Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Congratulations to Wall-to-Wall books for being chosen by random.org as the winner of my first giveaway!!! She has won a brand new copy of the book, Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg!!

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Wall-to-wall books said... 24 You have to move on. It is hard but you have to make yourself. You just do one day at a time. Today will be a little better than yesterday and tomorrow will be even better. I am also a Christian so my faith in God and prayer helps me. I am not alone as long as I have Jesus.

forevereading at gmail dot com

Congrats!!!! I will be contacting you shortly! Also, thanks to everyone who entered...I loved reading all of your wonderful comments. Please check back tomorrow as I will be announcing a giveaway for the month of June!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Synopsis in a Sentence: In this self-relevatory memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert leaves her marriage and sets out on a quest around the world to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life.

My Thoughts: Eat, Pray, Love is a very good and unique book, for the most part! I feel like most women would be able to identify with Gilbert's inner conflict and even with some of her wanderlust...perhaps not to the point where you leave your significant other and set off on a self discovering journey, but in the way that women sometimes need to remember who they are outside of their day to day life.

In this memoir, Gilbert travels to three distinct places around the globe to find peace within herself and a greater understanding of who she is. She first goes to Italy, and this was my favorite section of the book. Gilbert simply lets herself rest and indulges in all of her five senses...your mouth practically waters as you read about the amazing pasta and pizza she eats!

The chapters where she is in India and learning to pray, do yoga and center herself are fascinating, but starts to get a little repetitive and boring after awhile. Her descriptions of Bali, the third location she journeys to, bring the beautiful paradise to life, but she ends up meeting another man while she's there and becoming infatuated with him. It kinda seems like it defeats the whole purpose of the book a bit...she goes on this quest to figure out who she is as an independent woman, seperate from a man and then ends up right back where she started haha! Overall though, a very descriptive, fun and enlightening read.

I know this book is a few years old...has anyone else read it and what did you think? Have you read the sequel, Committed?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading. This week's question:

Do you ever feel like you’re in a reading rut? That you don’t read enough variety? That you need to branch out, spread your literary wings and explore other genres, flavors, styles?

To be honest, for a long time, I felt perfectly happy only reading Christian historical fiction books! They were such feel good reads. My sister used to roll her eyes at me as she was never able to borrow any books of mine because that is not a genre she enjoyed. One of the reasons I started this blog actually, was to keep track of my journey in branching out into all different genres and styles of literature.

I've found myself recently adding all kinds of different genres of books to my TBR list on GoodReads (check out my Wishlist above) and getting excited about discovering new authors. I would like all of you, my followers, to know that I plan on reviewing YA, mystery, fantasy, chick lit etc...coming soon. I will get there, I promise! I'm definitely on my way to becoming a very eclectic reader now! :)

What about all of you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To participate, just answer the following three (3) questions...

  • What are you currently reading?

  • What did you recently finish reading?

  • What are you planning on reading next?

My answers:

I am currently reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love the girl power aspect of this book! It also reads a lot like a novel, but it is a memoir.

I recently finished reading Dewey by Vicki Myron. Such a cute, cozy read about a cat who finds his way into the hearts of an entire town.

I think I will read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen next! Hubby and I went to see the movie, and I liked it, so I want to be able to compare movie and book :). It looks like such an intriguing read...about the circus in the Depression era.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I've decided that every once in awhile, I'll hold a discussion about something that is relevant to books and reading. I know that I LOVE to talk about anything "bookish" and would love to hear your thoughts on the topics that I will be posting!

Today's discussion is about Oprah. I grew up watching her on tv and am feeling sad that tomorrow is her last show ever! I was wondering if anyone else is sad that her show is coming to an end and if you were ever impacted by her bookclub? Did one of the books she picked in the past resonate with you in some way? Did her bookclub and her love of reading inspire you to read more or to love reading even more?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts! Happy reading!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Musing Mondays is brought to us from MizB of Should Be Reading. Thanks for the fun weekly meme! This week's Musing is...

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week?

My answer: Well, thanks for asking haha! :) This past Saturday I went to the bookstore with some girlfriends as doctor hubby was working ALL day and ALL night at the hospital. While we were there, I meandered over to the YA section, and finally decided to join in the craze with the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! I've heard so much about them, and discovered that they are also going to be made into movies. I bought a nice boxed set with all three hardcover books.

My friend also happened to mention the book, Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I love the movie version of this with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and was excited because I hadn't known before that the movie was based on a book! Maybe I will read it around Halloween in the Fall :). Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hi dear followers! :) I'm excited to announce that I was chosen to be featured tomorrow on the lovely book blog, CMash Loves to Read. The owner of this blog is so sweet and a true book lover. There is always something interesting and thoughtful to read on her blog, so I definitely suggest hopping over there to say hi if you are not a follower already! Click the picture below to go there.

CMash Loves to Read”=

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome any new followers to my blog from this spotlight! I look forward to getting to know you and the books that you love :). I'm so glad you're here...have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review of Dewey by Vicki Myron

Synopsis in a Sentence: In this touching memoir, librarian Vicki Myron adopts a sweet male cat who ends up living in the library and touching hearts all over the world.

My Thoughts: I loved this book! At first, I wasn't sure if I would because I am more of a dog person than a cat person, but I think I liked this book even more than Marley and Me. My husband became nervous after I finished reading this, because I told him I wanted to get a cat now in addition to our two dogs haha :)!

What is interesting about this book is that Myron really depicts what it is like living in a small town in the Midwest. You almost feel like you are there as the neighbors come together during good and bad crops and survive an economic depression. Dewey, the sweet and mischevious cat who was found by the librarians after being shoved through the book return slot bonds with the entire town and helps give them a sense of pride about who they are with his unwavering friendliness and love. The author also chronicles the struggles she goes through in her personal life, such as a breast cancer scare, divorce and trying to make ends meet. Dewey is there with her through it all in endearing, laughable and touching ways.

This book really proves that pets can have a "sixth sense" about human's emotions and that they really can become our best friends through life's ups and downs. The way Myron writes about Dewey really makes you realize that he was indeed, a special cat who cared about the library, the library patrons and about reading and books. His full name was actually Dewey Readmore Books lol. I would definitely recommend this book to any animal lovers or to anyone who enjoys reading about libraries and small town America.

What I liked the most: One of the most touching ancedotes in the book is when Dewey (named after the Dewey decimal system!) befriends a little girl with special needs. This book definitely touched my heart more than I thought it would and I found myself needing tissues while reading the ending!

What I liked the least: I found myself wanting to know more about some of the loose ends in the book, such as if Myron discovered love again after her divorce etc...I found out that she wrote a sequel to Dewey, so if you end up liking this one, there are still more Dewey stories available :).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fairy Tale Challenge

So I'm a little bit late in the game with signing up for reading challenges for 2011 as my blog didn't really get up and running until March, but this one caught my eye. Isn't that picture so whimisical?
This contest is being held by TIF Talks Books and it runs until December 31st 2011. Here are the levels you can participate in:

Fairy (Level 1): Read 1 original tale. Read 1 modern tale. Watch 1 film. (Total of 3 selections.)
Dwarf (Level 2): Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 6 total selections.
Royal Prince or Princess (Level 3): Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 9 total selections.
Happily Ever After (Level 4): Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 12 total selections.

Personally, I'm going to try for the Dwarf level! You can see my progress with this challenge by looking under Features at the top of my blog :).

To find out more about this challenge or to sign up, click the picture above!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This 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 (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page

  • Be careful not to include spoilers

  • Be sure to include the title and author of the book too, so that if others are intrigued by your teaser, they can add the book to their TBR pile as well

My Teaser: "Then I realized the man was holding the newspaper with his right hand while petting Dewey with his left. One of them was purring; the other was smiling. That's when I knew Dewey and the town had fallen into a comfort zone, that the general outline of our lives had been set, at least for the next few years."

From Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron p. 171

Monday, May 16, 2011

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading! This week's Musing asks us...

In MizB's local community, the Catholic schools have decided to close their schools' libraries as a result of budget cuts. The librarians have lost their jobs and all of the books that used to be in the library have been moved to the classrooms instead. Parents, students and teachers are in an uproar. What do you think? Is it a good solution for schools to be without an actual library room?

My answer...

First of all, I wanted to make a quick mention of Blogger being down last week. This caused some of my posts to be rearranged and for some of my comments to be deleted! :( If you have entered my giveaway, please make sure that your entry is still there and make sure to re-enter if it got deleted. Thanks to all for your entries...giveaway ends on May 31st, so there is still time to sign up if you haven't already!

Now to my Musing answer. My first thought is wow, that is really just SAD! I agree with MizB's response that libraries are not just "rooms" or "places" but instead, are treasure troves where magical books are held. I feel sad for the children who don't have a quiet place to go now, where they can check out books, learn about books, read books, study, or just rest and be quiet.

I have definitely loved and utilized libaries from an early age...I remember the excitement of signing up for summer reading contests at my local library when I was little to scouring out quiet nooks to spread out and study while in college.

Having said all of this, though, in this economy, hard decisions do have to be made and I'm sure the school board really had a tough time making this one. Maybe everyone in your community, MizB, can put their heads together and hopefully come up with a better solution!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review of Marley and Me by John Grogan

Synopsis in a Sentence: Dog owner and writer, John Grogan, tries to navigate life with his rambunctious and fun-loving Labrador Retriever, Marley.

My Thoughts:

First of all, this book was so much fun to read! The misadventures that Marley finds himself having are hilarious and endearing. Any dog owner and lover, will be able to find humor and appreciate this touching memoir...and see glimpses of themselves and their own pets in owner, John and dog, Marley.

Perhaps my favorite Marley misadventure is when he fails out of puppy class for behaving badly, but then years later, after being trained more thoroughly by John, is able to finally complete obedience class successfully! Also, it is so sweet at the end of the book when John is describing Marley's legacy and says, "He may not have been the best behaved dog in the world, but he knew exactly what it was to be loyal, and to be man's best friend." How can you not love a story about a big, drooly, loyal pooch?! I did, and I think you will too :).

What I liked most: I loved how this book was not just about Marley, but about the story of the Grogan family. It is truly the portrait of a family growing, changing, and learning to love life and eachother. Of course, as pets do, Marley is there to support, love, and add entertainment every step of the way!

What I liked least: Grogan possibly drags out the book a little bit too long. I also got the feeling that every once in awhile, he was exaggerating or even making up a few stories about Marley for comedic or dramatic effect. Oh well, only he knows for sure...you still finish the book with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart. Warning: if you are not currently a dog owner, be prepared to have a sudden, undeniable urge to drive straight to the nearest animal shelter to bring home a new, furry friend! ;).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts this weekly meme. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

  • What are you currently reading?

  • What did you recently finish reading?

  • What do you think you'll read next?

My answers...

I am currently reading Marley and Me by John Grogan. Having two dogs, it's really fun reading about another dog's antics and comparing it to what my own do!

I recently finished reading Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. Enter my first giveaway to win a brand new copy of this book!

Staying in the same vein as reading about animals, I think I'm going to read Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. I can't read a book about dogs, and then not give cats any love, can I? You know how cats are...they might take offense to that haha. But in all seriousness, it really does look like a cute, cozy read :).

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts this weekly meme. To play along just answer the following three (3) questions:

What did you recently finish reading?

What are you currently reading?

What do you think you'll read next?

My answers:

I recently finished reading Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. Enter to win a brand new copy of this book in my current giveaway! (see sidebar)

I'm currently reading Marley and Me by John Grogan. Having two dogs myself, it's fun to read about another dog's antics and compare them to what my own do!

Keeping in the same vein with reading about animals, I think I'm going to read Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron next. I can't read a book about dogs and not show cats any love, can I? You know how cats are, they might get offended by that haha :)! In all seriousness though, it really does look like a cute and cozy read.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

Synopsis in a Sentence: A woman (Helen Ames) tries to move on with her life after the death of her husband.

My Thoughts: While reading this novel, I kept thinking of how poignant the story line is and how intimate the "voice" feels. You really feel as if you are friends with the main character, Helen. I really loved the premise of this book...starting over after a heartbreak. We've all been there...whether that heartbreak results from loss of a job, death of a loved one, the end of a relationship. The honest truth is that it sometimes is very hard to remember who you are without that person or thing, and it's incredibly hard to pick up the pieces.

This slim novel definitely brings this scenario of starting over again to life. Helen Ames is trying to figure out who she is and where to go now after the death of her beloved husband. She is a writer who is currently suffering from writer's block and has a complicated relationship with her daughter, Tessa, on top of everything else.

You find yourself cheering for Helen as she gains confidence and learns from her mistakes. I would definitely recommend this quiet and subtle novel to anyone who wonders "where do I go from here?" when they find themselves in a transition spot in life.

What I liked most: The relationship that Helen has with her daughter mirrors what many mothers and daughters go through together in real life. The truth and honesty of their relationship is touching and endearing. Also, Berg's writing style is simple, clear, and charming.

What I liked least: The storyline had a tendency to become a little repetitive and there is not a lot of action or drama in this book. At points, I wished for a little more "spice" but there was definitely still beauty and truth in the quietness of it. I'm sure I will read more from Elizabeth Berg in the future!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The book blogger hops are great ways to meet other book lovers and make new friends! So, join in the fun :).

This week, Crazy For Books asks us: Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

My answer: Well, she's not a book blogger, but she's still an amazing blogger! I'm going to say my blog designer, Emily, from Blogaholic Designs. She literally went above and beyond in creating my book blog and I'm not sure it would have gotten off the ground without her. Emily has responded to every question I've had along the way, sometimes within hours! Also, even though my blog has been up and running for months, she always seems so sweet and cheerful if I still email her with questions or concerns. In other words, she is totally awesome! :)

I also want to give a shout out to Cheryl over at the blog, CMash Loves to Read. I met her when I noticed that Emily had also designed her book blog. Cheryl has been beyond sweet and kind by answering my questions and encouraging me with my blog. Thanks, Cheryl!

This week, Parajunkee asks us: What character in a book would you most like to be and what character in a book would you most like to date?

My answer: Elizabeth Bennett. Haha, that was easy! What girl at some point doesn't dream of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice sweeping them off their feet?! Sorry hubby ;).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Thursday's meme asks us: Name one book that you hope never, ever ever gets made into a movie? Last Thursday's question that I'd still like to answer is: If you could see a book turned into the perfect movie, one that would capture everything you love...the characters, the look, the feel, the story-what book would you choose?

My answers:

To answer last week's meme, I would definitely say, without hesitation, that I would love to see author Kristen Britain's Green Rider series made into movies. I'm a huge fan of fantasy books and I just think the adventures in these books would translate into an exciting and engrossing film. The characters are rich and deep and the romantic tension between some of them is almost palpable. I would really love for more fantasy books to be made into movies...there's such a great escape element to fantasy. And isn't film more or less about escapism from the everyday?

My answer for this week's question was more difficult to decide on. I guess I'd have to go with Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It was a very well written book and a totally unique plot, but it might be a little boring to watch a boy stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger for two hours, I'm just sayin'! :) Plus, it would probably take some kick butt trainers to make sure the tiger wouldn't eat the entire film crew!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review of William and Kate: A Royal Love Story by Christopher Andersen

Synopsis in a Sentence: The author chronicles the relationship of Prince William (of England) and his bride, Catherine Middleton as they go from college sweethearts to a royal engaged couple.

My Thoughts: I loved this book! And I love William and Kate! And I loved watching the royal wedding! Haha, was that a little too over the top for you? Sorry :). I just find their love story to be very charming and genuine. I decided to read and review this book as their was so much hype and excitement about the royal wedding last week. It seemed a very appropriate book choice!

The author, Christopher Andersen, who has written several other books on the royal family, seems to have done a lot of research for this book and it really shows. He gives plenty of little tidbits in this book about the couple which I didn't know before, like the fact that they go grocery shopping together and have actually a very normal relationship. I also really liked learning more about Kate (now Princess Catherine) and the author actually goes into quite a bit of detail about her background, schooling and family. There are also a number of color photographs of the couple which add to the romantic and cute ambiance of the book.

Princess Diana was a woman whom I always really admired. You have the feeling that she would have been really proud of how her son has seemingly turned out. It was really fun learning more about the newly married couple in this book, and if you are looking for a fluffy, light read for an upcoming beach vacation or are just in the mood for something cheerful and fast paced, I would definitely recommend this.

By the way, did anyone get up early to watch the royal wedding or even have a viewing party? I got up at 3:30 a.m. (central time)! I also am slightly embarassed to admit that I bought a cheapie tiara at Target and vanilla bean scones from Starbucks to celebrate the event. Cheesy? Yes, but when do you ever get to do stuff like that in life hehe :)? If you did watch it, what did you think, most especially about the dress? I thought it was very Grace Kellyish!

What I liked Most: You get the sense in reading this book that this couple might actually have a fairytale happy ending, unlike what happened with Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

What I liked Least: The author includes 1 or 2 stories about the couple which I'm not sure I believe, such as that they supposedly got engaged a year before they announced it to the public, in Scotland. There just seems like too much evidence to the contrary, but who knows. I just wanted to read stories about a genuine seeming couple, rather than rumors and gossip.