Monday, January 31, 2011

January 2011 - A great place to begin.


A new year, a new month and a few changes happening at my house. Once the dust settles, I will be sure to share it all! Until then, I have completed the first month in my first full year of blogging. I am officially hooked on this blogging business and loving every moment of it!


Books Completed:
1. Promise Me by Nancy Brinker
2. The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog by Andrew O'Hagan
3. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
4. The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton
5. Growing More Beautiful by Jennifer Robin
6. Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar by David Haviland
7. The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
8. Mood Matters by John Casti
9. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones
10. Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (to be reviewed in April)
11. Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo
12. Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut by Jill Kargman
13. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Total Pages Read: 4,360

Audiobook:
1. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
2. Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies

Where Are You Reading Challenge 2011? update:
With my first month tracking where my books took place completed - I loved it! It was so interesting realizing where I tend to read books.

London
New York (4)
Ohio
Washington, D.C.
North Carolina (Elon)
South Carolina
Iowa
Texas
California (3)
Dominican Republic

So each month, I will recap where my books took place.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (7)

Well, if I thought last week was long, this week was beyond worse. Our area was hit by a winter storm in the middle of the afternoon - 3ish. I was at work stressing about my commute, so I left at 4pm. My typically one hour commute became a 8.5 hour adventure. Stuck in the snow behind those who were in cars not fit for it, followed by my car overheating and luckily getting to an Applebee's, was only half the trip. Then the boy drove 2.5 hours (supposed to be 45 min) to get me and return home, another hour. So at 1AM we made it home.

Now after all of this - the car went to the shop and has now come home, minus $630 from my bank account! So only a few hours of reading were accomplished this week, next week I may get back into the swing of things and start February on a lighter note!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.


Currently reading:
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant (audiobook)

Top of the TBR stack:
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (23)

Hosted by The Story Siren, I love sharing what arrives at my house each week. Here is what arrived over the last two weeks - my personal life has been eventful (some positives and some negatives), so it has been more than exciting to come home to all these good books!

(all are not pictured)

Bookmooch and PBS:
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
Call Waiting by Michelle Cunnah
Gemma by Meg Tilly
Pop Tart by Kira Coplin and Julianne Kaye
A Bump in the Road by Maureen Lipinski
Stay with Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr
The Butterfly State by Carol Coffey
A Window to the World by Susan Meissner
Now You Know by Susan Kelly

Winnings:
The Brave by Nicholas Evans (thanks Mary at BookHounds)
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (thanks to Arena at The Nerd's Wife)


For Review:
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Love You More by Lisa Gardner (thank you Random House)

Library Sale:
Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin
Forget About It by Caprice Crane
Testimony by Anita Shreve

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Happens Every Day (audiobook) by Isabel Gillies

Goodreads: Isabel Gillies had a wonderful life -- a handsome, intelligent, loving husband; two glorious toddlers; a beautiful house; the time and place to express all her ebullience and affection and optimism. Suddenly, that life was over. Her husband, Josiah, announced that he was leaving her and their two young sons.

When Josiah took a teaching job at a Midwestern college, Isabel and their sons moved with him from New York City to Ohio, where Isabel taught acting, threw herself into the college community, and delighted in the less-scheduled lives of toddlers raised away from the city. But within a few months, the marriage was over. The life Isabel had made crumbled. "Happens every day," said a friend.


Kritters Thoughts: Listened via audiobook on my way to and from work. Thank goodness I was in the car by myself because like a horror movie I was talking to Isabel throughout the book like she was a girlfriend on the phone in the middle of an intense friend to friend therapy session.

An amazing story, true to the bone, filled with heartache and triumph. It was so great to start knowing that disaster was going to lurk around the corner, but to also hear the good times that were once cherished by this woman. She tried so hard to hold him close and keep things from unraveling.

Now I know this is a true story, so it is hard to suggest the author to take the story in a different direction or to change things about the characters, because in the end it really happened to this family. BUT if I was her friend I would have encouraged her to do a little more confronting of the other woman, it was obvious that this relationship was the cause of the distance between them.

A book that I have literally passed onto my mom and would encourage everyone to both read or listen to this great story. Read by Isabel Gillies herself gave me the sense of feeling every emotion to the core.
Rating:absolutely loved it and wanted a sequel

Pages: 272

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Thing (picture frames)

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 5 of 50

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Growing More Beautiful by Jennifer Robin

Goodreads: As you go through life, it is not only possible, but natural, to grow more beautiful.

So begins Growing More Beautiful: An Artful Approach to Personal Style, the long-awaited second book by popular image consultant, artist and author Jennifer Robin.

Perhaps the first and only major book about beauty ever written by an artist, Growing More Beautiful: An Artful Approach to Personal Style is a lively, buoyant resource guide to projecting your essence with creativity and flair.


Kritters Thoughts: What an interesting take on personal style! A new approach that I really appreciated because it was something I had never heard or read before. Coming from an artistic approach, Jennifer Robin advises that everyone understand their colors and body before they step foot in a store.

To understand one's colors, Robin advises that everyone take into consideration their skin tone, hair color and what colors they are drawn to. A lot of her theories revolve around the idea that everyone is drawn to the colors that naturally work for them. As well, she believes that we naturally gravitate towards the fit that best works for our body type. I like this idea because she believes that we instinctively know the best colors and style for ourselves.

At times I thought this book was a little to artsy for me as I am a practical thinker. But I loved the overall concepts that a woman should be in control of her wardrobe and shop sensibly. I would pass this book along to all women of any age because whether you are just out of college starting a wardrobe or on the older spectrum where they may need a re-working of the wardrobe.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 224

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Place (a park)

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 1 of 50

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson (audiobook)

Goodreads: Rosa Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy - one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Roses's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Hot-blooded Rosa Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate - death by marriage - and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.


Kritters Thoughts: Wow, what a book! I definitely took a few days to fully digest this book. Full of very serious issues - parental abuse, spousal abuse and more.

A story about a young woman in a horrible relationship who finds herself on a quest to find herself, her past and her future. I couldn't believe the adventures she had been through, she was one tough chick. I am still processing the book and am excited to say I have talked my book club into putting it on the list for the next year, so I will be rereading it in May.

I loved how her life parralleled her mom's life and the ending which I cannot spoil just took me for a spin. A powerful story about how a child's upbringing affects them for the REST of their lives. And also how we as children usually repeat our parents mistakes.

I would recommend this book to all of my female friends, especially those who have both strong and interesting relationships with their mothers. Definitely a must read, especially when you are ready for a thick one!

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 336

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Repetition

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (6)

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

Another long week at the office and some afternoon gym visits, made for less time to read.


Currently Reading:
Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Erin Torneo, and Ronald Cotton

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant (audiobook)

Next on Deck:

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review: Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar? by David Haviland

Goodreads: The next book in the strange and fascinating series that began with the national bestseller Why You Shouldn't Eat Your Boogers & Other Useless or Gross Information About Your Body.

In this delightfully disgusting new book in the series, David Haviland plumbs the world of medicine to uncover the answers to such vitally important questions as:

*What exactly is urine therapy?

*Is it safe to fly with breast implants?

*How did a nine-and-a-half-inch spatula find its way into a surgery patient's body?

*Why do some boxers drink their own pee?

*What is cyclic vomiting syndrome and how can one avoid it?


Kritters Thoughts: Well, a different read full of interesting little stories from way back and when and recent. Each question and answer has to do with medical happenings and myths debunked.

Unfortunately, my review for this book will be short and sweet. It was a great non fiction read, very random and one may call a great toilet book. It was a book that my dad would definitely enjoy for its quirky facts.

I would pass this book along to all my friends who love to read quirky little books and learn quirky facts.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 272

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 2 of 50

Friday, January 21, 2011

Second Trip to The Book Thing

So, I went to The Book Thing a few weekends ago. I got some great books to read and some to do some crafty things with! All Free! If you are near Baltimore, you definitely should swing by on Saturdays or Sundays.

The Edge of Reason by Hellen Fielding
To Have and To Hold by Jane Green
Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle
The Right Address by Carrie Karasyov
The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
The Booster by Jennifer Solow
How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Enlightment for Idiots by Anne Cushman


What bookish things have you been up to in the new year?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Goodreads: Fifteen tales vividly chronicle a Dominican family's exile in the Bronx, focusing on the four Garcia daughters' rebellion against their immigrant elders.

Kritters Thoughts: I took a moment before I wrote this review because I wanted to pull all my thoughts together. I read this book for a book club and I just wasn't sure how I really felt about this one.

I flip flopped back and forth as to whether I liked the fact that the book started in the present and went back in time with each set of stories. I love flashbacks, but I am not sure if I like going backwards in time - makes for hard reading. I had to take mental note as to the ages of the girls, where they were located and what was going on, it was hard.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was very interesting to read a book that was out of my culture and out of my normal realm of reading. I know that this story could be close to a true story because I have a great friend from my Enterprise Rent a Car days who was Panama (not the city, the country) and she had stories of her "Tias" and all of her cousins.

I would recommend this book to all of my friends who love to read stories involving sisters and families. This is a great read about how a family becomes what it has and how the smallest events affect each one in the family.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 304

Cover Challenge Jan-March: His and Hers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Goodreads: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brother's bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam's spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventoresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desparate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.


Kritters Thoughts: A great read that was emotional and at times downright confusing - the author Ben Sherwood would only unload a few details at a time. Sometimes it was frustrating not being completely in the know, but after I was put in the know - I was certainly glad that there was a delay in knowing all the facts.

After thoroughly confusing you, to be simple - I am glad I read this book before I watched the movie. I always like to read the book first because I would rather a movie be ruined and I love to compare how the director's take the book and translate it onto the big screen. I absolutely love it when I have no idea it is a movie and I get to completely make up what the characters look like, this was not the case as I knew that Zac Efron would be Charlie, but I am interested to see what Tess will look like in the movie.

I would absolutely recommend to all who are interested in watching the movie to read this first. This book was definitely on the girlier side of my reading habit. As I will be watching the movie soon, you will see a post reviewing and comparing what I liked and didn't like.

Rating: absolutely loved it and wanted a sequel

Pages: 200

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - The Definition is . . .

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Winners


Congratulations to Babslighthouse for winning the Dreaming of Books Giveaway! Please respond to the email I sent you within 48 hours with your address and I will send you your winnings!

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (5)

It's Monday! What are you Reading? A meme that I love to participate in hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

A long list of blogging to do's were completed this weekend. I reviewed quite a few reads, fixed my Where are you Reading map - you can now use the link in the sidebar, and was able to read two whole books and start a third! Yay for semi lazy Saturdays.

Sunday was full of a trip to a few wineries with the parents and an evening trying to get everything put together for the next week.

Currently reading:
Mood Matters by John Casti
Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (audiobook)

On Deck:
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

What are you reading right now?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we all get to share what arrived in our mailbox or graced our steps in other ways.

After a Monday that was long and a little hard, I came home to three packages and one waiting for me at FedEx - HOW exciting!! And everyday this week a book graced my doorstep, what a great thing to happen when the work days were very full and tiring.

Winnings:
One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt (thanks Lori at Pure Imagination)
The Wave by Susan Casey (thanks Mary at Bookhounds)

Bookmooch and PBS:
My Backwards Life by Cindi Myers
Perfect Match by Jane Moore
I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk
Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle
Worlds Collide by Alison Strobel
Freedom's Call by John Walker

Review:
Save the Date by Jenny Jones (thanks to Booksneeze)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway

This giveaway is now officially closed.

Happy Giveaway Hopping! I hope you have enjoyed hopping along and entering some fun giveaways!

I will be giving away an audiobook for Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies.

A great audiobook that I finished quickly - staying in my car just to listen to one more chapter. Gillies said in an interview that she was glad when Starbucks honored her book because she always dreamed that someone would curl up with her book and tea or coffee. So in honor of that statement I will be giving away this cute to go ceramic mug and some tea.

Sorry this contest is United States followers only.




Now that you have entered head over to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer to see what other giveaways are available this weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer

Goodreads: Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives except Maggie. At 27, she's still working at the local coffee house, while her friends are getting married, having babies, and building careers. Even Olivia, Maggie's best friend from childhood, is getting married to her doctor boyfriend. Maggie, on the other hand, lives with her dog Solo, and has no romantic prospects, save for the torch she carries for Domenic, the busboy. Though Maggie and Olivia have been best friends since their fattie grade school years, Olivia's since gone the gastric-bypass surgery route, in hopes of obtaining the elusive size two, the holy grail for fat girls everywhere. So now Olivia's thin, blonde, and betrothed, and Maggie's the fat bridesmaid. Ain't life grand? In this inspiring debut novel, Maggie speaks to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.

Kritters Thoughts: Well, a book that definitely surprised me in positive and negative ways. I was concerned when I decided to choose this book for the challenge that it would center on a character that only complained about her weight and didn't do anything to change her life. Half right and half wrong, she was definitely a whiner, but she did start doing some things to help with the weight.

The whining that set me off was all about her former best friend Olivia who was once a big girl and due to gastric-bypass is now one of those "skinny girls." She let this girl walk all over her for WAY too long, I couldn't believe that she didn't stand up to her earlier. I won't divulge when it happened, but goodness it was way too late in the book.

I enjoyed her family interactions and her change in attitude towards her work dreams, but the frustration over the friendship made me like the book less and less. So, it's an alright book, if you see at the library its worth the read, but I wouldn't go searching for it.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 328

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Through Thick and Thin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal

Goodreads: Natalie McNeal opened her bills in January 2008 to find that she was a staggering five figures - $20,000 - in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbert-ly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily takeout and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give.

And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her blog, Natalie confessed her spending habits to the world - and it turns out she wasn't the only one having troubles balancing the budget! From the drastic "no-buy" month that kicked it all off to the career gamble that threatened to put her deeper in the hole, The Frugalista Files shares Natalie's personal and professional transformation from cubicle rat to take-charge career girl.

It is possible to get ahead without giving up on the fabulous life. This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps - the empowering true story of one woman's personal and professional transformation and your ultimate guide to living the Frugalista lifestyle, too.


Kritters Thoughts: A hit and a miss with me. I enjoyed the month by month recap of the unexpected and expected financial happenings that occur in a year, but I didn't learn many tactical pointers because I believe that I have already cut the crazy spending habits of years past.

The first things she cut were her excessive hair and nail appointments. Welp, those have never been on my list, so can't cut there. She then boasted about grocery shopping and learning to cook at home - I live with a former catering chef, we eat from our kitchen 90% of the time and I like it that way!! Finally, she talked about cutting the wardrobe down and "shopping" from your closet. Check - I already do that. I have a list of things that I am on the hunt for, but I believe my wardrobe is mostly built and I am just buying fun pieces here and there to add to it.

So, if you are in desperate need of some financial coaching or need to hear a success story - this is a great one to grab. But if you are already on the path of debt reduction and savings you could skip this one.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 192

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Get a Job

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog . . . by Andrew O'Hagan

Goodreads: In November 1960, Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a dog. His name was Mafia Honey, or Maf for short. He had an instinct for celebrity. For politics. For psychoanalysis. For literature. For interior decoration. For Liver Treat with a side order of National Biscuits. Born in the household of Vanessa Bell, brought to the United States by Natalie Wood's mother, given as a Christmas present to Marilyn the winter after she separated from Arthur Miller, Maf offers a keen insight into the world of Hollywood's greatest star. Not to mention a hilarious peek into the brain of an opinionated, well-read, politically scrappy, complex canine hero. Maf was with Marilyn for the last two years of her life, first in New York, where she mixed with everyone who was anyone - the art dealer Leo Castelli, Lee Strasberg, and the Actor's Studio crowd, Upper West Side emigres - then back to Los Angeles. She took him to meet President Kennedy and to Hollywood restaurants, department stores, and interviews. To Mexico, for her divorce.


Kritters Thoughts: Welp it was about time I read a book that I wasn't crazy about. I had a long string of great reads.

I did love hearing the stories that involved Frank Sinatra - didn't potray him in the nicest light. I never thought he was anything but gentlemanly and the everyday man. I also enjoyed hearing a book come from the prospective of a dog, different and interesting, I liked it.

For what I didn't enjoy, as far as a dog talking that was great for this book, but the rest of the animals talking to Maf the dog was weird. I didn't understand why he would have all these conversations with ants and birds.

I also didn't know how historically accurate this book followed Marilyn's life. Unfortunately, I haven't read a ton about her and her life, so I can't say for sure, but I feel as though if you are going to write fiction about a historical figure it needs to be close to the truth. I didn't understand how President Kennedy could have taken such a back burner - maybe their affair has been blown up over the years, but it was absolutely brushed aside.

So for those who are Marilyn Monroe fans - you may enjoy, but to those who aren't and like things historical to be close, I would say skip over this one.

Rating:not such a good read

Pages: 288

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Blue Cover

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (4)


It's Monday! What are you Reading? A meme that I love to participate in hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Last week was busy at work, so I crashed each night. Unfortunately, this week is going to be busy too. Monday night is book club, Tuesday with the trainer, Wednesday a special and nerve racking day in our house - with hopeful celebrations that evening, Thursday working late and Friday is always my night to crash with the boy. I am exhausted just thinking about all of this. Wish me luck!

Currently reading:
The Big Show Stopper by Hugh Dalton
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson (audiobook)

On Deck:
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern


In My Mailbox (21)

A meme hosted by The Story Siren where we all get to share what arrived in our mailbox or happened to hop in a shopping bag while out running errands!
Sorry no pictures this week, I just to back from The Book Thing in Baltimore. Trying to get my load organized, will share soon! Thanks for the company Ashli!

Purchased with a Borders gift card:
Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (audiobook)
My Boyfriend's Dogs by Dandi MacKall
Nancy's Theory of Style by Grace Coopersmith

PBS or Bookmooch:
As Sure As the Sun by Anna McPartlin
Willing Spirits by Phyllis Scheiber
600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster

For Review:
The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: Promise Me by Norman Brinker

Amazon: In this compelling memoir, the 64-year-old found of Susan G. Komen for the Cure mixes details from her soap opera-like life with facts about breast cancer. Nancy Goodman of Peoria, Illinois, morphs from a chubby Jewish girl (in second grade, she tips the scale at more than 100 pounds)to a nearly six-foot glamazon. After breast cancer kills her beautiful 36-year-old sister, Suzy, Nancy starts the world's largest breast cancer charity in her memory. At age 37, she discovers a lump in her own chest. Nancy gets by with a little help from her second husband, Norman Brinker, the casual-dining gazillionaire and a member of the Susan G. Komen board from its inception in 1982 until his death last year.


Kritters Thoughts: Wow, what a great book, by great I mean - I couldn't put it down, I laughed and cried, and I had to email my closet family and friends to share it immediately.

A fresh story on the makings of a huge organization that has changed the landscape of breast cancer and influenced decisions makers from citizens in their home to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. I have participated in SGK events, but I had no idea the trials that Brinker endured while starting this non-profit. She has fought breast cancer herself - who would have been able to do that while encouraging women to be aware of this devastating disease.

As to whom I would recommend - absolutely anyone. This was a great read that made me want to support this organization even more. I loved hearing this story and finishing it on the second day of 2011 made me motivated to make a resolution to be more involved in charity with this new year.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 304

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Person, Place or Thing

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Unless it Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt

Goodreads: Unless It Moves the Human Heart details one semester in Rosenblatt's "Writing Everything" class. In a series of funny, intimate conversations, a diverse group of students—from Inur, a young woman whose family is from Pakistan, to Sven, an ex–fighter pilot—grapples with the questions and subjects most important to narrative craft. Delving into their varied lives, Rosenblatt brings readers closer to them, emotionally investing us in their failures and triumphs.


Kritters Thoughts: A quick little read that was completed in two sittings. I read it in December - but due to its release I delayed my review to post now.

This book was a great little read for two audiences - for readers who want to know more about the writing process and readers who are also writers. I am on the first group. I am a reader, NOT a writer, but I am completely interested in the writing process and how writers get into the zone and how they create the stories that I get so wrapped up into.

A professor who is using his students as subjects in the book by showing how one semester of writing different pieces can shape a writer. They write short stories, essays, and poems in one semester and learn that each form is important and can help build a stronger writer.

As far as who I would pass this along to, I would pass this onto my bloggers who are also writers and my fellow readers who love to hear about the writing process.
Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 176

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Lend a Hand

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Miss Charlotte in her sweatshirt from my parents!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Little Princes by Conor Grennan

Goodreads: In need of some fun and adventure, 30-year-old Conor Grennan traded in his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. But what began as a lark became a passionate commitment that would transform the young American and the lives of countless others.

Within minutes of his arrival, Grennan was surrounded by a horde of gleeful boys and girls showering him with warm welcomes. Yet as he soon learned, the children’s cheery smiles belied years of pain and abuse, for many of the boys and girls at Little Princes were not orphans at all, but victims rescued from human traffickers. Moved by their plight, Grennan vowed that when his trip was over he would return to the children of Little Princes and eventually reunite them with their families—a promise he would risk his life to keep.

Little Princes is the powerful story of a soul’s awakening and a reflection of the noblest and darkest of human intent. It is a heartwrenching true tale of the power of optimism, love, and dedication to overcome greed, violence, and hate. And it is an unforgettable account of children, families, and one man whose decision to take a stand makes the world a better place for all of us.



Kritters Thoughts: A wonderfully heartwarming read, that I completed exactly one week before Christmas. A story of one man's mission to help the orphans of Nepal regain what they lost and the parents of these children realize what really happened when their children were taken from them.

I had the hardest time understanding why these parents trusted someone to take their children from them for a price and not do some research to confirm that their children would be completely taken care of. Parents going into grave debt to send their children away for a better future - that I understood, but to not know where they were actually headed was something I could not put my head around. The lengths to which Conor went to help these families reunite kept me absolutely engrossed in the book.

Anyone with a child they hold close or who love stories about non-profit work that changes lives - those are the people that I would pass this book off to. I received this to review, but I am absolutely glad I took the time to understand how a country across the world handles their impoverished and most needy.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 304

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Happy Birthday!

It's Monday, What are you Reading (3)


It's Monday! What are you reading? a great meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I am still trying to decide how I want it to look - hopefully with the new year I will find some organization when it comes to my blog. In all other parts of my life, I am MISS organized!!

A great almost week off filled with reading and time spent at home with the boy and the pup. A VERY low key weekend - I was the only one awake when 2011 started, long story.

Currently reading:
Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O'Hagan
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson (audiobook)

Next on deck:
Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar by David Haviland
Ask Me About Mary Kay by Jackie Brown

I always have the hardest saying what is next on deck, because it is always a last minute gut decision.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (20) and under the tree

So this is what has been in my mailbox and what appeared under the tree on Christmas morning!

PBS and Bookmooch:
Falling Into the World by Karen Brichoux
I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk
The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross
Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately


Under the tree:
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad

For Review:
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok


Purchased:
The Starlet by Mary McNamara
Everyone She Loved by Sheila Curran

A Nook!! yippy!! my very own ereader - I am working on figuring out all of it, but for now I have some NetGalley and library books on it to start the ereading!!

Head over to The Story Siren to see what arrived in other mailboxes!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year End Review 2010


With 2011 in full swing as of today! I am setting a goal of reading 111 books in 2011. I have no idea where I will end up, but I am excited to see what 2011 will be in my blogging, reading and reviewing!


Below are the books I have read since May 13, 2010.

1. The Bay At Midnight by Diane Chamberlain
2. Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
3. Shelter Me by Juliette Fay
4. The Washingtonienne by Jessica Cutler
5. Alamo House by Sarah Bird
6. I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass
7. The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard
8. Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton
9. Billy Graham: His Life and Influence by David Aikman
10. Nightmare on Sunset Lake by Melody Maher
11. The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
12. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
13. Gossip Girl Prequel - It Had to Be You by Cecily Von Ziegesar
14. Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
15. Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me by Cecily von Ziegesar
16. Gossip Girl: All I Want is Everything by Cecily von Ziegesar
17. Gossip Girl: Because I'm Worth It by Cecily von Ziegesar
18. Gossip Girl: I Like It Like That by Cecily von Ziegesar
19. Gossip Girl: You're the One that I Want by Cecily von Ziegesar
20. Gossip Girl: Nobody Does it Better by Cecily von Ziegesar
21. Gossip Girl: Nothing Can Keep Us Together by Cecily von Ziegesar
22. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
23. Chris & Nancy by Irvin Muchnick (NetGalley)
24. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
25. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
26. Dress Rehearsal by Jennifer O'Connell
27. Ana's Story by Jenna Bush
28. Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush
29. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
30. Nursing a Grudge by Chris Well
31. Somewhere Inside by Laura and Lisa Ling
32. A Note From an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker
33. The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer
34. Hollywood Stories by Stephen Schochet
35. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
36. The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
37. The List: A Love Story in 781 Chapters by Aneva Stout (not reviewed)
38. The Fiction Class by Susan Breen
39. Your Roots are Showing by Elise Chidley
40. The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman
41. Vision in White by Nora Roberts
42. A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill

43. How Perfect is That by Sarah Bird
44. Bobo's Daughter by Bonnie Barnett

45. Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh

46. It All Started with a Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech

47. Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
48. A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter
49. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
50. As Always, Julia by Joan Reardon

51. The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree
52. Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
53. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
54. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
55. Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
56. Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark
57. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
58. Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl
59. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
60. My Life as a Doormat by Rene Gutteridge
61. Letters to Ethan by Tom McQueen
62. The Long Road Home by Mary Alice Monroe

63. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
64. Sunset Park by Paul Auster

65. A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted
66. Unless it Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt
67. Three Weddings and a Bar Mitvah by Melody Carlson
68. Little Princes by Conor Grennan
69. All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
70. Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? by Perry Romanski
71. I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson
72. Everything I Was by Corinne Demas
73. Just Don't Call Me Ma'am by Anna Mitchael
74. The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal
75.
Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer

76. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Total Pages Read from May 13, 2010 to December 31, 2010 - 24,332


Audiobooks:
1. When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub
2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


*A great year of reading. I started this blog in May, so my numbers are a little skewed, but 2011 will be my first full of year of reading, reviewing and blogging away!

Here is to a new year beginning!

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