Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Spotlight (1)

While browsing through the blog links for the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy for Books, I found a blog that caught my attention.  In my Hop post, I mentioned that I would spotlight a blog that I discovered and liked.  Well, here it is!

Blog Name: 21 Pages

Blogger Name: Linna

What I Liked:  The thing that really caught my attention was the header on the blog.  The pictures are so pretty.  She also has a really interesting meme that she participates in called Captivating Thursday.  There are some amazing photos in those posts and throughout other posts that I loved.  I like that she mixes up posts by not just including pictures of book covers.  Check her blog out!

Book Blogger Hop

Jen from Crazy for Books hosts the Book Blogger Hop every week.  It's a great way to discover new fellow book bloggers.  She's changed the rules a bit, so I'm going to just copy and paste them.  I don't want to mess them up. ;-)


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.


1. Enter your book blog link in the Linky List below

In your link, please state the main genre that you review: eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc. Please do not list every genre you review - if you are review a variety, please put eclectic! The Hop gets jumbled up if the title is too long, so please limit to one genre. I will be limiting the number of characters in the title to ensure the Hop doesn't look messy! Thank you!

Example: Crazy-for-Books (literary fiction)

2. Post about the Hop on your blog. Spread the word about the book party! The more the merrier! In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!). I have to thank my friend, Lori, for this week's question! I was drawing a blank and she came up with this fab question! If you have a question that could be used in a future Hop, leave it in the comments! Thanks!

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

2. Visit other blogs in the Linky List! Make new friends! Follow new book bloggers! Talk about books! Rave about authors! Take the time to make a quality visit! Check out other posts and content, make a new friend! Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them! No spamming please! (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)

My answer to this week's question about my favorite new-to-me author so far this year is Elizabeth Scott.  I read her book, Living Dead Girl, and loved it.  I haven't read any of her other books, but I'm definitely looking forward to doing so.

After I browse some of the other blogs participating in the hop, I'm going to pick one to showcase in a post.  I can't wait to check out all of the awesome blogs!

Friday, July 30, 2010

What I'm Reading (2)

I don't usually read more than one book at a time, but I'm making an exception this time around. Now that I have a Nook, I'm trying to read and get rid of a lot of my paperback/hardcover books. My Nook is new, and I found myself reading most of the books I already had rather than playing with my fantastic new toy. So, I decided to read both. I'm going to keep a regular book in my purse/bag for when I'm slow at work or waiting somewhere. My Nook is for reading at home. It's still too new for me to be comfortable just toting it around with me all the time. Here's what I'm reading now:


Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse Series) by Charlaine Harris

I read the first book in the series and have watched the first two seasons of True Blood. I'm addicted through and through. I saw the second season before reading this book, and I've already found some differences between the show and book. I'm eager to see what the rest of the book holds in store and how it compares to the show.


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I've seen lots of people on Twitter and in several blogs posting about the awesomesauce that is this series by Maggie Stiefvater. I decided to check it out. I'm about halfway through Shiver, and I'm liking it. I can't say I'm crazy about it or that it's been keeping me up late, but I'm enjoying it.


Pretty in Plaid by Jennifer Lancaster

I've also been listening to Pretty in Plaid by Jennifer Lancaster.  It's the second book by her that I've read, and so far I like it.  I'm only about halfway through it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 13 (2)

I have tons of books on my To Be Read list on Goodreads. Here's 13 that have been on the list the longest.

1. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

2. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan brown

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

5. A Time to Kill by John Grisham

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

7. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

9. Dry by Augusten Burroughs

10. Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs

11. Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs

12. A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs

13. Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Just One? (2)

I've had my eye on a series by Kathy Reichs for a few months. I stumbled upon it through another blog (sorry, I can't remember which one) and discovered it was about the character Temperance Brennan from Bones. I love watching Bones and figured the books are probably pretty good, too. I've gotten most of them through Paperbackswap, but I don't know if I'll read the series straight through. So, here it is!

Deja Dead

Death du Jour

Deadly Decisions

Fatal Voyage

Grave Secrets

Bare Bones

Monday Mourning

Cross Bones

Break No Bones

Bones to Ashes

Devil Bones

206 Bones

Those are the books I have listed on my Goodreads TBR. I'm not quite sure if there are more or not. Actually, I'm going to check that out now. :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Award Time!

Selva over at My Views gave me this awesome award.  Part of receiving this award is linking back to the generous giver and sharing 7 things readers might not know about me.  Then I have to pass it on to 15 other blogs I've discovered.  So, here it goes!

1.  I'm the oldest of 3 children.
2.  I've recently discovered the joy of organizing, and I love it!
3.  I can say the alphabet backwards.
4.  I'm super cheap.
5.  I love pop (soda) but have recently given it up in an attempt to lose weight.
6.  I've suffered from chronic headaches/migraines for 8 years.
                                                        7.  I'm one semester away from having my Master's Degree in Professional Counseling.

I know you're supposed to share with 15 blogs, but I'm not doing that many.  My computer is super slow, and I don't want to spend hours hunting down blog URLs. So, here's what I've got.

Confessions of a Bookaholic
The Book Vixen
The Book Cellar
Good Books & Good Wine
Crazy for Books
The Neverending Shelf

Friday, July 23, 2010

Handle with Care

Awhile ago, I started a personal reading marathon.  It was the first one I created for myself, and I decided to begin with books by Jodi Picoult.  I had a few that had been on my shelf for a good while.  I finally finished the last Picoult book I had, which was Handle with Care.

From Goodreads:

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health." Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

Cover: The Handle with Care cover is sweet.  It's different from the types of covers my other Jodi Picoult books have had.  It makes more sense once you've read some of the book.

Characters:  Picoult always does a great job developing her characters.  Willow was my favorite.  She was such a unique character, and there actually wasn't much written from her point of view.  Despite this, her feelings and thoughts were still expressed clearly.  Picoult did this through the interactions Willow had with the other characters. 

Writing:  Picoult always does an excellent job at telling stories.  I always talk about how I enjoy her stories being told from different perspectives.  It's also always clear that she does her research before writing her books.  I really like that about her writing, too. 

Plot:  Picoult's books usually have a major topic that pushes people's buttons.  She approaches these things in a way that makes them less scary, though.  For example, this book raised the question of whether it's better to have a baby knowing he/she will have disabilities or aborting the baby once learning of this.  Like all major issues, there are going to be people who fall on either side.  This particular family was split because of how they felt regarding the issue.  I was also shocked at how the book ended.  The last book I read was My Sister's Keeper, and I was shocked by that ending, too.  Picoult has really mastered the concept of "surprise twist."

Overall: 4/5  I really enjoyed this book.  I love how she makes readers think about things they would normally avoid and question their own choices.  I was also really impressed with the twist at the end.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Sister's Keeper

I saw the movie for My Sister's Keeper back in January.  After seeing it, I was hesitant to read the book.  I had heard the endings for each were different, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  After finishing the book, I'm SO happy I decided to read it.  I also think it's safe to say I liked the book much better than the movie.

Cover: I love Picoult's simple yet expressive covers. After reading multiple books from her in a row, I definitely see a pattern. What I love most about the cover choices is that the images don't give everything away. There's enough there to convey a message but enough missing to allow the reader to form their own expectations and thoughts.

Characters: The characters in this story were well-developed. Each member of a family has his or her own roles, and these roles can become even more clearly defined when families experience difficulties like chronic illness. Picoult did a wonderful job illustrating how each member of the Fitzgerald clan expected certain behaviors and responses from each other. Sara was expected to be the glue holding everything and everyone together. Brian went through the actions but wasn't as devoted as Sara. Kate was expected to get better, to beat the odds. Anna was expected to give everything she had to make sure her sister lived. Jesse was expected to stay behind the scenes and under the radar. This was how the family operated for years, and when part of their machine started working differently, they found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Writing: I always enjoy how Picoult writes from the characters' differing perspectives. I think this gives so much more depth to the story. We all see things differently and have different ideas for what leads to certain circumstances. It only seems right that a good story would address these multiple views.

Plot: I've mentioned before how much I enjoy the way Picoult takes a topic that may be difficult to chew and twists it into a story that humanizes it and makes it much more palatable for the general public. Her books make me think. She makes me put myself into the characters' shoes and question my own courses of action. Would I have done the same things as Sara Fitzgerald in trying to save my child, or would I have recognized my child's need to make a decision? Ultimately, I think the story is not about Anna's right to choose what medical procedures she has. I think the story is about Kate's right to choose. She endured so much in her short time and all at the urging of her mother.  Picoult did an amazing job with the genius plot twist at the end of the book.  I definitely was not expecting the book to end that way.

Overall: 5/5  Picoult never disappoints me!  This was one of my favorite books by her.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Second Glance

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult was another book in my personal reading marathon.  I considered it to be a page turner.

Cover:  This cover didn't really convey any feelings in me or inspire any musings. 

Characters:  The characters were fascinating people who all seemed to be missing something.  There were several characters who played significant parts in the story, so I won't take the time to discuss all of them.  Each character was unique in their own way, but they all seemed to need or want something they didn't have.  For most of them, I believe it was love.

Writing:  Picoult always does a fantastic job writing.  She kept me in suspense throughout the entire book.  I especially liked how she used a chunk of the book to tell Lia's story from her perspective.

Plot:  The plot of the story was great.  It was unique but used the "ghost story" angle that catches people's attention.  I love reading ghost stories and trying to learn more about who that ghost used to be and what might have happened to them.  Picoult told a wonderful ghost story.  I also liked how she linked all of the characters together.  I'm starting to see that love and the great lengths we go for love are major themes in Picoult's work.

Overall:  4/5  This was a great story about how far some people will go to protect someone they love or to never have to be away from them.  Some people will even try to cross the fine line between life and death.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


It's been a few weeks since I finished this book, but I'm just now getting around to posting a review.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been reading all of my Jodi Picoult books as a personal reading marathon. 

Mercy by Jodi Picoult is the story of two couples and the power of love.  I know it sounds cheesey, but it's the best way I can think of to describe the story.  Jamie finds himself at the center of a trial after he admits to killing his terminally ill wife.  Allie and Cam find their own familiar love tested when a stranger blows into town.  Love makes people do crazy things, things they might not do in other circumstances.  This book is a great exploration of just that.

Cover:  Yet another simple but powerful Picoult book.  A man and woman embracing each other.  It's not clear which couple from the book is portrayed in this image, but that's what I like.  It could be anyone.

Characters:  The main characters were Cam and Allie MacDonald, Jamie and Maggie MacDonald, and Mia Townsend.  I despised Cam.  I don't want to share any spoilers, so I'll just say his behaviors angered me.  I felt sorry for both Allie and Jamie.  They both loved their spouse with every ounce of their being despite not getting the same love back.  I was also proud of Allie for the transformation she made.  Mia was simply a big mistake. 

Writing:  I thought the writing was wonderful.  The love Jamie felt for Maggie was so easily conveyed.  The same goes for Allie's love for Cam.

Plot:  I really liked the main story about Jamie killing his terminally ill wife out of love.  It raised a lot of questions.  It made me wonder if that was something I could do.  The subplot of Cam and Allie's relationship drew my attention away at times.  I found myself eager to find out what would happen between them.

Overall: 4/5  Another great story that makes me think.  I love that Picoult's books make my brain work.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (3)

So I haven't blogged in quite awhile, but I have a good reason.  Last weekend, I got married.  Life had been pretty hectic up until that point.  Every night was filled with some sort of preparation for the big day.  The wedding was amazing.

I thought life after the wedding would be much less chaotic.  Wrong!  Our Best Man and his girlfriend stayed at our house for most of the week after the wedding.  He had gotten into a big fight with his parents (where they were supposed to stay).  My new husband, being the nice guy that he is, offered up our extra bedroom.  They weren't bad guests.  My husband and I were both working during the day, so we really only saw them in the evenings.

When they finally left, I thought I'd be able to get more done around the house.  I started to tackle some major cleaning projects.  Then it was the holiday weekend!  We hit up some picnics and ate lots of good food.  The last couple days we spent working on house projects.  Now that the wedding is done and over with we'd like to do some things to our house.

So, I've had a pretty busy couple weeks.  I'm hoping to catch up on my blogging this week.  I've got a few reviews to post.