Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Beautiful Wife: Focused on Christ, Fulfilled in Marriage by Sandy Ralya


The Beautiful Wife uses these inspiring stories along with biblical principles to guide and encourage any wife looking for God's best in her marriage. The Beautiful Wife answers serious questions women have about their roles as wives. Discussing everything from romance and money to beauty, communication, and sex, Sandy challenges women to open up and share their journeys so that together they can see God's plan for their marriages. "It is my passion to help women discover God's heart for their marriage, just as the other women helped me," writes Sandy. "When women share with each other the details of their journeys with God as wives, it's a beautiful thing indeed."

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780825442209
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • Publication date: 2/10/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 444,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren. www.beautifulwomanhood.com


Link to buy the book:  here.

Blog Tour Schedule:  here. 

Win a Kindle Touch and RSVP for FB party 3/8!

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/8!

Celebrate with Sandy by entering her Kindle Touch Giveaway and coming to her "Beautiful Womanhood" Facebook Party {3/8}!

One beautiful winner will receive:
  • A Brand new Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi
  • The Beautiful Wife By Sandy Ralya
  • The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/7/12. Winner will be announced at Sandy's "Beautiful Womanhood" Facebook Party on 3/8. Sandy will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, prayer journals and a live chat with Sandy for your Bible study or small group!

So grab your copy of The Beautiful Wife and join Sandy and friends on the evening of March 8th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 8th!

My thoughts:
Reading this book made me wish that I did belong to a group of women so I could discuss and explore the topics and ideas more fully.  Sandy shares ideas on how to find a group or start a group which I will have to look into.  One thing that really resonated with me was allowing yourself as a wife and mother to have your own time for reflection and for taking care of yourself spiritually, physically and emotionally.  One thing that zaps much of my time is activities my children participate in.  I feel like I get so much guilt from the other parents for not volunteering more and for missing events, but she suggests that no child is going to miss being in only one or no outside activities.  I loved the months we had last year with no sports to go to.  I felt like I got to spend more time with my own children, not just hurrying them along to get done with homework and dinner so we could be out the door, but sitting down and talking and reading books and playing in the yard, we get so caught up with what we are supposed to be doing for them that we miss out on some important family time.  There is no need to do it all, and less can definitely be more!

Another area I want to work on is trusting God to answer my prayers when and how He sees fit.  I think I tend to ask for what I want to happen instead of praying for things to happen as they should.  I pray for how I want the outcome to be instead of believing that something different might, and most likely would, be even better for all. So in that extra time I can take by not being over scheduled I want to pray and trust and see what comes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week was mostly audio books again.

I finished:
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Ipod audio)
Judy Moody Girl Detective by Megan McDonald (car audio)
Push by Sapphire (book the movie Precious was based on)(Ipod audio)

Still reading:
Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Matched by Ally Condie
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (car audio)

Still Need to be Reviewed:
Judy Moody Around the World in 8 1/2 Days by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody Declare Her Independence by Megan McDonald

I've done most of my audio listening either while in the car or while running with my Ipod.  I hope to get a bit more actual book reading done this week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler


It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

My thoughts:
This book was on a number of blogs at the end of last year so when I saw it on the shelf at the library last week I grabbed it.  It  has such great pacing and such a neat idea that I had trouble putting it down.  For some reason I have always been interested in the idea of time travel and while this is not traveling to the future, it shows Emma and Josh how even little decisions they make today can affect their lives in fifteen years.  Imagine all those small things you decide on each day from what to wear, to what time to leave the house, what to eat or buy.  Nothing that seems life changing, especially far off in the future, but what if it is?  Thinking about September 11th I always remember the people who were late to work at the World Trade Center, or on vacation, or off at an off-site meeting and how that one decision led to them still being here.  We never know which small decision is going to set in motion where we will be or what we will be doing or who we will be with in the future.

Emma sees herself in fifteen years and sees a woman who is unhappy with her life, so she sets out to fix things like not meeting her future husband at college and then looks for the ripples from that.  Each time she changes something she refreshes the page to see how it fixes things.  She sees how decisions small and large can modify the future she sees.  Josh is a little more leery of looking too much at the future, he sees a picture he is happy with and doesn't want to mess with it.  But in looking into the future they realize that hey need to look at the now too.

This was a well-paced book and the characters were realistic and real.  They weren't too stereotyped or cartoon like.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595144911
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 11/21/2011
Pages: 320
Age range: 12 - 17 Years

Monday, February 20, 2012


Last week had my second 10 mile run ever.  This time I did on the treadmill and I wanted to quit more than once, but I figured once I made it to the halfway point I would just have to do all that work again to get the run in and it was better to stick it out.  I also took a few days break from calorie counting.  Valentine's Day and knowing that as of Wednesday I will have given up potato chips and french fries led to the consumption of more sweets and fries than usual.

This week:
Ran 23 miles (4,5,10,3)
Walked 1 mile
No other exercises

I have been following two training plans, kind of putting them together to get ready for my first ever half marathon at the end of April.  I make sure to do the longest run either recommend and tend to also end up over the miles for both plans since they have different length runs and when I meet people to run, we try to go for 4 or 5 miles even if that is not what is written on the plan.  This weeks ten mile run felt hard.  I was super thirsty, maybe because I did it at the end of the day, but I have trouble drinking while running and if I stop I don't want to start again.  Even in races, I love the idea of a water stop, but unless I actually stop I spill the water and choke and always think it might have been better to have skipped it.  How do you manage to drink while still running?  Straw cups help a bit and I bet a water bottle with a closed sort of top might help too.  I've been pondering if I can run the whole half without drinking anything and I am thinking I will end up too thirsty at the end and compromise energy as I get thirstier.  Things to figure out in the next two months!

This is hosted by Mari at Bookworm with a View.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week was still heavily audio, but I got a little bit more reading done.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Judy Moody Around the World in 8 1/2 Days by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody Declare Her Independence by Megan McDonald

Working on:
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Ipod audio)
Judy Moody Girl Detective by Megan McDonald (car audio)
Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon (personal book, poor thing keeps getting put aside for library and book tour books.  I really do like it, but I guess part of me wants to make it last as well)

Reviewed this week:
Judy Moody was in a Mood by Megan McDonald
Foreplay: A Succubus Diary Prequel by Jill Myles
Then Again by Diane Keaton
The Paris Wife by Paula McCain
Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliot

This is hosted by Shelia at Bookjourney.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Foreplay: A Succubus Diaries Prequel by Jill Myles

Before there were the Succubus Diaries, there was FOREPLAY...

How did Jackie Brighton get turned into a succubus? She can’t remember – all she knows is that she woke up in a Dumpster. This short story tells the tale of that night, and sheds a little light on her masters’ motivations.

My thoughts:
I read this a couple months ago and for some reason never got around to posting a review of it.  I was introduced to the Succubus Diaries through a book tour a couple years ago and I have really enjoyed Jackie and her drama and how she is torn between Zane and Noah.  A little bit of how she became a succubus was covered in the first book, but this prequel takes that little bit of memory that she has and fleshes it out.  It is very short, definitely a one sitting kind of read, but a nice little treat to tide you over as you wait for another full length book in the series to come out.  It leaves you with a question to ponder too about Zane, so a bit of an incentive to keep reading to see if the answer comes out!

Product Details

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 146 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Saturday Snapshot- Revisiting Halloween

This was Halloween two years ago.  Lately I haven't been taking very many pictures so the pickings were a bit slim for this week.  This is Anakin Skywalker, a penguin, a snow princess and an elephant.

This elephant costume was worn but three different children then I passed it along to a friend who may or may not have used it this year.  I love how cozy and cute it is!

Same things with the penguin.  Three of my children and my nephew all used the costume and when it gets too small I will pass it along.  Might as well get as much use out of costumes as you can!

And a rare photo that I am actually in too!  Since most pictures are taken by me I seem to be in very few of my own pictures.  I do get some from friends and family so that I can prove I was there too and not just behind the camera, but not too often.

This is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Judy Moody Was in a Mood (Judy Moody Series #1) by Megan McDonald


"Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood. A mad-faced mood."

To start, Judy Moody doesn't have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won't have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she'll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. An aspiring doctor, Judy does have a little brother who comes in handy for practicing medicine, a cool new pet, and a huge Band-Aid collection.

Judy also has an abundance of individuality and attitude, and when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, she really gets a chance to express herself! Megan McDonald's spirited text and Peter Reynolds's wry illustrations combine in a feisty, funny first chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts.

Third grader Judy Moody is in a first day of school bad mood until she gets an assignment to create a collage all about herself and begins creating her masterpiece, the Me collage.

My thoughts:
A couple summers ago we listened to a Judy Moody book in the car on the way to the beach, but I don't think my children were quite ready to enjoy the series then.  My daughter read this book in her second grade class and was really excited about it.  I didn't know which one of the series she had read, so when I checked out the same one she was a little disappointed, but I think she enjoyed listening again anyway and we have since checked out a few more to listen to in the car.

Judy is fun, quirky and imaginative.  She is best friends with a boy, which you don't always see in children's books, and has a little brother with a silly name, Stink.  (We listened to and read a number of Stink books last year so we already know all about him!)  Things don't always go right for her, and she can be very moody and grumpy, but she makes it through all the little trials of school and friends and is a good model for children.  Things might not always go your way, but you can get through it and have fun.

I loved how her favorite historical person was Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor.  I remember reading her biography from my elementary school library years ago and being very impressed with her and the boundaries that she pushed.  She also appears in one of the Magic Treehouse books so I think my children had a bit of an idea of who she was.  I'm also loving that these books are only a couple hours or so long, since it makes it easier on the younger two to follow the story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763648497
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 1/26/2010
Pages: 176
Age range: 6 - 10 Years
Series: Judy Moody Series, #1

Then Again by Diane Keaton

Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.

So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always-thinking Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. In a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother. Over the course of her life, Dorothy kept eighty-five journals—literally thousands of pages—in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself. Dorothy also recorded memorable stories about Diane’s grandparents. Diane has sorted through these pages to paint an unflinching portrait of her mother—a woman restless with intellectual and creative energy, struggling to find an outlet for her talents—as well as her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.

More than the autobiography of a legendary actress, Then Again is a book about a very American family with very American dreams. Diane will remind you of yourself, and her bonds with her family will remind you of your own relationships with those you love the most.

My thoughts:
I listened to this audio book from the library and I love how it was read by the author.  It really catches the nuances of her feelings, especially as her mother succumbed to Alzheimer's and her children entered her life.  I don't think it would have been as powerful or as moving if it had been read by someone else.

I love hearing and reading about real people and to see someone look back on his or her life and illuminate the highs and lows and a lot of the in between humanizes people who might seem like just stars.  Even stars have the problems we do, aging parents, children and their issues, weight concerns and relationships that go both right and wrong, and it can be easy to forget that when we see them onscreen and think that they must have it all.

I picked up a copy of this book to look at while browsing at a store and I loved the pictures of the journals that both Dorthy and Diane kept and I loved the descriptions of the pages and collages included in the journals.  In this time of so much more being kept electronically I sometimes miss the feel of paper and pens and pencils, of gluing in images and creating with my hands.  I used to do a lot of scrap booking, but lately I haven't and I find that I am really missing my creative outlet. 

This was a nice celebration of life and the differences from then and now, from Diane's grandparents, to her parents to how she is now a parent of young children in her 50's and 60's.  I definitely recommend the audio format!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400068784
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 304

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

My thoughts:
I love discovering the history behind real people and what really drove them to be who and what they were, but when reading a fictional account I am also left wondering how much is true and how much has been filled into the blanks left by history and the passage of time.  At times this story drew me in, and at others I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen.  Hadley spent a lot of time waiting for something to happen, waiting for Earnest to come home from a day of writing, waiting for him to return from a trip, waiting for her child to feel better, waiting to make a decision.  Perhaps that makes it fitting that the reader also feels a sense of waiting.

I found myself wanting Hadley to stand up for herself and to take a stand.  To not be so understanding of what her husband needed as an artist.  I think I would have enjoyed it more as well if she hadn't pointed out that there was going to be a woman who was going to be the one who would come between them at some point.  For people who already knew the history or the couple, they also already knew that someone was going to come in to break apart their bond, but I would have liked to have not known from the start what was coming.  It would have given me more of a chance to be in each of the moments instead of also being constantly on the alert for the "other woman".

This wasn't a book I loved or hated, it just didn't quite capture me as I hoped it would.  It seemed well done in the historical aspects and I enjoyed the peek into the lives of other artists of the time living in Paris.  The picture of the Fitzgerald's was definitely something!  I think for fans of Hemingway they may be disappointed by how he is portrayed.  He seems to be a very selfish man who is not fully able to love anyone else.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345521309
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/22/2011
Pages: 320

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This was week five of my half marathon training.  I put the two plans I have together and came up with my plan for the week and I stuck with it.  This is amazing for me because I am not always the best at sticking with fitness plans.  Maybe since I know there is something I am working towards I am holding myself more accountable, but I have been doing so much better in that regard since starting to run last summer.

This week:
Ran 24 miles (4,5,4,10)
Walked 3 miles
1 workout video (Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred)

This was my first ever 10 mile run and my longest run outside to date.  I had planned to run with a friend on Saturday morning, but the snow caused it to just be me.  It felt like a very slow run, but I stuck with it and made it to 10 miles.  I miscalculated where I would be and ended up having an almost .75 walk home.  Next time I'll have a better idea how  long different loops in town are!

I went over my calories for the week by 305 but I also saw my lowest weight since I started making an effort to lose weight again.  My biggest challenge is stress and going out to eat.  I am not replacing a lot of our snacks as they are consumed, so it is getting harder to find something to just grab which hopefully will help me make better choices or at least force me to grab a piece of fruit or vegetable instead of something salty, sweet and processed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliot

In this second in the award-winning Saddler's Legacy series, Rosslyn Elliott has written a stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real historical people and events. With Ben Hanby, a genius composer, Kate Winter, one of the first female college graduates in America, and John Parker, an ex-slave who risked his life time and again to help fugitive slaves, Sweeter than Birdsong is full of real heroes to inspire us. "I hope readers will find a renewed sense of strength in their own lives," says Elliott, "knowing that change is possible, and our efforts matter. I want them to remember these unique, brave people in history who left us a shining example of what it means to live out one's beliefs with passion and commitment."

So to celebrate the music in all of us, Rosslyn and Thomas Nelson are hosting this "sweet giveaway".

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand new iPod Nano (Winner's choice of color!)
  • Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
  • Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 28th. Winner will be announced at Sweeter than Birdsong Author Chat Facebook Party on 2/28. Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, sharing a sneak peek of the next book in the series, hosting a trivia contest, and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, season 1 of DowntownAbbey, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Rosslyn.)

So grab your copy of Sweeter than Birdsong and join Rosslyn and friends on the evening of the 28th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

My thoughts:
I was excited to take part in this Litfuse Blog Tour after reading Rosslyn Elliot's first book in the Saddler Legacy.  This time the focus is on the son of the couple from book one along with a young lady he attends college with.  I love how Elliot took names and facts from history to weave into her story.  It makes it come alive, breathing life into what could just be boring, dusty facts. 
I was struck by what it must have been like to be among the first women who were able to attend college, albeit with chaperones and all sorts of rules of conduct, but to be able to attend and take part.  At the same time what was it like to be alive during the time that slavery was a big part of how the south was run.  How did those in the north really see slavery?  How did they feel about it?  Was it was to process when you were in the middle of it?  How will we view events we are living through now when we have the vantage point of history on your side?
I was able to empathize with Kate and the trouble she had speaking in public and voicing her true feelings.  Not that I am paralyzed with shyness, but public speaking always makes me feel a bit sick to  my stomach and panicky.  It is hard to stand up for what you know is right and even harder when you feel shy and unsure of yourself.
This book makes human and real the time period before the civil war, as well as the underground railroad and the abolitionist movement.
Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13456229/birdsong

Read an excerpt here:here.

For more about Rosslyn, visit her website: http://rosslynelliott.com/

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week I've done a lot of listening to audio books, but not as much actual book reading.  I am so thankful for audio since it allows me to read/listen while doing other things, otherwise I would feel like I was missing out on my weekly reading allotment!

I Remember Nothingn by Nora Ephron
Then Again by Diane Keaton
Judy Moody is in a Mood, Not a Good Mood, A Bad Mood by Megan McDonald
Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliot

Still Working on:
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

Other thoughts:
I've been checking digital audio books out of the library to listen to on my Ipod.  I love it because I can listen while I run.  I did a two hour run Saturday morning and listened the whole time!  I also listen at double time, because it feels too slow otherwise, which makes them go a lot faster!  It changes the sound a little, but once you get used to it the story sounds fine.  I plan to stop by the library tomorrow as I am done listening to both books I checked out and I cannot figure out how to return them before the due date.  I  know there must be a way, but nothing I have tried has worked so  it is time to ask for help!

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron


Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.

Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true—and could have come only from Nora Ephron—I Remember Nothing is pure joy.

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed I Feel Bad About My Neck and wanted to read this one.  I had the chance to check it out as a digital audio book from the library to  listen to while running.  It almost felt like it went too quickly.  This time I couldn't relate quite as much as I could to her last book, there were less essays on purses and everyday things, but it was engaging and fun.  I really enjoyed the first section about what she cannot remember and how she will pause and go google the answer and come back to continue.  I have days when I am so tired I can't seem to find the word for things, not because I forgot but because so much is already going on in my mind and I can't seem to slow it down.

This book reminded me of Joan Didion's latest book too.  They are both talking about aging and how it is affecting them and how they see themselves.  Nora talks about being old now, not really old which is 80, but 69 and old to young people.  We all pick ages that are old, then reach them and then a new age is old.  I am pretty sure that Nora mentions Joan Didion's husband in one of the passages as someone who was at an event she went to.  One problem I have with non-fiction audio is that when I just hear names I am not as good at remembering them as I am when I read them.

Nora's portrait of what it was like to be a writer in the early sixties is something I never thought that much about.  How women were the mail sorters and fact checkers while the men got to be writers.  I'm glad we've come as far as we have!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307742803
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/1/2011
Pages: 160
Series: Vintage Series

The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maze Runner #3)


Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.

Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

My thoughts:
This audio book was darker and scarier than the first two.  This time you know you are reaching the conclusion and it starts to be hard to feel helpful after the other times Wicked has lied to the Gladers about them being done with the Trials, only to throw something else at them.

As they find out who is and isn't immune in their group and who does and does not wish to get their memory back, it gets hard to know who to trust and who is doing the right thing.  How has the government let the world get this far, how have they not taken better precautions with the general population to avoid the spread of the Flare?  Is it all really for the greater good? 

Thomas is tortured too with how much he had to do with implementing the plan in the maze, how much is he responsible for, will he like himself when and if he allows his memory to be restored?  Watching friends sink into insanity I wondered how it was avoided for so long in the Glade.  If Wicked knew some of the test subjects were not immune, but were being put in this situation, how did they know that they would escape in time before the madness took over?  How long does it really take for the Flare to fully overtake a person?

Without revealing too much, I have to say I was happy with the outcome at the end, it seemed like the best option after all was said and done, but I do hope that some of the other outcomes might end up being positive at some point.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385738774
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/11/2011
Pages: 336
Age range: 12 - 17 Years
Series: Maze Runner Series, #3

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saturday Snapshot!

My children have been obsessed with the treadmill and this week I let them try walking on it.  They now bug me all the time to have a turn to go on it.  I am wondering how long this interest will last.

She is waiting for her turn to jump on and "run" as they call it.

The youngest two I think are too small to try it out, but they practiced playing catch with a soft ball instead and were just as happy.

This is hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Book One in Chemical Garden Series)


By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

My thoughts:
I listened to this as an audio book on my Ipod as I ran.  The story was so engrossing there were times I was willing to run for longer just to keep listening.  Lately I feel like all the YA books I've read have been dystopian.  I recall seeing this one reviewed on a number of blogs months back, probably around it's release time at the beginning of 2011.  I added it to my TBR list, but it can take me quite a while to get to all the books I want to read.

This book painted a scary portrait of the world, where some sort of fluke with the first generation has caused all of their children to have shortened lifespans.  The first generation were test tube babies.  One thing I kept wondering, and wondering if I had missed while listening, is why that generation then decided to have children without using any artificial means.  If there was a problem why not go back to DNA from before to see if things could be fixed rather than doing the same thing over and over with the same results.  Perhaps that would not have made for such a good story, or maybe I missed that when listening.

Another inaccuracy in the book was that once a baby has been fed formula it will not be willing to nurse again.  While I did not use formula with my children I know plenty of families who use a combination of formula and breast milk/nursing and have no problems switching between the two.  That point made me cringe because this book is for YA readers and I hate for that idea to get stuck in their heads.  Done with my soapbox now, that isn't really the point of the story just an issue that rubbed me the wrong way.

Rhine goes out one day one her own, which she usually never does sticking with her twin brohter, Rowen, for safety.  She is hoping to find a job to help her brother in providing for them.  They spend all their time and energy on surviving.  Instead of finding a job, Rhine is sold to be a bride of a wealthy governor who lives in a totally different state.  Once there she and her two new sister wives are held on a floor of the house with their bedrooms locked, they are forced to marry a man they do not know, and are then given some freedoms within the property.  The two other new wives were both from orphanages, while Rhine and her brother had continued to live in the home of their parents after their death.

Rhine gets to know and like her sister wives and comes to understand her new husband, who is dealing with the sickness and death of his first wife and love when they enter his home.  After the life she lived of worrying for survival all the time, this lief is luxurious, with servants and technology and no need to work.  It is easy to get distracted by everything, but then she will remember her brother and how she got to where she is and she is determined to find a way to run away and get home to her brother and New York.

Imagine knowing your death is so close when you have barely lived?  What would you be willing to do to live those years as you wish?  It will be interesting to see where this series goes in book two which comes out at the end of this month.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442409057
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 3/22/2011
Edition description: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 368
Age range: 14 - 17 Years
Series: Chemical Garden Series, #1

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Okay, this is two days late, but I didn't want to skip it even though it was late. Last week I ran my first 10K race for Superbowl Sunday. The weekend before I did a practice run for the course, not emphasizing on speed at all, just enjoying it and making one wrong turn that added .2 to the run. I had fun and was looking forward to the actual race. Going into it my goal was to run it between 1 hour and 1 hour ten minutes. That morning I really started aiming for the one hour mark and was right on track for the first two miles, even the hills especially at mile three didn't get me too off track, and then I started to run out of energy and slow down. I ended up finishing in 1:02:51. Definitely in between the times I set for myself and close, but not quite my ultimate goal for this race. This is the longest I have ever maintained a ten minute per mile pace. I've done it for two or three miles, but never 6.2 so it was a success!

Last week’s training:
Ran 15 miles
Walked 7

Not quite my usual, but it was supposed to be an easy week on my one training plan. This week I have a ten mile run planned with a friend for Saturday. So far all my long runs have been on the treadmill so I am really hoping the weather holds out so I can do this one outside and with someone to talk to.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beyond Molasses Creek by Nicole Seitz

About the book:

Three lives are bound by a single book . . . and the cleansing waters of Molasses Creek.

Having traveled to the ends of the earth as a flight attendant, Ally Green has finally returned to the Lowcountry to bury her father as well as the past. But Vesey Washington is still living across the creek, and theirs is a complicated relationship—he was once her best friend . . . and also part of the reason she’s stayed away so long. When Ally discovers a message her father left behind asking her to quit running, it seems her past isn’t through with her yet.

As Ally’s wandering spirit wrestles with a deep longing to flee again, a young woman on the other side of the world escapes her life of slavery in the rock quarries of Nepal. A mysterious sketchbook leads Sunila Kunari to believe there’s more to her story than she’s ever been told, and she’s determined to follow the truth wherever it leads her.

A deep current intertwines the lives of these three souls, and a destiny of freedom, faith, and friendship awaits them all on the banks of Molasses Creek.

My thoughts:
I love participating in blog tours, like this one for Litfuse, because they always bring books to me that I may not have discovered on my own.  I loved the mystery presented by the cover and spent quite a bit of time wondering how the three lives were going to come together.  As the pieces started to fall into place I really appreciated how faith, doubts, loss and love were woven together into this story about the past and the present and how they fit together.  How we can never truly run away from ourselves but need to learn to accept what is and what isn't and what can be changed and what cannot.

There were so many opportunities for each of the characters to feel resentment and hate and to rail against injustices, but they held fast and kept going and were even able to have empathy for those who were causing some of the pain and heartache.

When Ally becomes a flight attendant I pictured her as the actresses in the PanAm show I've seen ads for.  I don't know if the show is still on the air, but that is the type of uniform I thought of .  I also loved the rainbow umbrella that appeared in more than one place and with more than one character, almost like they were hanging onto their hope that there was going to be something worth waiting for at the end of the rainbow after the rain had cleared.

Link to buy the book:here.

About Nicole:

Nicole Seitz is the author of several critically acclaimed novels - The Inheritance of Beauty, Saving Cicadas, A Hundred Years of Happiness, Trouble the Water, and The Spirit of Sweetgrass. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, and also has a degree in Illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Her paintings are featured on the covers of her books. Visit her at @NicoleSeitz, Facebook and http://www.nicoleseitz.com/ for more information.

About the party:
Nicole is celebrating the release of Beyond Molasses Creek with a fabulous "Friendship" Facebook party! She'll be giving away a ton of great stuff (KINDLE TOUCH, some of her own beautiful artwork, a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies of the book for your small group/book club and a Live Skype Chat with Nicole), and more!

CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then join us on February 16th for a book chat, story sharing and prizes! Hope to see you there!

Button Code:
Save the Date! 2/16!
Save the Date! 2/16!Blog Tour Schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13454766

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

So even though I barely blogged last week I was still reading.  Not even totally sure why I didn't get any reviews written, too much running or too much sickness in my house maybe.

Finished this week:
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Beyond Molasses Creek by Nicole Seitz

Still working on:
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

Still needs to be reviewed:
The Death Cure by James Dashner

This weekend I ran in my first 10K and beat my original goal for time.  We had an electrician in to fix some things and now are enjoying working overhead lights in the kitchen and living room that we had been doing without for quite some time while waiting for someone to be able to come and fix them.  The first electrician never got back to me, the second was very busy and scheduled it only to have to reschedule due to another job taking longer, but it is not done and we are enjoying not living in a cave anymore!