Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finding Noel: A Novel

Finding Noel: A Novel Finding Noel: A Novel by Richard Paul Evans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I have to say that this book was quite different from my previous entry.  I enjoyed the book, but it had a lot of heart ache and redeeming qualities to it.  The book is about a man named Mark who falls on hard times.  He keeps falling down time after time and then meets an angel out of no where.  He meets Macy.  Their meeting is somewhat a chance meeting and he helps Macy to discover who she is and coming to grips with her past and where she came from.  Is their such thing as fate or destiny?  That's what this book is about.  For a Christmas book, it seemed like there was an awful lot of death, but I guess death brings closure and that's what the author was wanting.  I liked it and do agree that certain people come into our lives at certain times.  Some stay in our lives and others don't.  At Christmas time, we do look back on our lives and remember those lost, but not forgotten.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 by Christopher Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In one word: hilarious!!  This was the third Christopher Moore book I have read and it certainly didn't disappoint.  If you love those emotional and sappy Christmas books, this is definitely not for you.  This is the Author's Warning:  "If you're buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware tht it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depections of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex.  Don't blame me.  I told you."  Yep, that about sums it up.

The story takes place in sunny Pine Cove, California.  Pine Cove is a small town where everyone knows everyone.  Seems like the town is made up mostly of lunatics.  A little boy witnesses Santa being killed and makes a wish to have Santa alive again so that he can have a good Christmas.  The "stupidest" angel visits Pine Cove in order to grant the boy his wish and it all goes wrong . . . . I enjoyed the many laughs and actually enjoyed the zombies (I think my best friend's love for zombies is wearing off on me).  The book was funny, witty, and crude.  A Christmas story like no other!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sworn to Silence

Sworn to Silence Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Who doesn't love a good thriller? This was a gift given to me.  I love thrillers and after reading them, I always ask myself why I don't read more of them.  This thriller takes place in an amish community and is the story involving the chief of police, who is also a banned amish member.  It had some really good twists and turns, AND I didn't see the ending coming.  I liked it.  It was a good read and wasn't predictable as many of them are.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories

Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ugh! I'll be honest, this book was simply frustrating. The book is made up of short stories revolving around the life of Olive Kitteridge, who isn't the most pleasant woman to begin with. The stories don't seem to tie together, except for the fact that they are all depressing in some way.  Someone is either dying or having something tragic happening to them throughout each story.  It was really hard for me to continue reading it.  Perhaps I am just more accustomed to reading novels, rather than a bunch of stories. 

Unfortunately, it was a gift I gave my friend for her birthday.  How sad is that?  Sorry Becky!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

While My Sister Sleeps

While My Sister Sleeps While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book was essentially about love.  A love for your family, a love for who who we are destined to become, and a love for what we are.  The storyline of the book is about a motivated and driven woman named Robin who suffers from a massive heart attack while running and falls into a deep coma.  All the while, it leaves her family to discover who Robin really is and what she kept from the rest of her family.  The book focuses around Robin's sister Molly who has always lived in her sister's shadow.  Throughout this horrific ordeal, Molly learns who her sister really is and discovers who she is destined to become.  We grow up being who our parents mold us to be.  At what point do we break away from what they want into what we want?  Will they still love us?  Will they let us be "us?"  This is a book about family, love, being our true self, and fate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a beloved dog named Enzo. Yes, it is narrated by a dog. This was a book club selection and I was pretty skeptical to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I am a dog lover, but a book narrated by a dog? Seemed a little sketchy to me! The book takes you on a journey of Enzo's life with his owner(s). The dog reminded me of an old soul trapped in a dog's body. Throughout the story, the dog has much to say about life and how us humans tend to ruin things without even knowing it.

The book is about love, loyalty, tragedy, and fate. As I read this book, my dog Bugsy had to be at my side. I began to look at Bugsy and wondering . . . . . . hmmmm. This book is for anyone who loves dogs and loves a good story.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

If I am Missing or Dead

If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation by Janine Latus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up thinking is was a novel. After starting the book, I shortly realized it was a memoir. I think it would have been easier to read knowing it was fiction.

The book is about the author's life, beginning as a young girl. Her life is molded by an assortment of awful men, including her father. Throughout her life, both her and her sister are abused both mentally and physically by the men in their lives. The book spoke to me in regards to how much are you willing to endure to find happiness or what you think is happiness? What are women willing to put themselves through to please their someone else. when is it abuse? It is a book about liberation and standing up for yourself even when you feel like you are all alone.

I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I couldn't put it down and when I did, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Dirty Job

A Dirty Job A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was wacky, zany, and funny. I never thought I would enjoy a book about death, but I did. I was laughing outloud throughout the book.

The book is about a man named Charlie who becomes death after witnessing his wife's soul vessel being taken as she dies. His new job becomes DEATH by collecting soul vessels for people who have died or are about to. If that wasn't wacky enough, he begins fighting with the underworld. I know what you are thinking. Why is that funny? Well, first of all, it's Christopher Moore. Secondly, don't you have to have a sense of humor doing a job such as this? I loved Charlie and his sister, Jane. They were such smart asses, which is something I could relate to. ;o) My favorite line in the book was, "not in the butt . . . not in the butt. . . not in the butt." You won't understand that one until you read it, then you will laugh your butt off!

I loved the book . . . . if you need a good laugh, pick this one up!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman Bible Study

Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman - Member Book Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my second Beth Moore study and I really enjoyed it. I certainly got more out of it than I thought I would. Really, the study of Esther?? I had read that book in the Bible before and didn't really get much out of it. Boy did I miss A LOT! If you've never experienced a Beth Moore bible study, you need to. The book, along with the accompanying DVD is awesome. I could listen to her all day long.

Some of the things captured in the study were:

*The book of Esther is about the redemption and unexplainable survival of the Jews.

*It's tough being a woman . . .
in another woman's shadow.
in a world where beauty is a treatment.

in a mean world.
thrown a gian size weight.
in the tight fist of fear.
who can balance passion with patience.
who feels responsible for the "how."

*Our human nature not only sets us up for selfishness but to feel uncomfortable and incompetent when faced with someone who needs more than we have.

*Sometimes God wants to show us what we can do rather than let us find someone who can do it for us.

*We can love God and still be liked by people.

*I believe in the sun, even whin it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I do not feel it. I believe in God, even when He is silent.

*Look at the following comparison: In 1941 the Nazis forced the Jews in Poland into the Warsaw Ghetto. This became the unlikely breeding ground for an insurrection against Hitler's Nazi forces in 1943. The vastly outnumbered and overpowered Jews actually held the evil giant back for a time. The story of Esther and Purim were not lost on the Nazis, who killed any Jew in the prison camps possessing a copy of Esther. Yet the incarcerated Jews wrote copies of it from memory. The story of Esther was most precious to the Jews facing mass death, because in it they found assurance and hope that they, not their enemy, would triumph. Had Hitler had his way, the Jews would have been completely exterminated.

*Here is a quote from a Rabbi in Jerusalem regarding the holocaust: "Our Deliverer did indeed come. He just came a little later than we expected. Had our enemy had his way, none of us would have survivied."

*But trust reverses the detours of adversity into highways of destiny.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Remainder Remainder by Tom McCarthy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Weird, intriguing, disturbing, monotonous, and did I mention weird? The beginning of the book starts you off knowing something happens to the author, but has been sworn to secrecy. It is about a man who is involved in an accident of some kind (again, he can't talk about it) and then receives a HUGE sum of money for enduring all the pain and suffering. So what is he going to do with all that money? He begins trying to find that piece of happiness he so longs for. That place of normalcy. It is happiness he seeks, yet it is weirdness he invokes. His life becomes one big reenactment. All the while, I kept thinking that we would eventually find out what happened to him and is he mentally insane or just on his way?

I walked away from it wondering what happens to him and where does he go from there??? And why don't we ever find out his name???

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book had been on my "to-read" list for quite some time. With the movie coming out, I decided to read it since I can't see the movie before I read the book!

The book is about a man who discovers at a young age that he can time travel. The author takes the reader to the past and future piecing together people and the things that take place in his life. He is traveling through time all the while, staying connected to his one true love, Clare. He loves Clare, but he can't just stay. It is the kind of love story that makes you long for them to be together and be happy. It is a very unique love story.

In the beginning, I had a hard time figuring out where he was and what he was doing there. All the time traveling and being in the future, past, left me wondering where the book was taking me??? About half way into the book, things seemed to finally click for me. I couldn't put it down. I loved this book. It was like no other book I have ever read. I liked how the author took you along with each character in time, but didn't give you all the information at once and made you piece things together. Once I got to the end, I didn't want it to end. I wanted to just keep reading . . . this is one of the few books I definitely would re-read. There is so much going on in the past and present, I'm sure I missed something. This is a a must read!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nurturing Spirituality in Children: Simple Hands-On Activities

Nurturing Spirituality in Children: Simple Hands-On Activities Nurturing Spirituality in Children: Simple Hands-On Activities by Peggy Joy Jenkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is full on hands-on activities to do with your children to help them grow spriritually. There are a lot of easy and fun activities you can do with your children. In the beginning of the book, the author explains different types of positive affirmations to do with your children. I really liked this excerpt from the book:

"The most important affirmations for children are those that build their self-esteem. Self-esteem is the foundation of joyful, successful lives. Many parents and teachers teach their small children to use the magic words "I like myself.""

The Beach House

The Beach House The Beach House by Jane Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a fun and easy read for me, especially after the last book I had read. It is a book about marriage, family, broken hearts, love, forgiveness, and family roots. The book is centered around the life of Nan Powell, a widow for many years who lives in a large house in Nantucket. What a beautiful backdrop to a great story. Nan is an eccentric and mysterious woman who takes everyone she meets by surprise. She is struggling financially and decides to rent rooms in her house out for the summer. What she doesn't realize is that the people she finds to rent the rooms need her as much as she needs them. There are many twists in turns throughout the book, ones that I could really relate to.

I enjoyed the book, but thought the book was predictable at times. The author made me feel like I was sitting on the beach reading this great story of life and love. I only wished I had been reading it on the beach in Nantucket. I enjoyed the peacefulness the book gave me and kept me reading. I loved the ending and wished it would have kept going . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the Woods

In the Woods In the Woods by Tana French

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book after a friend of mine rated it with 5 stars. Well, I was unsure what to think of the book. The beginning was slow moving, but then I was sucked into the storyline. The main character in the book is a detective who works on a case which seems eerily similar to a childhood murder in which he was a part of. I thought the book was suspensful and kept my interest. However, I thought the author spent too much time on information that wasn't really that important to the storyline. For much of the book, I felt like there were too many details and felt like it just went on and on. By the time you reach the end of the book, the author ties up one storyline, but not the other, which is the one you most want to know what happened. It left me feeling very disappointed and ticked off after all that! Disappointing book to say the least.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Skylight Confessions

Skylight Confessions: A Novel Skylight Confessions: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book club selection. The cover looked intesting, although it was a lot darker than I thought it would be. It was about fate, love, and spirits. One woman's fateful decision impacts her life and those around her the rest of her life. Can't write too much without it ruining the ending.

It was written very well. The author never gave you too much detail about each character, so it kept you guessing. Great characters. Sad set of circumstances. If you are looking for a fairy tale ending, not the book for you. It was dark, but I liked it. Interesting read.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is about friendship and love. It focuses around five women who form a friendship in a park where they live in Palo Alto, California in the 1960s. At first, they focus more on where they are from and by what their husbands do for a living. They soon discover their mutual love for books and their love for the Miss America pageant. Soon they begin writing together every Wednesday morning, which allows each of them to open up about their lives. The book focuses on the role of women as wives and mothers during this time period. At the time, it was about taking care of your husband and kids first and you last. These women discover that they are more than that and they form an unbreakable bond. They finally can be themselves without being judged.

I felt like I could relate to each of these women to some degree. Even now, we all go through life doing the best we can just as these women did. What would women do without our close friends? How wonderful would it be to have four other women who were always looking out for you and constantly lifting you up through a time when women were still trying to make their mark in society. While reading this book, I continually thought of my moms (all of them - mom, step-mom, mother-in-law). How did they feel as they were graduating from high school living in a world dominated by men and war. I was fascintated by the setting and time period of the book and was so relieved to read it in a woman's perspective.

For more information on the this book, go to:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons, Special Illustrated Edition Angels & Demons, Special Illustrated Edition by Dan Brown

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a book. I am so grateful to have read the illustrated version. There was so much information that it helped having pictures to show what the author was referring to. There was a plot within the plot it seemed like. The history in this book intrigured me. I wanted to read more and more about the history of the church. It is amazing to think about writing a book such as this one. I really liked all the twists and turns, it kept me reading. I thought Davinci Code was an easier read than this one. It was almost as it I was reading a history book. I enjoyed it, but I strugged to get through it. NOW, I am ready to see the movie!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Handle with Care

Handle with Care Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club selection and my third Jodi Picoult book. Jodi Picoult doesn't disappoint the reader in this novel. Just as you can expect from her, there are twists and turns and you never know when she is going to drop the big one. I was sucked in from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down. Essentially, the book is about two best friends, one being an OBGYN. The one gets pregnant and ends up giving birth to a child with Osteogenesis Imperfecta or better know as brittle bone syndrome. The mom later sues her best friend for malpractice. Would she have aborted the baby? That is the question. What would you do? And how could you sue your best friend? You see both sides and it is hard to determine what you would do if you were her and lived her life. While reading the book, I empathized with all the characters (to a point). I thought the plot and characters were very similar to "My Sister's Keeper," which I loved. I couldn't tell how she was going to end it, so it kept me reading. I liked it, but am glad I'm done. The issue in this book is extremely controversial and as a parent, made me feel uneasy at times. Jodi Picoult definitely leaves you coming back for more!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel by Lisa See

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a book club book and is one of my absolute favorites. Once I started the book, I couldn't put the thing down. The book takes place in 19th century China and is about the friendship of two young girls and their journey throughout life. A girl named Lily is matched up with a laotong or "old same" named Snow Flower. The girls come to think they are alike, but they soon find out they are very different. The book is about friendship, loyalty, secret language among women, footbinding, and love. The story line takes you through years of friendship and many long-kept secrets among friends. The role of women in this time period is fascinating.

Don't we all long for an old same or longtime friend to get through life with??

Monday, May 25, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a sad portrayal of a young couple married in the 1950s. They married too young and probably never should have married. It is what marriage looks like when you settle because you don't think you can do any better. The characters in the book are April and Frank. April is a housewife and is miserable, looking for a way to improve her life. Frank is a businessman who hates his job and his life. They appear to do everything in their power to continue to be miserable. While living in the suburbs, a chain of events happen that sends their already unhappy life raveling out of control.

The book is well written and it kept my interest. I had great compassion for the characters, but at times, I hated them too. The plot and storyline was heartwrenching. What a sad portrayal of how unhappy a marriage can be. I walked away from the book wondering if that is really how men and women feel about their spouse. Do married people really look at their spouse and pick out every flaw or wonder how they could have found someone better, more sophisticated, prettier, etc.?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very intriguing book. This was one of our book club selections. This is probably not one of would have selected to read on my own. However, it seems to pop up on a lot of book club selections.

It is about a man who eperiences great tradgedy and decides to run away and ends up on a traveling circus train in the 1920's. It is an amazing story about what this man sees and all of goes on in the circus. The book had some many great characters with great depth. It was had to put it down. Some of the characters in the book were based on real circus characters from the time period which made for an even more interesting read for me. The author of this book did a fantastic job as portraying so many different charcters. It is amazing that a woman could portray an old man so well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

The setting of this book takes place as WWII is ending. It is a montage of letters from an author who is looking to write a book and discovers the intriguing Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Guernsey island. This book is light and witty. I recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII history. This was my first WWII fiction novel and I LOVED IT!! This time period really intrigues me and the book took you through the aftermath of a war that no one really wanted. It kept me coming back for more and I hated for the book to end! The authors did a great job incorporating a lot of different personalities into the book. At times, I even laughed out loud and couldn't get enough! Such a great book. Read it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Make Me Count to Three

Don't Make Me Count to Three: a Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline Don't Make Me Count to Three: a Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline by Ginger Plowman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my good friends recommended this book to me. I read it in about a day and couldn't put it down. It really sparked my interest. The author is a mother who is learning the ropes, just as we all are. She wrote about disciplining your children so that you aren't just correcting the behavior, but we are molding their heart. The great thing about the book is that she gave examples and phrases you could use when discipling your kids. I love the hands on material she provided! Since both of my daughters seem to wear their heart on their sleeve, it made sense to really talk things through with them and practice how I expect them to behave. The book made me look at what I am currently doing with my kids and really look at what I am doing is effective. Who couldn't use a few pointers? I need to communicate and really guide my children. It's my job as a parent. The author is quick to admit that no two children are alike and that what works for one, might not work for another.

Part of the book also talks about spanking vs. no spanking. This one was difficult for me. I was spanked as a child and I'm not sure I want that for my kids. The author talks about it being the will of God to spank our children in order to teach them to be good people. She made a lot of good points. I spank my kids only when they are diliberately disobeying. I can't imagine doing it for every misdemeanor! I walked away with something to think about.

If you have kids, I highly recommend this book.