Friday, June 1, 2012

Operation TBR Reduction update

This challenge is from Once Upon a Chapter.

Monthly stats for May:
Beginning number of TBR books = 151

Books Added +
  • One Summer by David Baldacci
  • Dewey by Vicki Myron
  • Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Books I Read -

  • Wine to Water by Doc Hendley
  • Inspiring Experiences by Thomas Monson
  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
  • Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons by New World City
  • A Grand and Bold Thing by Ann Finkbeiner
Ending number of TBR books = 151

Well, at least I broke even!

Happy reading, everyone :)

Piling Up on Friday 6/1

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

Here at my house, school is out and summer vacation has officially begun! This year I am trying to have my kids participate in as many summer reading programs as I can find. The little ones are excited to earn free book, t-shirts and food, but my 12 yr old says no thanks to it all. Despite turning up her nose at these incentives, she is (thankfully) devouring books as fast as we can get them from the library. 

Every morning we have personal study time. I pull out a stack of school workbooks and math worksheets and the kids work on these for 30 minutes. Then we have reading time for 30 minutes. I encourage my kids to spend their time reading books to their 4 yr old brother, but whether they do or not, it's so wonderful to see all of them curled up in a chair, a bed, or laying on the floor, enjoying a new title. It brings back fond memories of summer vacations at my grandma's house, curled up on the couch with Nancy Drew.

Here is a fun title I added to my TBR wishlist this week:

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

Hannah Levi is known throughout sixteenth-century Venice for her skill in midwifery. When a Christian count appears at Hannah's door in the Jewish ghetto imploring her to attend his labouring wife, who is nearing death, Hannah is forced to make a dangerous decision. Not only is it illegal for Jews to render medical treatment to Christians, it's also punishable by torture and death. Moreover, as her Rabbi angrily points out, if the mother or child should die, the entire ghetto population will be in peril.

My current read is:

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

When Libby's husband fails to return from a solo canoe trip, Libby enlists the aid of her father-in-law and her best friend to help her search for clues to her husband's disappearance. What they discover upends Libby's presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

Death on the Nile book review

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
My rating = 5 stars (Gibbee!!)
Poirot, on vacation in Africa, meets the rich, beautiful Linnet Doyle and her new husband, Simon. As usual, all is not as it seems between the newlyweds, and when Linnet is found murdered, Poirot must sort through a boatload of suspects to find the killer before he (or she) strikes again.

My review:
I love reading Agatha Christie. The mysteries are full of drama and suspense. It's always so hard for me to figure out whodunit, but it's always so much fun! This story had so many twists and turns. I thought I had figured out who the murderer was, but of course I was wrong. This book had not only a murderer, but a jewel thief, a crooked lawyer, a love triangle, an international criminal in disguise, a drunken romance author, and a royal lord in disguise as well. So much drama jampacked into one story. It was terrific!

Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons book review

Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons by New World City
My rating = 3 stars

Ronald Reagan was a product of America's heartland, a kid who had a Huck Finn childhood and never lost his aw-shucks, all-American optimism. He moved to Hollywood, became a minor film star, and got involved in politics-at first on the left. But in the shadow of the 1950s anti-Communism furor, he moved to the right and began a steady rise to the pinnacle of power. Initially derided as a lightweight, a none-too-bright actor incapable of leading a nation, he proved his detractors wrong. Using extraordinary charm, conviction, communication skills, and stagecraft, Reagan became one of the most beloved, admired, and influential presidents in American history.

My review:
This is a brief discourse on Reagan's life and political career. It touches on his successes and failures during his presidency. There is a discussion section at the end called "What You Can Learn From Ronald Reagan." It focuses on different leadership aspects Reagan possessed, such as developing a vision for your team, and knowing your strengths and limitations. This short work would be a good study companion for a lengthier biography of the president.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Piling Up on Friday 5/25

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I've had an exceptional week studying Proverbs 31 in the bible. It's really helping me examine my life as a wife and mom and find ways to improve myself in the home, with my family, and spiritually. Come visit my blog Sweet and Simple Faith for more on my journey this week.

I just have one new title I've added to my TBR wishlist this week. I hope you have found some fun titles too!

Into This World by Sybil Baker

I am currently reading:

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sophie's Secret book review

Sophie's Secret by Nancy Rue
My rating = 4 stars

Sophie is a sixth grader with an immensely creative imagination. She imagines herself to be an archaeologist and goes exploring in her attic, looking through her family's boxes of belongings.  She learns a lot about her family members, but doesn't find anything about herself. Could she be adopted?
At school, Sophie and her friends find themselves at odds with the Corn Pops, a super-popular clique of girls that start some mean rumors about the girls. Sophie learns some important lessons about being a true friend and about being herself.

I liked this book a lot. It is the second in a series of twelve books by Nancy Rue, and is written for girls ages 9-12. It focuses on Christian values such as family harmony, friendship, honesty, and faith in Jesus Christ. Sophie deals with some very strong emotions throughout the story, as she deals with girls at school, and learns how to obey her parents even when she doesn't feel loved or accepted at home. I believe Sophie's feelings were portrayed very well for the reader to understand and feel as well. I was drawn into the book as I read everything Sophie goes through, and was anxious to find out how everything resolves itself. This is a terrific book I intend to pass on to my own sixth grader.

Piling Up On Saturday 5/19

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I got another chance to volunteer at the book warehouse this week, which means more free books! In addition to some books for the kids, I got another Amy Tan book and a book called Sarah's Key. Here are some other titles added to my TBR wishlist this week:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. As the two girls mature, Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live. When the two  girls come of age, Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to question fundamentalist doctrine. The different choices the two sisters makes force them apart until a dangerous secret threatens to banish them from the only community they’ve ever known.  

Trapeze by Simon Mawer
Barely out of school and doing her bit for the British war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that makes her stand out—she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. Drawn into this strange, secret world at the age of nineteen, she finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a “school for spies,” and ultimately, one autumn night, parachuting into France from an RAF bomber to join the WORDSMITH resistance network. But there’s more to Marian’s mission than meets the eye of her SOE controllers; her mission has been hijacked by another secret organization that wants her to go to Paris and persuade a friend—a research physicist—to join the Allied war effort. The outcome could affect the whole course of the war.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

I am currently reading:

Sophie's Secret by Nancy Rue
When some of Sophie's relatives come to town for Thanksgiving and create a whirlwind of sightseeing, including nearby Jamestown, Sophie sees an archeological excavation in progress and pictures herself as a female Indiana Jones.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Outlander Read-A-Long

Come join me next month as I participate in the Outlander Read-A-Long. I've had this book on my TBR wishlist for quite some time now, but like many of the titles on that list, it has sat there waiting and waiting for me.
The read-a-long is paced reading, with questions posted weekly by the hosts. You can find out more about the read-a-long at Gone With The Words. Here is the reading schedule:

June 11th – Questions for chapters 1-7 announced at Gone with the Words

June 18th – Questions for chapters 1-7 answered & questions announced for chapters 8-14 at Stalking the Bookshelves

June 25th – Questions for chapters 8-14 answered & questions announced for chapters 15-21 on Tangled up in Blue

July 2nd – Questions for chapters 15-21 answered & questions announced for chapters 22-28 on Into the Hall of Book

July 9th – Questions for chapters 22-28 answered & questions announced for chapters 29-35 on Logan E. Turner

July 16th – Questions for chapters 29-35 answered & questions announced for chapters 36-41 on The Reading Housewives

July 23rd – Questions for chapters 36-41 answered on Gone with the Words. The end.

Read along with me!! It's always fun to read with a friend.

Happy reading, everyone!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Wine to Water Book Review and Giveaway

My rating = 5 stars (Gibbee!)

(Goodreads review)
Doc Hendley never set out to be a hero. In 2004, Hendley- a small-town bartender- launched a series of wine-tasting events to raise funds for clean-water projects and to bring awareness to the world's freshwater crisis. He planned to donate the proceeds through traditional channels, but instead found himself traveling to one of the world's most dangerous hot spots: Darfur, Sudan. There, Doc witnessed a government-sponsored genocide where the number-one weapon wasn't bullets-it was water. The Janjaweed terrorists had figured out that shooting up a bladder containing 10,000 liters of water, or dumping rotting corpses into a primary water source is remarkably efficient for the purposes of mass extermination. With limited funds, Doc realized that he couldn't build new wells costing $10,000 a pop, but he could hire local workers to restore a damaged well for a mere $50 each. He'd found his mission. Today, Doc and Wine to Water continue to help stricken peoples repair and maintain water-containment systems in places like Darfur, Cambodia, Uganda, and Haiti.

I can't say enough good things about this book! First of all, it is written and organized very well. It grabs your attention immediately, and holds it throughout the entire story. Hendley's plain-spoken style is easy to read and relate to. Second, this book is so inspiring! That is the reason I am giving away my copy of this book. Usually I keep all of my Gibbee books because they're so good I want to have them always. But it doesn't seem right to keep this one all to myself. 

As I read Hendley's story of bravely working in war-torn Darfur, it inspired me to find ways I can help in my community. Being a stay-at-home mom of four young kids, it's not the easiest thing to do to find free time and money to volunteer anywhere I want. It's easy for me to make excuses and stay in my own little 'bubble.' This book made me reassess my situation and excuses, and look for opportunities that fit my schedule and resources. 

I hope everyone enters this giveaway, because this is a book not to be missed! It may even change your life, and that is what Gibbee is all about!!!

Happy reading, everyone!

Piling Up on Friday May 11th

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I got a fun opportunity to volunteer at a local Scholastic book warehouse this week. They are holding a book sale for teachers, homeschoolers, and other educators at the warehouse. I went and helped restock shelves, process returns, and fill orders during my shift. As "payment," I got a voucher for some free books. Most of the books I got were for my kids - comic books, Magic Tree House, Big Nate and a few others. I also got two books for myself - One Summer by David Baldacci, and Dewey by Vicky Myron. I loved Baldacci's Wish You Well so much, I knew I would love One Summer. I'm hoping to get the Hunger Games series, but those are in such demand, they may not be available at all.

I signed up for more volunteer shifts this next week, and we'll see what other treasures I get to bring home. 

This week's additions to my TBR wishlist:

One Summer by David Baldacci
It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

Dewey by Vicki Myron
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Piling Up on Friday May 4th

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read wishlist this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

I just finished reading a fabulous book this afternoon. It's called Wine to Water by Doc Hendley. It's the story about a bartender who decided to help bring clean water to developing countries, and started his work in the heart of Darfur during the humanitarian crisis of 2004. My book review is coming soon, so stay tuned. I'm even doing a giveaway for this one!

Here are some fun and fascinating titles I have added to my TBR wishlist this week.

The Vanishers by Heidi Julatvis
Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, refuses to pass the torch to her young disciple. Instead, she subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother's suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment.  Julia retreats to a faceless job in Manhattan. But others have noted Julia's emerging gifts, and soon she's recruited to track down an elusive missing person—a controversial artist who might have a connection to her mother. As Julia sifts through ghosts and astral clues, everything she thought she knew of her mother is called into question, and she discovers that her ability to know the minds of others—including her own—goes far deeper than she ever imagined. 

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances—and of her mother’s suicide—she moves to America, leaving the company in the hands of her brother Robbie. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind. Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac discovers a secret the House of L’Etoile has been hiding since 1799: a scent that unlocks the mysteries of reincarnation. The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

The White Forest by Adam McOmber
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father at a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of manmade objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London's elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation, with the goal of discovering a new virtual reality, a place he calls the Empyrean. A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late. 

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye. 
My current read is:
Inspiring Experiences That Build Faith by Thomas S. Monson
President Monson recalls tender and inspiring personal experiences that will build faith and testimony for every reader. Taken from events throughout his life, these accounts are organized into sections: Service to others, Faith Precedes Blessings, Prayer Availeth Much, Missionary Moments, Testimony Teaches Truth, Example of the Believers, and On the Lighter Side. One experience tells of an elderly man in oppressed Hungary. He had collected his tithing for forty years until he met a patriarch who could deposit it for him. Also, the man had tried unsuccessfully for many years to get permission to leave Hungary to attend the temple. Following a special blessing, his passport was finally approved and this faithful man received the temple ordinances. This example and many others depict the happiness that comes from obedience to the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ. Readers can find renewed strength in their testimonies through these faith-promoting experiences.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free Comic Book Day

This Saturday, May 5th, is Free Comic Book Day! I didn't even know this day existed, but it sounds like so much fun. It's definitely something the little ones in my house will want to participate in.

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores.
Click here to find a participating store near you.

Happy reading, everyone!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 Where Are You Reading Challenge - Update

It's time for an update on the 2012 Where Are You Reading Challenge. This challenge is hosted by Book Journey. I created a Google map for this challenge, and I place a marker for each book I've read this year. If it's a book that doesn't have a specific location, I mark where the author is from.
Here is where my reading has taken me so far in 2012:

Texas - Six Weeks to Yehidah
Imperial, Nebraska - Heaven Is For Real
Colorado Springs, Colorado - What a Son Needs From His Dad
Austin, Texas - Out of the Spin Cycle
Salt Lake City, Utah - Timepiece
Franklin, Tennessee - The Total Money Makeover
San Francisco, California - The Bonesetter's Daughter
London, England - Postcards From Berlin
Gibraltar - The Alchemist
Columbia, South Carolina - The Secret Life of Bees

Where has your reading taken you this year?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Dream Home

I made such an awesome discovery today, I just had to share!!!

When I was little I lived in Des Moines, near Drake University where my dad was a student. We always lived in old houses, old bungalows, probably because they were cheap and close to campus. I particularly remember the last house we lived in. It had a large front porch, a big kitchen (well, it was big to a five-year-old), and the staircase had its own doorway. I had lots of fun playing in that house. I remember helping my mom take the laundry from upstairs all the way down to the basement. She would put the laundry in pillowcases, and then my sister and I would pretend we were Santa, dragging the pillowcases down the stairs and saying "Ho, ho, ho!"

If I could choose the exact house I wanted to build and live in forever, it would be that house. I also loved my gramma's house, another old bungalow with lots of character, but my house was the best! So tonight I was playing around online, looking at bungalow floor plans (yes, I am quite weird). Suddenly, I came upon this picture:

THIS IS MY HOUSE!!!! I looked over the floorplan meticulously and was so amazed to find it was exactly the same! My house was painted white, the roof was red-shingled, and we didn't have a fireplace. We also didn't have flowers strewn all over the place, but I sure would have loved that. Isn't it just darling?? Someday, maybe in heaven, I will live in this house once again. I guess you could say this is my Gibbee house.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Decluttering The Clutter

So today I started Operation TBR Reduction by sorting through ALL of my books on my shelves. My 4-year-old loved "helping" me stack the books. He and Buzz Lightyear made lots of "houses" among the books strewn all over the living room floor.

I entered every single book I haven't read into Goodreads, and then restacked them on my shelves. I was stunned to find I have seventy-seven books to read on my shelves. Ack!!! I also have another 20 books to get rid of shortly. Yes, I am truly committing heresy here by getting rid of books I haven't read yet, but it's only twenty.

Next, I went through all my ebooks, and added those to Goodreads as well. That brought my total list of titles to 155. Holy shamoley!! At this point, I feel like reading 155 books is completely not do-able, but I will not give up. This is an elephant's worth of books to "eat", but it's possible, one book at a time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Operation: TBR Reduction

Operation TBR Reduction Button

I found this challenge at Once Upon A Chapter, and I decided it's time to start reducing my own pile. My weekly meme Piling Up on Fridays is all about my virtual TBR pile - book titles I have found during the week that I want to read someday, but hardly any of them are books I've actually acquired. After reading about this challenge, I realized I need a whole new list for my physical TBR pile! 

Last summer I purchased a LARGE cabinet, called a "schrank" (it's German) and I have stuffed the thing full of my books. Some of them are my Gibbees that are never going away, but most of them are books that I've never even read. I have squirreled away books into every corner I can reach, and I've still got a few boxes of books in the garage that I try to forget are there.

I was just telling my mother today that I have a problem getting rid of books I've never read. It's almost sacrilegious to do so! (Bookaholic? Yeah, that's me.) Well, here's where the problem lies. If I keep acquiring books, but NEVER read them, and ethically forbid myself to get rid of them until I HAVE read them, well, I'm just in a crapload of trouble, aren't I???

So I'm going to participate in this challenge to reduce my physical TBR pile. My ultimate goal is to only have Gibbee books on my shelves, all of them read, and nothing else! As for my virtual TBR pile, I have made a goal to read at least one title every month. It's a start, and maybe when my physical TBR pile is under control, I can start tackling my virtual TBR pile (and let's not even start with my ebooks!)

*sigh* One day, one book at a time....

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night 2012

Would you like a free book?

This was my opening line tonight as I talked with a couple dozen people tonight for World Book Night. I stood outside the main entrance of my local mall, approaching total strangers as they left to go to their cars. Tonight I gave away 20 copies of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (a totally awesome book btw!) A couple people actually declined receiving a free book. No doubt they thought I was giving away some religious publication. A couple people who did take a copy of the book thought for a moment I was giving them a King James Bible! No, I told them, this is a New York Times bestselling novel. One lady I talked to said her mom was actually doing the same thing tonight in Washington D.C.  How awesome is that!
One thing that was interesting to see is most of the people who accepted the books were women. If I approached a family or a man & woman, it was the woman who stepped up to take the book. Maybe since I'm a woman, it was more socially comfortable for the men to step back and let the women talk with me. And since it is the mall, I naturally saw more women exiting the building than men, because who loves shopping more?
It took me just over ten minutes to give away 12 books at the mall. Wow! The rest of the 20 books I gave away earlier this evening at a Zumba class. Lots more women there too. I just put the books on the table, told everyone about World Book Night, and everyone flocked to the table.
I look forward to doing this again next year. I hope to find some other book givers in my area, because it would be more fun to give books away with friends.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Piling Up on Friday 4/20

This weekly meme is hosted here at Finding Your Gibbee. Feel free to play along, and post a link to your blog in the comments below. List all the books you have added to your To Be Read List this week. (These don't have to be titles you have actually purchased.)

This past week I've been trolling through Amazon's best seller list, looking for some free treasure. I was so happy to find two titles from my TBR list - Growing Up Country by Carol Bodensteiner, and The Dog That Talked to God by Jim Kraus. This week's Piling Up list includes some other free titles I found at Amazon.

The Witch Who Made Adjustments by Vera Nazarian
A humorous and deeply heartwarming fantasy novelette of a witch who may not be as "terrible" as she seems -- a witch who came into a turn-of-the-century town, just a few days before Halloween, and changed the lives of the entire populace, and especially young Tommy, a hardworking boy, and his impoverished family.

Blue Fall by B.B. Griffith
A routine investigation throws a hapless insurance agent down the rabbit hole, into a world where the rich and powerful place wagers on the greatest game on earth. They call it the Tournament. It offers competition without limits. It is beholden to no man, and constrained by no law, and it is extremely dangerous. But where does the true power lie in this World Cup of warfare? With those who place the bets, or with the deadly players themselves? And can one man expose the secret before they find him?

The Island of Ted by Jason Cunningham
Would you give up everything you know to find paradise? That's the question facing movie producer, Ted LaSalle. After a string of personal tragedies, Ted decides to leave it all behind and purchase his own island off the Philippine coast to escape from the evil and violence in the world around him. With technology as his only companion, will Ted find what he's looking for, or will his past follow him to paradise?

Malaika by Van Heerling
A middle-aged man with the crushing weight of his American past seeks peace and a simpler life in rural Kenya. Armed with only his smokes and coffee he discovers a friendship with the most unlikely of friends- a lioness he rightfully names Malaika (Angel in Swahili). But she is no ordinary lion nor is he an ordinary man. Between them they share a gift.  But not all embrace their bond and some seek to sever it. Discover this new world rich in human truth and sensibility.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

My current reads are —

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.     When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone
Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant
Fred and Elly Bulkington, newly arrived from Vermont having won a pub in a contest, encounter a wild, strange land shaped by the pounding storms of the North Atlantic, as well as the native resistance to strangers. As Fred revels in the life of a new pubowner, Elly takes the ferry out to a nearby island where anyone not born there is called a “blow-in.” To the disbelief of the locals, Elly devotes herself to open-water swimming, pushing herself to the limit and crossing unseen boundaries that drive her into the heart of the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and the dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful clan that has no use for outsiders. The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence—The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Secret Life of Bees book review

My rating = 5 stars - Gibbee!

From the book cover:
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina - a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I would like it much. It seemed like just another story about an abusive father and his rebellious daughter. But it soon turned into so much more than that. The heart of this story lies in the relationship between Lily Owens and August Boatwright, a beekeeper who takes Lily and Rosaleen in. August is the embodiment of pure love. She is nonjudgmental and very patient with Lily, and becomes a second mother to the girl. Lily has a lot of anger towards her father she needs to resolve in her heart, and unanswered questions about her mother she needs to face. August gives her the time and space to do this, wrapping Lily in a sweet blanket of acceptance, kindness and love. Within this "nest" August creates for Lily, the girl is able to successfully accept difficult lessons for any teenager to understand, and evolves into a more mature character by the book's end.

The one part of the book that was a little - well, weird for me - was the character of Black Mary. She's not a person in the story, but a statue that represents the Virgin Mary, and comes to be the embodiment of motherhood and personal strength to Lily. This statue is something of a religious idol for August, her sisters, and their circle of friends called the Daughters of Mary. Every Sunday August holds religious services in her home for this group of women, and the services center around the statue, with singing, dancing and touching the statue in very worshipful ways. It was hard at times for me to see more into these scenes than plain physical idol worshiping, which I am personally against. Throughout the book, Lily comes to find great personal meaning in Black Mary, which helps her character evolve into a more mature, accepting and forgiving young woman. But the physical worshiping of the statue was, again, just weird.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter book giveaway winner and some freebies!

The winner of the Easter Gibbee Giveaway is Robin Ford.  Congratulations!

To help celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior this Easter season, here are two wonderful freebies I want to share with you.

The Holy Bible - King James Version
Click here to request a free copy

The Holy Bible testifies of Jesus Christ and has influenced and sustained millions of His followers. It is a collection of sacred writings containing God’s revelations and accounts of His dealings with His children.

The Book of Mormon - another testament of Jesus Christ
Click here to request a free copy

The Book of Mormon is the word of God, like the Bible. It is Holy Scripture, with form and content similar to that of the Bible. Both books contain God's guidance as revealed to prophets as well as religious histories of different civilizations. While the Bible is written by and about the people in the land of Israel and surrounding areas, and takes place from the creation of the world until shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon contains the history and God’s dealings with the people who lived in the Americas between approximately 600 BC and 400 AD. The prophets in the Book of Mormon recorded God's dealings with His people, which were compiled by a prophet named Mormon onto gold plates. The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, testifies that Jesus Christ is our divine Redeemer and that by living according to His gospel we can find peace in this life and eternal happiness in the life to come.

"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever."
— Book of Mormon, Ether chapter 12 verse 41

Happy reading, everyone, and have a blessed Easter!