Sunday, February 28, 2010

What I read this month

What I read in February:

Places in the Bone by Carole Dine **
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostava ****
Cupidity by Hayley and Michael DiMarco ***
Hear No Evil *****
Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight ****
Marco Polo Didn't Go There by Rolf Potts ***
Between the Covers *****
Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge ***
Mountain Man Dance Moves *****
The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen *****
Feed ***
The 9/11 Commission Report: A Graphic Adaptation ****
Inside Mrs. B's Classroom by Leslie Baldacci ***
Perelandra by CS Lewis ****
Autobiography of a Fat Bride by Lori Notaro ****
Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn ***

Total: 17 this month, 35 for the year
Page numbers: 4505 for the month, 9082 for the year

Friday, February 26, 2010


Awww...more awards for me! I put them both in my sidebar and if you click them, they should link you to the wonderful ladies who gave them to me - Crystal and Mrs.Messi! You ladies are too sweet! I'm going to follow the rules of these somewhat and post ten things that make me happy - and tomorrow I'll post ten of my favorite blogs! Enjoy!
Ten things that make me happy:

My cutie-pie husband!


My honey! How sweet is that baby?

My siblings - minus one - sorry David I don't have a picture of all of us on this computer

Books - who would have guessed right?

Ok that's only five, but I'm out of pictures, so I'll just list the last ones -
My internet friends! I love you guys (and I'm thrilled that some of you are now my IRL friends!)
Hot chocolate
Swimming, going to the lake, the beach, anything in the water
Bad tv/bad movies
Flattery (what? it does!)

Review: Secrets

Ok, since this blog has become my confessional, I'll go ahead and admit to an "under the mattress" stash. No, no porn - pretty much the opposite - inspirational fiction. I'm too ashamed to put them on my bookshelves where people can see them, so I have a box under my bed. I'm totally serious. And this book definitely falls into that "guilty pleasure" category. I typically do not read the genre, but I have a couple of authors that I like to indulge in every now and then and Robin Jones Gunn is one of them. Don't get me wrong, these aren't literary masterpieces (sorry, Robin) and I don't know that many of my readers would fall in love with them the way I have. Gunn's Sisterchick's books are seriously some of the happiest mind candy I've ever read. And I think I feel the same way about this series. It's the literary equivalent of my love for New York Minute, A Cinderella Story, and The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Every now and then the pre-teen in me comes out and needs a simple romance with a happy ending. The acting/writing doesn't have to be great and the dialogue can be laughable, but it's exactly what I want when I'm craving a happinest boost. So while I'm not really sure this is one I'd recommend to my blog readers who are looking for a serious, intellectual read, I give it two thumbs up if you take it for what it is - complete and total fluff - and who doesn't need a little bit of brain candy every now and then?

This book was provided for my review by Waterbrook/Multnomah.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Library Sale!

So I got paid to spend two hours at the library sale this morning and I have a serious haul. I'm not going to even wait until Friday to post this because I got so many awesome books!

The List:

Lewis Carroll Observed: A Collection of Unpublished Photographs, Drawings, Poetry, and New Essays

102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside The Twin Towers

The Life Around Me By Ellen Foster

The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor

Strength In What Remains

In America

Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life

Mao II

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

From a Burning House

The Stone Diaries

Dear Miss Lonely Heart

Seeing by Jose Saramago

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Memories of My Father Watching TV

Trash by Dorothy Allison (A TN writer)

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut

Home by Julie Andrews

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd

Such a Pretty Fat


Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim

Miss American Pie

20 Boy Summer

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Running With Scissors

Those Who Save Us

Notes From A Small Island

Eat, Pray, Love

For the school I picked up:

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

Terrorism in the 20th Century

2006 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market

Graphci Design: Ispirations and Innovations

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Over the weekend

Peer pressure works, kids, so watch out! I spent yesterday in Atlanta with Crystal, Leah, and Heather and had a blast eating, shopping, and hanging out. I didn't get much reading done, but I had an awesome time and got to see Shutter Island. I'm making Luke go see it with me again this week becaues I enjoyed it so much! The review I read described it as brilliant, and I certainly agree. I definitely recommend it and I also highly recommend the book. Since I have no book news, enjoy this picture of me with my new accessories!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Two Lists

Books Read This Week:

The 9/11 Commission Report: Graphic Adaptation (4/5)
Inside Mrs. B's Classroom (4/5)
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (5/5)

Books Bought:
The Dogs of Babel
While I Was Gone
Candy and Me (A Love Story)
The Andromeda Strain/Terminal Man (collection for the school)
Twelve Times Blessed
Pieces: A Collection of New Voices
The 6th Lamentation
Promise Not To Tell
Nighttime Is My Time (an old Mary Higgins Clark for the school)
Tennessee Writers

Total: $11.20

Book Review: Hear No Evil

The title of this book alone convinced me that i want to read it. "Marching in the Lord's Army" - oh my, the memories. I had a special hate for this song as a child because I was afraid of loud noises (was afraid? am afraid) and the other kids loved screaming out the words to this one. If you are at all familiar with conservative Christian culture, this book will crack you up - unless maybe you are easily offended. Southern Baptists aren't quite as "fundamentalists" as the IFB, but we get pretty close, and I found the book much funnier than I expected to. It bothers me to read books that mock what I believe, but this book doesn't come close to making fun - it's a humorous look from an insider, rather than a mockery of beliefs. My favorite part had to be the Sandi Patti chapter. Growing up we weren't allowed to listen to secular music, so I was familiar with all of Turner's references to popular Christian culture. My brother, at around 7 years old, had a major crush on Sandi Patti and her big hair. If you aren't familiar with the whole Contemporary Christian Music scene, you may not get as many laughs out of it, but I still think it's worth reading. The Amy Grant stuff was also hilarious! It motivated me to immediately go out and buy two of Matthew Paul Turner's other books, which I can't wait to read. This is one I HIGHLY recommend!
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blog Tour Review: The Girl Who Chased The Moon

Thanks to Cori and her blog tour of The Girl Who Chased the Moon, I had the opportunity to check out this ARC over the weekend and was blown away! I'll be mailing it off to the next lucky reader tomorrow, and I recommend reading it as soon as you get your hands on it! From the beginning it brought to mind the movie Big Fish. I didn't think I'd get into the magical realism thing, but it sucked me in the same way Big Fish (one of the rare movies I preferred to the book) drew me in. It's the story of a young girl who moves to live with her grandfather (who happens to be 8 ft tall) in a house where the wallpaper changes according to your moods. Her nextdoor neighbor is a baker, who bakes cakes in hope that their scent will bring home love. It was a light, easy read that left me happy and wanting more of the characters. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes chick lit, southern lit, women's lit, or magical realism.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Winner and Two Lists!

My official Bel Canto winner is Liz at Books 'n' Cooks!!! I'll be getting in touch with you to arrange shipment of the book. I didn't make it to 50 followers, but as soon as I do, I'm planning another giveaway!

I'm also including my books bought and read lists for the week.

Books Read This Week:

Marco Polo Didn't Go There by Rolf Potts
Between the Covers
Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge
Mountain Man Dance Moves: A McSweeney's Book of Lists
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Feet by M.T. Anderson

Books Bought:

Best American Short Stories 1992 and 1996
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Slightly Chipped: Footnotes in Book Lore
Love Is A Mix Tape
Adrian Mole (first three books in the series)
Loser Goes First
When I Was A Girl
Big Cherry Holler
The Known World
Cage of Stars
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Good Grief
Confessions of a Contractor

All for $15! Love me some McKays!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: Love and War

I've enjoyed books by John Eldredge before and this one was not a disappointment. I was thrilled that Waterbrook/Multnomah provided me with a copy for review! The best summary I can give of the book, is a quote from pg. 208:

"We live in a love story, set in the midst of a war. Love is our destiny and all hell is set against it."

John and Stasi present both practical and spiritual tools for overcoming the enemy in the battleground that is marriage. While the book occasionally veered into territory that is covered in every Christian marriage book, the majority of the book contained unique analysis of scripture, as well as biblical tools for loving your spouse the way Christ loves the church. I particularly enjoyed the focus that the authors place on spiritual warfare and the damage it can cause to a marriage. I was glad to see that the authors did not only describe spiritual warfare and how it affects marriages, but also the biblical way to overcome these trials. The authors are brutally honest with their own lives and families and make themselves vulnerable to readers, which adds a great deal of authenticity to the book. If your marriage isn't perfect, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out.

Like Cupidity, this is a book that is intended for a Christian audience. While you certainly don't have to be a Christian to understand the concepts, all of the material in the book is explicitly Bible-based and deals with how to best manage your marriage through biblical principles and Godly living, which makes it an ideal read for me, but is not necessarily for everyone.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm giving away a copy of my favorite love story, Bel Canto by Anne Patchett. This is also one of my top 3 books of all time. If I make it to 50 followers by Sunday, I'll add another winner, who will receive a two book surprise! Just leave your name and the number of points you get in a comment. That's how many times I'll enter your name in the drawing.

New Follower: +3
Current Follower: +5
Twitter about my giveaway (include your tweet): +2
Blog about my giveaway (include your link): +2
Leave me a comment telling me why you love me (I'm a sucker for flattery): +1

Review: Cupidity

I have loved the DiMarcos as authors since my parents gave my little sister a copy of Dateable while I was working with a high school youth group. I stole it to use with the girls I was working with and fell in love. I read Marriable as I was dating Luke and loved it too. These are down to earth, real life solutions to issues people actually face. Instead of the cliches that so often come at Christians (it's better not to date, etc), these authors write from less conservative point of view and provide practical, biblical advice. Having a chance to review their latest book for Tyndale was exciting to say the least.

Cupidity itself focuses on mistake that are commonly made my Christians in love - married or single. There is great advice in here about keeping your love going after marriage, respecting your husband, motivating your husband without nagging, and great advice for husbands on loving your wife, romance, and pornography. I thought about using it as a giveaway for Valentine's Day on here, but I loved it enough that I've got to keep it. It's getting a special spot on my shelves with Datable, Marriable, Mean Girls Grown Up, and a few other Hungry Planet books.

Here's my one warning: if you are not interested in reading a lot of biblical references OR you do not believe that wives should submit to their husbands, you are probably not going to just love this book. I take a pretty literal interpretation of the Bible and I want to see how the Bible backs up what I'm being taught, so these are both positive aspects of the book for me, but they may turn some readers off.

And one more small note: I think Cupidity is a great name, but you don't need to repeat the word in every single paragraph. By the end of the book the word had lost its cuteness and was grating on my nerves. But not enough to ruin the message of the book. I even got the chance to put some of the lessons I learned into practice this week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?

Cold weather is the best suspense weather in the world, as far as I'm concerned. I don't like the gross-out, torture and destroy novels, but there is nothing better than a warm blanket and a good suspense. Some of my favorites:

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Sweetheart Series by Chelsea Cain (fairly formulaic)
Kate Atkinson's series starting with Case Histories
This Present Darkness/Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti (although these border on the cheesey)
In The Woods by Tana French
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostava (see review below)

Please, please, please leave me some suggestions for your favorite edge of your seat, creep you out thriller!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: The Historian

I was probably 50 pages into this book before I realized that it was actually about vampires. Everything I had read was vague, and I had it in my mind that the "family secret" was that members of the family were still practicing torture and impalement in the line of Vlad the Impaler. I'm not into the whole vampire crazy, so I would have stopped at that point had I not been already completely immersed in the story. I'm so glad I kept going because this is what I consider a "real" vampire story - no one is going to high school or sparkling or falling in love with teenage girls - the vampires are scary and evil and lurk in shadows just like they ought to.

I don't know that I would consider The Historian to be a thriller as much as a suspenseful mystery. I love that the author avoids using explicit blood and gore and uses her writing to build the suspense rather than relying on the shock factor. Hitchcock could do wonders with this book. If you're wanting a fast pace, this may not be the best book for you, but, regardless of the slow pace, I was intrigued through the entire novel. My one complaint is that the ending, which a shock, seemed somewhat anticlimactic. After almost 700 pages of buildup, I would have liked a little more to happen with the ending, but it wasn't enough to turn me off the book altogether. It fit the storyline and the author's style well. Definitely recommend it to anyone who loves suspense!