Literature

Review: The Buddha in the Attic


The Buddha in the Attic
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was chosen for the Book Club Read this month. (http://www.bountifulbookclub.blogspot.com/) I don’t often attend, but usually try to read the book, if it’s available through the Pioneer Library, my main resource for my books. (http://pioneerutah.lib.overdrive.com/B9A44FC8-1126-4EBC-AB38-7E0F204B5EB2/10/50/en/Default.htm) I was pleasantly surprised to find this one available, and it was a quick read. Although, I would not classify it as easy. In fact it was rather heavy.

The story was told from the mindset of the Japanese Mail Order Brides / Picture Brides (kind of reminded me of the Borg on some levels) taking place just prior to Pearl Harbor being bombed. They told of what promises and hopes they had in mind, and their realities, and shattered dreams, they tell of their treatments, and always being on the outside and then move into the suspicion, going into hiding, and then the disappearing.

Overall it was very interesting, really opened my understanding much more. Despite it being a short read, and with the risk of redundancy, it was very heavy and heartbreaking. Nonetheless, it’s a read I recommend just once.

(Actually finished 20 January 2014)

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Review: The Book Thief


The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I had expected when starting to read this book. I honestly didn’t know what it was about, just that it was a popular read and that they made a movie out of it. I was hoping it would be decent, as I often don’t enjoy ‘popular’ books. I have to say I was very pleased with this great read. Another surprise was that it was another telling of the horrors during World Ward II & occupied Germany.

I enjoyed the fact that it was told in a narrative manner from the point of Death, as he jumps all over Europe, collecting souls. Follow the story of a young refugee Leisel, the curious and kind hearted young girl, who simply loves books, her only way to obtain them, was to steal them. Her other great love in life, were the people closest around her.

For whatever reason the past year I have found that I have accidentally picked up a handful of World War II books. I obviously love Historical Fiction and find it very rewarding to continually learn more about us as a people, the good and the very bad, and finding the humanity in the horrid situations.

I really enjoyed the different style of the storytelling. I thought it was well written, flowed well and well worth the read. I highly recommend it. However, towards the end, and points in-between, make sure to have a box of tissues.

Now I can watch the movie… Yes, I’m sure, it’s not as good as the book – it never is.

(Actually finished 9 February 2014

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Review: Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life


Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life
Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life by Gordon B. Hinckley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely loved the Way To Be!, just as much as I adore President Gordon B. Hinckley! It was wonderful to read this book again, to hear his voice and feel he pure love that exuberates from him. How I’ve missed this great man. I’ve read this book a few times and will read again. Always new applicable points and views! I highly recommend for anyone of any background, faith, religion, etc. Just basic and profound views and points, of being a good person – just because you should try to be a good person.

My uncle wrote on his coffin, “Do good because doing good is good to do. Not because of threats or promises of Heaven or Hell.” I love that. I think that this book helps mostly guide on simply BEing a good person!

President Hickley stated in the book, “Rise above mediocrity, above indifference. Become involved and speak with a strong voice of that which is right. ”

I originally took fantastic notes while making my journey through this book. But looking back. I feel like I highlighted the whole book! 😐

Nonetheless, the 9 Be’s we should all remember are as follows:

9 Be’s:
Be Grateful
Be Smart
Be Involved
Be Clean
Be True
Be Positive
Be Humble
Be Still
Be Prayerful

Finished the book 1 October 2013.
I highly recommend this book to all, over and over again! Enjoy and BE an amazing contribution!

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Review: Briar Rose


Briar Rose
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this book about 17 years old (16 years ago). This is a book that sticks with you. You know the type, the kind that randomly will run through your head or something else will trigger your thoughts that will end up drifting back to you. For the last 16 years I have considered this on my top books list. It still is for the record. But how I remembered the book and how I internalized it this time were drastically different. But I know it’s the same book nonetheless.

I didn’t remember from before:
* The way Gemma’s story was intertwined with ‘today’ and told in bits and pieces.
* I don’t remember so much detail about the holocaust camps
* I didn’t remember a thing about the Prince!

For whatever reason this book came to mind so much this year that I felt compelled to read again, I was enthralled to find a copy of it on Amazon. (I love Amazon).

Since this was a book-book, it did take me a little longer to get through. Most days I found myself wishing I could simply stay home in my quiet peaceful and clean home enjoying the coolness of the weather and finish this delightful story once again that has lingered in my mind and heart since the last time I read it 16 years ago. I certainly wasn’t disappointed in it, many others re-reads were highly disappointing.

I loved meeting all the characters and hearing their bits and pieces of Gemma’s history with their own. However, most of them were very short. However, “The Prince’s Story” seemed very long! It’s went on for chapters. Not that it’s bad and it’s interesting, and nauseating at the same time. Not because of the writing, but because of what happened. Ah history… but it’s been interesting to see how much his story is elaborated upon.

Overall I still absolutely love Jane Yolen, and look forward to reading more of her books. I love her style, her rhythm, and great talent for story telling.

I tend to have been drawn to many books around WWII, I felt years ago and still that Ms. Yolen has a unique talent for relating the hard stories. Highly recommend!

Favorite Quotes from the Book:

Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.’ That depends… on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Time may heal all wounds, but it does not erase the scars.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Stories,” he’d said, his voice low and almost husky, “we are made up of stories. And even the one’s that seem the most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths.”

― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

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Review: I Am Number Four


I Am Number Four
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first part of this book. I found that most of it was really interesting, it was engaging and had a great pace. However when I stopped over the weekend, it was hard to re-engage and the relationship, banter and conversations between John & Sarah bugged the crap out of me! The authors conversation writing left much to be desired. Much was written to more of a young adult crowd. Mostly because that’s the maturity level and thinking level of the main character. I did really like most of it. I just lost interest and momentum when putting the book down. Granted when I picked it back up there was a battle against the bad aliens that went on forever and ever! Then, at the end it just drops you off with no real closure. I see it was a good stopping point, but the is no closure at all. Grr.

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(Finished on 5 November 2013)

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Review: The Tale of Despereaux


The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure they made a movie out of this book. Frankly I’m not sure why. I’m not sure of why there was so much hype about this book or why people were so excited. Completely baffles me!

I was first surprised that it has the same sort of rhythm as Dumas and Hugo, telling the story of one character for a while then jumping to another and trying to make the world complicated. Which was ok at first but then it just felt like the author was trying to hard, at which point it got really annoying.

By page 95 I was ready to be done with this! I didn’t care, it just rambled and I wanted to be done. But because it was so short I carried on, hoping that it might redeem itself. It didn’t. Now I’m just annoyed. 😐

The tag line on Good reads says, “Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious.” — BOOKLIST (starred review)” Yeah I think they were digging too deep and trying to hard to find a point…or they were paid off. Either way my opinion horrid book!

Side point, towards the end of this book I looked up the author. I was very surprised to see that she wrote “Because of Winn Dixie“. Hard for me to fathom that they were written by the same author, then again I read that well over a decade ago…

My recommendation for this book…. keep moving, don’t waste your time!

This book is so stupid! I”m so grateful that it’s short! I don’t like the style. And completely do not understand that point of this story! I really don’t understand why there was so much hype about this book. Gag me! I’ve been pushing through it only so I can be done with it!

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Review: The Husband List


The Husband List
The Husband List by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders B...

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders Books and Music in Braintree, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

At first I struggled with Janet’s attempt to branch out to other time periods and plots. I could definitely feel the influence of the Doreen Kelly, aka not Janet’s methods and styles. However after the first few chapters she found her groove and her characters and we had smooth sailing from that point on. It was a fun

 

little read and nice to have Janet but a different story line, even though her formula reins supreme. Fun read, glad she is branching out with other stories beside Stephanie, Joe & Ranger and Diesel and Lizzy. 🙂

 

(Actually Finished June 24th 2013)

 

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Review: Beatrice and Virgil


Beatrice and Virgil
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Life of Pi is one of my all-time favorite books! I was SO excited about reading Beatrice & Virgil hoping for the same or similar at least depth. Perhaps this had it, perhaps not. I felt like the whole book was attempting to ‘set the plot’ and then all of a sudden at the end it all blows up in your face within a matter a few pages! Literally!

I felt confused and what is this all about through the whole book…. I felt that it jumped around a lot and really lacked a plot. The story within the story is about a donkey and a monkey that live on a shirt – not kidding. They end up somehow being survivors of the holocaust and the taxidermist who is the writer of the story was a torturer within Hitler‘s realm.

The ending felt like the editor had put pressure on Mr. Martel and he hurried and tried to close the story. I was upset and vexed most the story and especially at the end. I don’t recommend this one at all! If you like Martel previously this one might put a hiccup in your love for him. 😐

Either all this or I don’t have a deep enough conscience to comprehend all the subliminal messages

(Actually Finished July 16th 2013)

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English: Canadian Booker prize-winning author ...

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Review: Enna Burning


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enna Burning
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read the second book of the Books of Bayern Series, I had just been struggling through the awful “In Courts of the Sun” and was desperate for something actually good. Since I had such a great experience with “The Goose Girl” I thought this would be a great reprieve from my book despair.

While it was a million times better than Courts of the Sun, it wasn’t as good as Goose Girl and I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t hate it though. I really enjoyed Enna‘s character in the first book and the princess, now Queen Ani was still delightful. I’m sure I’ll still finish the series hoping this was a hiccup, and the rest is great. The ending left it hanging and I need some resolution.

Granted, the part where I really started struggling was when she was in love with what’s his bucket “for a week” and they had just immediately fallen in love and she had turned her back on her friends… it was weird and I was upset. I don’t believe in love at first sight and it tends to cloud everything else out. However, I felt much better after realizing that he had the people speaking gift that can make people make decisions and do things against their will.

(Actually Finished August 24th 2013)

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Review: The Help


The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m one that has a really hard time giving in to read really ‘popular’ books… so I procrastinate and procrastinate simply because I don’t want to simply follow the crowd. Well I have to admit on this one, it was a simply amazing book! What courage, dedication and resolve these strong women showed in the face of adversity. I don’t know that I would have had the same courage and conviction, if I were in any of those roles, to be the difference, I pray that I would, but I just don’t know.

The writing style was well done in this book, easy to follow and most definitely engaging! Once I got into it, it did take a minute, I couldn’t put it down. I found every opportunity I could to read, and found myself laughing and crying all the way through. Definitely heart wrenching.

I am curious though, I know it was based on a true story. But if that’s the case and this is the story about them writing their story, and their story in the book is titled “The Help” then where is the other book??

I wish I would have had the few minutes to write the review when I finished this book. However, I delayed because I wanted to give it the time and dedication in writing a review it deserved, and unfortunately I’m writing it 3 months later and not giving it the love I wanted it because it’s faded a bit.

Regardless, fantastic read everyone should put on their list, popular or not.

(Actually Finished June 3rd,2013)

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Review: Les Misérables


English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine

English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Les Misérables
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Les Miserables between 12-14 years of age. I have to say this was one that I remembered much differently. This is the primary reason I’ve enjoyed going back and re-reading many of the books that I read 15+ years ago. I enjoy seeing how my perspectives have changed.

Now, this being said, this is a story that we are all very familiar with. Seeing that it is a classical literature art piece, and then adapted for stage and film. Not to mention the phenomenal music score.

Unfortunately, I think that I like the stage/film versions best. It takes the very best of this very long book and all levels of it’s wordiness and helps you take away the greatest lessons it teaches. I know, normally I’m not a fan of abridging. But I felt that because of the extended length of this even if it’s been abridged takes away much from the lessons Mr. Hugo wanted to teach and instill within our souls.

I found that with the extensive length that I would get distracted by random annoyances. I also was disappointed by the parts that I felt that really had the greatest affects on the characters were not elaborated upon as much as other parts continuing on describing things that in the big picture didn’t play a vital detail. That was frustrating.

I also have come to realize more and more lately that I have a very hard time with ‘Love at First Sight’ or the like. I was so annoyed and mad through the sections that went on an on about what’s his bucket’s (I know, I should know – writing this review a few weeks after finishing) love for Cossette, when they’d never even carried on a conversation! He’d only seen her, and basically stalked her. Then Cossette conveniently falls in love with him because she notices him back and enjoys his behavior, mind you he’s terrified of her father and she plays games, like, Oh, Father, I didn’t even see whom you are talking about… etc, etc. Gag me! When authors expound and go on and on about their undying love for when they have never even had a conversation I want to do violent things to people! Gag me!

On the positive note, I do enjoy the handful of references to songs that the people have integrated into their lives, makes the whole stage/movie versions of this a bit more reasonable to see how they were able to more realistically convert and retell this story.

The story finally started getting good around page 1,200. The battles, the mercy… although still I was saddened the parts that I really love were not as well expressed. 😦

Taking an overall look at this story and what we learn from it, I love the story of trials, tribulations and overcoming ourselves and allowing love and mercy to ultimately work in our lives, for the greater good of ourselves, our loved ones and those who despise us. I love how one simple act of mercy changes the entire life and outlook of one man. Of that change of heart the changes and good he is able to deliver to the world and make it a slightly better place. I love seeing the selfless acts of service and sacrifice and how no matter how things don’t work out completely for him he continues to pay it forward in all that he does. Even in the end when Valjean shows a parallel act of mercy to the one man who hates him most in this world, Inspector Javert, whose whole life purpose almost seems that it is to destroy Jean Valjean, Javert can’t handle it. He doesn’t take the chance, he can’t allow the love and Mercy in his life, and kills himself. Likewise, how do we respond when shown the same love and mercy? What do we do with it? Cossette’s young husband’s attitude changes so drastically himself when he finds out of the wrongs Valjean has done in his life, but his heart softens and overflows with love in an instance when he finds out the other side of Valjean’s story of love and sacrifice.

I think ultimately we need to take a good hard look at this story and what we learn from it, how it applies to us, how we can improve our own self beings and implement into our daily lives. Obviously, with my annoyances, I still highly recommend this great classic.

(Actually finished August 23rd 2013)

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Review: Ensign – June 2013


Ensign - June 2013
Ensign – June 2013 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly love the fact that we have The Ensign available to us!! It never ceases to amaze me how each month it’s filled with articles that I swear, were written just for me! In addition its material is not always applicable to me, but also put forth in such a manner that I am able to internalize the doctrine greater. Resulting in feeling closer to the Lord and the Gospel. 🙂

http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013?lang=eng

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Review: Wicked Business


Wicked Business
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series just really makes me giggle. Its different from Stephanie Plum, barely. Magic and crazy characters that are surreal. But frankly, I really enjoy Cat, Carl and all the other supporting characters. When I think of the Lizzy & Diesel series, frankly, I giggle, I laugh, I chuckle and I plain out laugh hard. It’s not my favorite, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t completely enjoy it! This series like Stephanie Plum is very predictable but I still like it. I’m also very grateful that it helps fill my Janet Evanovich need in my life.

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Review: One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do


One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do
One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do by Phil Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m grateful that I found this book when I did…. Has it changed my life drastically? No, but it did help pull me out of the rut I was falling into. I’d been working in a position that was very unhealthy for me and was slowing killing my spirit and self-belief. I’ve always felt that my life has great purpose and design, that my presence here needs to make a difference on the world… even if it’s just with one or two individuals, ultimately through service. I think more than anything this helped remind me of that and my individual worth. I was surprised but not upset to find many Christian references, beliefs and scriptures. That helped remind me. The book was interesting and flowed well. I felt like there were a few repetitive points, but also felt like I needed to hear them again, so I didn’t mind so much.

A few years ago my path became clouded and I’ve felt like I’ve not been progressing towards my greater purpose. My career fell. My marriage crumbled. My dreams and goals seemed further off than ever before. For the past four years, I’ve moved from job to job doing what I had to. While I still don’t have my dream job I’m moving closer and happier with what I do, thanks to Mr. Cooke’s recommendation – found the purpose I serve in this position and how I serve the greater good for now… Just you wait – someday – I’ll make that difference! Or rather, BE that difference!

One last thing, a dear friend told me many years ago, that “A true friend is the one who knows the song of your heart, and sings it back to you when you have forgotten.” For me that is what this book ultimately felt like.

Thank you!

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Review: A Week in the Woods


A Week in the Woods
A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was cute. Found it as an available title from the Pioneer Library, I needed something to listen to while I worked that wasn’t heavy. It was easy to get into and a very quick read – it took me only a few hours one day.

Honestly, it was cute. I thought it was well written and very relate-able on many levels. Had great self reflection of the main character that would simultaneously have you looking within yourself. Many lessons of life, situations, attitude and judgement. Great job. Highly recommend. 🙂

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Review: CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL


Chicken Soup for the Cold

Chicken Soup for the Cold (Photo credit: texascooking)

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL by Jack Canfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly, I love the Chicken Soup For the Soul Books – Probably why I keep reading them…

Five years ago I had just gotten married, moved into a new home and was trying to enjoy the benefits I always heard about that come with being a ‘newlywed.’ Most of that ‘enjoying’ was me hanging on to a nice moment here and there, learning that all I had hoped for was far from reality. At that time I had put a Chicken Soup for the Soul book in our ‘bathroom reading materials.’ Little did I know at the time from that point I would find myself stowing away in the bathroom – reading these great short stories! What a blessing that had been to me then, to have 5 minutes of joy in a life and marriage that wasn’t what I’d always hoped and didn’t bring half the smiles this little book gave me. How grateful I was though, I honestly think that this book helped me survive, it was at least one of those sweet tender mercies from the Lord that helped me survive, others were my sweet little Jada (my niece – how I miss her!) and my amazing and simply wonderful neighbor Rhonda, who helped pick up the pieces of my broken heart. I wish I could find or at least remember which ‘Soup’ that this was… About the same week that I finished my ‘Soup’ my ex-husband also asked for a divorce.

I was given this particular “Soup” shortly after my divorce four years ago, I chuckled to myself and said well I guess there is a version for every stage! Secretly I’ve hoped that once I finished reading this one that my chapter of being ‘single again’ in my own life would also come to a close… While it hasn’t been the same week, I’m hopeful. I’m so grateful for this book, the progression through different stages of singleness and the healing and heartbreaking stories alike. I felt like I had a support group this past four years, which was absolutely needed as I found myself alone and isolated from what friends I thought I had, in a strange new place and navigating career suicide with my move. I found myself having to rebuild my life nearly from scratch, re-evaluate who I am, what I believe and what impact I currently have on the world around me and what I want to change to be the difference. I purposely slowed down at reading this book, only allowing myself to read one or two entries a week, and sometimes less. I felt that I needed the time to process others stories and my own mind and heart. I honestly think that this book helped me from truly assisted me in my will to not become bitter and vengeful, but more grateful that he let me go and had the courage to do so, allowing me to have a much better chance at happiness. From experiencing my bad marriage and my loneliness before hand to my life now and my attitude towards myself. I’m so grateful for the experience. I truly am happy with who I am, happy with how I give back to the world and make an impact, and know that frankly I was an amazing wife, and might someday again have that chance, but I love hanging out with myself and now really comfortable in my own skin. All of this is intricately entwined together as this has been a long and sometimes painful, and mostly joyful growing experience, and has been a nice little journey and chapter of my life. Thank you Jack Canfield for your guidance through this minefield. 🙂

Ps. If I decide to marry again one day, I look forward to it with joy. But in the meantime I’m loving each moment of being single!

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Review: 16 Lighthouse Road


16 Lighthouse Road
16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just finished my semester of college, and all my required text book reading. I was feeling like I needed and wanted something light-hearted and maybe a little bit cheesy. I admit it, I love being cheesy! I openingly fantasize about the love I someday hope to really have, so I do enjoy romances from time to time. I have to believe for myself that crazy love is real! I know I’ve experienced it – when I don’t downplay it and be honest with myself. For this I’m incredibly grateful! I also have horrible romantic experiences that I’m also grateful for because they make me appreciate the great. But often times I feel like I loose faith and hope in finding crazy real love again. That’s why I enjoy these ‘fluffy’ books. Now, I’m also a realist and completely realize that not all of life is like this, and we are one of the few lucky ones if we but just a moment or two of these moments and memories!
However, that being said – This book needed work! At the beginning of this book, I felt like I have read one of Debbie Macomber’s books before, however cannot find any record of such. I do not know if this is one of Ms. Macomber’s first books – but her writing style indicated so. It was frustrating most the time. Now as far as clean level of romance. It was clean, there was mostly romantic feelings, but only one scene that was tastefully done. It was as if it had been written with a middle/high school student mentality and reality view of life. In addition, there were so many characters, that seemingly didn’t completely tie together. They all went off in different directions. I understand that the Judge was the central character, and the supporting characters were her children and their relationships, her best friend and her relationships and the life and happenings of a couple that had passed through her courtroom, in addition to the judges mother, and the judges love interest, oh and don’t forget her ex-husband. All these stories went in a million directions and never seemingly came back to tie together with a climax or a resolution! The dialog was a completely un-realistic and it was hard to not gag most the time with these ‘really, are you kidding me situations.’ I finished the book but I doubt that I would ever read one of her’s again. I might, if this was among her first books. I might read a later one and give her another chance. But if looking for a good light-hearted fluffy, feel good story mixed with romance that just leaves you grinning and warm on the inside … keep looking!

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Review: The Ensign – March 2013


The Ensign - March 2013
The Ensign – March 2013 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok, I know I haven’t been fantastic at staying on top of reading the Ensign every month for the past few months. I have defiantly felt the lack of it’s influence in my life, and on my spirit. I’m grateful I listened to the prompting to start reading it again this month! At this moment I’m committing once again to read the Ensign each month for the rest of this year and go back and read the first two issues. This really was a fantastic issue and deeply touched my spirit and uplifted my heart. It felt that almost each article once again had been written just for me! I love how that works! 🙂 It makes me feel that maybe I’m not completely alone in the world with my struggles and trials, and let’s be honest – mental issues at times! Great Ensign! I highly recommend! It also helped to encourage me and really kinda slap me upside my head on subjects that I’ve been slacking on or other areas in my life where I need improvement… and that improvement is easy! I just have to do it! I know I can, and I know that God will bless me for doing so! I fully know that life isn’t always peaches and cream if we just follow the commandments… but I know that God does bless us in those tiny but significate daily tender mercies! Those tender mercies are what strengthen and keep us encouraged as we face trials and tribulations they are what help make it through and so that they are mere, and it came to pass moments, and not thus came the downfall of Jennifer…

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Review: Mere Christianity


Mere Christianity
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another CS Lewis I really enjoyed! I really enjoyed how deep he delved into subjects, very controversial subjects! I kept wanting to take experts from the book and just give that as my reply to certain subjects that are current hot topics in the world. Highly recommend to all! Even if you are not Christian, it gave some great insights, and more ammo for me in other areas. 😉

Topics I book marked:
Theology on desires – healthy & unhealthy; Lifestyles; Appetites w/ Food & Sex; Marriage; Charity; Faith; How Christ molds us; Hope; Faith; and more. Great read!

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Review: Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card


Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card
Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Yeah, I’m finished with this. I normally like Orson Scott Card, I didn’t read what this was about, before starting. If I had realized it was a bunch of short scary/mentally messing with you stories I would have not started it. I had insane dreams last night! I’m good. I think the ones I read will give me enough psychotic nightmares to last me a lifetime.

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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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Review: The Memory of Earth


The Memory of Earth
The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have very mixed feelings on this particular book. I really enjoy Orson Scott Card and was excited about reading this one. I was really needing a book with some more thought provoking points – this was a great one for that matter!

It’s a Science Fiction (which I also love) set in the future, when the Human Race has destroyed Earth and moved to another planet named Harmony. Most of the book sets up the scene, the people, the planet, the culture, the religions, etc. It was fascinating to read about. I enjoyed much of the religious overtones and similes through the first 75%+ part of the book. Granted, some of it was VERY weird, but over all I liked it. I thought that it flowed well and that the story and all details connected and made sense, and really brought things to my mind about our own cultures here on Earth.

It finally gets to the point of this whole story, in the last 15% of the book, not just setting the stage and it was the first few chapters of Nephi, from the Book of Mormon. There were not many variances from the story of Lehi and his family. At this point I lost a lot of interest, and some respect honestly. I didn’t like how he literally played it out detail by detail identically to the things that happened with Lehi’s Family! Which took away any suspense, of how is this going to end… Even Nephi’s name was used in Card’s book (I listened to it) but the main character’s name is Nefi! Really? Have we lost all creativity here? Obviously I got hung up on it feeling like plagiarism.

Nonetheless, I’ve always loved this story (in it’s original telling) it was very interesting to see how Card made these defining moments fit into his story board. It brought many things to the surface in a different light than I have ever looked at.

I think that the things that stuck out to me most was that the Oversoul’s purpose was to help mankind over come itself to finally develop the greatness that we inherently could have if we but tried a little harder. But that no matter what time or place we continue to make the regular trip through the pride cycle. Another big point was the difference Nefi’s out look was on everything once he knew the Oversoul’s purpose and goals and how he played a part it in. Little things, fights with his brothers, how he approached things he was asked to do, how he choose to treat people – all of it changed, because he could see more of the big picture and where he fit and learned more of the things that really matter.

Overall I did like it. I know there is a lot more seeing that he barely broke into the first few chapters of 1 Nephi. I worry though that I would struggle, because I would already know what big thing was really going to happen next.

In addition, I really like the fact that Card has been able to share basic gospel principals in more of a secular manner and able to reach out to more people. Go ahead and read it, if nothing else it includes some great physiologic and sociological discussion points.

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Review: Lean Mean Thirteen


Lean Mean Thirteen
Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well Stephanie has once again provided much laughter, crazy scenarios and good old Mid-Atlantic culture and humor. 🙂

Although, I found a lot of disconnects in this one… 😦 For instance, in book 12 we were left off with Stephanie working for Ranger, here she’s a Bounty Hunter again and there was no explanation of her transition. As well as a few others. It was annoying, but not hard to figure out. Another couple of things. She’s started referring to Ranger by his name Carlos Mendoza (I think that’s his name – I just translate in my head to “Ranger”) and all of a sudden she magically got over her issue and fear of saying “I Love You” to Morelli – without that momentous moment, and now continues to tell him regularly…

Other than that, I of course love Stephanie Plum and enjoy our adventures together. 🙂 On to 14…

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Christmas Magic & The Festival of Trees


I love Christmas! I love the season, the smells, the feel of everything, the taste in the air and the energy all around! For years I have dreamed of having that perfect storybook Christmas, my family never had that. Oh we had our own type of Christmas Magic, but never what I knew was waiting out there…. somewhere.

I grew up all over the US, my dad works for the Federal Government in the Bureau of Land Management. Therefore, we lived in every small podunk town known to mankind. Ok, not really, but it sure felt like it! I ended up going to 11 different schools by the time that I graduated from high school, so I’ve been around. We never lived close to our extended family and we always just celebrated our quiet little immediate family holidays by ourselves. Which I ultimately grew to appreciate VERY much! After college, I ended up moving back East, New York City, Vermont & then was in the Philadelphia suburbs for nearly a decade. (While on that subject I think the state of Pennsylvania simply has something incredibly magic about it – but especially during Thanksgiving to Christmas to the New Year!) Which again put me far away from extended and immediate family. As I’d always done, I adopted new family(ies). This also comes with invitations to spend holidays with other families and get a glimpse into other people’s worlds and traditions. From this I have gleamed some of the best ‘magic’ I have witnessed, and implementing their traditions and magic into my own traditions – and hoping that someday when I have a family of my own I’ll be able to continue to add to that great Christmas Magic!

However, here I find myself close to family once again and some holidays are celebrated, while most are not. If they are celebrated it’s generally because I’m hosting the whole shebang. Most the time though, I find myself ignoring the things about the holiday’s that I love so very much – in order not to be once again heart-broken. I stopped putting up decorations, I don’t want to cook my big fabulous meals, and I look forward to the quiet day off with no one bugging me, no phone calls or texts beyond Happy whatever holiday! It breaks my heart knowing this. I even do it for my own birthday anymore (I’m a Christmas week baby) no one cares, no one will come and if they do, they do stupid stuff that makes me wish I never attempted to throw myself a party in the first place. 😦 This I know all stems from the years of heartache and let downs of having hopes so high that just maybe this year might be a fraction better. In addition in all likeliness its that awful voice of my ex-husband telling me everything was horrible because of me, and my wanting each moment to be great – even if it’s horrible – I continue to believe that there can be goodness found in all things even if it’s just a micro or nano thing… Of course I find myself just wanting to take myself on some fabulous vacation that I can’t afford; far away from everyone and everything…. and it’s warm of course!

Despite my jaded view on this subject, there are a few things that bring me such great joy!

I have been an Auction Host at the Festival of Trees now for 3 years! It’s hard to believe I’ve even been around here that long! I was first introduced to the Festival of Trees from my girlfriend, Andrea. (Andrea’s Main Blog & Andrea’s Second Blog – Things you will not believe!! Regarding the Health of her Children)  These are amazing stories that you need to read!) The Festival of Trees  is a fabulous non-profit organization that donates 100% of their proceeds back to the children at Primary Children’s Hospital. Each year the first week after Thanksgiving they hold a gigantic auction at the South Towne Expo Center. People and organizations donate their time, talent and resources to providing a fabulous environment and things to auction. You can find Large Trees, Medium Trees, Small Trees, Centerpieces, General Decorations, Wreaths, Quilts, Statues/Sculptures, Paintings,

Photography, not to mention all the baked goods and other gifts that you can purchase there and MUCH more! It’s quiet the experience  Auction night is always quite elite and has a formal attire dress code. Andrea & I are Auction Hosts for whatever section we might be assigned to each year answering questions and facilitating the silent auctions in our area. What fun this is! Not only do we get to dress up in our beautiful formals, but we also get to make new friends, meet interesting people and serve! What energy fills the air here! In this one place my Christmas Magic has returned and ignited such a fire of hope and joy all around! I’m so grateful that Andrea invited me three years ago! This

is truly one of my most favorite events of the year! I’m so glad that my little effort actually makes a difference in someones life! It’s amazing to see what some of these items go for – and it’s all really for the children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So whatever it might be that you love about the Christmas Season… I hope you find it this year. I hope you grab onto it and hold it tight. Find people around you in every capacity that you can serve in either the littlest of ways – most people are so in need of a genuine smile and a hello, or in big ways – but do it just because.

May you be blessed with the Love of our Lord and remember exactly WHY we have Christmas after all… because someone gave us the greatest of all gifts!

I’ll post a few photos from our night. 🙂 Later when I am working on a better computer… 😉

 

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Review: A Grief Observed


A Grief Observed
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought that this writing was very interesting. This was originally just his ‘Grief Journal’ during the mourning of his beloved wife. It was interesting getting a deeper look into CS Lewis himself. I know how I have gone through the stages of grief, it was interesting to see the similarities and the differences alike between he and I. I think it’s a great book for anyone who has faced some grief in their life, especially the death of a spouse. Or even a divorce, for I feel divorce is very similar to the death of a spouse. For in each you must grieve the death of the relationship and love. Great read. Highly Recommend.

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