Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bring On Spring!!!

I'm really enjoying all of my Spring magazines this week.  I'm particularly loving Southern Living and all the beautiful gardens, decorating ideas, and delicious looking food.  I'm loving the weather, and my daughter and I have walked on our local walking trail several times in the past week.  We've been playing catch, gearing up for softball season.  BRING ON SPRING!!!

Source:  Southern Living

My daughter purchased a couple of books at the book fair today, and I thought I'd share them with you.  She's particularly excited about the first one.  She has a real interest in Greek mythology.  I think I'm going to read Sound Bender as part of mystery month.  It sounds pretty good.

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Monday, February 27, 2012

Two More For This Month And Planning For March...

We had a really busy weekend, so I got very little reading done.  I did make some progress on The Thorn Birds, and I continue to like this book very much.  My goal is to finish The Thorn Birds and Daughter of Joy by the end of February bringing my romance total for the month to eight books, and my total for the year so far to sixteen.

Next month I'll be reading mysteries...March is Mystery Month for the Cupcakes War Reading Challenge 2012 which is hosted by Brenda at Curling Up With a Good Book.  I've started downloading books to my Kindle Fire and searching out books that I may want to read.  There are a couple I'm pretty sure I will read to kick off mystery month.

They are...

This one will be a group read for the reading challenge.
Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Thoughts On Bluegrass State of Mind

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
McKenna Mason, a New York City attorney with a love of all things Prada, is on the run from a group of powerful, dangerous men. McKenna turns to a teenage crush, Will Ashton, for help in starting a new life in horse country. She finds that Will is now a handsome, successful race horse farm owner. As the old flame is ignited, complications are aplenty in the form of a nasty ex-wife, a boyfriend intent on killing her, and a feisty race horse who refuses to race without a kiss. Can Will and McKenna cross the finish line together, and more importantly, alive?

Kathleen Brooks
Source:  Goodreads


I'll just start out by saying...I don't care for the cover of this one.  I don't feel it does the book justice.

I liked Bluegrass State of Mind.  I thought the story was good and the characters were very likable as well.  It wasn't  just a romance either.  There was a bit of mystery and suspense thrown in.  I enjoyed how the book related the slower paced life of the south.  The dialogue was a bit stiff, and it could get a little cheesy from time to time.  But over all it was a good book.  I liked it well enough that I will be reading the next two books in the series.

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Softball Time...

We signed our daughter up for softball last week, and that got me thinking about softball in books.  I've never read nor heard of a "softball book", so I decided to go looking.

Here's some of what I found...

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
Set in a small Oregon town just after WWII, this is the powerful tale of a community shattered by its reaction to two young newcomers, Aki and Shazam.  Told from 21 different points of view, Bat 6 explores the subject of Japanese-American racial prejudice after the war.

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
The Story of two sisters and one softball-playing summer.

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
Everyone thinks being a fourteen-year-old fast pitch softball player is nothing but fun and games.  But ask Rachel Adams, and you'll learn otherwise.  There are millions of problems to deal with, including demanding dads, grumpy coaches, and umpires that make terrible calls.  But Rachel really complicates things for herself when she sneaks out with her teammates, meets some boys, and drinks alcohol...

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
Brooke Conrad is on top of the world.  She is the star shortstop for her high school's softball team, and it is one of the best teams in the state.  But everything changes overnight when the shortstop for the school's baseball team gets kicked out of school , and the baseball coach asks Brooke to take his place for the season.  Brooke has never heard of anything more ridiculous...

Source:  Goodreads

From Amazon...
Fifteen-year-old Angel Williams has wanted a puppy all of her life, so she is ecstatic when her dad finally agrees he can get one-but on one condition.  She has to hit a home run in her softball game later in the day.  Much to Angel's delight, she does, and she is rewarded with an adorable chocolate Labrador named Homer.  Homer becomes her team's mascot, and he leads them on their quest to win the state championship.  But when Homer is injured in a freak accident, can Angel and the rest of the team continue without him?

Let me know if you've read a good book about softball !

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Found An Interesting Article

I found an interesting article on Publishers Weekly, and with the Oscars coming up this weekend I thought I'd share.

The article is about authors who have had their books turned into Best-Picture nominated films this year and what they're working on now.

PW Tip Sheet:  Today the Oscars, Tomorrow...?
By Marc Shultz

You can view this article by clicking HERE.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Thoughts On The Romance Novel, One True Love

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...

Lord William Prescott is in want of a wife.  Unfortunately, the lady he wants is betrothed.

Miss Cassandra Chambers simply cannot understand her attraction to Lord William.  After all, she is supposed to be in love with Mr. Miles Parker.  In a scandalous twist of fate, Cassie's future changes when Lord William rides to her rescue, saves her from ruin, and makes her his wife.

When William comes to believe that Cassie's heart may always belong to another, he is determined to lock away his own.  If only he could lock away his desire for his One True Love.


I have to admit that I don't usually read these types of romance novels.  You know the one with the woman in the throes of passion and the bare chested man on the cover ripping her clothes off.  These covers normally turn me off from a book, but for February I wanted to read at least one of "these types" of romances.  And I have to say it was what I expected.

I did like the story and I liked the characters.  It was a bit slow in the beginning (and a bit repetitive), but by the middle it picked up nicely.  A few things happened that I didn't see coming, and in that I was pleasantly surprised.  Now I have read a few romance novels in my day, and I knew there would be some sexual content.  But I have to say that this book has some VERY graphic scenes, so be prepared for that if you choose to read this book. Also,  there are several typing errors through out.

Even though this type of book is not one that I typically read, it was ok.  Will I rush out to get another one like it?  No, but that's just me.  If you love romance and are not put off by graphic content then give One True Love a try.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

We Finally Watched Anonymous

We finally got to watch Anonymous last night.  It was really good, and what a fascinating idea.  Did Shakespeare really write the works of William Shakespeare?  But then would it really matter either way?  No matter what, the words stay the same.

The movie portrays William Shakespeare as a bit of a drunken idiot who couldn't write but made his living as an actor.  He was paid to take credit for the work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.  I spent the movie on Google trying to figure out who all the characters were, and trying to make sense of it all .  I love that kind of movie.

Most scholars agree that Shakespeare wrote his own work, but it did make a very interesting premise for a movie.

Edward de Vere
17th Earl of Oxford
Source:  Wikipedia

William Shakespeare
Source:  Wikipedia

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Thoughts On Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Source:  Goodreads

From the dust jacket...
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life--children, careers, bills, chores--even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart.  Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm's way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls.  As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty.  In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth.  But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen.  When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own--for everything that matters to family.

Kristin Hannah
Source:  amazon


I need to thank my friend, Megan, for this book recommendation.  She suggested this book to me on facebook as one she really enjoyed, and I'm so glad she did.  I liked it so much!

Let me just start with...I absolutely LOVE the cover of this book!  And after looking around at other Kristin Hannah books, I find that she pretty much always has beautiful covers.

home front was the first Kristin Hannah book I've read, and I wasn't really sure what to expect.  Of course I've heard of  her and I've seen her books in the bookstore, but I just never picked one up.  After reading home front, I will definitely be reading more.

I went into this book knowing nothing about it.  I didn't even read the dust jacket before I bought it.  So I was very surprised when I discovered that the main character was a female pilot in the National Guard.  There is so much going on in this book...Jolene's service in the National Guard, her crumbling marriage with her husband, her preteen daughter trying to survive middle school, and the demons from her past that haunt her even more than she realized.  I wasn't prepared for the seriousness of this book.  I think I was expecting something a bit lighter, but I was pleasantly surprised.  This book is mostly about love...the love between a husband and wife, the love of a mother for her children, the love of a best friend, and the love of a soldier for her country.  It's about duty and sacrifice and most of all it's about not giving up.  I'm so happy I read this one, and I think I've found another author to explore.  Thanks again Megan!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

345 Pages Read...A Few Hundred to Go

Source:  Goodreads

I'm on page 115 of 692 in The Thorn Birds, and I have to say I'm really liking it.  I was drawn into the story immediately.  I see myself finishing this one well before the end of February.

Source:  Goodreads

I'm on page 230 of 384 in Home Front.  I'm really liking this one as well, and I'm expecting to finish it in the morning.  I'll be posting a full review tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some Poetry, A Little Wii, And Some Pizza...Now That's Valentine's Day!

Yesterday was a really good day!  It started of with my daughter giving me a Valentine card that she made for me and inside was a poem she wrote.

Most beautiful woman
Okay with taking me places...
Makes me proud
Means the world to me
Always cares about me and helps others, my mother!

She also wrote her Daddy one as well.

Does things for me
Always cares about us
Day shift in the coal mine
Dogs are okay with you
Yay! You're my father.

Is there anything in the world better than that?  Not to me, and I love her so much!

She had her Valentine's Day party at school, so I went up to help out.  They had snacks and passed out Valentine's cards to each other.  My daughter made hers all by herself.  It was all fun to watch, and it always makes *S* happy when I come to school.  I also got to see her eyes light up and huge smile spread across her face when her name was called to go the the library to pick up her bear and balloons that her Daddy sent her for Valentine's Day.

After school I gave her my gift which was a Wii game, and we played for an hour before she had to get started on homework.

Then Ronnie brought pizza home for supper.  Not only is pizza *S*'s favorite food, but it meant that I didn't have to cook or do dishes last night which makes him doubly sweet (:  He also gave me 6 chocolate covered strawberries just because he knows they're my FAVORITE.  To top all of that off he gave me a Kindle Fire.    I had been resisting e-readers, but after reading some on *S*'s Kindle that she got for Christmas I decided I'd like to have one.  My husband, being the sweet man he is, got me one.

I am one lucky girl, and I love them both so much!

Now for books...

It's been a busy few days, so I haven't made as much reading progress as I'd hoped I would.  I did download a few books to my Kindle Fire last night.  I'm reading romance this month, so that's mostly what I downloaded.

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

Source:  Goodreads

I'm really looking forward to reading these.

Monday, February 13, 2012

No Bookstores...But I Did Get A Book

Although I went shopping Friday, I didn't have a chance to hit any book stores.  I did get one new book this weekend though.  I was lucky enough to get to hear a really great speaker on Saturday.  His name is Chad Hymas and you can learn about him by clicking HERE.  He was really great, and kind enough to give us a copy of his book.  I'm very excited to read it.

Source:  www.chadhymas.com

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What I'm Reading Now...

I was planning on reading Home Front by Kristin Hannah next, but I finished Like Water For Chocolate yesterday afternoon, and I haven't gotten my hands on a copy of Home Front yet.  It's checked out at the library at the moment, and I'm sure there's a waiting list anyway.  So I looked through my bookshelves and came across The Thorn Birds.  It's been a recommendation on Goodreads for me for a while, and since it's considered a romance and it's been on my TBR (to be read) list for a long time I figured I'd read it now.  It seems like every book I've read lately has been on my TBR, which is a very good thing since my TBR list is forever long.  It feels nice to finally be making some progress on it.  Now if I would just stop adding books I might be able to tell  (:

The Thorn Birds is a long book, over 600 pages I believe, so I will probably read other romances while I'm reading it.  I'm setting a goal for myself of at least 50 pages a day on this one in hopes that I will make steady progress and finish by the end of February.  

I'm hoping to purchase Home Front today, and start reading it as well.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Thoughts On Like Water For Chocolate

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
"Earthy, magical, and utterly charming this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best selling phenomenon with it's winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit."


When I picked up this book I really didn't know anything about it.  I heard good things, and since I'm reading romance this month I thought I'd give it a try.  I was really surprised by what I found.

As you might expect there is "love" in this book, but I think food played just as important a roll.  There were lots of recipes and directions for preparing the meals.  I really enjoyed this about the book.  As a wife and mom who cooks most every night for my family, I can certainly understand how food can be used to show love.  I feel really great when I cook a meal that I know is good for my family and tastes good too.  I just want them to know that I care enough to put forth the extra effort.

But for all the love and good food in the book, there is just as much tragedy and darkness in this book.  Most of the darkness is thanks to the main character, Tita's, mother.  She was an evil woman!

If you are looking for a light, airy, romance...this book is not for you.  If you are looking for a truly interesting book with a little bit of everything...love, romance, food, magic, pain, tragedy, jealousy, scandal...then I'd say give Like Water for Chocolate a try.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Half Way Through, Anonymous, and Home Front

I'm half way through Like Water for Chocolate.  I am a bit surprised by this book.  I didn't expect it to be so much about food.  I'm not blown away, but I like it.  I'm hoping to finish tonight and post my full review tomorrow.  I plan on doing some shopping with my mom and sister tomorrow, so I should have some new books to share soon.

Source:  Goodreads


This weekend my husband and I are going to rent the movie, Anonymous.  I'm really looking forward to this one.  I'll add the preview below so you can check it out.


I think my next book will be Home Front by Kristin Hannah.

Source:  Goodreads

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Thoughts On The Notebook

Source:  Goodreads

From Goodreads...
"A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap.  A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn't understand.  Until he begins to read to her.  The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever..."


"I am a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life.  There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough"
--Noah Calhoun
The Notebook

The above quote is my favorite quote from the book.  In fact it's one of my favorite quotes of all time because it makes me think of my husband.  He would call himself a common man, but to me he is anything but common and I have loved him since I was 14 years old.  And I'm lucky enough to know that he loves me too with all his "heart and soul".

I watched this movie years ago, and loved it so much that I bought it.  I had put off reading the book because I was afraid it would be nothing like the movie, but after reading the book yesterday I am happy to say that the movie is very true to the book.  I love them both!

I know most people who read romance novels have read this one, but if by some chance you've missed this one give it a try.  It is a heartwarming story of unconditional, undying love, and I'm always inspired by it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Redeeming Love...POWERFUL!

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 the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.
     The 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 every bitter expectation, 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 down 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."

Francine Rivers
Source:  Novel Pastimes


"Love the Lord your God, and love one another.  Love one another as he loves.  Love with strength and purpose and passion and no matter what comes against you.  Don't weaken.  Stand against the darkness, and love.  That's the way back into Eden.  That's the way back to life."
(Source:  Redeeming Love pg. 462)

If I could use just one word to describe this book, it would be...POWERFUL!

I loved this book.  From the epilogue to the prologue I was hooked.  I couldn't put it down.  It's full of passion and betrayal and unconditional love.  There are parts of the book that are very hard to read, making me sick with the horror of what was happening, and there were chapters where I just wanted to slap Angel and scream at her..."Open your eyes!".  But then I'd remember that 8 year old girl and what she'd suffered and my heart broke for her.  There were times when I was on the edge of my seat anticipating the break through Michael was so lovingly urging her toward, and there were times of beauty and laughter.

But I think the main thing I took away from this book is...To love anyone the way you should, the way they deserve to be loved--your husband, your child, your mother, father, sister, brother, friends--you have to love God above all else.

I think anyone who enjoys a good story will enjoy this book, but if you love romance novels, Redeeming Love is must read!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Little More Than Halfway...

Source:  Goodreads

I'm now on page 266 of 464, and I'm loving this book.

At the beginning of each chapter there is a heading.  Most are from The Bible, but not all.  I was particularly touched by the heading for chapter 15.  It is from The Bible.

Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?"  Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.     Matthew 18: 21-22

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book or Movie...There's Still A Woman In Black

I woke up this morning to my eight year old daughter (*S*) jumping on my bed and saying "breakfast will be on the table in 3 minutes".  She and my husband cooked breakfast this morning...eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, and my daughter made the pancakes and coffee all by herself.  She was very proud and even took a picture of the table all laid out with the food.  It was really good and I'm extremely full  (:  It's gray and rainy outside, and I feel a day of reading, movies, and a game of Monopoly coming on.

Photo Credit:  *S* (8)

Last night was date night at our house, so my husband (being the great husband he is) agreed to go see The Woman in Black, so we went out for dinner and a movie.  My sister (aka fellow book lover) kept *S* for us.  She had big plans for the night...playing outside, pizza, video games, and movies.   My seven year old nephew (*C*) knows how much his cousin loves Goosebumps.  He and my sister were picking out movies before they picked  *S* up for the night, and he spotted the Goosebumps movies.  He offered to put the movies he picked out back if they could just get *S* a Goosebumps movie.  Of course my sister told him he didn't have to put his back and they could still get a Goosebumps movie, but I think it's so sweet that he offered.  It just so happens that he picked out the movie for the book that *S* had just finished and returned to her school library earlier that day.  Needless to say *S* was super excited!

Source:  cd universe

Now as for the movie version of The Woman in Black...

First of all we were in the movie with A LOT of teenagers, therefore it was loud in the theater.  I was a bit surprised by this, and I thought maybe they all came because it was a "scary" movie.  Then my husband suggested maybe they were all Harry Potter fans and there for Daniel Radcliffe.  I hadn't thought of that, but it makes good sense.  Whatever the reason, the theater was full of kids.

I thought the movie was visually stunning.  The village, the marsh, and Eel House were exactly as I had imagined them in the book, very dark but beautiful at the same time.  I loved Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps.  I thought he did a very good job.  So much of the movie was him reacting to things...no words...just the expression on his face, and I thought he was great.

As I expected, the movie was very little like the book.  The names of the characters, the woman in black, and the circumstances that made her are all that remain of the book.  The movie did have those "boo" gotcha scary parts...you know those parts in a movie that you know are coming but you still jump when they do.  It might not have been so bad if the little girl next to me (I'd say she was 14) didn't scream like like a banshee at every scary part.  My husband and I did a lot of laughing at the kids.  You could tell they were bored at the first half of the movie, but when the action started they were into it.

Over all I liked the movie, but I think it's more of a mystery than a scary movie.  And my husband, who knew nothing about it going into the movie agrees.  He said it was a decent mystery movie for him and an appropriate scary movie for young teens...nothing to heavy....just a good ghost story.

So if you like historical movies with a great setting, if you like mysteries, if you like light ghost stories, or even if you just like Daniel Radcliffe, go see it.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Next month's date night...The Hunger Games!!!  They showed a preview for it before the movie last night, and my husband says he's interested in seeing it.  Excited!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Looking Forward To The Garden

We got the Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co. 2012 Spring Catalog in the mail a couple days ago.  My husband and I are looking it over and making our wish list for this spring.  There are so many beautiful photos of fruits, and veggies, and flowers.  It's fun to look at even if you aren't thinking of doing a garden.

Source:  My Photo

If you'd like to order a catalog or just browse around their website you can do so by clicking HERE.

Here's a few items from my wish list!  I'm so ready for spring!

Silver Lace Black Primrose
Source:  Gurney's

Dwarf Meyer Lemon-Patio Plant
Source:  Gurney's

Ceramic Compost Crock
Source:  Gurney's

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Woman In Black"

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 it's 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 in black.

Susan Hill
Source:  www.susan-hill.com


"And then, from somewhere within the depths of the house--but somewhere not very far from the room in which I was--I heard a noise."
From The Woman in Black page 108

I chose to read this book for no other reason than I saw the preview for the movie and immediately knew I wanted to see it.  Then I discovered that it was a book, and I always try to read the book first.  The previews look very creepy, so I was super excited to start this one.  However, after reading the book and seeing the previews I know that the movie must be only "loosely" based on the book.

There was a lot of build up in this book and lots of talk of how Kipp's experiences had affected the rest of his life, but there were actually very few ghosts.  The description of the setting--the marshes, estuary, the small village, the house itself--was very well done and very creepy in itself.  I could see the vastness in my mind and imagine what lonliness Kipp must have felt in that huge old house all alone.  One thing I would have loved to read more about in the book is the background of Alice Drablow, the late owner of the house.  Unfortunately all we know of her is that she was standoffish, had no family or friends, and lived her live as a recluse in Eel Marsh House.  I would have loved to know more.

I have to say that The Woman in Black wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.  I really had trouble "settling in" to this book.  You know how when you really get into a book and you're enjoying it you almost absorb the pages? That never happened for me with this book.  I was conscious of every word I read and found myself having to reread words, sentences, and even paragraphs often.  It really bugs me when that happens.

Anyway, even though I scare VERY easily, this book just wasn't scary to me, but I won't go as far as saying it was bad.  It was ok for me.  If you like ghost stories and are interested in this book, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it.  Everyone is different...you may love it. 

My husband and I are going to see the movie this weekend, so I'll definitely be doing a blog comparing the movie and the book.  I'm really looking forward to see the movie, but I'm even more excited about the very rare date night I will be enjoying with my husband (:


An estuary is mentioned several times in the book.  I had a vague idea of what an estuary is, but I wanted a more precise definition.  According to the EPA, "an estuary  is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meets and mixes with salt water from the ocean.  Estuaries and the lands surrounding them are places of transition from land to sea and freshwater to salt water.  Although influenced by the tides, they are protected from the full force of ocean waves, winds, and storms by such land forms as barrier islands and peninsulas." (Source:  water.epa.gov)

Source:  http://water.epa.gov