Friday, December 30, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

My thoughts:
I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick up this book, I know many people compared it to The Hunger Games and I really enjoyed that trilogy.  A friend listened to it with her children on audio and told me they really got into it.  I was a bit leery as I knew there would likely be violence, but I checked it out of the library and we listened to it last week.  I am still feeling like there is more violence than I would like for their current ages, but they got very into the story and seem to comprehend well what is happening.  We stopped to talk at more than one point about violence or the way characters were treating each other, but it is a well done story that appeals to a wide age group.  Yesterday we stopped by the library to pick up books two and three on audio as well.

If I were comparing The Maze Runner to The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games would win.  I'm not sure if it is because the main character is female or if it has to do with the dystopian worlds and how they were portrayed.  In both children are being used for a purposes children were not intended for by people who should be protecting them.  It will be interesting to learn in books two and three more about what and why the maze was built and what exactly the end goal was.

Imagine the terror of waking up only being able to remember your name and nothing else about yourself and being dumped in a place where everyone else is in the same boat.  Then the monsters in the maze and the distrust by others in your group sounds exhausting.  I don't even really know where to begin talking about this book.  The author creates a very well drawn world that becomes very real in your mind.  I imagine Thomas and his hints of deja vu about the maze and the the mysterious girl who is sent up the day after him.  How do you get people who have been working together for months or years to trust someone who is new but thinks he knows what they need to do to get out of the maze.  What will the world be like outside of this experiment?

It will be interesting if this makes it to the big screen as a movie.  I looked and it seems like talks are in the works with a tentative 2013 date for a film, but I couldn't find a whole lot of details.  I know lots of times things fall through, but this seems like one that will go all the way especially with the success recent book to movie adaptations for YA books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385737951
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 8/24/2010
Pages: 400
Age range: 12 - 17 Years
Series: Maze Runner Series, #1

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The new year is just days away and, thanks to Shelia at Book Journey , I stumbled upon this meme over at Bookworm with a View.  Every week people post how they are doing in their own fitness goals and what is coming up.  I became a runner in July.  I toyed with the idea in the spring, for a few weeks I ran daily increasing the time little by little, and then I took a break for a day, that turned into a week which turned into a few months.  In July I recommitted myself by signing up for a 5K in August.  Since then I've signed up for a race a month to keep myself from being able to quit.  It took six months, but now I no longer fear quiting quite so much.  My next 5K is on Saturday to celebrate the end of the year.  Then for 2012 my new challenge is a 10K on Super Bowl Sunday.  This week I have been toying with the idea of signing up for a Half Marathon at the end of April.  Last week my long run was 9 miles, my longest ever! The idea both scares and excited me in equal measures, I want to click and sign up but worry that 13.1 will be too much for me.  I'm not a very fast runner either so not only will it be a long distance but it is going to take me awhile.  I want to decide before the end of the week because I know the race is filling up and I don't want to wait too long.  I guess by next week I'll be able to record my choice, which I think is going to be yes, I just need to wrap my mind around the idea a little longer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Secret Santa Gift

This year I participated in the Secret Santa exchange hosted by the fun blog  The Broke and the Bookish.  My present arrived the week before Christmas but I was too busy getting ready for the holiday to get my post up.  This is a picture of all the fun goodies that came in my box!
All four of the books were on the wish list I submitted and I was so excited!  I keep looking at the library for the Charlaine Harris series and they are always out of the books I need next.

My present came from Dixie and Maggie at Gone Pecan: a person who is doomed, defeated, beyond rescue: a goner.   The present was perfect!  I don't know if I included that purple was my favorite color or not but it came with purple nail polish which is my favorite kind to buy.

The book marks have green sayings on them and the one can even be planted!

This chocolate is new to me and surprisingly, maybe because I decided not to share, there is still some left!

This was a really fun experience, I've never done anything like this before.  I had fun shopping for my person and hope she enjoys her presents as well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This past week was a low reading week for me and a low running week.  I had my longest run ever, 9 miles!  But is was my only run for the whole week.  This morning I jumped back into running and yesterday I spent some time reading while my children had fun with all their new things.

This week I finished:
The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber
Zane's Tale; A Succubus Diary Story by Jill Myles
Foreplay by Jill Myles
When Parent's Text.. So much said, so Little Understood
Except for Foreplay which I forgot about, all of these have had review posted already.

The books I am still working on are:

Reading on my Ipod when I have extra time somewhere is:  Throwaway by Heather Huffman
On my Kindle I have:  Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
I've barely managed to start this one even though I was dying to have it:  The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
I also started one from the library with a short story by Debbie Macomber.

New to me this week:
I bought a bunch of $.99 books on my Kindle and then received a number of books as presents.  They are all over the place and I'm feeling lazy at the moment, so they'll make it on here next week or when I get to read and review them.

I have a really hard time sticking with one book, I'll start one and then start another and just keep doing it.  Once one really hooks me I read it until it is done, but it can take me months to get around to finishing all the books I have started.  I don't know if this is a good thing or not.  I think for the new year I want to work harder on finishing books when I start them so I can decide what to do with the finished book.  Is it a keeper that goes back on the shelf or one to pass along in some way?  Most of my books are pass alongers, which is something the Kindle will be good for, I won't need to find a place to keep them and it may help with my clutter issues.

Have a great reading week!

Where in the World are You Reading?

I am going to wrap this challenge up a few days early.  I think I am still missing some books on my map, but I'm just going to go with what I have.  On my map are 108 books.  I missed 7 states: North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas.  I  know last week when I counted books on my blog I got to almost 200, but that counted in picture books and comics which I didn't use for this.  I plan to try the challenge again next year too!  My map is here.  Thanks Sheila for hosting the challenge!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

Overview from
The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.

But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she's determined to place in good homes. That's complication number one. And number two is that her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth's ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.

As always in life—and in Cedar Cove—there are surprises, too. More than one family's going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending!

My thoughts:
I love Debbie Macomber's Christmas themed books and over the years I have really enjoyed her Cedar Cove series.  I was a little sad when she announced that this would be the last book in the Cedar Cove series but it was a really good send off of the series.  I still haven't gotten around to reading the last two books prior to this one, I have one on my shelf and one is on it's way to me from so I am  going to have to catch up on them at some point.  Each Cedar Cove book is set at a different character's house.  That person, couple or family end up being the focus of the story, but all the other characters made an appearance as well.  This time, since it was the last book, each of the homes that had a book named after them got at least a chapter to catch up with where they are now and how their lives are going.  It was nice to stop into each home and see how they were getting ready for the holiday, who was getting engaged, getting a new puppy, being thankful for second chances and so on.

Beth and Kent Moorehouse were new to me, Beth must have come to Cedar Cove in one of the last two books that I haven't read yet, but I loved the idea of owning  a Christmas tree farm and working to rescue dogs and train them to work with children and senior citizens.  Beth and her husband divorced three years ago after growing apart, no one thing led to the divorce, just the accumulation of life stresses, resentments and such over the course of a twenty-three year marriage.  Beth moved to Cedar Cove to start a new life.  This year their two college age daughters decide it is time for their parents to stop being silly and to see that they still love each other.  Of course their are obstacles in this, but  it was  all well done.  I checked this book out of the library on Friday and today, while my children were playing with their new toys, videos games and watching a movie I sat with them and read.  It was a very relaxing way to spend the morning and the perfect story to do it with!  I noticed that as today's Amazon Kindle Deal of the Day they are offering five older Christmas themed romances, one of which is an older Debbie Macomber, Call Me Mrs. Miracle.  This is the one that was made into a Hallmark movie last Christmas.  If you are looking for a read for the season today check it out!

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778312690
ISBN-13: 978-0778312697

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Snapshot- Crayola Factory

A couple weeks ago we took a trip to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA.  I had planned to take my children over the summer and it never worked out.  We lucked out to go on a Sunday when they had extended hours and it was not crowded.  The last time we were there it was super crowded so this was quite the nice change.

We had a chance to try out pretty much everything on the Crayola floor of the museum and made six new pennies for our pressed penny collection.  We were disappointed not to be able to make the seventh as that machine was out of order.

Part of the museum is the Canal Museum.  This part is always the least crowded, but has some really fun exhibits.  Here they are using a water table that has a flow going on to make their own canals using dividers to redirect the water and boats.

When you pay to get in you get tokens to be used to buy small crayola items.  Model Magic was the hit and they have tables set up where you can open it up and play with it there.

Another component of the Canal Museum is a chance to use replica boats to practice how locks work to raise and lower boats depending in the waterway.

This is hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hollows: New Fiction, Facts, Maps, Murders, and More in the World of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison has won legions of fans with her sexy supernatural novels featuring bounty-hunting witch Rachel Morgan. And now comes a unique look inside her beloved Hollows series that no fan should miss. . . . The Hollows Insider

In the Hollows, the supernatural Inderlanders rule, and humanity must abide by their conventions, or else.

To survive among vampires, witches, Weres, gargoyles, trolls, fairies, and banshees—to say nothing of demons—humanity needs a guide. And now, written by Kim Harrison herself, here is an insider’s look at the supernatural world of the Hollows, from an overarching new story to character profiles, maps, spell guides, charm recipes, secret correspondence from the elusive Trent Kalamack, and much more.

My thoughts:
This was a really interesting compilation of different things that creates a background and a frame for the books in the Rachel Morgan series.  It is written as if a reporter from the paper is looking into Rachel after a spell on a bus accidentally leaves him bald.  Parts of it are his journal entries, others are pages from the newspaper, files from both the FIB and I.S., recipe books, spell books, notes, memos between different characters and more.  The parts I enjoyed the most were Devon Crossman's journal entries and how his need to get to the bottom of things and past the cover-ups he perceived were a part of both the government and the law enforcement agencies was frustrating him.  The reader is able to watch his articles as they are censored and his hard drive wiped out.  It also reveals some behind the scenes actions by different characters that I either have already forgotten about or that were not revealed before now.  It is a very heavy book weight wise.  My complaint is that it was hard to hold as bedtime reading, it feels like a textbook.  Some of the sections were a bit dry too as they were written to be like pages from a manual or textbook, so they were this way on purpose, but some of the pages lost my interest and I skipped them like the recipes and some of the spells.  If you have read the series and want more on Rachel I would recommend this.  It starts at the beginning of the series and goes through the last book I read, so it covers a good deal of time and investigative work by the imaginary reporter.  Also some of the photos were sent in by readers, I recall Kim Harrison doing contests on her web site for readers to send in photos that would fit into different categories and some of those were selected to be a part of the book.  This was one of my birthday books in October; it just took me a while to get around to reading all of it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061974335
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Pages: 320
Series: Rachel Morgan Series

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zane's Tale: A Succubus Diary Story by Jill Myles

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

A Succubus Diaries Short -- After Succubi Like It Hot, Zane has a few changes in his life...but is the vampire happy with his choices? Or does he regret the path he has chosen and the succubus he has left behind?

My thoughts:
This book comes in between books two and three of the Succubus Diaries and shows where Zane was when he stepped aside to let Jackie pursue her archaeological dreams with Noah by her side.  Since the other books are all told from Jackie's perspective, we don't get to see much about where Zane and Noah are when they are not a part of her life.  It brought a more human element to his character and brought forward more of his inner struggles.  This was a very quick read, good for one sitting.  While I've had a Kindle for a few months I haven't done as much with looking at what was available besides books for sale so finding free ebooks and ebook shorts by authors I enjoy has been a lot of fun!

Product Details

BN ID: 2940011127175
Publisher: Myles, Jill
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Format: eBook
File size: 267 KB

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

My thoughts:
This book was a birthday present back in October, I got it right after it was published, but I just couldn't get into it.  I think I started it three times before I actually was really reading it.  The first hundred pages I know I read more than once.  I loved the first book, hush hush, but had a harder time getting into Crescendo and Silence, but I'm really not sure why.  Once I was in and was in, but it took some work for me.

Part of my problem with this book was I was frustrated by the amnesia.  Nora wakes up in a cemetery by her fathers grave and she can't remember the last five months of her life, three of which she has been missing.  Amnesia bothers me, the first half of the book is all Nora finding out about things she already knew but has lost.  That felt a bit like cheating to me, like a way to fill 200 hundred pages while Nora rediscovers Serum and Fallen Angels and the Black Hand.  I think that was why I was so able to put the book down over and over again, I already remembered that stuff from the first two books and I was just waiting for the real story to start, where it was going to go after she knew who she was and everyone else around her really is. 

Once the story got started on new territory I loved it.  I didn't want to put it down and stayed up too late reading to see how it was going to go.  The twists and turns it took were not things I would have expected and it will be interesting to see how things play out in book four.  It is set up well for another book so I have to think it will keep going, but I guess you never know.  I feel bad that I bought the book when it came out and then took this long to finish it.  Yes it was a birthday present, but my husband's theory is that if there is something I really want I should just buy it and he'll give it to me.  It does take away the surprise, but then I'm never disappointed by getting something I don't really want! 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442426641
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 10/4/2011
Pages: 448
Age range: 14 - 17 Years
Series: Hush, Hush Saga Series, #3

Monday, December 19, 2011

When Parents Text: So Much Said...So Little Understood by Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli

Product Description

A collection of insanely funny texts between parents and kids, When Parents Text is a surprisingly affecting window into the complicated time when parents aren’t ready to let go, and kids aren’t ready to be let go. The parents are well-meaning but hopeless, silly and a little corny, and befuddled by the technology. The kids are bewildered yet patient: the perfect straight man. And the authors, two recent college graduates, Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli, have an unerring editorial instinct to select the funniest, sweetest, quirkiest, most-telling exchanges.

There’s the revelatory: Mom: My fingers are saying words. This is amazing.

The virtual scolding: Dad: I will deal with your sassy behavior when I get home. Meanwhile have some fiber.

The autofill-challenged: Mom: dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. Me: ummm, what? Mom: It autocorrected me. I mean to say dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. (4 minutes later) Mom: PICK UP SOME TAMPONS ON YOUR WAY HOME.

The manically inappropriate: Mom: Woo Hoo—Ruth died, you know Uncle Lyman’s wife, BUT I have your Braves tickets and check on the table!!

And the downright inexplicable: Dad: You could poop your pants in the yankee candle store and no one would know.

Launched as a website just last year, is a phenomenon. It receives 300,000 to 500,000 page views a day, with features in The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, College Humor, and more. When Parents Text includes the best of texts from the website, plus more than 50 percent all-new material never before published.

Includes an emoticon glossary and 16-page color insert of MMS texts— multimedia messaging service, aka, bizarre photos from mom and dad. It’s the perfect gift for every text-savvy kid to give to his or her parents.

My thoughts:
I bought this book Saturday as Amazon's Kindle Deal of the Day.  I read through it in a sitting or two.  I've never gone to the website but might consider it after this book.  Every few pages there was an exchange or a text that made me laugh out loud.  Along with some of the ones listed in the description above there were a few others that really struck me funny at that moment.  For example: "MOM: Eww, this girl just had camel hoof! ME: Camel.....toe?" and "DAD: What does "unread" mean on my messages?  ME: You haven't read it...."  A bunch of auto correct texts and also, I'm almost embarrassed to admit they struck me funny, texts about flatulence.  Adding to this is I just sent my first text this weekend.  My husband and I don't have a texting plan on our phones so I never do, but a friend sent me a Facebook message asking me to text her the time for an event.  I texted on my Ipod and I can see how it can get addicting, how easy it can be to send a question or comment without having to call or remember it for later.  So, if you want a few silly laughs I would recommend this book!

Product Details

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1986 KB
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (September 1, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week I finished:
When Parent's Text: So Much Said...So Little Understood by Fraioli, Sophia and Kaelin, Lauren
The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren

The books I am still working on are:
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

New to me this week:
When Parent's Text: So Much Said...So Little Understood by Fraioli, Sophia and Kaelin, Lauren
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Matched by Ally Condie

I finally got mostly caught up on reviews for books I've already read and have them scheduled to post this week, so I won't have another post less or nearly post less week. Lately by the time I have a chance to write anything I am too tired or stressed out by what else needs to be done to actually write anything. Just a few days ago I discovered, what most Kindle users probably already knew, that there is a daily kindle deal of the day. On Saturday I bought the book, When Parent's Text and it made me laugh so hard. It was silly and stupid, but it really hit the spot.

I counted up my book reviews for the year and I am at 196.  I'd really like to get at least four more in to get to 200 for the year.  Two weeks should be enough time considering I have one or two I can still write on books I've already finished.

My review for The Shadow of Your Smile won't be up until January as it is part of a Litfuse Blog tour.

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps (a.k.a. "Lev") lives a wretched life in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds — the real world and Foo, a place created at the at the beginning of time in the folds of the mind that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. But Foo is in chaos, and three transplants from that dreamworld have been sent to retrieve Lev, who alone has the power to save Foo.

Enter Clover, a wisecracking, foot-high sidekick; Winter, a girl with a special power of her own; and Geth, the rightful heir to Foo. Their mission: to convince Lev that he has the power to save Foo. Can this unique band of travelers help Lev overcome his doubt? Will Lev find the gateway in time? Or will Sabine and his dark shadows find the gateway first and destroy mankind?

My thoughts:
This was our audio book last month in the car.  I found it a couple years ago for a dollar at Waldenbooks, before that went out of business.  I put it on the shelf to save for when we needed a book to listen to.  No one wants to ever be without a book do they?  I plan for this awful possibility so much that we could be snowed in for months and I would never run out of new books to read.

But back to the book, I had my doubts about it because it seemed like if was reduced to a dollar it must not have been very good.  It turns out it is the first book in a children's fantasy series.  Foo is a world connected to ours, where all dreams happen, sometimes people are sucked into Foo from places where sidewalks don't quite meet up.  Currently in Foo there is a being who wants to rule both Foo and our world and the only ones who can save it are two teenagers, as well as two beings from Foo who have come here to guide them.

There is a lot of adventure and a few somewhat scary scenes.  Suspense is well done and the worlds seem real.  I am on the fence about continuing the series.  I wasn't a big fan of the readers voice, not that I can narrow down what it was about his reading, but something about it made me less likely to want to listen if that makes sense.  If I find the next book at the library we'll keep going, but I don't see myself buying more of them.  They reminded me a bit of the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins and maybe even a touch of Harry Potter or Spiderwick Chronicles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416928065
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 7/11/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Age range: 9 - 12 Years

Friday, December 16, 2011

Saturday Snapshot- Local Holiday- December 16, 2011

Last Saturday our town had their annual holiday day.  Local businesses, churches, and museums take part in a scavenger hunt.  Each location you visit puts a sticker or stamp on your sheet and often has a prize or treat to take or do.  Sometimes and ornament to make, cookies and hot chocolate to eat, food to buy, balloons and the like.  We've been going for six or seven years now but had never done the carriage ride.  This year we gave it a try.

The weekend before that we went on an evening carriage ride in another local city for their annual tree lighting ceremony.  We waited in line for forty five minutes and then took a ride through town.  The kids loved it so I thought they would all love to do it again.  My oldest was all grumpy about the carriage ride, so you won't see him in any of the pictures.

The carriage took us through the park and past the pool.  It was a nice gentle ride on a clear and nice day.

A small part of the ride was on a lightly used street and that part gave me an appreciation for Amish buggy drivers and riders, because cars would come up behind us pretty fast even though we were only on the street for a couple minutes.

One of the other attractions of the day was Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They were by the local Institute where completed scavenger hunt forms were turned in for raffle tickets. You got one ticket for each stamp and we each had 15 of the 16 places stamped so we got a lot of tickets!  We won one raffle.  Our prize was from the Historical Society.  We won a DVD about the 150th Anniversary of our town and two history books.  My three year old won and he has been taking his history book to bed with him to "read"!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands by Chelsea Handler


In this raucous collection of true-life stories, actress and comedian Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.

My thoughts:I originally shied away from this book because I thought it was only going to be about men Handler had slept with just once, I enjoyed the two other books I read so much that I decided to give it a try.  It was just as funny to read as the other two and a lot of fun to read.  While it does focus a lot on sex, that isn't the only thing it is about and a lot of it is funny moments before, during or after sex.  Having the dog steal your panties, walking into an apartment that you know you've been to before but can't recall when, bringing your gay friend home for your sister's wedding and finding him misbehaving all over the place were all featured in these stories.  I now wish I had read the books in order, this one jumps off into where she was in books two and three.  They can all stand alone just fine, but it would have been nice to see her growing with the books instead of going backwards.  That said, I think some of the stories from the later books come from this same time period.  I like that Chelsea is fine with who she is and doesn't apologize for her behavior, if only we could all feel that confident in ourselves!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582346182
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 6/28/2005
Pages: 213

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wicked Games by Jill Myles


Abby Lewis never pictured herself on the survival game show, Endurance Island. She’s just not the ‘survival’ type. But when her boss offers her a spot on the show and the opportunity of a lifetime, she packs her bags and heads to the tropics to be a contestant. Once in the game, though, it’s clear that Abby’s in over her head.

No one’s more competitive than sexy, delicious – and arrogant – Dean Woodall. Sure, he’s clever, strong, good at challenges, and has a body that makes her mouth water. He also hates Abby just as much as she hates him. That’s fine with her; she’ll just ignore the jerk.

But the rules of Endurance Island are working against them. Abby and Dean are teamed up – alone – on the beach. It’s either work together, or go home. Stuck with no one's company but their own, they learn they might just make a good team after all.

And Abby learns that with just a little bit of kindling, the flames of hate can quickly turn to flames of passion. This book features enemies, lovers, enemies who become lovers, and lots and lots of tropical heat…

Length: 59,000 words (about 260 pages)
My thoughts:
I really enjoyed Jill Myles Succubus Diary series, so when i saw this as a free ebook I added it to my Kindle library.  I started it awhile back but didn't finish it.  Last week I started it again and read it in just a few sittings.  It is the first book I finished reading on my Kindle Fire.  The premise is just like Survivor from the perspective of a journalist who is drafted onto the show. 

Myles did a good job getting Dean and Abby to work their way around to the need to work together and built their attraction pretty well.  Most of the other contestants were barely sketched out, but as they weren't the focus of the story it really didn't matter.  It was a quick read.  Abby's emotions were well done and believable.  I thought the ending wrapped things ups a little too neatly, but sometimes it is nice to have the characters you've spent time with settled and happy. I still enjoy the Succubus Diaries more, she really does a good job with the love triangle and supernatural elements in those.
Product Details
BN ID: 2940012237422
Publisher: Jill Myles
Publication date: 3/5/2011
Format: eBook

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I still need to write reviews for books I finished the week prior to this:
Wicked Games by Jill Myles
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye

This week I finished:
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Zane's Tale:  A Succubus Diary Short by Jill Myles

The books I am still working on are:
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren

Last week was just so busy that I didn't get reviews posted for the books from the week before and even missed my first Saturday Snapshot since I started participating.  I'm hoping to get caught up this week!  I was really excited when Chelsea Handler's book finally arrived.  I requested it on Paperbackswap almost a month ago and the sender marked it as shipped.  I got three emails from Paperbackswap asking if it had arrived before it did.  It came two days before the final estimated arrival date and I discovered the sender hadn't bother to send it until well past the ship date.  I know it arrived before the action date, but part of me got really annoyed.  If it is the post office who delays shipping and arrival it is one thing, that happens and we all understand it, but to lie about sending it just seems so dishonest to me.  Oh well, it's here, I read it in a little over a day and I loved it just like the other two I read. 

This week I sent out my Secret Santa package as part of the The Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.  This is the second year, but my first participating.  Seems like a lot of fun.  I'll be sure to post what I get when my present arrives!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fallen by Lauren Kate


There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce—and goes out of his way to make that very clear—she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

My thoughts:
Last fall I read so much about this book.  I added it to my TBR list and wish list but didn't get around to buying a copy until recently.  On my shelf already is book two, Torment, that I picked up at Border's when it was going out of business in our area last winter, but I didn't want to read it until I'd read Fallen.  Neither or our libraries had copies.  I used a gift card to buy this for myself last month.  Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down!  It is definitely a page turner!
I wasn't sure what to make of Luce and Daniel at the beginning.  Either I forgot what I read in the reviews last year or I skipped them, as I sometimes do when I want to be surprised by a book.  I'm big on surprises and not knowing things ahead of time with both books and movies, it just adds to the fun!  I kept thinking I knew what the secret was and I did turn out to be mostly right, but in the desire to not give spoilers I won't say what the secret was!
Luce was so driven that she started to seem almost a bit too interested at times in Daniel's past and his family.  While it turned out there was a reason she couldn't let it rest, her obsession did start to worry me at times.  I haven't taken it off the shelf yet, but I can't wait to dive into the second book to see where Luce and Daniel go from here!
Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385739139
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 9/28/2010
Pages: 496
Age range: 12 - 17 Years
Series title: Lauren Kate's Fallen Series

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

The books I finished last week were:
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Wicked Games by Jill Myles
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye

The books I am still working on are:

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews

Book I bought or received last week:
From my mom:
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruise
A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber

From the used bookstore:  (I went in to look for books for a Secret Santa exchange I signed up for and walked out with more books for myself.  Bookstores are dangerous for the wallet!)
The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson
A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox
How to Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life by Kirstie Alley
William and Kate by Christopher Anderson

Last week I also got an early Christmas present, actually two, but only one is really book related.  I now have a Kindle Fire and a Garmin sports watch.  I am having such fun playing with both!

This is hosted by Shelia at Bookjourney so stop on over to see what other people have been reading and buying!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Snapshot- Snowy 5K- December 3, 2011

This was taken at the end of October when my husband and I ran in our third 5K during the snowstorm that shut down our area for days.  Up until then I had never run in the snow or rain.  Even running outside when it was cold was new to me!  I dressed too warmly and got uncomfortable, but it turned out to be a fun experience.  Our next race is on New Year's Eve.  It will be a nice way to say goodbye to the old year in a healthy way.

This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.  You can stop by her blog to see who else is participating and follow links to each of the posts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mystical Warrior by Janet Chapman


An eleventh-century lass with a stubborn streak unleashes the red-hot hero inside her modern lover in bestselling author Janet Chapman’s irresistible new Midnight Bay adventure.

Trace Huntsman’s peaceful life has headed to hell in a hand-basket ever since stunningly beautiful Fiona Gregor moved into the vacant apartment above his house. Kidnapped centuries earlier and transformed into a red-tail hawk, Fiona is human once more and must learn how to be a modern woman. But damned if Trace is going to be the one to teach her. Not when her mere presence ignites a fiery passion deep within his cautious heart.

Fiona longs to overcome the painful memories of her tragic past—to let down her guard and become a mother again. But so far her handsome landlord is not exactly thrilled with the stray animals—and suitors—that keep following her home. When the wizard Maximilian Oceanus shows up, Trace reaches the end of his rope. Weird things happen when Mac is around—raging storms, snarling demons—but this time, Midnight Bay is at the center of a fierce battle, and Fiona is the primary target. Only Trace can save her, but first, the lovers must set aside their fears . . . and open up their hearts.

My thoughts:
This is another book that has been sitting in my shelf since this summer.  It was supposed to go to the beach with me and it didn't make it into the bag.  Why it then took three more months to pick it up I really couldn't say.  I loved Chapman's Highlander series, this series I like okay but not as much as the other one.  I can't quite say why but the first two books in the series really grabbed me and made me love the characters.

This was a fun and action filled read.  I like that the couple is given a lot of time to get to know each other and to get over their differences, that they aren't just madly in love from the get go, but take time like any flesh and blood couple would in finding their way to each other and into each others hearts.  I must admit that I only have a foggy recall of Fiona's time as a red tailed hawk.  I remembered she was one, but I couldn't remember why exactly.  Seeing Fiona come to grips with her past and also embrace the present was nice, she grew and changed and found courage when she thought she didn't have any.  Trace went through some of the same changes, he had things in his past that he needed to find the courage to work past.  Together they fought through supernatural obstactles as well as mental ones to become stronger people.
Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439159903
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 6/28/2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edition description: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 368
Series Title: Midnight Bay Series

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Christmas List by Richard Paul Harris


Dear Reader,
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn't considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate.

What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson's assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers.

As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, I wanted to explore what could happen if someone read their obituary before they died and saw, firsthand, what the world really thought of them. Their legacy.

Second, I wanted to write a Christmas story of true redemption. One of my family's holiday traditions is to see a local production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I don't know how many times I've seen it (perhaps a dozen), but it still thrills me to see the change that comes over Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a dull, tight-fisted miser into a penitent, "giddy-as-a schoolboy" man with love in his heart. I always leave the show with a smile on my face and a resolve to be a better person. That's what I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, this Christmas — a holiday tale to warm your season, your homes, and your hearts.

Merry Christmas
My thoughts:
This book was a Christmas present two years ago.  At the time I really wanted to read it and I was reading a lot of Christmas books, and then the holiday passed and I guess it ended up on the shelf for longer than I was planning.  I think though that sometimes books come to you when you need them or are ready for them, so it wasn't really forgotten there on the shelf, it was just biding it's time until it was the right read for me for right now.  Maybe that sounds silly, but I know I buy books thinking I can't wait to read them, only to let them sit for months (or years) and then when I pick them up they are just what I was looking for then.

This is the first book I've read by Richard Paul Evans.  I've thought about picking up other titles he has written, but for whatever reason I haven't.  I know I have seen some of the his made for TV movies made from his books like The Christmas Box.

The  main thing I brought away from this book is that it is never too late to do the right thing and that there are more important things in life than money.  I know we all know that, but to have it brought home in a meaningful way is so much better than just spouting platitudes.  James Keir reminded me quite a bit of Scrooge and how his death affected other people.  To get to see what people really thought about you because they believe you have died was a blessing for him because it opened his eyes to his past mistakes and took him on the path of righting the wrongs he had done.  A modern retelling in a new and light. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439150009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/6/2009
Pages: 368

More by this Author

Lost December
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series
The Christmas Box
The Christmas Box Collection: The Christmas Box, Timepiece, The Letter

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This past week I actually got in more reading time, I think it was a combination of the holiday and some extra time at home and only working one day.  I finished a number of books and actually got some reviews up.
 The books I finished this week were:
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
The Christmas List by Richard Paul Harris
Mystical Warrior by Janet Chapman

Reviewed from the prior week:
Twilight" The Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer

The books I am still working on are:
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison

New to me this week:

Borrowed from a friend :
 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Unbound by Vicki Person et al
The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance by Trisha Telep et al
Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life by Kyran Pittman

Reviews for the finished books are set to go up this week and I hope to have time to finish a few more. 

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich


Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list. Short on time to find the murderer, Stephanie is also under pressure from family and friends to choose between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom wants her to dump them both for a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, suggests a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Joe’s old-world grandmother gives Stephanie “the eye,” which may mean that it’s time to get out of town.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

My thoughts:
I still like to read this series, but they are starting to seem very similar.  I have a few friends who have decided they are done with picking up the Stephanie Plum books as they all seem the same.  She will have trouble deciding which man in her life she wants to be with, her car will catch fire or be destroyed, she will have trouble catching her bounty hunter skips, and her mother will lament that everyone else's daughter is married already and giving her grandchildren.  That said, it is a fun escape and a quick read so I don't see myself giving up anytime soon.  I know who I would pick out of Ranger and Morelli and I wonder if she will ever make choice or if that would end the series.  Would it take the fun and tension out of it if she made a choice?

Because I waited so long to get around to this one, I know that number eighteen is already out and I already have a tentative plan in place to borrow it from a friend to read, so it is nice that I don't need to wait to see who Stephanie goes on vacation with and where they go.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345527707
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 336
Series Title: Stephanie Plum Series

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Snapshot- Corn Maze- Saturday, November 26, 2011

I know everyone is now onto thinking about Christmas, and I must admit my children are very excited about it, but here are some photos from last month when we went to a local corn maze and pumpkin patch.  This is the maze we go to most years.  Every year they have a different design cut into the field and you use clues posted on signs to navigate through it.  This taken at the end of the maze.

As well as the large maze and pumpkin patch there is also a small children's maze that they can go through on their own.

This year it took us about 45 minutes to make it through.  We went as a family and helped with the clues.  Last year we went with a group of friends.  I think there were four moms and eleven kids and we were in the maze for more than an hour.  It was fun, but it got hard carrying the little ones!

This year we had a really nice day for the maze, it was sunny and warm but not too hot.  The week before we had a ton of rain so the kids wore their rain boots, but luckily it wasn't too muddy!

This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.  Check out her blog to see who is participating this week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twilight: The Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer Art by Young Kim


Having uncovered the dark secret of her enigmatic classmate, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan embraces her feelings for him, trusting Edward to keep her safe despite the risks. When a rival clan of vampires makes its way into Forks, though, the danger to Bella has never been more real. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people dearest to her?

The second volume of Twilight: The Graphic Novel completes the visual adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's worldwide bestselling debut novel and is a must-have for any collector's library.

My thoughts:
This was one of my splurge books last week, I thought it would be fun to read it before going to see the latest movie.  At one point I thought I would reread all the books, and at some point I might, but it was a good way to get in the mood for the movie.  I forgot how much better the books can be than the movies for these.  I wasn't sure how I felt about all the graphic novels that were coming out to go with books, but I am enjoying reading the same stories in a different medium.  I think it adds something new to the story.

This is the second half of the first book, Twilight.  The first half was in volume 1.  It is a nice quick read and the illustrations add to the text making it a fun way to review in a short period of time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316133197
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication date: 10/11/2011
Edition description: Graphic novel
Pages: 240
Age range: 12 - 17 Years
Series Title: Twilight Graphic 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Alphabet Keeper by Mary Murphy

The Alphabet Keeper keeps all the letters caged in the dark. But one day they escape while she's cleaning their cage–and then there is no stopping them! The clever letters are on the loose, rearranging themselves at every turn. With a few quick moves, the Alphabet Keeper's hat becomes a cat. A bus turns into a bush. A rock changes into a rocket. And the flyaway alphabet is on its way to a final farewell!

Author Biography:
Mary Murphy is the author and illustrator of several picture books. This is her first picture book for Knopf.

My thoughts:
This was a fun book we borrowed from the library this week.  It a good book for the early grades.  I thought it was just going to be an alphabet book when I borrowed it, but it is something more.  The alphabet keeper accidentally lets her letters out of their dark cage and then tries to catch them again.  Each time she is close to catching them they change a letter in the word of what she is using or what they are in and then she is foiled.  A boat deck becomes a duck, a bus becomes a bush, loud letters become a cloud and a rock becomes a rocket.  It is fun for readers who are in the early grades because they can figure out how to the letter swapping, adding or subtracting makes one thing another.
Pub. Date: March 2003
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Format: Hardcover , 32pp
Age Range: 5 to 8
Series: The Flyaway Alphabet Ser.
ISBN-13: 9780375823473
ISBN: 0375823476

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

Last week I finished reading three books, but have only reviewed two so far.  I read House of Hope and uncharted terriTORI that were reviewed.  I also finished Twilight:The Graphic Novel Volume 2.  I also ran in my first 3.5 mile race.  The races I've done up until this weekend were all 5K's.  It was my first road race that was open to traffic and not on a path.  It was a really nice experience.

Last week I splurged on some new books.  I don't need new books at all, I have tons to read, but the urge struck so I placed an order and magically my new books appeared!  I know it isn't really magical, but if feels that way sometimes.  These are the books I bought last week:
1.  uncharted terriTORI by Tori Spelling
2.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
3. The Hollows Insider: New fiction, facts, maps, murders, and more in the world of Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison 
4.  Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 (The Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer

From library I borrowed Janet Evanovich's Smokin' Seventeen.

I also went to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 yesterday.  I'm glad the book wasn't too fresh in my mind when I was watching the movie, because I didn't notice many instances where changes were made.  The part that I didn't love was where the wolves were fighting with each other and you could hear them talking in their human voices as if you were part of the thought connection they all have while in wolf form.  I'm not sure how they could have done it differently but it reminded me too much of the talking animal movies my kids watch.

There's my week, how was yours?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

uncharted terriTORI by Tori Spelling with Hilary Liftin

Synopsis from
Welcome to Los Angeles, birthplace and residence of Tori Spelling. — It’s not every Hollywood starlet whose name greets you on a Virgin Airways flight into la-la land. But Tori Spelling has come to accept that her life is a spectacle. Her name is her brand, and business is booming. Too bad when your job is to be yourself, you can't exactly take a break.

Tori finally has everything she thought she wanted—a loving family and a successful career—but trying to live a normal life in Hollywood is a little weird. With the irresistible wit, attitude, and humor that fans have come to love, the New York Times bestselling author of sTORI telling and Mommywood is back with more hilarious, heartwarming, and candid stories of juggling work, marriage, motherhood, and reality television cameras.

Tori comes clean about doing her time on jury duty, stalking herself on Twitter, discovering her former 90210 castmates’ "I Hate Tori" club, contracting swine flu, and contacting Farrah Fawcett from the dead. Like many mothers, she struggles to find balance (Stars, they’re just like us!)—only most women don’t have to battle it out with paparazzi at the grocery store. She talks openly about the darker side of life in the spotlight: media scrutiny over her weight and her marriage to Dean McDermott, her controversial relationship with Dean’s ex-wife, and her unfolding reconciliation with her mother.

Having it all isn’t always easy—especially when you’re a perfectionist—but with the help of her unconventional family and friends, an underwear-clad spiritual cleansing or two, and faith in herself, she’s learning to find her happy ending. Because when you’re Tori Spelling, every day brings uncharted terriTORI

My thoughts:
I have been wanting to read this one for awhile now and last week I bought it used on Amazon.  I read both of her other two books and loved them from the start, this one I was a bit slower to warm up to.  It did kick in and I was hooked, but not right from the start.  I can't identify what it was about the start that didn't catch me, it could have just been built up anticipation since I thought the others were so funny.

Tori admits to being a workaholic who has trouble ceding control to others.  I think it is easy to get caught in the trap that we should be able to do everything and hard to accept that the way someone else might do something might not be the way we would have.  But in doing everything by yourself you create a lot of extra stress.  I can totally identify with this, but without all of Tori's perfectionist issues as well.  I know I am not getting it all done and not getting it all done perfectly, but it is still easier to do things myself than try to explain how I want them done.

Tori has been having headaches for ten years now and has gone through a lot of doctors and other types of practitioners in her quest to be cured.  She has another visit with the the voodoo practitioner she met with in one of her other books and this time is even more bizarre than the chicken being killed in front of her.  She over thinks a lot of things in the same way so many of us do, but unlike the rest of us, she admits it and admits she is trying to work on it.

I'd like to say she is just like anyone else, and in some ways she is, she worries about her family and her health and what people are thinking about her, but she lives in a world most of us can't imagine.  Last week I forgot to put make-up on before going to work one morning.  I did two loads of laundry and got the kids ready and walked out the door without it.  In the grand scheme of things it really didn't matter, it bothered me and made me self-conscious and I did consider coming home to remedy the situation but then I would have been late, but it wasn't like there was anyone hanging out to take a picture of me or I had to fear a headline about how I must be sick because I was out looking haggard.  I can't imagine the extra stress of worrying that complete strangers are judging you.

ISBN-13: 9781439187715

ISBN-10: 1439187711
Publication Date: 6/15/2010
Pages: 256

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot- Santa Visit, November 19, 2011

Last weekend Santa arrived at a number of local malls.  The one closest to us was offering free Reindeer Webkinz to the first 200 children to visit with him as well as three dollars off picture prices.  It seemed like a good opportunity to continue a tradition and, as my children love Webkinz, a nice chance to get another code to play for another year.

As usual, getting all four children to smile and look at the right place at the same time was a challenge, but the photos we paid for turned out pretty nice and they were nice enough to let me take a few myself as well.  I don't think they let you if you aren't already buying a package.

This is the same mall we usually go to.  I like the continuity of the Santa in the pictures from year to year.

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.  This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.  You can view the list of participating blogs on her site.

Monday, November 14, 2011

House of Hope by Elisabeth Gifford

About The House of Hope:
One couple’s powerful ministry to some of China’s most vulnerable children

Robin and Joyce Hill lived in a gated community in Beijing. Their family’s life was marked by luxury and the security of Robin's job as an engineer. Then one day, as members of their church, they had a chance to tour a state-run orphanage. Haunted by the needs of the children they saw there, for the next four years they tried to help the institute in meaningful ways.

In 1998 the Hills planned to leave China, but instead felt a sudden call from God on their lives. They left their gated community--reserved for only non-Chinese residents--moved their family into a small apartment miles outside of Beijing and immediately began to take in foster children.

They took in any child, but especially those that needed extra care—terminally ill children that couldn't receive care elsewhere, and those that needed complicated and expensive surgeries that the Hills soon began to coordinate and sometimes pay for out of their own savings.

What began as Hope Foster Home is now New Hope Foundation. As they continue their work, the Hills enjoy support from major corporations and high-profile philanthropists as well as the trust of the Chinese authorities. The Hills' story is an inspiring example of God's care and provision for those whom society does not value. Learn more about Hope Foster Homes here:

"I strongly support Robin and Joyce Hill's New Hope Foundation which is saving so many orphan lives in China. Read this amazing story of God's grace and accept the challenge to make a difference!"
--Steven Curtis Chapman

"I had the privilege of going to China and witnessing the work that God is doing through Robin and Joyce Hill. They are wonderful servants of God who lovingly care for the 'least of these.' I hope that many will read this book and consider their example."
--Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love

My thoughts:
I read this book as a participant in a Litfuse Blog Tour for the book.  One of the things that really motivated me to take part in this tour is that  100% of the proceed of this book for to fund the work at Hope Foster Home.  Their site is located  here.

One of the main things that kept coming back to me in reading this book was the faith that Robin and Joyce Hill placed in God to lead them down the right path and to make the right decisions.  Even when it seemed like they were going to run out of money or room to take in more at risk and in need babies they believed that what they needed would be provided, and it was.  It is a faith that so many of us lack or struggle with.  It is hard to trust that God will provide when so many signs are pointing in the opposite way, but people come into your life for a reason and you may be called to do things that are uncomfortable, but if you break free from the mold of safe and easy, the rewards can be even greater.

It was so insightful to see how Joyce and Robin came into the life that they now lead and the good that they are doing for so many children.  It is hard to see a child in need of medical help and to step up with a willingness to use their own money if necessary to get these babies the help they need.  It is equally hard to realize that not all of the babies in need of operations are going to be able to be saved, some may have conditions that cannot be cured and that will end in their early departure from this world.  But to have love and attention for the time they are able to be here is priceless.

I gained a new appreciation of adoption from reading this and the hoops and conditions that people must comply with in order to bring a forever child into their homes and their lives.

Link to buy the book: here. (100% of the proceeds go to fund work at Hope Foster Home)

About the Giveaway! The publisher is sponsoring a $50 "GET / GIVE" GIVEAWAY: One winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for themselves AND $50 will be given in the winner's name to Hope Foster Home.
To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using #HFH) about The House of Hope or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use #HFH. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know ( Easy.

About Elisabeth Gifford:
Elisabeth Gifford is a journalist who has written for the London Times and the Independent Newspapers. She lives in Kingston, England, and teaches children with dyslexia.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week I feel like I had book ADD.  I would pick one book up and read a few pages or chapters and then put it down only to pick up a different book next time.  It was not very conducive to actually finishing anything!

What I managed to finish this week were Dating a Cougar by Donna McDonald and The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

I am still reading quite a few.  In the car I am listening to Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo the first in a fantasy series.  I am reading The House of Hope by Elizabeth Gifford for a Litfuse blog tour.  There are a bunch of other started books around, but I'm not going to mention them until I commit to one since who knows if I will finsihe them or not!  I have read a few books that haven't been reviewed yet so I hope to get those posts done and up this week just to be caught up.

I just ordered some more books yesterday that I am excited about.  Maybe I'll start doing the In My Mailbox meme again to share my new reads, I've been slacking off on that one.  Also this week I bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

That was my week, how was yours?