Sunday, October 31, 2010

Downsizing

As some of you know, I have been trying to maintain two blogs; this one and Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009.  I feel as if I have been neglecting my other blog and not giving it the attention it deserves.  So, as a way to keep it going, I am integrating my other blog into this one.  I will continue reading the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009, but my reviews will be posted on here.

Happy Reading! =)

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado





ISBN (Hardcover): 978-0-8499-2069-1
Page Count: 208
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright: 2010







About the Author:
(Taken from inside flap)

Max Lucado is a minister who writes and a writer who preaches.  He and his wife, Denalyn, serve the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.  They have three grown daughters, Jenna, Andrea, and Sara; one son-in-law, Brett; and one sweet but lazy golden retriever, Molly.


Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Dear Friend,

May I share a story that is very dear to my heart?

It's a story of hillbillies and simple folk, net casters and tax collectors.  A story of a movement that exploded like a just-opened fire hydrant out of Jerusalem and spilled into the ends of the earth: into the streets of Paris, the districts of Rome, and the ports of Athens, Istanbul, Shanghai, and Buenos Aires.  A story so mighty, controversial, head spinning, and life changing that two millennia later we wonder:

Might it happen again?

Heaven knows we hope so.  These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor; one billion are hungry.  Lonely hearts indwell our neighborhoods and attend our schools.  In the midst of it all, here we stand: you, me, and our one-of-a-kind lives.  We are given a choice... an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time.  What if we did?  What if we rocked the world with hope?

Worth a try, don't you think?


My Review:

Even though I believe in God and His Word and try to live a Christian life, I tend to stay away from Christian literature.  I've always thought that it would be boring and I'd never finish a book.  This book has changed my mind.

When I first saw the title Outlive Your Life it made me think that the book would be about how to go beyond your normal circumstances and live your life to the fullest; which sounded a little boring to me, but I so wanted to have a book arrive in my mailbox that I decided to accept it from Book Sneeze for review.  I fully intended to force myself through reading it.

I couldn't have been more wrong.  Once I started reading the book I was intrigued.  The stories pulled me in.  The lessons behind the stories made me think.  Over the course of reading this book I slowly realized that this book was changing the way I think and act for the better.

The main purpose of the book is to teach you how to Outlive Your Life, but not in a way that you'd expect.  We can outlive our lives by being thoughtful, considerate, caring people.  The smallest action of kindness we extend towards those we find different can have the biggest effect on that person's life ... and potentially the lives of people that person comes in contact with.  When we do this, though, we don't need to 'toot our own horn' or make a big production out of it.  We should do it quietly and humbly.  God will reward you in due time.  I don't know about you, but I know that God's rewards are way better than any accolades we can acquire on our own.  God's rewards are longer lasting as well.

So, the next time you see a homeless person, a person of a another color, a person who may not have a lot of money, or someone you would normally make fun of, really look at that person.  Look beneath the surface until you see their actual need.  What do you really see?  Do you see someone who needs a friend?  Someone who is hungry but can't afford food?  Someone who needs a job?  If so, do what you can to help them.  Are there people at work you normally wouldn't associate with?  Do they seem to have no friends and no life outside of work?  Befriend them.  Invite them to dinner.  Ask them how they are and really listen to what they're saying.  We can outlive our lives be helping others improve theirs.

I saw myself throughout this book.  I didn't really like what I saw within myself.  I am striving to change the way I think.  This isn't something that can automatically be changed overnight, but I am determined to be there for others ... especially those nobody else will talk to, touch, or help.

This book is an excellent example of how a Christian could be more like Christ.  I am extremely grateful that I chose to go beyond my comfort zone and accept this book for review.  I think if you gave this book a chance, it could help change your view of the people in this world as well.


Additional Info:
(Taken from back cover)

One hundred percent of the author's royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion.  To follow World Vision's use of the funds, go to http://www.maxlucado.com/



In My Mailbox (#4)

 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren.  This meme was began so we could all share what books we received the previous week ... whether it was in the mail, from the library or what we bought at a store.

I had previously said that I would not accept ebooks due to having to read them on my computer (I do not have an e-reader yet).  However, one author decided to ask me despite my "policy."  I'm glad he did because I have been seeing and reading reviews for this book and have been wanting to read it.  So, I have revised my 'policy' under my "Requesting a Review" tab.

This is the only book I've received this week:

The Ghost Of A Flea

The Ghost of a Flea by John Brinling

Summary:  Well, I couldn't find an actual book summary on any website, but from the reviews I've read, this book seems to be a murder mystery with a kidnapping and romance thrown in the mix.

I cannot wait to read this book and write my review of it.  In the meantime, you can click on the blog titles below to read their review of this book:


Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Blog Hop Friday #5

Book Blogger Hop


This is a weekly meme hosted byJennifer at Crazy for Books.  This is a chance for people to visit other book-related blogs that they normally wouldn't find and/or visit on their own.  To participate, a question must be answered.  This week's question is:

What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?

Well, I've not really researched any 'bookish' things so I'd have to say that I would love to have an ipad and an Amazon Kindle.  Not too original, I'm sure, but this question has made me realize how ignorant I am of bookish things ... so ... off to do some research I go!!!  =)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #3



Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.  To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
This week's teaser comes from:

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference

"As long as we can call people common or unfit, we can plant them on Kalaupapa and go our separate ways.  Labels relieve us of responsibility.  Pigeonholing permits us to wash our hands and leave."

The small type under the Outlive Your Life title on the cover reads You Were Made to Make a Difference.  This book is helping to open my eyes and see how selfish and how socially introverted I've been.  The smallest actions can make a huge difference in someone else's life.  You can Outlive Your Life by helping to change somebody else's life and circumstances.

A review of this book will be coming later this week.

Review & Giveaway: Expiation by Greg Messel





ISBN (Hardcover): 978-1-4269-2854-3
ISBN (Softcover): 978-1-4269-2855-0
Page Count: 249
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Copyright: 2010







About the Author:
(Taken from the back cover)

Greg Messel is the author of Sunbreaks.  He has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business.  He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to magazines.  Messel lives in Edmonds, Washington with his wife, Carol.

Summary:
(Taken from the back cover)

In 1968, Dan and Katie are one of the hottest couples at Ballard High School in Seattle.  He is the hero football player, and she is the beautiful cheerleader.  These high school sweethearts believe theirs is a love that will never die.

Life changes when Dan leaves Washington to start college at the University of California Berkeley and pursue his dream of working for a big time newspaper in the glamorous city of San Francisco.  The quest for his dream occurs against the turbulent background of Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1970s as Dan and Katie go their separate ways.

Now, thirty years later, Dan is back in his hometown of Seattle attending his mother's funeral.  He's never stopped thinking about Katie, his long-lost love.  But the two former high school sweethearts reconnect in a most unexpected way as the rest of the world grows more fearful of Y2K and the dawn of the twenty-first century.  They are hoping that their love, once lost, can now be reclaimed.


My Review:

First, I love the cover of this book.  The San Francisco Bridge being covered with fog is somewhat spooky and mystical, but it can also be romantic and seclusive.  The two people on the hill overlooking the bridge probably feel as if they're in their own little world.  I think the cover is absolutely perfect for the story that's hidden behind it.

Speaking of the story ... As you know from the summary, the story spans a period of 30 years.  It is not told from beginning to end.  The book is set in 1999 and flashes back periodically from the years 1969 to 1989.  There are numerous famous local and national stories that are covered in the telling of Dan and Katie's story, from the Zodiac killer to Watergate to the Anti War Movements during the 60s and 70s and so on.  I was amazed at how many news stories were covered in this book ... some I had forgotten about or never heard of.  How amazing it would have been to have lived during these events.  Thanks to the detail Greg provided when he wrote this book, I felt as if I were there.

Dan and Katie are the main couple in this story.  Their love for each other began in their junior year at high school and lasted throughout their entire lives (or what we know of their lives so far).  I must say that it's hard for me to imagine a couple of high school juniors falling into that lasting kind of love.  This opinion may be based purely on my own jaded experiences.  I know that there are those exceptions ... those couples who really are high school sweethearts and their love does last a lifetime, which I find extremely romantic.

Dan and Katie seemed to "fit" together.  When Wendy enters Dan's life and changes things, I did get a little upset.  I think I even yelled at Dan and asked him what he was doing?!!  That he shouldn't have given up so easily on the situation with Katie, he shouldn't have let his pride get in the way of the one person he still loved and wanted... but, alas, that's how things happen sometimes.  It was nice to see that Dan and Katie finally found their way back to each other.

I want to mention the end, but I don't want to give the story away.  Knowing that this book is written with a background of newsworthy events, the way it ended made me wonder if we would see a sequel to Dan and Katie's story ... ???

Overall, I did enjoy this book.  The storyline is compelling and keeps you interested.  There were a few times Dan got on my nerves, but the way he was portrayed worked well in the story.  I would definitely recommend this book to those of you who like stories about long-lost loves.  It really is an easy and wonderful read.

Giveaway:

I'm sorry, this giveaway has ended.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (#3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren.  This meme was began so we could all share what books we received the previous week ... whether it was in the mail, from the library or what we bought at a store.

Unfortunately, I had a very slow week this past week.  I only received one book through the Book Sneeze website for review:


Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A DifferenceOutlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference by Max Lucado:  Remember when you thought you could change the world?  You still can!

These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference.

What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth.

It’s not enough to do well. We want to do good. We want our lives to matter. So, let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (Taken from Max Lucado's website.  Click here to visit site and read the first chapter.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blog Hop Friday #4

Book Blogger Hop


This is a weekly meme hosted byJennifer at Crazy for Books.  This is a chance for people to visit other book-related blogs that they normally wouldn't find and/or visit on their own.  To participate, a question must be answered.  This week's question is:

"Where is your favorite place to read?  Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

There are two places I like to read.  During my work lunch hour, I will sometimes go to the park and read one of my books.  It is so peaceful there and I feel like part of a small group as there are other people doing the same thing.  =)

The other place I like to read is on my bed.  That's the coldest place in my apartment and, often times, the quietest.  Especially if my husband is watching television in the living room, I will often go to the bedroom and just relax in the peace and quiet with a book.  I do it more so now that I've started this blog.

Happy Hopping! =)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review & Giveaway for: A Place to Die by Dorothy James



ISBN (Hardcover): 978-1-4500-8270-9
ISBN (Softcover): 978-1-4500-8269-3
ISBN (E-Book): 978-1-4500-8271-6
Page Count: 436
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Copyright: 2010







About the Author:
(Taken from the back cover)

Dorothy James was born in Wales and grew up in the South Wales Valleys.  Writer, editor, translator, she has published short stories as well as books and articles on German and Austrian literature.  She has taught at universities in the U.S., England and Germany, makes her home now in Brooklyn and often spends time in Vienna and Berlin.  She wrote A Place to Die in her attic apartment on the edge of the Vienna Woods.  She has travelled far from Wales, but has not lost the Welsh love of playing with language; she writes poems for pleasure as does Chief Inspector Buchner, the whimsical Viennese detective who unravels the first mystery in this new series of novels.


Summary:
(Taken from the back cover)

Eleanor and Franz Fabian arrive from New York to spend Christmas with Franz's mother in her sedate retirement home in the Vienna Woods.  Their expectations are low: at best, boredom, at worst, run-of-the-mill family friction.  But when the wealthy, charming Herr Graf is found dead in his apartment with an ugly head wound, the Fabians are thrust into a homicide investigation.  Some residents and staff have surprising connections to the dead man, but who would have wanted to kill him?  Inspector Buchner tracks down the murderer against a backdrop of Viennese history from the Nazi years to the present day.  Witty, suspenseful, lyrical, this is a literary whodunit that will keep you guessing till the last page.

My Review:

I've always loved murder mysteries and whodunits, but I've never read one that was set in Austria.  This was a wonderful, witty and nostalgic journey through the every day lives of the residents and staff at the Haus im Wald (House in the Woods).

The Haus im Wald is a place for the elderly.  It is divided into two residence sections: Those that can still care for themselves and those who cannot.  This is the setting of the murder and where Chief Inspector Georg Buchner sets up his residence during the investigation.  The staff, and even some of the residents, at the Haus im Wald are not who they appear to be.  There are secrets, love affairs and jealousy happening at the Haus im Wald.  Everybody is a suspect and nobody commits to divulging the entire truth to the Inspector.

All of the characters in this novel were well-rounded and had a depth to them.  You really got to know who they were and why they were the way they were.  Normally, authors only go into depth with just one or two characters in a novel and leave the remainder as "filler" characters.  Not Dorothy.  She expertly weaved each character's past into this story so you got to know each and every one.

I did not care for Franz, Eleanor's husband, and was glad that their situation ended up they way it did (I would go into detail but do not want to spoil it for you).  Even though society would not consider me 'up in age' or elderly, I still related to Eleanor and her demeanor.  I often find myself in the types of situations and feelings that she had.

The use of language in the novel made me want to live in Austria or Vienna.  Everyone was so polite and respectful ... even if they were upset.  As a Senior Customer Service Rep, I do not like to experience rudeness and callousness in myself or others.  So, to read a book where everyone was respectful made me wish I could live in that world.  I do realize that, in real life, everyone may not act as the characters in the novel, but it still made me wishful.

There are many good things I could say about this novel, but do not wish to give away spoilers.  All that I will say is that if you love murder mysteries with a touch of nostalgia, humor, wit and sadness, then you need to buy a copy of Dorothy James' novel, A Place to Die.  It has become one of my favorites and I cannot wait until the second book in this series is published.

You can go here to visit the Vienna Mysteries website.

Giveaway Info:

This Giveaway ended November 16, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #2



Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.  To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
This week's teaser comes from:

A Place to Die: An Inspector Georg B├╝chner Mystery

"Well done, Herr Pokorny," she said.

"Ah yes," he said.  "The triumphs of old age.  We go back to the congratulatory phase of infant toilet training."

When I first read this passage, I found it humorous.  The more I thought about it, though, the more ironic it became to me.  Instead of some people aging gracefully, why do some seem to revert back to infantile stages of life?  Isn't that somewhat humiliating for them?  To have been once strong and able-bodied only to have that removed from you ... it is sad.

I will have a review of this book soon.  What I can say about it right now is that you really should get a copy (you can click the cover above to purchase one).

Happy Reading! =)



Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox (#2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren.  This meme was began so we could all share what books we received the previous week ... whether it was in the mail, from the library or what we bought at a store.


Aesop's Fables (Puffin Classics)Aesop's Fables:  I bought his book because it is one of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Aesop was a slave who lived in the early sixth century BC on the island of Samos.  The particular quality of Aesop's fables is that they use the imaginary adventures of animals to make a moral point about human life.




ExpiationExpiation by Greg Messel:  I received this book from the author's publicist for review.  The author has agreed to do an interview and a 2 book giveaway, so be watching for details to come later this week!

The book is about a couple, Dan and Katie, who are high school sweethearts but, through a chain of events, separate.  Thirty years later, they 'reconnect in a most unexpected way as the rest of the world grows more fearful of Y2K and the dawn of the twenty-first century.  They are hoping that their love, once lost, can now be reclaimed.' (Taken from the back cover)


Dark MuseDark Muse by BrokenSword:  This is another book I received from an author for review.  This author has also agreed to an interview and giveaway.  For this giveaway, there will be FIVE winners!!!  More details will follow within the next couple weeks.

(Taken from back cover) Jason, a miller from 18th century Carolina, seeks to escape a loveless marriage while on an Atlantic voyage to Italy, aboard a ship whose captain hides a pirate past.  As he watches his wedding ring disappear beneath the waves, he's chosen to alter his path.  Within his yearning to find true love, is a hidden passion for rhyme and verse.  Taking strength from his words, he builds relationships with others onboard who share his passionate nature, including a supernatural muse who shapes his words and ideas, and ultimately, the truths he finds within himself.


Happy Reading! =)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Hop Friday #3

Book Blogger Hop


This is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books.  This is a chance for people to visit other book-related blogs that they normally wouldn't find and/or visit on their own.  To participate, a question must be answered.  This week's question is:

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

My Answer:  This answer can go both ways for me ... Before I started this blog, if I was reading a book and I couldn't get into it, I'd stop reading it.  But, now, knowing that I have followers who read my reviews, I tend to force myself thru the book even if I can't get into it.

Why?

Because I don't feel that I can give an adequate review of a book if I don't read all of the material.  This may be the first-born OCD gene coming out in me, but it's true.  And, I'm not saying that if you're a reviewer and you don't finish a book that you're wrong.  It's just that, for me, I feel that since the author gave up their time and energy into actually writing the book (even if it is bad) and they sent it to me to read and review, the least I can do is finish it.  They may get a long email in return stating every single thing I didn't like about it, but at least I can say I finished it.

If this is your first time to my blog, WELCOME!  If this is a repeat visit for you, WELCOME BACK!  Either way, I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday night and a fabulous weekend! =)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #1


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.  To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
This week's teaser is from:


Fractured

"His eyes had not left hers the entire time she'd talked.  Faith could not remember the last time a man had kept eye contact with her, really listened to what she had to say.  Well - unless she was reading them their rights, but that was hardly flattering."

Okay, I know that's three sentences, but I thought the third sentence gave the teaser a little ironic humor.  =)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sorrowed Souls by Brenda Youngerman

I received Sorrowed Souls this past Friday from the author.  When I began reading it, I did not want to put it down.  I was half way thru the book before I realized I was so tired that I was barely keeping my eyes open.  I forced myself to mark my place and wait until the next day to continue on.

Summary:  The book basically covers the lives of four people: Amy, Bryan, Gus and Mark.  It depicts how each person came to be, what their family was like as they grew up, where life took them after graduation and brings you to their current day situation.  In the beginning, it appears that all four people are not connected.  However, as you read, one-by-one they do connect and their lives do intertwine.

My Thoughts:  Reading this book made me feel sadness and joy.  It has also caused me to think about those less fortunate than me.  Yes, everybody is having difficulty in their life: their bosses aren't fair, they get taken for granted at work, they have one car to share between two people, etc.  We need to realize, though, that no matter how bad we think our life is, there is always someone who has it worse than we do.

Not only that, but one of this book's messages is something that I always try to remember ... You always need to be nice to people.  Not because it's the right thing to do, although that is a good reason, but because you never know what people are going through or where they've been.  The only things people show you about themselves are what they want you to see.  There's always more lying under the surface of a person that make up who they are ... whether it's good or bad.

So often we misjudge people because we don't like the way they look, or dress, or smell ... Maybe the clothes they put on that morning was all they had.  People also cannot help their genetic makeup ... so why would you even find it funny that someone has bigger lips than you, or their nose is bigger, or their eyes are close together, or they have Downs Syndrome, or any number of things that cannot be helped?

This book also makes you realize the importance of family.  Many times a person's family is taken for granted.  We expect them to love us regardless of how we treat them, how often we ignore their silent cries for affection ... a kiss, a hug, holding their hand ... Nothing is more important than family.  When you have nobody else in this world, you should always have your family.  Family will stand by you when nobody else will.  Point being?  Do not let your job come before your family.  Be there for those special 'firsts' in life.  Be there for family dinners.  Be there for school events.  Life is too short and you don't want to look back with regrets.

In case you've not been able to tell, I loved this book.  I love books that make me think and challenge me as a person.

Thank you, Brenda, for writing this book and telling this story.  You have reminded me about simple human decency and how important it is for everyone to take part.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (#1)

This is my first week participating in the In My Mailbox meme.  In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  Each week we spotlight the books we've received for review, swapped or purchased.

For review, I received the following this week:

 

















For my second blog, Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009, I received the following:


 

 
 


 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Hop Friday #2

This is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books.  In order to participate, I must answer a question.  This week's question comes from Suko who blogs at Suko's Notebook.  The question?

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any?  Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine or something else?

If I'm blogging it usually means I'm at the computer by the living room.  This usually indicates that, not only am I blogging, but I'm doing other household chores at the same time.  Thus, my favorite beverage while blogging is good ole southern sweet tea .... occasionally, I will have water.

If I'm reading, it's usually in the bed right before retiring for the day... in which case, I don't drink anything while reading.  The few times that I actually get to sit down and read during the day, I'll usually have whatever beverage is handy because .... and I know this might sound dorky ... I sometimes like to read the book out loud to myself and my throat will dry out.  =)

Am I the only one that does this??? If I am, I am proud to stand alone ... hahaha ...

Anywho ... this concludes this week's Q&A for Book Hop Friday.  Tune in next week to see what titillating Q&A session we will be having.

Thanks for stopping by! =)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Future Happenings

Hey all!  I just wanted to let you know that I have some author interviews/giveaways in the works.  I hope that you'll keep checking back and maybe even let others know about me.

One of my book giveaways will have adult content in it, but I'll give you more info on that closer to time.

Stay tuned and, as always, happy reading! =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

This is ranked #418 on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.  In terms of books, I'm not sure why this made the list.  This is more of a story than a book.  It's only 15 pages long.  In terms of a must read before you die ... I definitely recommend people read this story.

I don't know if I could call myself an advocate for racial equality because I do not participate in any formal groups or anything, but I have a serious issue with people treating others differently just because of their skin color.  I grew up in the northern Midwest and moved to good ole southwest Georgia the summer before I turned 14.  The differences in culture were astronomically different.  Up north, there weren't very many African Americans walking around.  In Georgia ... that was the majority of what I saw ... and I loved it!!!

The differences between African Americans and Caucasians were amazing to me.  I soaked it up ... so much so that I became involved in quite a few interracial "relationships" ... much to the disappointment of my family.  But I didn't care, and I still don't.

I said all of that because it pertains to this story.  This story is about a southern lady whose son lives with her and has to ride the city bus with her to the Y for her reduction class (she needed to lose weight).  The time of the story was apparently not too long after African Americans had been given their rights as people (i.e. sit wherever they wanted to on the bus, go wherever they wanted, etc.). 

Julian's mom kept commenting it didn't matter how others saw you, but how you saw yourself that mattered.  As you read the story you realize that his mother still thought of herself as the "better-than-them" white woman.  An interaction with a hefty African American woman and her child brings Julian's mother to her senses and it is too much for her to bear.

I loved the message this story portrayed, but a part of me (a teensy-tiny part I might add) felt sorry for Julian's mother.  She was ignorantly oblivious to the fact that she was how she was.  Her incident with the African American woman destroyed everything she thought about herself, making her realize that, sometimes, it really does matter how others see you.

Please read this story.  I highly recommend it and would be interested in what you think of it.

Happy Reading! =)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish

This is a book I've had on my bookshelf for a couple years now with no idea on how it got there.  As I was looking for books to read for my blog, though, I came across this one and decided to read it since this is the month that all things ghostly and ghoulish come about.

The story is about a boy named Jack who has recently lost his father to a heart attack.  His mother, Sarah, thinking that a change of scenery would be good for him, moves him into a 100-year old farmhouse out in the country.  Sarah knows this will please Jack since Jack has been experiencing otherworldly phenomenon since his father's passing.  In the farmhouse, though, Jack feels his psychic abilities more strongly than he did at their old house.

Eventually, Jack finds out about Ann, Oliver, Charlie and Gwyneth - four child ghosts the Ghost Mother has captured and is slowly sucking their souls from them to maintain her strength and to prolong her fated appointment with the Nightmare Passage.  You learn more about the Ghost Mother, but the story doesn't really delve into the previous lives of the four ghost children, which was somewhat disappointing to me.

The Nightmare Passage is a place ghosts go to if they do not go with their loved ones to the Other Side the moment after their death.  The Nightmare Passage is a cold, dark place with ice for floors, no place to hide from the cold or the wind and no end in sight.  It is the perpetual torment that causes one to think of Hell.

This is a definitely a ghost story, but not really a scary one.  It definitely leans more towards the YA genre.  It is well written, an easy read and probably something I'd read again around this same time next year.  Once I started it, I did not want to put it down.

Happy Reading! =)

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

This book is #276 on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list.  I recently read this book for my other blog, Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009, so I thought I would copy some of my thoughts and feelings from the summary I did on that blog.

This book was very up-and-down for me as a reader.  It started off slow, got a little better, became slow again and got better again at the end.  Now, whether the end went faster because I was ready to finish the daggum book or because it was actually intriguing, I can't really say.  All I know is that I am grateful to have finished it and will probably never read it again.

The book is a story spread out over an extended period of time.  It begins with a little girl and finishes with that little girl's granddaughter.  It is the life story of a family.  It explores the relationships between them all: good, bad, sad, happiness, abuse, anger ... everything.  It's also important to point out that it also covers this family's involvement of a political and governmental upheaval.  I don't recall that the country the story is based in was ever actually mentioned, but it was definitely of the Mexican/Latin persuasion.

I think the reason I found it boring was because of the military garble and the depiction of the uprising of the country's government.  Yes, I understand that's an important time in a country's existence, but .... it put me to sleep.  Thus my struggle in finishing it.

With the recommended reading level being Young Adult, I would say that I agree with that.  By the time a child reaches the Young Adult age (say around 13 or 14), they've pretty much heard or said everything that's written in this book language-wise and relation-wise.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Seventh Compass Point of Death: A Quinn McShane Story by Richard Sanders

The lit-crit take on the back cover states that this book is 'A character-driven thriller, centering on the themes of terrorism, understanding and hope.'  I don't know that I would've classified this as a thriller ... it causes the reader to expect a certain something that was missing from this book.

The main character, Quinn McShane, is a former licensed investigator who spent time in prison and is now working in the journalism field.  To me, Quinn came across as a man who was a little too trusting and a little too naive ... especially to be a former investigator AND to be dealing with a possible terrorism situation.

The book was definitely an easy read.  The font was a little larger than normal and the spacing between each sentence contributed to fluid eye movement while reading.  There are only five chapters in this book, but each chapter is divided up into multiple sections ... so much so that the book is 242 pages long.  The divisions of the chapters did not create confusion while reading, rather it helped to facilitate the reader's movement thru the chapters.

There's not an info page at the beginning of the book with the publisher, ISBN #, Library of Congress number or anything so you know this book is as self-published as they come ... of which I am okay with.

It's hard to say what genre I would classify this book as.  It's not really a mystery, not really a thriller ... it's more of a visit into a guy's life that is slightly out of whack and unsettled.  I appreciated his dry humor, though.  There were parts that I laughed at that some people probably wouldn't.  I could actually picture the sound of the sarcasm in his voice during some of his thoughts and interactions with others.

Overall, I liked this book, but it's not one of my 'must haves.'  I'm not really sure what could be done differently to make me like this book more, but there's definitely 'something' missing ... like that one ingredient in a recipe you need to add to make your dish better, but you're just not sure what it is ...

Happy Reading! =)

How Do I ... ???

I've been looking at other blogs and I realize how little I do and how much I could improve my blog.  So, for this post I will present some 'How Do I...' questions that I would love to have comments about ...

1.) How do I create my own button and put it on my blog for others to grab?

I have noticed this on several sites and I would love to have my own button.  I've grabbed several people's buttons, but do not know where to go to make mine.

2.) How do I get started hosting Giveaways?!!!

This is something I really want to start, but have no idea where to go and what to do.

I am constantly thinking about my blogs and how I can improve them ... even when I'm at work! =)  Reading is my passion and anything related to reading generally takes up the majority of my thoughts.  Any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc are more than welcomed ... so, let me hear them!!!

Happy Reading! =)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Hop Friday #1

This is my first ever book hop and I am excited to participate.  I've already had more followers added to my first blog and I am so excited!!! =)

I must answer a question for each hop I participate in, so here goes .... "How do you spread the word about your blog?"

I spread the word in a few areas online: Facebook via the Networked Blogs application, Goodreads, Shelfari and Book Blogs Ning.  Not only do I promote my blog online, but I discuss my blogs at work with co-workers.  Anywhere and everywhere I hear someone discussing books, I'm letting them know what I've got going on! =)

I'm excited to check out other bloggers during this hop and to grow my "following" list.

Happy Reading Everyone!!! =)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Quiver Full by Robin L. Scott


A Quiver Full
 "Lo children are an heritage of the Lord ... Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them..." Psalms 127: 3-5

The Bible scripture listed was the inspiration behind this book.  The book is a continuation of Robin L. Scott's first two books, The Strength of Love and From Ashes to Beauty.  I was privileged to see a copy of the cover for this book before it was actually published.  I loved it then and I love it now.  There's something so sweet about seeing a baby's hand grasping an adult's finger.

If this book itself was a quiver, it would definitely be full.  Just about every female in this book became pregnant at one time or another.  It was a pregnancy epidemic!!! =) Okay, that was a slight spoiler and I apologize ...

Seriously though, this book is a celebration of life, love and family.  It shows you that family is meant to be there for each other, whether it's immediate family or extended family.  God created families for a reason ... and that's to be each other's encouragement, strength and support.  Whenever you cannot rely on anybody else, you should always be able to rely on your family ... no matter what the situation.

The book does not focus on one particular couple or family.  Rather, it covers all of the families that were originally written in Robin's first two christian love stories.  Everyone shines in the spotlight, so to speak. =)

I don't want to give too much away, but if you like christian love stories that will make you laugh and cry, then you will enjoy reading Robin's books.  The more she writes, the better they get.

If you'd like to know more about Robin, check out the interview I had with her under the Author Interview tab at the top of my page.

Happy Reading! =)
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