Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop: $10 Amazon gift card


Thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm for hosting this October Giveaway Hop!

I love that fall is in the air. Halloween is a week away and in celebration of all things fall, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon.com so that you can purchase a book of your choice to read. I am stop #232 on the giveaway hop.

Amazon_gift_card.jpg

Over 420 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Monday October 24th through Monday October 31st.

***MUST BE A FOLLOWER TO ENTER***
(To follow, scroll down on the right side bar and click "follow")


Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.

**Note: I changed my fb page to match my blog's name so please re-like if you've "liked" me before. Thanks!**





Once you're done entering my giveaway, feel free to hop on over to another giveaway:


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon: Update #3 Wrap-up


I am participating in a Read-a-Thon this weekend. This one is hosted by My Shelf Confessions and Kindle Fever.

Update #2: As of Sunday evening, I am still on page 161 of The White Queen. :)


I had a really hard day, mama-wise, today. Not having the hubby around all weekend took it's toll on me and when I finally had him back, I just slept all afternoon.

It was fun to participate though and chat with other book bloggers this weekend.

I'm hoping to redeem myself this week with the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon. I'm hoping to finish this book already! :)

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon: Update #2


I am participating in a Read-a-Thon this weekend. This one is hosted by My Shelf Confessions and Kindle Fever. It is not too late to sign-up if you are interested in participating. There are lots of fun challenges going on and prizes to win!

Update #2: As of Sunday morning, I'm on page 161 of The White Queen.

I didn't get to do a ton of reading yesterday, just like I was expecting. The little one woke up extra early today and took a super short morning nap, so no reading done so far today. Waiting for the hubby to get home so I can get some me-time.

Reading Challenge: BOOK IN PICTURES

Here's is what's going on in my book in pictures:

Elizabeth, a widow with two sons, wins the heart of a newly-crowned king.
King Edward IV - the new Yorkist king of England

Takes place during the time called "The War of the Roses" which were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York
There is a fight between brothers over the throne, led by the Earl of Warwick.

 
Images from Wikipedia

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon: Update #1


I am participating in a Read-a-Thon this weekend. This one is hosted by My Shelf Confessions and Kindle Fever. It is not too late to sign-up if you are interested in participating. There are lots of fun challenges going on and prizes to win!

When I signed up for this, I didn't realize it was the same weekend that my hubby would be away at a Men's Retreat with our church. How I'm going to find some time to read while being a single parent to a very active toddler will be my challenge this weekend, but I am excited to participate in this Read-a-Thon. I've wanted to participate in one for awhile now, so here we go!

Obviously, I don't expect to get much read this weekend so I won't set myself up for disappointment by giving myself way too lofty goals. Thus, my goal for this Read-a-Thon is to finish the book that I am in right now:

Title: The White Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Touchstone (August 18, 2009)

Summary from Goodreads:
Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

As of Saturday morning: I am currently on page 82.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bookish delights :: 5


I love this Penguin Books iPhone case. I have a boring ol' black one. Looks like it might be time for a change! :)




image courtesy of: Cassia Beck

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book review: Heaven is for Real by: Todd Burpo

Title: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Sotry of His Trip to Heaven and Back
Authors:


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 18


What lovely lighting to read with in this reading nook! I think I'd be too distracted and stare out the window the whole time though. :)


image courtesy of Safdie Rabines Architects


Sunday, October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox :: 4

 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you can post the books that you've received, purchased, won in a giveaway, borrowed from the library, swapped on PaperBackSwap, etc. For more information, click here

This was a very exciting week for my mailbox and I! Lots of great books and goodies!

Won a Skype Visit with Anne Ursu (author of Breadcrumbs) via Mary Ann Scheuer at Great Kid Books:

Breadcrumbs by: Anne Ursu

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers/Walden Pond Press

Hardcover, 313 pages (September 27, 2011)

Summary from Goodreads:
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.


And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.


Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.
I am so excited to win this Skype visit from Anne Ursu for my students. I love sharing my love of reading with them and I think it's going to be so great for them to interact with an author and see that there are real people behind the books they read! Can't wait! Thanks Mary Ann and Walden Pond Press  

Won from giveaway by Jil of The O.W.L.:
 

Publisher: GRAPHIX (September 1, 2011)

Paperback, 224 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Kazu Kibuishi's thrilling, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling series continues!

Emily and her friends think they'll find the help they need in Cielis, but something isn't right. Streets that were once busy are deserted, and the townspeople who are left live in crippling fear. Emily is escorted to the Academy where she's expected to compete for a spot on the Guardian Council, the most powerful Stonekeepers. But as the number of competitors gets smaller and smaller, a terrible secret is slowly uncovered—a secret that, if left buried, means certain destruction of everything Emily fights for.

I am coming into this series late, but have always been curious about it. I think I might go back and get the 1st one so I know what's going on!

Received from Simon & Schuster via Crazy Book Tours to review:


The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (expected publication date October 18, 2011)

Hardcover, 448 pages 


Summary from Goodreads:
Number 1 bestselling author Philippa Gregory continues the Plantagenet story with Jacquetta Woodville, mother of The White Queen.


The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother by Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Touchstone (September 6, 2011)

Hardcover, 306 pages

Summary by Goodreads:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory and two historians present a must-have non-fiction book for both fans and scholars.

I LOVE Philippa Gregory and jumped at the chance to review two of her newest books for Crazy Book Tours. I read almost all of her books on the Tudors and now I'm starting this series on the Cousins' War. I am itching to get into these two books! 




Received from Booksneeze to review:

The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere

Publisher: St. Martin's Press (expected publication date: October 25, 2011)
Hardcover, 224 pages
Summary from Goodreads:
From author of The Christmas Hope series, which has enthralled millions of readers, comes a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women, but one that will change each of their lives forever.
Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into an apartment with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. She and her children are building a life together in a new community when a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, moves into the apartment next to them. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day, a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help, but the apartment is a gut wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers she has a brother and a sister that she never knew about. Even more shocking, she begins to uncover family secrets that show her who she really is. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?


For two Christmases in a row, I've been wanting to read VanLiere's Christmas books. I see that Costco and have been curious about them. I'm finally checking them out and it makes me happy because I love stories that take place during Christmas. Once October rolls around, it's holidays time in our home so this is a perfect read for this time of year!

Received from PaperBackSwap:
The Lucky Shopping Manual by:


Turtleback, 320 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
What to wear, how to buy, where and when to spend: These are the topics covered each month by the exceedingly plugged-in staff of Lucky, whose circulation rocketed from 500,000 to 800,000 in just two short years. For Lucky's devoted fans, and anyone devoted to dressing better and shopping smarter, The Lucky Shopping Manual will be the ├╝ber-find. Finally, there is a book that does away with the inconsequential information in previous fashion books and presents only the most useful tips and imperative information for how to dress better for less. Filled with tips that will appeal to shopaholics and disciplined bargain hunters alike, this enticing guide is packed with over 1,000 full-color photos and illustrations, with a ribbon marker and flexi-cover so women can take it shopping with them.

With great advice on every uniquely designed page, The Lucky Shopping Manual includes features such as:
* Building a wardrobe you love, with cross-referenced sections on everything from skirts, tops, dresses, pants, and suits, to shoes, bags, belts, and what looks best for your body type
* How to spot great finds at the local flea market or the best boutiques
* What to spend your money on and where you can scrimp
* Cool stores coast-to-coast to check out when you're traveling
* Practical tips for fabric care, shoe maintenance, and stain remedies
* Shipping just in time for the holidays, The Lucky Shopping Manual makes a luscious gift-a fantastic shopping spree under the tree.
Board book, 28 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Max was interested in helping children understand their value - not from the world's perspective, but from God's. Wemmicksville is a land created by Eli, the "God" figure of the story. He creates each Wemmick in Wemmicksville uniquely, each with its own look and personality. Each story and video is a new adventure with the citizens of Wemmicksville. Punchinello is the central character, along with his friends Lucia, Splint, and Chip. When Punchinello strays from Eli, he begins to have problems. Only when Punchinello stays close to Eli does he clearly see how to walk through his life in Wemmicksville.

In this heartwarming tale, Eli helps Punchinello understand how special he is-no matter what other Wemmicks may think. Children will learn a vital lesson-regardless of how the world sees them, God loves each of them just as they are.
 

I got this for Lily. I read about it in Love You More by Jennifer Grant and wanted to add it to Lily's personal library. I've heard such great things about Max Lucado. One of these days, I'll have to read one of his books. 

This was a great week for my mailbox! What's in yours?  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 13

This photo is deliciously autumn. Even though our typical Octobers in SoCal consist of hot, dry days with Santa Ana winds that wreak havoc on my sinuses, I like to imagine myself somewhere where the leaves change color.

Happy Autumn everyone!



image courtesy of Jack Batchelor Photography

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bookish delights :: 4


This is such a cute wedding cake! I can only imagine what the rest of their wedding must have been like. Maybe the hubby would be down for a bookish wedding renewal? 




image courtesy of NatalieCakeGirl

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Tour & Review: Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

Title: Flat Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Createspace (July 28, 2011)
Source: Received from Crazy Book Tours

Buy here: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Summary from Goodreads:
Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.
Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages. 

Review:

I flat-out LOVED this book. It has been a long time since I've finished a book in one day (having a baby will do that to your reading life), but I could not put it down once I started it. It grabbed me from the first page and it was a great story from beginning to end.

The stars were very much aligned for me to like this book because:
  1. I love Boston and it is the one city on the East Coast that I would consider living in. Park does a great job of making the city come alive to you in this story by describing all the little nooks and crannies - and even the people.
  2. I am always tethered to social media, much to the dislike of my hubby. In college, it was posting AIM away messages and now I'm on facebook/twitter at least once or twice a day. I loved the little facebook updates and emails throughout the story. It made it a very modern story and I really enjoyed that part of the story. It really added another element to the book in a good way.
  3. It's got a little love-triangle in it and who doesn't like that?
The main character, Julie, is starting college and ends up moving into her mom's old college roommate's home because her housing situation doesn't pan out.  She becomes a part of the family and with it comes challenges, but also love and support. Even though the idea of the youngest daughter in the family, Celeste, carrying around a cardboard cut-out of her older brother seems very odd and peculiar initially, Park writes the story in a way that you become accepting of it very quickly and the mystery behind the cut-out is what drives the rest of the story. You, just like Julie, want to know what's the deal behind the cardboard cut-out.

The story is very well-written and Park does a superb job of moving the story along. You don't ever feel like she lingers too long in one moment and it moves in a pace that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next. The dialogue is extremely witty and the banter between Julie and Matt, Finn and Celeste are so clever and intelligent. I especially loved reading the emails and chat messages. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to shout from the rooftops about how great this book is once you're done. Once I finished, I wanted to re-read it again. Not many books can do that.

Overall: 

Park is a masterful storyteller and develops her characters in ways that you can't help but be invested in them, flaws and all. They feel very real to you and I felt like I was right there in the mix of the it all. (I love when books do that!) You root for Julie to figure out the mystery. You fall in love when she falls in love and feels her pain as she digs deeper into the family secrets. All the twists are turns were completely unexpected for me. I did not expect the ending at all! I highly recommend this book to young women like myself. I think women who are into social media will especially find this book enjoyable to read. This was definitely one of my favorite books of 2011.

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Author & Book Information:

Jessica Park is the author of FLAT-OUT LOVE, the young adult novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park) and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2). She grew up in the Boston area and then went to Macalester College in frigid St. Paul, Minnesota. During her freshman year, there was a blizzard on Halloween, and she decided that she was not cut out for such torture. So she moved back to the east coast where, she'd forgotten, it still snows. Oops. She now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, she is probably on Facebook , pining over 80s rock stars, or engaging in "Glee" activities. Or some combination of the three. Probably with a coffee in hand.


Jessica loves to hear from readers and does her best to get back to everyone who writes her! You can e-mail her HERE. Tell her about your ex-boyfriend who was a font nerd. Or send pictures of awesome Flat People on adventures. (You get bonus points for this. Possibly some sort of award, too.) Stories of online romance. Apartment rental disasters. Skydiving experiences... Whatever you want.


And like any normal person, she has an online addiction, so you can find her on FACEBOOK, GOODREADS, TWITTER, and blogging at What the Kid Says about her kooky conversations with her son. Her young adult book, RELATIVELY FAMOUS, has its own website (greedy book!), so stop by for more info!

Please check out other stops on this blog tour: 

10/3/2011 - Practical Frugality
10/4/2011 - Colloquium
10/5/2011 - Reader Girls        
10/6/2011 - Kritter's Ramblings
10/7/2011 - Reviews by Molly                         
10/8/2011 - Laurie Here Reading and Writing Reviews   
10/9/2011 - WV Stitcher                      
10/10/2011 - A Bookish Affair                   
10/11/2011 - the bookish mama                          
10/12/2011 - Books in the Burbs                         
10/13/2011 - The Many Thoughts of a Reader                   
10/14/2011 - Proud Book Nerd               
10/15/2011 - Hippes Beauty and Books OH MY
10/16/2011 - StephTheBookworm                       
10/17/2011 - A Cozy Reader's Corner                
10/18/2011 - Authors Book Corner                
10/19/2011 - Amusing Reviews  

Special thanks to Crazy Book Tours for including me on this blog tour!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 12


When I was a kid, this was the image I had stuck in my head about where I wanted to read. I'm not sure where it came from, but when I actually tried it out, it didn't quite have the glamour and pizzazz that I was hoping for. It probably doesn't help that I'm not really an outdoors-on-the-grass kind of a girl to begin with.

This does look lovely though, doesn't it?



image courtesy of: fhrankee (via deviantart)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review: Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Title: Vision in White (Bride Quartet #1)
Author: Nora Roberts

Publisher: Berkley Trade (April 28, 2009)
Source: received from PaperBackSwap

First lines: By the time she was eight, Mackensie Elliot had been married fourteen times. She'd married each of her three best friends - as both bride and groom - her best friend's brother (under his protest), two dogs, three cats and a rabbit.

Summary from Goodreads:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac – the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

After years of throwing make-believe weddings in the backyard, flowers, photography, desserts, and details are what these women do best: a guaranteed perfect, beautiful day full of memories to last the rest of your life.

With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera – ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac’s foundation is jostled again moments before an important wedding planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

Carter Maguire is definitely not her type: he’s stable, and he’s safe. He’s even an English teacher at their high school alma mater. There’s something about him that makes Mac think a casual fling is just what she needs to take her mind off dealing with bride-zillas and screening her mother’s phone calls. But a casual fling can turn into something more when you least expect it. And with the help of her three best friends – and business partners – Mac must learn how to make her own happy memories…
Review:
This was my first Nora Roberts book. Honestly, I decided to read it because I loved the covers. It really touches the part of me as woman that loves weddings and everything about them. Plus, my friend highly recommended it to me so I had to add it to my to-read list.

Unfortunately, I think it was a little bit of a letdown. I really wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to fall in love with this story especially since I'm a wedding photographer myself and the idea of four best friends running a wedding company together is such an interesting hook! Plus, my husband and I are both teachers. Mac's love interest is a high school English teacher. All the stars were aligned for me to fall in love with this book, but alas it just was not meant to be.

I have to say that from a wedding photographer standpoint, Roberts did a great job of the behind-the-scenes perspective of a wedding photographer at a wedding and the post-production process. I was pleasantly surprised that she was very knowledgeable about wedding photographers and the work they do.

The four women are friends that have known each other most of their lives. I would have loved to have them spend more time together for us to get more glimpses into their friendships. You only get a superficial perspective of the other women. I know there are other books in The Bride Quartet series, one book devoted to each character, but I would have liked to have seen more of their time together as friends to help me to understand how deep their friendship really is. 

Roberts is a masterful storyteller in how she develops her characters. I can see why she has written so many books. She does a great job of building the back story behind the characters. However, what made this story hard for me was that I didn't really like the main character, Mackensie Elliot (aka "Mac") very much. I couldn't get behind her to root for her and the issues that she was facing with her family and her relationships. There were many points of the book that I just wanted to say to Mac, "Get over it!"

Overall:
Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable chick-lit book. I think my expectations were really high going into it because Roberts has written so many other romance novels and thus must be an expert at it.  It just didn't do it for me.

Rating: 
3 out of 5 stars 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Throwback Thursday :: 6 :: Reading Rainbow

This week's Throwback Thursday is in honor of Reading Rainbow.

I LOVED Reading Rainbow as a kid. I watched it all the time and would love catching the re-runs because I would get a chance to re-read the books.

Reading Rainbow exposed me to books that I otherwise would not have been exposed to because my immigrant parents were not very well-versed in children's literature, especially since they were learning English themselves. I was introduced to some of my now-favorite children's books - Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, A Chair for my Mother, etc. (Here is a link to the episode for A Chair for my Mother that I found on youtube.) I can actually still visualize specific pages of books with it's simple animations.

I don't remember the live action parts with LeVar Burton as much, but apparently that was a big part of each episode. I didn't realize that the rest of the episode centered around a theme from the book. Smart!

I do remember looking forward to the end of the episode when Levar would say, "Don't take my word for it..." and then kids would recommend other books to read. The best recommendations for kids are ones that come straight from the kids' mouths.

After doing some research on what happened to Reading Rainbow, I didn't realize that it kept on playing until 2006. I wish there was something like it on TV now, but the kids would probably have e-Readers or something, huh?

One part of who I am as a reader today is because of Reading Rainbow and for that, I am grateful to the show and PBS for airing it for so long.

And who could forget the theme song?! 
"Butterfly in the sky!
I can go twice as high!
Take a look, it's in a book...
A Reading Rainbow!
I can go anywhere!
Friends to know and ways to grow...
I can be anything!
Take a look, it's in a book...
A Reading Rainbow!"


Did you watch Reading Rainbow as a kid?
What was your favorite episode/book?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bookish delights :: 3

Eray's design on minted



Ever since I was a little girl, I always had multiple notebooks. When I was 8-years old, I had a notebook that I carried everywhere with me along with my markers. I used to draw in it and make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Even when I was young, I made lists! OCD-tendencies even back then! I would make lists of my goals and things I wanted to do. Granted when I was 8, my goals included being Miss Teen USA and then being Miss USA. Ha!

I have tons of notebooks and journals lying around my home, much to the dislike of my hubby who finds himself using some of my random, but "oh so super cute!" journals, as his prayer journal because I am obviously not using them. So while I don't NEED another notebook to make random lists in, I LOVE this notebook design I found on minted.

I could put all my book-related ramblings in it, right?






Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If You Give a Child a Book...


An easy way to get books into the hands of children - and it only takes a second!





Book Review: Love You More by Jennifer Grant

Title: Love You More
Author: Jennifer Grant

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 9, 2011)

Source: Received from publisher from BookSneeze.

Did I like the cover?: Very simple, but fits the book. I like the silhouette of the little girl.

First lines: It's just life. One moment I'm standing in the frozen foods aisle, looking for puff pastry sheets or a bag of chopped spinach, and the next I'm fielding a delicate question from a stranger about my family or my reproductive health. "When you become the parents of a child of another race, you become a conspicuous family," a social worker said when my husband and I began the adoption process. "Are you ready for that?"

Book synopsis from Goodreads:
Following the invisible thread of connection between people who are seemingly intended to become family, journalist Jennifer Grant shares the deeply personal, often humorous story of adopting a fifteen-month-old girl from Guatemala when she was already the mother of three very young children.
Her family's journey is captured in stories that will encourage not only adoptive families but those who are curious about adoption or whose lives have been indirectly touched by it. Love You More explores universal themes such as parenthood, marriage, miscarriage, infertility, connection, destiny, true self, failure and stumbling, and redemption.

In Love You More, Jennifer describes the way she feels God has brought her family together and completed it with the adoption of her daughter.
Review:
This memoir is about a woman's journey through adopting a daughter from Guatemala and the changes in her life along the way. Grant already had three biological children of her own, but answers God's calling and adopts fourth child - a little girl. This book is written for parents of all kinds, but couples that are thinking about or have been through adoption will find Grant's personal story inspirational, but also very real.

Grant shares herself very openly throughout the book and does not hold back on sharing her insecurities, doubts and battles with her own perceptions (as well as society's) of parenting. Grant does a great job of keeping God at the center of her story and sharing her real struggle to do God's Will. I enjoyed hearing her "voice" pour out of the pages. It felt very much like I was having a conversation with a close girlfriend. I appreciate that she does not hold back on the challenges of the adoption process.

Also, I appreciated that Grant shared her heart for children living in poverty around the world. She provides resources for those interested in adoption, but also for those wanting to support organizations that work to positively impact the lives of children around the world.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was that I felt like she jumped around a little bit and at times it was hard to figure out if she was flashing back or not. 

Overall:
It was a great read for a new mother like myself even though God has not put on my heart to adopt. I definitely recommend it to parents of all kinds.

Rating:
4 out of 5 stars 





Monday, October 3, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 17


Last week, I talked about my search for more square footage in a small space (for my books). This hidden passage doorway is genius! What would be a waste of space, could be utilized to be purposeful and decorative at the same time. Right? I mean, you couldn't use the water heater space to store anything, right? My only question would be if the shelves would actually be able to withstand the weight of books. Wouldn't want it to fall off the hinges.

Who doesn't love the idea of a hidden passageway?

You can purchase this hidden passage door here from Creative Building Resources.






Sunday, October 2, 2011

In My Mailbox :: 3


 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you can post the books that you've received, purchased, won in a giveaway, borrowed from the library, swapped on PaperBackSwap, etc. For more information, click here

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 11


I ran my first 5k race last weekend in support of the Girl Scouts of America. It was the New Day 5k race held here in San Diego. I have been training for about 4-5 months using the Couch to 5k program and now the Bridge to 10k program on my iPhone. I finished a little under 37 minutes and ran faster than I thought I would. According to the race results, I placed 30th in my age category out of 104 and 197th overall out of 800+. Praise God for a wonderful race!

Now onto a 10k!





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