Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: December 29, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

I hope that you and your loved ones had a wonderful Christmas! It just flew by again, didn't it? Each year, I try my best to slow down and truly enjoy December. I've been in hibernation mode ever since Winter Break started, but I'm slowly emerging to engage with the outside world again and finally cracking open my books again. 

I've also had a little bit of ADHD with not focusing on one book at a time, so this week, my goal is to finish at least ONE of the books I'm reading. Let's see if I can hold myself to it. ;)

This week, I'm currently reading:

I'm enjoyed learning about the history of Pakistan because it is completely foreign to me. The more I learn about her, the more I love her. 



Loving the little short stories in this one. It's perfect to help me through my "mourning Christmas" phase. 



What are you reading this week? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: December 15, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Finished:


My oldest was sick this week and while I stayed home with her, I had the chance to read and finish this book. It was really good. I will be posting a review soon!

This week, I'm currently reading:

I'm taking a break from my book club book to read some holiday stories. 


I saw this at Target and I think it was written just for me! I love Christmas stories! I love Christmas LOVE stories. *insert sigh* :)




Chip-chip-chippin' away at this... 



What are you reading this week? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: December 8, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Pulse It (Simon Teen):

I just recently discovered Simon (& Schuster's) Teen online via Instagram (@simonteen) and found their site, Pulse It. I LOVE it! For the month of December, they are celebrating #31daysofreading by giving free access to a book each day for 24 hours.

I've been dabbling in them this past week and so far, Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger has been the hardest to put down. (I had the chance to meet her a local bookstore signing a few years ago and she was so sweet. I'm so happy for her success!)

I would have finished it in 24 hours, but alas, my job and those cute little girls of mine get in the way of any binge-reading I could possibly do this week.



This week, I'm currently reading:

Gotta finish this for my book club this week! (Procrastination at it's best!) 



Another week, another chapter. Let's do this. :)



What are you reading this week? 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five on Friday :: November 7, 2014



1) Came across this tumblr, Postcards to Authors. What a great idea! It's a project to say thank you to authors who write great books. 

2) People often ask me how I get any reading done, especially with two little kids under the age of 5. In all honesty, I don't get a LOT of reading, but I just read fast so when I DO get a chance to read, I binge read (very similar to binge-watching shows on Netflix). However, this article about how this guy Reads 60 Books a Year is full of helpful tips and strategies on how to get more reading in your schedule. On a side note, I personally get a little pressure to read regularly whenever I set my Goodreads Challenge each year. This year, I set it pretty low at 25 books this year, but in years past, I've set it at 50 books a year. 

3) I am a little (read: a LOT) obsessed with HelloGiggles.com. It's pretty much a website made just for me. I love all the articles and I love that they are also obsessed with the same things I am (i.e., Zooey Deschanel, Gilmore Girls, girl empowerment... ) I loved this list of 20 Quotes from Funny Women
A photo posted by @oliverjeffers on
4) In my next life, I think I'd like to be a children's book illustrator. Until then, here is a great list from Buzzfeed of 18 Illustrators You Need to Follow on Instagram

5) It seems like either I've knowingly (and possibly, unknowingly) have befriended many introverts on my social media networks because I keep seeing this Hamster Ball infographic to explain How to Understand Introverts. Not gonna lie, it's pretty accurate. I'm actually "hamster balling" right now next to my hubby on the couch while I write this blog post and I'm completely content. :) 


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Workspace Wednesday :: 12



I finally made some time to craft last weekend after a few months of no crafting at all. Trying to carve out time for myself isn't always the easiest thing, especially when it's so late once the girls are down.

I had the chance to organize my roller stamps into a bigger container because I snatched up a couple more at my latest visit to Tuesday Morning. I also moved all of my tags into a big I found at the Target One Spot a few months ago. 

If you would like to participate in the Workspace Wednesday posts, follow the #workspacewednesday hashtag on Instagram. 

Marcy Penner is also leading a group of crafty WW posts at #hfworkspacewednesday.

You can follow me on Instagram at @jasminemarie


Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: December 1, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Update:
I've been MIA for most of November. We went to Vegas for a cousin's wedding and then the rush of Thanksgiving week just hit me with food poisoning leading up to it and then family was here the rest of the week. I'm hoping to get into a better schedule with blogging.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This week, I'm currently reading:

My book club and I are reading I Am Malala and I am loving it! It's so interesting and I am so inspired by her story. Excited to talk about with the book club in a few weeks. 


Also, I picked up another graphic novel while at the library a few weeks ago. I've had this on my to-read list for a little while and I'm loving it. I had to put it down while I went through food poisoning for a few days, but the illustrations are good and it kind of makes me hungry while reading it. ;)



Digging back into this again this week. Still trying to meet my goal of finishing it before the end of the calendar year. 



What are you reading this week? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: November 3, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Can you believe it's actually November already? Where did this year go? 

This week, I'm currently reading:

I read A Wrinkle in Time in my 6th grade class and it was the only book (that I can remember) not enjoying because I was so confused by all the sci-fi things. It was probably my first sci-fi ever too. I've had my eye on the graphic novel version and figured that maybe rereading it as an adult WITH pictures might give me a different perspective and appreciation of the story. Wish me luck. I'm trying to read it slowly to not rush through or miss anything. 


My friends and I are starting a book club (FINALLY) and we're going to attempt to read books mentioned in Gilmore Girls (also known as the Rory Gilmore Book Challenge). The first one we chose was vetoed by me because the first few paragraphs made my head spin, but we decided on Beloved instead. Maybe I should start reading it since we're meeting next week? #procrastinator


The size of this book fits very well on the bottom of my current TBR pile. This is NOT a good thing. 



What are you reading this week? 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Five on Friday :: October 31, 2014

Trying out a new meme this week. These memes do seem to get me blogging more than I would otherwise though! So here goes...

1) Loved this quote I found via Penguin Books. I love reading children's books and it's so true!

2) A few months ago, Amazon released that apparently San Diego is the most well-read major city in America according to their data on sales on all books, magazines, newspapers (in both print and e-format). Not sure how accurate this data is, but I'll take the title. Either that or we're spending way too much money on Amazon. #guiltyascharged

3) Watching the show, Sherlock, has led to a little (read: big) crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. British accent? Check! Intelligent? Check! Plays sexy, smart, and charming book characters?! CHECK!!!! (Apparently, I've missed him in many other movies thought (like The Other Boleyn Girl). Time for a re-watch!)

4) I like to think that I gave my girls some really sweet vintage girl names with Lily and Audrey. However, I don't think I could get behind any of these 14 vintage girl names waiting to be rediscovered. Odessa? Winifred? Maybe, Polly... but Delphine? Nope.

5) People often ask if Adam and I want to have another kid. Reading this article really has my questioning whether another child is really in our destiny or not. Here's 22 ways that having three kids is different from having 2. We'll see what God has planned. :)


Blog Tour & Review :: The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Title: The Daughter of Highland Hall
Author: Carrie Turansky
Publisher: Multnomah Books (October 2014)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here
About the Book:
What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor… what if it isn’t enough? 
Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served.
Review:
Ever since I started watching Downton Abbey (and I was late to start watching the show), I've been hooked on everything similar to it (books, movies, TV shows). This book definitely help to fuel the fire! Thankfully because I am so familiar with Downton Abbey, it made it a whole lot easier to understand Edwardian England and it's customs, especially regarding the social season. I am also a huge fan of Call the Midwife, so it helped me to understand the London East End and the contrast between the two different societies.

I did not read the first book The Governess of Highland Hall, but this book could easily stand-alone. I appreciate when authors help to fill in the gaps for you. I may have to go back to read the first one before I read the third one next year.

This coming-of-age story starts with Kate getting ready to be debuted this social season and I couldn't help but picture Mary from Downton Abbey in my head. She is being presented to the King and Queen and her aunt is determined to find her the right man to propose to her by the end of the season. Turansky does an excellent job of including lots of details in her writing to really help bring the story to life and I loved living and experience Kate's world while reading this book.

What is so fascinating about this time period is that you can't help but drawn into the romance of the era and the dynamics between the upper class and the serving class. At the beginning of the story, Kate's world was very black and white, but as the story progresses, you follow her as she struggles through a more "grey area" of life, between what's right and wrong, especially what's right and wrong for her. This includes her journey in not only her social awakening, but a spiritual one as well. Kate struggles with doing what society wants of her, what she thinks God's plan is for her life, and what she wants for herself.

This book begs to be a movie! Or a mini-series, perhaps? Can't wait for the next one!

Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

About the author:

Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, including Surrendered HeartsSnowflake Sweethearts, and Along Came Love. She has been the recipient of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award. Turansky’s first historical fiction novel, and the first in the Edwardian Brides series, The Governess of Highland Hall, is a 2014 Carol Award finalist. While Turansky has been writing articles, devotions and essays since 1999, writing fiction is her passion, and she’s thankful for the creative ideas God has put into her mind and heart.
Turansky was born and raised in Oregon but currently lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, counselor and the author of several parenting books. They have five adult children, two lovely daughters-in-law, a wonderful son-in-law and four adorable grandchildren. The Turanskys partner in ministry at Calvary Chapel Living Hope, a church they helped plant along with a team of hardworking, Jesus-following friends.
When she’s not writing Turansky enjoys spending time with her family, working outside in her flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near her home.
To keep up with Carrie Turansky, visit www.carrieturansky.com, become a fan on Facebook (AuthorCarrieTuransky) or follow her on Twitter (@CarrieTuransky) and Pinterest (CarrieTuransky).


Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: October 27, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Just finished: 

I finished this over the weekend. The good thing about borrowing books from the library is that it forces me to finish a book by a deadline. I have to admit that I'm also a little bit obsessed with the beautiful cover design of this book... well, I'm kind of obsessed with all of the covers over at Chronicle Books. ;)


I've been on a graphic novel kick lately too. I think, similar to the kid lit, it's short, quick, and easy to read. Plus, it's always nice to get lost in a book full of colorful, pretty pictures... even as an adult. 


This week, I'm currently reading:

I finally also started this book that I received from Litfuse. I will have my review up before the end of the week. This should definitely be filed under, "girls in pretty dresses," which should be it's own genre at this point, because seriously, don't you just LOVE the cover?!


Didn't get to read this at all last week, but I'm hoping to at least read one chapter this week. 



What are you reading this week? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: October 20, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Finishing up the series this week!

This week, I'm currently reading:


I also forgot to mention that I've been reading this for work for several months now:



What are you reading this week? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: October 13, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Loved the first one in the series, The Year of the Book, from last week. Glad I had foresight and borrowed the other two books in the series from the library!

(On a side note, can't help but notice that my own baby looks a lot like the baby on the cover!)

This week, I'm currently reading:


What are you reading this week? 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The One with Gilmore Girls



I love the show, Gilmore Girls.

Love might actually be an understatement. Gilmore Girls is basically one of the top TV shows I've ever watched in my life, EVER.

So unless you've been living under a rock, Netflix just released all of the seasons on October 1st. I was literally counting down the days since I've found out and was super happy that October 1st just so happened to fall on a day that was during my Fall Break. On the unfortunate side, it also happened to be towards the latter end of my break. That definitely impeded my plans to binge-watch for days upon days only to emerge to eat, drink, sleep, and make sure my kids are still alive. (However, I am happy, and only slightly embarrassed, to report that I've been watching it on my phone ever chance I get and are about 10 episodes in to the first season.)

I feel like it might be necessary to confess that I wasn't a Gilmore Girls fan from the very beginning. I didn't start watching the show until at least several seasons in after my sister recommended it to me. I have caught up over the years because ABC Family plays it on repeat each day. It's the show that I watch after I come home from work on DVR. However, I think I've made up for not being a founding member of the "Gilmore Girls fan club" by watching it regularly since then. Religiously almost.

I may or may not also admit that I've gotten a certain male figure in my household to watch and follow along with me. I won't name names.

So many things that I love about this show! The quick, lengthy, and witty dialogue. Lauren Graham is so talented. Rory with Dean, then Jess, then Dean again, with a smattering of Jess popping up out of nowhere over and over again, and finally Logan. Ooh, and Luke's Diner... oh, I wish there was a Luke's Diner in my town. And Lane! Who doesn't want to be best friends with Lane? Plus, she was one of the first teenage Asian-Americans to be a regular fixture on one of the TV shows from my generation. (More on that later.)


And I just noticed that in the title shot, it's perpetually autumn in Stars Hollow! Have I mentioned how much I love Autumn? (See last week's post here.)


On a side note, to be truthfully honest, I kind of miss the days when Melissa McCarthy was famous for being sweet and lovable, Sookie. Lately, I've gotten a little tired of her crass and crude humor everywhere. It's hard to see her not be anyone but, Sookie, "best friend with a heart of gold."

I could go on and on, but I will spare you the gushing. At least for now.

Gilmore Girls, I'm so glad you exist.
Slice of Life is a writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Each Tuesday, if you would like to participate you can link up at their post and share your slice or read others. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? :: October 6, 2014


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Back again this week. Woo hoo! I have a project that I am working on that I'd like to unveil soon on my blog. It's been an idea that's been percolating for almost half a year now. I'm happy to see that it's starting to come to fruition. I'll be sharing more about it soon! Until then...

This week, I'm currently reading:


What are you reading this week? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Day the Crayons Quit Event at Barnes and Noble


My girls and I had the opportunity to go to The Day the Crayons Quit culminating event at our local Barnes and Noble bookstore. 


For several weeks now, they've had these sheets out for kids to use crayons and draw/write a petition to the crayons, pleading with them to not quit!


I thought it was a very cute event celebrating a well-loved picture book by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. It was great to see so many kids come out to participate, eagerly awaiting the final decision from the crayons.


The kids were given a balloon and then we paraded around the store chanting, "Crayons, don't quit! Crayons, don't quit!" Even if the adults were the louder ones, it was still fun for the kids to go all around the store in their little balloon parade.


Then, they opened the mysterious package they received from the crayons which had copies of a letter written to the kids. 


The crayons decided NOT to quit! Yay! 



I know I'm biased, but aren't my kids the cutest crayons ever?! 

It was a great event and I look forward to attending more with my girls in the future. They were a little young to fully comprehend this one, but it was fun to participate in. Thanks, Barnes and Noble! 




#thebookishmama
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