Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (movie)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Author Stephen Chbosky adapts his own best-selling novel about a withdrawn teen who attempts to remain hopeful for the future while dreading every day of the present. Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman star.
My thoughts:
My children know that I have a rule, in order to watch a movie based on a book we have to read the book first because the book will have more detail and is often times better than the movie.  When i saw this was coming out on video I decided it was time to take the book from the shelf and read it so I could follow my own rule, and I am glad that I did.  I enjoyed the movie, but I liked the book better.  I think having it adapted by the author really helped to keep it very close to the book.  There were parts I missed, but it really did stay true to the story.  I wish more authors were involved when their books are brought to the screen.
I have to admit that this isn't how I saw all of the characters.  Sam has long blond hair in the book, not Emma Watson's cropped hair, and I saw Patrick as a lot less of of the closet than he was in the movie, but all the actors did a very good job with their roles and made them believable.
Charlie is a loner who finds a group where he fits in, but still doesn't always fully participate with.  It is unclear why he spends so much time on the outside and in his own head until later on and, just as with the book, when the reason was revealed in the movie I cried.  My husband didn't have a strong reaction to it at all, but sometimes I find things sad that don't seem like a big deal to other people.  I'm glad I read the book first, but I would recommend the movie.  It made me nostalgic for the 1990's!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.
My thoughts:
The first time I tried to read this book I just couldn't get into it, then last month I picked it up and read it all on and off over the course of a weekend.  I think sometimes you can pick up a book at the wrong time for you even though at a different time you may really enjoy it.  I wonder if I am the only one who has that reaction or if it is common in readers.
The setting of this book was fun for me because, and I may date myself a bit, it is set during a time when I was in high school.  I can actually remember going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show once.  It is so common to see people with cell phones now that it was kind of nice to see kids who use regular phones and are not in constant communication with everyone they know.
Charlie is a bit of a loner, on his first day of high school he has no one to sit with at lunch and no friends.  His best friend died at the end of the previous year and he has drifted away from the couple of other people he hung out with because of their shared grief.  He spends a lot of time inside of his head.  Meeting his new English teacher is good for him as he gets extra assignments to read novels and write about them.  Reading about what he was reading made me want to go back and reread To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye and The  Great Gatsby, all books I can remember reading in high school.  I wonder if they are still on the assigned reading list.
He does manage to make a few friends and find a group to hang out with and starts to come out of his shell, but there is still something lurking inside of him, a grief that he cannot over come.  I found the reason for his grief and being inside of himself to be so sad that I actually cried, both during the book and the movie but other people did not seem to have such a strong reaction to it. 
I liked the format of the book as well, throughout it Charlie is writing to a friend, someone who does not know him and who we don't know, and telling  her all about his life and what is going on.  For some reason that format always resonates with me, I love books of letters even though these are all one sided letters.  I also wondered how much of the author was in the story as Charlie wants to become a writer and the author is a writer, what did he take from his own lief to write this or is it all a product of his imagination.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451696196
  • Publisher: MTV Books
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Edition description: Reissue; Movie Tie-in Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen Chbosky
Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the feature film adaptation of his novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at Sundance Film Festival. He wrote the screenplay for the critically acclaimed film adaptation of Rent; and co-created the post-apocalyptic television drama, Jericho. He also edited Pieces, a collection of short stories for Pocket Books.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This past week I only finished two books, one audio and one on my Kindle, both from the library.  The two books are:

Angels at the Table:  A Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber(Kindle)
The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly (audio)

I am still reading some of the books from prior weeks, by the one I am spending the most time with is:
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I didn't get as much reading done this week, but it was because I was busy with my children.  This week we went ice skating with Girl Scouts and roller skated with Cub Scouts.  We enjoyed  a science museum, cleaning up the park for spring sports, karate lessons and the library.  I also finally got my head back into running, which is good since my next half marathon is 5 weeks away, and I managed to get over 20 miles in this week.  Along with all that I finished writing a children's chapter book.  It was a good, but busy, week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Pots of Gold!

Last weekend I ran in a St. Patrick's Day 5 K with some friends.  This is a shot of us running in our festive outfits.

We were three pots of gold and we even found a leprechaun.

This was us at the start.

And then at the finish afterwards.
This is hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books.

Playing for Keeps (Movie)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

A burnt-out soccer star tries to win back his family but gets distracted by his wandering eye in this romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler. His bank account drained and his libido fatigued, professional soccer player George (Butler) hangs up his cleats and heads back to Virginia. Determined to do right in the eyes of his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and their lonely son (Noah Lomax), George takes a job coaching a local soccer team and begins working to form the young players into true athletes. But with every cougar in town eyeing him from the sidelines, George finds that staying focused on the job and keeping his prurient impulses in check are easier said than done.
My thoughts:
There were really no surprises in this movie, but it was nice to see George finding out that family is more important than everything else.  It is so easy to get distracted by flashy things and fun, and for George by women who kept throwing themselves at him, that it is easy to forget what is really important at the end of the day.  George has spent years mostly worrying about  himself, so coaching his son's team and spending time with him don't always come easily, but they change who he is and how he sees the world. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times
A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded by transforming habits.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

My thoughts:
This was a really interesting audio book to listen to especially while I was running, which I am working on turning back into a habit.  If you always do things one way you have to actively do something to change that and, sometimes by just making one change, you will create a ripple effect in other areas of your life or business.

I wasn't so worried about how to make changes in business, although it was interesting to listen to cases where focusing on safety ended up with happier employees who were more productive and safer, as I was people who turned themselves around.  The book goes step by step showing you people who made changes and how they made them, or people who had brain injuries and were unable to make new memories but were able to create new habits, just unable to talk about those habits.

Do we unknowingly keep to the status quo because of our habits?  What does it take to change those habits for the better and how does changing a habit in one area of your life or business flow into other areas?  Duhigg told of workers whose company had made a change to their safety procedures then pointing out safety issues to people out of the street working in construction, the habit of safety became so ingrained that the man was unable to work until he went out to tell bridge workers about how unsafe they were without harnesses.

This book provides a lot of mental food for thought.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400069286
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 400

Meet the Author

Charles Duhigg is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards, and was part of a team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life, NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Frontline. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two kids.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Charmed by His Love by Janet Chapman (Spellbound Falls Series #2)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

New York Times bestselling author Janet Chapman takes you back to the magical town of Spellbound Falls, where Duncan MacKeage is about to uncover great love with hidden dangers…

All Duncan MacKeage wants is to keep his crew building roads and bridges up the mountain to the fancy resort overlooking Spellbound Falls’ new inland sea. He doesn’t want anything to do with his own family magic or with the beautiful widow, Peg Thompson, and her tribe of little heathens. But when Duncan is tasked with keeping an eye on the widow Thompson, trouble starts.
Because of a family curse, Peg fears that giving in to her desires will mean killing off another lover. But Duncan—the strong, handsome man buying her gravel—is unbelievably tempting and determined to take care of her. Torn between her head and her heart, will Peg find the strength to break free of her black-widow curse? Or will pursuing their attraction put these lovers in harm’s way?

My thoughts:
I read book two right after finishing the first one and it was like the story just kept going, but changed it's focus to another widow.  Peg Thompson's husband died on his 30th birthday.  Because of a curse from five generations ago all the men in  her family die by their 30th birthdays or, if married later in life, die very soon after marriage.  Since she feels she has killed off her first husband, she is unwilling to get involved again for fear of causing someone else's death.

Duncan has made an appearance in some of Chapman's other books as he is descended from the 12th century highlanders who came through time to Maine.  I have trouble keeping them all straight, but I think he is the son of one of them.  Many of the members of his family have magic of some sort, but he doesn't think he has any nor does he want any, he just wants to run his company, buy Peg's gravel and build his roads.

Being a romance that is easier said than done.  Peg is a single mother raising four children with a falling apart van and house.  She is too proud to accept help and has become very used to doing everything on her own.  Duncan is used to stepping in with his large family and lending a hand where and when it is needed.  They butt heads quite a bit.

Duncan finds that he has a lot to learn about himself and that he needs to stop hiding from his own nature, while Peg finds that sometimes it is okay to lean on someone else.   While they are working through their issues Mac and Olivia get to flit in and out of the story so you can see how things are working out for them.  It will be interesting to see where things go in book three.  That one I don't have on my shelf yet, but I do know I want to read it as well as book four which comes out very soon as well, if it hasn't come out already.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515150902
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Series:Spellbound Falls Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman (Spellbound Falls #1)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

New York Times bestselling author Janet Chapman takes us to charming Spellbound Falls, where strange things have started happening ever since Maximilian Oceanus came to town…
Maximilian Oceanus arrives in Spellbound Falls just in time to save Olivia Baldwin from an overly aggressive suitor, only to find himself attracted to the beautiful, if rather aloof, widow. And although Mac has come to Inglenook to get a handle on fatherhood, his newly discovered six-year-old son has set his sights on finding his father a wife.
Olivia, however, is busy getting Inglenook ready for its new season, so she doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things. Never mind the three lost albatrosses walking down the road in the middle of the night. Since when are there albatrosses in Maine?
But despite Olivia’s resistance to falling under the sexy man’s spell, Olivia is having trouble fighting her longing. Because she knows Mac is just the man to unlock the powerful passion deep within her….

My thoughts:
I've had this book sitting my shelf for quite some time.  My TBR shelf always seems to be overflowing and it actually makes picking out my next book harder, rather than easier, because there are so many choices!  I loved Chapman's series about the Highlanders who were transported from the 12th century to present day Maine.  I loved the first few books in that series the most, but I've enjoyed her other books as well.  Having that magic sprinkled in makes her romances different than others in the genre.

Olivia is a widow running a summer camp with her in-laws while raising an 8 year old daughter.  She lives in the small town of Spellbound Falls.  Having grown up as an orphan she really feels strongly about family.  There were some issues in her marriage that she has kept hidden since her husband's death.  She works hard, but she also avoids confrontation and worries about what she is teaching her daughter about life if she can't stand up for herself.

Mac, who first made an appearance in her Midnight Bay series, is not who he seems to be.  He has a special kind of magic and, like the Highlanders in her other stories, is from a different time and place.  He has recently discovered that he has a 6 year old son, upon the death of the boys mother, and is coming to the camp to learn how to be a parent.

Being a romance there is, of course, an attraction between these two.  But through getting to know one another they also each get to know themselves better and come to terms with issues from the past that have been holding them back.  They find their way to be themselves instead of losing themselves which makes them stronger people. 

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515150360
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series:Spellbound Falls Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Janet Chapman is the author of nineteen contemporary and paranormal romance novels, all set in the state of Maine, where she lives with her husband surrounded by wildlife. Best known for her magical Highlander Series (a family saga of 12th-century warriors rebuilding their clans in modern-day Maine), Janet also has several contemporary series set on the coast and in the mountains. With over three million books printed in six languages, her stories regularly appear on the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller lists. When she’s not writing, Janet and her husband are camping, hunting, fishing, and generally rubbing elbows with nature. Visit her website at

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where We Belong by Emily Griffin

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the author of six New York Times bestselling novels, Emily Giffin, comes the unforgettable story of one powerful secret, its effect on two families, and the life-altering journey that follows…

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six-year-old television producer living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and picture-perfect relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had locked away forever.

From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s meticulously constructed world will be shaken to its core, resurrecting memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her. For the precocious and headstrong Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to reevaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light.

As Marian and Kirby embark on a quest to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves. A place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

My thoughts:
This is the second book I have read by Emily Griffin.  It was nice to catch up with the two main characters from the last one I read as they are friends of Marian's in this novel.  They are only in the book briefly, but it was like running into old friends and finding out that all is going well for them even though you have been out of touch. 

The story alternates between Marian's POV and Kirby's, so you can see situations from both of them.  Marian made some big decisions in the past, ones she never came to terms with but has buried, that now come to the surface and need to be dealt with.  Through coming clean to the people in her life, from her present to her past, she is able to admit some truths about her life now that she didn't want to face.

Kirby has never felt quite whole, but through her journey she is able to able to make sense of things and understand herself better. We all hold onto hurts from the past and are afraid to be honest with ourselves and others at times, but sometimes the energy of hiding and not being true are more exhausting than facing those fears.  It is hard to say more without giving away too much, but I enjoyed listening to this book.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312554187
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384

Meet the Author

Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of five New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, and Heart of the Matter, she now lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Furry Fun!

Last weekend we had some unexpectedly warmer weather and spent time at the local zoo.  My daughter took all the pictures for the day, except for the one she is in, and had a blast running around the zoo trying to get each type of animal in a photo.  I won't bore you with picture after picture of animal, but tried to pick out ones with her brothers in instead.
Most of the animals were very active due to the weather, but there were still some who were off exhibit for the winter.  Maybe next time we go back they will all be back.

There was a scavenger hunt going on and they were looking for Sesame Street characters for a chance to win tickets to a live show.

I wish this one hadn't turned out blurry because they looked so cute standing by the stuffed wolf.

And just one of her many animal shots.
This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In the tradition of One Simple Act and God’s Guest List, perennial bestselling novelist Debbie Macomber reveals in inspiring, moving stories that the simplicity of one perfect word can become profound. When Debbie took the time to intentionally focus on a single word—such as prayer, trust, or surrender—for a whole year, this act changed not only herself, but those around her.
“The surprising thing is that when we decide to focus on one word for the year,” Debbie writes, “God takes part in the choosing. That’s why the word is perfect for us. We may not see it at the time, but as we look back we see that it all worked together—our word, our life, our journey.”
For example, the year she chose the word balance, her career moved to a whole new level. The pressures on Debbie to speak, promote, and practically live on the road were overwhelming. It was her yearlong focus on that all-too-difficult word balance that helped her refine her schedule. As you read Debbie’s and others’ stories, you will be inspired to find your own word and will see how one perfect word can make all the difference.

My thoughts:
I got this book for Christmas and read it last month.  I love reading Macomber's fiction and I  have been impressed with the non-fiction work she has been writing in recent years.  She really shares her life and her thoughts and it feels like you are sitting down with her hearing her story.  Each chapter in this book reveals one of the words she chose for a year and how that word shaped her year and what she learned about herself through focusing on one word.

Macomber has such dedication to her journaling and her prayer time, rising very early every day to have quiet time to pray before her day starts.  I have kept journals on and off for as long as I can remember, starting in elementary school with a journal I bought at the dollar store, but I have never focused on just one word for the year.  As I was reading this book I toyed with the idea of doing that for 2013, even though the year had already started, but I decided to work on the habit of writing and the habit of exercise first.  Once those habits are there, I can tweak them and add to them.

I put this book back on my shelf to look at again in December to consider the idea of selecting a word for next year.  I am impressed by how much Macomber was willing to share about her own life, not the life of her characters, but her own struggles within her marriage, with her eating and with becoming a published writer.  It takes a great deal of trust and faith to be able to do that and I respect that she was willing to make herself a real person in the readers eyes so she could share her process with us.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439195291
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Pages: 207

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber is one of today’s leading voices in women’s fiction. A regular on every major bestseller list with more than 140 million copies of her books in print, Debbie’s popularity is worldwide, with her books translated into twenty-three languages. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, are the proud parents of four children and grandparents of eight grandchildren. They live in Washington State and winter in Florida.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Snapshot! Goat Update!

It was dark the day we went to the barn to see Loki and Thor again, so these are not quite the quality I hoped for.  They have grown so big!  They are still being bottle fed milk.

They are so active now.  Jumping and playing and they seem more social than the other goats since they are so used to people being around to feed them.

These were taken last week.  We plan to go back over today to see them again and to see the other baby goats that have joined them.  Those pictures turned out even worse in the lighting we had so I've only added a couple of them, but there are 4 new females and 7 males in different stalls in the barn as well.

Here is a blurry picture of two of the new baby goats with their mother.

And one of the other ones as well.
This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Nooks.

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I actually spent some time reading this weekend.  I have been having so much trouble actually getting into a book lately.  I start them all the time, but then put them down again and don't finish reading them.  Hopefully my book ADD is over and I can start really enjoying reading again.  Here was my week:

Finished reading:
Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman
Charmed by His Love by Janet Chapman
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (audio)

Still actively reading:
Untied by Meredith Baxter
Where We Belong by Emily Griffin (audio)
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (reread) (audio)

There are a number of books I think I will be going back to soon, that I have started, but by classing some as "actively" reading it more closely represents what my reading looks like.  I tried to start Life of Pi last week and haven't been hooked yet, I was enjoying Jane Seymore's book until my Kindle battery died and I started Penny Marshall's book and Kristin Chenoweth's and put them down for some reason.  I think once I get my grove back I will be sailing through a lot of books that I know I want to read.

I'm still trying to map out my daily schedule to have enough time for family, work, exercise, reading, sleeping and writing and my balance is still out of whack.  It will get there, I know, it just isn't there yet.