Friday, January 27, 2012

Piling Up on Friday

This is a new weekly book meme I am starting. Feel free to put this on your blog, just add a link back to mine. List all the books you have added this week to your To Be Read List.

Mr g by Alan Lightman

The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan

The Hurricane Lover by Joni Rodgers

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers

In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age by Patricia Cohen

Throwing Clay Shadows by Thea Atkinson

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

This past weekend Ro from Ro-alwaysinspired chose me for the 
Versatile Blogger Award. 
Thank you Ro! This is my first blogger award - I feel so honored! :)

Here are the rules that go along with this award:
1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.(15 isn’t mandatory, but it’s a nice gesture. Try and pick at least 5 )
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

OK, so here are seven random facts about me:

1.  I had my first taste of soda when I was 9 months old. My parents went to an A&W stand, and the story goes that I drank most of my mom's mug of rootbeer. Today I still prefer A&W.

2.  As a child, I had a specific method to eat Twinkies. First, pull off and eat the top of the cake, then scoop out & eat all the frosting with my finger, then eat the rest of the cake. And do it all...very...slowly. Drove my mother nuts!

3.  I taught myself how to crochet (with a little bit of help) in high school for a church project. I made a baby blanket for my youth leader and her first baby.

4.  I have TERRIBLE insomnia. Either I can't get to sleep until 2am, or I go to bed super early and wake up at 2am, then take a nap later.

5.  I have a stuffed hippo named Hippy that I have had since I was 5 years old. Everyone thinks it's terribly ugly, but I still love him to bits.

6.  My Christmas tree will always have a beautiful angel on top of it.

7.  As a child, I was known to sleep walk on occasion. Now I just talk in my sleep.

And now, for my 15 blog award recipients.....*drumroll*................
Be sure to visit these terrific blogs today!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Bean giveaway - WINNERS!!!

And the winners of the book giveaway are........

Vidya, Maureen Morra, Chrizette, and Helen Keeler!

Congratulations to the winners! I will be contacting you shortly via email for your addresses. Thank you to everyone else for such an exciting giveaway and for all the happy birthday wishes. Be sure to visit here often, since I already have more giveaways planned for this year.

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

How many pages are on your TBR list?

Lianne at The Towering Pile posted some interesting stats on her blog today. She sorted her TBR list according to book length. And that got me thinking - how many books on my TBR list have more than 300 pages? This is fairly easy to do on Goodreads. You just have to sort your list by number of pages.

Here are the results of my TBR list as of today, Jan 20, 2012.

total books on TBR list (at the moment) = 230 books
< 300 pages = 94 books
> 300 pages = 136 books
400+ pages = 43 books
500+ pages = 22 books
600+ pages = 12 books
700+ pages = 7 books
800+ pages = 4 books
900+ pages = 3 books
1000+ pages = 2 books

I have to mention there are 7 books on the list that do not have a page count right now. Since they are very new releases, so not all the info on them is listed in Goodreads yet.

So I've got more long books than short books on my TBR list. Hmm, I guess that proves I like more 'meatier' subjects. And it also proves I've got a lot of reading to do! Better get back to it.

Happy reading everyone!

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

Q: What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

I don't know how "crazy" this is, but I was one of the insane masses of people who stood in line all night to get one of the first copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At the time I had a credit card with a unique reward system - for every $1000 spent on the card, they would send me a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble. Saaweeeeeetttt!!!!  (I didn't let hubby use any other method of payment to buy anything for a year or so. I was so sad when the program ended :(   

So the night of the book release comes, and I had been saving up my certificates for the Harry Potter book. It was a fun night, with games for the kids, and everyone in a happy mood, talking and laughing. I remember how excited everyone got when the store employees pushed a large cart up to the front, covered in large sheets of paper so we couldn't see the coveted books piled high underneath. 

Everyone got a ticket designating when they could stand in line and purchase their book, and somehow I got a ticket from the first group selected. It was so awesome to have my book bought just 20-25 minutes after midnight, and with my certificates it was free! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Last week for book giveaway!

Hurry, hurry! It's the last week for my book giveaway.
4 books to 4 lucky winners!
If you still haven't entered, click on the button below. 
The winners will be announced next Monday.

In the meantime, enjoy this book trailer for The Fall, the first book of 
The Rapha Chronicles by Chana Keefer.

Happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Heaven is For Real book review

My rating = 5 stars (Gibbee!)

After reading the illustrated children's book, Heaven is For Real for Kids, I knew I would love this book, and I was not disappointed. It's a fascinating book about a three-year-old boy's near-death experience, and how his family and community was affected by it. 

Colton Burpo was hospitalized for a ruptured appendix. During the surgery, Colton later told his family, he went to heaven and saw Jesus, met his great-grandfather and a sister his mother had miscarried before Colton was born. Colton also descried the throne room of God, the gates of heaven, and a view of the world's future, among other things.

This book is very uplifting and inspiring. I truly enjoyed it. It brings reassurance to those of the Christian faith, regardless of church affiliation. The story brings to mind a scripture from the Book of Mormon — 

"And it came to pass that [Jesus] did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter." 
Happy reading everyone!

New children's animal book

What Am I? is a brand-new children's book by author Jay Lenz. 

This book is a delightful guessing game about various kinds of animals, written in poetic verse. The book is also filled with loads of vivid color photographs. Children will love reading this book!! You can learn more about What Am I? at

About the Author

Jay P. Lenz was born and raised on a cattle ranch in Squirrel, Idaho, near Yellowstone National Park. As a young man he became an avid hunter, fisherman, trapper, naturalist, an outdoorsman. Because of his love of nature and animal life, Jay pursued an education focusing on Science, and received both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Brigham Young University. He taught in the Public School System, both Secondary and College level for fifteen years. He is also a skilled builder, cabinet maker, and woodworker.

An accomplished poet, and father of eight, Jay felt determined to write a children's book that is not only fun, but educational, and can be used to introduce children to an incredible variety of animals at a very early age. He now resides with his lovely wife, Carole, in San Antonio, Texas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Humming Bird Book Trailer

This trailer is for The Humming Bird: Madness in Crescendo 
by Isabella and Irena de Wardin. 

Their debut novel, The Humming Bird is described as a satiric dystopia.

"Newly democratized Voskia is off its trolley when an astute, sanguinary politician marches for presidency; the promise of genocide hangs thick in the air and the heart of resistance beats within a single, particular individual. Knowledge, a powerful weapon, shall drag this protagonist into series of unforgettable adventures. Music, a cheerful, rebellious messenger, bringer of sensual magic and madness will be a guide throughout the darkness of a newborn disaster. Maria’s shadowy, wintry life shall be lit by warm melodies capturing wisps of dreams, putting them back into words, into music."

For more information about the de Wardin sisters, please visit them on Book Blogs or Facebook. The Humming Bird can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book club for the time-management and decision-making challenged

Like me, I'm sure you've eyed the current bestseller table at your local bookstore, then wondered if you'll really like the book enough to buy it. We all know that just reading the inside or back covers of the book don't give you enough info about a book, and sometimes book reviews don't mention things you would want to know about. 

Or perhaps you are someone who doesn't feel you have enough time to read a book. I mean really, an entire book? Maybe after I feed and change the baby, clean the house, take the soccer team to and from practice, cook dinner for a family of 6, supervise the children with their homework and chores, then fall asleep over my mashed potatoes and meatloaf. Maybe then I'll have time to read a book (yeah, right!)

Help is here!! is a free email book club that lets you preview books for free and help you decide whether or not to buy the title you've been considering. When you sign up for, you choose which genres you want to preview. There are 12 "clubs" to choose from, as well as an AuthorBuzz club. For each club you choose, you will receive an email preview every day Monday-Friday. Each preview takes about 5 minutes to read. New titles for the week are chosen on Mondays. By Friday, you will have read 2-3 chapters of the book.

If you are the kind of person who can never get through the piles of emails accumulating in your inbox (like me), then I suggest starting with just one club. Otherwise, you will be amazed at how many titles stack up in there without your even knowing it! If you are a more efficient email reader than I am, you will be in heaven reading all the books that come your way. 

So enjoy this fun book club everyone, and happy reading!

Welcome New Gibbee Followers!

Hello, all you new Gibbee followers out there! Thank you for joining this family of book lovers, bibliophiles, and eager readers. I am so happy you're here to share your love of reading with me, and hopefully your visits here will inspire you to find your Gibbee in new and undiscovered ways.

Lots of new followers have been asking me lately, What is Gibbee all about?
Well, first I will direct you to my October post What is Gibbee? I created this blog with the hope of discovering Gibbee for myself as I explore my fascination for books and writers, and also to let you, my readers, be inspired to look for Gibbee in areas of literature you would never have thought of looking before.

Most book blogs have a specific literary genre they follow. Right now, I personally think there are more "YA paranormal romance" blogs out there than any other! Finding Your Gibbee doesn't follow a specific genre, mainly because I can't name just one genre I like to read. I read almost everything! And I find inspiration and motivation in so many different places.

So when you come by to visit us here at Gibbee, take a minute and let us know if you have found Gibbee recently. Share your new found passion with us!

Happy reading everyone

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January Read Your Own Library Challenge

Wow, the new year starts, and already I've got homework!

It's time to announce this month's selection for the 
Read Your Own Library Challenge, hosted by The Beauty of Eclecticism.

This month's title is A Life Decoded by J. Craig Venter. 

"Of all the remarkable scientific achievements of the past century, perhaps none can match the deciphering of the human genetic code, both for its technical brilliance and for its implications for the future. A Life Decoded is the triumphant memoir from J. Craig Venter, one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today. In his riveting account, Venter tells of his rise from uninspired student to a brillian scientific mind who announced that he would decode the human genome years earlier and more cheaply than the government-sponsored Human Genome project—a prediction he fulfilled in 2001. A thrilling story of detection, A Life Decoded is also a revealing, and often troubling, look at how science is practiced today."

I've always been fascinated with science and new technological breakthroughs and discoveries, so I've been holding on to this one for a little while. Last month's challenge title was quite a disappointment for me, so I hope this one lives up to my expectations.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Six Weeks to Yehidah blog tour stop

Welcome to Melissa Studdard and her blog tour for her new book 
Six Weeks to Yehidah.

About Six Weeks to Yehidah

Move over, C.S. Lewis; Melissa Studdard is here! Annalise of the Verdant Hills is one of the most delightful protagonists to skip through the pages of literature since Dorothy landed in Oz. Join Annalise and her two walking, talking wondersheep as they travel to ever more outlandish places and meet outrageous and enlightening folk on their journey to discover interconnectedness in a seemingly disconnected world. Discover with them how just one person can be the start of the change we all strive for. A book for all ages, for all time: wonderful, wacky, and bursting with truth!

About My Yehidah

Bursting at the seams with joy and truth, My Yehidah leads you through one of the most important adventures you can take--the journey to the center of your very own self. 
Filled with writing and drawing prompts and beautiful illustrations to color, this book is the perfect jump start for meaningful, creative exploration for people of all ages. 
My Yehidah can be done alone or along the novel Six Weeks to Yehidah.

Click here to read my review of these books

Today at Finding Your Gibbee, I have the honor of interviewing Annalise, the brave heroine of Six Weeks to Yehidah. 


Annalise, I'm so happy you've come to talk with me today about this book. The first thing I want to ask you is why do you think Mabel and Mimi got to go with you on part of your journey? At what point were you most grateful that they were with you?

At first I wasn’t sure. Then I remembered how Bob called Mabel and Mimi my totem animals. I didn’t know what that meant, so I looked it up and found out that our totems travel with us on our life journeys to teach, guide, and protect us. I decided to research sheep too, and I discovered that sheep are spiritual helpers that stand for togetherness and peace. That sounds like Mabel and Mimi alright! I think that’s why I had two of them instead of one—because they really are about togetherness.

To answer the second part of your question, I felt most grateful to have them with me when Hagski came around because she was mean, and having my best friends there to help me stand up to her made all the difference. I would have been a lot more frightened if they hadn’t been there.

When did you realize that the girl in the hospital bed was really you? Were you scared when you realized this?

Even though I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I knew as soon as I saw my mom with her. I felt scared, but I also thought I was dreaming, so it didn’t feel real, and that made my emotions halfway between the kind you have when something happens to you and the kind you have when you read a story or hear about something that happened to somebody else.

Also, as you know, I’d been trying to find my mom, so I was happy to see her but sad about what was going on, all at the same time. It was a little confusing.

How did you feel when you realized who Bob really was? Do you wish you had known when you first met him?

Surprised! At first I wished I had known in the beginning, but then I realized I wouldn’t have been able to focus as much on the things I needed to learn on my journey. Instead I would have been trying to find out everything I could about him. I think that’s why he never told me. He’s smart like that.

Why did you choose to come back from Yehidah? Now that you are back, in what ways do you plan to serve and teach others?

As hard as it was, I knew it was the right thing. When I thought about the book my mom read me about the Bodhisattva and how she waited for her own peace until she brought peace to others, I realized that returning with the knowledge of Yehidah was my destiny, and I had been preparing for it all along. I knew that the reason I loved the Bodhisattva book so much was because I wanted my own life to be that way too.

Thank you for asking about my plans. I know my music will play a big role. I’ll use it to make others feel peaceful and happy and also to teach them the lessons I learned in Yehidah, but I’m still thinking and learning about how I can serve others. I’m sure there is much more to come.

Annalise, thank you again for visiting with us today. I know you have quite a bright future ahead of you, and I wish you all the best.

About Melissa Studdard

Melissa Studdard is the author of the bestselling novel Six Weeks to Yehidah, which also won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Middle Grade Chapter Books. She is also a professor, a book reviewer at-large for The National Poetry Review, a contributing editor for both Tiferet Journal and The Criterion, and the host of the radio interview program Tiferet Talk. As well, she is a member of many literary organizations, including the National Book Critics Circle and the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. 

She loves anything related to writing and reading, whether it's sitting alone with a book and a cup of hot tea, or attending a large poetry reading or literary festival. She also loves travelling, meditating, going for walks, bicycling, practicing yoga, and spending time with family. 
She currently resides in Texas with her wonderful daughter and their four sweet but mischievous cats.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

btt button

If you could sit down and interview anyone, who would it be? And, what would you ask them?

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot the last couple months. She is definitely the top person on my list I would want to interview. There always seem to be so many things I wish I could ask her. The one thing I would particularly want to ask her is how she handled raising her four children (including my father.) And I would ask her how she kept her faith in God through all her challenges in life.

In talking with my dad the other day, we both agreed that if Gramma was still here with us, she would be completely in love with Kindle. Dad says she loved to read, and especially loved buying books from Deseret Book. She couldn't afford a lot of things, but books were especially important to her. She sent me an entire collection of Mark Twain for my birthday once, and I still have the paperback copy of Les Miserables she gave me in high school. When she passed away, my aunts let me go through her bookshelves and pick anything I wanted. I brought home at least 3 dozen books from that visit!

Gramma, I miss you and look forward to seeing you again one day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WWW Wednesday

This meme is from Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

As I get ramped back up with my reading this month, I have recently finished Six Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard. It's a fun book about a very happy little girl. Come join me on the 6th for the book's blog tour.

I was going to read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo next for my book club, but I'm still waiting for my paperback copy to arrive (I still prefer to buy real books over digital ones, but I guess I should consider ebook purchases more when I really need my copy right away.)

So while I wait for the mail to arrive, I am starting on What a Son Needs From His Dad by Michael O'Donnell. It's a terrific piece about all the different things a father should teach his son, from work to play, from spirituality to intimacy. My husband is eager to read it once I'm done, since we've got a 6 yr old son we both need to figure out a little better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Six Weeks to Yehidah book review

The Six Weeks to Yehidah blog tour is well underway. So it's time to post my review of the book. Make sure to come visit here on Friday the 6th, because Annalise, the heroine of this book, will be here to talk with me!

This fun little book is about a girl names Annalise who is truly a free spirit. Right from the beginning I was amazed at how happy and free she is with herself, as she walked out the door during a rainstorm, and took a walk with her two favorite sheep, making up a new song as she went.

Annalise soon falls asleep under a tree and finds herself, and her sheep Mabel and Mimi, walking and talking together in the clouds. There they meet Bob, Annalise's imaginary friend of earlier days. 

Bob takes Annalise on many adventures through the clouds, and Annalise has to solve many difficult tasks. These tasks teach Annalise more about herself, how all living things are connected, and how to be truly enlightened through serving and loving others.

This book has a very "Dorothy in Oz" feel to it, but is not an adventure written merely for the sake of an adventure. The book's premise is to teach about finding inner strength and being one with others through serving them. There are several religious elements and teachings in the story, particularly Buddhism. Some specific concepts mentioned are nirvana, rebirth or reincarnation, and the terms namaste and bodhisattva.

The main lesson I believe Annalise learns is that she has inherent strengths, skills, and knowledge that she didn't know she had. This realization empowers her to be content with who she is and to share this empowerment with others. These concepts may go right over a young reader's head, so there is a companion journal/workbook, My Yehidah, that poses questions about the story and provides corresponding writing and drawing activities.

Throughout the book, whether in her world or her dream world, Annalise was never scared about being away from home or fearful of what she might find. She never got angry or frustrated. She just sang songs, talked with her sheep and Bob, and found everything exciting and amazing. Even in the beginning of the book Annalise went outside to play during a rainstorm. She didn't care one bit she was getting wet and cold. This excessive happiness just didn't seem normal to me. I don't know any child who is constantly happy like this, and I can't say if children reading this book will relate to Annalise in this way. Even in Oz, Dorothy worried a bit here and there in her adventures - "Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh my!"

This lack of full human emotion is a bit of a detriment to the lessons the author attempts to convey. Annalise moves so easily through her process of enlightenment, but what about someone who is not so happy? What about people who are more doubtful? What about kids like my own son, who would wonder "Am I going to fall through the clouds and go splat on the ground?" What about the child who would rather just sit and cry so she can wake up from the dream and see her mommy? These would be some big hurdles in the story if the main character had more human cares and concerns.

Overall, I liked this book very much, and I plan to read it to my own children and get their views on it. The writing style is excellent, the settings are characters are very beautiful and loving, and Mabel and Mimi are especially funny. The book is quite a new and fascinating approach to teaching about enlightenment. I think the companion journal/workbook would be wonderful for readers to use to seek out their own inner strength and self-validation.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Embracing your inner bibliophile without the guilt

My husband recently handed me a newspaper article from the Wall Street Journal. It is entitled "E-Books and Life Without Guilt" by Danny Heitman. The author talks about how he always resolves every year to read the same book that is gathering dust on his shelf, and how guilt always gnaws at him because he knows he never will.

Boy, does that sound familiar!

Then, along comes the e-book, Heitman says, and our guilt can be swept away. Instead of seeing these piles of books all around you, simply store them digitally in your ebook reader and clear your shelves. "Electronic versions do not taunt you from a pile like the books I've resolved to read in 2012."

I think he's reading my mind.

Even better, those of us who are hardened bibliophiles can glut our passion (and addiction) by adding hundreds and hundreds of titles to our ebook readers without the guilt. We have the books, be we don't have to see the books, ridding ourselves of our guilt. Heitman says, "I like the reference to courtship here, since it puts a finger on why buying books – and then ditching them unopened or after the briefest of dalliances – is so much fun. This kind of fickle literary speed-dating is, in today's world, probably the only form of promiscuity that can be indulged without too much ruin."

Did he just call me promiscuous??

This was such a fun article to read, and now, as a self-proclaimed bibliophile, I feel so understood! Heitman has essentially said to me, "Yes, it's OK to be the bibliophile you are. You are understood, and you are not alone."

*sob* I am not alone *sob*

Well, I just had to share this moment of enlightenment and empowerment with all of you, my literary friends. You can read Heitman's full article here.

I'm gonna go browse Google books for awhile.
Happy reading!

"Happy Birthday Bean!" Book Giveaway

It's the new year, which means my birthday is just a few days away. To celebrate, I am having my first ever giveaway!!! I have chosen four awesome books that will be given away to four lucky followers of my blog.

I decided to pick books that were made into movies in 2011. I must say, there were TONS of books to choose from for this giveaway, and I couldn't pick everyone's favorites. I also didn't want to pick the biggest blockbusters (*ahem* Harry Potter and Twilight fans), because this blog is all about finding your Gibbee in new and possibly unexplored literary genres. (I did include one of my own personal Gibbees :)

This giveaway ends January 21st. The four winners will be announced on January 23rd. One entry per person, please! You must be a follower of my blog via GFC, Networked Blogs, or Google+ to enter. To follow, just click on one of these links on my sidebar.

*****And now, the Final Four!!!*****

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Good luck everyone!

This giveaway has ended