Tuesday, August 31, 2010
(publishing information and blurb taken from Barnes and Noble website)
Pub. Date: June 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Format: Hardcover, 352pp
Sales Rank: 262,889
From New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes an utterly satisfying novel that asks the question: Can a seemingly normal, happily married Mormon mother of four be best friends with Hollywood's hottest (happily married) heartthrob?
My wife, Isabeau asks me to read and review Shannon Hale's The Actor and The Housewife. I have to be honest when I say that this book is a total chick book. Like a "chick flick" you will laugh and cry with the main character Becky Jack.
Fearful of ruining the plot, I will not go into detail about this book. Know this, I choked up a bit. While the story is unrealistic, there are parts that are honestly my worst nightmare; but the subject is handled with such finesse and tenderness that you empathize with Becky Jack on an emotional and somewhat spiritual level. (And if you are like my wife you will react physically with the outburst of giggles and uncontrolled crying)
Shannon Hale's The Actor and the Housewife left me wanting to hear more of Becky Jack's story. I even googled Hale's website to find out if there would be a sequel!
Hale's ability to move me to (near) tears and laugh out loud can be described as an I love Lucy meets Nicholas Sparks novel.
Would I buy this book: Yes!
Would I read it again? Yes
Would I let my teen read it? If they wanted to I would have no qualms about it.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 400pp
Sales Rank: 1
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Hunger Games Series, #3
"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."
In Mockingjay, Collins does a realistic job of describing the seclusion and post traumatic stress disorder that Katniss is feeling. No one can sympathize with her, nor do they understand the price of war – the price of taking another’s life.
As I read the book I began admiring Katniss more. If I were thrust into a similar situation would I be willing to fight to the death. Would I be willing to sacrifice myself for the freedom of a nation? I don’t know. I hope I could. I hope I would. I hope I never find out.
While the end seemed to sneak up on me, only because I was so engrossed in the book - I think Collins did an excellent job and added only the details that mattered in the story of the Hunger Games.
In the pages of Mockingjay, fans of the Hunger Games will find a thrilling tale of independence, determination, war, love, sacrifice and freedom.
The Hunger Games trilogy will continue to be an epic adventure classic.
My favorite non spoiler line: “Some walks you have to take alone.” Page 5
Would I buy this book? Not only yeah, but H-E-C-K yeah.
Would I let my teenager read this book? Listed as a young adult novel, I would hesitate to let a 12 year old read this book. It even kept me awake at night contemplating life.
Shockinjay (as my wife calls it) SPOILERS! If you have not read this book do not read below this line!!!!
As a child I listened to my grandfather share stories of his imprisonment in a Jewish Concentration Camp during WWII. I remember trying to process the emotions I felt as Grandpa described the horror of war, the fear, loneliness, seclusion and desire to be free. As I read Mockingay, the same raw emotion I felt as my tear stained Grandfather described the horrors of war consumed me.
While contemplating the series as a whole I thought about the little duck tailed blond girl that Katniss was trying to save by volunteering for the Hunger Games. In the end did it matter? Was Katniss sacrifice done in vain? Would all of those people have lost their lives? Surely the amount of people that would die in the Hunger Games would not total the loss of civilians during war. The scars on the face of the land and hearts of the people would not be as bad as they were.
I would not categorize this book as a love story, but it is a story about love, human nature, the need for survival and what humans are capable of doing to each other and for each other.
Peeta understands Katniss in a way only a mate can, he can see her soul. She is not just the girl that hunts and survives – she is the orange sunset that captured Peeta’s heart. She is the bright yellow flower in a sea of green blades of grass – she is the girl on fire.
Mockingjay made me laugh, it made me sad, and it made me think about life. It was painful because war is painful. Humans can be painful. But human’s can also be as innocent and beautiful as the dandelion and the little girl that picks them.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
From Barnes and Noble:
“James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.”
Published October 2009
If you are planning to read Ballad you should read Lament first. You will end up being confused about the story line if you do not. Stiefvater does an incredible job at James Morgan’s character as a snarky male teen with an immeasurable vocabulary. James wit and banter with Nuala and Sullivan keep you on your toes (and laughing out loud). The story is original and unique to her writing style as well as eloquent and beautifully written.
I am a fan of Stiefvater's books; Like almost all sequels, the story feels a little rushed at the end and it left me with feeling lost with dozens of unanswered questions. That being said, it is a sequel and obviously there will be a third book that will tie up all loose ends. The characters, like all of Stiefvaters writing, are strong, colorful and unique. The story and world of Ballad is imaginative and the fae are a little terrifying.
Would I read it again? Yes
Would I buy it? Nah - maybe when the 3rd book comes out and the story line is complete.
Would I let my teen read it? Probably after age 16 depending on maturity.
Favorite line: So many to choose from, but this one made me close my eyes and breathe deep. It felt real because it was vivid and a memory I have had many times before.
“The afternoon was all scudding clouds and woodsmoke-scented wind and a brilliant blue sky so huge it closed the hill in its own cerulean bubble.” Ballad, page 90
Now imagine being pregnant for 5 years.
Johanna a little girl in China has been waiting to come home now for five years. Her mom CJ and her family are very close to bringing home Johanna, but right now they are 5,000 dollars short of having their wish come true.
Donate a dollar or two, whatever you can spare. I don't drink coffee, my vice is PEPSI (oh how I have missed you these last few days) the money I would spend on PEPSI (oh how I miss you) is going toward Johanna and her trip home. When she arrives we can all celebrate with a big PEPSI (oh how I have missed you) or Coffee.
If you visit CJ's website here, you find a list of bloggers who are holding contest (pretty amazing contest) for those that donate.
BONUS #2: You can read CJ's story here.
As my seminary teacher always said, you will be rewarded with a warm feeling in your soul, knowing that you did an act of kindness and generosity for someone. (And changed many lives for the better)
A red thread to China was cast today
From us to a child so far away.
This thread symbolizes an attachment of hearts
That distance alone can't keep us apart.
Her mother and I are caught in a chase
That time alone will bring us to face
This loving young child we want so much to greet
With love in our hearts before we did meet.
This tiny, thin thread may stretch, tangle or fray
But our love for her grows stronger each day.
Through the test of time it won't break or sever
She'll be part of us forever and ever.
With oceans between us, the distance is spanned
By a love that is greather than man could have planned.
For God in His mercy loved her and us
And decided our family would be a great plus.
So for now we'll just love her and pray every day
That God keeps her and loves her for us till we may
Travel to China, that land of great past,
To the side of our daughter, to hold her at last.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
is hosting a 150 follower contest
and giving away
Monday, August 23, 2010
THE NERDS WIFE
Arena at The Nerds Wife is giving away two Hunger Games pendants and two Hunger Games t'shirts. Enter HERE:
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
The Crescent signed bookmark
The Body Finder signed bookmark
Book Journey is giving away an Audiobook of
is giving away 5 ARC's including:
THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA
is having a book birthday bash.
Check out the contest here:
is having a 200 followers and birthday giveaway.
Sparkling Reviews is giving away
Soapopotamus Lip Balm
is giving away a signed copy of
is having 500 follower giveaway.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Why am I telling you this? Because there is a little known fact about me: I know all the words to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. While growing up my parents would only let us kids watch Disney movies or musicals. Seven Brides is not the only musical I know by heart.
I can't dance but enjoy club kitchen.
My children are adopted. We have done every infertility treatment known and they all failed. My wife and I are genetic freaks and have been in medical journals for our anomaly.
I have 9 siblings and over 100 first cousins.
I shave my head.
I was kicked out of the nickel Cade because I won all of the prizes out of the claw machine.
I have never successfully ridden a horse; they buck me off every time.
I hate parades because I was ran over by a clown on a motorcycle at one when I was 10.
I drove an orange volts wagon bug until I was 20.How did I fit into you ask? I removed the front seat and sat in the back seat to drive.
Kjovus is pronounced Kay Joe Vus.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"Within New York City’s most elite families, there lurks a secret society of celebrated Americans whose ancestors sailed on the Mayflower. They are the powerful and the wealthy—and in fact, they are not human. They are the Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires.
Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Duchesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner—and happy that way.
But when she turns fifteen, Schuyler’s life changes dramatically. She has a mosaic of blue veins on her arms, and craves raw meat. The death of a popular girl from Duchesne is surrounded by a mystery that haunts her. And strangest off all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school, is showing a sudden interest in her.
Schuyler wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?
Steeped in vampire lore and set against the glittery backdrop of New York City, Blue Bloods will be devoured by fans of Melissa de la Cruz."
I just finished Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz. I appreciate a good book, especially one that is both original, intriguing and sleep depriving.
The only real problems I had with this book were:
2) Halfway through the book I finally figured out how to say
Schuyler. Just so you know its not pronounced Shoe-ler like Beuler its SKYLER. Boy do I feel like a redneck idiot and now I just can't call her Skyler.
What I like about this book:
I am happy to finally read a book that leaves me hanging and there are already sequels out! I have a stack of books in my TBR pile and Blue Bloods 2 Masquerade is the one I am going to read next.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This week is our family reunion, something that Mom anticipated every year. All ten kids and my loving parents of 51 years would go camping, eat s'mores, laugh, joke, tell stories and play games. This year it will happen without her and we will think of her. The reunion was one of her last request - it must go on.
Her funeral was very nice and long. Its hard to fit that many kids into a program with the grand kids that also want to be involved. All of the grand kids sang a few songs together as a tribute to Grandma. Halfway through the little program I leaned over and ask my wife where our son was. She said she didn't know, oh well he is somewhere up there.
The left side of the congregation started giggling, covering their mouths while trying to be reverent. My 2 and a half year old son was standing in the isle busting a move to the hymn. He was doing the running man, a little stayin' alive, roger rabbit and tootsie roll. I can thank my wife for holding club kitchen once a day to teach the kids her awesome moves.
Sadly I missed the show but was notified by several family members in confidence that Cole was their favorite nephew.
On the way to her graveside services I ran through a yellow light trying to catch up to the hearse. I was pulled over by a kind "chips" cop. When he ask why I was in a hurry I told him "I am trying to catch up to the hearse with my mom in it. I don't know where the cemetery is." The officer just looked at me and said license and registration please.
He came back from his bike and ask for my mothers name. I told him and then I said here is the funeral program. He looked it over, found my name and said "fair enough, as you have learned running yellow/red lights doesn't save you time."
Then the phone started ringing, my 9 brothers and sisters calling me wanting to know where I am. My Aunt, my Uncle and my father called too. The whole service was delayed because of me - yet upon arrival all the family giggled with us as we told them how we got out of a ticket because of Mom's funeral. Auntie said "your mom would have loved it!"
I am grateful that I was with her holding her hand as she passed away. Nine of her ten children were in the room with her. Her passing was beautiful and peaceful. My father told her it is an honor to be her wife.
Its an honor to be her son.
She will be missed.
ISBN 13: 978-0-9565035
ISBN 10: 0956503519
(An Anthology of supernatural tales)
Have you ever wondered what Death would look like if he approached you at a bus stop? Or what would happen if a vampire’s chosen victim turned out to be more than they had bargained for?
Rebel Moon is a collection of stories that will whisk you into worlds of vampires, werewolves and witchcraft so prepare yourself for a bumpy ride as sometimes the dead have more of a life than the living and if this book teaches you anything it is to always expect the unexpected!
From the teen witches you wouldn’t want to cross in One Witch Down to the dark comedy of Evil 101, this is a book you won’t want to put down.
Can also be purchased from Amazon, WHSmiths, Waterstones and Book Depository.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The storm announced its arrival by pounding the tin roof, the lightening lit up the house and thunder shook the windows. It was a torrential down poor, so much so that the fear of flash floods was listed on the TV.
And it only lasted 20 minutes. I lost 50 cents that day, but learned a valuable lesson. Utah weather is unpredictable and short lived.
It’s August in Utah. That means it will either be 105 degrees or 80 degrees with countless thunderstorms. Lucky for me, this year is a wet one. Friday I woke to almost chilly temps - alright not chilly just chillier than the 98 we are use to. The thunderstorm has literally been going on for 48 hours. This morning the thunder and lightening started at 5:00am and ended around 9:00am.
I love the smell of rain, I love the dark clouds, I love the cool breeze and I love to hear my little boy say "I love funder". Fall is fast approaching and that means that soon this year will be over. Soon I will be reflecting on the happy memories we've shared and writing another letter to our birth mothers.
It is both thrilling and unsettling to see life change so quickly.
I guess the lesson I learned that day does not only pertain to the weather - it pertains to life. Like the weather these temper tantrums, funny quips and new discoveries will last what seems like only 20 minutes.
Life is unpredictable and it changes too fast.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Leilani is having a 100 followers bash that ends on her birthday. FRIDAY THE 13TH OF AUGUST.
Sounds like a great night to have a scary bIrThDaY party!
Head on over to her blog @ LEILANI LOVES BOOKS and check out her reviews and interviews.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Linger was everything Shiver was, only deeper. I felt like Grace discovered herself and grew up in Shiver. Linger was about Sam growing as a person – key word person. Cole and Isabel introduced a new dynamic to the story adding depth to the characters and storyline.
Bottom line: Linger enveloped me in a world I want to return to. Reading Ms. Stiefvater's books is like a song – the music is a tune my mind and heart knows because I have experienced loss, discovery, sorrow, disappointment, hope, compassion, and love. Sam and Grace allow me to feel the newness of these emotions as the innocence of young adulthood blossoms into a deeper understanding of life, maturity and each other.
The music and song that Ms. Stiefvater composes through her writing is just as unique to my soul as it is to Sam and Grace’s – pure and hopeful.
My favorite line: “Right now, it’s hard to imagine that it is raining anywhere in the world.” Sam Roth.
Would I purchase this book? Heck yes and I will read it again and again and again….
Would I let my teenager’s read this? Yes. (Maybe they will appreciate my parenting skills a little more)
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I usually take some sort of sleep aid but like most Saturday nights I like to watch a movie and then I stay up too late.
Once I am up my brain starts clicking as if it is channel surfing with all of my memories and before I know it, my restful night is over. I think about things like: why does it smell like onions? What did we do before remotes? Oh I know we used our hands to turn the old knob on the 2oo pound television made of wood. Then we adjusted the rabbit ears to get the best reception.
I miss the feel of my grandmas shag carpet on my toes and the cold air when I slept in her upstairs bedroom with both windows open. I miss the smell of her 50 year old Lilac tree drifting into the windows. The sound of the summer breeze sweeping across the room, the white curtains swaying and the laughter of children playing night games outside.
When I was growing up I use to lie in bed at night and listen to the park swings go back and forth. The squeak of the chain rocking north to south, north to south, north to south, is like listening to ocean waves.
Ahhh, ocean waves crashing against the hard randomly dispersed mounds of solid earth. My two favorite things about this world exist as one, a marriage of ocean and forest. I miss the coast, salt water wind on my cheeks. I miss the sand in between my toes as I walk along and discover shiny rocks, sea creatures and other ocean treasures. (I'm not a huge fan of hot beaches like Mexico, lets face it, and I am BIG and fair skinned, sunny beaches don't like me.)
I could live on the coast and be happy the rest of my life. If only we didn't have to worry about jobs, money and having family near. I would run away now if I could, if I were brave enough.
And then if I moved I would miss the bluest skies this great country has to offer. Those blue skies of Utah, framed by white peaks of jagged majestic purple mountains and most importantly ASPEN TREES.
When I was little I thought aspen leaves were made of gold because the way the light reflects off of them and they glisten in the sun and shadows. I thought I would be rich if I picked a handful of those leaves. Right off the side of the Gooseberry road near the turn to Twin Creeks reservoir. I can still see them dancing on the wind, hear the rev of the old Chevy pick up truck and taste the dust from the dirt road.
Sometimes I feel like there is something missing in my life, a hollow spot in my chest exists as a void of darkness waiting for the light. If only I knew what it was I could replace it with the warmth of life, love and hope. Maybe someday I will figure it out. Maybe I am just home sick for the memories of my youth. Maybe there is a life out there for us that we just are not ready to start yet. Maybe I just miss the excitement of first. First kisses, first dates, first babies breaths, first day of driving, first day without training wheels, the first victory of the basketball season, the first day of fall...all the first that exist in this world for a young soul.
There will be many more first in our lives, but now I feel seasoned and the adrenaline of my youth, the taste of victory, and smell of innocence is gone. I fear now for the worst, worry about what I cannot control, desire to be young and yearn for the wind in my hair.
All these memories exist only in my mind and are no longer tangible, so for now I will dream sweet dreams and ponder about the wonderful years ahead. Years of growing old with my best friend, watching our kids grow and discover this world that I am so fond of. I will fill my life with their discoveries, newness and adventures - hoping that they too will cherish the small still shots in the photo album of life.