Friday, July 23, 2010

Got Books Giveaway

Ahhh!!! Late to the game, but here I am! This year has been a hard one for me to fit blogging into, but I still read my books. Books make all the difference for me. If I am stressed or just need to get away I open a book and it's instant transport to another time and place. I have had very little time to sit down and tell you about the books I am reading right now, but I am holding a contest for you to win your own transportation to another time and place.

Rules for Entry:
1. This one is simple. If the books I'm giving away look good to you then comment below. Make sure you leave your email so I can notify you if you win. I will pick a winner for each book so tell me which one you like.

2. This is a short contest. My winners will be chosen Sunday, July 25th. I will send an email and you will have 3 days to respond.

Book 1: The Passage by Justin Cronin
I chose this book because it is a must read of the summer. I received it as an ARC and loved it! Here is my review. This is the first book in a trilogy and it is one I think you will find yourself very quickly drawn into. For more info on the book visit the official website. For book related fun visit this site (also an official website).

Book 2: Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze
Okay, I haven't read this book yet, but I am going to get to it very soon. I have read a sample of the first 100 pages and I have got to finish this book! You want to read the 184 page sample? Here it is...
Here's the other reason I am giving the book away - I won a contest by the author to help name a victim in the 2nd book of this series. LOL I used my ex-husband's name. Maybe that isn't nice, but I thought it was funny. So anyway, I want all of you to be ready read book 2! I am friend's with the author on Facebook, but I haven't told her I am giving away her book yet. I think she will be pleasantly surprised! Now my order to her will be asking for 2 rather than 1!

Book description from Amazon is here. BTW, the average rating for this book on Amazon is 5 Stars!! Or visit the book site Ellen would love to see you!

Okay, I know both of these books have a vampire type theme, but I promise they are completely different and worth the read!! What are you waiting for get your comment entered!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County follows the life of Truly Plaice. The moment she is born into her family it is forever changed. Her mother dies during childbirth and her father never recovers. Not only that, but Truly is an oddity from the start. She is an enormous baby and continues to be large throughout her life. This would be apparent on its own, but standing beside her beautiful, dainty sister Serena Jane she sticks out even more. Life become even more different for the sisters when their father dies and they are separated into different families. Serena Jane goes to a family that dotes on her and Truly to a farm full of bad luck. Serena wears beautiful dresses and hair bows while Truly wears boys clothes or dull colored bag-like dresses. Much of Truly's life she is a giant, but mostly invisible to the entire town while Serena Jane is the object of affection to all around her. It is this beauty that leads Serena Jane into an unwanted marriage to Robert Morgan. She endures it as long as she can, but then escapes to a new life leaving behind a husband and a son. Truly comes in to pick up the pieces of the family left behind and finds herself in a way she never imagined.

I enjoyed this story. I don't have anything in common with the characters individually, but I am from a small town. I understand the views that different is odd rather than special. Truly spent most of her life as an outcast. She was either ignored or people found her gruesome. She was the "little giant"- huge in size and small in impact. As her life progresses even her actions are dictated by someone other than herself. Her sister Serena runs from the life she hates leaving a husband and a son and instructions to find Truly. It is with this note that Truly comes to run the household of her horribly cruel brother-in-law Robert "Bob Bob" Morgan. That is where she is set to spend the rest of her days, until unlocking the secret of Robert's ancestor changes her forever. Her knowledge provides her with a strength and power she didn't know she could possess. It also allows her to become more comfortable with the life and appearance she has been given. Through her few friends and her new found knowledge, Truly is able to move forward and begin to make life what she wants it to be.

I did have an issue with how shallow everyone in the town seemed to be. I stated above that a small town can frown upon differences rather than celebrating them, but that would never be an entire town. This story seemed to have only two characters who could even stand to be around Truly - Amelia and Marcus. Both of these characters also had traits that made them outcasts. I just found it a bit hard to believe that not one adult in the story showed love toward Truly. More than that they openly loathed being near her and seemed out to get her. I think this shallowness may have been over-emphasised to make Truly's differences stand out in the storyline.

I think the real focus of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County was to weave a story that confronts differences and mortality. Differences can direct our path in life to an extent, but it still within our ability and our responsibility to take a hold of our life and create what we want out of it. Truly started where her differences put her, but ended where she had longed to be. Mortality is a given in every life. Truly spent much of the novel confronting her possible impending death due to her disease, and assisting or being connected to the deaths of others. Dealing with those deaths is what taught Truly how to live. Death taught her that each person has a different impact and a different role in life and helped her see what she wanted hers to be.

I would recommend this book. I overall enjoyed the story and felt the symbolism really pulled the story together. I was only slightly bothered by the shallow townspeople, because of the depth and growth of the main characters.

I received this book from Newman Communications.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday 6/12/10

Welcome to My Meme!

Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?

1 Book: She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

2 Words: Teenage Drama

3 Settings/Characters:
Ally Ryan
- she's just come back to the town she grew up in after being gone for almost 2 years. Her family left during the night after her dad's investment idea lost millions of dollars for all the families in her wealthy neighborhood
Orchard Hill - a town where the "Cresties" and "Norms" are separated by money, and no one is allowed to cross over that line
Shannen - she used to be Ally's best friend, but since Ally has returned it seems as if she is out to get her.

4 Likes/Dislikes:
1. I had a difficult time with how superficial everyone in the story seemed to be - especially the parents. It was if they had no personality beyond being rich or poor (which was probably just middle class)
2. I appreciated how the author addressed the peer pressure that teenagers feel. It is common for many teenagers to feel torn between what they really believe and what their friends are encouraging them to believe. Even Ally who wanted to change felt herself falling back into her old patterns.
3. It was hard for me to connect with any of the characters. I grew up in a small school and we didn't deal with cliques like this.
4. I enjoyed the texting at the beginning of each chapter. It reflected what the students at the school were feeling. I thought the author did a good job of writing/speaking like a teenager.

5 Stars or Less: 3.5 This wasn't my kind of book, but I think any teens who enjoy the Clique Series would really enjoy it.

I received this book from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

You can buy it at
Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews

This is not a new book, but one I have wanted to read for about a year. Last year I read Andy Andrew's novel The Noticer and knew he could tell a story and inspire people. I heard this one was good as well, but had forgotten to ever pick it up at the bookstore. Last week my boss brought her copy of The Traveler's Gift Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success to me after we saw that Andy Andrews will be at the Women of Faith conference this year and I mentioned loving his other book. Yay for my boss Penny! She always has the great faith-based books!

Anywho, The Traveler's Gift is about a man named David Ponder (I'm thinking that's symbolic wink,wink) who becomes depressed and desperate after losing his high level job. He attempts to find work, but loses even his minimum wage job. Added to that is stress over his daughter needing her tonsils out right away. David begins to feel as if he is failing his family and decides they would be better off if he dies. He believes his wife could find a man who is better at supporting her and his life insurance policy would ensure his daughter is given the medical care she needs. At the crossroads of his life or death experience he is transported around the world and the ages to meet famous people who have seven life lessons to share. He meets Abe Lincoln,
Anne Frank, and five others. Each principal they share with David opens his eyes to a better way to live and to a faith he has never possessed.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The principals presented seem basic, but they are perfect. It is like having an aha! moment every single time. Each idea presented is something we all should know in our heart, but we don't follow it or give it the time it deserves to teach us. One principal is "I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit". This talks of not only forgiving others but also of forgiving yourself.

I loved the presentation of the famous figures in our history. Imagine Anne Frank teaching us about happiness! I don't mark in books, but there were times I wanted to highlight a quote that touched me. This really is a book that can change your entire view of life if you let it.

This book is Christian and God is a very important part of the story. It isn't presented in a "shove it down the throat" manner, but may not be of interest if you don't believe in God. That being said, if you aren't a Christian the principals are still very applicable to your life.

I also found that this book has been written in a teen version. I am excited to purchase it for my daughter and then pass it on to my stepson. Another great companion to the book is Mastering the Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success: An Owner's Manual to the New York Times Bestseller, The Traveler's Gift. This walks an individual through the seven principals while asking questions to direct you to make the changes to improve your life. I have yet to read either of those to be able to give a genuine review.

I hope each of you picks up this book. It is one that could change your life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I'm back! $50 later I have a new cord and my computer loves me again. Yay!

So, I finished The Passage last week, but have had to take some time to get my thoughts together before I did a review. First of all, I previously read Trish's review at Hey Lady! and have had to re-read it to make sure I didn't accidentally plagiarize. I felt similar to her and didn't want to not realize I was taking something from her review.

Now for my review...

The Passage is a book that takes vampire to a totally new level. Most books focus on hot vampires and teenage angst. Some more graphic, some erotic, some - well you get the picture. I enjoyed almost all of those books, but was glad to take a break from them. This is vampires, but so much more. Yes, they are the basis of the entire novel, but Edward they are not. What happens is more scientific and horrific. These are man-made monsters that wipe out most of the world. They jump at astounding levels and speeds and glow in the dark. They have no idea who they are, but will attack you and rip you apart for your blood once the dark sets in and they are free to roam. This is the world after the rampage. Man against beast. Man is trying to survive in a sheltered, safe existence, and the vampires just want to be complete.

Many main characters exist in this novel. There were times I had to look back to make sure I had the right character background with my story. I think that is because I am usually able to skim parts of a book and still have full comprehension. In Mr. Cronin's novel you have to pay attention. The great thing is that you totally want to. I was thrown into a new world and I was on the edge of my seat as they fought for their lives. Not only was that happening, but there were strong relationships and beautiful histories. There was a world created that was amazing. I read this and wondered how long it took the author to create this new world. It was so deep and every piece came together and made complete sense.

Back to the specific characters, they were great. Each had a very distinct personality. Even though they were all different, you found a way to relate to almost all of them. It seems impossible, but I even felt for the vampires as they slashed people. They were victims as well. Everyone in the novel is searching for something or someone, but it isn't redundant. You don't get tired of the journey, though I did long for peace for them.

Per Justin Cronin's own daughter's words this is the story "about a girl who saves the world". (Mr Cronin asked his daughter what he should write and this is what she requested) I for one can't wait for each part of the journey to unfold so I can be a part of the world she saves. I want to see who remains, and how it all comes together in the end. I don't know when the next novel comes out, but I will be buying it as soon as I see that pre-order button!

Now that I have gushed and probably made little sense to you here is the synopsis from the books website.
About the Book
“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die,
another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

This book was given to me by the publisher Random House. Thanks so much! I enjoyed every minute of it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Hey all! My computer cord fell into pieces today. I am logged on for a brief moment on Mark's work computer. I will be going to get a new cord later today and then I will be back with my meme and a review on The Passage by Justin Cronin. It will be a glowing review...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday 5/8/10 (ok Sunday the 9th)

Welcome to My Meme!

Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?

1 Book: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

2 Words: Cruel summer

3 Settings/Characters: Sarah- she's lost her husband and is trying to figure out how to pick up her life again. Is she sad or numb or indifferent? Now she must care for her son and pick of the pieces of the past that torn them all apart. 2. Little Bee - she comes from a different world, but changed Sarah forever. She's only a child, but what she has seen and known makes her older than all of us by many years 3. Nigeria- The place that changed all of their lives.

4 Likes/Dislikes: 1. I liked that the novel addresses the atrocities that occur in 3rd world countries. It is easy living in the USA to ignore the wars and poverty that so many face. 2. I liked the voice of Little Bee. Her thoughts on the world were thought provoking. "...I ask you right here to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." To me that was such a beautiful thing to read. Her ability to take these types of truths from tragedy was inspiring. 3. I can't decide how I feel about the secrecy surrounding the novel. The back cover even promotes it. I get that you don't want to ruin the story, but who wants to be told anything in any storyline before reading it? Isn't that normal? 4. I am also torn about the ending. Obviously, I won't say what happens but I can't decide if I thought it ended right or if I should throw the book at the wall.

5 Stars or Less: I say 3.75. I really liked it, but I didn't fall in love with all the characters and couldn't decide on the ending.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday 5/1/10

Welcome to My Meme!

Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide. Since I was gone for awhile some of you were posting a Mr Linky on Jenner's Blog. I will figure that out, so we can do that here. Thanks Jenner for keeping this going while I was away!

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or
characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?

1 Book: The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

2 Words: Sisters, Insecurities

3 Settings/Characters: 1. Lindsey - the successful twin sister. Always known as the "smart" one, never popular, never time for anything but work. Once she loses her job she moves home with her parents and tries to start over, but nothing is coming together quite like she imagined 2. Alex - the beautiful twin sister. She has the looks,the easy life and the fairytale wedding, but suddenly everything is changing. 3. Maryland - Lindsey and Alex's hometown. Each of them find much more here than they are looking for once they are together again.

4 Likes/Dislikes:
1. I love the writing style of Sarah Pekkanan. She has a sense of humor that comes through in her writing, but she can also make it deep and emotional. 2. Though parts of the ending are predictable, the story to get to the end was a great read. I couldn't put this book down, and I enjoyed every minute. 3. This book was chick lit, but it also made you think. What would you do if you found out things were different than you had always believed? What would you do if your career fell apart and you had to reinvent yourself? How would you learn to love and communicate with your twin if there had always been differences too great to let you bond? Are you labeled in your family? It's all in growth, personal growth, secrets, love, and Change. 4. I loved the supporting characters. They had great personalities and stories of their own.

5 Stars or Less:
I give it a 5. It was a quick read and thoroughly enjoyable. It may be "chick lit", but it hooked me from page 1.

This book was sent to me by the author (and I bought a copy).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead - Irene Kendig

In this remarkable collection of interviews with seven people who've died, Irene Kendig, with the help of a gifted medium, explores what happens when we transition from physical to non-physical reality. Each of the seven dialogues begins with the same question: What did you experience when you released your last breath on earth?

This book is for anyone has has ever wondered whether there is a Heaven or a Hell, a Judgment Day, or a reunion with loved ones. It will illuminate and inspire your heart and mind whether you believe in an afterlife or not. These dialogues explore life from a spiritual perspective, which elevates consciousness and empowers you to make choices in alignment with your soul’s purpose.

The responses offered by Ms. Kendig's loved ones not only diminish fear of dying, they provide solace and strength for those who grieve, and inspire all to live courageously, joyfully, and respectfully . . . now.

sumary taken from

When I saw the promotion asking for reviews of this book I was extremely excited. I mean who isn't curious about what someone who has died will say about the afterlife? The author, Irene Kendig, speaks with seven people from her past by using a Medium she was introduced to by her friend. Sounds pretty interesting right?

This book was interesting and I got right into reading it, but I also had some issues with it. Let me be clear and say that I think some of the issue was me having a skewed expectation. This book clearly states what it is about, and never promises to read like some fiction novel. I did know that going in, but sometimes the writing came across a bit more technical than I had imagined. For those of you who have read The Time Travelers Wife it reminded me of trying to get my mind around how he could travel and see himself and so on. Here's an example:

Irene: If the individuated mind exists both in the physical body and in every particle of light I am, then what happens to the part that belongs to my physical body when I die?

Jerry: The individuated mind doesn't belong to the physical body. A portion of the energy that you are animates the physical body, which is pure energy too, just in a denser form. When it's time to release your physical body, that energy is withdrawn and refocused to your spirited body. It's not segmented into physical energy or spiritual energy; it's all one, and an aspect of that one energy is focused on commanding the physical body.

p. 53 of ARC

Most of the book came across a bit too technical for me to get lost in the wonder of what was being said.

Also, I did have a hard time separating my religious beliefs from the ideas presented. There was much discussion of a higher power be it called God or something else. I found comfort in some of the ideas. Such as the idea that each of us, while in the Spiritual form choose how we will come back to Earth. A life is chosen to focus on what we need to learn to become a more loving, spirited being. That made me feel purposeful and gave a sense of reasoning for the negative aspects of life. Love is also a major component in this novel. I personally believe in a God that is Loving. I found those ideas were complimentary to my beliefs. However, as it progressed it felt like a "new age" type discussion and just left me a bit overwhelmed.

It was also hard for me to grasp the idea that "you can't hurt anyone who doesn't agree to be hurt". I know as adults we have a choice to leave a situation or turn something bad into something better, etc, but what about abused children? When did they agree to be hurt? I really couldn't wrap my mind around that idea. Maybe they were just referring to emotional pain, but I took it as all hurt.

Overall, this book was a difficult read for me and a very difficult review to write. I appreciated how much it made me reflect and look at life in a new way. I was happy to read about the LOVE present in the afterlife. I even enjoyed the short segments in the book where the interviewer/interviewee reflected on life and how it could be lived better. I couldn't get as deeply into the book as I liked because I found it came across too technically. I would recommend this if you are willing to do some deep thinking. I wouldn't recommend it for those days you want to get lost in a book.

This ARC was provided to me by the author.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Vicki from Reading At The Beach and Laurel Rain-Snowpassed this my way back in November, but because of my break I didn't see them until thisweek. Here is what I am suppose to do:

The rules of this one is to list ten honest things about me and then pass the award on to ten other book bloggers.

1. I am really bad at keeping my house clean. I try, but I really hate to clean.

2. I am a twin, but my sister was stillborn. I have always wished she was around.

3. I have 2 kids -1 boy 1 girl, 2 step-kids - 1 boy one girl, 2 dogs - 1 boy 1 girl, 2 cats - you get the idea...I only have one man though,and no girlfriend. LOL

4. I have always wanted to be a runner, but probably couldn't go further than 1/8 mi before I would be walking.

5. I'm short. 5'2". I wish I was taller.

6. If I could be anything I wanted I would want to be a famous speaker. Iwould want to speak about things that would change others' lives. My other dream is to do something involving books full time.

7. I convinced my family that we didn't sit at the dining room table, and turned the room into a library completed with a chaise. It is my favorite room in the house.

8. My kids amaze me every day. I love them so much it makes my chest hurt sometimes.

9. I love church, but rarely make it to service. I do join a women's study group to keep myself in touch.

10. I cry at commercials sometimes. I'm such a sap!

I have no idea who to pass this too! It's like I am starting over and I am lost. I will think about it for awhile before passing it on.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday 4/24/10

Welcome to My Meme!
I've been gone awhile,but I thought I would give this a try again!
Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or
characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?

1 Book: The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson

2 Words: Pirates and Fiddles

3 Settings/Characters: 1.Fin Button - main character. A girl put in an orphanage, because her father wanted a boy. She is adventurous, tortured, learning to understand herself 2.Bartimaeus - fiddle playing cook with much more in his past than anyone imagined 3. The Rattlesnake - a pirate ship that Fin learns to call home
4 Likes/Dislikes:
1.Loved the spirit of Fin! She was a strong,female character and I cared deeply about her by the end of the book 2. Liked the action and the surprises. Starting in an orphanage and ending on a pirate ship really mixes it up. 3.Liked the historical background that the author built this story around. 4.Loved how this story made me feel connected to it. I was drawn in and finished quickly. Can't wait for the next book!

5 Stars or Less:
4.5 Stars

This book is also being discussed on Kate and Amy's Book Club on Facebook. If you have read it you should join the discussion. If you haven't be forewarned their might be spoilers in the disucssion. A.S. Peterson has also joined in and answered reader questions!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yes, I still between all the other junk in my life!

It has been so long since I last blogged that I am not even sure I really remember all the tricks!

I had some family things come up that took me away from the blogger's life. My daughter had ankle surgery at the end of July and was doing physical therapy. She was released the last week in October to play softball again, and injured herself in the first game - concussion, shoulder injury. We had to start therapy over and in December they decided she needed ANOTHER SURGERY! That happened at the end of December. Just today she was released from her PT for that. During all of this she also developed severe stomach pain and we spent ALOT of time at the Dr, ER, Urgent Care to find a cause. It turned out to be minor, but took a long time to find the cause.

Add other children,work, starting a new workout program, financial stress, anxiety disorder starting to return, etc and my blog fell to the side. It was like life took me to the alley and beat the crap out of me!

Most of my issues are still around, but life feels under control again. I have continued to stalk many blogs, publishers, tweets, etc. I have missed all the interaction. I have decided, however, that I am going to go about this blogging thing more lightly. I have always been hard on myself with my writing and how often I reviewed, but now I am going to be more ME. My friends who know me IRL say I am so funny in person and so serious on the blog. My new goal is to throw in some more of my personality while still reviewing books and making blogging friends.

Here is a list of what I have read since I have been gone (give or take a few). Doctor's offices really lend time to lots of reading!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson

Knit the Season - Kate Jacobs

The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? - Padgett Powell

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl - Ree Drummond

Raji - Ariion Kathleen Brindley

Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

The Help - Kathryn Sockett(didn't re-read but had a book club and discussed)

A Blue and Gray Christmas - Joan Medicott

According to Jane - Marilyn Brant

The Wives of Henry Oades - Johanna Moran

The Wrong Mother - Sophie Hannah

The Opposite of Me - Sarah Pekkanen

The Fiddler's Gun - A.S. Peterson (currently discussing on FB book club)

Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead - Irene Kendig

Divorce Sucks - Mary Jo Eustace

Still Alice - Lisa Genova

Currently Reading:

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I do plan to review some, but not all of these. I have an opinion on everyone though if you want to know what I think!

See you the BLOG ZONE