Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Thoughts On Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Source:  Goodreads




I'm happy to report (my daughter's even happier) that I have finally finished my first Harry Potter! I really enjoyed this book, and I absolutely love love the characters.  I can't wait to read the next one which my daughter has been kind enough to let me borrow!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Thoughts On "Crossed" By Ally Condie

Source:  Goodreads



Crossed is the second book in the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie.  It is the story of Cassia who has found a way to leave the controlling "Society" and all of it's rules and regulations behind in search of Ky; the boy she wasn't supposed to fall in love with but did anyway.  We follow Cassia as she leaves her family and her best friend and true Society Match, Xander behind and finds a way into the Outer Provinces where she believes Ky to be, and then as she runs to the Carving, a grouping of canyons that just might lead to Ky and the rebellion called The Rising that she is so eager to join.  Along the way she is forced to do things she never thought she could and make decisions she never thought she would.

I liked this one, but I have to admit that I didn't like it as much as Matched.  Matched was a real page turner for me.  I couldn't put it down.  With this one, I enjoyed it while I was reading but I would go a day and not ever pick it up.  It seemed to me there was a lot of the same thing happening over and over again throughout most of the book.  It did pick up toward the end though, and over all I really enjoyed it.  I love the characters in this book, so I will absolutely read the final book in the trilogy, Reached.  I think I've figured out what's going to happen!  It's due out in November, so I guess we'll see (:

I'd also like to say after much begging by my 9 year old daughter...I'm finally reading Harry Potter. I think I may be the only one left on the planet that hasn't!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Like Water for Chocolate"...The Book And The Movie

A while ago I read Like Water for Chocolate.  I really liked it, but it's one of the strangest books I've ever read.  Last night I had the opportunity to watch a movie version of the book.  I liked it as well, but I found it just as strange as the book.



Source:  Goodreads



I found the movie version on Netflix.  It's in Spanish but subtitled.  If you've never read the book or watched the movie and are looking for something different, give both a try.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Thoughts On "Keeper of the Doves"

Source:  Goodreads



The last time I was at the library with my daughter we were browsing through the books when I came across Keeper of the Doves.  I fell in love with the cover immediately, so I checked it out.  It's a sweet little story about a young girl named Amen, living in the late 1800's, trying to find her place in a family of five girls, and the secrets families sometimes keep.

This little book is just 128 pages, so it was a fast easy read.  I enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to elementary aged girls.

My Thoughts On Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Source:  Goodreads



Everyone calls Cecilia Rose Honeycutt, CeeCee.  She is a sad little girl living in Ohio with her mentally unstable mother and a father who would rather be anywhere but home with his family.  She is left alone to deal with her mom's illness.  As her mother loses grip on reality, CeeCee struggles to stay sane as her mom wanders the streets in prom dresses, red high heels, and tiaras.  CeeCee's only comfort lies in the books she reads and her elderly neighbor Mrs. Odell.  When a horrible tragedy strikes, CeeCee is forced to move to Savannah, Georgia to live with an aunt she never even knew existed.  There she meets a group of women that will change her life.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is full of southern hospitality.  From the big houses to the magnolia trees, you can almost see Savannah as you read this book.  The setting and the mood are done so well, and it's full of lovable characters.  CeeCee is such a broken little girl, but at her core she's sweet and wants to be loved so badly.
  

Like birds coming to roost in a favorite tree, we filed down the hallway and into the kitchen, settling comfortably in our places.  It was a moment so perfect I wished I could stop time.  I thought about how we all had Life Books--Mrs. Odell, Aunt Tootie, Oletta and me--and how someone, somewhere, had seen fit to write our names on one another's pages.
                                                                         --CeeCee from Saving CeeCee Honeycutt



I really enjoyed this book!  It's hard to believe that this is Kentucky author, Beth Hoffman's first novel.  She did an awesome job.  The way each character speaks, the things they eat, the clothes they wear, even the weather--it all just seems authentic.  I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy southern fiction.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is the last book I read for Southern Fiction in September as part of The Cupcakes Wars Reading Challenge hosted by Brenda at Curling Up With A Good Book.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Finally Watched It!

I have been putting off watching The Help for a long time because I wanted to read the book first.  I finally read the book in September, and my daughter and I watched the movie over the weekend.  We both loved it.  It was funny and sad, infuriating and inspiring all at the same time.  It also opened the door to some important conversations with my 9 year old daughter.

I know the movie is some different from the book, and not nearly as detailed, but I thought they did a good job with it.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Thoughts On "Into the Free"

Into the Free: A Novel
Source:  Goodreads



Into the Free is about Millie, a young girl living in Mississippi during the depression.  She lives with her depressed and mentally unstable mother and has an abusive father who seems to only come home to beat her mother.  She spends her young life hiding from her father and picking up the pieces of her broken mother, but she longs to be free...free of fear, free of sadness, free of loneliness.  Her only friends are her elderly neighbor, Sloth and a gum tree she names Sweetie.  When Sloth dies she feels like she's all alone until she meets a young gypsy boy named River and she finally feels like there's hope.  But when the unthinkable happens she if forced to face the world truly alone and she will learn just how strong she is.


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Although this book is sad and at times hard to read, it is beautifully written, and I truly enjoyed the story.  Millie is such a lovable character.  I just wanted to reach into the book and take care of her. She doesn't even realize how brave and strong she really is.  Into the Free is an example of a serious coming of age story.  Watching Millie come into her own made reading the hard parts worth it.  It is a testament to the resilience of children and the human spirit.

I'd recommend this to anyone who likes to read historical fiction, southern fiction, or coming of age stories.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Thoughts On "Rising Storm" By Kathleen Brooks

Source:  Goodreads



Rising Storm is the second book in Kathleen Brooks' Bluegrass Brothers Series.  It follows Marshall, an elite military man turned hometown sheriff and Katelyn Jacks, an ex-supermodel who worked her way through college and has come back to her grandparents small hometown to start her career as a vet.  Even thought they can't stand each other, they can't seem to avoid each other or the small town gossip mill, and they soon discover they're feelings for one another might not be what they thought they were.  Yet even as they fall in love they are forced to fight for their lives and the lives of innocent dogs when they try to track down a dangerous, illegal, dog fighting ring, and are targeted  by the criminals running it.

Rising Storm is exactly what I expected from Kathleen Brooks.  It's the fifth book I've read by her, and I wasn't disappointed.  Once again we get to visit with the unforgettable characters of Keeneston, Kentucky and have some fun along the way.  Rising Storm is full of humor, romance, and suspense.  I'd recommend it to anyone who loves to read romance with a little suspense thrown in or anyone looking to read something regional.  Although Keeneston is a little over the top idyllic, the book still gives you a snapshot of what a small Kentucky town might be like.

I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

Source:  Goodreads



I think most everyone has read The Help, and now I have too.  I loved it!  My favorite books to read are those so rich in characters that you just can't figure out who you love the best.  The Help is one of those books.

The Help is set in 1960's Mississippi and follows the lives of three very different women.  Aibileen is a strong black woman who works as a maid and whose strength and faith inspire all around her.  Minny is a spunky black woman, a mother, and a maid who tells it like it is and is the best cook in town.  Skeeter is a privileged young white woman trying to find herself in spite of an overbearing mother, a not so great group of friends, and an environment full of prejudice.  As Skeeter's eyes begin to open to the injustices around her, she teams up with Aibileen and Minny on a project that will not only rock their small town, but change their lives.

Even though I loved this book, I wasn't crazy about the ending.  I was left wanting something more, but I guess every book isn't going to end the way I want.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read southern, historical, or women's fiction.  I've avoided watching the movie until I could read the book, and now I'm excited to watch it.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Thoughts On "Where the Red Fern Grows"

Source:  Goodreads



Somehow I missed reading Where the Red Fern Grows during my childhood.  I have always heard of it, and I know lots of people, my Dad included, love the movie, yet somehow I missed it.

Where the Red Fern Grows is the story of Billy, a little boy who comes down with a serious case of "puppy love".  He wants puppies, but not just any kind of puppy.  He wants two coon dogs, and it becomes his life's mission to get them.  He breaks his back working for two years until he finally saves the fifty dollars he needs to buy his dogs.  The scene where he first meets Old Dan and Little Ann is one of the sweetest scenes I've ever read in a book.  The love between Billy and his dogs is beautiful.  Where the Red Fern Grows is a story of love, loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice.

I'd recommend this book to anyone.  It's just a good story that kids and adults both will like, so if like me, you missed this one as a child--give it a try.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Thoughts On "Shiloh"

I can't believe it's August!  It seems like yesterday it was January and I was beginning The Cupcakes War Reading Challenge hosted by Brenda at Curling Up With a Good Book.  Now we're 8 months in, and I have read some really great books.  This month's genre is Animal Stories or Autobiographies, and since we read memoirs in a previous month I decided to focus on Animal Stories for this month.  Brenda is doing such a great job with this challenge, and if you have some time you should check out her blog.



Source:  Goodreads



My first animal story comes straight from my daughter's bookshelf.  She actually bought this book a while ago, and I've wanted to read it for a while.  I've read and enjoyed other works by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, so I had high hopes for this one.  I wasn't disappointed.

In Shiloh, a little boy named Marty comes across a runaway beagle while he's out exploring the hills and woods around his home.  The beagle is very skittish and shy which leads Marty to believe he's been abused. Marty wants to keep him, but discovers that the dog he names Shiloh belongs to the meanest man Marty knows, Judd Travers.  Shiloh is all about Marty's courageous struggle to save the dog he has grown to love.

This was such a sweet story.  It was a quick, enjoyable read, and I really needed it.  Shiloh is something totally different for me, and that's one of the things I liked most about it.  I fell in love with the little beagle along with Marty, and I'd recommend this book to anyone, especially animal lovers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Thoughts On "Matched"

Source:  Goodreads



From the cover...
Cassia has always trusted the society's choices. 
And when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia is certain he is the one...until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. 
Now she is faced with impossible choices:  between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's know and a path no one dares follow...between perfection and passion.



I was talking books with a friend a couple months ago, and she happened to mention the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie.  A few weeks ago I came across Matched, the first book in the series, in the bookstore and thought I'd get it.  I was reading New York Times Bestsellers in July, and Matched fit the bill.

I have read good and bad reviews for this one.  It seems people either love it or hate it.  I LOVED it!  It reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games, but with less action.  A lot of this story takes place in Cassia's mind through her thoughts and feelings.  I loved that about this book.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Crossed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Thoughts On Bluegrass Undercover

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary
In her first follow-up to the Bestselling Bluegrass Series, Kathleen Brooks brings Keeneston back to life through the Davies brothers.  Cade Davies had to much on his plate to pay attention to the newest resident  of Keeneston.  He was too busy avoiding the Davies brothers marriage trap set by half the town.  But when a curvy red head lands in Keeneston, the retired Army Ranger finds himself drawn to her...



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I really enjoyed Kathleen Brooks' Bluegrass Series, so I was very happy to learn that she is writing a spin off series called Bluegrass Brothers.  Each book in the series will feature one of the Davies brothers.  They were supporting characters in the Bluegrass Series especially Dead Heat which featured their sister, Paige.

The first book in the Bluegrass Brothers Series is Bluegrass Undercover, and it features Cade Davies, an Army Ranger and football coach.  This book was all I expected it to be.  It was a fun, romantic suspense, and I really enjoyed it.  I was happy to visit with all the residents of Keeneston again.  There are five Davies brothers, so we can look forward to four more in this series.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Kite Runner"

Source:  Goodreads



From the back cover...
"This powerful first novel...tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love.  Both transform the life of Amir, Khaled Hosseini's privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country's revolution and it's invasion by Russian forces.  But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story.  In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence--forces that continue to threaten them even today."
--The New York Times Book Review


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There are times when I finish a book and think, "wow, that was a fun book", and then there are those rare times when I finish a book and think, "this book has changed the way I see the world".  The Kite Runner is that for me.  It's not a light funny read.  You won't feel warm and fuzzy...if anything it will make you very uncomfortable.  There are parts in this book that made me absolutely sick.  There are parts in this book that made me cry like a baby.  There are parts in this book that made me plain mad.  Why read a book like this?  It's very simple...because the very same things that happened in this book happen every day all over the world, and we need to know about it!

But just as there is lots of horror and devastation in this book, there are moments of such beauty and such love that it leaves you with some hope in the end.  Love is after all the most powerful force in the world.

"For you, a thousand times over."
--Khaled Hosseini/ Hassan from The Kite Runner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Should Watch "Bel Ami"

I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie Bel Ami, and I really, really enjoyed it.  I don't know why this one hasn't been talked about more.  It was great.  Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci were terrific.  It was visually beautiful...the clothes, the furniture.  I highly recommend this one!



Uma Thurman as Madeleine Forestier
Source:  www.allmoviephoto.com



Kristin Scott Thomas as Virginie Rousset
Source:  www.allmoviephoto.com



Christina Ricci as Clotilde de Marelle
Source:  www.allmoviephoto.com




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Thoughts On "Dead Heat"

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary
Paige Davies finds her world turned upside down as she becomes involved in her best friends nightmare.  The strong-willed Paige doesn't know which is worse:  someone trying to kill her, or losing her dog to the man she loves to hate.
FBI Agent Cole Parker can't decide whether he should strangle or kiss this infuriating woman of his dreams. As he works the case of his career, he finds that love can be tougher than bringing down some of the most powerful men in America.


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What a great ending to the Bluegrass Series by Kathleen Brooks.  The last book in the series definitely didn't disappoint.  It also introduces us to Paige's brothers who become the main characters in Brooks' next series, Bluegrass Brothers.  I'm actually reading the first in the series right now.  It's called Bluegrass Undercover.

All of the books in the Bluegrass Series are very similar when it comes to the romances in each one, and even though each love story was fairly predictable, they were all still  fun to read.  What kept me reading, however,  was the mystery/suspense element in the books.  I think it was done really well.

My Thoughts On "Risky Shot"

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary...
Danielle DeLuca, an ex-beauty queen who is not at all what she seems, leaves the streets of New York after tracking the criminals out to destroy her.  She travels to Keeneston, Kentucky to make her final stand by the side of her best friend, McKenna Mason.  While in Keeneston, Danielle meets the mysterious Mohtadi Ali Rahmen, a modern day prince.  Can Mo protect Dani from the group of powerful men in New York?  Or will Dani save the Prince from his rigid, loveless destiny?


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This is the second book in the Bluegrass Series by Kathleen Brooks.  I really liked the first book in the series, Bluegrass State of Mind, and I knew right away that I wanted to read the rest of the series.  It just took me a little while to get around to it.  I'm really glad I finally did though because I loved Risky Shot.

I loved the setting and the supporting cast of characters from the town of Keeneston.  The three main characters from the series, McKenna, Danielle, and Paige, each narrate a book but are present throughout the series.  I love the growth and closeness of their friendship--that feeling of camaraderie 


Risky Shot is a romance, so of course there is "romance" in it.  It's clean romance though, with no graphic sexual content.  It's mystery, suspense as well.  I love it when a book blurs the line between genres, and I find that if there's a mystery element to a book I can't help but read it quickly.

So if your looking for something quick and fun to read, you might want to give this series a try.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Thoughts On Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary
The women of Freesia Court are convinced there is nothing good coffee, delectable desserts, and a strong shoulder can't fix.  Laughter is the glue that holds them together--the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons), an unofficial club that becomes much more.  It becomes a lifeline.  Holding on through forty eventful years...


Faith, Merit, Kari, Audrey, and Slip are the unforgettable women we read about in Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.  They are five very different women, but they have three very important things in common.  They're all wives, mothers, and book lovers which leads to a book club and a more than forty year friendship.  I read this thinking it was going to be a light, chic-lit read, but I have to say that titles can be deceiving.  This book is anything but light.  Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons covers about every social issue from the last sixty years...domestic violence, race, politics, homosexuality, religion, child abuse, addiction, promiscuity, adoption, women's rights, and war.

I really liked this book and I loved the characters.  My favorite thing about the book is how Landvik used all the women to narrate the book.  We get to hear the story from all their different points of view.  We know what's really going on with each one when the other women don't.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys chic-lit or women's fiction.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Had No Idea It Had Been So Long!

I didn't realize the date of my last post was June 19th!  I've read several really good books since then.  I just haven't had the time to blog about them.

 It's been softball central around here...batting practice, fielding practice, pitching practice, tournaments--if you throw in piano practice, singing practice, and my husband's recent week of vacation, it's amazing that I read at all.  But I love my busy life, and I wouldn't change it for the world.  It's so great seeing my daughter happily busy and discovering her talents and passions.  A definite passion for her is reading, and she just finished the Harry Potter series yesterday.  She said she wished those books would go on forever!  She absolutely loved them.  She has been a reading machine, and has actually read way more than me since her summer break began.  I'm beginning to suspect that she reads faster than I do, which only makes me one  happy mama!  Now she's reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I asked her to read, and she happily agreed.  I'm interested to hear what she thinks of this one.

Tomorrow I plan to blog about a really great book I recently read, Angry Housewives Eating Bons Bons by Lorna Landvik.


Source:  Goodreads


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Thoughts On "Wallflower In Bloom"

Source:  Goodreads


Summary from the Kindle Edition...
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it's just not her own.  She's the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag.  As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.
Then Deirdre's sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted.  While drowning her sorrows in Tag's expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement.  It'll get her back in shape, mentally and physically.  It might even get her a life of her own.  Deirdre's fifteen minutes of fame have begun.
Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, not matter where you land.



I have to start out by saying that I've been looking forward to reading this one for a while.  I love the cover...it's just pretty.  And I'm happy to say the book didn't disappoint.  I really enjoyed it.

I love character driven books.  If I fall in love with the characters most likely I'll love the book.  Wallflower in Bloom is definitely character driven.  Deirdre is so funny and and easy to relate to, and I found her sarcasm hilarious.  More than that though, Deirdre is a conflicted, complicated woman who deals with (not always gracefully) a lot of the same issues many women deal with...weight, depression, men, family, work.  Who among us women hasn't had to deal with issues in at least on of these areas?  And somehow it makes us feel better knowing there are others out there who are going through what we are...even if it is a fictional character.

If you are a fan of chic-lit or women's fiction, I know you'll like this one.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Latest Book Purchases

Source:  Goodreads



I recently watched the movie version of The Road, and I thought it was really good.  I've heard great things about the book as well, so I thought I'd give it a try.






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Source:  Amazon



Years ago when I worked at the library I came across The Foxfire Books.  I'd never seen them before, and I found them so interesting.  I put them on my wish list to buy, but just never got around to it.  This year when I was racking my brain for what to get my Dad for Father's Day these books came to mind again.  He's into history, antiques, gardening, and pretty much anything old fashioned.  We're alike in that way, so that's how I know he'll love this book.



I Watched Confessions of a Shopaholic

A couple days ago I finished the book Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  Having liked the book so much I was excited to watch the movie which I did yesterday.


Source:  IMDb
I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it.  Even though it was quite different from the book, it was still very cute and very funny.  I loved Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomood, and I'm happy to hear that there will be a sequel to the movie as well.  I'll definitely see it.






If you've missed it, give this movie a try.  It's light and sweet and very funny.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Thoughts On "Confessions of a Shopaholic"

Source:  Goodreads



Confessions of a Shopaholic is about Rebecca Bloomwood.  A young woman whose job as a finance journalist bores her to tears and even worse pays little.  Even so, she is addicted to shopping and continues to buy things that she can't afford (nor does she need) until she stumbles across a finance story that just might change her life in more ways than one.

When I think of Chic-lit, Confessions of a Shopaholic is what comes to mind.  To be honest, I didn't think I'd like this book.  I'm not very girly and I don't like shopping that much.  I'm not into jewelry or clothes or make-up.  The only things I truly like to shop for are things for my daughter and books.  But I'm happy to say that I was wrong about this book.  It was a cute, funny book, and I really liked it.  I've read a few reviews that said this book is all that's wrong with young people these days, teaching the wrong values, etc., but I think these people are taking the book too seriously.  I mean it's obvious that Rebecca has a problem.  It's obvious that her lifestyle is making her miserable, and it's obvious that she eventually realizes that and tries to do better.  If anything I see it as a cautionary tale.  I think people relate to this book because most of us have had financial trouble in our life, and we tend to do what Rebecca did...ignore it until we can't ignore it anymore.

I really liked Confessions of a Shopaholic, and I plan to read the rest of the books in the Shopaholic series.
I know most people who enjoy chic-lit have already read this, but if you aren't a huge chic-lit fan or you just missed it somehow you should give it a try.  It was a fast, funny read, and I'm glad i finally got around to reading it.


Monday, June 11, 2012

A Blog Award




 Brenda from Curling Up With a Good Book gave me The {Booker} Award recently and I'm so excited about it! I love receiving blog awards and the rules for this one are great!
Thank you so much Brenda for giving me this award.  I appreciate it!

The Rules:

1. This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blogger's blog must be 50% about books (this includes writing blogs or reader blogs).
2. When you accept this award you must also share what your top five all time favorite books are. Going over five is encouraged.
3. You must pass this award on to five to ten other book blogs that you adore :)



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So here are a few of my All Time Favorite Books...




Source:  Goodreads

I absolutely adore EVERY book in the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  They just make me happy!



Source:  Goodreads

I love the Anne of Green Gables Series and pretty much anything written by L.M. Montgomery.  This book is the first book I fell in love with as a child.  I loved Anne so much, and still do I might add (:




Source:  Goodreads


I am a huge fan of Louisa May Alcott, and Little Women (along with Little Men and Jo's Boys) are among my favorites of all her work.



Source:  Goodreads


I just LOVE this book!

"If he loved  you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day."  (Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights)

And with writing like that who wouldn't!





Source:  Goodreads


I don't see how anyone who's read this book couldn't fall in love with it.  Such a powerful story!


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I think you'll notice a recurring theme in the books above...all women authors & all historical fiction.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Thoughts On "Single Girl Summer"

Source:  Goodreads



Single Girl Summer is a book about three very different but very independent women.  Meg is newly divorced and trying to find her way.  Dawn is impatiently waiting for her "perfect" boyfriend to propose, and Button is too scared to love or trust anyone.  They're all intent on facing their battles alone, but they soon discover that they just might need each other.

I liked this book, and I liked the characters.  I have to say that I didn't relate to them at all though.  They were definitely modern career women from the city, while I'm an old-fashioned,  conservative, stay at home wife and mom from the country.   My life couldn't be more different from theirs.  I didn't always agree with what they did and said, but I really enjoyed the story.  I believe that's what reading should be about.  What fun is it to always read about people just like you?

 I especially liked reading about Button's growth over the span of the book, and one of my favorite parts was reading about all their "single girl summer outings" in and around the city of Chicago.

If you are a fan of Chic-lit, I think you'll enjoy this book.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My 1 Year Blogiversary!!!

As of today, this blog is one year old.  Wow, I can't believe it!

I started this blog to become part of a reading community.  I wanted to share ideas, and get a fresh perspective on books in general.  I was in a reading rut you could say--reading the same kinds of books with the same kinds of ideas over and over again.  When I started this blog, I was on a mission to broaden my reading horizons, and I think it's been a huge success.  I've read books this year that I never would have without the blogging community.

Blogging has become such a big part of my life.  When I started I had no idea how much fun it would be, or to be honest how much work it would be.  I have to admit the pressure to finish books quickly so I can blog about them has gotten to me at times.  But I think my main struggle has been to stay true to MY voice.  I follow lots of wonderful blogs, and I have often caught myself wishing to be more like this one or that one.  I have to remind myself over and over that it's ME that has to come through on my page--no matter how simple my ideas, they are my ideas.  I have to be me.

I have found so many great blogs along the way, and made new friends.  Thank you so much to those of you who take the time to read and comment on my blog.  It means so much to me!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Thoughts On "Bitter Is The New Black"

Last July I started a feature called "Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read".  In trying to broaden my reading horizons I decided to read at least one book from ten genres that I normally do not read...romance, western, military, horror, celebrity memoir, true crime, sports fiction, sci-fi, mystery, and chic-lit.

I had originally thought I'd read  Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella for my chic-lit selection, but then my friend, Lisa, from the blog Parenting, Politics, and Religion, suggested I read Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.  It's taken me a while to get around to it, but since this month is Chic-Lit for the Cupcakes War Reading Challenge...I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.



Source:  Goodreads



Goodread's Summary
Jen Lancaster was living the sweet-life until real life kicked her to the curb.  She had the perfect man, the perfect job--hell, she had the perfect life, and there was no reason to think it wouldn't last.  Or maybe there was, but Jen Lancaster was too busy being manicured, pedicured, highlighted, and generally adored to notice...



I just have to say...this book is HILARIOUS!  Jen Lancaster is honest about herself and others too.  She says what you might be thinking, but would never say...such a guilty pleasure.  I laughed out loud several times.

I do have to warn that there is some strong language, but if you can overlook that this is a really funny book! I'm so glad Lisa recommended it.  I would have never read it otherwise, but now I've found a great new author to enjoy.  I'm sure I'll be reading more of Jen Lancaster.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Trip To Carnton Plantation

In February of 2010 I read The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks.  It's one of those books that I hesitate to say, "Oh, this was a good book!", simply because it was on such a serious subject...good just doesn't seem to be the appropriate word.  It was sad and violent and graphic, but I think it was probably very representative of what the bloodiest five hours of the civil war was like, and I enjoyed reading it.  I wouldn't call myself a "history buff", but I'm really interested in the civil war.



Source:  Goodreads




I really love to read historical fiction.  The Widow of the South is a fiction book, but it's based on historical events that took place on Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee.  My husband and I recently visited Carnton Plantation, and it was amazing.  We were able to take a really great hour long guided tour of the inside of the house, and take our time on a self-guided tour of the gardens and rest of the grounds.



Source:  My Photo



Source:  My Photo



Source:  My Photo



Source:  My Photo




Source:  My Photo

Friday, June 1, 2012

Memoirs In May... A Reading Recap

May was a really great reading month for me.  I was really lucky and found some great books.  Every one of the memoirs below was an amazing and powerful story, and I learned so much. I have a new found respect and admiration for memoirs and the people brave enough to tell their story.  I'll definitely be adding them to my monthly reading schedule, and I'd like to read at least one every month.

Check out the books I read last month below.  Click on ''Read This Post" to view my post about each book.



Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads



Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads



Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads







Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads



Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads



Read This Post
Source:  Goodreads

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank"

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads Summary...
The "unwritten" final chapter of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl tells the story of the time between Anne Frank's arrest and her death through the testimony of six Jewish women who survived the hell from which Anne Frank never returned.


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I believe if you've read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, you need to read this book.  It is by no means an easy or a fun read.  It is horrific and heartbreaking to know what happened to Anne, her family, these women, and millions of others, but it is true.  It is history, and we need to know it.

Some may say, "Why read something so depressing?".   I say that if these women could survive and be brave enough to tell their story...the very least I can do is listen.


Friday, May 25, 2012

My Thoughts On "Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family

Source:  Goodreads



Goodreads summary...


She found the diary and brought the world a message of love and hope. 


It seems that we are never far from Mieps thoughts...Yours Anne.


For the millions moved by "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl", here at last is Miep's own astonishing story. For more than two years, Miep Gies and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Like thousands of unsung heroes of the Holocaust, they risked their lives each day to bring food, news, and emotional support to the victims.




Miep Gies mid 1930's
Source:  Miep Gies: Her Own Story






Miep Gies
Source:  The Telegraph




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If you've read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, then Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family is a must read.  This is a powerful, heartbreaking, and inspiring book...not to mention fascinating.  I learned so much!

From the instant I read Anne's diary, I was curious about those who helped her--Miep being one of their most important helpers.  She brought them food, books, and other items they needed to survive, but most importantly she brought them love.  She also found and protected Anne's diary after the arrest.  She then turned it over to Otto Frank, Anne's father, after the war.  

Miep tells the story of those "dark days' from her point of view--from the other side of the book case.  She helps us to travel back in time to see what it was really like for those people living in Holland during WWII.

The selfless courage she showed in helping the Franks--and other Jewish people as well--is nothing short of amazing.  You should read this book!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pleasantly Surprised By Stephanie Plum!

I recently started reading the Stephanie Plum series.  I've read the first two, One For the Money and Two for the Dough.  I enjoy these books.  I think they're really funny.

I finally got to watch the movie, One For the Money, yesterday.  I went into it not expecting much.  I'd heard really bad things about it, but I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I didn't think it was all that bad, and I liked Katherine Heigl as Stephanie.  Would I have wanted to pay $12 to see it in the theater?  Maybe not.  But for a $1 rental it wasn't bad!

I think those who enjoy the books will like the movie as well.



Source:  IMDb