakfasts, national brand lodging options, and even a bonafide guest ranch. See why we're the "Town General Sherman Refused to Burn"! (Source: Explore Georgia)


Source:  Explore Georgia



In the book the main character, Keeley, is in the middle of redoing a crumbling antebellum mansion called Mulberry Hill.  This is what I imagine it must look like, or will when she's finished.


antebellumadj.
Belonging to the period before a war, especially the American Civil War. (Source:  Answers.com)





Heritage Hall
Greek Revival Home built in 1811
Source:  Explore Georgia



Greek Revival:  n.An architectural style imitating elements of ancient Greek temple design, popular in the United States and Europe in the first half of the 19th century.  (Source:  Answers.com)


If you'd like to visit Madison, Georgia's tourism website, you can do so by clicking HERE.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book # 3 For the Southern Belle Challenge: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Source:  www.goodreads.com
395 pages

Goodreads Summary
Here is a folksy and funny, endearing and affecting, southern-fried tale about two very special friendships. In a small town near Birmingham sits the Whistle Shop Cafe, a place alive with the hungry, the heartbroken, the righteous and the garrulous. The cafe is owned by sweet, patient Ruth, and by Idgie, irresistibly big-hearted and big-mouthed. Their story is remembered, years later, in the Rose Terrace Nursing Home. As elderly Cleo Threadgoode chats with her visitor—the over-stuffed, overwrought, menopausal Evelyn Couch—she casts a hypnotic narrative spell: honeysuckle vines and custard pies; births, deaths and marriages; sorrow and laughter; an occasional murder—and even the recipe for fried green tomatoes. And as the past reaches into the present, the Whistle Sop Cafe touches the one thing missing from her existence: life.



Fannie Flagg
Source:  Southern Living

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I have been meaning to read this book for years...probably since I watched and loved the movie years ago.  My sister read it a while ago, and she, knowing my taste in books, said I should definitely read it.  She actually did a guest blog on it back in June.  You should go back and read her post if you have the time.  It's really good.  Finish mine first thought :)

As for my thoughts on the book...She was right.  I really really liked this book, and oh how different it is than the movie.  My favorite character was sweet Mrs. Threadgoode.  Her simple honest way of telling her life story to poor discouraged Evelyn won my heart early in the book, and although I liked Idgie, I found myself at times getting aggravated with her.  What I did admire so much about Idgie was her acceptance of everyone...white, black, male, female, rich or hobo...she treated everyone the same, and she understood that everyone has problems and makes mistakes in life.  Another of my favorite characters is Smokey Lonesome simply because I'm a sucker for undying love.  It gets me every time.

I liked how the story was told in short little snippets.  It really gives you the feel of someone telling you their story as the memories flood in, not necessarily in chronological order.  There were parts of the book that were from "The Weems Weekly: Whistlestop, Alabama's Weekly Bulletin" written by Dot Weems.  I always found these very entertaining, and so indicative of small town life.  I think it was unique way to convey information from a different point of view.

This is book number three for the Southern Belle Reading Challenge which I am participating in for the month of September.  This challenge is hosted by Brenda Gail over at Curling Up With a Good Book.  My goal for this challenge is four books.  It's looking like I may be able to do even more than that.  It's been really fun!

BBAW 2011: The Final Day's Topic

BBAW 2011 - Graphic (square, 200px wide)


Today’s TopicThe world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you feel are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.


_______________________________________


I am very new to blogging.  I started my blog in June of this year, and I am learning something new everyday.  There are however a few things I've learned that I know are essential to my blog, and I try to practice every day.

1.  Be Yourself---There are times when I question the content of my blog.   I visit lots of other blogs, and I find myself saying..."I wish I could write that well!  or  "I wish I had something more exciting to write about!"  or  "I need to read more serious smarter books!".  But then I realize that the best thing I can do is be myself.  Yes, I live in a small town.  Yes, I am a wife and mom.  Yes, I live a busy, simple, and quiet life, and I love it.  I would not trade lives with anyone in the world, and the things that I find ordinary about my life, the books I read, or the things I write may be the exact things that someone else finds so interesting.

2.  Visit and Comment On Other Blogs...Visiting and commenting on other blogs is one of the most important things I feel I can do as a blogger.  It's how I learn, and it's a good way to grow my blog.  Being a part of and finding a place in the blogging community is very important to me, and it's something I work on every day.

3.  Be Honest...I knew from the beginning I was going to be completely honest on my blog.  If I like a book I will tell you, but if I don't I''ll tell you that too.  If I'm having trouble finishing a book or if a book is a struggle for me to read I'm going to be honest about it.  I think most people can spot fakeness and lies a mile away, and I'm just not going to do it.  Honesty is the way to go!



I'm always finding new tools and trends that I'd like to add to my blog.  The latest tool I've added to my blog is the "You Might Also Like" feature at the end of each post.  I think it will greatly increase my page views.  I know when I visit a blog I always look at atleast one of the posts listed there.

It's the last day of BBAW, and I've really enjoyed the daily topics.  I've had lots of new visitors to my blog, and I've found so many new blogs to enjoy.

___________________________________________


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBAW Day 4: Reading and Blogging

BBAW 2011 - Graphic (200px wide)



BBAW Topic #4

We have no blogs without books! Today’s topic explores that even more!
Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!


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I am very new to blogging...both reading blogs and doing my own blog, but I have quickly grown to LOVE both.

Before I joined the blogging community, I read mostly adult classics, children's classics, and historical fiction.  Those genres are still my favorites but my eyes have been opened to so many great books, and I now see what I've been missing by being such a book snob.

I do a blog post called "Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read", and that was totally inspired by the realization that I've been missing out on some great books because I thought they just weren't for me.  I came to that realization through reading other people's blogs and through doing research for my own blog.

Another way my reading has changed is that I read with a purpose now.  I'm reading with a book review in mind.  I try to be aware of wonderful quotes from a book, or interesting places or people to research from a book.  I  look for anything new or different that I might be able to blog about.  So in that way, I feel I'm getting more out of my reading now.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Books To Return And Desperate For More

My sister and I took the kiddos to the library after school yesterday.  My daughter had books to return and was desperate for more, so we went to the library where she loaded up her red library book bag with new books while I looked for more "Southern Belle Challenge" books.


I still have Fried Green Tomatoes (I will finish it tonight!) and Hissy Fit, so I only checked out two.




Source:  http://www.goodreads.com/



Source:  http://www.goodreads.com/



While I was there I picked up a copy of Book Page where I found lots of great information on lots of books.


Source:  http://www.bookpage.com/


Book Page also has an online edition that you can visit by clicking HERE.  I think the most interesting book I found inside is The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta.  I'm very interested in this one.



Source:  http://www.goodreads.com/



Goodreads Summary
What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?
That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children. 
Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne.  Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.  Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Fair Purchases Part 2

So....My daughter sang in a gospel concert Saturday, we had church Sunday morning and Sunday night, and I volunteered at school Monday.  It's been very busy around here lately, and I haven't been able to read as much as I'd like.  I'm still reading Fried Green Tomatoes  (loving it), but I'm hoping to finish it today.

My daughter did get some more books from the book fair on Monday, and I thought I'd share what she bought...


Source:  www.goodreads.com



Source:  www.goodreads.com



Source:  www.goodreads.com



Source:  www.goodreads.com



Source:  www.goodreads.com



Source:  www.goodreads.com