Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have not really cared for the movie versions of this book, but I wanted to read a Christmas themed book for the holidays so I decided to read the book.  I am SO glad I did!  The book is a beautiful story of the realization that life  is short and our impact on others lives can either be positive or negative, we must choose between the two.

I read this on dailylit.com and love that you are sent short emails with portions of the book daily.  I found myself requesting the next installment over and over because I wanted to find out what happened next!  (Yes, I knew what happened next, but the book does differ from the movies we've all seen!)

A great christmas read to get you in the spirit of the season!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a TimeThree Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually read the "Young Readers Edition" of this because I had tried to read the regular edition a couple of years ago and found it very dry.  After a friend said she was reading it with her 5th grader and was really enjoying it, I decided to try her version.  Yes, she was right, that was the right version for me, I read it in two days!  I am amazed at Mr. Mortenson's drive to build schools in the circumstances that he did and am beginning to understand that when you have a calling, you can't rest until you fulfill it….

Here are a couple of my favorite passages:

But Greg hadn't reached the summit of K2.  And now in the fall of 1993, back home from Pakistan, Greg had a new challenge ahead of him.  He packed his climbing gear away in a rented storage space and tried to figure out how he was going to accomplish his new goal: raising enough money to build a school in Korphe.  How could he convince Americans to care about a circle of children sitting in the cold on the other side of the world, scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks?  This might be even harder than climbing the second-highest mountain on earth.

After a long, satisfying day of working on the bridge, Greg loved washing down a bowl of rice and lentil stew with strong tea, basking  in the sun with Haji Ali's family, and chatting across the rooftops to the other families doing the same thing.  On the warm, dry roof, eating, smoking, and gossiping, Greg felt sure that, although there were many things the Balti did not have, they did have an uncomplicated happiness that was becoming very rare in the world.

"In times of war," he went on, "you often hear leaders - Christian, Jewish, and Muslim - saying, 'God is on our side.'  But that isn't true.  God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans."

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The BFG (Puffin Fiction)The BFG by Roald Dahl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My oldest daughter has always raved about how much she loves this book and that I should read it, but for some reason I never did.  Why did I wait so long?

I first listened to this book on my ipod because I just LOVE to listen to books while I work around the house doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc. The book was narrated by Natasha Richardson whom I adore; may she rest in peace :(  I found myself laughing out loud over and over while scrubbing the toilet or making school lunches.  I even listened to a couple of chapters over and over they were so stinking silly!

I promptly read it out loud to my two little ones (ages 5 & 6) and they giggled and begged me to "read more, Mommy!" every night.  My hubby hadn't read it yet, so we listened to it in the car on our long "over the river and through the woods" Thanksgiving weekend drive.

The BFG is my new favorite children's book!  I don't want to give anything away, but it is a scrumdiddleyumptious tale; my favorite chapter is Frobscottle & Whizzpoppers!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

1st to Die - Womens Murder Club

1st to Die (Women's Murder Club, #1)1st to Die by James Patterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great murder mystery! My S-mother (step-mother) used to rave about these books and I have been missing her lately (she passed away almost 6 years ago) so I decided to listen to this one! I will definately listen to the rest of the Women's Murder Club books now.

I have been using the library on-line service to download books to my ipod and while I love listening to books on my ipod, the program you have to use to convert the book to itunes takes forever and messes up my playlists. I'm not sure if I will keep using the online service or if I will revert to going to the library to pick up the cd's. I do like the online one because you check it out like a normal book and then once your check-out period is over, the book disappears from your ipod. Very cool.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010


Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disappointed cannot even begin to describe how I felt when I finished this book.  I am speechless.  Me.  Speechless.

Maybe Katniss said it best, so I'll leave it to her.  Yes, this is the only thing I highlighted on my Kindle in the ENTIRE book.


"I've stopped talking because there's really nothing left to say and there's this piercing sort of pain where my heart is.  Maybe I'm even having a heart attack, but it doesn't seem worth mentioning.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

East of Eden

East of EdenEast of Eden by John Steinbeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Steinbeck says that East of Eden is his best work, his masterpiece.  I agree on many levels, although my favorite book he wrote is and will always be The Grapes of Wrath; mostly because I identify with moving from the dustbowl of Kansas to the vineyards of northern California and realizing it isn't the paradise it seems to be.

East of Eden is a timeless story of two brothers, and the next generation of sons.  It also is a parable of Cain and Abel; thus the title.  Here are a few of my favorite passages:

When Liza was about seventy her elimination slowed up and her doctor told her to take a tablespoon of port wine for medicine.  She forced down the first spoonful, making a crooked face, but it was not so bad.  And from that moment she never drew a completely sober breath.  She always took the wine in a tablespoon, it was always medicine, but after a time she was doing over a quart a day and she was a much more relaxed and happy woman.


It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man.  A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform.  When out food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.  In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God.  This in my time is the danger.  There is a great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.


And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.  And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wished, undirected.  And this I must fight against: an idea; religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.  This is what I am and what I am and what I am about.  I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system.  Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts.  If the glory can be killed, we are lost.


There's a capacity for appetite," Samuel said, "that a whole heaven and earth of cake can't satisfy."


And as a few strokes on the nose will make a puppy head shy, so a few rebuffs will make a boy shy all over.  But whereas a puppy will cringe away or roll on its back, groveling, a little boy may cover his shyness with nonchalance, with bravado, or with secrecy.  And once a boy has suffered rejection, he will find rejection even where it does not exist - or worse, will draw it forth from people simply by expecting it.


The split second has been growing more and more important to us.  And as human activities become more and more intermeshed and integrated, the split tenth of a second will emerge, and then a new name must be made for the split hundredth, until on day, although I don't believe it, we'll say "Oh, the hell with it.  What's wrong with an hour?"  But is isn't silly, this preoccupation with small time units.  One thing late or early can disrupt everything around it, and the disturbance runs outward in bands like the waves from a dropped stone in a quiet pool.

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BarefootBarefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good beach read!  I am getting quite annoyed at all of the adultry going on in books these days; or am I just a crazy christian who believes that marriage is a sacred commitment?

I did enjoy  the story line of this book, although I found it hard to believe that a happily married mother of two would leave her own home (and husband behind to work during the week) and go to her summer beach house to go through chemo; dragging her two very small children along with her and expecting her little sister (with her own problems and legal issues) and her best friend (who is pregnant and her estranged cheating husband doesn't know) … other than that, great fun and lots of heart.  Can you say DRAMA?  But, isn't that what a beach read is supposed to do?  Get you out of your own head and into another's for a couple of days?

The cancer issued pulled at my heartstrings as well, I wasn't expecting to cry.  The main character had lung cancer and descriptions and side-effects of the treatments were so similar to what my step-mother died from that it made my heart ache for her…..

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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Help

Civil rights movements - Fiction
African American women - Fiction
Jackson (Miss) - Fiction

Amy Einhorn Books
A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Rating: 5/5 (Must Read)

Flap Synopsis:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step....

Twenty-two year old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss.  She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger.      Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. 

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child.  Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way.  She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi.  She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job.  Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation.  But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk.  And why?  Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times.  And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. 

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.  A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

Favorite passages:

Cause that's the way prayer do.  It's like electricity, it keeps things going.
My face get hot, my tongue twitchy.  I don't know what to say to her.  All I know is, I ain't saying it. And I know she ain't saying what she want a say either and it's a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation.
"Ain't just for frying.  You ever get a sticky something stuck in your hair, like gum?"  I jackhammer my finger on the Crisco can.  "That's right, Crisco.  Spread this on a baby's bottom, you won't even know what diaper rash is."  I plop three scoops in the black skillet.  "Shoot, I seen ladies rub it under they eyes and on they husband's scaly feet."
"Look how pretty it is," she says.  "Like white cake frosting."
"Clean the goo from a price tag, take the squeak out a door hinge.  Lights get cut off, stick a wick in it and burn it like a candle."
I turn on the flame and we watch it melt down in the pan.  "And after all that, it'll still fry your chicken."
It feels cool, like water washing over my sticky-hot body.  Cooling a heart that's been burning me up all my life.
Truth, I say inside my head again, just for that feeling.
It was like something cracked open inside of me, not unlike a watermelon, cool and soothing and sweet.  I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.


I just loved this book!  I read it on my Kindle and then promptly went out and bought a copy to have my daughter read, then I'll make my hubby read it.  I plan on reading it over and over and over.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I need Kindle for my fire!

My husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! 

Some things I love about it:
  • I can think of / see / hear about a new book and have it in my hands in less than one minute!  ONE MINUTE!  No schleping all the kids to the bookstore or Target and ending up buying a hand full of books, toys, shoes, household supplies, milk, etc..... So you would think that the expense of the Kindle would be a deterant, but in all actuality, it has helped the bottom line of my spending plan.  I have a line-item for books and it is not added to by all those trips to the store!  Thank you Whispernet!
  • For the last couple of years, I have been using the public library and it has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars.  Thank you, tax dollars at work!  But, I love that I can now download "the classics" onto my Kindle at no expense - YAY for public domain!!  YAY for no rushing at lunch or home from work to stop by the library!
  • My Kindle can fit into my purse and right now it has 23 books on it!  Amazing!  My shoulders / neck muscles are happy little (literally) muscles now!
  • My i-touch can sync with my Kindle so I can even leave the Kindle at home and read off of the i-touch during the day!  Technology is so cool... who thinks this stuff up?  Whoever you are, you are brilliant (even though I might be a little teensy bit freaked out that you know what page I am on on my Kindle and sync to that page on my i-touch.... it's just so cool I guess I'll live with it).
Some things I could live without:
  • The Kindle is wonderful to read and most of the time I forget that I am reading a "device" and not a book... but I do miss the feel of pages in my hand, the smell of the ink and the texture of the paper.  I love you, Kindle.  I love books, too.  I guess the Television didn't fully replace the Radio, right?  I actually listen to the radio more than I watch TV... so I might just carry one (!)  print book around and 23 (for now!) on my Kindle and I'll be a happy girl!
  • I wish the page numbers were listed on the screen instead of the percentage read... I was shocked after reading "The Help" on my Kindle and then buying a print copy for my family to read - it's a HUGE book and it felt so short while reading it!  It's hard to judge a book by it's cover when it's cover is just a picture!!
  • I must be more discerning when buying a book on the Kindle.  I don't want to pay for a book twice, so I will only buy / download books that only I will read.  If there is any chance that I want to keep a copy for the family or to re-read someday, I will buy the print copy only.  Maybe I should get those from the library and if I like it enough I will buy it.  Wait.  This was supposed to SAVE me time and energy.  I may have to think this one over, I just know I don't want to blow my book budget on buying the same books more than once.... this from the girl who owns at least five copies of The Case for Christ and three copies of The Shack (there is even one copy in my desk at work; you never know if a friend will need a good book to read!!)
So you may have noticed that I have only done one book review.  I am having a bit of a hard time pulling myself away from my Kindle (and my busy life being Mommy to four growing kids!) to review the ones I've read lately.  This book blog was so good in theory, in real life; not so much. 

I'll try to at least list the books I've read with a picture, the jacket blurb and a link to Amazon.  I've felt this desire to be witty and sound somewhat intelligent and that is frankly not gonna happen most days!  So all I will commit to is a one line summary of my opinion on the book, if I do more, PLEASE be impressed!  **winks**

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel

by Richard Stearns
President, World Vision US

Thomas Nelson Publishing 2009
Religion / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Rating: 5/5 (MUST READ)
The Hole in Our Gospel Website

Do NOT read this book if you don't want to be changed.....

From the jacket:
The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life.  He uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel - the whole gospel - was always meant to be a world-changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with us.

"Let my heart be broken by the things
that break the heart of God." 
 - a prayer by Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision

This book has come to me in a time in my life when it seems like the economy has faltered, homes have been lost, jobs have disintegrated and faith in the American Dream is at an all-time low.  The complete truth, however, is that we Americans are so wealthy, secure, comfortable and protected that we cannot (or choose not to) look past our borders at the world as a whole which is struggling just for food and water.  While we may struggle to pay our mortgage or pay for a college education, our basic needs will most certainly be met. I cannot imagine not knowing where my next meal is coming from or turning on the faucet to get a drink of water only to find it dry.  
Richard Stearns shows his vulnerability as a man and does not hesitate to share his journey to become a Christ follower.  I so identify with him in searching out his beliefs the way he did, through relentless research and reading; only to finally let the logic of his mind take a leap of faith to his heart. 

If I had to choose one paragraph to represent this book it would be this one:
But I want to be clear that this does not mean we are saved by piling up enough good works to satisfy God.  No, it means that any authentic and genuine commitment to Christ will be accompanied by demonstrable evidence of a transformed life.  In contemporary terms, those who talk the talk but do not walk the walk will be exposed as false.  "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4)

This book is thought provoking, gloriously written and completely inspiring. God enables us to move mountains, we just need to pick up a shovel and move one mound of dirt at a time; won't you join me?

Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.

- Saint Teresa of Avila

Friday, March 12, 2010

Countdown 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - We're #1!

I would like to share with you my favorite books of ALL TIME!  
I will not review the books at this time, but if/when I re-read them, I will post a review. 
 *these are in random order because I can't seem to rank them!

 The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Horse & His Boy is my favorite, I just love Shasta!

 Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
Yes, the whole series... pure magic!

Brings me to tears to just think of how this book touched my soul.

The Shack by William P. Young
Love, Love, Love how this book breaks down our perceptions!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Levin & Kitty are the real stars, don't let the title fool ya!

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Changed my life.... Saved me.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
I loved the end.  Get the tissues.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Represents my move from Kansas to California quite well.  Timeless.

Heartbeat by Danielle Steel
My favorite when I was young and
devoured everything Danielle Steel wrote.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
First book my oldest child and I really discussed!

Honorable Mentions:

Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
Beautiful book.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Don't even know what to say... amazing book.

The Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers
I love Francine Rivers, but this is by far my favorite of her's!

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Time to Kill by John Grisham
This was the first John Grisham book I read, love them ALL!

Oh, how I love these books...
Each represents a part of me
 they reflect who I was when I read them
and who I have become.
Making this list has certainly made me want to re-read a couple
(ok, ok, every single one is calling to me!) 

......... reviews coming soon.................

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Book Bender Begins!

Hello Book!
by N.M. Bodecker

Hello book!
What are you up to?
Keeping yourself to yourself,
shut in between your covers,
a prisoner high on a shelf.
come in book!
What is your story?
Haven't you ever been read?
Did you think
I would just pass by you
And pick me a comic instead?
No way book!
I'm your reader
I open you up.
Set you free.
Listen, I know a secret!
Will you share your secrets with me?