Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hi dear followers! I'm signing up for another challenge for 2011 (better late than never!) and would like to share it with you in case you'd like to join in the fun too :).

To participate in this challenge:

Read at least 8 books of the chick lit variety. What qualifies for chick lit? Books like Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series, Red Ink Press books, Jane Green or Whitney Lyles etc...These are the mostly fluff, fun to read, brain candy type of books.

I haven't decided yet what chick lit books to read for this challenge, but I will create a list soon and keep track of them under Features on my nav bar. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

If you want to sign up for this challenge as well, click the picture above!

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A fun weekly meme from MizB of Should be Reading! To play along, just do the following:

  • What are you currently reading?

  • What did you recently finish reading?

  • What do you think you'll read next?

My answers:

I'm currently reading William and Kate: A Royal Love Story by Christopher Anderson. Very appropriate as it is royal wedding week hehe! :)

I recently finished reading Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. An interesting drama...

Up next is probably Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. I've never read anything by her before so I'm excited to have discovered a new author!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis in a Sentence: A family struggles with raising their daughter who has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).

My Thoughts: First of all, I want to commend Jodi Picoult for her plethora of novels about compelling and controversial issues. It's pretty amazing how she can take a touchy issue and weave a whole family and legal drama around it. However, having said that, I wasn't actually thrilled by Handle with Care. I think the biggest reason is that it was so similar to her other novel, My Sister's Keeper, except it wasn't as well written as that book was.

The story is told from various points of view: the mother, father, older sister, as well as sections by the doctor who delivered the girl and the lawyer who is put on this case. The girl's name is Willow and this is a nice twist, due to the fact that willow trees bend with the wind and storms instead of breaking and falling as sometimes other trees do. Willow has brittle bone disease which was very interesting to learn about as I had never really heard about this condition before. It is characterized (as we find out in the novel) by bones breaking in the body at the slightest accident or fall, although their are various stages of severity.

Jodi Picoult builds a story around the fact that the OB doctor who delivered Willow (who also happens to be Willow's mother's best friend), should have discovered Willow's condition while she was still in the womb and given the parents the choice on whether or not to keep their baby. The fact that she didn't catch the likelihood of them having an "abnormal" baby, has led Willow's parents to lead an incredibly stressful life, devoted almost entirely to the caretaking of their daughter. Meanwhile, their other daughter feels completely alone and hardly ever receives her parent's attention.

I guess I found it a little bit unlikely that a legal case like this could have become such a big drama as Picoult portrays it in the novel, but it does make for a fast paced read. However, the marital tension that arises between Willow's parents is both understandable and realistic as they navigate the incredible difficulty of raising a daughter with special needs.

As a former special ed teacher, I would recommend this book to teachers and parents of children with special needs as I think they would find a lot to relate to in this book! If you had to choose though, I would definitely pick My Sister's Keeper over this slightly mediocre novel.

What I liked most: Reading about Willow's humor and strength as she struggles with her disease makes you think about and admire what people with disabilities go through on a daily basis. It reminds you that your health is worth taking care of and one of the most important things in life.

What I liked least: Picoult puts her signature startling twist at the end of the book, but in this one, it just doesn't seem like it works...kinda feels forced, like she was going for shock effect instead of a satisfying or plausible ending.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Hoppin'

Friday is book blogger hop day! Join in the hop fun and make new book lover friends :).

Crazy for Books asks us today: If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?

My answer: Yes, of course I do! :) When I find an author whose writing style I love, I will definitely be a loyal fan. However, I also love variety and so I spend a lot of time researching other authors I might love too. Amazon has that cool feature where you can scroll through other books that they have deemed similar to the book you just read. I've found this helpful for discovering new books and authors! I also add new books and authors to my wishlist on GoodReads as soon as I hear about them so that I don't forget and everything is all consolidated in one place.

Parajunkee asks us today: What is currently on your playlist?

My answer: I was just listening to some Lady Gaga on my run!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday's meme asks us: CAN you judge a book by its cover?

My answer: I think maybe sometimes you can! I admit that I've been enticed to buy a book simply because of the appeal of the book's cover. It seems like a very attractive cover might speak to how proud an author is of their book. If they are in love with their masterpiece, it stands to reason that they might work closely with the artist to make sure that the cover image accurately and vividly portrays their vision :). But of course, I'm sure their are books out there with boring or bland covers that still contain magic within!

Monday, April 18, 2011

This week's Musing question asks us: What is at the top of your must-buy list right now (or, if you're more impulsive and don't wait, what books have you bought recently?)

My answer: I usually don't wait! My husband and I are very impulsive buyers, unfortunately. A recent funny story is that hubby and I went to the bookstore and promised eachother that we would only get one book each. When we met up a short while later, we both were holding four books! We had a good laugh over that one :).

I recently bought Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and I'm excited to see the movie soon and then compare book and film. Probably at the top of my must buy list would be The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. Oprah had this book on her Christmas Favorite Things show and said that it contains a lot of wisdom and advice on living.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review of Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Synopsis in a Sentence: A boy (Pi) finds himself stranded in a lifeboat with a tiger after the ship that was carrying him and his family to Canada sinks.

My Thoughts: I remember my sister reading this book years ago, but for some reason, never asked to borrow it! I always kept it in the back of my mind though, as a book which I should return to and read. I finally did! I must say that Yann Martel's writing style is pretty impressive. I was very engrossed when I first began reading this book as the author details the main character growing up at his family owned zoo in India. Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) is a very thoughtful and unique boy who is trying to find himself and his place in the world through exploring all of the world religions. I found it interesting that he doesn't choose just one faith to explore, but manages to find beauty and truth in Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Pi's family emigrate to Canada, but their ship ends up sinking and Pi finds himself alone with a huge, menacing Bengal tiger! The author expertly conveys Pi's dismay and fear at finding himself in this situation, and you find yourself wondering what you would do in a similar situation. It is amazing how Pi manages to survive this ordeal and eventually be rescued, although I found myself getting a little bored as chapter after chapter describes his trials on a lifeboat. Some of these chapters got pretty repetitive after awhile!

What I liked best: How Pi uses his courage, imagination and belief in God and himself to survive being stranded with a tiger.

What I liked least: As I mentioned above, some of the chapters get repetitive and you find yourself anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the story and Pi's reflections on his journey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • 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, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser!

My Teaser: "I hadn't the faintest idea how the night sky might serve as a road map. How could the stars, sparkle as they might, help me find my way if they kept moving?"

p. 193 from Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Monday, April 11, 2011

This week's Musing (hosted by MizB of Should be Reading) asks us: If you're a mood reader, what (genre) do your moods usually call you to read?

My answer: First of all, I wanted to say sorry that I haven't posted on here in a week, I had the flu :(! I think that I am a mood reader. When I was a teenager going through the whole teenage angst thing, I read books like Jane Eyre and Agatha Christie mysteries...books that were a little bit darker to match my turbulent emotions! When I was dating my now husband, I began reading a lot of non-fiction books because my husband is wicked smart (being a doctor and all) and he always knows a little bit about everything. He inspired me to gain a greater thirst for knowledge and I reread The Diary of Anne Frank and Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography, among others. Back in my pre-teen years when my mom was struggling with breast cancer, I read a lot of fantasy books such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia because I wanted to escape the pain and fear I felt and go into another world for awhile. Now, I'm mostly back to reading my true love, which is general fiction books. There is so much variety and depth in this genre that these books can play on many emotions at once.

I'd love to have links to all of your Musing Monday posts! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Synopsis in a Sentence: A boy begins a quest to find out who he truly is in the desert of Eygpt.

Greetings! :) I enjoyed The Alchemist for the most part, but am giving it two keys because I couldn't get into it the way I usually do with books. It was a short read (only 167 pages) and I felt as if I just didn't have enough time to really get to know and connect with the characters. Not that a book has to be long to be good, but I just felt that this particular book skimmed the surface with a lot of things and I was left wanting more.

Having said that though, there were definitely good and intriguing aspects to this story! The main character, Santiago is a shepherd who has a dream about finding a treasure that will change his life. He first meets an old man who claims to be a king and this man gives him valuable advice about how he needs to start the journey to find this treasure. This "king" struck me as being a God like "stand-in" similar to Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia. Even though this king doesn't make another appearance in the book, you get the sense that he's always there, watching and helping the boy along his way.

Santiago ends up finding his treasure in an unlikely place which is interesting, but the message of the whole book is a little abstract. Basically this book is about finding out who you are and using that knowledge to connect to the world. The Alchemist definitely reads more like a legend or a fable than a novel.

What I liked the most: The love story between Santiago and Fatima is touching and sweet. Also, the author's descriptions of the desert really bring it to life.

What I liked the least: As I mentioned above, the message of this book is a little abstract. If you are in the mood for a reflective, deep book though, definitely check this out!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word. This weekly book party is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

Question: Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone or that someone has played on you?

My answer: I'm not a very big prankster and I don't like to be pranked, so this question is hard for me! However, to get in the spirit of things, I might actually text my husband soon something that is not true, and then shout April Fool's when he gets home from work! Is this immature? Yes, but it sounds like a lot of fun hehe :). Hopefully he will think so too and not be too peeved at me!