Monday, January 30, 2012

I Read About Jessie, Calpurnia, Percy, Katniss & Peeta, Catherine, And Ivy June...

In 2012 I will be participating in the The Cupcake Wars Reading Challenge hosted by Brenda at Curling Up With A Good Book.

The idea behind this challenge is to concentrate on a different genre for each month of 2012, and the genre for January was Juv/YA fiction.

Here's what I read:


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on Secret of the Night Ponies by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thought on The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on The Son of Neptune by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on The Hunger Games by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on Catching Fire by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on Mockingjay by clicking HERE.


Source:  Goodreads

You can read my thoughts on Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by clicking HERE.


I read seven books this month for the reading challenge.  Over all I think January was a very productive reading month for me.  It sure was fun, and I enjoyed every book I read.  The stand out for me this month was The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I just loved it.  I'm hoping to squeeze in one more book for the month of January (it's not YA) to bring my total to eight.

Bring on the romance....

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Thoughts On "faith, hope, and ivy june"

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...
     Two Kentucky girls, Ivy June Mosely of Thunder Creek and Catherine Combs of Lexington, are participating in their schools' seventh grade student exchange program.  Taking turns, each girl leaves home for two weeks to live and attend classes with the other, and writes about the experience in a journal.
     In some ways, the girls are worlds apart.  Ivy June lives up in the mountains with her grandparents, Mammaw and Pappaw Mosely, because it's so crowded at her parents' place.  Catherine lives with her family in a beautiful house with plenty of space for everyone.  As the girls spend time in each other's neck of the woods, they find out that they've both been keeping secrets.  And when, without warning, Ivy June and Catherine face the terror of not knowing what's happening to their loved ones, they discover that they may be more alike than different.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Source:  Goodreads


Faith, hope, and ivy june is a book that my daughter (8) bought at her school book fair, and this is one instance where I'm so glad that I read the book before she did.  It's simply not appropriate for her.

It's not a bad book.  I enjoyed it mostly.  I really like the characters, Ivy June and Catherine.  They were likable, funny, and honest.  I enjoyed reading about life in the eastern Kentucky mountains.  What I didn't realize is that this book has a lot of coal mining in it.  You see Ivy June's "Pappaw" is a coal miner, and that's fine.  My husband is a coal miner.  We are proud of coal miners!

However, there is a lot of talk in the book about how much Ivy worries about her grandfather while he's down in the mine, they talk about working in the mine like it's a form of cruel and unusual punishment, and in the end there is a mining accident with lots of details.  There are references to real life mining disasters, descriptions of the families waiting at the church for news, and descriptions of what may or may not be going on down there...explosions, rock falls, floods, drowning, deaths...all very scary, especially if your Daddy is a coal miner.

The danger of working in the coal mine is not a foreign concept to my daughter.  She is very smart and she knows.  I know this because she's shared her fears with me.  I know what she worries about, and that's why I'm so glad she didn't read this book.  I see no need in her reading a book that will bring up new fears or bring to the forefront fears that most days she tucks away.  I won't throw this book away, but I will tuck it away in the back of the cabinet.  Maybe she will read it some day, but for now it hits too close to home.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flies, Lions, And A Woman In Black

My sister and I went out shopping today and needless to say, more books found their way to my house. I bought three used books, and they're all in good condition.  I also purchased one new book.

The first is Lord of the Flies by William Golding and I paid $.50 for it.

Source:  Goodreads

The second book is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  The funny thing is I was just telling my daughter I think it's time for her to read this one, so I'm glad I found it.  I paid $.25 for it.

Source:  Goodreads

The next book is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  I paid $.25 for it.

Source:  Goodreads

And the last book is a new book, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.  I've been seeing the movie previews for this one, and I'm interested in seeing it.  I have to read the book first though, so when I saw this while I was grocery shopping I had to get it.

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...
Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford--a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway--to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.  Mrs. Drablow's house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows.  The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images--a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.

I'm really looking forward to reading all of these, but I think The Woman in Black is the next book for me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two New Books Today!!!

My latest order from came in the mail today.

The first one is The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Anne K. Edwards.  I purchased this book for fairly obvious reasons.  I do a book blog and would like to learn how to do a proper book review.

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...
If you're an experienced reviewer, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will serve as an excellent reference tool and amalgam of resources.  If you're a beginner, this book will show you how to write a well-written, honest, objective and professional book review.  It will also teach you:
  • How to read critically
  • How to differentiate the various types of reviews
  • How to rate books
  • How to prevent amateurish mistakes
  • How to deal with ethics and legalities of reviewing
  • How to start your own review site
  • How to publish your reviews on dozens of sites and even make money while you're at it, and much more
If you're an author, publisher, publicist, bookseller, librarian, or reader, this book will also bring to light the importance and influence of book reviews within a wider spectrum.


The second book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  I purchased this book because it's been on my "to be read" list for a long time.  I'm also participating in a reading challenge that will focus on the romance genre during the month of February.  I've read several books by Rivers and, I've never been disappointed.  So I'm anticipating loving this one.

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...

California's gold country, 1850.  A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. 
 Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal.  Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive.  And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.
Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father's heart in everything.  Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally.  Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel's bitter expectations, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. 
But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear.  And so Angel runs.  Back to the darkness, away from her husband's pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny:  Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does...the One who will never let her go. 
A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God's unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


With The Hunger Games Trilogy still on my mind...

In the books Primrose is Katniss Everdeen's younger sister, and Peeta plants some primrose bushes outside Katniss's house.  That got me thinkging..."What excactly does a primrose look like?".

Here are some examples...

Blue Primrose


Danova Growers Select Mix


Common Primrose


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Last In The Series: Mockingjay

Source:  Goodreads

Goodreads summary...
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief.  In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating:  President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12.  The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy will keep your hearts pounding.


I know a lot of people have a favorite book from this series or one that just wasn't quite as good for them as the others, but that wasn't the case for me.  I couldn't pick a favorite.  I loved them all, and I have to say that this may be one of my favorite series of all time.  I just loved it.

I do think that the last book was different from the first two though, and very much so.  The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are full of action and violence, but there's also hope.  There's the hope that Katniss and Peeta share that they might each be able to save the other.

In Mockingjay there is a lot of misery and madness, but very little hope.  It was easy at times for me to say well what was it all for then.  But that is what makes this an amazing book because you are feeling this along with Katniss.   I think during a lot of the book that is exactly what Katniss is feeling.

Having said that, I loved the ending and the epilogue shows you exactly what the point, honor, and freedom.


Now that I've read the entire series, I am super excited for the movie.  I think the casting is brilliant, and  I especially like Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna,Stylist to Katniss


This trilogy really resonated with me.  Katniss and Peeta are those rare literary characters who will stay with me forever.  So even if you aren't a "young adult" and are having doubts about whether this series is for you, set them aside.  I'd recommend this book to anyone.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What An Appropriate Title...Catching Fire

Source:  Goodreads

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in The Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph.  Instead, they have become the poster children for a rebellion that they never planned to lead.  The new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by the Capitol...

Suzanne Collins
Author of The Hunger Games Series
Source:  Goodreads


I just finished Catching Fire, and when I say just finished, I mean I read the last word of the book ten minutes ago.  I just couldn't wait to blog about it.  I know I should probably wait a few hours and think about it a little, but I won't because I loved it!  For me, Catching Fire was even better than The Hunger Games.

After reading the first book I said I loved Katniss's character, but now after reading  Catching Fire I know that was a huge understatement.  What Collins was able to do with her character is amazing.  I don't like her  because she's perfect and always knows the right answer.  It's quite the contrary actually.  She is an extremely flawed, scared young woman who at her core is very good.  She has all the great qualities of a heroine...bravery, toughness, skill, honor, undying love, and spunk, but she also has the qualities that make her very real...fear, jealousy, pain, mental break downs, indecision, moodiness, anger, and at times weakness.  These real qualities are what make her bravery and unconditional love for Peeta (fellow tribute), Gale (best friend), and her family all the more believable and inspiring.

Katniss isn't the only good thing about this book.  I really like all the characters especially Peeta.   The story itself was riveting to me.  The book is full danger, sadness, humor, happiness, anger and yes sappy love stuff, and I felt it all.

I love to read, and I find that I enjoy most books I read.  But I really love when I come across books that make me remember why I'm so passionate about reading--the books and characters that stay with you long after you've finished the book.  Yes I know this is YA fiction, and I am no longer a young adult.  I am a 35 year old mother, but a great story is a great story no matter how old you are.

Now I'm off to the rest of my day, eagerly anticipating later this evening when I can dive into Mockingjay which at this moment is on my kitchen counter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Source:  Wikipedia

If you care about your freedom, then you should care about SOPA and PIPA.

SOPA and PIPA are two bills before congress right now that would basically make it legal for our government to censor what we view on the internet.  When our government starts controlling what information we can and cannot see, we are in big trouble.

To learn more about this issue please visit my friend, Susie's, blog.  She explains it much better than I can.  You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

You can also visit Google to learn more about it and sign a petition by clicking HERE.


Source:  Wikipedia

"The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well informed enough to maintain its sovereign control over the government."

Franklin D. Roosevelt
(Quote Source:  Goodreads)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Hunger Games"

Source:  Goodreads

Suzanne Collins


I knew nothing about The Hunger Games until I started blogging last year.  Then it was every where.  It seemed like every blog I visited had reviewed this book, and it was on all the must read lists.  My sister and I both love to read and we trade book recommendations back and forth, and I love to buy her books for any occasion...birthdays, Mother's Day, Christmas, just because.  I bought her The Hunger Games, and she liked it.  So over the next few months I bought her the the other two books in the series.  But I still hadn't read it.

Then I read a post on one of my favorite blogs, Susie's Blog.  She had recently read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and was in the middle of Mockingjay.  She had good things to say, so I decided it was time to read them.  Plus I had just signed up for this awesome reading challenge I'm doing for 2012, and the genre for January is Juvenile/YA fiction.  It just seemed like the time to read it.

Let me just say that I did not expect to love this book as much as I do.  From the very first page I was hooked and couldn't put it down.  I love character driven books, and man oh man is Katniss a character.  I just love her.  Suzanne Collins gives her such an authentic voice.  It feels like someone is telling you their story.  I totally forgot I was reading a book.  Nothing felt forced to me.


I cannot wait until the movie comes out in March, and just for fun I thought I'd add the preview to my post.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Son of Neptune" by Rick Riordan

Source:  Goodreads

From the dust jacket...
"Percy is confused.  When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name.  His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket.  Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way.  But the camp doesn't ring any bells with him.  The only thing he can recall from his past is another name:  Annabeth.
Hazel is supposed to be dead.  When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it.  Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed.  But that was the problem--when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no.  Now, because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk.  Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.
Frank is a klutz.  His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it.  He doesn't even know who his father is.  He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery--although not good enough to win camp war games.  His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp.  He trusts her completely--enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.
Beginning at the "other" camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophecy of Seven."

Rick Riordan
Source:  Goodreads

This is not a stand alone book!  If you want to get the most out of this book, there are other books you must read first...

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series

Source:  Goodreads

The Lightening Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan's Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

The Heroes of Olympus Series 

Book 1

Book 2
Just finished this one!

And the next book in the series is due out Fall 2012...

The Mark of Athena
Book 3


I loved this book!  Rick Riordan has a way of making you really care about these kids in his books.  The Son of Neptune is full of the humor, action/adventure, history, love and loyalty I loved in all the previous books.  I have to admit that I was a little worried at first.  Maybe it was because it was all new.  Percy didn't remember anything and he was at a Roman demigod camp (Percy is a Greek demigod).  Everything was different...even the name of the gods...same gods-different names.  About 80 pages in though, everything changed, and I was swept away to the world I had so enjoyed from the previous books--the world of centaurs, cyclops, giants, harpies, gods, demigods, Greeks, and Romans.  I think what I love most about these books is the puzzle of it all...trying to figure it out, and then being amazed when it all comes together.


I just thought I'd share a picture of Poseidon, Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.  Poseidon is the father of Percy in Rick Riordan's books.

Source:  wikipedia

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What I Cooked Tonight...

I used my Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible again this weekend.  I'm still loving this great Christmas gift from my daughter.

Source:  Goodreads

I chose to try the recipe from page 162.


4 T (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
2 tsp salt
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.
2.  In a bowl, mash together the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, the thyme, and the paprika.  Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Rub the chicken all over with the butter mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible so the chicken will brown evenly.
3.  Scatter the potatoes, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Top the vegetables with a roasting rack.  Place the chicken on the rack, breast side up.  Roast, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until the chicken is golden, the thigh juices run clear when pierced with a knife, or the temperature registers 180 degrees F in the thigh, about 1 1/2 hours.
4.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before carving.  Serve with the vegetables and pan juices.
(Recipe Source:  Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible)

Here's the results...

Right out of the oven
Source:  My Photo

Source:  My Photo

This recipe was a big hit!  My husband and my daughter both loved this meal.  It was really easy to do.  There's just a little prep work with the chicken.  My husband especially liked the veggies.  I will absolutely make this again, and maybe try it with different vegetables.

My daughter and I also made a cake today...Devil's Food cake with chocolate icing.

Source:  My Photo

It's not perfect, but my daughter and I made it together.  It was delicious, and my daughter was so excited to serve it to her Daddy with a big glass of cold milk.

So needless to say I'm very proud of it :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Son of Neptune...180 Pages In

I'm on page 180 of The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as first, but I am quickly being drawn into the story, and as I get to know the new characters I'm liking them more and more.  It just took me a while to get back in the groove.

So far this book has taken place in a Roman demigod (one parent mortal/one parent god) camp.  That in itself threw me for a loop because in all the previous books we've been reading about Greek gods.  Since demigods are often warriors there is lots of talk about Roman weapons, and I grew curious about what each one looks like.  I decided to look them up and share them with you...just in case you're interested.









Armor that protects the legs

These are Greek greaves but Romans wore something similar

If you are interested in learning more about Rick Riordan or any of his books you can visit his website by clicking HERE.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What I'm Reading Next...

As you probably know I'm reading The Son of Neptune right now, and I'm hoping to finish it by this weekend.  I all ready have an idea of what I'd like to read next and I'm very excited about it.  

I've been hearing lots of great things about The Hunger Games Series...everyone is blogging about it, my sister is on the last book in the series now, and everyone seems to be excited about the upcoming movie.  I figure what better time to read it than now since the reading challenge I'm participating in this year focuses on juvenile/YA fiction for the month of January.  Plus my sister owns all three books in the series, so I'll just borrow them from her.

What I'm Reading Next...

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Here's the preview for the movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Lorax Movie...We're So Excited!

Over the Christmas holiday my daughter and I went to see the movie "Arthur Christmas".  It was a really cute movie, and we enjoyed it.  But it was one of the previews that came on before the movie that got us really excited.

My daughter has always loved Dr. Seuss, and one of our favorite books of his has always been The Lorax.  We've been reading it together since she was a baby.  I couldn't tell you how many times we've read this book.

Source:  Goodreads

Here's the preview...

We are soooo excited to see this!

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Newberry Medal Award Winners 1922-Present

Yesterday's post was about The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate which is a Newberry Honor book, and it got me wondering about what books have won the Newberry Medal over the years.

The Newberry Award is given out each year by the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association.  You can visit their website and check out the entire list of winners yourself by clicking HERE.

The very first book ever given the Newberry Medal was The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loot in 1922.


The latest book awarded the Newberry Medal was Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool in 2011.

Source:  Goodreads

I've read five books that have won the Newberry Medal:

Shilioh by Phyllis Reynolds won the award in 1992.

Source:  Goodreads

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan won the award in 1986.

Source:  Goodreads

Sounder by William H. Armstrong won the award in 1970.

Source:  Goodreads

A Wrinkle in Time by Meleleine L'Engle won the award in 1963.

Source:  Goodreads

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell won the award in 1961.

Source:  Goodreads