Monday, March 31, 2008

Every Boy's Got One

This book is by Meg Cabot, known for writing 'the Princess Diaries'. It is a pretty typical funny romance. But I must say that this was probably the most original style of writing that I have seen in a long time. The book jumps from excerpts from the maid of honor's travel diary, the best man's PDA, and text messages, emails, receipts, and menus. Basically, there is not an 'author' writing a narrative. You are hearing the story from all these interactions with others. Sounds kind of weird, I know, and when I first started reading I was thinking that it wasn't going to be very good. But I actually found myself really into it. The book is about a couple eloping to Italy, but the book isn't really about them. It's about their maid of honor and best man (pretty much like every chick flick you've seen).

Warning that unfortunately, like most grown up fiction, there a few questionable things. Nothing worse then you would get watching 'The Office' or 'Friends' , but for some reason it seems worse to read it than to watch it. But it was kind of fun to read a book that was written in such a creative way.

Book of A Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale

What a unique book. I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning and it was great. Dashti, the lady's maid whose book of thoughts is the text for this novel, keeps you reading. Beautifully written, Hale proves herself more and more with each book that she is a gifted writter - a poet. The more book reviews I attempt to write the more I realize that I stink at it. In a nutshell, I loved it...You should read it ...The End.
A Few Real Reviews
*"The author of the Newbery Honor Book Princess Academy offers another captivating fantasy filled with romance, magic, and strong female characters...exotic, fully realized setting; thrilling, enchanted adventure; and heart-melting romance."

*"Hale has created a richly imagined, mythical land...It’s a highly successful romance."
School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

*"Hale delivers another winning fantasy. Readers will be riveted...through a series of deceptions, contrivances and a riotously triumphant climax, the tale spins out to a thoroughly satisfying ending."
Publisher's Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"A rousing, even spellbinding tale...Dashti's voice is bright and true."
Kirkus Reviews

"With such a self-possessed and resourceful heroine and such a rousingly successful trickster caper at the climax, this newest tale takes proud place among Hale’s growing shelf-full of folk-fantasy adventures whose protagonists give “spunk” a good name."
Horn Book

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt

LOVED IT!!! Angela's Ashes, a memoir, by Frank McCourt was awesome. It's rare to find a story that brings tears to your eyes and shakes your body with laughter in the same instant. I listened to this one on Audio Book and can't imagine it any other way. McCourt's Irish accent and voices for each character brought life to his story. After each journey I made into McCourt's Ireland I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude. I will never forget these people - it's like they are my family too. There are some sections that I would recommend skipping - a few of Frank's teen memories- but overall this story is expertly told and one I will always remember.

Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
As I was reading this book I thought, " I love beauty in all it's forms," I think that's why I love reading and discovering new works of art. I've always dreamt of writing something beautiful; taking a story from my head and pushing it onto paper, giving those stories and characters life. Ann Patchett is obviously a gifted writer, almost poetic. Beautifully written; the music that fills these pages can be heard while discovering Roxanne Cross - the Opera singer with an angels voice.
BUT I didn't love this book, wouldn't recommend it and wouldn't read it myself again. The beautiful prose and captivating characters weren't enough. I hated the ending. Hated with a capital H.... and was disappointed with some of the scenes. Overall it was a disappointment!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where Do I Go From Here

First, So sorry for posting this above April's challenge! Every one look below and you will find April's challenge has been issued!

My non-fiction choice for this month was a hard one. Not that I couldn't find one, Cause I had several in mind But I wanted to pick one that would be interesting for other readers as well. I love autobiography's and poetry BUT again I wanted something that would appeal to other ladies of this club that would help. So I chose "Where Do I Go From Here" By Irene Ericksen & Jan Pinborough. This is a LDS self-help book for Young Women ages 16-Twenties. I HIGHLY recommend this book if you have sisters or have a calling in Young women. And if you don't, still read it. It's a short read but it touches on all the questions that we as women face. Missions such as dating, marriage, a mission for the church, motherhood, self-worth, church callings. All of these things that we must ask our selves at one point or another. The best way to sum it up is from the intro on the back cover:

"Where do I go from Here?" --It's a question almost every young adult woman asks herself in the years following her walk across the stage at high school graduation. What comes next? An education? A full time mission? Marriage? A family? A career? The choices are not always predictable or easy to make. In where do I go from here Young adult women are invited to step back and consider their gifts, their challenges, and the needs their world and thus discover a sense of their own personal mission."

I love the quote Sheri L. Dew makes in the book..."If there were ever a time when the Lord needed us to have a clear vision of who we are, where we are, and what is important, it is now."
I loved this book even though I'm 22 and its been about 5 yrs. since graduation, It brings value to your self worth and challenges you to reach inside and become the Woman Heavenly Father knows you can be. Even if you are married it brings sweetness to the meaning of marriage and integrity of womanhood and motherhood. I will be using this book with "hopefully" my future daughters someday. If you have a calling in Young Women or just need a little reminder of who you are, this is a great quick read to enlighten your load. This has a been a great challenge and I look forward to the next!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You are officially CHALLENGED!

Hey Girls! I'm so excited to pick April's bookclub Challenge! I have loved reading your NF reviews and have put several on my "must read" list. And now it's time for a complete switch of gears....

Get your buns to the nearest Barnes and Noble and pick up a Science Fiction book!

WAIT! I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING! But I promise you that there is a Sci/Fi Fan inside you just DYING to come out! Look - you all like "Star Wars" - right?

Here's the thing. If I issued a "John Grisham Challenge" you would mosey over to your bookshelf, pick from the myriad of lovely law-thrillers, and two hours later you would finish the last page and say "Mmmm. That was a goodie." But you would not have grown as a reader! I think the word CHALLENGE should be taken literally - participating in it should make you stretch and evolve and experience something new! Trust me on this, ladies. There are many many Sci-Fi novels out there that will open your eyes anew to the world around you. Here's a list of my faves...


"The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury*** (the best intro. to this genre for you sci-fi virgins)
"Farenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card (this entire series is excellent)
"The Alliance" by Gerald Lund (that's right "Work and Glory" author!)
"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (an Oprah book)
"Contact" by Carl Sagan
"Z for Zachariah" by Robert C. Owen (won awards for YA lit.)
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry (Newberry medal winner)
"Jumper" by Steven Gould (have only seen the movie so can't vouch for book content)

THE HARD STUFF (for the true sci-fi experience):

"The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury
"The Worthing Saga" by Orson Scott Card (my all time favorite)
"1984" by George Orwell
"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
"The Robots of Dawn" by Isaac Asimov
"Foundation" by Isaac Asimov (hailed as the best sci-fi series in existence)
"Out of the Silent Planet" by CS Lewis
"Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke

I'm leaving out so many...anything by any of the authors mentioned above is going to be quality stuff so explore and be adventurous!

If you won't do it for me, do it for Han Solo, Ok? :)

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

This was my Non-Fiction book for the challenge this month and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The author is agnostic but was raised Jewish and decides to find out for himself what the Bible's all about by living it to the letter for one full year. Not only are his experiences unique and hilarious (though never sacriligious), it is fascinating to learn the origins and meanings of so many religious traditions. All of Christianity and Judaism consider the bible (or at least parts of it) to be be sacred and a source of guidance in life but we tend to pick and choose what rules apply to us. Jacobs decides that to fully understand it, he must fully practice it (with a few exceptions, like beating unruly children and killing magicians). He grows a beard, wears only pure fabrics, practices tithing for the first time, keeps all sorts of funny chastity rules, is COMPLETELY honset with everyone, stones adulterers and so on. Along the way he consults and visits with practicers of many different "bible believing" religions, including an overnight stay in Amish country and a pilgrimage to Israel. His narratives are honest and hilarious - as well as astonishingly informative. And I found my testimony deepening as I learned more about the Bible and thought intently about what it means to be "a spiritual being having a mortal experience" as opposed to "a mortal being having spiritual experiences". This is a book I will never tire of picking up off the shelf when I need a good read.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

She's BACK!!!

Jane Austen is FINALLY returning to PBS tonight. Emma starring Kate Beckinsale will be airing tonight at 9pm on PBS. I have the popcorn ready!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Princess Academy

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Just add this to Shannon Hale's list of great books. I loved I do all her books and don't know what else to I'll leave it here. Great book for young and old...(if you call 25 old)

Library Journal Review
The thought of being a princess never occurred to the girls living on Mount Eskel. Most plan to work in the quarry like the generations before them. When it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from their village, 14-year-old Miri, who thinks she is being kept from working in the quarry because of her small stature, believes that this is her opportunity to prove her worth to her father. All eligible females are sent off to attend a special academy where they face many challenges and hardships as they are forced to adapt to the cultured life of a lowlander. First, strict Tutor Olana denies a visit home. Then, they are cut off from their village by heavy winter snowstorms. As their isolation increases, competition builds among them. The story is much like the mountains, with plenty of suspenseful moments that peak and fall, building into the next intense event. Miri discovers much about herself, including a special talent called quarry speak, a silent way to communicate. She uses this ability in many ways, most importantly to save herself and the other girls from harm. Each girl's story is brought to a satisfying conclusion, but this is not a fluffy, predictable fairy tale, even though it has wonderful moments of humor. Instead, Hale weaves an intricate, multilayered story about families, relationships, education, and the place we call home.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Who loved Econ 111 in college? It definitely didn't rank in my top ten favorite courses...and yet, this fresh and well explained book on Economics was a fun and interesting read. Levitt and Dubner have broken down the confusing walls and formulas of economics and asked and answered the questions that many of us have always wished could be answered. Some of his theories are controversial and I assume he likes it that way... I'd definitely recommend this book- it will awaken the Economist in you!

From Publishers Weekly:
Forget your image of an economist as a crusty professor worried about fluctuating interest rates: Levitt focuses his attention on more intimate real-world issues, like whether reading to your baby will make her a better student. Recognition by fellow economists as one of the best young minds in his field led to a profile in the New York Times, written by Dubner, and that original article serves as a broad outline for an expanded look at Levitt's search for the hidden incentives behind all sorts of behavior. There isn't really a grand theory of everything here, except perhaps the suggestion that self-styled experts have a vested interest in promoting conventional wisdom even when it's wrong. Instead, Dubner and Levitt deconstruct everything from the organizational structure of drug-dealing gangs to baby-naming patterns. While some chapters might seem frivolous, others touch on more serious issues, including a detailed look at Levitt's controversial linkage between the legalization of abortion and a reduced crime rate two decades later. Underlying all these research subjects is a belief that complex phenomena can be understood if we find the right perspective. Levitt has a knack for making that principle relevant to our daily lives, which could make this book a hit. Malcolm Gladwell blurbs that Levitt "has the most interesting mind in America," an invitation Gladwell's own substantial fan base will find hard to resist.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Parenting With Love and Logic
by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay

When I cracked this book open we were hitting a "rough patch" in the Golding Home. By "rough patch" I mean, Ethan was doing some MAJOR reverting back to toddler behavior and throwing tantrums, yelling and crying much more, and I was feeling pretty nervous. I often get nervous when it comes to prenting-there are literally MILLIONS of experts out there all contradicting each other on what parenting techniques are the best...not to mention the experts who you meet in the grocery store, at church, doctor's office and in your family. I was confused about where to begin, positive that if I made the wrong decision, Ethan would be destined to a life of criminality(well, maybe not criminality but...time outs.) my new desperation and sadness at watching my 4 year old becoming a pretty unpleasant little guy I turned to this book. All I want to say is," Hallelujah!" I loved it and saw results within the first week of trying these techniques. It felt weird at first to let Ethan discover his own consequences for not wearing a coat in the cold, hurt to watch him hungry after choosing not to eat dinner, and was hard to allow him more control over his own decisions BUT after you get over the initial shock of these new techniques you will LOVE the outcome. Really- if you are a parent, will be one someday, work with children in any form YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!

Stolen Lives, 20 Years in a Desert Jail

By: Malika Oufkir

Publisher's Synopsis

A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller--the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege.
But in 1972, her life of luxury came to a crashing halt. Her father was executed for attempting to assassinate the king, and she and her family were imprisoned for two decades. Stolen Lives is the story of their resilience and their resolve to live in freedom.

This book changed my life. I will never take for granted my home and my freedom, ever again. I normally don't get too emotional when reading books, but this book made me cry throughout the whole thing. I cried for the utter devastation this family endured. I cried because of the strength this family had, for their lives that were literally thrown away by someone who at one time loved them. My heart fluttered at every success they broke with every set-back. And to know that this family lost 20 years of their life, yet found the courage to continue on. This is a must read!
The Infertility Cure:
The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies
by Randine Lewis
So...I started this book a skeptic(to put it mildly) but the more I read the more I believed....maybe it's just wishful thinking...but I found this book for me personally very helpful. After taking the quizes, I found my areas of needed improvment and have been practicing them for almost a month. I feel SO much better. I would highly recommend this book and I am actually going to go to my first acupuncture appointment this month...I'll let you know how it goes!

Book Description
For thousands of years, Chinese women have trusted traditional Chinese medicine to help them conceive. A recent medical study found that women who augmented Western fertility treatments with TCM, traditional Chinese medicine, doubled their chances of a succesful pregnancy. THE INFERTILITY CURE gives women an effective, natural means of supporting their efforts to get pregnant. Based on techniques and remedies drawn from traditional Chinese medicine, this program shows readers how to increase their overall health and well-being, strengthen the organs and systems vital to reproduction, heal specific conditions that may affect fertility, and even support Western-based reproductive technology such as IVF and hormone therapy. Dr. Lewis' easy-to-follow program begins with diagnosis, using an extensive questionnaire to determine each reader's unique diagnostic category. The next three steps involve bringing a woman's body back into balance through diet, acupressure, and Chinese herbs. By following this program, women will be able to create a welcoming physical and emotional environment for what they desire most: a child.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Jane Austen Book Club

I know that is this to talk about books, but I recently saw this movie about a book club for Jane Austen and thought that all of you would want to see it!

It's about a group of 6 people who start a book club all about Jane Austen. There is 5 girls and 1 guy. They each choose a book that they want and every month they read the same book and at the end of the month get together to talk about the book. But not only do they read the books, they live them. They find that the books help them in their daily love lives as well!

I found out, when looking for this image that this is based off of a book called The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. I am also looking forward to reading the book. I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite all time movies. It shows how every one has problems and you can use Jane Austen to fix them! I praise the author for coming up with such a fantastic was of writing. Doesn't everyone love Jane Austen? It also shows that many varities of people can read Jane Austen and love her. I highly recommend you to watch this movie and most likely read the book!

Note: The man on the cover is not the man that is in the Book Club.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


OK guys it's March; have you all started your non-fiction book? Take it from the Queen of procrastination and start it now! I know that if I wait till the end of the month, immersing myself in addicting novels all along the way that it won't happen, so I am diving right in...
What books are you reading? Any good ideas? I have a few and am picking up some more at my favorite place, THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, this Friday. Good Luck!